This article is part of our DraftKings College Football series.
Welcome to the final College Football DFS article of the season with Monday's Showdown Slate featuring the National Championship game between Alabama and Clemson. It's the fourth time they've met in the College Football Playoff era and the third time with the National Championship on the line. Posted below is a cheat sheet full of relevant data for this matchup, along with some of our other tools to help you build your best lineups. Once again, thank you all for reading along this season and making the first season of College Football DFS since 2015 a success.
Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama ($18,000) vs. Clemson
To no one's shock, the Heisman runner-up and last season's national championship hero checks in with the highest salary for Monday's contest. Tagovailoa will be facing his toughest test to date against Clemson's top-rated defense in S&P+. That said, Tagovailoa is unlike anything the Tigers have faced, too. Tagovailoa averages 11.4 yards per attempt, throws a touchdown on 12.7 percent of his passes, and completes just under 70 percent of his passes. Combine that with his star-studded receiving corps and we have a situation where fading Tagovailoa from your captain spot comes at your own risk.
Trevor Lawrence, Clemson ($15,600) vs. Alabama
If you're going (slightly) against the grain, Lawrence might be the move as your captain pivot. Lawrence has strong efficiency numbers of his own, having completed over 65 percent of his passes while tossing 27 scores against just four interceptions. The Alabama defense is far superior and deeper than anything Lawrence, a true freshman, has seen to this point, though. With that, I have a harder time spending my captain spot on him, although the payoff could be huge if he does rise to the occasion. In general, most of my lineup builds will start with the two quarterbacks and go from there.
Joshua Jacobs, Alabama ($12,000) vs. Clemson
I touted Jacobs in the College Football Playoff Semifinal mostly due to his red zone usage producing 11 touchdowns over the course of the season. While it didn't exactly play out like I had expected, Jacobs still did well for himself with 158 yards from scrimmage and a receiving touchdown on 19 touches. Clemson's strong run defense helps deflate Jacobs price here, so if you really want to go off the beaten path and use him at the captain spot, it will set you apart from the field and also give you lineup flexibility elsewhere. Jacobs is still the Tide's top red zone back and may be the Tide's most trusted back at this stage overall. Both sides of this game will face brutal run defenses, but Jacobs' blend of talent and value make him worth rostering Monday.
Top Tier Utility Players
Justyn Ross, Clemson ($7,200) vs. Alabama
If you weren't already familiar with this freshman phenom before his game against Notre Dame in the Semifinal, you certainly are now. Ross reeled in six of eight targets for 148 yards and two scores on the Irish and looked every bit as good as those numbers would suggest. He has seen at least 21 percent of the targets in each of his last three games and is averaging 13.8 yards per target in that stretch. Alabama is no doubt tough against the pass, but I'm not sure any secondary can hold Ross in check for a full 60 minutes. Fellow wideout Tee Higgins would also be a fine pivot or stacking option, depending on your Clemson confidence level.
Henry Ruggs III, Alabama ($5,800) vs Clemson
A glance at Alabama's target distribution clearly paints Jerry Jeudy as the top option in the Alabama passing game. That's fine because Jeudy is certainly that and his numbers back that up. Ruggs, on a per target basis, isn't too far off from his counterpart, however. Ruggs averages 11.68 yards per target – 0.44 less than Jeudy – and he has 10 touchdowns on 62 targets (16.1 percent) compared to Jeudy's 12 on 91 targets (13.1 percent). The price discount you get for a player with that level of per-target production compared to a player with Jeudy's price tag makes Ruggs a staple of my championship game lineups.
Bargain Bin Darts
Irv Smith Jr., Alabama ($3,600) vs. Clemson
Despite being a tight end, Smith has seen 15 percent or more of Alabama's target share in three of the last five games, so there is a role for him. If Alabama wants to avoid Clemson's corners (to an extent) and attack the seams, Smith could be a huge factor in this game. He averaged 11.9 yards per target this season and reached the end zone on 12.5 percent of his receptions, proving to be a true matchup nightmare when targeted.
The way this contest is set up, you need to take a shot on someone way down the board, and unlike most of the other players in that price range, Smith Jr. has a legitimate role in his offense and he's not a kicker!
Najee Harris, Alabama ($2,600) vs. Clemson
Surprisingly, Harris is actually second on Alabama in rushing attempts (102), ahead of the aforementioned Jacobs and behind only Damien Harris. It's fair to point out Harris' workload has tapered down the stretch – he averaged just 5.57 rushes per game over his final seven games after starting the year getting nearly 10 totes per contest. Still, it's not like he was a major part of Alabama's game plan heading into last year's national championship before taking over in the second half and racking up 64 yards on just six carries.
The point here is that Harris doesn't need major volume to put up numbers, and it's also fair to say coach Nick Saban doesn't mind shuffling parts until he finds something that works. So if either Damien Harris or Joshua Jacobs are slow from the start Monday, it would not be shocking to see Alabama turn to Najee Harris for a spark against the Tigers.
Others to consider: Lyn-J Dixon, Clemson ($1,600)