College Football Saturday: FD/DK Main Slate
Eastern Kentucky @ West Virginia -40.5 O/U 55.5
Syracuse @ North Carolina -23 O/U 65.5
Louisiana-Lafayette @ Iowa State -11.5 O/U 57
Louisiana-Monroe @ Army -22.5 O/U 53.5
Duke @ Notre Dame -20.5 O/U 53.5
Georgia Tech @ Florida State -11.5 O/U 52.5
Arkansas State @ Kansas State -12 O/U 54.5
Clemson -32.5 @ Wake Forest O/U 60
Tulane -10 @ South Alabama O/U 52
Western Kentucky @ Louisville -11.5 O/U 58
UTEP @ Texas -43 O/U 58.5
Eastern Kentucky (7.5 Implied Team Total)
I don’t think we need to consider anyone from EKU even on a 7-game slate. Parker McKinney ($5.6k FD/$4.9k DK) started last week and completed 7/10 passes for 71 yards and 1 INT. He also recorded -11 rushing yards. Two other QBs saw action in EKU’s 59-0 blowout loss at Marshall. Perhaps Dakota Allen ($6.2k FD/$4.7k DK) could be considered as a low-owned flier at QB if we get word that he’s starting. He has some dual threat upside, however, EKU’s offensive line was completely overwhelmed by Marshall so this is an avoid spot for me. EKU was limited to a paltry 47 offensive snaps in last week’s dismal outing.
EKU has an established RB in Alonzo Booth ($6.2k FD/$4.8k DK). The bruising 250-pound RB ran for 673 yards and crossed the goal line 14 times last season. Booth struggled to find running room last week as he was held to 33 yards rushing on 15 carries.
Target counts for the season opener (per Pro Football Focus) were: Keyion Dixon (6), Jacquez Jones (6), Jackson Beerman (2), Micah Manning (1), Quentin Pringle (1), and Matthew Wilcox Jr. (1). Dixon ($6.1k FD/$4k DK) would be the only pass catcher to consider here. He led the team with 34 receptions last season. He also recorded 497 yards receiving and 1 TD.
In 2019 (12 games), EKU allowed 213.8 passing yards/game. They allowed 103.9 rushing yards/game. The defense gave up 12 TD on the ground (1 TD/game) and 12 TDs through the air (1 TD/game) last season.
West Virginia (48 Implied Team Total)
Jarret Doege ($9.8k FD/$8.2k DK) will get the start at QB for WVU’s season opener. The Bowling Green transfer took over the QB reins late in the 2019 season. In 4 games, Doege completed 79/120 passes for 818 yards, 7 TDs, and 3 INT. He’s no threat to run the ball as he recorded -41 rushing yards on 11 attempts. This is a phenomenal matchup for the WVU passing game. Marshall QBs carved up EKU’s defense last week. Freshman Grant Wells making his collegiate debut and threw 4 TD passes in the first half against EKU. In total, Marshall threw for 345 yards and 5 TDs (0 INT). The WVU offense favored the pass (57.6/42.4 pass-run split) and averaged 65.6 plays per game.
Leddie Brown ($9.5k FD/$7.7k DK) still start at RB and he’s backed up by Alec Sinkfield ($8.4k FD/$5k DK). The WVU run game was atrocious last year as the offensive line struggled. Brown was in a deep RB rotation last year but reportedly he should see the bulk of the carries this season. The junior played in 10 games and ran for 367 yards and 1 TD on 107 carries in 2019. He’s also effective in the passing game which adds to his viability. Brown recorded 17 receptions, 145 receiving yards, and 1 TD reception on 23 targets last season. Sinkfield saw only 17 carries and totaled 41 yards rushing last season. I do think he’s a fine play though as he should see a fair amount of snaps with WVU being a monster favorite this week.
The starting WRs are Bryce Ford-Wheaton ($7.1k FD/$6.7k DK), Winston Wright Jr. ($6.2k FD/$4.8k DK), Sam James ($9.1k FD/$7.4k DK), and TJ Simmons ($7.5k FD/$5.1k DK). Sean Ryan (19/219/0 on 31 targets in 8 games 2019), Reese Smith (freshman and 3-star recruit), Isaiah Esdale (15/171/1 on targets in 10 games in 2019), Sam Brown (freshman and 3-star recruit), and Ali Jennings (19/192/1 on 28 targets in 10 games in 2019) could also see time in the WR rotation. Ford-Wheaton was targeted 23 times in 12 games. He posted 12/201/2 in 2019. Wright Jr. drew 24 targets in 9 games. He recorded 19 receptions, 97 yards receiving, and 0 TDs last season. James enters this season with massive expectations after a productive freshman season. He led the Mountaineers in targets (112), receptions (69), and receiving yards (677). 2 out of his 69 receptions resulted in TDs. He was named to the Big 12 Preseason 1st team in 2020 by Phil Steele. Simmons saw his 2019 season end prematurely with an injury. In 10 games, the Alabama native racked up 35 receptions, 455 receiving yards, and 4 TDs on 52 targets. The senior was named to the Big 12 Preseason 2nd team in 2020 by Phil Steele. While both James and Simmons are good plays, I think James is better suited on DK with the full 1-point PPR scoring while Simmons is a better fit on FD due to his big play ability. Simmons is also a solid play on DK as his salary seems a tad underpriced.
TJ Banks ($5.1k FD/$3k DK) OR Mike O’Laughlin ($6k FD/$4.1k DK) will start at TE. Banks saw action in the final 4 games last season, and he was used sparingly (0 receptions). O’Laughlin caught 6 passes for 24 yards on 10 targets in 12 games last season (0 TD). These guys are TD or bust plays. The TE position in WVU’s spread offense is largely ignored.
In 2019 (14 games), WVU was 88th in passing yards allowed with 239.9 yards/game. They were 69th in rushing yards allowed with 159.4 yards/game. The defense gave up 20 TD on the ground (1.67 TD/game) and 20 TDs through the air (1.67 TD/game) last season.
Syracuse (21 Implied Team Total)
Tommy DeVito ($7.8k FD/$6.3k DK) will get the start at QB for the Orange. DeVito is the clear starter this season after losing time to Clayton Welch late last season. DeVito possesses huge upside but was wildly inconsistent as he battled injuries for the latter part of 2019. In 12 games, the junior completed 213/337 passes for 2,360 yards, 19 TDs, and 5 INT. He also added 122 rushing yards and 2 TDs via the ground on 112 carries. The Syracuse offense favored the run (55.1/44.9 run-pass split) and averaged 75.6 plays per game. They operated at an extremely fast pace last season.
The Orange will be leaning on Jawhar Jordan ($7.2k FD/$6.2k DK) and Markenzy Pierre ($6.4k FD/$4.9k DK) at RB to start the season. Jordan is a speedster with the ball in his hands. In a reserve role last season, he ran for 105 yards and 1 TD on only 15 carries. Pierre was used sparingly as he mainly played on special teams (6 yards rushing on 5 carries).
