This article is part of our DraftKings College Football series.
Welcome to our breakdown of Saturday's six-game main slate over on DraftKings. We have an interesting mix of games ranging between a potential track meet between SMU and Florida Atlantic all the way down to a slugfest between San Diego State and Central Michigan. Below you'll find a cheat sheet chock full of relevant data to help your slate research, along with our suite of DFS tools. There's also a position-by-position breakdown with some of my top targets and value plays to help your lineup builds. Let's kick this bowl season off right.
|Team||Opponent||H/A||O/U||Spread||Implied Points||Plays Per Game||Opp. Pass Yds Allowed/ GM||Opp.Pass TD Allowed/GM|
|Arkansas State||Florida International||N||60.5||-2.5||31.5||69.67||178.5||1.0|
|Florida International||Arkansas State||N||60.5||2.5||29||66.92||258.8||1.8|
|San Diego State||Central Michigan||N||40.5||-3.5||22||71.42||236.6||1.7|
|Central Michigan||San Diego State||N||40.5||3.5||18.5||72.46||216.3||0.8|
|Team||Opponent||H/A||O/U||Spread||Implied Points||Opp. Rush Yds/G||Opp. YPC Allowed||Opp. Rush TD Allowed/G||Offensive S&P+||Opponent Defense S&P+|
|Arkansas State||Florida International||N||60.5||-2.5||31.5||201.33||5.06||2.2||48||79|
|Florida International||Arkansas State||N||60.5||2.5||29||222.42||5.11||2.6||103||105|
|San Diego State||Central Michigan||N||40.5||-3.5||22||115.08||3.34||1.4||127||71|
|Central Michigan||San Diego State||N||40.5||3.5||18.5||72.33||2.64||0.6||80||15|
Games to Target
The SMU-Florida Atlantic game is expected to be Saturday's highest scoring game by far, checking in with an over/under of 68.5. It makes sense, too. SMU checks in with the sixth best scoring offense at 43.0 points per game and FAU isn't far behind, averaging 35.2 points per game (16th). Neither defense is overly imposing, either, as both rank outside the top 60 in team defense by the S&P+ metric.
Of course, you're going to have to pay. SMU headliners Shane Buechele and Xavier Jones are the highest priced players at their respective positions while James Proche is only $200 behind Arkansas State's Omar Bayless as the most expensive wideout. FAU players carry more of a discount, and we'll get into specifics there in a little bit. But bottom line, this is a game to load up on in cash games and you can pick and choose players from both sides to make a viable tournament lineup.
Speaking of Bayless, Arkansas State's matchup against FIU could be one to consider as a stacking pivot off of the SMU-FAU game as that game carries an over/under of 60.5. The Arkansas State defense is the worst on the slate, checking in at 105th in S&P+ but FIU's ability to capitalize on that is a major question mark as the Golden Panthers rank 103rd in offensive S&P+.
Games to Avoid
The San Diego State-Central Michigan matchup is the obvious one to steer clear of on Saturday. The over/under is easily the lowest on the board at 40.5 and we have two inept offenses and one elite defense between these teams. San Diego State has the No.15 defense and pairs that up with the No. 127 offense in the country. Central Michigan isn't much better with the 80th-rated offense but its defense is closer to middle of the pack, ranking 71st. There's not much to get excited about on either side here.
Position by Position Breakdown
Shane Buechele, SMU ($7,700) vs. Florida Atlantic
Obvious? Yes. But the slate can't be properly analyzed without talking about Buechele. The senior led all quarterbacks on this slate in passing yards (3,626) and passing touchdowns (33). He'll face a decent but not prohibitively tough pass defense and if FAU can keep pace, SMU will have no qualms about letting Buechele turn it loose upwards of 40 times. That type of volume simply isn't in the range of outcomes for other quarterbacks on this slate other than his counterpart in this game, FAU's Chris Roberson. And there's also reason to believe Buechele can thrive with that volume – Buechele attempted 38-or-more passes six times this season and averaged 27.4 DK points in those outings. The only issue with using Buechele on this slate is differentiation from the rest of the field as he figures to carry an extremely high ownership percentage.
Layne Hatcher, Arkansas State ($6,900) vs. Florida International
Hatcher is rightly priced as the No.4 quarterback on the slate and it's hard to argue him being any higher. That said, he's a very appealing option for this slate. Since taking over in Week 5, Hatcher has racked up 2,508 passing yards on 9.9 YPA while completing 68.5 percent of his passes. He also has 23 touchdowns and eight picks in that stretch as the Arkansas State coaching staff clearly trusts him to facilitate the offense and distribute the ball to its stud receivers.
There are potential pitfalls here, though. FIU is noticeably tougher against the pass than it is against the run. In fact, FIU gives up more rushing yards per game(201) than passing yards (178). And, unfortunately, Hatcher doesn't offer much as a rusher. Still, there's enough to like about Hatcher's game and supporting cast to make him worth considering as a potentially low-owned option on a slate where ownership figures will be key.
Shai Werts, Georgia Southern ($6,600) vs. Liberty
Werts' lack of passing upside means that we need major rushing production for this pick to pan out. He averages just under 12 passing attempts per game but has managed to throw for nine touchdowns and no picks on 105 attempts since returning to the field in Week 5.
