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Max Duggan
Daily Fantasy Decisions

CFB DFS Bargains: Week 13

by Mark Lindquist
Updated On: November 22, 2019, 10:55 am ET

In this column, going position-by-position, we’ll offer up one building-block DFS sleeper priced at $6,000 or cheaper ($6,500 or less at QB) and three deeper bargains priced at $5,000 or cheaper (two QBs at $6,000 or less). We’re plucking our dark horses from DraftKings. Player pool drawn from the Friday and Saturday slates.


Affordable building block ($6,500 or less)

TCU QB Max Duggan ($6,300) at Oklahoma (Saturday night slate) -- The Sooners’ defense has tipped over like so many fallen schooners of late, with Skylar Thompson, Brock Purdy and Charlie Brewer accounting for four or more scores versus OU over the last three games. Thompson did it as a rusher (four on the ground), Purdy did it as a thrower (five through the air) and Brewer did it with a little from Column A and a little from Column B (two throwing, two rushing).

Enter Max Duggan, coming off a career best performance against Texas Tech in which he threw for 323 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 75 yards and an additional score. You can’t necessarily count on passing production -- this was first career game with over 275 through the air -- but young Mr. Duggan has been as consistent as all get all on ground of late. He has topped 70 yards rushing in four of his last five games. And in each of those four contests, he has also scored a touchdown. Start Duggan with confidence. 

And two from the bargain bin ($6,000 or less)

Tulsa QB Zach Smith ($5,300) vs. Houston (Saturday night slate) -- We’re not promising the world with Smith. Heck, we can’t even promise that he’ll play on Saturday, as he left his last game, against UCF, due to a leg injury. He has had a bye week to rest up from that injury. Smith has thrown for at least one touchdown pass in all but one game this season, with three games north of 300 yards passing. Over their last three games, the Cougars have surrendered 10 touchdown passes. 


Hawaii QB Chevan Cordeiro ($5,200) vs. San Diego State (Saturday late night slate) -- We’re throwing a wee bit of a dart, here, as Warriors HC Nick Rolovich has had a quick pull with his starting quarterback down the stretch. Cordeiro threw for 309 yards while accounting for five total touchdowns against San Jose State two weekends back, but was yanked in favor of Cole McDonald versus UNLV after throwing a pair of interceptions last Saturday. 

Cordeiro is no sure thing to start against the Aztecs upcoming, but for $5,200 he is a strong upside gamble at a low price tag. And given Rolovich’s tact with his quarterback, even if Cordeiro sits in favor of McDonald, he could easily end up playing significant minutes by time this one ends in the week hours of the morning Stateside.

Running back

Affordable building block ($6,000 or less)

Louisville RB Javian Hawkins ($5,500) at Syracuse (Saturday early/main slates) -- Toss out Syracuse’s cruise-of-a-win over Duke last weekend. In the three contests previous, the Orange had allowed four runners over 100 yards rushing. And three of those runners had outright huge games. Boston College’s David Bailey went for 172 yards rushing and two scores versus Syracuse on Nov. 2 and didn’t even lead his team on the ground (nice to have AJ Dillon around to rush for 242 yards and three touchdowns). FSU’s Cam Akers put up 144 and four touchdowns on the ground against HC Dino Babers’ outfit.

Hawkins was limited to 67 yards rushing by NC State in last weekend’s win -- still a respectable enough mark -- but had gone for at least 90 yards on the ground in four of his previous five contests, with three of those four good for at least 125 yards rushing. We dig Hawkins’ consistency coupled with Syracuse’s combustability versus opposing ground games.


And three from the bargain bin ($5,000 or less)

USC RB Vavae Malepeai ($5,000) vs. UCLA (Saturday early/main slates) -- Malepeai has not played since Oct. 12, out rehabbing from knee surgery. He’s set to return to the field versus the Bruins this weekend barring setback. It is fair to ask just what kind of a workload he might see right out of the chute, but even if Malepeai is not seeing significant touches, we like his touchdown upside. He had found the end zone four times in six games prior to being undone by injury woes.

