College Football Daily Fantasy Strategies and Tips to Help You Win Instantly
We are less than a week away from the beginning of the daily fantasy college football season! With the boom of daily fantasy, CFB DFS has grown as well. This year will be very exciting with a lot more money at stake.
Of all sports growing up, CFB has been my favorite sport to watch/research/follow. Last season I monkeyed around with CFB DFS on a small stakes level. Essentially, I wanted to test/check out usage percentages, strategies, game types, etc. I personally believe that CFB DFS is really soft, even softer than NFL. This year, I’m ready to write about strategy, talk picks, sleepers, etc.
I have spent hundreds of hours this offseason researching all 128 FBS teams for DFS. I also have been successfully betting on CFB for a few years now.
CFB DFS is obviously similar to NFL in a lot of ways. It’s football, and the scoring is the same. However, there are a ton of differences.
That’s what this article is for. I’m going to point out some tips and strategies to help you get an edge out of the gate. These are not in any order of importance, but more so with one point feeding into another.
1. Breaking down two differences between FanDuel and DraftKings.
Before we get into the actual strategies, you need to know these differences between the sites.
a. Rosters – FanDuel has one QB, two RBs, three WRs and a TE. DraftKings has two QBs, two RBs, three WRs and a FLEX. There are no DSTs or Ks. As you can imagine, DraftKings is more intriguing. TE is sort of a dead obnoxious position to deal with in CFB (more on this later). With so many games and players in CFB, DraftKings’ roster size and position flexibility is far more intriguing.
b. FBS vs FCS – FanDuel will have FBS vs FBS only, while DraftKings will have FBS vs FCS teams but can only use the FBS players. While this is kind of odd, it isn’t a big deal at the end of the day. Just be aware that you’ll have more options on DraftKings as opposed to FanDuel. This also won’t matter nearly as much as we get later into the season, but Week 1 features a ton of FBS vs FCS games, which is completely normal. Therefore, if you’re wondering why games like Wofford at Clemson, McNeese State at LSU and Eastern Washington at Oregon aren’t listed on FanDuel, that’s why.
2. DFS players are very recently biased. The average DFS CFB player when it comes to CFB knowledge is fairly low. Anytime a player has a monster game, his usage spikes a lot the following week (unless he was used a lot already). After someone has a monster game, I usually like to stay away from that player the next game. There are a ton of CFB games to choose from, and the chances of that player being the best option the following week at his respective position are very slim. He would have to have the best matchup possible.
3. You don’t necessarily need to prioritize a position. I get this question a lot. Shouldn’t I always prioritize QB since the upside is insane with the dual threat QBs and up-tempo offenses?
Yes, QB should be a high priority, but the real answer is that it depends. Yes, the upside is crazy with certain QBs. Between all the different option offenses, how fast they go and some are very pass heavy, QBs can put up absurd numbers. The upside of QBs is a similar concept to how we evaluate the upside of pitchers on FanDuel and the way the players are priced. The difference is that while in MLB there may be one or two pitchers who are clearly the best with the most upside, there are several QBs that have this kind of potential every Saturday (imagine if all MLB pitchers were on the mound each game and some of the opponents were minor league teams). That’s what CFB QBs are like.
The QBs who put up insane numbers can come in different schemes too. It could be someone like Anu Solomon of Arizona who gets a ton of FPTS from Rich Rod’s up-tempo zone-read scheme with a ton of pass-option elements. It could be Vernon Adams for how fast Oregon plays and how many times Adams will take off running on top of his passing. It could be Jared Goff and Cal’s up-tempo shotgun spread offense where Goff can throw for 500 + yards and 5 + TDs.
Also, there will be several players who we haven’t heard of before or know little about in the beginning of the season that we must take advantage of with their pricing. There is so much turnover in college football between coaching changes and lack of returning starters that offensive schemes, style and player production changes a lot more severely than in the NFL. So, yes, you do want to take a QB who is very likely to do well who has a very high ceiling.
However, this can come at multiple price ranges in college. It’s important to note this because while the upside is crazy for QBs in college football, the upside is also insane for RBs and WRs too (especially RBs). It’s critical to examine which teams use a workhorse back or go with multiple RBs. It’s also critical to examine which teams have a go-to WR and how much depth they have behind him. While there are usually no more than a handful of RBs or WRs who go for over 200 yards in a game over the course of a season, you’ll get a lot more in CFB.
Bottom line – QB is a priority, but don’t just automatically pick the best QB regardless of price each week.
4. Tight end is a huge pain in the ass. Pretty much all TEs are really cheap. There are several reasons for this. Most CFB teams are zone read out of shotgun with 3 WR sets. For the teams that do use a lot of 2 TE sets or have a primary TE, they are usually a balanced offense and/or rotate TEs often. College football rosters have more players than NFL. There are also very few players like a Rob Gronkowski who is a primary threat who lines up in the slot part time and catches 10 balls in a game. Jace Amaro played a Gronk type of role at Texas Tech in a pass happy offense, but even so, Tech spreads the wealth so much that Amaro didn’t see a crazy amount of targets. It’s also very rare you’ll see a TE lead a team in receptions. Maxx Williams was an exception to this at Minnesota last year, but the Gophers are a run heavy team that was 114th in plays per game.
