The process here is simple. Use Vegas lines to predict scores and game script. Use S&P+ to find where offenses will attack opposing defenses. And use Rotoworld blurbs to track news and depth chart changes. By doing these three things, we can build a quality player pool to build rosters with.
In this column, I’ll go game-by-game (going from the highest over/under to the lowest) and write up the players who have the highest probability of 4x-ing their DraftKings salary. If I’m on the border of a player, then I write their name next to “Fringe Plays.” And if you don’t see the player listed, then you can assume I am fading them completely. If you want an explanation, please send me a message on Twitter (@Haydenwinks). I’ll be around Twitter on Saturday mornings before lock if you want to follow me and ask me some questions!
West Virginia vs. Oklahoma State (71 O/U)
West Virginia 38 points (3rd out of 22 on slate)
OKST Def. S&P Rank: 78
OKST Def. Passing S&P Rank: 57
OKST Def. Rushing S&P Rank: 93
QB Will Grier ($10,100) is cash game viable, but he has the ceiling to win a tournament as well, even at his elevated salary. If he is to take down a tournament, he will have to throw for at least four touchdowns since he offers little to nothing with his legs. That means it’s crucial to stack Grier with his receivers if building a tournament lineup with him. … DraftKings brought Grier’s price up $1000, but WR David Sills ($7,900) is just $200 more expense and I’m not sure why. Sills has quadrupled this price tag four times this season, and the 38-point team total is a breeding ground for another big week. Sills is fifth on the slate with 11.0 targets per games over the last three games… WR Gary Jennings ($7,000) isn’t as consistent as Sills, but he has nearly as good of a chance as quadrupling his salary. I wouldn’t put Jennings in a cash lineup, but he’s a tournament option. … WR Marcus Simms ($5,300) hasn’t had a big game since Week 5, but his upside is still there even if his point-per-dollar expectation isn’t nearly as good as Sills’ or Jennings’. … WR Trevon Wesco ($3,300) has his first game with more than three receptions last week, and the DK note attributes that to Grier being unable to throw the ball deep in the winds. Another aspect of that was the large lead last week, which is something we can’t expect this week given the Vegas point spread. Even with all this, Wesco is not a terrible WR3 punt play with the hope of a touchdown at a near minimum salary. … RB Kennedy McKoy ($5,000) is in a timeshare with Martell Pettaway and Leddie Brown. McKoy and Pettaway both scored goal line touchdowns last week, and McKoy only had one more touch than Pettaway in the first half before the game was a blowout. McKoy was the only back to receive a touch on the first two drives, however, so I prefer McKoy over Pettaway, but both are options in tournaments with Oklahoma State deploying the 93rd ranked rushing defense.
Fringe Plays: RB Martell Pettaway ($4,800)
Oklahoma State 33 points (8th out of 22 on slate)
WVU Def. S&P Rank: 54
WVU Def. Passing S&P Rank: 43
WVU Def. Rushing S&P Rank: 66
Thor Nystrom’s Adjusted Lines have Oklahoma State as 4 points better than what Vegas is implying.
WR Tylan Wallace ($8,800) is really expensive and West Virginia’s pass defense is much better than Oklahoma’s (last week’s opponent), so fading him is understandable, but he’s on an absolute tear right now with five touchdowns and 564 yards over the last three games. He also leads the slate in targets per game (16) over the last three weeks. Wallace needs to score a touchdown – he has 10 on the season – and reach the 100-yard bonus, which he has done in 7-of-10 games, to pay off his salary in tournaments. That’s crazy to expect, but Wallace doesn’t mess around. …. WR Tyron Johnson ($6,200) has popped for 19-201-1 over the last two weeks, so he has to mentioned here. With Vegas expecting less points than what OKST scored over the last two weeks, I’m not expecting a similar stat line week this week, but he only needs 8-90-1 to nearly quadruple his salary. He has been seeing enough targets to reach that stat line as well, as he is ninth on the slate with 10.0 targets per game over the last three games with back-to-back games with 14 targets. Johnson is in play for tournaments. … Read the injury note on RB Justice Hill ($5,800) below, but Hill is in a good spot to pay off his salary after DraftKings lowered it by $1,500 for this week. In fact, he’s never been cheaper during the 2018 season. Hill is still a low-end tournament option, however, since he hasn’t shown a big ceiling this year despite the Cowboys putting up big offensive numbers. … RB Chuba Hubbard ($4,900) took advantage of Hill’s injury last week, and he will again if Hill’s ribs flare up. When they are both healthy, Hubbard is just a 7-10 carry back, so there is major risk of a bust here. But he could take down tournaments if Hill is less active than usual.