Taj Harris ($7.4k FD/$5.6k DK) and Anthony Queeley ($6.5k FD/$4.1k DK) will start at the outside WR spots. Reportedly, Nykeem Johnson ($6.9k FD/$4.9k DK), Courtney Jackson ($5.3k FD/$3k DK), and Sharod Johnson ($5.6k FD/$3.2k DK) may rotate in the slot. Ed Hendrix will also be in the WR rotation to start the season. Harris should elevate to the #1 role with Triston Jackson (106 targets last season) leaving. Harris caught 37 passes for 559 yards and 2 TDs on 71 targets in 2019. Queeley is a tall WR (6’2”) who was mainly spent time on special teams last season. Of the slot WRs, Nykeem Johnson has the most experience. He posted 19/99/0 on 30 targets in 12 games last season. His 30 targets were the 5th most amongst Orange pass catchers in 2019. Both Jackson and Johnson recorded only 1 reception last season, so I’d assume Nykeem is the best bet to produce amongst the slot WRs. Finally, Hendrix is a former 3-star recruit who missed the entire 2019 season with a leg injury.
Aaron Hackett ($5.9k FD/$3.8k DK) should start at TE. He caught 23 passes for 205 yards and 6 TDs on 27 targets in 12 games this season. He should be a major part of the passing game once again this season.
In 2019 (12 games), Syracuse was 110th in passing yards allowed with 262.5 yards/game. They were 109th in rushing yards allowed with 201.6 yards/game. The defense gave up 26 TD on the ground (2.17 TD/game) and 21 TDs through the air (1.75 TD/game) last season.
North Carolina (44.5 Implied Team Total)
Sam Howell ($10.1k FD/$8.9k DK) had a phenomenal freshman season at the Tar Heels QB. In 13 starts, Howell posted averages 280.1 passing yards, 2.92 TD passes, and .54 INT. He also added 35 rushing yards and 1 TD on 94 attempts. Howell tossed at least 2 TDs in EVERY game last season. He went over the 300-yard mark 6 out of 13 games in 2019 (3 out of the final 5 games). He gets a juicy matchup to start his sophomore season and Syracuse was throttled via the air last season. The Orange should be better as they return a good number of players on the defense, but Howell should have no issues posting a monster box score. The Tar Heels offense favored the run (55.5/44.5 run-pass split) and averaged 73.8 plays per game. Both the UNC and Syracuse offenses play extremely fast and should elevate the number of plays run in this game.
North Carolina returns its’ top two rushers from a season ago in Javonte Williams ($7.8k FD/$5.6k DK) and Michael Carter ($8.2k FD/$6.5k DK). Carter ran for 1,003 yards and 3 TDs on 177 carries while Williams ran for 933 yards and 5 TDs on 166 carries. Both guys are also involved in the pass game. Williams hauled in 17 receptions for 176 yards on 17 targets and 1 TD while Carter had 21 receptions for 154 yards and 2 TDs on 24 targets. Both guys are on the Doak Walker watch list to start the season. Carter out-carried Williams 54 to 34 over the final 4 games of the 2019 season. Syracuse was atrocious against the run last season. They allowed 201.6 rushing yards and ceded 26 rush TDs in only 12 games. The Orange’s best unit on defense is their defensive line but both RBs are viable this week. I favor Carter over Williams if choosing between the two.
North Carolina returns all 3 starting WRs from last season in Dyami Brown ($9.3k FD/$6.9k DK), Dazz Newsome ($9k FD/$7.9k DK), and Beau Corrales ($7.3k FD/$5k DK). Brown and Newsome were two of the best WRs in the country last season. Brown led the Tar Heels in receiving yards (1,034) and TD receptions (12). He had 51 receptions on 84 targets in 12 games. Newsome led the Tar Heels in targets (99) and receptions (72). He posted 1,018 receiving yards and 10 TDs in 12 games. Corrales was also solid as the 3rd wheel. He had 40 receptions, 575 receiving yards, and 6 TDs on 65 targets in 13 games last season. Rontavious Groves ($5k FD/$4.1k DK) and Antoine Green ($5.6k FD/$3.9k DK) should also be in the WR rotation. Groves posted 27/250/1 on 45 targets in 13 games while Green is a big play threat who averaged 27.1 yards per reception. Green posted 8/217/2 on 19 targets in 10 games last season. Howell-Brown-Newsome will be a popular stack this week on FD.
Garrett Walston ($4.9k FD/$3.8k DK) will get the start at TE and could have a decent sized role in the offense. Walston caught 9 passes for 76 yards and 1 TD on 17 targets last season. He played in all 13 games.
In 2019 (13 games), UNC was 71st in passing yards allowed with 229.6 yards/game. They were 51st in rushing yards allowed with 143.5 yards/game. The defense gave up 19 TD on the ground (1.46 TD/game) and 18 TDs through the air (1.38 TD/game) last season.
Louisiana-Lafayette (23 Implied Team Total)
Levi Lewis ($7.9k FD/$6.1k DK) is back for his final season as the Ragin’ Cajuns starting QB. Lewis played in 14 games last season and posted game averages of 217.9 passing yards, 1.86 TD passes, and .29 INT. Lewis also contributed 195 yards rushing and 3 TDs on 69 attempts. The senior threw at least 2 TDs in 9 out of 14 games last. He only had 1 300-yard plus passing game last season. The ULL offense favored the run (58.2/41.8 run-pass split) and averaged 70.5 plays per game. If ULL has success against Iowa State, it’ll likely be through the air. The Cyclones were average against the pass (72nd in passing yards allowed and gave up 22 pass TDs in 13 games) but were tough against the run (only ceded 13 rushing TDs in 13 games). However, the Cyclones return a lot of depth in the back end of the defense so, in theory, they should be a lot better against the pass this season.
The dynamic duo of Elijah Mitchell ($7.9k FD/$5.9k DK) and Trey Ragas ($6.5k FD/$5.2k DK) will handle the RB duties. Chris Smith ($5.2k FD/$3.7k DK) should step into the Raymond Calais Jr. (886 yards rushing and 6 TDs) role this season. The Offensive line lost two guys to the NFL but those two have been replaced with two experienced players. Mitchell played in all 14 games last season led the Ragin’ Cajuns in carries (198), rushing yards (1,147), and rushing TDs (16). He also caught 10 passes for 70 yards and 1 TD on 13 targets. Ragas was pretty good in his own right; he ran for 820 yards and 11 TDs on 116 carries last season in 13 games. As noted above, matching up with ISU’s run defense is a difficult challenge for the ULL running game.
