After a one-week experiment with a $20 buy-in on the early Saturday slate, DraftKings has gone back to a $27 Tailgate to go with the usual $3 Redshirt. Those two have guarantees this week of $115,000 and $125,000, respectively, and here are some value plays that stood out after poring over salaries.
I recommended firing Frohnapfel a few weeks ago and he came through with a big game. His price was pretty high back then, but after a lackluster performance against a surprisingly solid Kent St. defense, Frohnapfel comes at a bargain this week.
Toledo/Massachusetts has one of the highest totals at 62.5 on what looks to be a relatively low-scoring slate overall, and Toledo has one of the better run defenses in the nation. The undefeated Rockets rank 27th in yards per attempt allowed at 3.4 and it's not all against cupcakes – they stifled Arkansas' powerful ground attack to just 103 yards on 31 carries. That means the onus is on Frohnapfel here and he should provide value at this price.
Heard is an interesting play for this week because he has a very low floor. Indeed, any sustained series of poor play could see him benched for the continually-disappointing Tyrone Swoopes.
However, Heard does have a few things going in his favor that make him a high-ceiling play who could make or break a big GPP for you. Few players in the nation see a bigger workload than Heard, who has had 19 or more carries in three of the past four, with the only exception being when he was benched when TCU trucked the Longhorns. Against Oklahoma, Heard's 21 carries trailed his team's starting RB by just one. Kansas State just gave up 55 to the Sooners, so they're very beatable, and they rank 90th in the nation in YPP allowed.
Top Running Backs
Arizona has a premium matchup this week against Washington St., with the game expected to be a shootout with a total of 72.5. The Cougars have one of the most porous run defenses in the nation, allowing 5 YPC and a hefty 208.5 per game. Additionally, the Wildcats are -7.5 favorites, so game flow should favor pounding the rock.
The only sticking point is the health of starter Wilson, who suited up but didn't play last week. In his stead, Baker ran wild for 207 and a pair of TDs, so keep an eye on the injury report in advance of this one and look to play one of these backs if you're confident he will have the lion's share of the carries.
Another injury-riddled backfield is that of Wisconsin, where Ogunbowale looks likely to be the top man against Illinois this weekend. The Illini have a solid run defense on paper as they rank around 50th nationally in YPP and total rush yards allowed. However, a closer inspection reveals they've allowed the following YPP numbers in their three games against Power 5 schools: 5.5 (Iowa), 5.5 (Nebraska), and 6.9 (North Carolina).
Ogunbowale had been splitting carries with Taiwan Deal but the latter is out for this weekend, possibly clearing the way for Ogunbowale. I say possibly because we could have a real steal on our hands if Clement is cleared. Clement opened the year as the starter but had just eight carries before needing sports hernia surgery. He will travel with the team and if he's cleared to start he would potentially offer huge value at $4,200.
Mixon is a former five-star prospect who began the year squarely behind Samaje Perine on the depth chart for the Sooners. However, Oklahoma's shift back to a pass-heavy style has opened up the door for more playing time for the capable pass-catcher, and he has has responded with big production, averaging 4.9 yards per carry and 12.8 per reception. Last week, he had more carries than Perine for the first time all year.
Whether Mixon sees the majority of the carries or not, there should plenty of touches and fantasy points to go around in a game with a total of 73.5 between two top-25 teams in pace. And those touches should pay big dividends against a Red Raiders team that's allowed an awful 5.79 yards yards per carry.
Top Wide Receivers
Nobody likes to air it out more than Washington State head coach Mike Leach. His passing game should pile up the points with opportunities galore in the likely shootout against Arizona, which yields 248.6 passing yards per game, 92nd in the nation. Top producing WR Gabe Marks will be a popular and solid choice, but you can save a few bucks to spend elsewhere by taking Williams, who has matched Marks with six TDs and is second on the team in catches and yards.
This is a highly speculative play, but if you're in need of extreme salary relief, Jones could offer some upside at WR at the minimum price. It's not too often you can get the best receiver on the team for $3,000 but that's probably the case in this sad offense, as Jones caught 54 passes in 2013 before missing 2014 with an ACL tear.
The key here is a matchup with Nebraska. Wildcats head coach Pat Fitzgerald will undoubtedly prefer to run the ball, but the Huskers actually defend the run pretty well, giving up just 3.22 YPC. They're horrendous against the pass though, giving up 7.7 YPA and a nation-worst 341.7 yards per game. Jones has potential if QB Clayton Thorson can muster up some accurate throws.