CFB DFS Week 4 Picks – Early Slate
Still a lot of non-conference action, which leads to huge projections for a lot of players. But enjoy it while it lasts (or be thankful it’s almost over?). Everyone will be in conference play next week.
FanDuel prices first. DraftKings prices second.
(!) indicates injury watch
Trevone Boykin $10,300/$10,300 – Highest O/U of the year at 80.5. TCU is -7, so they are projected for over 43.5 points. Both teams go up tempo and Tech’s defense looks mediocre once again. Plus, while I understand this is the biggest game on Tech’s schedule, they exhausted a lot of energy, both physically and mentally, preparing and winning at Arkansas last week. TCU is a near direct opposite of Arkansas on offense, and this is a great time for TCU to play Tech, at least on offense.
Seth Russell $9,800/$9,700 – Baylor is projected for 55 points as a 35-point favorite and an O/U of 75. Yes, 55 points. This game is borderline too big of a spread for me to go after and Baylor is shockingly only 76th in the nation in plays per game with 70, but the upside of Baylor’s deep-passing attack is too phenomenal and they are easily No.1 in the nation in yards per play at 10.3! Think about that, they are averaging a first down each play! I know the competition hasn’t been good, but that’s still insane, and Rice is around the same level of competition as SMU. The Baylor defense also hasn’t looked that strong through two games and Rice’s offense isn’t as poor as the average person might think which might help keep this game from being a blowout at halftime. Lastly, Rice has ran the most player per game so far this season with an average of 96.
Brandon Doughty $9,600 (FanDuel) – One of the fastest offenses in college football is a 20.5-point favorite at home against Miami Ohio with an O/U of 67.5 (projected for 44 points). Doughty has been running a bit bad in the end zone to start the season, but without Leon Hall and now having a healthy Jared Dangerfield, this is a perfect opportunity for him to put up five-plus TDs with those 400-plus passing yards.
Patrick Mahomes $8,700/$8,900 – Mahomes is the Texas Tech QB who plays in Kliff Kingsbury’s up-tempo air-raid offense. They are seven-point underdogs, but there are projected for over 36 points. Tech will likely need to throw to keep up with TCU. Furthermore, according to Josh Davis of WFAA.com, senior star DE Mike Tuaua was arrested along with another teammate for burglary with bodily injury. Tuaua has been suspended. This line opened up with TCU as a 13-point favorite and the line is now down to -7. The big bettors expect a lot of points from Tech against this depleted TCU defense that already was only returning five defensive players at the beginning of the year, and they did not look particularly great against SMU last week. Lastly, not only is Mahomes your typical Texas Tech QB who throws it all the time, he adds a dual-threat element as he has 21 rushes for 129 yards and 4 TDs on the year.
Matt Johnson $8,600/$9,400 – Johnson has been torching defenses all season in Dino Babres’ Falcon fast offense that runs a third-best 91.7 plays per game. It’s another crazy high point projection as Bowling Green is projected for over 38 points as a 2.5-point favorite with an O/U of 75.5. They’ll play at Purdue.
Jerrod Heard $8,300/$7,400 – What a turnaround for the Texas offense with Heard running the zone read. And guess what? Vegas agrees. In what likely would have been a much bigger spread for Oklahoma State without that performance against Cal where Heard threw for 364 yards and ran for 163 yards to go with three TDs, OSU is only 3-point favorites over Texas with an O/U of 61. So, Texas is projected for 29 points. I wouldn’t expect Heard to necessarily put up 45.86 FPTS again, but he’s definitely one of the better plays of the day.
Justin Thomas $7,900/$7,900 – Thomas has yet to really get it going this season, but he’s been involved with two blowouts and a tough matchup with Notre Dame. Now the Yellow Jackets play at Duke as eight-point favorite and a projected 32 points. Thomas always has outstanding upside with his running ability in the triple option and can rack up the TDs.