And it’s not like USC has a ton of other options. Markese Stepp is out hurt, Kenan Christon managed just 44 yards rushing last weekend against Cal and has cooled after a hot midseason emergence, Stephen Carr is still Stephen Carr. Malepeai is a fresh body for HC Clay Helton to throw into the mix as he tries his best to rally a case to keep his job.


Georgia RB Brian Herrien ($5,000) vs. Texas A&M (Saturday early/main slate) -- The Aggies took care of business against the run versus South Carolina and UTSA their past two games, but it was a whole other show in the four previous contests --  a running back went for at least 80 yards rushing in every game in that space. Now, Herrien is unlikely to do major damage on the pure yardage front (D’Andre Swift still exists), but his modest touchdown upside (six scores on the year) is enough for us to take a cheap flier, especially in a week when many teams are either on bye or simply not DFS options due to puffball opponents.


Penn State RB Noah Cain ($4,900) at Ohio State (Saturday early slate) --  Cain has yet to play in November due to a leg injury, but he has dressed each of the last two games before ultimately sitting and PSU HC James Franklin gave the ol’ “could have played” line after the team’s win over Indiana this past weekend. Well, here’s the spot you’ve presumably been waiting for, Coach. Any longshot Playoff chance for the Nittany Lions will wither and die without a win against Ohio State. All hands at the ready, presumably. Journey Brown has come on of late and probably figures to see the majority of work even if Cain plays, but for under $5,000, we like Cain as an upside play. He has two 100-yard games this season and has scored six touchdowns in eight contests this season.

Wide receiver

Affordable building block ($6,000 or less)

Louisville WR Chatarius Atwell ($5,900) vs. Syracuse (Saturday early/main slates) -- Do the DFS price-makers actually watch Louisville? Do they think the team is still coached by Bobby Petrino, routinely losing by 20-plus points each weekend? We simply don’t understand why this offense is consistently undersold. That’s been the case with RB Javian Hawkins (see above) and it’s definitely the case with Atwell this week.

Playing very much off-radar, Atwell has been on a heater in recent weeks, topping 100 yards receiving in each of his last three games. But looking even farther back, he has rocked at least 100 yards receiving in five of his last eight contests. He has failed to score a touchdown in just three games -- out of 10 -- this season. All of this adds up to a sub-$6,000 valuation. Yes, please.


And three from the bargain bin ($5,000 or less)

Michigan WR Donovan Peoples-Jones ($4,900) at Indiana (Saturday early/main slates) -- DPJ has been a low-grade option all season, more name than substance. A 25-262-4 receiving line? Pretty meh, yeah? We’re playing him on a hunch this week. Peoples-Jones has caught touchdown passes in three of his last five games and UM’s passing offense has really started to rev of late. Wolverines QB Shea Patterson is coming off his best performance in a Michigan uniform. We expect the offense to be working at full-throttle versus the Hoosiers as the team fine tunes for next weekend’s incarnation of The Game. 


USC WR Drake London ($4,700) vs. UCLA (Saturday early/main slates) -- London just turned in the best performance of his season -- of his career -- in catching six passes for 111 yards and a touchdown in last weekend’s win over Cal. Any yardage bump on Saturday would be a little cherry on top of the sundae, though. Where we really like London comes in his price point coupled with his touchdown chops. The wideout has scored in each of his last three games.


Penn State TE Pat Freiermuth ($4,700) at Ohio State (Saturday early/main slates) -- Freiermuth turned in his best catch/yardage game against Minnesota two weekends ago, hauling in seven for 101 yards. And he turned in a season-high three touchdowns the weekend before that. The uber-talented tight end makes for an intriguing play in most circumstances, but especially in the context of Saturday’s showdown with OSU. A road game, with a quarterback who needs comfortable targets and may be lacking his favorite in KJ Hamler (currently recovering from a concussion). Sans Hamler, Freiermuth is by far Penn State’s most reliable receiving option. 

Mark Lindquist
Mark Lindquist holds a master's degree from the University of Iowa and writes baseball and college football for Rotoworld.com. He's currently working on a memoir about life, death, rock 'n' roll and his year teaching at a Chinese university. You can reach him on Twitter @markrlindquist.