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.
Finding target data for pass-catchers in college can be difficult, 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.
Thanksgiving weekend is great for football because we get two days of pro football and two days of college. Black Friday is the first, and there are ranked teams scattered among fun Group-of-5 matchups on this slate, as well.
Note: All stats are from PFF.com. All tables are sortable by any category.
|Utah St||Boise St||-16.5||51.5||17.5||34|
|C Michigan||It’s Michigan||-1.5||54.5||26.5||28|
|New Mexico||Colo. State||-7.5||35.5||14||21.5|
|NC State||N. Carolina||-6.5||55.5||24.5||31|
Typically, FanDuel’s main slates on Saturdays are loaded with high totals, elite quarterbacks, and scoring is insane. This slate is very different with several spots to completely avoid.
The best game is the Duel in the Desert between Arizona State and Arizona. The 65.5-point total is well clear of anyone else. Still, we have other potential shootouts like UCLA-California and North Carolina State-North Carolina. The large spreads in others come with major concerns.
There are also spots to mostly avoid. Not a ton of points will be available in Iowa, for instance. The 35.5-point total between New Mexico and Colorado State is also funny as heck.
Defensive Matchups and Rankings
Note: Higher numbers are easier matchups for the opposing team. Lower numbers are better rankings and tougher matchups.
Arkansas, Florida, and UNC are awful defenses we’ve been picking on during Saturday slates all year. That won’t change here, and add Western Michigan, New Mexico, and Arizona to that list on this small slate.
We’ve got several impressive defenses on this slate, including both Tulane and Cincinnati facing each other. I just don’t have a ton of interest as a result. Iowa, Boise State, and Toledo have been solid against their level of competition, too.
Florida State and Texas are also two of the better defenses on the slate, which is why I’m reluctant to stack those games despite above-average totals.
In terms of matchups, Cal, UCLA, and NC State are easier to throw on than run. On the contrary, Utah State, Colorado State, and Nebraska have been far worse against the rush.
Drake Maye ($12,000) has benefited from an extraordinarily easy schedule this year. It came crashing down against Georgia Tech last week with single-digit FanDuel points.
Considering NC State is top-60 in yards per attempt (YPA) against the rush and pass, Maye won’t have his easiest day ahead here either. For that reason, I’m going with UCLA’s dual-threat Dorian Thompson-Robinson ($11,800) as my top guy taking on Cal’s bottom-40 pass defense.
Tucker Gleason ($11,000) isn’t as familiar to many, but Toledo’s signal-caller chucked it 40 times last week, and he’ll draw WMU’s awful pass defense. He’s not much of a rushing threat by yardage, but he scored twice on the ground last week.
Per dollar of salary, Jordan Travis ($10,200) could challenge either of them. Travis hasn’t run as much in his sophomore campaign as he did last year, but Florida’s outside the top 100 in YPA in both phases. He’s going to have a monster day, and FSU’s market shares are spread out, so he’s the surest way to get a chunk of their offensive output.
KJ Jefferson ($10,500) doesn’t have the easiest matchup with Missouri’s 57th-ranked pass defense, so I’d actually rather turn to Brady Cook ($8,300) as a value play in that game. Cook appears to have turned a corner; remember, he posted 27.3 FanDuel points against Tennessee and kept it rolling with 29.1 during last week’s pseudo-bye week against New Mexico State.
If you’re looking for a sneaky punt at SuperFLEX, Ben Finley ($6,500) will make his second career start for the Wolfpack against Maye and UNC’s awful defense. In a projected shootout, Ryan Finley‘s brother could ball.
Both marquee backs on this slate are in sneaky tough matchups.
Bijan Robinson ($10,700) and Zach Charbonnet ($10,200) are studs, but Robinson draws Baylor’s 42nd-ranked rush defense, and Charbonnet gets Cal’s 43rd-ranked unit. Both could still pop for multiple scores with rush shares above 55.0%, but neither is a slam dunk for 30-plus FanDuel points.
Xazavian Valladay ($9,600) might be a slam dunk. In the day’s highest total, he’s received 70.4% of ASU’s total carries in the past two weeks, and the Wildcats’ 126th-ranked rush defense is awful. On the other side, Michael Wiley ($8,400) got 21 carries in a positive script for Arizona two weeks ago. He’s a decent bet if they end up snatching a lead.
Opposite Charbonnet, Jadyn Ott ($8,900) has one of the best workloads on the slate for the Golden Bears, logging 72.4% of their carries in the past three weeks. UCLA’s rush defense was leaky last week against Southern Cal.
Who would have guessed UNC would have a feature back? Elijah Green ($8,100) has done just that with 63.5% of the Heels’ carries in the past three games.
I’m not afraid of Calvin Tyler Jr. ($7,800) despite the spread against Boise. He’s gotten 25-plus carries in positive matchups, and the Broncos’ 29th-ranked rush defense might be boosted by a wildly easy schedule.
However, the single best value play on the slate is here, too. Avery Morrow ($7,000) is a de facto free square. Colorado State hasn’t gotten to play with a lead often, but they’re 7.5-point favorites over the Lobos’ poor rush defense, and Morrow will benefit. He’s amassed 89.8% of CSU’s carries in his past three. Sheesh.
Another boom-or-bust value play could be Anthony Grant ($5,900). He’s a talented back getting 84.2% of Nebraska’s carries, but his opponent (Iowa) is a brutal matchup.
It’s incredibly concerning Josh Downs ($10,000) only got five targets last week. That’s a huge salary to pay when Maye seems like he could take him or leave him each week.
I’d rather invest with Jacob Cowing ($9,100), who has seen 8.7 targets per game in his last three for Arizona. Plus, the total is 10 points higher out west. Elijah Badger ($8,400)earning 9.7 targets per game in his past three, is an obvious option on the other side for the Sun Devils.
This wideout slate is deeper than it is stellar. Tory Horton ($8,600) is another CSU Ram that could benefit from their step down in competition, and his 37.1% target share this year leads the entire slate.
Behind him, I love Xavier Worthy ($8,200) in a game where Texas should have an easier time rushing than throwing. He’s at a solid 28.5% share for the year.
Like Morrow for running backs, Brian Cobbs ($7,500) is popping all over for wideouts. He’s got a 29.9% target share this year, tallying 10.3 targets (36.5%) per game in his last three weeks. He’s in a projected negative script, too.
Trey Palmer ($7,900) is his usual high-volume, bad-offense play for the Huskers. He’s gotten an absurd 44.0% share of Nebraska’s targets in the past three weeks. Jerjuan Newton ($8,500), J. Michael Sturdivant ($7,600)and Jake Bobo ($7,600) are the others with at least a 20.0% share in the past three weeks — and for the season — on this slate.