Jalen Williams ($6.7k FD/$4.7k DK) and Peter LeBlanc ($6.3k FD/$4.4k DK) are the two known players at WR. Kyren Lacy, Errol Rogers Jr., and Dontae Fleming should all be a part of the WR rotation. Williams will look to build off his 2019 season in which he posted 21/277/1 on 36 targets (14 games). Leblanc had 28 receptions, 352 receiving yards, and 4 TDs on 37 targets last season (14 games). ULL is down its’ top 3 WRs from last season as JaMarkus Bradley and Jarrod Jackson graduated while Jamal Bell is hurt (164 targets amongst the 3 in 2019). Lacy, Rogers Jr., and Fleming are all freshman 3-star recruits. Reportedly, Fleming ($5.4k FD/$4k DK) has stood out in preseason practices. I’d rank them Leblanc, Williams, and Fleming.
Johnny Lumpkin ($4.5k FD/$3.2k DK) will likely start at TE/H-back. This is a TD or bust position in ULL’s offense. Nick Ralston occupied this spot last season and caught 15 passes for 100 yards and scored 4 TDs.
In 2019 (14 games), ULL was 21st in passing yards allowed with 197.7 yards/game. They were 82nd in rushing yards allowed with 174.1 yards/game. The defense gave up 21 TD on the ground (1.5 TD/game) and 11 TDs through the air (.79 TD/game) last season.
Iowa State (34.5 Implied Team Total)
Star dual threat QB Brock Purdy ($10k FD/$7.3k DK) is back for the 2020 season to start under center for the Cyclones. In 13 starts last season, Purdy had game averages of 306.3 passing yards, 2.08 TD passes, and .69 INT. He also ran for 249 yards and 8 TDs on 93 attempts last season. This is a great spot for Purdy as he takes on an ULL defense that lost its top cornerback and linebacker. The Iowa State offense favored the pass (54/46 pass-run split) last season and averaged 68.9 plays per game.
2019 breakout star Breece Hall ($9.2k FD/$7k DK) draws the start at RB. Hall started the last 7 games of the 2019 season but saw action in 12 games. He ran for 987 yards and 9 TDs on 186 carries. He also was heavily involved in the passing game. The sophomore caught 23 passes for 252 yards and 1 TD on 27 targets last season. Hall received at least 17 carries in the final 8 games last season. This is another solid spot for Hall and ISU running game. ULL was very good against the pass but were vulnerable to the run game a season ago. ULL allowed 174.1 rushing yards to opposing runners and surrendered 21 rush TDs in 14 games.
The starting WRs are Tarique Milton ($8.2k FD/$6.4k DK), Xavier Hutchinson ($6.5k FD/$4.9k DK), and Sean Shaw Jr ($7.2k FD/$5.4k DK). Daniel Jackson, Joe Scates (2/25/1 on 6 targets in 6 games), Darren Wilson, and Landen Akers (9/109/0 on 12 targets in 11 games in 2019) figure to see time in the WR rotation. Milton is the big play threat, Hutchinson is a highly tighted Ju-Co transfer via Blinn College, and Shaw Jr. is a more of a possession WR. Milton hauled in 35 passes for 722 yards and 3 TDs on 55 targets in 13 games last season. Shaw Jr. saw action in 11 games and he posted 15/231/5 on 23 targets a season ago.
Charlie Kolar ($8k FD/$4.5k DK) OR Chase Allen ($5.6k FD/$3.2k DK) OR Easton Dean ($4k FD/$3k DK) will start at TE. Kolar is the Cyclones leading returning pass catcher from last season. He had 51 receptions, 697 yards receiving, and 7 TDs on 81 targets in 13 games. Koler will carry a lot of ownership on DK at his current price tag. Allen caught 17 passes on 24 targets for 167 yards and 2 TDs in 13 games last season. Kolar is the guy to roster amongst this group.
In 2019 (13 games), ISU was 72nd in passing yards allowed with 229.8 yards/game. They were 47th in rushing yards allowed with 139.5 yards/game. The defense gave up 13 TD on the ground (1 TD/game) and 22 TDs through the air (1.69 TD/game) last season.
Louisiana-Monroe (15.5 Implied Team Total)
Colby Suits ($6.8k FD/$5.5k DK) will get the start for ULM while Jeremy Hunt ($5.8k FD/$4.9k DK) will also see time at QB in the season opener. In ULM’s only scrimmage of the August camp, Suits completed 9/15 passes for 65 yards and 1 TD. Hunt completed 8/13 passes for 61 yards against operating the second team offense. Considering 2 QBs will play and the fact that Army’s triple option tends to keep the number of plays ran down, we can safely avoid both Suits and Hunt this week. The ULM offense favored the run (52.5/47.5 run-pass) last season and averaged 72.3 plays per game.
Josh Johnson ($8.9k FD/$7.1k DK) is back at RB after a big 2019 season. The talented runner rushed for 1,298 yards and 11 TDs on 201 carries a season ago. He also caught 13 passes for 122 yards (0 TD) on 18 targets. Johnson surpassed the 100-yard rushing mark in 3 out of the last 4 games to end the 2019 season.
Brandius Batiste, Jonathan Hodoh ($7.1k FD/$4.7k DK), Perry Carter Jr. ($5.4k FD/$3.5k DK) and Malik Jackson ($5.1k FD/$3.2k DK) figure to see a lot of snaps at WR. Admittedly, there is not much information out there related to ULM, so you’d want to verify these guys are all playing if you plan on rostering them. Hodoh was the most productive WR amongst this group last season. He posted 38/453/3 on 62 targets in 12 games last season. Batiste saw action in 7 game last season. He managed 7 receptions for 112 yards on 12 targets. Jackson caught 11 out of his 15 targets for 83 yards (0 TD) in 9 games last season. Carter Jr. played in all 12 games last season and posted 15/305/0 on 23 targets.
The best bet at filling the stat sheet amongst the pass catchers might be TE Josh Pederson ($7.8k FD/$5.8k DK). Pederson recorded 43 receptions, 567 receiving yards, and 9 TD receptions (led team) on 69 targets in 2019. The big red zone target had a receiving TD in 4 out of the final 5 games last season.
In 2019 (12 games), ULM was 73rd in passing yards allowed with 230.8 yards/game. They were 128th in rushing yards allowed with 252.7 yards/game. The defense gave up 31 TD on the ground (2.58 TD/game) and 25 TDs through the air (2.08 TD/game) last season.
Army (38 Implied Team Total)
QB Christian Anderson ($8.4k FD/$8.1k DK) ran for 51 yards and 1 TD while throwing for 28 yards in Army’s 42-0 season opening beatdown of Middle Tennessee State. His 10 carries were second most amongst Army runners last week. This is a fantastic spot for Anderson and the Army triple option offense as ULM had arguably the worst run defense in the country last season (surrendered 31 TDs via the ground in only 12 games). ULM is in a rough spot to start the season. The defensive coordinator resigned just 10 days ago, they’ve missed practice time due to COVID and a hurricane. This could get ugly quickly. The Army offense averaged 66.8 plays per game in 2019.
