CFB DFS Week 2 Picks – Early Contests
FanDuel prices 1st, DraftKings prices 2nd
* Indicates top play at each position
One thing I noticed while going through all the salaries is that FanDuel reacted heavily to Week 1 results while DraftKings remained fairly steady. That works both ways as the some of the Week 1 results were a sign of things to come and some were fluky based on opponent or just variance.
Luke Faulk $8,900/$9,300 – Washington State loses at home to Portland State while Rutgers clobbers Norfolk State. Both opponents were weak FCS schools. Washington State travels to Rutgers this week. The line opens at Rutgers -7 and moves all the way down to Rutgers -2. The Cougars played in a rainstorm last weekend, which hurt their high-flying passing attack, and they should get back to scoring a ton of points. Vegas projects 31 points for Washington State, and they should definitely get to that number. Look for Faulk to get to around 400 yards passing.
Malik Zaire $8,300/$7,300 – Much better priced on DraftKings. This isn’t my favorite matchup in the world, this spread scares me a big at -9 for Notre Dame and is probably my least preferred of the guys I listed. However, there are few options I like in the day session, and Zaire’s dual-threat ability makes him very appealing against a Virginia defense that is so-so. Notre Dame is projected to score 30 points, and Zaire should always have great upside.
Blake Frohnapfel $7,600 (FD) – While UMass didn’t play opening week (good thing for GPPs from a usage stand point) and they are underdogs, Frohnapfel was outstanding in MAC play last year, and he had an awesome Spring and Fall camp this year. UMass returns 10 starters on offense, and they generally are a bit of a pass-heavy team. While he doesn’t run for yards, this game could easily be a shootout where Frohnapfel goes for over 400 yards, and he has a stud Tajae Sharp to throw to (more on him later).
Nick Stevens $5,900/$6,400 – Colorado State played the cupcake of all cupcakes last week in Savannah State (CSU was -51) and the Rams threw the ball 36 times in comparison to 33 rushes. The Rams won 51-14 with Stevens throwing for 289 yards and 5 TDs. That’s definitely an indication Colorado State wants to attack through the air this year. However, we’ll find out how good he is against a much better team in Minnesota, but Stevens is so cheap, you can’t leave him off the list.
Lamar Jackson $5,800/$6,100* – Better value on FanDuel but definitely still very affordable on both sites and easily the best QB option. Louisville is -17 and projected to score over 34 points. More importantly, Jackson has been named the starter versus Houston after being a co-starter last week. Jackson is a dual-threat QB who also ran for 106 yards and a TD on 16 carries. Keep in mind he played just over a half of football against a Will Muschamp defense and did this. This is a significantly greater matchup against a Cougars team that is average defensively.
I know you’d like another play or two on DraftKings since you play two QBs, but these really are the best ones from a floor and ceiling standpoint. Unfortunately, we don’t know how long Cardale Jones and Chad Kelly will play for in likely blowouts.
Nick Chubb $10,800/$9,800 – Using Chubb does make it harder on your lineups and I’m not big on using a popular name like him, but for lineup variance purposes and that his ceiling as a 21-point favorite is sky high, he needs to be included. Georgia is projected to score 35 points, and we should see a full game of Chubb given that the spread is just close enough and that it’s an SEC contest on the road. Georgia rushes for over 200 yards with Chubb getting close to that mark and multiple TDs.
Alex Collins $9,300/$8,900 – With Jonathan Williams injured, Alex Collins is the primary RB. We know Bret Bielema wants to run behind his massive OL. The thing to watch for is if someone else steps up to get some carries from Collins in competitive games. Arkansas is -21 and projected to score 39 points, so this game should be a little more competitive than last week’s game versus UTEP. Collins was the main guy for the entire first half and beginning of the second half until the score was 42-10 Razorbacks. I don’t think we need to be concerned about Rawleigh Williams’ numbers.
Wayne Gallman $6,800 (DK) – Clemson is -18 and projected to score 34 points. They lost WR Mike Williams after catching that TD pass in the back of the end zone, but collided with the goal post. While the Tigers have plenty of talent to step up in his absence at WR, there isn’t one guy I see getting a primary boost. Instead, I like Gallman, who is the clear No. 1 RB. Remember, Gallman became the primary RB down the stretch of last season, and he is expected to be this year. The game last week was a blowout, which is why he only received 14 touches. In a game that should be a little more competitive, Gallman should get 20-plus touches and go over 100 yards with a TD or two. He also adds a PPR aspect, which is important on DraftKings.
C.J. Prosise $7,800/$5,800 – Prosise was the clear No. 1 back last week against Texas with 20 carries, and I was really impressed by what the Irish OL was doing to the Texas front seven. While playing on the road and projected to score 30 points, this Virginia front seven isn’t nearly as good and the Irish should still run for at least 150 yards.