Injury Notes: RB Justice Hill ($5,800) will be available, but he received X-rays and a CAT scan after injuring his ribs last week. Of course, that’s concerning, so make sure to limit your exposure with the re-injury risk.
NC State vs. Louisville (63.5 O/U)
NC State 39.75 points (2nd out of 22 on slate)
UL Def. S&P Rank: 105
UL Def. Passing S&P Rank: 106
UL Def. Rushing S&P Rank: 124
QB Ryan Finley ($9,300) is in a blowup spot with the second-best team total on the slate, but Finley hasn’t quadrupled this salary this season despite NC State scoring 35 points (close to the team total) on four different occasions. Of course, this is a little concerning, but the matchup is so juicy that it’s tough to ignore. Louisville has given up more than 50 points on five occasions this season with three of them coming in the last three weeks. Finley also needs to put up big numbers to elevate his NFL Draft stock if you like narratives. … WR Kelvin Harmon ($8,100) was targeted 17 times last week. That should be enough for you to be excited to play him. But if its not, then here’s one more. Harmon is third on the slate in targets per game (11.7) over the last three games. … WR Jakobi Meyers ($7,100) was targeted 13 times last week, and he has some positive touchdown regression coming his way with only two scores on the year. Like Harmon, Meyers has been heavily targeted recently, as he checks in fourth on the slate with 11.3 targets per game over the last three games. … RB Reggie Gallaspy ($6,300) isn’t my absolute favorite mid-priced RB option since he only has caught three passes on the year and hasn’t shown the 30-point upside, but the matchup is setting him up to test that upside given the point spread and Louisville run defense.
Louisville 23.75 points (18th out of 22 on slate)
NCST Def. S&P Rank: 64
NCST Def. Passing S&P Rank: 105
NCST Def. Rushing S&P Rank: 16
Thor Nystrom’s Adjusted Lines have Louisville as 1.5 points better than what Vegas is implying.
Fringe Plays: WR Jaylen Smith ($5,300)
Injury Notes: There are a few running back injuries, but I don’t want to play backs against the 16th ranked run defense, especially as a huge underdog with a low 23.75 team total.
South Florida vs. Temple (62 O/U)
South Florida 24 points (17th out of 22 on slate)
TEMP Def. S&P Rank: 29
TEMP Def. Passing S&P Rank: 3
TEMP Def. Rushing S&P Rank: 54 (Run funnel)
Injury Notes: QB Blake Barnett ($7,200) wasn’t able to practice on Sunday after leaving the Week 11 game with a shoulder injury. Even if he suits up, Barnett isn’t a strong option with Temple’s passing defense checking in at No. 3 in the country. If he isn’t cleared, then the Bulls may use both Chris Oladokun and Brett Kean at quarterback with Oladokun expected to get the first looks. It’s a situation to avoid. … RB Duran Bell ($3,000) is expected to return soon, but he is questionable for this week. If he’s cleared, both Jordan Cronkrite and Johnny Ford need to be slightly bumped down.