Skyler Howard $6,800 (DraftKings only) – Howard is available on FanDuel, but he’s $8,700, and that’s really borderline on whether you should play him. West Virginia is projected for 37 points as a 17-point favorite. They square off with Maryland at home, and we already saw what Bowling Green did at Maryland a couple weeks ago by torching them through the air for nearly 500 passing yards and 48 points. Howard is really underpriced here on DraftKings mainly since West Virginia lost Clint Tricket at QB and Kevin White at WR, and they probably haven’t factored in the new production very well with the new starters. West Virginia crushed Georgia Southern 44-0 where Howard put up 359 yards and two TDs, but Georgia Southern is a heavy run team that keeps the clock running to limit a higher potential, not to mention the blowout where WVU ran it a lot at the end. Then they smacked down Liberty 41-17 with Howard going for 263 yards and three TDs, but those 17 points were in garbage time and Howard didn’t play a full game. I actually expect a lot of incompletions from this Maryland offense on the road that has QB issues against an underrated West Virginia defense, and Howard will be in the whole game to toss the ball around and carve up that weak Maryland secondary. Howard also does run some out of the zone read as he’s put up 75 yards on 21 carries.
Brandon Harris $7,200/$6,700 – We’re starting to get into the riskier plays, but all of them have great upside with their dual-threat abilities. Harris will lead LSU on the road against a Syracuse team that is down to its third-string QB. LSU is favored by 24.5 and projected 35.5 points, but I do think this game is in let-down territory. They’re coming off two huge SEC West victories at Mississippi State and at home against Auburn. Now they go to the Carrier Dome in a game everyone thinks they will dominate, and it’s a noon E.T. kick (11 a.m. body clock). That -24.5 line is one I would expect against Syracuse with usual starting QB Terrel Hunt, and I think Harris will be playing the whole game.
Kendall Hinton $7,100/$6,000 (!) – This is my favorite GPP play at QB. Assuming John Wolford can’t play against Indiana (listed as questionable-to-doubtful), Hinton will get the start. Hinton came in after Wolford got hurt against Army, which was very early in the contest, and Hinton threw for 159 yards while rushing for 101 yards and two TDs. He was 15-of-27 passing and had 17 rushing attempts, so he actually ran the ball more times than he completed passes. This was also against an Army team on the road that runs the triple option, so possessions were minimal. Wake Forest gets Indiana at home, which has a fairly weak defense, and Wake is projected for 26 points as a 3.5-point underdog. Hinton is essentially in a very similar situation to Heard at Texas. They are both dual threat QBs, both are on teams as about three-point underdogs and both teams are projected for roughly the same amount of points. The benefit is that Hinton is over $1,000 cheaper on both sites and is not nearly as well known given that he plays at Wake Forest in comparison to Texas. Definitely check in before kickoff that Hinton is starting and Wolford is ruled out.
Thomas Sirk $6,800/$6,800 – Sirk struggled a bit against a tough Northwestern defense last week, but he gets Georgia Tech this week at home in somewhat of a more favorable matchup despite being an underdog. Sirk has carried the ball 40 times for 215 yards and two TDs. Quite frankly, he’s running a bit poorly in the end zone too, and I will almost always take a dual-threat QB at this price.
Will Grier $5,900 (DraftKings only) – Grier is available on FanDuel for $7,400, but I don’t like him nearly as much for that price. The key here is that Treon Harris has been suspended for this weekend’s game against Tennessee, so Grier is the clear No. 1 guy for the entire contest, which makes him very appealing. The other beneficial factors are that Grier is dual threat, is at home and is only a one-point underdog. The downside is the O/U is only 48, which means Florida is projected for 23 points. Still, this price is amazing for someone who is a dual-threat QB, and a lot of times when someone finally becomes the starting QB, a huge weight can be lifted off his shoulders and can explode for a big game.
Jeff Smith $4,500/$5,500 (!) – This is super GPP. Smith is the likely new starting QB for Boston College (definitely check on this before kickoff), and they face Northern Illinois at home. While the Eagles are only projected for 26 points as a 4.5-point favorite, have a run-heavy offense and Smith is only 6’0″ 162 pounds, he is a very fast runner and could really rack up the rushing yards. At minimum salary, he is definitely great value, but let’s check in before kickoff to see that he will be the starter and look likely to play the whole game.
