Bryce Young, Alabama ($10,000) vs. Ole Miss: This matchup is incredibly sexy. With a game total of 77 points, it’s also by far the highest total on the slate. Alabama’s implied team total is currently over 45 points and in a potential shootout, Young is absolutely in play. He gets an Ole Miss defense currently ranked 70th in defensive EPA per pass attempt, allowing a 17% explosive pass rate through three games this year.
Malik Cunningham, Louisville ($9,500) vs. Wake Forest: Is there a price point where Cunningham is not in play? If there is, I haven’t seen it yet. Averaging 33.52 DraftKings points per contest, Cunningham is the entire Cardinals offense. Wake Forest has a good defense against the rush in terms of EPA per rush attempt (ranked 3rd). I’m not sure it matters as Cunningham’s versatility should be on full display. He’s averaging over 260 passing yards per game in addition to the rushing bonus. I’m riding Cunningham while he’s hot.
Matt Corral, Ole Miss ($9,200) @ Alabama: The last time we saw Corral he was breaking records on route to scoring 59.2 fantasy points. That was Tulane and this is Alabama – however, it’s not the same Alabama team that we’ve been accustomed to. Still putting a young defensive unit together, the Tide are ranked 68th in EPA per pass attempt while allowing a 14.8% explosive pass rate (34th). And that’s without facing an offense like the one Ole Miss brings to the field. The last 5 times these teams have played, the total has hit the over including last season where Corral had another monster game. Stacking this game is the deservedly popular choice this week.
Connor Bazelak, Missouri ($7,300) vs. Tennessee: Our model loved Bazalek this week and considers him the top price adjusted play on the slate. Given the game’s 63-spread and Missouri being slight underdogs, expect the Tigers to lean on the sophomore QB again despite his pedestrian showing against Boston College. In Tennessee, Bazalek gets a defense ranked 73rd in EPA per pass attempt and Missouri ranks near the top of the country in neutral game pass rate at 58.3%. Wheels up.
Hendon Hooker, Tennessee ($6,800) vs. Missouri: Since taking over for Joe Milton after injury, Hooker has been a stud for a fast-paced Volunteers offense. Leading the nation in pace (running a play every 19.9 seconds), Hooker should have plenty of opportunities this week against the worst rushing defense in the country. Since ascending to the starting role, Hooker has posted 19.1 and 31.4 fantasy points and even 18.4 in limited action against Pittsburgh. Missouri has been awful this year on defense and Hooker priced under $7000 is a steal.
Tanner McKee, Stanford ($6,500) vs. USC: McKee has been impressive since taking over at Stanford, averaging 25.2 fantasy points per game for the Cardinal. Coming in as a 7-point underdog, McKee should see a heavy workload given Stanford’s 53% pass rate and USC ranking 83rd in EPA per pass attempt on defense. The kicker for McKee is that he comes in at $6.5K and given his points/$ thus far, he ranks third using his last three games. In a game with the slate’s third-highest total, McKee is a great pivot off the high-end quarterbacks to save salary for other positions this week.
Bijan Robinson, Texas ($8,400) @ TCU: Bijan Robinson just missed on a huge game last week with Roschon Johnson stealing 10 red zone carries. This season, Robinson has averaged 20.5 weighted opportunities (attempts + targets*1.5) per game en route to over 29 DraftKings points per contest. Over his last eight games, Robinson has six 100-yard performances and gets another excellent matchup with a horrendous TCU defense. This season the Horned Frogs have allowed a explosive rush rate of 24.8% (108th) and rank 118th in defensive EPA per rush attempt. Bijan should eat again and with upside in all phases of the game, he could THE highest performer on Saturday.
Tyler Badie, Missouri ($8,200) @ Tennessee: At some point, we have to just accept Badie is possibly the most productive RB in college football. Averaging 26.1 weighted opportunities per game (attempts + targets*1.5), it’s hard to avoid Badie in what should be a plus matchup. Tennessee’s rush defense has been fine but with Badie the game script is irrelevant and probably better if Missouri is trailing. On the season, he has 20 receptions in 5 games with 6.3 targets per contest. Badie’s lowest DraftKings points output of the season was last week at 27.6 and he’s currently averaging over 32.6. He’s locked in once again.
