At long last, conference play is upon us. The best part of the college football regular season has arrived, and the coming few weeks should give us more of an idea about the relative strengths and weaknesses of each team. DraftKings has once again rolled out $3 and $27 entry GPPs with $100,000 guarantees, and here are some plays that stood out.
The top few QBs are very expensive but offer huge potential, making them tough to fade on Saturday. But a little further down the list, Evans could put up comparable numbers at a much more attractive price.
Tulsa/Houston has a total of 81.5, the second-highest on the slate. Houston has had the eighth-leakiest secondary in the nation, giving up an average of 313 yards per game, but what makes Evans' potential sky-high is the pace. Tulsa's 93 plays per game rank first nationally by a wide margin, and Houston sits 17th. Evans will have tons of chances to pile up fantasy points.
Howard styled on Maryland last week to the tune of 294 yards and four TDs, but he'll find the going tougher against an Oklahoma defense in the top 30 of pass yards per play allowed. However, this is another volume special as Oklahoma plays at the nation's fourth-fastest pace. Plus, West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen's fondness for flinging the rock is well-known – only 13 teams pass more frequently.
Since the Mountaineers are +7 underdogs in a game with a nice total of 59.5, Howard should get plenty of shots.
Top Running Backs
Perhaps the best value on the board, Warren appears to have taken the reigns as the lead back in Ames for a poor Iowa State squad. For once, there will be an ever more pitiful team across the line of scrimmage though, with the Cyclones favored by 17 over the horrendous Jayhawks. Hard to say no to a lead back who costs just $4,400 against a team allowing 254 yards per game on the ground.
Of course, you'll have to roster some players from the expected fantasy bonanza that is Texas Tech/Baylor, which has an unthinkably high total of 88. Baylor is most well-known for striking through the air, but they still run the ball plenty as well, with Linwood serving as the lead backfield weapon.
Tech has been a disaster against the run so far, yielding 255 yards per game and an ugly 5.6 per rush. Aaron Green roasted them for 162 yards last week, and Linwood could have a big game, too.
Alabama's running game has shined despite playing a couple of solid defenses in Wisconsin and Ole Miss, and much of that is due to the hard running of Henry, who gashed both top opponents for more than 120 yards and four total touchdowns.
Georgia should pose another challenge, but Henry's been most productive in the biggest games. After his QBs threw away the game against Ole Miss with a slew of turnovers, expect Tide coach Nick Saban to lean heavily on his running game in the first journey to hostile territory.
Top Wide Receiver
One of the most prolific QBs in the early going has been Jared Goff of Cal, who has generated some buzz from pro scouts in a down year at the position. He'll likely target top receiver Lawler plenty of times against a weak Wazzu secondary, and Lawler comes at quite a discount over the top receivers from the other high-scoring games – this one has a total of 73.5.
Nebraska has just been atrocious against the pass thus far in 2015, getting torched for a nation-worst 380 yards per game, 20 yards clear of the next-worst team. The 8.7 yards the Huskers are allowing per play is awful as well.
Enter Allison, the clear top wideout for Illinois, who garnered a monstrous 17 targets last week and has put up 15.1 yards per catch on the season. QB Wes Lunt isn't the most accurate, but Allison should find himself open often enough to put up some numbers against the terrible Husker secondary.
Illinois' pass defense looks serviceable on paper, but the Illini have played an absolutely awful schedule. North Carolina trucked them for 8.3 yards per pass and 48 points, and even Middle Tennessee racked up 330 yards on 7.7 yards per pass and three TDs.
Jordan Westerkamp has been the standout WR for a Nebraska team that's 17th in passing yards per game under pass-happy new coach Mike Riley. There is one thing to watch for here though, and that's the potential return of explosive WR/PR De'Mornay Pierson-El.
He was originally supposed to miss significant time with a broken foot but returned to practice on a limited basis this week, reportedly just playing special teams. If he takes the field with the offense, he would be a bargain at the $3,000 minimum price and likely eat into Westerkamp's target share.