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Anthony Russo
Daily Fantasy Decisions

CFB DFS Bargains: Week 5

by Mark Lindquist
Updated On: September 27, 2019, 11:29 am ET

Welcome back to another season of CFB DFS bargain-bin diving! In this column, going position-by-position, we’ll offer up one building-block DFS sleeper priced at $6,000 or cheaper ($6,500 and cheaper at QB) and three deeper bargains priced at $5,000 or cheaper (two QBs at $6,000 or cheaper). We’re plucking our dark horses from DraftKings. Player pool drawn from Friday and Saturday main/night slates.


Affordable building block ($6,500 or less):

Temple QB Anthony Russo ($6,400) vs. Georgia Tech (Saturday main slate) -- Georgia Tech rebuild man Geoff Collins returning to his old stomping in Philly, here. His former pupil in Russo has thrown for at least three touchdowns in each of Temple’s first three games. He was also picked off three times in the team’s loss to Buffalo a week ago and has completed under 55% of his passes in his only efforts against FBS outfits (Buffalo, Maryland). 

Russo has a certain kind of madman gunslinger appeal -- when he hits, he really hits -- and we’re banking on him continuing his steady touchdown marks against a Georgia Tech team which is wearing an UNDER CONSTRUCTION sign in 2019. The Yellow Jackets are coming off a loss to The Citadel. Collins knows Russo and could lure him into a bad pick or two, but this is a game where Temple should be able to move the ball regardless.

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

Wisconsin QB Jack Coan ($5,900) vs Northwestern (Saturday main slate) -- We understand that your natural inclination toward rolling with Coan might be to snicker. And that’s fair. You feel a little foolish when Jonathan Taylor is hitting the end zone for the third time and Coan has 145 passing yards late in the third quarter. Thing is, we think he shines a little brighter than that versus the Wildcats. Northwestern just surrendered three passing touchdowns to Brian Lewerke

It’s a Northwestern team searching for an identity at this juncture. Coan pushes them further into existential crisis -- remember, Jonathan Taylor had to leave last Saturday’s game against Michigan due to cramping. We think Paul Chryst and staff ease up the gas pedal.


TCU QB Max Duggan ($5,400) vs. Kansas (Saturday main slate) -- Duggan made his first start of the season in last weekend’s shootout loss to SMU, tossing three touchdown passes. At home, against Kansas, is a pretty nice spot for start No. 2. This isn’t doormat Kansas -- say what you want about Les Miles, but his professional Brand Name fingerprints are all over this team, especially of late in a blowout win over Boston College and a narrow loss to WVU. 

Kansas may well earn the win, here, in a series which has played very nip and tuck of late, but Duggan will get his.

Running back

Affordable building block ($6,000 or less):

Oklahoma RB Trey Sermon ($5,400) vs. Texas Tech (Saturday main slate) -- By the base numbers on Draft Kings, Sermon is averaging just 10.1 fantasy points per game. Boring! But you check out his actual season stats and the reason for that low total becomes abundantly clear -- Sermon has one touchdown in three games. 

A few more trips to the end zone and his numbers would be looking much shinier. Sermon scored 13 touchdowns last season and is averaging 7.3 YPC. And he has received 10 more carries than Kennedy Brooks on the year. Texas Tech allowed three runners over 60 yards on the ground against Arizona last weekend. You may well not to be able to sniff Sermon at $5,400 later on this season. Catch the front of the statistical wave that’s coming, before the prices rise.


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

Nebraska RB Dedrick Mills ($5,000) vs. Ohio State (Saturday night slate) -- While Maurice Washington would be the flashier pick in the Huskers backfield, Washington is going to cost you a pretty penny of $6,900. Rather than burn the money in that slot, save yourself a cool $1,900 by rolling with Mills instead. He doesn’t come equipped with Washington’s pure, blow-the-world-off-his-map upside, but has scored five touchdowns to Washington’s one on the ground (he has hit the end zone in three of four games, with a pair of two-touchdown performances to his name) and has put up a combined 178 yards over his last two games. Our only worry with Mills -- and this goes for Washington, too, by the way -- is that Ohio State is going to force this to become a passing game simply by the weight of their offensive being.


