With daily fantasy football so popular, it was only a matter of time before it translated to the college level.
FanDuel offers college football daily fantasy contests now in most states, and there's a twist on the NFL ruleset. You select a quarterback, two running backs, three wideouts (which can include tight ends), and a "SuperFLEX" that can be any of those positions.
Target data for pass-catchers in college can be difficult to find, so finding out which players are on the field and getting work can make all the difference. Naturally, there are also more lopsided outcomes in college, so balance game scripts appropriately as well! Your running back's monstrous first half could lead to a bagel in the second.
Conference play largely begins this week across all major Power 5 conferences. That means we've got real games that (at least on paper) won't include 40-point rompings. We'll find the best workloads from non-conference play and examine which teams are struggling in which defensive areas so far.
As if that's not enough reason to play...what's better than watching college football? Watching college football and having a chance at a slice of a $10,000 pie. Enter DiGIORNO's Saturday Slice Challenge and draft your team for a chance to win.
Note: All stats are from PFF.com. All tables are sortable by any category.
|Notre Dame||N Carolina||-1.5||56.5||27.5||29|
|Boston Col||Florida St||-17.5||48.5||15.5||33|
Saturday's not the best slate if you're looking for high-flying totals in the games that'll be best to watch.
Arkansas and Texas A&M might be the best contest, but it's got just a 48.5-point total with two solid defenses. I'd also take a long, hard look at under 56.5 points in Columbus between Ohio State and an excellent Wisconsin defense.
The best fantasy contests on this slate are ones without much prestige, including the 66.5-point total in Lawrence for Duke and Kansas. There might be more points Saturday than the last basketball game between those two.
I would take the under on implied totals for Maryland, Clemson, Wake Forest, North Carolina, and Tennessee. All of them have been in higher-scoring affairs out of conference moving into a stiffer test.
Defensive Matchups and Rankings
Note: Higher numbers are easier matchups for the opposing team. Lower numbers are better rankings and tougher matchups.
|Team||Defensive Passing YardsPer Attempt Rank (FBS)||Defensive Rushing YardsPer Attempt Rank (FBS)|
There's always a reason why a total is high, and TCU-SMU is evident on paper.
The Mustangs rank outside the top 100 in both phases of defensive yards per play. TCU's 125th-ranked pass defense won't provide much resistance, either.
Wake Forest is a high-powered offense, but they're still going to struggle against this top-10 Clemson defense in both phases. However, with the Deacs also top-half in FBS against both domains, there just may not be as many points as expected in Winston-Salem.
UNC is bottom-40 against both the rush and pass in FBS, and it hasn't come against the best competition. That may finally help the Fighting Irish get going on offense.
Duke's ninth-ranked rushing defense is a key component of their matchup with KU. It'll be a spot to largely avoid. The same can be said for Texas A&M's fourth-ranked passing defense, which means the Hogs will likely have to get their ground game going to score in Dallas.
Former SMU coach Sonny Dykes bolted from the school to take the TCU job this offseason. That's a wild backdrop to two squads running the same high-tempo, pass-happy offense in a shootout on Saturday.
As a result, I think Tanner Mordecai ($11,000) is the top quarterback on the board. Mordecai doesn't add much on the ground, but he flung it a slate-high 54 times in Week 3 against Maryland. Max Duggan ($9,500) is a quality value option on the other side without his usual drawback of getting benched; Chandler Morris will miss this game with a knee issue.
Jayhawks dual-threat slinger Jalon Daniels ($11,200) is right there. Daniels is averaging 77.3 yards per game on the ground this season entering this matchup with Duke's poor pass defense. Riley Leonard ($9,800) will have a similar matchup facing Daniels' squad, but he's not near the threat on the ground.
After that, it's a precipitous drop. C.J. Stroud ($11,500), Hendon Hooker ($10,800), and Dillon Gabriel ($10,700) are all in some of their toughest defensive matchups of the year. All three are also facing rush-heavy offenses as at least 10-point favorites. There will be a bust or two amongst them.
Overall, I'll try to stick to those core four guys in blowup spots, but I don't mind SuperFLEX stabs at Kansas State's Adrian Martinez ($7,300), Minnesota's Tanner Morgan ($6,900), and Wisconsin's Graham Mertz ($6,600) in games they figure to trail.