Sandon McCoy ($8.7k FD/$6.3k DK) had a big season opener as he ran for 50 yards and 3 TDs on 15 carries (team high). He’s a good option once again this week at RB. Tyrell Robinson ($6.7k FD/$3.4k DK) led Army with 94 yards rushing on only 9 carries last week. Artice Hobbs IV ($7.2k FD/$4.1k DK) ran for 28 yards on 5 carries. With the triple option, it’s hard to predict on a weekly basis on which RBs will get carries. These are the 3 guys that I’d consider. However, McCoy is the best bet amongst the RBs as he recorded 10 TDs in 2019. The FB spot (which he’s the starter) recorded 17 rushing TDs last season.
Cam Harrison ($7k FD/$4.4k DK) and Isaiah Alston ($6.2k FD/$3.1k DK) will start at WR. Army attempted a total of 4 passes last week. If you want to take a shot on Harrison, he’s the guy but I don’t think we need to go there.
In 2019 (13 games), Army was 5th in passing yards allowed with 178.9 yards/game. They were 73rd in rushing yards allowed with 163.4 yards/game. The defense gave up 21 TD on the ground (1.62 TD/game) and 16 TDs through the air (1.23 TD/game) last season.
Duke (16.5 Implied Team Total)
Clemson transfer Chase Brice ($7.4k FD/$5.3k DK) will get the start at QB for Duke. Brice completed 50/85 passes for 581 yards, 4 TDs, and 1 INT as Trevor Lawrence’s back up last season. The dual threat QB also ran for 94 yards and 1 TD on 14 attempts. The matchup with Notre Dame will be tough but Brice has the talent to expose ND’s young secondary. He’s likely to carry little to no ownership on this slate filled with stud QBs. The Duke offense favored the run (56.7/43.3 run-pass split) last season and averaged 72.8 plays per game.
Deon Jackson ($6.9k FD/$5.7k DK) is the Blue Devils top offensive weapon. The talented runner is utilized in both the running and passing games. Last season Jackson ran for 641 yards and 6 TDs on 172 carries while also recording 21 receptions for 192 yards and 1 TD on 33 targets in 12 games. The senior has a brutal matchup as the ND defense held 4 out of their last 5 Power 5 Conference opponents under 100 yards rushing. Jackson was stifled by the Irish in last season’s meeting (14 carries for 52 yards and 1 reception for 19 yards).
Jake Bobo ($6.1k FD/$3.9k DK), Jalon Calhoun ($6.6k FD/$5.7k DK), and Damon Philyaw-Johnson ($5.9k FD/$3.3k DK) will start at the WR spots. Bobo posted 10/122/0 in 8 games a season ago. Calhoun may be the one player that could do some damage against Notre Dame’s young and untested corners (biggest question mark for the ND defense). Calhoun led the Blue Devils in receiving yards (420) and TD receptions (4) last season. He tallied 46 receptions on 62 in 12 games. He should have a productive season now that he has a legit QB this year. Philyaw-Johnson was used sparingly last season; he caught 2 passes for 31 yards on 3 targets last season (11 games).
Noah Gray ($5.8k FD/$4.2k DK) is the starting TE. He led the Blue Devils in targets (69) and receptions (50) last season. Gray had 388 yards receiving and 3 TDs in 12 games.
In 2019 (12 games), Duke was 24th in passing yards allowed with 199 yards/game. They were 87th in rushing yards allowed with 180.6 yards/game. The defense gave up 19 TD on the ground (1.58 TD/game) and 21 TDs through the air (1.75 TD/game) last season.
Notre Dame (37 Implied Team Total)
Dual threat QB Ian Book ($10.5k FD/$8.7k DK) will get the start for the Irish. Book is another QB with monster upside on this slate. In 13 games last season, Book posted game averages of 233.4 passing yards, 2.62 TD passes, and .46 INT. He also chipped in with 546 yards rushing and 4 TDs on 112 carries. He threw for at least 4 TDs in 5 out of 13 games last season. The senior lit the Blue Devils on fire in their 2019 matchup. The Notre Dame signal caller threw for 181 yards and 4 TDs while also rushing for 139 yards (season high) on 12 carries. The Irish offense favored the run (53.2/46.8 run-pass split) last season and averaged 68.4 plays per game.
Kyren Williams ($8.5k FD/$6.6k DK) will start at RB. Williams will be backed up by freshman Chris Tyree ($6k FD/$5.1k DK). Williams features an all-around game as he rushed for over 3,000 yards and accrued over 2,000 receiving yards during his high school career. He is a speedster that appeared in only 2 games last season (4 rushes for 26 yards). Tyree is a highly regarded recruit as he was ranked in the top 25 nationally by ESPN and 247 sports.
Ben Skowronek ($7.6k FD/$6.5k DK), Javon McKinley ($7.8k FD/$7.2k DK), and Avery Davis ($6.9k FD/$5k DK) will be the starting WRs. Lawrence Keys (13/134/0 on 20 targets in 13 games last season), Braden Lenzy ($7.1k FD/$4k DK), and Joe Wilkins Jr. (1 target in 5 games last season) are the backup WRs and should see some time on the field. Skowronek is a transfer from Northwestern. He is a possession WR who scored 8 total TDs and amassed 1,400 receiving yards during his 4 seasons at Northwestern. He is better suited for DK’s 1 PPR scoring format (tough price tag on DK though) as he figures to be safe and reliable target for QB Book. McKinley is back as a redshirt senior; he recorded 11 receptions for 268 yards and 4 TDs on 20 targets in 9 games last season. He is a big play threat. Davis was also a reserve in 2019. He posted 10/124/2 on 11 targets in 9 games in 2019. Lenzy is the most intriguing guy amongst the backups. He was utilized in both the passing and running games last season. Blessed with track star speed, Lenzy caught 11 passes for 254 yards and 2 TDs on 11 targets while also rushing for 200 yards and 2 TDs on 13 carries.
Brock Wright ($5.4k FD/$4.4k DK) is the starting TE (2/45/0 on 4 targets in 10 games last season). Tommy Tremble ($5.7k FD/$4.1k DK) will be the backup. However, Tremble was the more productive player a season ago. Tremble posted 16/183/4 on 24 targets in 13 games last season. One of these guys will be productive at TE this season as Notre Dame has notoriously utilized their TEs fairly often in recent years.
In 2019 (13 games), ND was 3rd in passing yards allowed with 168.5 yards/game. They were 60th in rushing yards allowed with 153.1 yards/game. The defense gave up 12 TD on the ground (1.62 TD/game) and 13 TDs through the air (1 TD/game) last season.
Georgia Tech (20.5 Implied Team Total)
The Yellow Jackets know who the starting QB is but will withhold that information until Saturday. The competition for the starting job is between James Graham ($7.2k FD/$5.8k DK) and Jeff Sims ($7k FD/$4.5k DK). The starter is likely to play the entire game, so it doesn’t sound like they plan to split playing time. Graham saw action in 10 games and started 8 of those games a freshman. His accuracy was awful as he managed to complete only 87/193 passes for 1,164 yards, 12 TDs, and 7 INT. The young signal caller does have dual threat upside he is viable if he gets the start. Graham ran for 290 yards and 3 TDs on 99 carries last season. Sims is also a dual threat QB. He’s a freshman and was a 4-star recruit for the Yellow Jackets. The matchup with Florida State is fair. The Seminoles allowed opposing signal callers to pile up yardage last season (allowed 276.7 passing yards), however, they only surrendered 19 pass TDs in 13 games so it’s not a slam dunk spot.