LeShun Daniels $7,300/$5,300 – Better play on DraftKings. The Hawkeyes backfield situation took a bit of a surprising turn when Daniels was put first on the team’s depth chart as opposed to Jordan Canzeri, but Daniels slightly trimmed down while keeping his power and has built himself into an overall RB. Canzeri comes in for a simple change of pace, has more shiftiness and brings more PPR value. As we saw against Illinois State, Daniels took the rock 26 times. This is a balanced Iowa offense that will look to continue to pound the rock at Iowa State.
Paul James $6,900/$5,800* – Last year the Big Ten had a ton of outstanding running backs; Melvin Gordon, Ameer Abdullah, Tevin Coleman, David Cobb, Jeremy Langford, Ezekiel Elliott, etc. But one guy who was on pace to join the bunch until the suffered an ACL injury was Paul James. James crushed the Cougars defense in their contest last year with 173 yards on 29 carries in a high-scoring affair. This year should be similar as Rutgers is projected to score 33 points with their balanced attack, and James is the primary RB (I don’t buy Rotowire’s guess of a balanced backfield). Don’t be caught off guard by last week’s game versus Norfolk State as James was the main guy until the game was well out of hand early on. This is a similar situation to Arkansas’.
Brandon Radcliff $7,700/$5,900 – This play is better on DraftKings, which is the opposite of what Jackson is at QB. If you’re playing on both sites, you may want to go Jackson on FanDuel and Radcliff on DraftKings. But both are playable on both sites.
De’Veon Smith $6,900/$4,900 – Michigan is favored by -14.5, projected to score 31 points and I’m expecting them to cover that. Oregon State only returned two starters on defense and has a new coaching staff this year with Gary Andersen leading the way. Unlike last season where we saw split time at RB for Michigan, Smith was the primary RB last week for Michigan with 17 carries. The Wolverines do not want to throw the ball 43 times with Jake Rudock like they did last week, and playing at Utah is one of the toughest matchups you can have out of the gate, especially a team rebuilding with a new staff. This game should be much different with the Wolverines rushing for over 200 yards and Smith acquiring for over 100 yards and a TD or two.
Rodney Smith $6,600/$4,700 – I feel like this is a bit of a knee jerk reaction, but there are plenty of reasons to use Smith. Rodrick Williams Jr was the lead RB heading into last week and was supposed to see 20-plus carries, yet he only received nine carries to Smith’s 16. Smith also averaged 5.6 YPC in comparison to Williams’ 3.6. The new depth chart this week shows both RBs as co-starters, and as you’ll see in the player news on both FanDuel and DraftKings, offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover says Smith will have an expanded role this weekend. The Golden Gophers are projected to score over 30 points (-6 spread), Colorado State had a terrible rush defense last season and the Rams have a complete new coaching staff. Even if both backs split time to some degree, we’ve seen in the past with Minnesota where two RBs can get over 20 carries and both backs can go over 100 yards. Smith also adds the PPR value, and I expect the Minnesota rushing game to be around 250 yards with Smith accounting for some form of a majority of it.
Patrick Skov $5,900/$4,400 – It was really tough to tell who would be the lead full back and half back in the triple-option attack heading into Week 1 with so many backs graduating last year. Skov started at full back and got the most carries with 12 last week to go with three TDs. Skov didn’t play long since the Yellow Jackets put up 34 points in the first quarter en route to a 69-6 win over Alcorn State. Freshman Marcus Marshall came in after at fullback and racked up 184 yards on just eight carries for two TDs. The Yellow Jackets are -28 and projected to score 41 points at home versus Tulane where we should see a lot more of Skov (the starter), yet still have a fantastic matchup where they should easily rush for over 300 yards. Skov is also a senior, and Paul Johnson is huge on starting his seniors.
Dare Ogunbowale $5,800/$3,900 – Wisconsin is -32 and I actually like the Badgers to cover that line. The OL is inexperienced and got essentially the toughest draw you can with Alabama away from home, and they struggled. However, being back home at Camp Randall and having an absurd size advantage should give them the chance to rush for over 300 yards. With Corey Clement questionable with a groin injury, I don’t expect him to play or play very little versus the Red Hawks. Ogunbowale is the next guy in line and is very affordable. You might see that he had half the carries Taiwan Deal had, but all of Deal’s carries came at the end of the game in garbage time. Ogunbowale came in when Clement went down, but that was just when the game started to get out of reach. Ogunbowale should get a lot of touches one way or the other, anbd his value is outstanding. His upside is a bit limited though.
Rashard Higgins $8,600/$8,600 – A better play on FanDuel, but he’s fine on both sites. There was a fair amount of hype for this Minnesota secondary going into their matchup with TCU. While the Gophers did hold their own at times, Josh Doctson got open several times and found the end zone without any real difficulties. Higgins shouldn’t have an issue either as another 100-plus yards and a TD is likely on the horizon. One note though, Higgins missed practice on Tuesday with an ankle issue, but he’s listed as probable
Nelson Spruce $8,100 (FD) – Spruce has one of the best floors and ceilings in all of college football. Spruce caught 106 balls for 1,198 yards and 12 TDs last season and followed that up with a mediocre 8 catches for 69 yards at Hawaii. The Buffaloes are back home where they are projected to score 38 points, and the Minutemen have small CBs where Spurce’s size should pay off in the red zone.
