This article is part of our DraftKings College Football series.
I can't believe how quickly this season has flown by as the final big weekend is upon us. That means we get one more crack at one of these massive slates before conference championship weekend and bowl season take us to the end of the season.
Looking at the board, The Game takes center stage both in terms of real-life implications and in DFS. Michigan-Ohio State has the highest total on the board (65.0) with the Buckeyes doing a lot of the heavy lifting given their 36.75 implied total. This is the toughest defense they've faced all season, though, and they're on the road. It won't look as easy as it did against Sparty last week. If Michigan's dominant pass rush gets home, it could disrupt what has been the most explosive passing attack in college football this season. I won't fade the Buckeye offense, but I'll explore some alternatives in the positional breakdown section.
The ACC checks in with some fun games for DFS with Boston College-Wake Forest and UVA-Virginia Tech both locking in totals north of 60. I'm particularly intrigued by Boston College's offense given the matchup and the value plays on that roster, and Virginia's defense should help the Hokie offense trend in the right direction. Virginia's offense is nearly matchup proof and should stay on track even though Virginia Tech's defense is solid against the pass. I'm worried about Wake Forest running out of gas on the road against a stingy BC defense, though.
If you needed a reminder, Michigan State has the worst pass defense in the country. That steers me towards Penn State's passing game. Georgia Tech, Maryland, Texas Tech and Ohio State (!) also have pass defenses that can be picked on.
There are plenty of defenses to target in the run game on this slate. Six teams (Virginia, Wake Forest, Northwestern, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Boston College) give up 170 or more rushing yards per game. Interestingly, BC and Wake and Virginia and Virginia Tech will be squaring off against each other.
Without further adieu, let's get into the breakdown for this week's slate.
- DraftKings Lineup Optimizer
- NEW Matchups Page (Vegas odds, opponent averages, etc.)
- Advanced Lineups Page
- Team Trends
- Defense vs. Position
- Team Rankings
Aidan O'Connell, Purdue ($6,500) vs. Indiana
O'Connell is basically Big Ten Will Rogers and yet DraftKings continues to make him a value every single week. He leads the nation in passing yards per game in November (448.3) and has thrown 10 touchdowns with zero picks in those three outings.
This week O'Connell matches up against Indiana, which gives up a respectable 231 passing yards per game. That's not enough to shy away from the Purdue passing game, though, especially when O'Connell is slinging it nearly 50 times per game. O'Connell has the added benefit of having stackable receivers like David Bell and Milton Wright.
Jordan Travis, Florida State ($6,900) at Florida
Travis has the 'Noles playing well down the stretch and a win Saturday could send Florida State into the offseason with some 2022 buzz. For his own part, Travis has accounted for five total touchdowns in his last two games against Miami and Boston College while completing 63 percent of his passes at 8.8 YPA.
The matchup is particularly appealing, too. Florida is a mess right now, having fired its defensive coordinator as a "Shuffling the Deck Chairs on the Titanic" maneuver before Missouri finally put an end to Dan Mullen's tenure in Gainesville. The defense has been a mess since Todd Grantham's departure and ranks 83rd in total defense in November. These are two teams moving in opposite directions and Travis is positioned to take advantage Saturday in The Swamp.
Sean Clifford, Penn State ($6,100) at Michigan State
This is a perfect thematic confluence from this article throughout the season. 1) Clifford being a value and 2) picking on the Spartan secondary. Last week was the latest example of just how busted Michigan State is in coverage. While Clifford is no C.J. Stroud and Penn State doesn't have the receiving trio that Ohio State does, this is still a great setup for the Nittany Lion passing game.
Clifford was not at 100 percent last week and didn't play much in the shutout win over Rutgers but he's back to start this weekend. He threw for over 350 yards against both Ohio State and Maryland, which bodes well heading into a matchup against a Michigan State defense that allows 339.9 passing yards per game on average.
The only thing that could slow things down Saturday is the weather as snow is in the afternoon forecast in East Lansing. Keep an eye there, but as long as it's not Snow Globe level conditions, Clifford is set up for success against Sparty.
Raheem Blackshear, Virginia Tech ($5,900) vs. Virginia
Virginia has had trouble against the run all season long and it's too late to fix it. Virginia Tech's run game has taken a big step back this season compared to the Khalil Herbert-Hendon Hooker a year ago, but it's still respectable at 51st in the FBS.
A look at Virginia Tech's backfield rotation over the last month might point you in the direction of Malachi Thomas, who has a team-high 52 carries in the last four games. Blackshear isn't far behind with 40 totes and the explosiveness comparison between the two isn't close as Blackshear averages 6.75 yards per carry while Thomas checks in with just 4.27. There's more passing game involvement with Blackshear, too, as he has caught nine passes for 69 yards in that span.