Temple 38 (4th out of 22 on slate)
USF Def. S&P Rank: 73
USF Def. Passing S&P Rank: 95 (Pass funnel)
USF Def. Rushing S&P Rank: 39
QB Anthony Russo ($7,000) was screwed by his own running backs last week. Russo handed eight rushing touchdowns away while not even joining the touchdown party himself, but he should be partying this week. S&P+ suggests the South Florida defense is pass funneling and the Owls are expected to score 4-6 touchdowns this week. Just two weeks ago against No. 11 UCF, Russo put up 45 DK points, which would be nearly 6.5x-ing his current salary. Russo is one of my absolute favorite plays of the week. … The man Russo will be throwing to is WR Ventell Bryant ($5,500), who has at least seven receptions in 3-of-4 weeks. Bryant has even 5.5x-ed this current salary twice in the last four games, and he is eighth on the slate with 10.0 targets per week over the last three weeks. Bryant is an excellent play as well. … RB Ryquell Armstead ($8,600) became the 17th player in the College Football Reference era to score six rushing touchdowns in a game last week. That alone will put you in play in tournaments, but it’s the workload that I am after since the touchdowns will come and go for the most part. Armstead has at least 20 carries in six straight games and has reached the 100-yard bonus in 6-of-7 weeks. The price is steep, so fading him is completely in play, especially in any Russo lineup.
Fringe Plays: WR Branden Mack ($5,300), WR Isaiah Wright ($5,000), WR Randle Jones ($4,100), RB Rob Ritrovato ($4,000)
Syracuse vs. Notre Dame (61.5 O/U)
Syracuse 25.75 points (13th out of 22 on slate)
ND Def. S&P Rank: 3
ND Def. Passing S&P Rank: 8
ND Def. Rushing S&P Rank: 15
Fringe Plays: None.
Notre Dame 35.75 (6th out of 22 on slate)
SYR Def. S&P Rank: 68
SYR Def. Passing S&P Rank: 63
SYR Def. Rushing S&P Rank: 76
Thor Nystrom’s Adjusted Lines have Notre Dame as 4.5 points better than what Vegas is implying.
Notre Dame’s 35.75-point team total is something to chase, but DraftKings has made the Fighting Irish tough to afford. RB Dexter Williams ($8,800) is my favorite play on the team, but he is still really expensive. Williams has shown a ceiling – he has three games with at least 35 DK points – but this Syracuse defense isn’t as vulnerable as Florida State, Navy, or Virginia Tech. Williams may get us 25 DK points, but is that enough to take down a tournament at that price point?
Injury Notes: QB Ian Book ($9,000) will return after missing one game with a rib injury.
Pitt vs. Wake Forest (61 O/U)
Pitt 33.5 points (7th out of 22 on slate)
WF Def. S&P Rank: 89
WF Def. Passing S&P Rank: 67
WF Def. Rushing S&P Rank: 91
QB Kenny Pickett ($5,600) has reached the 22 DK points he needs to pay off his salary in three games this year, and Wake Forest is an opponent he can certainly have a ceiling game against. Vegas agrees. The Panthers have seventh highest team total on the slate, and Pickett will have to run cold to not reach 22 DK points if Pitt does score the 33.5 points Vegas is projecting. Pickett is a decent S-FLEX option if you are on team #JamEmIn. … RB Qadree Ollison ($8,400) is an NFL-caliber back, and his most recent stat line shows it. Ollison is coming off a 235-yard, three touchdown performance against Virginia Tech, and Wake Forest has little chance at containing him. It’s only a matter if Ollison can score the two touchdowns he needs to pay off his high salary. The projected game script and S&P+ are in his favor.
Fringe Plays: RB Darrin Hall ($5,900), WR Maurice Ffrench ($4,200)
Wake Forest 27.5 (12th out of 22 on slate)
Pitt Def. S&P Rank: 77
Pitt Def. Passing S&P Rank: 84 (Pass funnel)
Pitt Def. Rushing S&P Rank: 52
Thor Nystrom’s Adjusted Lines have Wake Forest as 7.5 points better than what Vegas is implying.