Georgia Tech does not release a traditional depth chart so they are tough to get a read on who’s starting the first game of the season. The guys listed on the “above the line” chart at RB include Jordan Mason ($7.4k FD/$5.3k DK), Jahmyr Gibbs ($4.9k FD/$3.5k DK), Jamious Griffin ($5.8k FD/$3.8k DK), and Dontae Smith ($5.1k FD/$3.2k DK). Smith is 4th in the pecking order and may not see the field. Mason is the good here to lead the Yellow Jackets in playing time. He was the team’s leading rusher last after running for 899 yards and 7 TDs on 172 carries last season. He is the guy I’d roll with if you’re considering a Yellow Jacket RB. Gibbs is a freshman and was a 4-star recruit. He reportedly had an unbelievable camp. Griffin had 125 yards rushing on 37 attempts last season as a reserve. I would guess that Mason and Gibbs see most of the carries with Griffin only receiving a few carries in the season opener.
Jalen Camp ($6.1k FD/$4.2k DK), Ahmarean Brown ($7.7k FD/$4.7k DK), Marquez Ezzard ($5.8k FD/$3k DK), Adonicas Sanders ($6k FD/$3.5k DK), Malachi Carter ($6.3k FD/$4k DK), Peje Harris, and Josh Blancato are all expected to see the field at WR. Ezzard missed all of the 2019 season after transferring from Miami and is reportedly a freak athlete. Brown led the Yellow Jackets in all relevant WR statistics last season. He caught 21 of 49 targets for 396 yards and 7 TDs in 12 games. Camp posted 7/134/1 on 14 targets in only 4 games last season. Sanders had 19 receptions for 249 yards on 28 targets in 12 games last season. Finally, Carter posted 16/240/2 on 46 targets in 12 games last season. I’d probably stick to Brown if I’m looking to target a Georgia Tech pass catcher. In 2019, Brown ended the season with 5 TD receptions in the last 6 games.
In 2019 (12 games), GT was 36th in passing yards allowed with 207.7 yards/game. They were 117th in rushing yards allowed with 215.3 yards/game. The defense gave up 27 TD on the ground (2.25 TD/game) and 18 TDs through the air (1.5 TD/game) last season.
Florida State (32 Implied Team Total)
James Blackman ($8.8k FD/$6.5k DK) will start under center for the Seminoles in the season opener. It will be interesting to see how much progress he’s made under new HC Mike Norvell. Last season, Blackman played in 12 games though rotated fairly often with Alex Hornibrook at QB. Over the final 4 games of the 2019 season, Blackman averaged 246.5 passing yards and 1.5 TD passes per game. The junior is no real threat to run the ball as he recorded 41 yards rushing in 12 games last season. Under Mike Norvell, Memphis ran nearly 71 offensive plays per game in 2019.
Jashaun Corbin ($8.8k FD/$6.8k DK) OR La’Damian Webb ($7.5k FD/$4.5k DK) will start at RB. Corbin played in 2 games for Texas A&M last season. He ran for 137 yards and 1 TD on 35 carries (1 game was against Clemson). Webb is a freshman and will make his collegiate debut. He is a 3-star recruit. If I had to guess, I’d bet that Corbin starts due to his experience. Regardless, both guys are in play against Georgia Tech’s woeful run defense. The Yellow Jackets were decimated by the run a season ago. They allowed 215.3 rushing yards per game and surrendered 27 rush TDs in only 12 games.
The starting WRs are Tamarrion Terry ($8.8k FD/$7.8k DK), Warren Thompson ($6.7k FD/$4.9k DK), and Keyshawn Helton ($6.9k FD/$4.1k DK). Terry is a flat out stud and will be playing on Sundays after this season. Terry was easily the #1 option in FSU’s passing game last season. The star WR caught 60 of 103 targets for 1,187 receiving yards and 9 TDs. He ended the season with at least 4 receptions in each of FSU’s last 5 games. Helton appears to be the #2 guy in the passing game. He had 17 receptions, 239 yards receiving, and 3 TDs on 21 targets in 2019. Helton was limited to just 6 games in 2019 because of injury. He’s a solid option. Thompson posted 6/91/0 on 8 targets. Like Helton, he was limited to 6 games a season ago.
The starting TE is Camren McDonald ($5.2k FD/$4.7k DK). He recorded 6 receptions, 43 yards receiving, and 0 TD on 10 targets last season. He appeared in all 13 games. I think he will be fantasy relevant at some point this season as the TE played a rather large role in Mike Norvell’s offensive system at Memphis. I just do not think it’ll happen until later in the season.
In 2019 (13 games), FSU was 119th in passing yards allowed with 276.7 yards/game. They were 54th in rushing yards allowed with 147.5 yards/game. The defense gave up 18 TD on the ground (1.38 TD/game) and 19 TDs through the air (1.46 TD/game) last season.
Arkansas State (21 Implied Team Total)
For the second consecutive week the Red Wolves plan to play both Logan Bonner ($7.5k FD/$5.7k DK) and Layne Hatcher ($7.5k FD/$5.5k DK) at QB. Bonner completed 14/23 passes for 133 yards, 1 TD, and 2 INT in last week’s season opening loss to Memphis. Hatcher completed 13/20 passes for 166 yards (0 TD/0 INT) in the season opener. This an avoid spot for me. Kansas State plays slow on offense which helps cut down the number of total plays run during a game. Then throw in 2 QBs playing, several stud QBs available on the slate, and we can safely move one. The Red Wolves offense operated at a nearly 50/50 run-pass split and averaged 71.2 plays per game in 2019.
Jamal Jones ($6.6k FD/$4k DK) was the Red Wolves leading rusher with Marcel Murray ($7.3k FD/$5.4k DK) sidelined. Jones carried the ball 15 times for 64 yards and also caught 2 passes for 16 yards. I haven’t seen anything related to Murray’s health status for this week. However, he was day-to-day going into the season opener. Due to his injury history, he’d likely be limited if he’s available to play which leaves Jones as the top option in this backfield. Murray and Jones were the Red Wolvers two leading rushers from 2019. Murray ran for 820 yards and 6 TDs on 170 carries while also catching 15 passes for 125 yards (0 TD). Meanwhile, Jones ran for 375 yards and 3 TDs on 84 carries (6 receptions for 30 yards). Over the last 3 weeks of the 2019 season, Murray out-carried Jones 44 to 36. While Kansas State was solid against the pass, they weren’t great against the run. The Wildcats run defense allowed 165.5 rushing yards and ceded 19 rush TDs in 13 games last season.
