Draftkings main slate breakdown: college week 2
Week one of college football is in the books and with that come overreactions. Kelly Bryant will be a failure at Missouri after losing in his first start as a Tiger to Wyoming, Texas is officially back after a 45-14 victory over Louisiana Tech, and Nebraska's season is doomed after they squeaked past South Alabama at home on the backs of 2 defensive touchdowns and a 3rd coming via a second-half punt return. In actuality, none of this is actually true, or even if it is, we can not say so definitively following just 60 minutes of football. A lot of oddities can happen in just a one-week sample size, which is why it is always best to make informed decisions based on long-term data rather than short-term results. For example, Scott Frost has frequently coached some of the nation's most impressive offenses, it is highly unlikely that Nebraska's offense is going to struggle throughout the 2019 season as much as they did in week one. Week one is always interesting because it is a measuring stick for how good the markets (both DFS and betting) expected each team to be. Week two is equally fun because it provides insight into just how much those same markets are going to erroneously overreact and overadjust. Stay disciplined and don't fall victim to the same overreactions every talking head in the media is spouting. Root decisions in data and seek larger sample sizes than just one game of football if at all possible. If you're able to do these few things, your decision-making process will be far better than most of the DFS market, which over the long-term will translate into profit.
There is one fundamental difference between NFL DFS and College Football DFS, and that is lineup construction. A college football removes the tight end and defense positions from a lineup and replaces them one super flex position. The super flex position can be filled by a quarterback, running back, or wide receiver. On nearly every single slate throughout the year rostering a second quarterback in the super flex position will be optimal in both cash games and tournaments. Keep this in mind all year when building lineups.
Listed here are the most notable games for DFS purposes. In green are games with the highest projected totals, according to betting markets, and in red are the games with the lowest projected totals on the slate. Try to avoid using too many players in any single lineup from the game(s) in red. On the other hand, the game(s) in green should provide enough points and fantasy points across the board to make multiple pieces on each team viable for fantasy lineups
- Nebrasks @ Colorado | Nebraska (-4.5), GAME TOTAL: 64.5
- South Florida @ Georgia Tech | Georgia Tech (-6.5), GAME TOTAL: 61
- San Diego State @ UCLA | UCLA (-9), GAME TOTAL: 44.5
Brandon Peters, Illinois, $6,400
Brandon Peters, a transfer quarterback from the University of Michigan, impressed last week in his first game for the Fighting Illini. Peters led the Illinois offense to a 42-point outburst against the Akron Zips, a total that would have been the second-highest of the team's entire 2018 campaign. In his outing under head coach Lovie Smith, Peters gets to take on a UCONN defense that ranked dead-last in college football last season. In week one, UCONN barely held off the Wagner Seahawks, a middling FCS program, and it will not get any easier from there. The Huskies finished 2018 with just one win on their resume, and it projects to be more of the same in 2019. In the opening game of the 2019 season, Illinois went with the same spread offense from 2018. Peters, taking over for the mobile A.J. Bush, Jr. under center, stepped in and ran the read-option with success, finding the end zone on a 20-yard scamper late in the 2nd quarter. The Illinois offense should have a field day against a defense that is expected to be one of the country's worst yet again here in 2019. Peters himself should have no trouble picking apart a porous secondary, along with more rushing production than previously expected when he was at Michigan.
Kelly Bryant, Missouri, $7,800
Kelly Bryant's debut in a Missouri uniform was disappointing, to say the least. The Tigers made the long trek from Missouri to Wyoming, only to be upset 37-31 by the Cowboys. Bryant's individual day was certainly less-than-stellar, including an ill-advised end zone interception early in the third quarter. Statistically, when all was said and done, however, Kelly Bryant posted a very respectable day. Bryant accumulated 423 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, and 20 rushing yards en route to a 27.92 DraftKings points on the day. Bryant has significantly more rushing upside than his week one total of 20 rushing yards represents. In 2017, his last full season as a starter, Bryant ran for 854 yards (ignoring sack yardage) and 11 touchdowns. In week two against West Virginia, look for Bryant to utilize his athleticism as the Missouri offense looks to get back on track against a weak Big 12 defense. Bryant will likely be a popular starting point in both cash and tournament lineups following a season opener that provided a glimpse into Missouri's potentially potent aerial attack.
