Fantasy football has become a billion dollar industry and is one of the primary drivers keeping the NFL as America’s obsession. Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) sites like DraftKings and FanDuel have taken the concept and distilled it into small doses of weekly competition. If you haven’t played DFS before, it’s fairly straightforward: all available players have an assigned salary and you have a salary cap – select players to fill your roster, while remaining under your salary cap. The players’ real life performance determines the score they earn for your team. You compete against others and the highest scores win. For further explainers, see here and here.
Fantasy College Football is not quite as omnipresent as its NFL counterpart, but DFS sites are offering college football contests, creating another reason to dive deeper into the world of this glorious sport. This season I am looking to put my opinions to the test and compete against all you intelligent readers (the unintelligent ones are welcome too) in two different weekly fantasy contests: the single-game contest for every TCU game and the full main slate on FanDuel. Can you build a lineup to beat me and the rest of the competition?
I’ll also provide my thoughts on best values and strongest plays to best use your $60,000 salary on FanDuel so you can use go win yourself a big tournament. Can you build a lineup to beat me and the rest of the competition?
Single Game Slate
(note: you will need a FanDuel account, but you do not need to make a deposit to join this contest, all these games are free and just for bragging rights this week. We may look to have games with prizes in the future)
For the single game showdown slate, you select 5 “flex” players, which is all offensive players including QB. One of those 5 is selected in the MVP spot, where his points will be multiplied by 1.5.
Iowa State (-2.5) @ TCU, O/U: 44
This is a very unattractive game for potential fantasy points. The Cyclones might have the more stable production from offensive players, but played poorly in their previous game at home vs. Louisiana and now faces a TCU defense expected to be fierce. The offensive depth chart TCU released for this game leaves many question marks about who will produce, not to mention the uncertainty of the QB situation and the sloppiness that may come with this being the Frogs’ first game of the season.
Breece Hall, RB ISU ($14,500) – The star sophomore RB is the only sure thing in this game to receive a large volume of touches. Even in a terrible game with terrible “game-script” in ISU’s first game, Hall still smashed for 103 yards and a TD. Think the reference is the game David Montgomery put up for the Cyclones in Fort Worth in 2018 – the team lost and only scored 14 points, but Montgomery got 21 carries for 101 yards and a TD. I personally hope the TCU defense shuts down Hall, and perhaps backup Nwangwu steals some work, but he’ll get every opportunity.
Blair Conwright, WR TCU ($6,000) – I realize the released TCU depth chart is to be taken with a heavy serving of salt, but Conwright is minimum priced and is listed as a starting WR ahead of Mikel Barkley and Savion Williams at the Z spot. Now, I expect he won’t get a huge share of the receiving workload and may not see the top of the depth chart the rest of the season, but there’s precedent for surprise starting TCU WRs to truly get looks out of the gate. I could also see Conwright being the one to bust the ISU coverage like Louisiana’s Peter LeBlanc did last game.
Welcome to the big show! The SEC and Big 12 join the party and there are some juicy matchups to choose from. The main slate is slightly different from the single-game: Your roster will include 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, and a Super Flex (any offensive player, including QB). You still get the $60,000 salary to work with, but the assigned salaries are different than what you’ll see in the singe-game (for example: Breece Hall is only $9,000 on the main slate, compared to $14,500 above). Here you’ll always find stars in ideal match ups and depth chart darlings to fill out your roster.
Spencer Rattler ($10,100) - OU (-28) vs. Kansas State, O/U 61 - Arkansas State QBs threw for 330 yards and 5 TDs against the Wildcats. What do you think Lincoln Riley and Rattler will do to them? (Note: same logic can be applied to Ehlinger vs. Texas Tech at $700 more expensive…)
KJ Costello ($8,000) – Miss State (+17) vs. LSU, O/U 57 - There are many great options in the upper-middle class of QBs this week, but if you are digging through the 3rd-4th tier to fit studs in elsewhere, Costello will present the greatest upside. Both he and new Bulldogs head coach Mike Leach are moving to the SEC from the Pac-12 and walk right into defending National Champion LSU. It’ll be a trial-by-fire to be sure, but with the personnel and coaching departures from the Tigers, Costello could take advantage of some opportunities here.
Najee Harris ($10,000) – Alabama (-28.5) vs. Missouri, O/U 56 - A superstar bell cow back, as a heavy favorite, in a game with a high total? Lock it in.
James Cook ($7,500) – Georgia (-28) vs. Arkansas, O/U 52.5 - Value at RB is always difficult, as the guys with guaranteed workload or in ideal match ups are always priced up, so you’re hoping for a few big plays or significant run-out-the-clock work to pay off the low price-point. As far as I can find at time of writing, Georgia still hasn’t released a depth chart for Saturday. Reading into the deep depths of Georgia fan-boards (*shudders*), it appears Zamir White will be the “starter” but will likely be a co-starter with Cook, or with Cook as the #2. As large favorites, I’m hoping to see lots of clock-churning runs from Cook.
Terrace Marshall Jr. ($9,100) – LSU (-17) vs. Miss State, O/U 57 - WR always seems to be priced down, but when a stud goes off, it explodes the whole slate. So you may be able to fit several of the top pass catchers into your lineup. With Ja’Marr Chase opting-in to the 2021 NFL Draft, Marshall will now be the undisputed top target for LSU and while we cannot expect 2019 numbers from the Tigers offense, I’m still looking for a big day from Marshall.
Jonathan Mingo ($6,600) – Ole Miss (+14) vs. Florida, O/U 57 - Let the Lane Kiffin era begin! While teammate Elijah Moore ($7,900) tends to get the attention running from the Slot, I’m looking for Mingo to have a breakout day and be the biggest beneficiary of the Kiffin regime.