Target counts for the season opener were Jonathan Adams Jr. (9), Eugene Minter (9), Dahu Green (9), Bubba Ogbebor (6), Reed Tyler (5), Jamal Jones (4), Giles Amos (3), Roshaud Paul (2), Javan Hawes (2), and TW Ayers (1). Adams Jr. ($7.2k FD/$6k DK) is the top receiving option in the Red Wolves passing game. He was limited to 6 receptions for 65 yards by Memphis last week. Dahu Green ($6.4k FD/$5.5k DK) led the Red Wolves with 5 receptions for 99 yards in the season opener. He’s the second-best option in the Red Wolves passing game. Minter coverted 4 of his targets for 36 yards while Ogbebor ($5.4k FD/$4k DK) recorded 4/45/0.
The starting TE is Reed Tyler ($5.3k FD/$3.2k DK). He managed to catch 3 passes for 27 yards in Arkansas State’s 37-24 season opening loss.
In 2019 (13 games), Arkansas State was 111th in passing yards allowed with 262.8 yards/game. They were 118th in rushing yards allowed with 215.5 yards/game. The defense gave up 32 TD on the ground (2.46 TD/game) and 23 TDs through the air (1.77 TD/game) last season.
Kansas State (33.5 Implied Team Total)
Dual threat QB Skylar Thompson ($9k FD/$6.8k DK) will start for the Wildcats in the season opener. Thompson may go overlooked on this slate despite his massive upside. In 13 games last season, he posted game averages of 178.1 passing yards, 31.2 rushing yards, and 2 total TDs (15 pass TD/11 rush TD). He encounters a Red Wolves defense that was just slaughtered by Memphis’ Brady White. White threw for 280 yards and 4 TDs (1 INT) while also running for 39 yards. Thompson makes for an intriguing tournament play this week. Kansas State’s offense favored the run last season (64/36 run-pass split) and averaged 64.7 plays per game.
Harry Trotter ($7k FD/$5.5k DK) starts at RB with Tyler Burns ($6.6k FD/$3.9k DK) OR Deuce Vaughn ($6k FD/$4.1k DK) backing him up. Trotter ran for 263 yards and 3 TDs on 66 carries last season in a reserve role. Trotter is a big bruising back and should find success against Arkansas State’s porous run defense. The Red Wolves surrendered 222 yards rushing and 1 TD on 47 carries in last week’s season opener. Burns’ game resembles Trotter. He’s also a big and physical runner. The senior ran for 148 yards and 2 TDs on 26 carries last season. He was also utilized in a reserve role. The wildcard in the backfield in Deuce Vaughn. Vaughn is a tiny guy with a ton speed. He’s a freshman and comes to the Wildcats as a 3-star prospect. I’m not sure he’ll play a lot early in the season but he’s a name to remember moving forward once the Wildcats enter Big 12 play. He’s a mismatch nightmare out of the backfield in the passing game.
Malik Knowles ($7.3k FD/$6.1k DK), Chabastain Taylor ($5.6k FD/$4k DK), Wykeen Gill ($6.5k FD/$5.3k DK), OR Joshua Youngblood ($6.4k FD/$3.8k DK) are the starting WRs. Knowles and Gill played large roles in the passing in 2019. Knowles grabbed 27 passes for 397 yards and 3 TDs on 43 targets in 11 games last season. He possesses good size and speed. He sets up to be the Wildcats deep threat. Taylor is a massive WR as he stands 6’4” and weighs 223 pounds. He figures to be a solid red zone target for Thompson. Taylor posted 10/161/1 on 16 targets last season (13 games). Gill and Youngblood figure to battle it out for the slot WR position. Gill caught 16 passes for 273 yards and 1 TD on 28 targets last season (11 games) while Youngblood was limited to 9 receptions and 73 yards receiving on 14 targets a season ago (13 games). Youngblood is reportedly the better athlete.
Nick Lenners ($5.6k FD/$3.7k DK) OR Briley Moore ($5.3k FD/$3.2k DK) will start at TE. Lenners was 6th amongst Wildcats pass catchers in 2019. He recorded 13 receptions, 163 yards receiving, and 1 TD on 22 targets last season (13 games). He plays fullback but will also line up at TE in blocking situations. Moore is more of a traditional TE and transferred to Kansas State from Northern Iowa. In 2018, he hauled in 39 receptions for 536 yards and 4 TDs.
In 2019 (13 games), KSU was 33rd in passing yards allowed with 202.9 yards/game. They were 76th in rushing yards allowed with 165.5 yards/game. The defense gave up 19 TD on the ground (1.46 TD/game) and 12 TDs through the air (.92 TD/game) last season.
Clemson (46.5 Implied Team Total)
Trevor Lawrence ($10.2k FD) is obviously the starter at QB for the Tigers. In 15 starts last season, Lawrence posted game averages of 244.3 passing yards, 2.4 TD passes, and .53 INT. He also flashed some running ability as he rushed for 563 yards and 9 TDs on 103 attempts in 2019. Lawrence has dominated this week’s opponent, Wake Forest, in each of his 1st two seasons at Clemson. In 2 career games against the Demon Deacons, the junior completed 41/52 passes for 447 yards and 6 TDs. The Tigers’ offense favored the run (52.7/47.3 run-pass split) last season and averaged 71.7 plays per game.
Travis Etienne ($9.7k FD) is the starter at RB and will be backed up by Lyn-J Dixon and Darien Rencher. Etienne surprised many college football fans by returning to Clemson for the 2020 season. The star RB amassed 1,614 rushing yards and 19 TDs on 207 carries last season. He also plays a significant role in the passing game. The senior caught 37 passes for 432 yards and 4 TDs on 40 targets in 2019. Etienne has cleared 150 rushing and receiving yards in each of the last two games against Wake Forest. In those 2 games, he scored 4 total TDs. He’ll be a very popular option on this slate for good reason. Lyn-J Dixon ($6.2k FD) is in play as Clemson typically likes to manage Etienne’s workload early in the season. Dixon managed to run for 635 yards and 6 TDs in a reserve role last season. He is also active in the passing game (14/121/0 on 16 targets in 2019). Rencher will be the 3rd RB and he ran for 135 yards and 2 TDs on 26 carries last season.