Zach Evans, TCU ($7,400) vs. Texas: After serving a two-series suspension in the first game, Evans has emerged as the lead option for an explosive Horned Frogs offense. Over the last two weeks, Evans has averaged 20.5 weighted opportunities per game highlighted by a 3-70-1 line in the receiving game last week. With a total of over 67 points and a 4-point spread, Evans should be a focal point of the TCU offense again and gets a Texas defense allowing an explosive run rate of 24.7% (100th) and 4.9 rushing yards per attempt (111th). Look for Evans to continue his efficient season as the Horned Frogs attempt to right the ship against Texas.
CJ Verdell, Oregon ($7,000) @ Stanford: Another 2-for-1 option! Both Verdell and Dye are in play this week as they face a Stanford offense allowing a bottom 25 explosive rush rate at 24.2% and bottom 10 EPA per rush attempt. Both backs should feature heavily but with Verdell, he’s currently capturing 50% of team rush attempts and 18 weighted opportunities thus far. Currently, the spread in this game is seven points, and given Oregon’s 58.6% rush rate, Verdell could be in for 20+ opportunities this week.
Jerome Ford, Cincinnati ($6,800) vs. Notre Dame: Under $7,000, Jerome Ford is a great value this week as he gets a Notre Dame defense allowing a 24.7% explosive rush rate. Through 3 games Ford has averaged 25.3 points per game on 1.39 points per weighted opportunity which is ranked 5th on the entire slate. Ford is a good pivot off the higher-priced backs and given Notre Dame’s struggle against the run so far this season. They gave up 100+ yards to Jashaun Corbin and Bryant Koback. Ford is certainly in play this week.
Tiyon Evans, Tennessee ($6,200) vs. Missouri: I highlighted Pat Garwo III last week since Missouri’s run defense has been an abomination and he absolutely smashed. This week I’m in on both Tennessee backs as they have a 39.8% pass rate as a team. Evans is barely edging out Jabari Small in opportunities this year, averaging a 30.9% rushing share to Small’s 29.4% but this play is strictly about the matchup. Missouri’s rushing defense ranks last in explosive rush rate at 32.9%, meaning almost 33% of rushes against this defense go for more than 10 yards. Teams are also averaging 270.8 rushing yards per game (129th), 6.20 rushing yards per attempt (129th), and 0.376 defensive EPA per rush (128th). I am comfortable plaything both Vols RBs in this contest to save salary.
Christian Beal-Smith, Wake Forest ($6,000) vs. Louisville: Despite last week’s pedestrian showing, Beal-Smith is still the lead back for the Demon Deacons and gets a plus matchup this week. Louisville currently ranks 114th in explosive rush rate allowed at 30.1% and plays match better against the pass. I expect Wake to feature the run in this matchup as they already have a 40.2% pass rate and will likely continue that trend as 7-point favorites.
Travis Dye, Oregon ($5,300) vs. Stanford: Copy and paste everything I said for CJ Verdell and save $1,700. Although Verdell has been the lead back for the Ducks, Dye is still averaging 12.1 weighted opportunities, and like mentioned above, the high rush rate as the heavy favorite should lend itself to more opportunities for Dye as well this week.
Jabari Small, Tennessee ($4,400) vs. Missouri: See above: copy and paste everything I said for Tiyon Evans and save $1,800. I expect Small to be the most popular play on the slate given the state of the Tigers defense but he’s hard to avoid at this salary. Averaging 14.8 weighted opportunities per game, Small should be featured in a two-headed attack along with Tiyon Evans this week. I believe Small is the best price-adjusted play this week.
Drake London, USC ($8,500) vs. Colorado: Drake London is an unstoppable force as the big slot for the Trojans this year and gets another plus matchup against Colorado. Averaging a preposterous 13.8 targets per game and 31 over his last two, there are few players who can match London’s output week to week. Colorado’s defense fails to inspire with a 15.1% explosive pass rate (passes of 20+ yards). Despite Kedon Slovis’s struggles, London is averaging 30.05 DraftKings points per game. He’s simply dominant and even at his price point is worth consideration.
Dontario Drummond, Ole Miss ($7,500): Drummond has been a revelation for the Rebels after the loss of Elijah Moore to the New York Jets. Averaging 8 targets per game, Drummond has accounted for 30.5 DraftKings points per contest and gets an Alabama defense that has struggled thus far. Drummond is the clear alpha in this offense as he’s accounting for a 25.9% target share. Even as one of the more expensive receivers on the slate, this could be a game where he has double-digit receptions.
John Metchie, Alabama ($7,100) vs. Ole Miss: I think he and both Jameson Williams ($7,700) are in play due to the absurd game total approaching 80, but I prefer Metchie this week at a $600 savings. Williams has been an explosive player but has relied heavily on big plays. Comparatively, Metchie is averaging 7.3 targets (to Williams 5.5) and 16 targets over the last two games (to Williams 10). He’s a nice alternative to the high-priced Williams this week.