The rushing ability is unmatched among other quarterbacks on this slate, though. Werts averages nearly 16 carries per game and has recorded 683 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. Look for Georgia Southern to attack Liberty's weak run defense that surrenders 192 rushing yards per game on 4.67 YPC and look for Werts to be a major part of that.
Anthony Jones, Florida International ($5,500) vs. Arkansas State
Like I mentioned above, Arkansas State is dreadful on defense. It coughs up 222.4 rushing yards per game on 5.1 YPC, both of which are the worst marks on the slate. Now, there isn't a true workhorse in the FIU backfield, but Jones gets the most usage at 42 percent of the carries on average. He's not overly explosive with just 4.8 YPC but he has 50 more carries than any other FIU back and he's got 802 yards and nine touchdowns. His backfield counterpart, Napoleon Maxwell, is also an interesting tournament play at $5,000. Both backs should see plenty of work against this porous run defense.
Marcel Murray, Arkansas State ($5,500) vs. Florida International
The run games are appealing on both sides of this matchup as Murray and Co. will be going up against a Florida International defense that surrenders 201.3 rushing yards per game on 5.1 YPC. Murray has nearly twice as many carries as any other Arkansas State back (153 compared to Jamal Jones' 74) and is fairly explosive, checking in at 5.1 YPC. If the FIU defense creates a funnel towards the run, Murray will benefit in a significant way. Don't let Murray's quiet stretch to end the season (39 carries, 135 yards, zero touchdowns) make you forget about his three-game stretch in October where he racked up 81 carries for 453 yards and five touchdowns. A fully healthy Murray might perform more like a $7,000 player than a mid-$5,000 player.
B.J. Emmons, Florida Atlantic ($4,600) vs. SMU
Emmons' early-season ankle injury derailed his season but he managed to finish strong. He was FAU's most productive rusher over the final three games of the season with 33 carries for 164 yards and five rushing touchdowns. At 6-foot and 220 pounds, Emmons is going to be a load for SMU defenders to bring down. Emmons projects to see the most carries out of the FAU backfield on Saturday and is an interesting pivot off the Owl passing game that could still pay off if they end up getting close to their implied total.
Xavier Jones, SMU ($7,800) vs. Florida Atlantic
The top end of the running back board is strange. Georgia Southern's Wesley Kennedy is just $200 cheaper, and while he's plenty explosive (6.91 YPC, 10 TD), he plays in a deep backfield rotation that also features J.D. King along with quarterback Shai Werts. Appalachian State's Darrynton Evans will draw some attention this week thanks to his touchdown upside; he has nine touchdowns in his last three games. But Evans has a sneakily tough matchup here with UAB surrendering just 107 yards per game on the ground. So Jones becomes the easiest to trust of these top tier backs, and he's not that much more expensive than the other guys. And he's worth the price, too.
Jones ranked eighth in the nation in fantasy points per game among running backs this season and his 232 rushes represent the second-heaviest workload of any back on the slate other than Evans. He's just as explosive as Evans but is less at risk of being vultured at the goal line by his quarterback, plus SMU runs 10 more plays per game and has the easier matchup of the two. Go with Jones if you're paying up at running back.
Omar Bayless, Arkansas State vs. Florida International
We've been over the tough matchup that the FIU secondary presents. But when it comes to Bayless, matchup doesn't really matter. Bayless has scored in all but two games this season and he has been held under 17 DK points just once. His season-low in targets was seven, and that came in a win over an FCS opponent. So, even if Bayless' explosiveness is a tick below what we're used to seeing, he's still a strong bet to be peppered with targets and find the end zone.
If you're looking for a cheap pivot off Bayless in this offense, I'd go with Jonathan Adams ($5,600), who has caught 15 of 21 targets over his last three games for 293 yards and two touchdowns.
Deangelo Antoine, Florida Atlantic vs. SMU
You're not really getting a discount here but Antoine is still worth a look. He is the only FAU pass-catcher outside of Harrison Bryant (another strong play here) with more than 33 catches, showing that the Owls have a narrow and predictable usage tree in which Antoine is reliably featured. Antoine finished the season catching 61 of 86 targets for 771 yards and five touchdowns. With SMU giving up a slate-high 284.9 passing yards and 2.6 passing touchdowns, getting exposure to the FAU offense is going to be important Saturday and Antoine represents an affordable way of doing so.
Antonio Gandy-Golden, Liberty vs. Georgia Southern
The target share is locked in at 32 percent and Gandy-Golden has proven time and again that he is explosive even with all that volume. The 6-foot-4 senior averages 10.1 yards per target and has caught nine touchdowns on 132 targets.
As for the matchup, Georgia Southern is actually somewhat vulnerable against the pass, giving up 2.2 passing scores per game. The only real concern here is Georgia Southern (63 plays per game) dragging down the pace and running the clock out. Even still, Gandy-Golden is so far ahead of anyone else in the pecking order for targets that he'll get fed Saturday despite a relatively low play volume from Liberty.
For the Bold
Malik Murray, Georgia Southern ($3,500) vs. Liberty
Targeting any part of the Georgia Southern passing game is always risky. The Eagles attempt just 11.3 passes per game after all. But Murray is usually a safe bet to see a handful of those targets with an 18 percent target share. With DraftKings making it very tough to find value at receiver on this slate, finding anything under $4K with a reliable role is worth noting. So, if you're pinched against the cap and need a warm body with a little upside, Murray would be my choice.