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Saturday Lineup (12:00 PM EST)
The format: DraftKings -- $50,000; 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 Flex, 1 Super-flex
Texas QB Sam Ehlinger ($7,400) vs. Oklahoma
Last week in this space, I took a flier on Charlie Brewer against Oklahoma and Brewer went off for 31 points on a $5,900 price point. We've got to pay a little more for Ehlinger, but I'm comfortable with that. Oklahoma is the perfect team to stack against in DFS. The Sooners have an awesome offense, a bad defense, and, for whatever reason, we often get discounts with players playing against them despite the fact that their teams will be motivated to score as quickly as possible to keep pace with OU's offense. Oklahoma's defense has performed poorly in three straight games, against Iowa State, Army and Baylor. Texas obviously has more talent than all of them. Texas' offense has been up and down, but Ehlinger is a reliable DFS guy. He's scored between 19.28 and 28.52 points on DraftKings in all of his games this season. His floor is extremely high, and his celing is probably even a little north of what Brewer did last week.
Michigan RB Karan Higdon ($7,700) vs. Maryland
Higdon was a must-own for me because his price should absolutely be above $8,000. The guy is averaging 22.6 fppg and that number jumps over 25 if you drop the opener against Notre Dame. He's getting bundles of touches -- 31 last week -- in an offense that remains ground-centric. Higdon has been handling a larger workload the past few weeks because his backfield mate Chris Evans has been injured. Evans is questionable to play Saturday. We likely won't know Evans' status until shortly before kickoff, but it'd be a surprise if he straight split carries with Higdon even if he was able to give it a go. Weather conditions are supposed to be bad in Ann Arbor on Saturday, with high winds and rain, which means Michigan will be motivated to not only run more than usual but also perhaps to withhold Evans with Wisconsin on deck.
Kansas RB Pooka Williams ($7,000) at West Virginia
Pooka is another guy we're returning to the well with. Last week, with a $6,100 pricetag, he posted 27.7 fp against Oklahoma State. Here, we've got another good matchup against a team with a great offense and a stinky defense. A true freshman, Williams is Kansas' best player. He must be fed for the team to generate offense. Because of his track speed, he's usually good for a minimum of one explosive play per game. It would be quite nice if we got two or three that ended in touchdowns against West Virginia. Pooka has played in four college games and scored over 25 fp in three of them. His price will soon get to the point where we'll have tough decisions to make regarding his use, but, for this week at least, he remains affordable in a good matchup.
Clemson WR Tee Higgins ($5,700) at Wake Forest
Man is this a juicy spot for Higgins to break out of the nondescript stretch he's in. He's scored only 24.4 fp over his past three games combined. But the upside remains. Higgins is one of the most talented receivers in all of college football. A part of the problem in the GSU and Georgia Tech games were 1.) They were blowouts, limiting Higgins' targets and snaps, and, 2.) Kelly Bryant wasn't exactly a fantasy-friendly quarterback for his receivers (similar to Brandon Wimbush at Notre Dame). And of course last week, Trevor Lawrence was knocked out of the game quickly. This week, Lawrence is expected to play. Lawrence's presence is enormous for Higgins' fantasy value, as he finally has a stud pocket passer to get him the ball. Despite Higgins' modest showing last week, and despite Lawrence's injury, we saw how big a part of Clemson's offense Higgins is. He was targeted 10 times. If that happens again Saturday with Lawrence behind center, Higgins is going to explode. Wake Forest's pass defense is famously bad, ranked No. 108.