QB Jamie Newman ($7,100) showed well in his first start last week against NC State, and he gets a similarly ranked passing defense this week, but this time he is at home. Newman, who nearly won the quarterback battle in August, is a threat for the 300-yard passing bonus this week and his low price doesn’t necessarily reflect that. Newman also rushed for a solid 44 yards last week, which, like Denny Carter says, “isn’t nothing.” I rarely give #Taeks on point spreads because I’m almost certainly not better at setting lines than Vegas is, but I like Wake Forest’s chances of outscoring the 27.5-point Vegas implied team total. … WR Greg Dortch ($7,700) is one of the most explosive players in the ACC, and we have seen his high multi-touchdown ceiling before. In Week 5, Rice #GotDortched for four receiving touchdowns and 163 yards, but he also has four other games with more than 24 DK points. Dortch is also 11th on the slate with 9.7 targets per game over the last three. If you are still on the fence and need some inspiration, check out his mom’s (a.k.a. “Momma Dortch”) elite Instagram account called @YouGotDortched, which is full of highlights, stats, and opposing team mockery. I’m sure Momma Dortch will persuade you to play him. … WR Sage Surratt ($5,200) caught 11-of-14 passes in his lone game with QB Jamie Newman, so he’s a tournament option.
Fringe Plays: WR Scottie Washington ($3,900)
Injury Notes: RB Matt Colburn ($5,300) could be a game-time decision with an ankle injury, but he was at least listed as a starter on the Wake Forest depth chart. If Colburn isn’t able to play, RB Cade Carney ($5,400) is a fringe play.
Ohio State vs. Maryland (58.5 O/U)
Ohio State 36.5 points (5th out of 22 on slate)
UMD Def. S&P Rank: 42
UMD Def. Passing S&P Rank: 40
UMD Def. Rushing S&P Rank: 55
Ohio State spreads the ball too evenly and DraftKings has priced all the weapons really fairly. None of the options pop out on paper, but Ohio State’s team total is too high to write them completely off. That’s why you see a bunch of them listed below. QB Dwayne Haskins is a low-floor, but perhaps low-owned, tournament option if you are feeling really, really bold, but I don’t the risk is worth it with the other options on the slate.
Maryland 22 points (21st out of 22 on slate)
OSU Def. S&P Rank: 32
OSU Def. Passing S&P Rank: 74
OSU Def. Rushing S&P Rank: 42
Thor Nystrom’s Adjusted Lines have Maryland as 2 points better than what Vegas is implying.
RB Anthony McFarland ($4,900) was the center piece of the offense last week, and it would make sense for Maryland to at least try and set up the running game with a backup quarterback in. While it might not be pretty, McFarland may flirt with 15-25 carries, which gives him an okay chance to exceed his salary.
Fringe Plays: WR Jeshaun Jones ($3,700)
Injury Notes: QB Kasim Hill tore his ACL, so QB Tyrrell Pigrome will draw the start. … WR DJ Turner may make a return, but he is questionable. He’s not an option. … RB Javon Leake is questionable, but he was at least listed on the Maryland depth chart. RB Ty Johnson wasn’t listed on the depth chart, which doesn’t bode well for his Week 12 status.
Texas Tech vs. Kansas State (56.5 O/U)
Texas Tech 31.5 points (9th out of 22 on slate)
KSU Def. S&P Rank: 82
KSU Def. Passing S&P Rank: 69
KSU Def. Rushing S&P Rank: 105
QB Jett Duffey ($8,800) balled out last week against Texas, but DraftKings only increased his salary by $100 for this week against Kansas State. Vegas isn’t expecting a shootout this time around, but Duffey did show that he has the ability to get that 300-yard passing bonus, which is something we hadn’t seen from him prior to last week. Duffey also brings 40 to 80 yards and touchdown equity to the table with his legs, which provides a nice ceiling/floor combination. Make sure that Alan Bowman is ruled out before locking Duffey into lineups on Saturday. … RB Da’Leon Ward ($5,900) has 19 receptions and 28 carries in the last three weeks, which is a rare combination in college football. Ward’s price is beginning to climb, but I’ll pay for it with Kansas State checking in at No. 105 on S&P+’s run defense rankings.