Penn State RB Ricky Slade ($4,700) at Maryland (Friday slate) -- Sigh. Eventually this has to work out, right? Eventually, some morning, Slade will wake up and start playing like the heir apparent to Saquon Barkley and Miles Sanders. We’re willing to keep throwing that hook out there with Slade, despite the fact that he has just 21 rushing yards to his fair name, despite the fact that whippersnapper freshmen Devyn Ford and Noah Cain (each $4,500) have had actual moments. 

We might not know Slade’s true upside, but guarantee that it’s higher than what he’s done thus far. The Nittany Lions were on bye last weekend and should come out of the gates looking sharp after what’s been an up-and-down start to that season.


Baylor RB Trestan Ebner ($4,300) vs. Iowa State (Saturday main slate) -- Ebner has seen just 13 carries this season, but is averaging 9.1 yards a pop. Compare that to backfield mate JaMycal Hasty’s 3.4 YPC on 24 totes of the rock. Ebner might not have seen much volume as of yet, but Baylor has been feasting on cupcakes Stephen F. Austin, UTSA and Rice to date. Those kinds of games lack for a real competitive flow. We think the Bears lean harder on Ebner this week, against their first conference foe.

Wide receiver

Affordable building block ($6,000 or less):

Alabama WR Devonta Smith ($5,900) vs. Ole Miss (Saturday main slate) -- Generally, we’re priced out on Bama players, but Smith falls just within range for our bargain basement bin. He’ll certainly cost you a pretty penny less than Jerry Jeudy ($8,100) or Henry Ruggs ($7,600). Smith doesn’t come with quite the same kind of consistent appeal as Jeudy/Ruggs, but is easily capable of racking up big numbers if the offensive wind happens to be blowing his way. Smith has caught at least five passes in three of four games and in a show of what he can do when the ball is coming his way on volume, popped off for 8-136-2 two weeks back, against South Carolina.

Then there’s the opponent, here. Ole Miss allowed Cal -- Cal! -- to go crazy through the air last weekend, with three receivers topping 60 yards while QB Chase Garbers went off for 357 yards and four touchdowns. Smith isn’t a guarantee for huge numbers, but coming in under our price point, against this flammable defense, we’ll take our chances.


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

Iowa State WR Tarique Milton ($5,000) at Baylor (Saturday main slate) -- This one feels so easy that it feels like we’re about to step on a bear trap, but you know what, step away. Milton has racked up receiving lines of 8-144-1 and 3-142-1 over his last two games. The latter game came against ULM, which, shrug. The former, and more impressive of the two performances, came against a rock solid defensive outfit in Iowa. To be honest, we’re not quite sure why Milton is being priced in more the “hit or miss, touchdown-dependent” range at this juncture. He has performed well above his price point to date. Strike on this one before DraftKings realizes that they have badly, badly misplayed their asking marks.


Oklahoma WR Jadon Haselwood ($4,800) vs. Texas Tech (Saturday main slate) -- Now here’s more of the “hit or miss, touchdown-dependent” cat that we were mentioning in our rundown of Tarique Milton. Haselwood has flashed his five-star pedigree throughout the early campaign, with his high-water mark coming in a 3-78-1 showing against South Dakota in OU’s second contest of the campaign. In a game which traditionally sees scoring up to yin-yang (though we’ll see if that stays true on the Tech side sans Kliff Kingsbury), this might be Haselwood’s best shot to date at a true breakout performance.


Clemson WR Amari Rodgers ($4,600) at North Carolina (Saturday main slate) -- Whereas Milton costs a laughably small pile of Monopoly dollars given his production thus far, we actually think that Rodgers is being tagged fairly. For all of his explosiveness, this is a Tigers team led by Tee Higgins and Justyn Ross in the receiving corp. That’s not to say that you’re just burning your cash with Rodgers, though. 

He showed against Syracuse two weekends ago the kind of game-breaking receiver he can be when he and Trevor Lawrence are clicking, catching four passes for 121 yards and two touchdowns. He quieted down for essentially a goose egg game against Charlotte last weekend, but feel free to toss aside that result against a low-grade opponent. Clemson’s passing offense is going to show far more against the Tar Heels. UNC has allowed six receivers to go for 70 or more yards already.

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.