Jordan Mason, Georgia Tech, $4,500
Geoff Collins could not have asked for a more difficult introduction as the head football coach at Georgia Tech. In the program's first post-triple option game, they were forced to take on the top-ranked Clemson Tigers. The Yellow Jackets struggled on both sides of the ball, as expected, but one thing was clear: Jordan Mason is the top-dog in this backfield. Mason carried the ball 15 times for 72 yards and a score against one of the nation's strongest defensive fronts in week one. Fortunately, week two will be a far easier matchup for the entire offense, as Georgia Tech plays host to the University of South Florida. South Florida finished the 2018 season with the 80th-ranked defense in the country, according to S&P+, and they enter the 2019 season without key contributors at all three levels of their defense. In week one, the Wisconsin Badgers shredded South Florida as they put 49 points on the board. Badgers running back Jonathan Taylor scored four total touchdowns on the day, en-route to one of the best performances of his collegiate career. There is an undeniable talent difference between Mason and Taylor, but for just $4,500 he is an elite value option on this slate.
Mekhi Sargent, Iowa, $6,200
The Iowa Hawkeyes play host to Rutgers in week two following a brief 38-14 victory over Miami of Ohio. For only the second time in as many years, the Rutgers Scarlett Knights also enter this week coming off of a win. Week one for Iowa included a new hybrid-offense including far more spread concepts and a more expansive passing game. Typically, this would damage the value of a running back, but in Mekhi Sargent's situation, it bodes well for his fantasy production. Sargent manages only 17 receptions throughout the entire 2018 season. In week one of the 2019 season, Sargent hauled in 4 passes for 65 yards, good for 10.5 DraftKings points alone. Sargent also increased his efficiency in Iowa's new-look offense in week one with 6.5 yards-per-carry, up from his 2018 mark of 4.7 yards-per-carry. On Rutgers' side of the ball, this is a team that has struggled in all phases of the game for years. In week one, while they came out victorious, the Scarlett Knights allowed UMass, one of the nation's weakest offenses, to run for nearly six yards-per-carry. The team's struggles on the defensive side of the ball will likely continue for yet another year under the poor coaching of Chris Ash and company. BIG 10 offenses throughout the conference should have their way with this defense all season. The Iowa Hawkeyes will almost certainly light up the scoreboard once again in week two, and Mekhi Sargent is the safest, and best way to gain exposure to this offense on DraftKings.
Reggie Corbin, Illinois, $4,400
Reggie Corbin burst onto the scene in the Big 10 in 2018 with a monstrous 8.48 yards-per-carry. In week one's blowout of the Akron Zips, Corbin only carried the ball six times before exiting prematurely with an injury. This was a precautionary move done to preserve Corbin's health for more difficult games. One of Corbin's backups, Mike Epstein, injured his knee in the opener and will miss the entire 2019 season, leaving Illinois' backfield exceptionally thin if Corbin were to miss the game. In 2018, the UCONN huskies allowed a massive 7.8 yards-per-carry, good enough for dead-last in the entire country. Corbin enters this golden week two matchup with an unofficial injury designation but is expected to play. Priced at an astonishingly-low $4,400, Reggie Corbin is a massive bargain on DraftKings and playable in all formats.
Situation to keep an eye on: San Diego State backfield
San Diego State heads (slightly) north to take on UCLA in Los Angeles in week two following a disappointing start to the season for both teams. San Diego State mustered a meager six points in their season opener against Weber State, but kept a shutout to ensure a 1-0 start to the season. UCLA, however, was not quite as fortunate. UCLA took on Cincinnati in their season opener and came up short yet again under Chip Kelly in a 24-14 loss. Although the UCLA defense only allowed 24 points, there was surely cause for concern, as the poor coaching of defensive coordinator Jerry Azzinaro has shown no signs of ending any time soon.
The real reason this backfield is a situation to keep a watchful eye on is the way the injury bug has gotten to this unit early in the season. The team's starter, Juwan Washington, is questionable for the game due to a lingering ankle injury. The team's normal backup, Chase Jasmin, also carries a questionable tag heading into week two because of a high ankle sprain. All signs are pointing towards Jasmin missing out on the matchup with the Golden Bruins, but Washington's situation is less clear. If Washington and Jasmin are both unable to go in week two, a running back in the $3,000-range will enter the fold as the team's starter. Either Chance Bell or Jordan Byrd will become the starter in the absence of Washington and Jasmin, with the scales tilting slightly in Bell's favor given all available information. Regardless of whether Bell or Byrd ends up starting, if both Washington and Jasmin miss week two's game against UCLA, the starter will be an elite value play on this slate.
