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Week 10: Clash of the Titans

by Thor Nystrom
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

FanDuel Saturday late lineup


Quarterback- Vernon Adams, Oregon vs Cal($8,000)


Analysis: Six games into the Duck schedule, transfer QB Adams looked like a lost lamb, having missed three games due to injury while tossing just four touchdown passes. He's come on strong in his last two contests, though, ripping a tough Washington defense for 272 passing yards and a pair of scores on October 17 before lighting up Arizona State with 315 through the air and four touchdown passes last Thursday. Both of those games came on the road. On Saturday, he'll return to Eugene to face a Cal defense that's been gouged to the tune of 254.62 passing yards on average. It's a very favorable match-up for Adams, who's beginning to look more and more comfortable with the Oregon offense. An added bonus for DFS players, Oregon's defense is surrendering in excess of 38 points per game. If Cal gunslinger Jared Goff ($8,400) and company can take advantage of that wobbly defense—as Mike Bercovici and the Sun Devils did last week—Adams could post big numbers trying to keep pace.


Alternate- Cody Kessler, USC vs Arizona ($7,400). Kessler's not without his red flags. After opening the season with 15 touchdowns through USC's first four games, he's thrown just three in his last four. And in two of those four contests, he failed to throw for any touchdowns at all. He most recently posted a scoring donut on Saturday in a win over Cal. He threw for just 186 yards in that one. All of this aside, Arizona is in a tailspin right now. The Wildcats have lost four of six and were just thumped by Washington to the tune of 49-3. Huskies freshman QB Jake Browning ($7,100) entered that game with six touchdown passes on the season and proceeded to toss four against the 'Cats. If ever Kessler's going to break out, it's going to be in this game. Unfortunately, leading receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster underwent surgery to repair a broken hand on Monday. Even with the recent surgery, there's a chance that Smith-Schuster suits up, but if he doesn't, Kessler's still talented enough to take advantage of a defense that looked completely lost a week ago.


Option I wouldn't touch with my worst enemy's lineup- Travis Wilson, Utah @ Washington ($7,500). That hot Washington team that just throttled Arizona and limited the Wildcats to three points? They'll be hosting Utah on Saturday. The Huskies boast a Top-15 scoring defense and Wilson's lobbed just 10 touchdown passes during the 2015 campaign. That number's buoyed by four that he tossed against Oregon on September 26. There's little reason to expect aerial pyrotechnics here. Wilson does have four rushing touchdowns, but that's not enough to boost his value given the match-up.


Running Back- Peyton Barber, Auburn Texas A&M ($7,700)


Analysis: First thing you should know—an undisclosed injury limited Barber to eight carries for 17 yards in a loss to Ole Miss on Saturday. Backup Javon Robinson ($4,500) rushed for 91 yards on 18 carries in his stead. Barber was back at practice this week in at least some capacity, but anybody rolling with the 5-foot-11, 225-pounder should make sure that he's actually suiting up prior to kickoff. When healthy, he's been a bull in a china shop. Barber's rushed for 787 yards and 12 touchdowns across eight contests. 11 of those 12 touchdowns have come in his last four games, as Auburn's finally cashing in on some of their red zone opportunities. Should he play, he'll get to feast upon an Aggie defense that's allowing over 200 yards rushing on average. Just make sure to check on Barber's injury status prior to kickoff.


Running Back- L.J. Scott, Michigan State Nebraska ($5,800)


Analysis: Let's dive into the dark, uncertain waters that come with more or less any player with a FanDuel price tag under $6,000. Outside of a monster 146-yard effort against Purdue on October 3, Scott hasn't cracked the 100-yard barrier this season. His next two highest yardage totals of the 2015 campaign (77 yards vs Western Michigan, 76 vs Oregon) came in Sparty's first two games. Why the bullishness on him against a Nebraska defense that's been tough against the run? Two factors: First, while you might have to swim through dark waters, Scott's price tag is about as lovely as they come. And the more important factor, seven of his nine touchdowns have come over the course of his last four games. This is the kind of trend you like to see from a freshman runner down the stretch. Scott's unlikely to produce a huge yardage effort, but he should see scoring opportunities in a game where Michigan State should theoretically waltz away with an easy win.


Alternate- Joe Mixon, Oklahoma vs Iowa State ($6,600). Mixon's provided the Sooners with a little bit in the running game and a little bit in the passing game. All told, he's accumulated 733 yards from scrimmage with eight total touchdowns—four running, four receiving. This versatility makes him appealing against an Iowa State team that is below average in both run defense (178.5 yards rushing allowed per game) and pass defense (254 yards through the air on average). Mixon's been held out of the end zone in just two of eight games this season.


Option(s) I wouldn't touch with my worst enemy's lineup- Leonard Fournette, LSU @ Alabama ($9,800) and Derrick Henry, Alabama vs LSU ($8,500). The most high-profile showdown of running backs on the day is one I'll be distancing myself from. Both opposing defenses have been staunch against the run, with Alabama clocking in at No. 3 (78.5) and LSU No. 6 (93.71) in terms of averaging rushing yards allowed. Fournette and Henry should see a ton of touches, but if this turns into a game of ugly—as has been the case in the past—it's going to limit the upside of every offensive player involved. If you're dead-set on including one of these backs in your lineup, Henry makes for the more appealing option. $1,300 cheaper with a slightly more malleable match-up.