Ezekiel Elliott $9,200/$9,200 – Ohio State’s offensive struggles will end here. The Buckeyes are projected for 46 points as a 32-point favorite, and I expect Elliott to take advantage of a Western Michigan defense that has struggled stopping the run so far.
Jordan Howard $8,500/$8,400 – Wake Forest does have a decent rush defense and do like to run the ball on offense, but this is still a solid matchup for Howard. Indiana is projected for over 29 points as a 3.5-point favorite, and he’s been very unlucky in the TD department (had three in the first game and had none the last two games) despite rushing for 507 yards just through three games.
C.J. Prosise $8,400 (FanDuel) – Prosise has been crushing it for Notre Dame in replacing Tarean Folston. The most impressive part of his 451 rushing yards and 31 receptions yards on five catches (running poorly in this area) is that the opponents have been Texas, at Virginia and Georgia Tech. UMass is easily the best matchup so far for Prosise as Notre Dame is a 28.5-point favorite and projected for 44 points.
Aaron Green $8,300/$7,900 – This is what we expected at the beginning of the season. Aaron Green was the main running back for the final handful of games last season, but he wasn’t listed as the main RB on the depth chart to start the season. Well, that’s changed now that TCU got in a bit of a tight ball game with SMU last week as Green carried the rock 21 times for 164 yards and 2 TDs. As you saw with Boykin, TCU will pile on the points in this game, and Green should be the main RB again in a competitive shootout.
D’Andre Ferby $7,800 (FanDuel) – It was nice to take advantage of Ferby’s cheap price last week against Indiana with that being Leon Allen’s first game out, but FanDuel has adjusted. Nevertheless, this is an even better matchup than he had with the Hoosiers. Western Kentucky hosts Miami Ohio as a 20.5-point favorite at home against Miami Ohio with an O/U of 67.5 (projected for 44 points).
De’Veon Smith $7,400/$6,200 – Don’t look too hard into last week’s game where Smith only had 13 carries for 33 yards. Smith is the clear No. 1 back. Michigan is favored by 6.5 and projected for 25 points. I’m not saying Smith will put up 36 FPTS like he did against Oregon State, but his performance will be closer to that than the rough outing against UNLV.
Joel Bouagnon $6,000/$5,400 – I really don’t like this matchup but Bouagnon is significantly too cheap. Bouagnon gets a huge majority of the carries behind a pretty good Northern Illinois OL. The problem is Boston College has a good rush defense and are one of the most run-heavy offenses in college football. NIU is projected for 22 points as a 4.5-point underdog, so this is not ideal, but Bouagnon will still likely get 20-plus carries and could certainly rack up the TDs when NIU gets there.
Patrick Skov $5,800/$6,300 – That’s the Skov we were looking for last week -18 carries for 66 yards and a TD on the ground to go with 39 receiving yards and 2 TDs. While he won’t have two receiving TDs each week, Georgia Tech only put up 22 points in the game and lost. Skov could very easily get a bigger workload on the ground with Tech being an eight-point favorite and projected for 32 points.
Wendell Smallwood $5,400/$4,900 – Smallwood is only getting a slight majority of the carries in comparison to Rushel Shell, but his YPC of 7.1 is much better than Shell’s 3.6. Plus, Smallwood is a much better pass-catching back as he already has eight receptions in just two games. This is a fantastic matchup with a poor Maryland defense where West Virginia is projected for 37 points as a 17-point favorite. Smallwood is simply too cheap even with only getting 60% of the RB carries, and he could easily get more than that this week.
Chris Carson $5,400 (DraftKings only) – Carson is available on FanDuel, but for $7,800, that’s a mediocre deal at best. After what might look like an RB by committee team, Carson is getting a majority of the carries so far (he has 53, Rennie Childs has 21). The Texas rush defense has struggled in its first three games, and Oklahoma State is projected for 32 points.
Kelvin Taylor $5,300 (DraftKings only) – Very similar situation as Grier at QB. DraftKings has the Florida players priced much cheaper and don’t recommend Taylor on FanDuel at all. Taylor was “demoted” to third string after Jim McElwain went on his rant on the sideline against East Carolina, but he still got the vast majority of carries against Kentucky last week. This is similar to Bouagnon where I don’t like this matchup, but he’s certainly too cheap that he’s an option in GPPs.