It’s just hard to find “an amazing play” at TE. Your best bet is to use someone who gets targeted a fair amount in the red zone with a matchup where the team should score a fair amount of points. I know that sounds simplistic, but that’s the approach to take, and I wouldn’t try to use the top-priced TE each week.
5. Using a player on a team that’s projected to win by a ton of points isn’t necessarily a good thing. Unlike other sports where we aren’t worried about blowouts, this is a huge concept when it comes to college football – especially in the beginning of the season when power five teams are going against group of five teams. If you see a team is projected to win by 21 points, that’s fine, because no coach is going to take out its starters up 21 points in the fourth quarter unless maybe it’s the final series. But if you get a team that’s projected to win by 42 and is up 42-3 at halftime, you’re in trouble. Now you might think, “well if my offense gets 42 points, that’s pretty good. So, what’s the difference in getting 42 points over 30 minutes versus 60 minutes?”
The first thing is that while college football coaches when playing a clearly inferior opponent (by clearly I’m talking about Ohio State/Alabama/Oregon vs Eastern Michigan/Georgia State/Idaho) are very often rotating and mixing their first and second string players in the second quarter. Coaches often do this in the beginning of the season in particular because they are trying to tweak and establish a depth chart and see who actually fits best where and who turns out. You can only see so much in scrimmages and practices, and these are games where it can be treated like preseason NFL. So, if that score is 42-3 at halftime where your RB who usually gets 90% of snaps plays only 50%, that’ll drop to 0% in the second half. Therefore, a matchup where he could clearly get 35 touches for 250 yards and 4 TDs, will actually turn into 11 touches for 60 yards and 1 TD. Money wasted.
This is a bit of a tough thing when it comes to RBs since RBs generally do better as bigger favorites (teams run the ball more when they are ahead), it’s not an exact science. Oklahoma was a 24 1/2 point favorite at Tulsa and a 25 1/2 point favorite at home vs Kansas. Against Tulsa in the second game of the year, Samaje Perine got 10 carries for 33 yards as Oklahoma went on to win 52-7 (led 31-0 at halftime). Against Kansas in mid-November, Perine had 34 carries for an FBS record 427 yards and five TDs as the Sooners won 44-7 (led 24-0 at halftime). Perine was the clear No. 1 back from the start of the season.
This is an extreme example and I would never advise that a 24 or 25-point spread is too much, but as you can see, head coaches like to experiment more with their depth early in the year when possible. It’s also possible Perine would have been pulled earlier had the record not been within reach that was set the previous week by Melvin Gordon.
How high of a spread is too much? It depends on the position. For RBs, once we get to around 35 points, I have concerns and start looking at the depth of the backfield along with the specifics of the game. For QBs and WRs, it’s closer to over 28 points. Again, not every spread is the same, because the over/unders (point projections), depth charts, timing of the game, weather, etc are all different. It’s just a general rule of thumb.
6. College OT has HUGE upside. Remember, college OT is different than NFL where an unlimited amount of OTs can be played. Plus, the ball is automatically placed on the opponents’ 25-yard line, where you’ll have a great chance to score a TD. Now, obviously having a game go to OT requires luck, let alone getting multiple OTs. However, using players in a game that has a smaller spread will have a greater chance of going to OT. That doesn’t mean you should use a player in a 3-point spread vs a 7-point spread, but if you’re trying to decide between two even people where Player A’s team is favored by three and Player B’s team is favored by 28, you may want to favor Player A.
7. Always check Twitter Saturday morning. This is stating the obvious because it goes for all sports. However, whether you get your injury information through daily fantasy sites, alerts on your phone or a certain website, college football injury or suspension information can be often limited and be really annoying to acquire. I have a separate Twitter account on my TweetDeck that follows anywhere from a couple to a dozen beatwriters for each FBS team. While this is a bit over the top, I can’t tell you enough how useful this is from getting all the latest info. Late scratches happen all the time in college football. Yes, if Ezekiel Elliott is ruled out with a sore ankle, you will definitely get that alert. However, will you get the alert if Keevan Lucas of Tulsa (1,661 yards and 12 TDs last year) is held out because of an illness on Saturday morning? Very likely not. Plus, while it might be good to only follow the smaller school beatwriters, the bigger school ones give great coverage of the teams and insight if any player will play banged up or have some kind of unusual circumstance. And lastly, college football coaches are not required like NFL coaches to have an active/inactive roster 1.5 hours before kickoff. They are like NBA coaches on steroids with “game-time decisions” when he already knows ahead of time what’s up, and the local beatwriters help dig this up.
By no means am I telling you to follow hundreds of beatwriters like me, but I highly recommend going on Twitter each Saturday morning and searching each player in your lineup to ensure there are no changes with someone. Most of the time, everything will check out okay, but trust me, things do get screwy.
That’s all for now. Check back to the forum later in the week for advice on the opening weekend of games!View all posts by Nick Juskewycz