Wide Receiver- Darren Carrington, Oregon vs Cal ($7,400)


Analysis: Carrington missed the first six games of the season due to a suspension stemming from a failed drug test at the end of the 2014 campaign. He's come on without missing a beat in his two contests since returning to the field, logging five catches for 125 yards and two touchdowns against Washington on October 17 and five catches for 107 yards and a touchdown against Arizona State on October 29. In those two games, he averaged 23.2 yards per reception. Rivals graded him as a four-star recruit out of high school and he logged a 37-704-4 receiving line as a redshirt freshman. If he can stay out of trouble, he has all the talent to continue building on his recent success.


Wide Receiver- Mose Frazier, Memphis vs Navy ($6,600)


Analysis: Frazier scored two of his three touchdowns in Memphis' season-opener. While he hasn't found the end zone on a consistent basis, QB Paxton Lynch ($9,500) has looked his way a ton as of late. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound redshirt senior caught just 21 passes through five games, but he's registered 25 catches over his last three contests alone. Frazier had at least 75 yards receiving in each of those three games, highlighted by a masterful 10-catch, 128-yard dissection of Tulsa on October 23. The only real hesitation here is whether Memphis can score on a Navy defense that's holding opponents under 20 points per game on average. That's swell, but their defensive marks have been inflated by a slew of match-ups with unranked opponents. In their lone contest against a ranked team this season, the Midshipmen surrendered 41 to Notre Dame.


Wide Receiver- Ricardo Louis, Auburn Texas A&M ($5,800)


Analysis: In his last three games, Louis has posted 154 yards receiving against Kentucky, 79 against Arkansas and 137 against Ole Miss. In Saturday's contest with the Rebs, he also caught his first touchdown since Auburn's season-opener. Overall, the 6-foot-2, 215-pound wideout's hauled in 36 passes for 563 yards and two touchdowns. He's a legitimate No. 1 receiver in the Tiger offense with Duke Williams off the team. At just $5,800 on FanDuel, Louis should more than work off his price even if he's unable to find the end zone. In both the Kentucky and Ole Miss contests, Louis accounted for over half of QB Sean White's ($6,100) passing yardage.


Alternate- Braxton Miller, Ohio State vs Minnesota ($5,300). Call it a hunch, because Miller's stats themselves aren't particularly convincing. The QB-turned-WR has caught 19 passes for 280 yards and three touchdowns across eight games. He's seen a bit more work of late, with 11 catches and two touchdowns scored in Ohio State's last three games. Zeke Elliott ($9,600) is the only sure piece on the Buckeye offense right now, but with J.T. Barrett serving a one-game suspension on Saturday, Miller suddenly finds himself in a role where he might be called upon more heavily to provide a spark. He's cheap cheap cheap on FanDuel if you're looking for a lottery ticket. To thicken the plot, Miller will also be serving as the backup QB to Cardale Jones ($8,000) on Saturday. It's very unlikely he'll actually take snaps at quarterback, but HC Urban Meyer did a superb job utilizing Barrett in a backup capacity on red zone plays prior to his suspension and Miller could likewise see a few opportunities he wouldn't otherwise receive.


Option I wouldn't touch with my worst enemy's lineup- JuJu Smith-Schuster, USC vs Arizona ($7,600). Smith-Schuster has notched a stellar 52-956-8 receiving line through eight contests completed, but he fractured his hand in Saturday's 27-21 win over Cal. While he underwent surgery on Monday, reports indicate that he could still play against Arizona on Saturday. That would be an impressively quick turnaround, but even with a player as magical as Smith-Schuster, there's far too much uncertainty here to trust him for DFS purposes until he proves that the recovering hand won't hinder his performance.


Tight End- Brandon Lingen, Minnesota @ Ohio State ($3,100)


Analysis: In six games played, Lingen's caught 15 passes for 220 yards and two touchdowns. Over half of that receiving yardage came via last weekend's five-catch, 111-yard performance against Michigan. Ohio State should post their share of points versus Minnesota on Saturday, which makes this my favorite kind of tight end game: The one where a low-volume passing attack is forced to throw to try to keep up with the high-octane unit on the other side. A bevy of short passing glory surely awaits. The 6-foot-5, 245-pound Lingen might not be Maxx Williams, but he provides a big enough target.


Alternate- Joshua Perkins, Washington vs Utah ($3,500). Perkins notched his second-highest receiving effort of the season with four catches for 58 yards and a touchdown against Arizona on Saturday. Utah's defense isn't quite as flammable as that of the Wildcats, but the unit's been surprisingly susceptible to the pass, surrendering 250.50 yards through the air on average. Washington HC Chris Petersen's been talking up his team's progression as the season's unfolded and he's likely going to throw the offensive kitchen sink at Utah to try to earn a signature win. Fun side note: The Utes have never beaten the Huskies. Washington's 8-0 dating back to the first time the two squads squared off in 1931.


Option I wouldn't touch with my worst enemy's lineup- O.J. Howard, Alabama vs LSU ($3,100). Howard caught seven passes for 55 yards in a 19-14 win over Tennessee last time he suited up, but he's still looking for his first touchdown of the 2015 campaign. Alabama's running game is so dominant that even in the red zone, Howard's not going to see a ton of opportunities. It should be doubly so on Saturday. Not only will Derrick Henry be receiving the bulk of the work around the 10-yard line should the Crimson Tide drive that deep, HC Nick Saban and OC Lane Kiffen are not going to be putting this game in the hands of QB Jake Coker ($5,700) unless circumstance forces it. Howard continues his quiet 2015 campaign.

Thor Nystrom

Thor Nystrom is Rotoworld’s lead CFB writer. The 2018 FSWA College Sports Writer of the Year, Nystrom’s writing has also been honored by Rolling Stone magazine and The Best American Essays series. Say hi to him on Twitter @thorku!