Myles Gaskin $4,500 (DraftKings only) – Gaskin is available on FanDuel, but for $6,000 I’m not too crazy about it since this is very much a GPP play. He’s gotten twice the workload as Dwayne Washington through three games and Cal’s rush defense has poor. Despite Washington (the school) struggling a bit on offense this year, they are at home and projected for 29 points. There is a shot here for 100 yards rushing yards and two TDs.
Josh Doctson $8,700/$7,500 – Much better price on DraftKings, but playable on both sites. Again, TCU has the golden matchup with Texas Tech, and Doctson is the No. 1 target.
William Fuller $7,900 (FanDuel) – Fuller is on an insane run with TDs, but he’s consistently getting open deep and his 22.1 YPC is absurd. Fading Fuller the last two weeks hasn’t worked out too well, but this is a much better matchup with UMass that Fuller should have another outstanding game.
Roger Lewis $7,600/$7,700 – No one has been better at WR the last two weeks in CFB than Lewis as he’s hauled in 22 catches for 461 yards and 5 TDs (that’s not a typo). Bowling Green has had two fantastic matchups to work with, but they get another great one at Purdue and are projected to score 38 points as a 2.5-point favorite. Another 200 yard receiving game shouldn’t be expected, but Lewis is clearly the No. 1 target now, and Purdue’s pass defense is less than desirable. Over 100 yards and at least a TD should be expected.
Jakeem Grant $6,900/$7,400 – Texas Tech will throw the ball over 50 times, Grant is the No. 1 WR and he’s running bad in the TD department with only one score on the year. He’s slightly underpriced, but this is an outstanding matchup for him with a banged up TCU defense.
Aaron Burbridge $6,800/$7,400 – Burbridge is taking over the role of Tony Lippett and looks to be a stud in the making. Michigan State will probably a run a fair amount as they are -27 and projected for over 40 points, but Burbridge should have no problem catching the deep ones again.
Ronnie Moore $6,600/$5,700 – Moore is more of the possession WR on Bowling Green as he has 20 catches on the year (only four fewer than Lewis). Moore is also running bad in the red zone as he hasn’t caught a TD yet. Moore is already on the cheap end for how often he catches the ball, especially on DraftKings, but finding the end zone will make him an outstanding play.
Ricky Jones $6,600/$5,100 – Jones had another fantastic game against Western Kentucky as he exploded for 126 yards and a TD. Despite this, FanDuel only raised his price by $300 and DraftKings actually lowered it by $500. While expecting that each week is a bit over the top, he is clearly the No. 1 guy, and this is the first true test for Wake Forest in terms of a passing attack. The best way to think of Jones is that he plays a similar role of William Fuller at Notre Dame. He’s not the biggest guy, but he plays bigger than he looks, picks his spots to go deep and has tremendous speed to consistently get behind the defense for a big play or two. Jones is especially great on DraftKings and isn’t one of my top options on FanDuel, but I think he’s playable on both sites.
Jay Lee $6,400/$6,000 – While this is a bit of a fluke, Lee leads Baylor WRs in receptions with 12 on the season. This may not seem like much, but Baylor has only played two cupcake games and Lee has 181 yards and three TDs as well. As mentioned with Russell the QB, this is another cupcake game for Baylor where they will pour on the points, but Lee is simply too cheap for his huge upside (floor is a bit low here).
Braxton Miller $6,400/$5,700 – Braxton’s price definitely needed to come down after that crazy opening performance against Virginia Tech and now it has. As I mentioned with Elliott, I fully expect Ohio State to get back on track this week, which includes Miller both running and catching the football. I’ll admit his floor is a bit on the low side considering you don’t exactly know how often he will get the ball, but his upside is very much through the roof with his big-play ability. The Buckeyes are projected for 46 points as a 32-point favorite.
Taywan Taylor $6,100 (FanDuel) – I don’t expect Taylor to keep having monster games like he did against Indiana, especially with Jared Dangerfield getting healthier, but at $6,100 with a very favorable matchup with Miami OH at home, this is a no-brainer.