Virginia Tech also has an unsettled quarterback situation, so the ground game could come more into play than usual Saturday. Blackshear getting 10+ carries against a porous Virginia run defense is something to consider when eyeing up the mid-tier running back options Saturday.
The Dawgs have the highest implied total on the board Saturday at 44.75. They're favored by 35 points. The run game is going to be the main course in Atlanta.
Georgia makes the most of its backfield depth but White and Cook still account for the bulk of the rushing work. Over the last month, Cook leads the team in fantasy production with 248 yards and five touchdowns with a 7.09 YPC to go with six catches for 73 yards and a score. White has picked up steam in his own right, averaging 6.59 YPC and punching in three touchdowns on 39 attempts.
I don't expect either to see heavy volume but this game script will skew to the run so Cook and White should both push for double-digit carries against an overmatched Georgia Tech defense that allows 180 rushing yards per game.
If you're desperate for a near-min-priced option at running back, Daijun Edwards ($3,100) had six carries in the blowout last week and could get his number called in garbage time.
Pat Garwo, Boston College ($6,100) vs. Wake Forest
Wake Forest is another defense ripe for the picking on this slate. The Deacs give up 213 rushing yards per game with an embarrassing 5.0 YPC allowed. That's promising for Garwo's chances of producing Saturday as the 214-pounder commands a 43 percent share of Boston College's rushing offense. He averages 22 carries per game over the last five weeks and is in line for heavy volume against the Deacs on a cold day in Chestnut Hill.
Others to Consider
Chase Brown, Illinois ($5,800) vs. Northwestern: The matchup couldn't be much better with Northwestern allowing 212 rushing yards per game. Brown has gotten over 50 percent of Illinois' carries in five of the last six games. The one exception was when he had 49 percent of the carries against Penn State. Look for a heavy dose of Brown against this Northwestern defense.
The Purdue passing stack has been bankable all season and that will continue Saturday. Bell doesn't require much explanation. He leads the slate in targets per game (12.5) and that average bumps up to an absurd 15.8 over the last four weeks. He has just one touchdown in that span but when you can almost lock in double-digit receptions and 100 yards, Bell is hard to fade.
Wright is trickier. We're admittedly buying high after he broke last week's main slate with eight catches for 213 yards and three touchdowns that fueled a salary jump from $3,900 to $6,200. Even though that was obviously a career day, Milton had been consistently involved in the weeks leading up to that explosion with 25 targets and two touchdowns in his previous three games. There's reason to believe he'll push for double-digit targets alongside Bell against a reeling Indiana team.
Zay Flowers, Boston College ($6,900) vs. Wake Forest
Flowers is one of the best big-play receivers in the country with a 17.3 YPR average. That number could be even better had Phil Jurkovec been healthy the entire season. What matters now is that Jurkovec is healthy for the finale and he'll have Flowers in his sights often on Saturday.
Flowers has a strong 28 percent target share in this offense and has scored three touchdowns in his last two games. A fully healthy Jurkovec in that span has resulted in Flowers catching five of nine targets for a 179 yards, which averages out to 35 yards per reception and just under 20 yards per target. Many will be targeting the Wake Forest run defense, which could leave Flowers with a low roster percentage despite his high per-target upside.
This tandem has accounted for 50 percent of Penn State's targets in the last four weeks, with Dotson leading the way at a 31 percent share. Dotson took a backseat to Washington last week with Sean Clifford out for most of the game. Look for Dotson to get back on track this week against the shaky Michigan State secondary. Washington presents a nice discount way to get exposure to the Penn State passing game as well; he has 21 catches for 255 yards and a score over the last four weeks and recorded over 70 yards in back-to-back weeks.
Georgia receivers at Georgia Tech
It's been hard to extract much value from Georgia's passing game this season because of injuries and a wide target distribution. But that has also led to Georgia's top targets checking in as values this weekend.
Adonai Mitchell ($3,400) led the receivers in targets in the team's most recent FBS game against Tennessee and is proving to be a reliable target who is involved each week. Jermaine Burton ($5,300) isn't exactly cheap relative to his production, but his ceiling is undeniable when healthy. Burton has caught 19 of 23 targets at a 15.0 YPT clip. Simply put, when Burton is targeted, he does damage. He also came up about 1.5 combined yards from a three-touchdown game against Missouri. Kearis Jackson ($3,500) is also interesting; he was banged up to start the year but has gotten healthy for the stretch run. He gets occasional usage on jet sweeps and played a season-high 50 snaps against Tennessee. Jackson should be involved on Saturday.