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Players to Target in CFB DFS Week 8

Michael Mayer

Michael Mayer

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

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One of the more wildly tilting games of the Week 7 weekend was the one played between Ohio and Western Michigan. In a game that I not only picked to smash the over at 59.5, I also had three Bobcats who I loved to smash in what was shaping up to be a high-scoring affair.

Things looked somewhat on track early, with Ohio entering halftime holding a 20-14 lead, but a sloppy third quarter that featured zero combined points, two interceptions and two turnovers on downs all but ended my hopes of anything good coming from a MAC contest that featured two of the worst defenses in the nation.

Fooled again.

Nevertheless, a few good plays still came from last Saturday’s games. My mispriced player of the week, Ironically an Ohio guy, was the lone bright spot in the game, as Sieh Bangura totaled 105 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns to finish with 25.5 DraftKings points. And Arkansas’ Raheim Sanders erupted for 15-175-2 against a bad BYU rush defense, finishing as the eighth-highest scoring back on the slate with 32.9 points.

Krueger Week 7 DFS plays

Krueger Week 7 DFS plays

Now heading into Week 8, we get a few interesting plays on this 13-game slate. Teams like Iowa and UNLV feel like two full fades as they prepare for difficult road matchups. The same could perhaps be said of Syracuse as they prepare to face Clemson in Death Valley, despite boasting one of the top running backs in the nation in Sean Tucker ($6,900, 124-644-6).

CFB DFS Week 8 pic 1

CFB DFS Week 8 pic 1

CFB DFS Week 8 pic 2

CFB DFS Week 8 pic 2

Several teams on this weekend’s slate also lack exciting offensive upside, which in some ways narrows our window for viable plays. Sure, we can shoot our shot on Graham Mertz ($5,200) again this weekend if we want, but that didn’t prove much fun against a bad Michigan State defense.

There are better options to be had and high-scoring games to take advantage of. Here are some of the players I’m eying up this weekend.

Note: All stats and info courtesy of CollegeFootballData.com, PFF.com, and Sports-Reference.com.