Tajae Sharp $6,900 (FD)* – While most people will be teeing up with Spruce, there’s a guy on the other sideline who is pretty darn good too. Sharpe caught 85 balls for 1,281 yards and 7 TDs last season (had four games over 150 yards). Like mentioned before, UMass returns 10 starters, including QB Frohnapfel, and UMass will be throwing a lot to keep up with Colorado’s offense. Sharp is also a bit underpriced overall.
River Cracraft $5,700 (FD only) – Cracraft is $5,700 on FanDuel, which is way too cheap as he is $6,900 on DraftKings. Cracraft is the Y WR in the slot, who gets a lot of the targets and receptions. Yes, that means it’s better on DraftKings, but the price differential is too much.
Dom Williams $5,500/$5,000 – Williams is the X WR in the Cougars air-raid offense, so he will be seeing near 100 percent of the snaps. Williams led Washington State with 86 yards receiving last week and because he didn’t score a TD and that he wasn’t technically a starter last year, he’s a bit underpriced heading into this season. Check Faulk’s description for how much Washington State should throw for in this game.
Joe Hansley $5,000/$3,900 – It’s tough to learn anything versus Savannah State, but Colorado State surely still wants to throw the ball a fair amount with Mike Bobo at head coach. Hansley is the outside WR opposite of Higgins, and he could see increased targets if CSU continues to throw the ball as their preferred method of attack. The Rams are slight dogs at home to the Gophers, and they’ll likely take a few deep shots with Hansley.
Canaan Severin $4,900/$4,100 – Severin led Virginia in all relevant receiving stats last season and led Cavaliers WRs with five catches for 68 yards last week at UCLA. While Virginia is only projected to score 17.5 points, Virginia’s second and third leading WRs last year graduated, and it looks like they have some work to do finding Severin help. With the exception of Taquan Mizzell out of the backfield, Severin is the clear No. 1 option.
Tevaun Smith $4,800/$4,600 – Opposite on Daniels on Iowa, this is a better play on FanDuel. Smith is by far the best WR on the Hawkeyes despite only getting two catches last week. Smith runs every route in the book and look for C.J. Bethard to stretch the field more with him.
Quenton Bundrage $4,000 (DK only) – Bundrage missed the 2014 season with an ACL injury, and DraftKings hasn’t priced him very well as he is $6,200 on FanDuel. Bundrage went for 676 yards in 2013 and was becoming the Cyclones’ best weapon. Iowa State will likely have to spread it out like they usually do to have success against Iowa, and Bundrage crushed Iowa for a career-high seven catches and 143 yards last time against his matchup with Desmond King.
Simms McElfresh $3,500 (DK) – If you don’t know a lot about Appalachian State, they should be one of the best teams in the Sun Belt with 10 returning starters on both sides of the ball. This line seems a bit fishy to me as well as it seems too easy to pick Clemson -18 (making me think ASU keeps it competitive for most of the game). McElfresh is their slot WR who led the team in receptions last season and did so in the opener. In a game where they will be trailing against Clemson, yet a Tigers defense that only returns three starters (a lot of NFL talent), the Mountaineers (ASU) should be able to pass the ball effectively, and McElfresh’s PPR numbers are pretty good for how cheap he is.
Note for the cheap WRs – There are no rididclously mispriced WRs like Dezmond Epps was last Thursday night. While it is possible one of these guys will go for over 100 yards and score two TDs, it’s not nearly as likely this week. These are simply the best options in a not-so-great range of games to choose from.
These plays are for FanDuel only since you have to play a TE
Jake Butt $3,700 – I wish I could fade this, but Jake Rudock loves throwing the ball short, and Butt is the Wolverines’ best target now that he’s healthy. Don’t expect the numbers he had last week, but they should still be better than most of what you’ll pay for elsewhere.
Rodney Mills $3,000 – Mills is the best TE in the MAC and is one of Frohnapfel’s favorite targets in the red zone. He’s a smaller guy at 6’1″ 215 (essentially built like a WR) and provides fantastic upside.
Hunter Henry $2,800 – While Arkansas does like to utilize two TEs in the passing game, Henry was second in receiving last year for the Razorbacks and more of Brandon Allen’s go-to guy. In what should be a little bit more of a competitive game (probably still a decisive Arkansas win), Henry will see more action than he did in last week’s UTEP blowout. The Razorbacks are projected to score 39 points.
Cam Serigne $2,000* – This is a complete misprice on FanDuel’s part. Serigne led Wake Forest in all relevant receiving statistics last year and is by far the guy with the most returning numbers. He had three catches for 60 yards and a TD last week versus Rhode Island and didn’t even play the whole game.View all posts by Nick Juskewycz