Ooo baby, it’s time for the big boy games to start. Below is our preferred DFS lineup for the Friday main slate on DraftKings. If you're looking for Saturday lineup help, we're here for you.
Friday main slate
Player pool drawn from: Michigan State vs. Wake Forest, Oklahoma State vs. Texas A&M, Iowa vs. USC, Air Force vs. Washington State
Air Force QB Donald Hammond ($6,900) vs. Washington State -- Oh boy, we were very tempted to roll with USC QB Kedon Slovis, here, consider Slovis’ end-of-the-season magic, but USC draws an Iowa team which allowed more than 20 points just twice in 12 games (both Wisconsin and Nebraska absolutely blistered the scoreboard with 24 points, each). So no Slovis. No Anthony Gordon, either. Gordon will be facing off with an Air Force team which ranked seventh in the FBS in time of possession in 2019. If the Falcons flatten out the game as is their wont, WSU simply won’t receive enough possessions for Gordon to put up an astronomical number.
No, you don’t want Gordon. You want the quarterback from the other sideline, the one who will be controlling the tempo of the game. Donald Hammond is a good bet to find the end zone at least once on the ground -- he scored 11 rushing touchdowns during the regular season, including one in each of Air Force’s final three games -- and shouldn’t be discounted as a thrower, either, even in a relatively limited aerial attack. Hammond threw for a total of eight touchdowns in the last three games of the campaign, with seven combined coming in back-to-back contests against Colorado State and New Mexico. But both of those are bad teams, you say. Roger dodger, they are. By Bill Connelly’s SP+ Washington State is worse (94th) defensively than CSU (81st). We think Air Force dominates this contest. Rolling with Hammond, here, will free up money later in your lineup, too.
Texas A&M RB Isaiah Spiller ($5,700) vs. Oklahoma State -- Spiller will cost you $2,800 less than his opposite number, Chuba Hubbard. And if you wanted to pony up for Hubbard, we get it. Hubbard is great. We’ll just give you a little caveat with the Cowboys, though. They are facing the raw underbelly of the Big 12, here. Texas A&M allowed a touch under 130 rushing yards per game during the regular season, good for 30th in the country. Hubbard might crack that puzzle. But do you really want to put down $8,500 fake monies that he does? We’ll pass. If he bolts for a long touchdown or two we’ll rue the moment.
Instead, we like Spiller in this spot. While Hubbard is facing a step up in competition, Spiller goes against a far softer outfit, with the Cowboys surrendering 151 yards on the ground per game, 60th in the country for 2019. While Spiller rushed for just 73 combined yards over his final two games, those games were road contests against Georgia and LSU. The former was a defensive slog, the latter a blowout. Neither game conducive to Spiller finding success. He went off for 336 yards combined in his two games previous to those, posting blistering performances against UTSA and South Carolina. We don’t know if he’ll reach those kinds of operatic heights versus the Cowboys, but he doesn’t need to sing the aria to shatter glass in this spot.
USC RB Vavae Malepeai ($5,200) vs. Iowa -- Remember how we shied away from USC QB Kedon Slovis? For the same reasons we did, we’ll welcome Mr. Malepeai into our lineup with open arms. We expect this game to be a typically Iowa-ish slug-it-out affair, perfect for a pounder like Malepeai. He missed multiple games as the weather chilled while rehabbing from in-season knee surgery, but in his return versus UCLA to close out the regular season, Malepeai scored two touchdowns while rushing for 60 yards. He received 11 carries in that contest, a mark which could bump up after three additional weeks of rest and rehab. Now, Iowa remains a rock-solid defensive team and it’s possible that the Hawkeyes -- who ranked 24th in the country in rushing defense -- simply throw up a shutout. We think game flow gives Malepeai a nice chance to contribute, though, and at $5,200 you’re saving real dollars.
USC WR Amon-Ra St. Brown ($5,800) vs. Iowa -- As mentioned above, we’re nervous as to just how much the Trojans can do against the Hawkeyes. We’re concerned that the offense will be frustrated. That out the way, St. Brown came on late at the end of the season and comes in at a fantastic price, here. He finished the campaign topping 125 yards receiving in two of three contests (with at least 85 yards in all three games). St. Brown also scored touchdowns in each of USC’s penultimate two games. He has seven touchdowns on the season, so no guarantees that he finds the end zone, but if we’re going to slot in a USC receiver in a possible slog of a game, we’ll take one who doesn’t break the wallet.
Michigan State WR Cody White ($5,400) vs. Wake Forest -- Ring in the New Year by putting your faith in MSU’s offense. Do it, do it, do it. We dare you. We dare ourselves. We will. Make no mistake -- Sparty had a sad season as a team. White has been a steady performer in East Lansing this year, especially over the final month-plus. He posted at least 65 yards receiving in each of his final five games, at least 75 yards receiving in each of his final four games, with a pair of contests over 125 yards receiving in that four-game space. Wake Forest ranked 97th in the country in pass defense this season and allowed four wideouts to hit on 70 or more receiving yards over the final four games of the campaign. Even Michigan State should find room to work in the passing game, here. Theoretically.
Iowa WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette ($5,500) vs. USC -- There’s nothing particularly appealing about Iowa’s offense, but so much as it does exist, we think Smith-Marsette and QB Nathan Stanley -- who could use a nice performance heading into the draft process this spring -- have a nice chance to hook up a few times against the Trojans. USC allowed two 100-yard receivers when they played UCLA to close out the season, while Smith-Marsette has scored touchdowns in two of his last three games, with one 100-yard performance (against Illinois) in that mix. Now, the Iowa of it all is that Smith-Marsette was also held to under 50 yards receiving in six games this fall. USC has a pliable pass defense -- 99th in the country -- and if Iowa does need to throw, they are going to be able to do so.
FLEX: Oklahoma State RB Chuba Hubbard ($8,500) vs. Texas A&M -- Remember how up above we slotted in Isaiah Spiller over Hubbard and said we would rue the moment if Hubbard bolted for a long score or three? That was just a red herring. We actually really, really want to give Hubbard a dance. With all the change we’ve saved up on various bargain picks, we have an opportunity to splurge, here, thankfully. Hubbard topped 100 yards in every game during the regular season save for a take-it-easy game against McNeese State in Week 2. He scored touchdowns in all but one contest during the regular season and posted multiple rushing touchdowns in seven contests. The Aggies may shut him down, but nobody has so far.
S-FLEX: Michigan State QB Brian Lewerke ($6,400) vs. Wake Forest -- Another Spartan sneaking into our lineup, here. We’d like to roll with two quarterbacks given how we have distributed our monies above, and given that we don’t particularly love Spencer Sanders against Texas A&M, Brian Lewerke be the pull, here. Wake Forest’s defense is a good one to go against for passing purposes, as we highlighted above with MSU WR Cody White. There is some concern that Rocky Lombardi could leach into Lewerke’s playing time -- Lewerke seriously needs to cut down on the interceptions, having thrown multiple picks in three of his last four games -- but our hunch is that Sparty HC Mark Dantonio gives Lewerke an extra-long leash in what will be the quarterback’s final collegiate game.