This article is part of our FanDuel College Football series.
FanDuel offers you the option of selecting the CFP Semifinal games on their own slate, but the majority of contests are offered with the full complement of New Year's Eve games, so the four-game slate will be our focus.
Gator Bowl - Wake Forest (-16.5) vs. Rutgers O/U: 63
Sun Bowl - Washington State (-6.5) vs. Central Michigan O/U: 57.5
Cotton Bowl - Alabama (-13.5) vs. Cincinnati O/U: 57
Orange Bowl - Georgia (-7.5) vs. Michigan O/U: 45
Wake Forest faces a new opponent with Rutgers, and the Rutgers staff had less than a week to prepare for their opponent. The Demon Deacons are a heck of a lot happier about facing the Scarlet Knights instead of Texas A&M, as Rutgers' defense gives up an AVERAGE of almost 400 yards per game. The Knights had no practice for an entire month because they got no bowl invite - all signs point toward a blowout by Wake. It may be so lopsided, we may lose some starters in the fourth quarter, so that's a check in the minus column for Wake's elite selections.
Washington State rather conspicuously had the best passing attack in the Pac-12 this year. At the time of publishing, the Cougars have very few opt-outs, and the same is true on the other side of the ball with the Chippewas. This is another game based on short notice, so both teams are behind the 8-ball in terms of prep. With neither team holding an obvious, his game could overshadow the playoff games as the most exciting contest on the slate.
The first playoff game on the docket will come down to defense. Are the Bearcats strong enough to hold off Alabama's offensive attack, or will Alabama wear down Cincy's offense to a standstill? Friday will determine the true nature of the Bearcats and whether or not they deserve a spot in the playoff.
With the final game of the night, Michigan faces the unenviable task of facing a Georgia defense that has dominated almost every opponent, with the exception of Alabama in the SEC Championship. The Wolverines shocked the sharps with a massive win against Ohio State, but this matchup is entirely different. The Bulldogs' defense won't give up much, and as the Over/Under indicates, this will be a slugfest that will come down to defense. It's reason enough to throw the least amount of exposure to this matchup.
Sun Bowl - 95% chance of rain, 12.3 m.p.h. Winds, 48 degrees
The West has been hammered by rain all week. Tip a hat to the running game of both teams.
Sam Hartman, Wake Forest ($12,000) vs., Rutgers
It's no surprise that Hartman is atop the player pool with th3 most expensive salary. Rutgers' severe lack of preparation and conditioning makes them a juicy target for Hartnab and his prolific passing game. Hartman is responsible for 45 total touchdowns (35 pass, 10 run) and leads one of the most dominant passing attacks in the country. IF he's able to pick apart Rutgers' secondary, it could be a long day for the Scarlet Knights and potentially a shortened day for Hartman if we see a blowout. The likelihood of Hartman not playing a full game is remote, however.
Bryce Young, Alabama ($11,200) vs. Cincinnati
The Heisman Trophy winner falls just behind Hartman atop the player pool. You won't find a quarterback with loftier numbers, throwing an immense 43 touchdowns against only four picks. He's also deadly accurate, completing 68 percent of his passes, and he picks apart the best defense in the country with 421 yards and three touchdowns in the SEC Championship. The only question for Young is how his height will translate in the pros, but that's a concern for another day. The Bearcats don't give up many big plays, and the key to the game is how well Young responds to a defense that allowed just 10 passing scores all season.
Desmond Ridder Cincinnati ($8,500) vs. Alabama
The Bearcats' fortunes live and die with Ridder, and they wouldn't even be sniffing the CFP bracket without him. Ridder turns up the hero meter in big games, delivering big numbers against Notre Dame this season and against Georgia in last season's Peach Bowl. Ridder lacks Young's statistical pedigree, but he makes up for it as an adept pilot of a very balanced offense. Ridder could be in line for a surprising night if Cincy's offensive line can protect him.
Also consider: Jayden de Laura, Washington State ($9,200) vs. Central Michigan
Lew Nichols, Central Michigan ($10,500) vs. Washington State
The weather conditions for Friday's game play right into Nichols' hands, bolstering the numbers for the unquestioned lead back on the slate. Nichols led the nation with 1,760 rushing yards to go along with 15 touchdowns on the ground. And if you look at the Cougars' rushing defense this season, you're more than happy to spend up for Nichols. The Chippewas will do their best to run away from defensive end Ron Stone, who will succeed in sealing one corner of the defense.
Christian Beal-Smith, Wake Forest ($7,500) vs. Rutgers
Several running backs are in rough spots on this slate, and I'm hesitant about rostering runners against the Bulldogs or the Crimson Tide, so Beal-Smith moves way up my list of preferences. IF Wake can take the lead early, Beal-Smith could have a big second and third quarter in a lopsided affair. We've already highlighted the Scarlet Knight's porous defense, and if things get way out of hand, you could also see Wake's Justice Ellison ($6,000) take on a more significant role.
Zamir White, Georgia ($6,700) vs. Michigan
This game will be all about defense, and the Wolverines will test Stetson Bennett's air attack with their stalwart secondary. In return, Georgia will look to minimize mistakes by leading with a ground-and-pound run game led by White. The run has been Georgia's bread and butter this season, especially when other facets of their offense have sputtered. His rushing numbers may not look as impressive as other backs on the slate, but both White and James Cook ($5800) will deliver a solid one-two punch when needed. I'm ok with either back tonight.
Also consider: Aaron Young, Rutgers ($4,900) vs. Wake Forest
Slade Bolden, Alabama ($5,600) vs. Cincinnati
This is not a knock on Jameson Williams ($10,000). In fact, I love the idea of Williams in a lot of my lineups. However, the key to this position is figuring out who absorbs the output of John Metchie, who fell prey to a season-ending injury. Bolden could be the guy, but the role could also fall to a guy like Jahleel Billingsley ($5,000). For the money, Bolden seems to fit Metchie's skill set the best, so I will roll with him, especially if I fade Williams in some lineups.
A.T. Perry, Wake Forest ($9,400) vs. Rutgers
Jaquarii Roberson has elected to sit out the Gator Bowl to prepare for the NFL Draft, so Perry will be the primary receiver for Hartman. I have some interest in Taylor Morin ($6,700) as the guy to line up in Roberson's place, and it may be required if we spend up at quarterback. Either way, you are missing out on value if you don't get involved in Wake's passing offense tonight, as it's the safest money you can spend.
Alec Pierce, Cincinnati ($7,000) vs. Alabama
If Cincy's Jerome Ford can't find the holes, Ridder will need to air it out to his most reliable receiver in Pierce, who put together an excellent 50-catch. 10 touchdown season for the Bearcats. He's fr and away the most prolific Cincy receiver, and passing the ball may be the Bearcats' best method of staying competitive in this game.