Michigan State WR Felton Davis ($5,600) vs. Northwestern
To be totally honest, Davis wasn't an initial target of mine. I kept shuffling elsewhere around my lineup to try to come up with the pieces I was most comfortable with, and, when the music stopped, I had an open receiver slot and $5,600 available. Voila! There was Davis. But instead of turning the music back on and resuming the shuffling, I decided to stick with him. Davis' situation isn't too disimilar from Higgins' in that the struggles of his team's passing attack has been reflected in his stats. Davis is averaging 13 fppg on DraftKings. Not awful, but not exactly what we were hoping for from an NFL prospect who has another NFL prospect (Brian Lewerke) throwing him the ball. In Davis' case, it's been Lewerke's struggles that have hurt him. But I think Lewerke is going to be just fine. And this is a sneaky-good matchup for Davis. Northwestern may have the No. 31 S&P+ defense, but they're bad against the pass, ranking No. 100 in passing efficiency against and No. 117 in opposing completion percentage. I think this could be a breakout game for both Lewerke and Davis.
Kansas WR Steve Sims ($4,900) at West Virginia
Before you jump on me for being a Kansas homer, hear me out. Sims has been Kansas' best receiver for years now. He entered this year with 161 career receptions. But the beginning of the year was rough. He had only 13 catches through the team's first four games. Then, last week, magically the Steve Sims of old returned against Oklahoma State with a 10-89-1 receiving line and a 29-yard run (27.2 fp). Okay, it wasn't magical. What happened was Kansas finally pulled the plug on bust JUCO import Peyton Bender and returned the starting job to Carter Stanley, who probably should have had it all along. Stanley provided KU with a solid passer, and, when he was in the pocket, he was constantly looking for Sims. That will continue, I promise you. Kansas is going to be playing from behind all day Saturday, so I expect it to be the Pooka/Sims show. I feel good about predicting that if you roster the both of them, you'll get over 200 yards from scrimmage and more than one TD at a cost of only $11,900 combined.
Texas RB Keaontay Ingram ($4,900) at Oklahoma
Ingram is my favorite bargain of the early slate. He's still being priced like an RB2, and he's not going to be that moving forward. The gifted true freshman turned 15 touches into 95 yards from scrimmage in a career-day last week against Kansas State. That was only the beginning. Ingram is very clearly the best back on the team. He’s averaging 6.1 ypc as Texas’ other top two backs each average 4.0, and his opportunity rate and marginal efficiency numbers are also well ahead of his contemporaries. Part of the impediment to touches to this point was the fact that, as a true freshman, Ingram had to "earn" carries while mediocre veteran Tre Watson had already "earned" them due to nothing more than senority. Worse, Ingram suffered through two nagging injuries in September, one at the outset of the campaign and then a hip pointer he sustained against TCU. Based on his touches against K-State and the way he looked in that game, it would appear that he's closing in on 100-percent health. HC Tom Herman mentioned after the game that Ingram is ready for more touches. Let the kid eat! This Sooners defense, as touched upon above, stinks. And Texas will be plenty motivated to run to shorten the game, a strategy that worked well for Army.
Miami QB N'Kosi Perry ($6,800) vs. Florida State
Usually in CFB DFS, I go with a starts/scrubs lineup model because I trust my ability to suss out a few guys priced below $4,200 or so who could contribute. But this week, I've got something of a socialist lineup, with nobody below $4,900 and nobody above $7,700. This strategy severely cuts down on risk while perhaps capping upside (on a 10-game, 20-team card, I'm not using one Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ohio State or West Virginia player, which would strike even some experts as abject madness). With my super-flex spot, I wanted to open up enough cash to buy myself the kind of lotto ticket where if it hits and nobody in my lineup goes bust, I've got a good shot at cashing. And that brings us to Perry. This will only be his second start, and it's in a rivalry game against a solid defense ( S&P+). Last week against UNC, he posted only 9.6 fp and looked every bit like a freshman making his first start. But the fantasy upside is enormous for a player who was comped to Lamar Jackson coming in. Perry came off the bench to post 23.16 fp two weeks ago against FIU. This spot feels like a Hurricanes blowout win over a team that had owned them recently prior to last year. FSU's defense may be solid, but its offense is a three-and-out fest, which means we'll get plenty of possessions.