The Play Rates

College Football Data Play Rates

Team

Rush Rate

Pass Rate

Arizona State

45.5%

54.5%

Baylor

50.7%

48.6%

Boston College

39.6%

58.5%

Cincinnati

45.8%

52.8%

Clemson

51.8%

48.2%

Iowa

46.2%

52.6%

Kansas

56.3%

43.0%

LSU

46.6%

53.4%

Memphis

48.2%

51.4%

Notre Dame

56.2%

43.6%

Ohio State

51.1%

48.9%

Oklahoma State

48.5%

51.5%

Ole Miss

63.4%

36.2%

Oregon

51.2%

48.8%

Purdue

39.5%

59.3%

SMU

40.7%

57.6%

Stanford

46.2%

53.2%

Syracuse

53.2%

46.8%

Texas

49.9%

49.9%

Texas Tech

37.6%

61.6%

Tulane

50.9%

48.3%

UCLA

49.4%

50.1%

UNLV

48.6%

50.2%

Wake Forest

49.4%

49.6%

West Virginia

46.3%

53.5%

Wisconsin

57.2%

40.8%

Quarterback Rush Attempts

PFF Quarterback Rush Attempts

Player

Team

Attempts

Yards

Touchdowns

Emory Jones

Arizona State

17

122

4

Blake Shapen

Baylor

8

94

2

Phil Jurkovec

Boston College

12

87

0

Ben Bryant

Cincinnati

9

78

0

DJ Uiagalelei

Clemson

64

379

4

Spencer Petras

Iowa

8

43

0

Jason Bean

Kansas

16

122

1

Jayden Daniels

LSU

34

506

6

Seth Henigan

Memphis

33

287

3

Drew Pyne

Notre Dame

10

83

0

C.J. Stroud

Ohio State

9

7

0

Spencer Sanders

Oklahoma State

50

328

8

Jaxson Dart

Ole Miss

48

377

0

Bo Nix

Oregon

26

331

8

Aidan O’Connell

Purdue

8

11

0

Tanner Mordecai

SMU

12

129

1

Tanner McKee

Stanford

8

32

1

Garrett Shrader

Syracuse

43

375

5

Quinn Ewers

Texas

2

18

0

Donovan Smith

Texas Tech

34

195

4

Behren Morton

Texas Tech

7

86

1

Michael Pratt

Tulane

35

277

4

Dorian Thompson-Robinson

UCLA

28

265

4

Doug Brumfield

UNLV

14

204

5

Cameron Friel

UNLV

2

-2

0

JT Daniels

West Virginia

5

16

1

Sam Hartman

Wake Forest

17

132

0

Graham Mertz

Wisconsin

4

62

1

Mispriced Player of the Week

Audric Estime, RB (Notre Dame)
DraftKings Price: $5,400

I can’t envision a world where UNLV gives Notre Dame problems in South Bend. Especially if Rebels quarterback Doug Brumfield (concussion) misses another game. As of today, Brumfield is still in concussion protocol, but still has time to be cleared before Saturday’s game.

Granted, Notre Dame’s offense struggled in a 16-14 loss to Stanford last weekend, but there’s a steep drop-off (at least there should be) between Stanford and UNLV.

Heading into this week, the Rebels rank 129th in the nation in defensive success rate against the run (53%) and are allowing 164.4 yards per game on the ground. Rushing at a 56.2% rate, the Irish love to run the ball as early and often as they can. A three-way split between Estime and running backs Chris Tyree and Logan Diggs have limited Estime’s upside at times, but the sophomore running back still leads the team in rushing (76-404-5) and has accounted for all but three of their rushing touchdowns.

Audric Estime 2022 Stats

Audric Estime 2022 Stats

Notre Dame has opened as 24.5-point favorites this weekend. They should see plenty of positive game script in this one, which should bode well for the ground game.

If you’re interested in another discounted Notre Dame back, you could entertain Logan Diggs ($4,000), who has rushed for 36-200-0 over his last three games.

Behren Morton, QB (Texas Tech)
DraftKings Price: $6,800

Fresh off their Week 7 bye, Texas Tech has a decision to make at starting quarterback this week against West Virginia, although early reports are that Behren Morton has seen the majority of first-team reps in practice.

The third-highest-priced Texas Tech quarterback on the slate, Morton started Week 6 against Oklahoma State and posted a solid 379-2-1 performance on the Cowboys while rushing five times for 70 yards and a score.

A former four-star recruit from the 2021 class, Morton was the No. 18 ranked quarterback in his class and was called a “Good functional athlete for the QB position who has shown encouraging top-end straight-line speed on scrambles and designed runs,” by 247Sports.com’s Gabe Brooks.

Throwing at a 61.6% rate, Texas Tech is the most pass-heavy team on the slate and has a chance to torch a West Virginia team that’s allowing the 34th-most passing yards per game (262.5). If Donovan Smith is named the starter, paying up at $7,000 to start him still looks like a solid play. Smith has thrown for 1,476-11-7 on the season and is averaging 23.2 points per game on DraftKings.

It’s also worth noting that Texas Tech receivers are all priced at $5,000 or less. The projected total for this game opened at 72 and has since moved down to 68.5 -- it should be a shootout either way.

Michael Pratt, QB (Tulane)
DraftKings Price: $6,300

Tulane quarterback Michael Pratt is averaging a solid 25.7 points per game on DraftKings using both his arm and his legs to torch opposing defenses. Pratt helped lead Tulane to a 6-1 start on the year, throwing for 1560-11-3 while also adding 35 carries for 277 yards and four touchdowns on the ground.

Per Pro Football Focus, Pratt ranks 13th in adjusted completion percentage (79.7%) and is the 29th highest-graded quarterback on the season at 82.9.

Michael Pratt 2022 Stats

Michael Pratt 2022 Stats

Pratt and the Wave play host to a Memphis team that’s allowing the fifth-most passing yards per game (301.4) and ranks 114th in defensive success rate against the pass (48.1%). The Tigers have allowed 300+ passing yards in three of their last four games, but the game against Temple in which they allowed 245/0 through the air is a wash -- everyone dominates Temple.

With the benefit of playing this one at home, Tulane should have plenty of success against a struggling Memphis defense.

Tyjae Spears, RB (Tulane)
DraftKings Price: $5,700

Sticking with Tulane here, running back Tyjae Spears is the 10th-ranked running back on the slate in points per game (20.1) but is priced as the RB20.