Be sure to search through twitter for updates from beat writers around the situation. As soon as any solid information comes in and I become aware of it, I will update this section of the article.
SATURDAY 11:45 AM UPDATE: San Diego State starter Juwan Washington is "trending towards starting." This is obviously ambiguous language and is far from a sure thing, but adjust accordingly. Will continue to update as news comes in throughout the afternoon prior to 4:00 PM EST kickoff.
Rondale Moore, Vanderbilt, $8,100
Rondale Moore is a strong option on practically any and every slate this season, as he is constantly peppered with targets and is almost certainly the best athlete on the field every week. This matchup against the Vanderbilt Commodores, however, stands out as an exceptional situation for Moore to shine and outperform expectations. Rondale Moore exploded onto the scene last season in the Boilermakers' primetime opener against Northwestern, and he has not looked back since. The speedy playmaker opened this season with an eye-popping 11 catches for 124 yards and a score on 14 targets. In week two, Purdue plays its home-opener against one of the weakest teams in the SEC, the Vanderbilt Commodores. Vanderbilt's defense is expected to fall off a cliff in 2019 following multiple departures at linebacker and defensive back, specifically. Joejuan Williams will be the most impactful absence in the secondary. The cornerback left for the NFL and was ultimately selected by the New England Patriots with the 45th overall selection in the draft. Throughout 2018, Williams frequently locked-down top-end SEC wide receivers, and he registered 13 pass breakups. Without Williams, there is a massive void in the Vanderbilt secondary practically begging Rondale Moore to expose. As usual, Moore will be targeted early and often on Saturday afternoon, but in an expectedly-close matchup, Moore's success will be the driving factor in Purdue's success or failure to secure its first victory of the 2019 season.
Ricky Smalling, Illinois, $4,000
Ricky Smalling led the Illinois Fighting Illini in targets throughout the 2018 season, and he picked up right where he left off in week one of 2019. Against the Akron Zips, Smalling registered 10 targets, while no other player on the roster cleared the 3-target mark. There is no question; Smalling is Brandon Peters' favorite option through the air. As mentioned above in the analysis for Brandon Peters and Reggie Corbin, the Fighting Illini go up against the worst defense in FBS football here in week two. Fading this situation in cash is asking for trouble, as all three of these players will certainly be popular in such a strong matchup. In tournaments, all three will likely carry significant percent-rostered numbers, making a contrarian fade a viable strategy. Rostering all three in cash is a dangerous strategy, as it allows for very little diversification, but it is certainly viable for risk-tolerant players. There will be few if any, situations throughout the entire 2019 season where a player as involved as Ricky Smalling will be this cheap. He is a near plug-and-play option this week, as his bottom-dollar $4,000 price tag allows for more expensive options elsewhere.
Wan'Dale Robinson, Nebraska, $4,100
Wan'Dale Robinson had the hype train running full-steam ahead entering the 2019 season. Nebraska did not shy away from the high expectations they were setting throughout training camp, as they hoped Robinson would be burst onto the scene much like Rondale Moore did one year ago. The opener in Lincoln, Nebraska, however, was mightily disappointing. Not just for Wan'Dale Robinson, but the entire Nebraska offense. In a game they were expected to dominate (35.5-point favorites at kickoff,) the Cornhuskers mustered just two offensive touchdowns all day against South Alabama. Scott Frost did not mix words after the game when he said that was the worst offensive performance he had ever been a part of. Throughout the game, Wan'Dale Robinson registered 3 catches on 7 targets to go along with 3 carries. It is clear that Nebraska wants to get the ball in Robinson's hands and let him do what he does best: make plays. The production was not there in week one, as the entire offense underperformed. Scott Frost has a lengthy resume of calling efficient offenses, and it is ill-advised to put too much stock in any single game. Look for Frost to get Nebraska's offense back on track in week two against the Colorado Buffaloes by getting the ball into the hands of the offense's best athlete, Wan'Dale Robinson, with regularity.