The starting WRs are Joseph Ngata ($8.3k FD), Cornell Powell ($7k FD), and Amari Rodgers ($8.5k FD). Frank Ladson ($7k FD), EJ Williams ($4.3k FD), and Brannon Spector ($5k FD) should also see the field in the WR rotation. Ngata played in a reserve role last season and posted 17/240/3 on 36 targets in 15 games. He played behind Justyn Ross and Tee Higgins so it’s not a surprise he was utilized in a reserve role. However, the sophomore was a consensus 5-star recruit out of high school and is primed for a massive season. He’ll be counted on for big plays in the passing game. Powell is a senior and managed to record 15 receptions, 122 yards receiving, and 2 TDs on 24 targets in 13 games a season ago. I’m assuming he’ll be the 3rd wheel along side Ngata and Rodgers. Rodgers is the slot WR and he’s a speedster. The senior had 30 receptions, 426 yards receiving, and 4 TDs on 40 targets in 13 games last season. Ladson Jr. is another highly touted recruit. He provides a solid combination of size and speed. He came to Clemson as a 5-star recruit. I’d rather roster him over Powell even though Powell starts. EJ Williams will be making his collegiate debut; he came to Clemson as the 124th overall player in ESPN recruiting rankings. Spector is a redshirt freshman who caught 3 passes for 16 yards last season. He is in the mold of former Clemson WR Hunter Renfrow.
Braden Galloway ($5.3k FD) will start at TE. He has a chance to make a big impact on the offense after playing 1 game last (the National Title game). In that game, Galloway managed to catch 2 passes for 60 yards. He’s a solid option and provides cheap exposure to the high-powered Clemson offense.
In 2019 (15 games), Clemson was 4th in passing yards allowed with 172.3 yards/game. They were 19th in rushing yards allowed with 116.1 yards/game. The defense gave up 10 TD on the ground (.67 TD/game) and 14 TDs through the air (.93 TD/game) last season.
Wake Forest (14 Implied Team Total)
Sam Hartman ($7.6k FD) will start at QB in the season opener for Wake Forest. The dual threat QB started 2 games last season. In those two starts (Syracuse and FSU), Hartman threw for 658 yards, 2 TDs, and 2 INT. He also ran for 85 yards on 25 attempts. This will be a brutal matchup for Hartman and the rebuilding Demon Deacons. Star WR Sage Surratt opted out of the 2020 season while Wake Forest also lost their two other playmakers in Kendall Hinton and Scotty Washington. The Wake Forest offense favored the run (55.6/44.4 run-pass split) last season and averaged a blazing 81.2 plays per game.
Christian Beal-Smith ($6.5k FD) OR Kenneth Walker ($6.3k FD) will start at RB. Walker is the more appealing target as he is blessed with good size and speed. CBS ran for 304 yards and 2 TDs in 2019. Walker is the top returning rusher after rushing for 579 yards and 4 TDs on 98 carries last season. There will be better spots to utilize Walker later in the season. With Wake Forest expected to get crushed, I have no interest in RBs that don’t contribute in the passing game (receiving statistics for CBS 6/25/0 and Walker 3/17/0 in 2019).
Donaven Green ($6.7k FD) is the one clear cut starter at WR. A.T. Perry ($5.3k FD) OR Nolan Grioux ($5.4k FD) will start opposite of Green while Jacquarii Roberson ($5.9k FD) OR Taylor Morin ($5.3k FD) will start in the slot. Green is the only WR that I’d consider here. He flashed his upside in the Demon Deacons final 4 games last season. In those 4 games, he tallied 13 receptions, 249 yards receiving, and 2 TDs on 25 targets. Perry played sparingly in 2019; he is credited with 4 receptions, 62 yards receiving, and 1 TD on 6 targets in 4 games. The sophomore is a big bodied WR (stands at 6’5”, 212 pounds) and is a former 3-star recruit. Groux saw action in the bowl game last season but that was it. He was rated the #74 overall prospect in 2019 by Rivals (4-stars). Roberson played in 9 games and posted 6/80/1 on 15 targets. Morin is a former 3-star recruit; the redshirt freshman saw action as a punt returner in one game last season.
Brandon Chapman ($5.4k FD) will start at TE. He managed to catch 11 passes for 100 yards on 20 targets last season (0 TD). He should have a shot to make impact with Jack Freudenthal no longer around. Freudenthal posted 32/325/5 on 41 targets as the Demon Deacons’ starting TE last season.
In 2019 (13 games), WF was 101st in passing yards allowed with 252.8 yards/game. They were 74th in rushing yards allowed with 163.7 yards/game. The defense gave up 16 TD on the ground (1.23 TD/game) and 26 TDs through the air (2 TD/game) last season.
Tulane (31 Implied Team Total)
Keon Howard ($8k FD) will start at QB. In a reserve role last season (4 games), Howard completed 13/18 passes for 208 yards and 2 TDs. He also flashed his dual threat upside with 52 yards rushing and 1 TD on 12 attempts. I like him in this spot as Tulane should put up points against South Alabama. South Alabama allowed USM QB Jack Abraham to throw for 314 yards in the season opener. Tulane’s offense was run heavy (64.6/35.4 run-pass split) last season and averaged 72.9 plays per game.
The Mean Green are replacing their 3 top rushers from last season. Tyjae Spears ($8.1k FD) and Amare Jones ($7.1k FD) will likely start in the backfield. Stephon Huderson ($6.1k FD) and Ygenio Booker ($5.3k FD) will also see snaps at RB. However, it is Jones who catches my eye amongst the RBs due to his role in the passing and running games. The versatile RB ran for 371 yards and 4 TDs on 61 carries last season. He also caught 34 passes for 367 yards and 2 TDs on 47 targets last season (12 games). He is the top returning rusher and receiver from last season. Spears ran for 192 yards and 1 TD on 32 carries and recorded 5 receptions, 133 yards receiving, and 1 Td in 2019.
Deuce Watts ($6.7k FD), Jacob Robertson Jr. ($6.5k FD), Jaetavian Toles ($7.1k FD) are the likely starting WRs. Former Oklahoma WR Mykel Jones ($5.3k FD) also figures to see plenty of run at WR. This group will have to step up with Tulane’s top 2 WRs graduating (85 receptions and 152 targets). Toles is the most experienced pass catcher amongst this group. In 2019, he posted 13/160/1 on 27 targets in 13 games. Robertson Jr. saw time in 12 games a season ago (9/74/1 on 13 targets). Watts is a ju-co transfer via Jones County where he caught 24 passes for 416 yards in 2019. Jones is expected to have a big impact in the passing game (2/42/0 in 2 games at Oklahoma last season). I will probably ignore this group. I think Tulane will rely on their running game to start the season and probably won’t throw more than 20 passes. RB Jones plays such an active part in the passing game that if I’m looking for someone to pair with QB Howard, I will take Jones.
In 2019 (13 games), Tulane was 54th in passing yards allowed with 220.7 yards/game. They were 62nd in rushing yards allowed with 156.3 yards/game. The defense gave up 18 TD on the ground (1.38 TD/game) and 23 TDs through the air (1.76 TD/game) last season.
South Alabama (21 Implied Team Total)
Desmond Trotter ($8.6k FD) had a solid season opener as the Jaguars beat Southern Mississippi 32-21. Trotter threw for 299 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INT along with running for 41 yards on 9 attempts. In 4 starts last season, Trotter averaged 194.3 passing yards, 2 TD passes, and .5 INT on 22 pass attempts. Trotter also averaged 48.3 rushing yards on 13 carries (0 TD). The dual threat QB managed to top 34 yards rushing in all 4 of his starts. The Jaguars’ offense was run-heavy in 2019 as the offense operated at 64.4/35.6 run-pass split. The offense averaged 65.9 plays per game a season ago.