Injury Notes: QB Alan Bowman ($8,300) was released from the hospital last week, but it’s uncertain if he will be available for Week 12. If he’s not dressed, then QB Jett Duffey ($8,800) will draw the start.
Kansas State 25 points (15th out of 22 on slate)
TTU Def. S&P Rank: 91
TTU Def. Passing S&P Rank: 52
TTU Def. Rushing S&P Rank: 62
Fringe Plays: RB Alex Barnes ($6,600)
Missouri vs. Tennessee (55.5 O/U)
Missouri 30.75 points (10th out of 22 on slate)
But Thor Nystrom’s Adjusted Lines have Missouri as 2.5 points better than what Vegas is implying.
TENN Def. S&P Rank: 79
TENN Def. Passing S&P Rank: 71
TENN Def. Rushing S&P Rank: 78
Injury Notes: TE Albert Okwuegbunam and WR Nate Brown will not play. Okwuegbunam will be replaced by Kendall Blanton ($3,000), who has already caught 15 passes this year. Blanton is wayyyyy down on the Missouri WR depth chart on DraftKings, so he should be a low-owned option. … RB Tyler Badie ($3,400) is expected to return, but he is just the No. 3 option. …
Tennessee 24.75 points (16th out of 22 on slate)
MIZZ Def. S&P Rank: 49
MIZZ Def. Passing S&P Rank: 77 (Pass funnel)
MIZZ Def. Rushing S&P Rank: 8
Virginia vs. Georgia Tech (54 O/U)
Virginia 23.75 points (19th out of 22 on slate)
GT Def. S&P Rank: 96
GT Def. Passing S&P Rank: 104
GT Def. Rushing S&P Rank: 82
Thor Nystrom’s Adjusted Lines have Virginia as 3.5 points better than what Vegas is implying.
Fringe Plays: QB Bryce Perkins ($6,200), Oladmide Zaccheaus ($6,000)
Georgia Tech 30.25 points (11th out of 22 on slate)
UV Def. S&P Rank: 37
UV Def. Passing S&P Rank: 30
UV Def. Rushing S&P Rank: 51
Fringe Plays: QB TaQuon Marshall ($7,200) if you want to take on the risk of him being benched.
Indiana vs. Michigan (53.5 O/U)
Indiana 12.75 points (22nd out of 22 on slate)
MICH Def. S&P Rank: 2
MICH Def. Passing S&P Rank: 1
MICH Def. Rushing S&P Rank: 6
Fringe Plays: None.
Injury Notes: WR Whop Philyor is not likely to play.
Michigan 40.75 points (1st out of 22 on slate)
IU Def. S&P Rank: 75
IU Def. Passing S&P Rank: 107
IU Def. Rushing S&P Rank: 74
This is setting up to be an RB Karan Higdon ($7,700) ceiling game with Michigan projected to score 40.75 points playing Indiana’s 74th-ranked rushing defense. Higdon has a great chance at the 100-yard bonus with at least one rushing touchdown. It just comes down to if he will score multiple touchdowns to pay off his high salary. Is it possible to win a tournament if a $7,700 player only gets 20 DK points?
Michigan State vs. Nebraska (49.5 O/U)
Michigan State 25.75 points (14th out of 22 on slate)
NEB Def. S&P Rank: 56
NEB Def. Passing S&P Rank: 75
NEB Def. Rushing S&P Rank: 94
But Thor Nystrom’s Adjusted Lines have Michigan State as 6.5 points better than what Vegas is implying.
WR Cody White ($5,100) is the Spartans top receiving weapon right now, and he should benefit from playing in a close game this week given the point spread. White 4x-ed this current salary last week against Ohio State despite not catching a touchdown because he was targeted 15 times, which was third of any player on the slate.
Nebraska 23.75 points (20th out of 22 on slate)
MSU Def. S&P Rank: 4
MSU Def. Passing S&P Rank: 23
MSU Def. Rushing S&P Rank: 2
Fringe Plays: None.