Daniel Braverman $6,000 (FanDuel only) – I’ll admit, the Western Michigan WR situation has been bizare to start the season. Corey Davis led WMU with 1,408 yards receiving last year on 78 catches. Braverman was second with 997 yards, but he led the team in receptions with 86. However, Braverman had several games last year where he went for huge yardage. This year, Braverman already has 40 catches for 398 yards while Davis has a mere 18 catches for 309 yards. So, while it’s clear Davis is the No. 1 WR and is more of the deep threat, Braverman has really excelled this year so far. We are seeing a bit of variance here as I expect Davis to get more back on track and Braverman to not lead the team in receiving yards. However, on FanDuel, they have the WMU WRs priced as if it was still 2014 and that Braverman is a risky play each week. Braverman is fourth in receiving yards this year and is first in the nation in receptions (2nd person has 30!) so Braverman is absolutely in play here despite going against Ohio State. He is available on DraftKings for $7,100, but you can find better at that price.
Isaiah Jones $5,900/$5,000 – I just mentioned the player who has 30 receptions so far this year is second best in the nation. That player is Isaiah Jones (also T11 in receiving yards). Virginia Tech is not a great matchup as East Carolina is projected for only 21 points as a 10-point underdog, but Jones had his two best games at Florida and at Navy (24 catches for 265 yards alone here), so he’s shown that this isn’t just a schedule fluke. At the same time, we can’t expect Jones to make it a third time in a row of 10-plus receptions and 100-plus receiving yards, but similar to Braveman, his price has not adjusted well at all and is too cheap.
Chris Brown $5,600 (FanDuel) – Believe it or not, Brown only has four fewer receptions than Fuller for Notre Dame on the year. This is a reasonable price in a favorable matchup against UMass,
Ryan Burbrink $5,400/$4,800 – Add Burbrink to your Bowling Green WR list for GPPs. He had a couple games last year where he went over 100 yards, so the upside is certainly there.
Kenny Golladay $5,300/$5,000 – See Joel Bouagnon at RB and apply the same reasoning at WR.
Dennis Parks $4,500/$4,800 – Easily the clear No. 1 WR on Rice, and while Baylor should easily handle them, Baylor’s defense has been suspect this year. There is a reasonable floor with even a decent ceiling for someone at minimum price on FanDuel. He’s still playable on DraftKings, but obviously much better on FanDuel.
Ian Sadler $4,300 (DraftKings only) – If you’re looking for another cheap GPP WR, especially on FanDuel, Sadler is a great option. He’s the slot WR on Texas Tech who is fairly underpriced for several reasons. He missed five games last year, he’s running bad in the red zone this year with no TDs and simply hasn’t had an amazing game yet. There’s a reasonable floor and ceiling here for Sadler given the shootout that’s expected and that he’s the fourth-cheapest WR on Tech.
Levern Jacobs $4,200 (DraftKings only) – Jacobs, who missed 2014 with a suspension, has taken over as the No. 1 WR for Maryland. He’s simply way too cheap in a game where Maryland will be throwing a lot to keep up with West Virginia.
K.J. Brent $3,400 (DraftKings only) – Yes, a Wake Forest WR. Brent has at least four catches in his first three games and leads the team with 214 yards. Indiana at home is about as good of a matchup you can have, plus Brent’s floor and ceiling is pretty darn good for near minimum salary.
TE is for FanDuel only
Tyler Higbee $3,700 – Duh
Bucky Hodges $3,500 – A very popular target in the red zone as he scored seven TDs last year and already has three this season.
Jake Butt $3,300 – Not surprisingly, Butt has regressed a bit since that awesome opener, but I do expect he will do better than his last two performances of two catches for 14 yards and four catches for 25 yards.
Ben McCord $3,000 – While Michigan State is a bad matchup and you can’t expect another 10 catches for 147 yards and a TD, Central Michigan always gets great production from its TEs and McCord is the next guy in line.
Cam Serigne $2,500 – Serigne led Wake Forest in receiving last year and is off to a modest start this year of 11 catches for 145 yards. Indiana is a great matchup for points.View all posts by Nick Juskewycz