It seems like just the other day that North Carolina and South Carolina faced (what a result in hindsight, right?) to get the college football season rolling. Now, we're looking at the last DraftKings contest that will be something close to a full slate as nine games are on the docket for the $70,000 Redshirt and the $50,000 Tailgate.
Is it the player or the system? Baylor's offense is the ultimate test case of this question. The Bears average 10.4 yards per attempt through the air, an absolutely monstrous number – the only other teams in double digits are option offenses that throw deep occasionally to keep defenses honest.
If it is indeed the system, then third-stringer Johnson should do fine against a Texas defense giving up 7.7 YPA (93rd nationally) that got shredded for 48 points by Texas Tech's spread. Plus, his willingness to run the ball – he had 15 carries last week – gives him added upside. Many will be afraid to pull the trigger here due to last week's awful numbers, but that was in a deluge against a better defense.
Stanford and USC met all the way back Sept. 19, with the Cardinal prevailing 41-31. It wasn't their usual trusty running game that carried the Cardinal to 41 points, but Hogan's arm as he threw for 279 and a pair of TDs.
Expect more of the same this week as USC has been solid against the run all year, ranking 39th nationally and allowing less than 4 YPA – Stanford gained exactly that in their first meeting, more than 1 YPA below their season average. Only 23 teams allow more passing yards per game than the Trojans, so Hogan should have another nice day at a decent price.
North Carolina's run defense was ranked among the best in the nation early in the year, but that was likely mostly due to a laughable schedule. They've come back to earth after facing some better teams as both Virginia Tech and NC State had some success running the ball the past two weeks and now the Tar Heels sit 90th in YPA allowed despite the early inflation.
Gallman has topped 100 yards in four of his last five while recording four TDs. He has been one of the most productive backs in the nation this year and his team is expected to be playing with a lead as -4.5 favorites. The biggest danger here is QB Deshaun Watson stealing rushing TDs in the red zone.
Smallwood's been a consistent grinder for the Mountaineers this year with a slew of 20+ performances but has seen his price drop after a poor game against Iowa State. This week's match-up with the Wildcats offers a good chance for Smallwood to bounce back. Kansas State has a mediocre run defense, allowing 4.3 YPA, and game flow should be in Smallwood's favor since the Mountaineers are -5.5 favorites. Furthermore, this is expected to be one of the higher scoring games of the week with a total of 58.5.
Canzeri's continued outstanding play appears to have earned him back the starting job as he has received more carries than LeShun Daniels Jr. in each of the past two weeks, including a 17-5 edge against Nebraska last Friday. In that game, Canzeri showcased his explosiveness with two long touchdown runs as he posted 29 DK points against one of the nation's tougher run defenses. He'll face a similar daunting task against the Spartans, but Iowa is very committed to their running game and Canzeri will have his chances to shine.
This is the cheapest Coleman has been all year by a country mile, since he'll be playing with a third-string QB and has tailed off in recent weeks with an average under 10 in the past three games.
Coleman's ability to score from anywhere on the field always gives him massive upside though, and there's reason to believe things should pick up for him again. Baylor is facing the weakest defense they've seen in a month, and this is the caliber of team Coleman routinely shredded for 40+ DK points. Plus, he's had a full week of practice with his new QB, so their chemistry should presumably be improved.
All of the Southern Miss receivers are worth a look in what's expected to be the juiciest game of the slate from a fantasy perspective with a total of 74, by far the highest on the board. Western Kentucky does not have a great pass defense, ranking in the bottom half of the nation in both YPA and total yards allowed.
Thompson is interesting because he's by far the cheapest of the top three, but his production is still pretty consistent as he has 51 catches, just five behind top man Mike Thomas. Thompson has showed he's capable of big games before with two games of 29+ DK points, and with what's sure to be far lower ownership than his teammates, he could be a sneaky play.
Kings Jr. is coming off of two dismal games where he had one catch each, which might be artificially depressing his salary since one of those was played with a couple of backup QBs who barely threw the ball. Before that, Kings Jr. had five straight games with 13+ DK points, and Iowa's ferocious run defense should prompt a pass-heavy attack with starting QB Connor Cook back at the helm. Plus, Kings Jr.'s role as punt returned gives him additional touches and chances to score.