GAME STACK: NEBRASKA @ COLORADO: NEBRASKA -4.5, GAME TOTAL 64.5
The Nebraska Cornhuskers' offense turned in one of the most disappointing performances in all of college football in week one. The team's offense accounted for just two touchdowns all day, both via one-yard Dedrick Mills rushes. Scott Frost made no bones about it; the performance turned in by Nebraska's offense was the worst he's ever seen from a team he coached. Week two's matchup with former-Big 8 (and Big 12) rival Colorado affords Nebraska a national platform to right the ship. Adrian Martinez shined last year as one of the league's top dual-threat quarterbacks, and he hopes to build on that here in his sophomore season. Week one was a disappointment, as Martinez missed routine throws he typically makes, and he failed to do any damage on the ground. In week two, all signs are pointing up for Adrian Martinez in the game with the highest projected total on the slate. In Nebraska's backfield, there is some uncertainty. Maurice Washington and Dedrick Mills will likely serve as co-starters throughout the season. Mills costs $4,700 on DraftKings while Washington is $1,000 cheaper at $3,700. Either of these players should be considered exclusively in tournaments, as the expected workload for each is not high enough to warrant consideration in cash games. When deciding between the two, let the price difference make the decision when necessary. Both are talented backs and will likely sub in and out of the game frequently. At wide receiver, Wan'Dale Robinson's viability in all formats was addressed above in the "WIDE RECEIVER" section of the article. Nebraska's other primary option through the air is returning starter J.D. Spielman. Much like Robinson, Spielman is a freak athlete with the ball in his hands. Spielman led the Cornhuskers in receiving touchdowns in 2018 with eight scores, and in 2019 he will continue on as one of Adrian Martinez's favorite targets.
Colorado throttled in-state rival Colorado State in week one 52-31. The team's returning studs like Laviska Shenault may have underwhelmed, but running back Alex Fontenot burst onto the scene with a debut for the ages. Week two will prove to be a far more difficult task against a stronger offense and defense, but the shootout potential in this game makes for some interesting fantasy options on the Buffaloes offense. Steve Montez will be quarterback Colorado's offense for the fourth-straight season in 2019. Montez has never been one to air it out (partially because his offensive coordinator has never asked him to,) but this week two matchup may require that of the redshirt-senior. Montez enters week two with a relatively-steep $7,300 price tag and should primarily be considered in tournament lineups as part of a stack with his top wide receivers. The options for Montez through the air are primarily Laviska Shenault, Tony Brown, and K.D. Nixon. Shenault burst onto the scene in 2018 as one of college football's most electric players. Shenault shredded PAC 12 defenses all year through the air, and even at times on the ground in the wildcat. Shenault's expectations in 2019 are sky-high following such an impressive breakout season a year ago, and his DraftKings price reflects this. At $8,000 he is the second-most expensive wide receiver on the slate, but considering the volume and matchup, he is viable in all formats. Shenault is undeniably the top option to stack alongside Montez in lineups, but it will be a chalky combination. For differentiation here consider a second Colorado wide receiver or filling a wide receiver slot with a Nebraska receiver for a strongly-correlated stack. Tony Brown checks in as the second-best option at wide receiver in Colorado team-stacks. K.D. Nixon will likely be more popular than Brown, given his 2018 production, but in week one Brown shined brighter as the second-most involved wide receiver in the offense. Brown posted strong explosiveness numbers in 2018 when called upon, and this the perfect player profile for a leverage option in an otherwise chalky game stack. The final option in Colorado team-stacks this week is Alex Fontenot. Fontenot made the first start of his career against Colorado State last week, and he left his imprint on the game throughout the second-half when the Buffaloes put the finishing touches on an impressive opener. The sophomore running back carried the ball 19 times for 125 yards and 3 touchdowns in his first significant taste of college football action. At $6,300, Fontenot is too expensive to warrant consideration in cash lineups, but in Colorado team-stacks of full game-stacks, Fontenot is certainly in play. Rostering Alex Fontenot is essentially betting against the Nebraska Cornhuskers in this game, and while it is unlikely, it would certainly not be stunning to see the Cornhuskers stumble again following a 4-8 season. If Nebraska's struggles continue, Fontenot will likely be relied upon to, once again, dominate in the second half and close out the game.