This article is part of our DraftKings College Football series.
The 2018-2019 College Football Bowl Season has finally arrived! We will get things started with a five-game slate featuring several intriguing matchups outside of the Power Five conferences. In fact, Arizona State is the only team representing a major conference in Saturday's slate. Here's the cheat sheet for this slate before we jump into my positional breakdowns:
Zac Thomas - Appalachian State ($6,300) vs. Middle Tennessee
There are multiple quarterbacks who are fully capable of racking up 20-30 fantasy points in this slate. However, Zac Thomas checks in with a considerable discount compared to the other members of that group. In my opinion, Thomas should have a salary somewhere around $8,000 – give or take. After all, he's averaging a strong 22.6 fantasy points per game on the season, which is right in line with the best quarterbacks in Saturday's player pool. The dual-threat ability really helps Thomas' DFS floor and ceiling combination, propelling him to 21 or more fantasy points in each of his past four games. He has a good chance to surpass that threshold against a Middle Tennessee defense that ranks middle of the pack (no pun intended).
Also Consider: Take note that Jordan Love ($10,200) of Utah State is probably the top overall pick of this slate. If there was no salary cap, he'd be my quarterback without much hesitation. However, the $10.2k price tag is very cumbersome compared to the other QB options. Love is more of a tournament play for that reason … My two favorite "per dollar" quarterbacks behind the aforementioned-likes of Thomas are Marcus McMaryion ($7,400) of Fresno State and Shai Werts ($5,000) of Georgia Southern. McMaryion is the safer pick with a higher fantasy floor against a non-imposing Arizona State defense. However, Werts has capable rushing upside while running for a touchdown in three straight games. He's an intriguing Super Flex play for only $5,000 against an Eastern Michigan defense that ranks 87th against the run. Pairing him with Zac Thomas at QB would really open the rest of your lineup.
Darwin Thompson – Utah State ($7,300) vs. North Texas
Let's talk about the elephant in the room. Thompson has been very subpar over his last two games, posting 7.3 and 6.1 fantasy points against Colorado State and Boise State respectively. Most of that was due to game flow funneling passing attempts in those matchups. Thompson should not be limited in that respect on Saturday, as Utah State checks in as healthy 7.5 point favorites in the New Mexico Bowl against North Texas. The game script calls for more of a run-heavy approach, and Thompson has been known to pay fantasy dividends when that's the case. The Utah State running back racked up 20+ fantasy points in each of his first three games of the season, also posting 41 and 54 FP (not a typo) against Hawaii and San Jose State respectively. North Texas represents more of a test than those teams, but Thompson should see plenty of volume to showcase his playmaking ability.
Darius Bradwell – Tulane ($6,500) vs. Lafayette
Bradwell is another running back who has been "just okay" in recent games, but he has excellent matchup potential on Saturday. His opponent, Lafayette, ranks 106th in rushing defense while allowing 5.0 yards per carry this season. You won't find too many opportunities like that during this bowl season. Bradwell has taken advantage earlier this season in moments when matchup potential and game flow perfectly intersect. Racking up 23 fantasy points at USF and 29 FP vs. Memphis serves as the evidence. This draw sets up perfectly for Bradwell to find himself in the 20+ FP range yet again.
Also Consider: Arizona State RB Eno Benjamin ($8,800) has the highest average of any player on this slate with 28 FPPG. However, the DraftKings' price is pretty high, and the matchup is tough against a Fresno State team that ranks in the top 25 for run defense. Adding even more concern, ASU head coach Herm Edwards mentioned that several freshman will see playing time in an effort to prepare them for next year. He went on to mention freshman RB A.J. Carter by name. Is this coach speak or a sign of things to come? Either way, Benjamin may not be as great of a play as he seems on the surface … A few other moderately priced running backs I don't mind are Darrynton Evans ($7,700), Wesley Fields ($7,100) and Ronnie Rivers ($6,200). All three of them have game flow on their side when factoring in the spread. Rivers checks in at a discount despite seeing his workload trend upward with nine touchdowns over his last eight games. He's facing a mediocre Arizona State defense that ranks 61st against the run.
Ty Lee – Middle Tennessee ($6,400) vs. Appalachian State
Lee is my favorite receiver on DraftKings when factoring in the ability, salary game script. Middle Tennessee checks in as touchdown underdogs in the New Orleans Bowl against Appalachian State. That could have the Blue Raiders throwing more than usual in an effort to keep pace. Lee would benefit in that instance while serving as MTSU's best receiver. The 5'9" pass catcher finished the season with a blaze by racking up 18+ fantasy points in six of his last seven games. Lee sees plenty of targets and receptions (7+ catches in three of past four), which goes a long way on DraftKings' full-PPR format.
Jalen Greene – Utah State ($5,100) vs. North Texas
I would like to point out that Utah State has the highest scoring projection of this slate. There's a good chance that QB Jordan Love, RB Darwin Thompson and a receiver or two could coexist with strong fantasy performances. Ron'quavion Tarver ($7,400) is technically the leading WR for Utah State, but the Aggies love to spread the ball to several different guys. After starting the season slow, Jalen Greene has been racking up similar fantasy output as Tarver with 15+ FP in five of his past six games. He's also $2,400 cheaper on DraftKings for Saturday, making Greene a solid bargain choice through all formats.
Also Consider: Game flow dictates that North Texas will likely need to throw the football. That's why I like Jalen Guyton ($5,300) through all formats with a respectable mid-range salary. Teammate Rico Bussey ($6,800) is more expensive as a big play tournament option who has 12 TD on the season … Speaking of tournament options that is the perfect way to describe WR Darnell Mooney ($6,600) of Tulane. Mooney doesn't catch many passes, but he has logged four 100+ yard receiving performances on the year (including 217 yards vs. ECU). There's a chance he breaks free against a Lafayette defense that ranks 115th in opponent passer rating … Zack Dobson ($3,500) of Middle Tennessee and Michael Lawrence ($3,900) are cheap filler options to round out your lineup. Dobson in particular is substantially underpriced, and he can be utilized through all formats.