Garett Wilson, Ohio State ($6,900) vs. Rutgers: I’m still curious who is pricing Wilson and his counterpart Chris Olave ($7,300) for DraftKings. As long as Wilson is priced under Olave, we’re taking him almost weekly. In the $6Ks, Wilson once again represents a fantastic value as the lead receiver for the Buckeyes. His 30.7% target share leads the team, equating to 9.8 targets per game including 14 over his last two. The matchup is good again this week as Rutgers is allowing an explosive pass rate of 17.0% despite playing subpar passers. Regardless of who is at QB for the Buckeyes, Wilson is a great play again.
Erik Ezukanma, Texas Tech ($6,300) vs. WVU: Over the last two weeks, Ezukanma has 16 targets, adding to his 9 targets per game. Backup quarterback Henry Colombi was very good against Texas last week. The key to Ezukanma vs. West Virginia is not only his unrealized fantasy points per game (9.7) but also WVU is allowing an explosive pass rate of 18.5% (72nd) and yards per pass attempt of 7.03 (74th). Ezukanma and his 29.9% target share should be featured again in a game with a 56 point total.
Xavier Worthy, Texas ($6,200) vs. TCU: I didn’t highlight Worthy last week and regretted it almost immediately. The true freshman has been electric thus far for the Longhorns with 14 targets over the last two weeks while averaging 17.1 DraftKings points per game on the season. This week Worthy gets a TCU defense allowing an absurd 43.3% explosive pass rate. They are bottom 10 in both defensive EPA per pass attempt (121st) and passing yards per attempt (9.42).
Jonathan Mingo, Ole Miss ($6,100) vs. Alabama: As much as we’d love to play all the high-priced options on each slate, we have to compromise somewhere, and Mingo is a good way to do that. A $1,400 savings off Drummond, Mingo is averaging 8 targets per game and matched Drummond’s target share in their last contest. Despite averaging 9 full DraftKings points fewer per contest, Mingo is averaging 8.1 unrealized fantasy points per game, most on Ole Miss. This could represent a game where he captures some of those unrealized points.
Jaquarii Roberson, Wake Forest ($5,200) @ Louisville: Apparently, I can’t quit Roberson as he was our smash of the week two weeks ago and I highlighted him again last week. Despite trailing both A.T. Perry and Taylor Morin in targets over the last two games, Roberson is still scoring 12.88 points per game with 5.8 unrealized fantasy points per game on the table. He’s still averaging 6 targets each week and with the total in this one currently set at 60.5, Roberson is a very solid option at close to $5K. Fade the noise on the more popular Wake WRs.
Marvin Mims, Oklahoma ($4,800) vs. Kansas State: I know Mims hasn’t been as involved as we expected this season, but one has to wonder if that’s a product of the poor Oklahoma offense this season. Averaging only 3.3 targets per game and 4 over his last two contests, this is a risky call but the matchup calls for investing in last season’s undisputed alpha. Kansas State has allowed 7.7 yards per pass attempt (97th) and an explosive pass rate of 17.3% (74th) this season so this could serve as a true “get right” game for the Sooners. I want to invest in a Sooners WR if that’s the case and with Mims coming in cheaper than Mario Williams ($5,000) and Jadon Haselwood ($6,000) he’s a good pivot off the other Sooners.
Derius Davis ($4,000)/Taye Barber ($4,800), TCU @ Texas: I highlighted Davis last week and he performed so we’re going back to the well. Davis earned five targets and was second on the team in routes run with 16. Behind undisputed alpha Quentin Johnston ($6,800), Davis seems to be operating as the two but there is a true rotation. On the other hand, Taye Barber was finally healthy last week and posted a 100-yard performance but only ran 13 routes, ranking 5th on the team. Davis is the preferred target here but after Barber’s big day, it’s not crazy he could step into a bigger role. Take your pick of these two value WRs.
Jahleel Billingsley, Alabama ($3,600) vs. Ole Miss: I want as much exposure as possible to this contest and with Billingsley leaving the Saban’s doghouse, he’s one of the best price-adjusted plays on the slate. With 7 targets in the lost two contests, he is consistently being featured given Bryce Young’s lower depth of target. He’s also running the third-most routes on the team as a tight end so he’s a key player and with a likely shootout, any piece in the $3,000s is a good value.