Somewhat a hit-or-miss in the ground game, Spears leads the Wave with a rushing line of 98-468-8 but has had five games in which he rushed for 59 yards or less. However, Tulane’s lead back has also caught 15 passes for 195 yards and one touchdown on the season and has two games of five or more receptions on his resume.

Tyjae Spears 2022 Stats

Tyjae Spears 2022 Stats

Even with his up-and-down play, Spears remains the clearcut RB1 in Tulane’s offense. His 20.0 opportunities per game over the last three weeks are well ahead of backup Iverson Celestine (5.7 opps/gm), and he’s seen 14 or more rushes in each of his last four games.

Spears doesn’t need to set the world on fire to return value this weekend but should be in for a solid day.

C.J. Donaldson, RB (West Virginia)
DraftKings Price: $5,100

One of the more exciting true freshman in the nation has been C.J. Donaldson. Recruited as a three-star tight end, Donaldson is now a 6-foot-2, 240-pound running back who has blazed his way through opposing defenses on his way to 56-389-6 through five games.

Donaldson missed last week’s game against Baylor after being diagnosed with a concussion, but has reportedly cleared concussion protocol and can return this weekend against the Red Raiders.

CJ Donaldson 2022 Stats

CJ Donaldson 2022 Stats

One of the most efficient running backs in the nation, Donaldson ranks second among running backs in YCO/ATT (5.11) and has seen 52.2% of his rushing yards (203) come on breakaway runs. His 6.9 YPC is tied for 11th-best in the nation.

Donaldson is the second-highest-priced West Virginia running back on the slate, with battery mate Tony Mathis Jr. (92-459-5) coming in at $5,700. Mathis has seen double-digit carries in all but one game this season but has not been nearly as explosive as Donaldson. Mathis might provide reliable volume, but it’s Donaldson who could break a play wide-open.

Michael Mayer, TE (Notre Dame)
DraftKings Price: $5,000

One of the best tight ends in the nation, Notre Dame’s Michael Mayer is the No. 1 receiver in the Irish’s offense -- and it’s not particularly close.

Mayer leads the Irish in receiving (38-411-5) on the season, while his 56 targets are 25 ahead of the next closes receiver. His five touchdowns account for exactly half of the Irish’s 10 scores through the air.

Michael Mayer 2022 Stats

Michael Mayer 2022 Stats

As previously mentioned, the Irish are laying 24.5 points in this one. This game has the potential to be a blowout and could limit Notre Dame’s aggressiveness through the air. However, I love Mayer’s price point and the fact that he’s averaging 19.2 fantasy points per game. His $5,000 tag is the lowest it’s been since it bottomed out at $3,900 in Week 2 against Marshall. That week, he totaled 27.3 points while going for 8-103-1 through the air in a losing effort.

A touchdown all but guarantees Mayer tripling his value.

Xavier Worthy, WR (Texas)
DraftKings Price: $6,100

In last week’s win over Iowa State, Xavier Worthy drew an impressive 38% target share from quarterback Quinn Ewers. Worthy’s 10 targets were the most he’s seen in any game this season, as he turned them into a solid 8-72-2, marking the fourth-straight game in which he’s found the end zone.

A true target hog, Worthy has absorbed 27.3% of Texas’ pass attempts on the season and leads the team with a 32-432-6 receiving line. His 53 targets are 17 more than the next closest receiver, while his 22 deep targets are also top on the team.

Xavier Worthy 2022 Stats

Xavier Worthy 2022 Stats

Oklahoma State has proven surprisingly vulnerable through the air this season, allowing the sixth-most passing yards per game (301.0) despite allowing a solid 38.2% success rate against the pass. The Cowboys were shocked in Week 1 when Central Michigan pushed them for four quarters. While Oklahoma State walked away victorious, they probably didn’t expect to give up 44 points and 424/4 through the air in their home opener.

In a game that has a projected total of 62.5, I love Worthy and Ewers ($6,400) to put up some points in this one. Ewers, a former No. 1 overall quarterback recruit, has appeared composed in big spots against Alabama and Oklahoma this season, throwing for 820-9-2 in just four games.

The Longhorns have the potential to be a fun stack on the week and could correlate nicely with Oklahoma State quarterback Spencer Sanders ($7,800), who is averaging 33.1 points per game on DraftKings.