College Football DFS returned to DraftKings last Saturday, and we now have three more days of action to look forward to. Week 1 of the regular season continues on Thursday night with a number of interesting matchups.
For fantasy purposes, there are a number of intriguing choices sprinkled throughout this eight-game slate. However, that comes with the caveat that roster building remains challenging in the early going for the return of CFB DFS.
Those who were hoping the salary makers at DraftKings would loosen the reins a bit will likely be disappointed. That said, there are some nuggets to be mined if you dig deep enough. Here are some picks to keep in mind for each position as you build out your lineups.
QB: Tyler Huntley – Utah Utes ($10.0k)
The finer gunslingers on the slate all cost an arm and a leg, so we’re going to roll with one who at least saves us a little bit of coin. However, that’s not the only reason we’re hitching our wagons to Tyler Huntley. Injuries limited him to 10 games last year, but he produced a ton when in the lineup.
Huntley threw for 2,411 yards and 15 scores, and he added on 537 yards and another 6 touchdowns on the ground for good measure. Utah opens up the season with a Weber State team which they should crush. We can safely pencil Huntley in for a large amount of the Utes offensive production.
RB: Rodney Smith – Minnesota Golden Gophers ($8.5k)
Minnesota is currently listed as a 21-point favorite for their opener against New Mexico State. That’s a game script that calls for the Golden Gophers to be up big late in the game. As such, it would be lovely to have some exposure to the club’s running game.
Returning senior Rodney Smith was the team’s leading rusher a year ago – 977 yards and 3 scores plus 17 catches for 107 yards – and he’s poised to do the same in 2018.
We can only imagine he and the rest of the Golden Gophers are licking their chops after the Aggies surrendered a staggering 312 yards and 3 scores on the ground against Wyoming on Saturday. Smith is going to cost you, but he has an excellent shot at returning nice value.
RB: Stephon Huderson – Tulane Green Wave ($4.4k)
Sophomore Stephon Huderson has vaulted to the top of the running back depth chart for the Tulane Green Wave. To be clear, junior Darius Bradwell – $6,300 on DraftKings this week – projects to get some carries as well, but Huderson is in a great spot at an affordable price point.
Wake Forest struggled against the run last year, giving up an average of 191.7 yards per game on the ground. Tulane just so happens to lean heavily on the run – 575 rushing attempts vs. 241 passing attempts last year – and it looks like that will continue in 2018. Huderson could be one of the top value plays on the slate.
WR: Tyron Johnson – Oklahoma State Cowboys ($6.9k)
Mason Rudolph and James Washington have taken their talents to the NFL, and that leaves the Oklahoma State Cowboys with some big shoes to fill. Fifth-year senior James Cornelius slides into the starting gig for the opener. Here’s a good chance for him to get his legs underneath him with a game against Missouri State on tap.
Cornelius will likely be looking in the direction of explosive junior Tyron Johnson a time or several. Johnson checks in at an affordable price point for a legitimate home run threat. He didn’t produce a ton last year – 18/293/3 – but his productivity will go up with more time in the offense.
WR: Demari Simpkins – Utah Utes ($5.4k)
We have a couple of stacking options to pair up with Huntley, but we’ll go with a junior field stretcher that has a shot at being his top target in 2018. Demari Simpkins had a relatively quiet 2017 – 29/354/1 – but he’s projected to start on the outside this year.
That will provide him with ample opportunity to show off his wheels, and there’s no reason he can’t get started doing that against an overmatched Weber State squad. Huntley-Simpkins is an affordable stack to build around, and it could also be one that bears fruit in the form of a long score.
WR: Quartney Davis – Texas A&M Aggies ($4.6k)
As mentioned up above, there are several appealing signal callers on this slate. While we can’t roster every one of them on the same lineup, we can gain exposure via their pass catchers. That’s what we’re going to do here with Quartney Davis, a starting wideout for Texas A&M that checks in at a bargain basement price.
The sophomore didn’t produce anything last year for the Aggies, but he reportedly had a strong camp that turned heads. Hence, he’s penciled in as one of new starting quarterback Kellen Mond’s top targets.
Texas A&M opens up with Northwestern State, and there’s a good chance the Aggies will be putting points on the board. We want to get at least some of those points in our lineup, and we’ll look to potential value play Davis as an avenue to make it happen.
Flex: James Gilbert – Ball State Cardinals ($6.6k)
There are plenty of different ways we can go at flex this week, but the prohibitive cost of the top signal callers does limit our options somewhat. Thankfully, there are some solid choices in the middle tier to help level things out.
One of them is Ball State RB James Gilbert, who is coming off of a medical redshirt season. He’s all healed up and ready to get back to the form that earned him All-MAC First Team honors in 2016. Gilbert has an excellent opportunity to shake the rest off in a game against FCS opponent Central Connecticut.
S-Flex: Tre Nixon – UCF Knights ($3.0k)
Normally at super-flex, we’d be looking to see what we could do about plugging in another top signal caller – or even an intriguing quarterback value play. However, the salary makers at DraftKings aren’t messing around just yet.
If you want to roster one of the big dogs behind center, you’re simply going to have to save money elsewhere. That includes s-flex this week, but we’ll see if we can get some exposure to another of the big arms in as roundabout way while doing so.
UCF takes on UConn in a game that currently has a projected total of 71.5 points. The former is currently a 23.5-point favorite. The priciest player on the slate, QB McKenzie Milton, has the keys to the offense.
Redshirt sophomore Tre Nixon is a transfer from Ole Miss, and he slides into the UCF lineup as one of three starting wideouts. A few catches and a score would make Nixon an exceptional value play. He also brings an added benefit to the table in the form of freeing up a ton of salary for our lineups.
The Thursday slate kicks off at 7PM, and the DraftKings lobby is currently full with intriguing tournament options. Whether you’re rolling with a single bullet or multiple lineups, we encourage you to get in the game and partake in the fun. Best of luck!
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