We'll get to see on Saturday how Mohamed Ibrahim ($11,200) of the UM Golden Gophers translates his hot out-of-conference start to Big Ten play. Michigan State has had a great rush defense and leaky secondary for years, so they're a decent candidate to bottle him far better than Colorado or New Mexico State was.
Of the studs, I'd still sooner lean on Texas's Bijan Robinson ($10,600). He's a great candidate to find the endzone multiple times considering the Longhorns are still dealing with issues at quarterback entering this matchup with the weaker Texas Tech defense.
Game script and environment aren't everything. Raheim Sanders ($9,200) and Devon Achane ($9,000) both got at least 23 total opportunities and had a rush attempt share greater than 65.0% last week. They're bellcows that can blow up any slate.
Robinson, Sanders, and Achane have seen at least 45.0% of their teams' total rush attempts this year. There are four more backs on this slate that fit that bill: Kansas State's Deuce Vaughn ($8,800), Michigan State's Jalen Berger ($7,600), Washington State's Nakia Watson ($7,300), and Boston College's Pat Garwo III ($6,000). All have matchup or game script concerns, but they'll be elite plays if the script falls their way.
There are also backs that don't fit that description but will as conference play starts. That includes Auburn's Tank Bigsby ($6,900). He still got 14 carries against Penn State's defense but predictably struggled. He should have more opportunities and success against Missouri's 104th-ranked rushing defense.
Treshaun Ward ($7,800) concerningly split snaps in the second half last week in a tight game against Louisville, but there is work theoretically there given Florida State is likely without Jordan Travis for their battle with the Eagles.
Tre Siggers ($6,700) got 21 carries last week for SMU, which was 54.3% of the team's attempts. That's a good enough role at his salary to make a huge splash in that shootout.
There also was a little clarity in Notre Dame's backfield last week as Chris Tyree ($6,100) got 22 carries. The explosive back has a good matchup with the Tar Heels, too.
There aren't really any star running backs that are "must haves". There's a notable wideout for sure.
SMU's Rashee Rice ($10,200) is not only getting peppered, but his talent is insane. He got 19 targets against Maryland, and Mordecai is looking for him often considering his 39.7% target share this season. In this high-paced matchup with TCU, expect a repeat performance.
Overall, I see the Ohio State passing attack as largely overvalued. Wisconsin's defense is great, and Marvin Harrison Jr. ($10,000) and Emeka Egbuka ($9,200) are oversalaried as Jaxon Smith-Njigba ($8,500) returns to the top spot in the pecking order. This matchup with the Badgers is solid enough to justify waiting for this passing game out one more week.
Zay Flowers ($8,700) got 15 targets last week for Boston College, and he's one of three wideouts averaging double digits for the year (11.3). He's an elite option that might go unnoticed due to the low total. Josh Downs ($9,000) is the third double-digit target recipient this season, but he's questionable to even play.
Keon Coleman ($7,800) and Donovan Ollie ($7,600) have gotten 9.7 targets per game just behind them. Coleman's work, though, could be reduced if MSU's Jayden Reed returns this weekend. It's a bad matchup for Sparty anyway; I'll likely stick to Ollie.
In the "good workload but difficult matchup" column, you can find A.T. Perry ($7,700). He's got a 32.1% target share since Sam Hartman returned, but Wake Forest will struggle all day with Clemson's D.
I'd love to target TCU wideouts opposite Mordecai, but there's been minimal clarity in two blowouts thus far. One would assume Quentin Johnson ($8,100) is the top guy as he was a year ago, but Taye Barber ($6,400) has matched him in routes and comes at a much lower salary.
Michael Mayer ($7,000) is a slam dunk value for the Irish. Regardless of their terrible quarterback situation, he's been popped for a 34.3% target share. He's also scored in back-to-back games.
Jerand Bradley ($5,600) leads Texas Tech in targets per game (9.0), but his salary is low since he's yet to score. Myles Price ($8,000) ran 10 more routes last week, though.
Either is a decent bring-back option to Robinson, and Jordyn Whittington ($6,200) is a nice value play for UT since he leads the team in routes per game (28.0). Hudson Card just isn't a dynamic downfield thrower, and that makes Texas speedster Xavier Worthy ($7,800) a tougher, but still viable, option to target.
Speaking of bring-backs, Dominic Lovett ($6,400) has seen 7.3 targets per game this year for Mizzou as the optimal partner for Tank Bigsby.