Carlos Davis ($6.8k FD) is the Jaguars’ starting RB and he ran for 85 yards on 15 carries in the season opener. In 2019, Davis ran for 261 yards and 2 TDs on 60 carries. He also caught 6 passes for 43 (0 TD).
Target counts in the season opener were Jalen Tolbert (9), Jalen Wayne (8), Kawaan Baker (5), Brandon Crum, Trent Tyre, Jamel Thomas, and Carlos Davis all with 1. Starting at the X-receiver is Jalen Wayne($7.3k FD), Kawaan Baker ($8k FD) gets the call at the H-receiver, and Jalen Tolbert ($9.9k FD) starts at the Z-receiver. Wayne caught 2 TD passes last season (only 4 receivers caught 2+ TDs for the Jaguars). The junior recorded 5 receptions for 62 yards in 2019. He kicked off the 2020 season with a 6/101/0 box score. Baker and Tolbert are the Jaguars’ playmakers via the air. Baker led the Jaguars in receptions (35) and receiving yards (574). His 3 TD receptions trailed only Tolbert’s 6. Baker is a versatile weapon as he also managed run for 83 yards and 2 TDs on 20 carries last season. Baker had 4 receptions, 82 yards receiving, and 1 TD in the 2020 season opener. Tolbert posted 27 receptions and 521 yards receiving in his 2019 campaign. The interesting part is most of his production came with Trotter at QB. In Tolbert’s last 3 games with Trotter, Tolbert posted box scores of 6/169/6 (USM), 5/144/4 (ARKST), and 2/74/1 (GAST).
Brandon Crum ($5k FD), the Jaguars’ starting TE, caught 1 pass for 5 yards in the season opener.
In 2019 (12 games), South Alabama was 48th in passing yards allowed with 216.6 yards/game. They were 98th in rushing yards allowed with 192.2 yards/game. The defense gave up 17 TD on the ground (1.42 TD/game) and 22 TDs through the air (1.83 TD/game) last season.
Western Kentucky (23.5 Implied Team Total)
Former Maryland QB Tyrell Pigrome ($6.7k FD) will start for Western Kentucky to open the 2020 season. Pigrome is an exceptional athlete and a ton of speed. However, he struggles to throw the ball accurately. The senior saw action in 11 games for Maryland last season. In those 11 games, he completed 69/118 passes for 719 yards, 3 TDs, and 6 INT. He also chipped in 153 yards rushing and 2 TDs on 45 attempts. He will carry low ownership in tournaments on this slate filled with stud QBs. He’s really cheap on FD. The Cardinals were atrocious defensively a season ago so there is upside here. The Hilltoppers’ offense favored the pass (52.1/47.9 pass-run split) last season and averaged 69.2 plays per game.
Gaej Walker ($7.6k FD) had a monster 2019 season. The talented RB amassed 1,208 yards rushing and 8 TDs on 241 carries. He also hauled in 24 passes for 140 yards on 31 targets. He totaled 100+ yards in 3 out of the final 4 games in 2019. QB Pigrome’s speed should open up some extra running room for Walker.
There is not a lot of information related to Western Kentucky’s pass catchers. Between graduation and transfers, the Hilltoppers lost a ton of production in the passing game. Jahcour Pearson ($7.3k FD) will play a big role again in the passing game after 76 receptions, 804 yards receiving, and 7 TDs a season ago. He was targeted 106 times in 13 games last season. Josh Simon ($5.5k FD), the starting TE, is the other known factor in the passing game. Simon posted 30/430/4 on 43 targets in 12 games last season. While both guys should see increased opportunity, I do believe their efficiency will go down with Pigrome at QB. The offense is also likely to go run-heavy with Pigrome at the helm.
In 2019 (13 games), WKU was 28th in passing yards allowed with 199.9 yards/game. They were 34th in rushing yards allowed with 135.5 yards/game. The defense gave up 11 TD on the ground (.85 TD/game) and 17 TDs through the air (1.31 TD/game) last season.
Louisville (35 Implied Team Total)
Micale Cunningham ($9.4k FD) will get the start at QB for the Cardinals. The dual threat QB saw action in 12 games last season. He spent a lot of time rotating with Evan Conley at QB. Still, he accounted for 28 total TDs (22 pass/6 rush). He recorded multiple TDs in 8 games. Western Kentucky returns 9 out of 11 starters from a very good defense in 2019. Cunningham has significant upside considering this should be a competitive game and the healthy 35 implied team total in this matchup.
Javian Hawkins ($9k FD) will start at RB with Hassan Hall ($6.2k FD) backing him up. Hawkins broke out in 2019 with 1,525 rushing yards and 9 TDs on 264 carries. The sophomore surpassed 100-yards rushing in each of the last 3 games of the 2019 season. Hawkins is a workhorse as he received at least 15 carries in 12 out 13 games a season ago. Hall managed to run for 501 yards and 5 TDs on 108 carries last season.
Tutu Atwell ($9.6k FD), Daz Fitzpatrick ($7.9k FD), and Justin Marshall ($6k FD) are likely to start at WR. Atwell is one of the best WRs in college football. He had a monster 2019 season in which he recorded 70 receptions, 1,276 yards receiving, and 12 TDs on 104 targets in 13 games. Atwell lit this week’s opponent, Western Kentucky, ablaze last season with a 5/145/3 box score. He’s clearly one of the top WR options this week. While Fitzpatrick takes a backseat to Atwell, he’s a solid option in his own right. Fitzpatrick posted 35/635/6 on 64 targets in 13 games last season. Marshall rounds out the starting WRs and should take a step forward this year after playing as a reserve in 2019 (6/135/0 on 13 targets in 11 games). The junior is listed at 6’3” and 215 pounds. He is a former 3-star recruit.
Marshon Ford ($6.1k FD) led all ACC TEs with 7 TD receptions last season. He totaled 20 receptions and 292 yards receiving on 24 targets in 13 games.
In 2019 (13 games), Louisville was 79th in passing yards allowed with 234.2 yards/game. They were 112th in rushing yards allowed with 205.8 yards/game. The defense gave up 27 TD on the ground (2.08 TD/game) and 31 TDs through the air (2.38 TD/game) last season.
UTEP (7.5 Implied Team Total)
Gavin Hardison ($6.5k FD) will have his hands full as the Miners travel to the University of Texas. Hardison kicked the 2020 season off with 212 yards passing, 1 TD, and 1 INT in last week’s 24-14 win over Stephen F. Austin. Unfortunately, Texas represents a massive step up in competition from SFA. One thing this slate is not lacking is top end QBs; I don’t think we need to consider Hardison this week. I prefer Pigrome if going cheap at QB on FD. UTEP’s offense favored the run (57.1/42.9 run-pass split) and averaged 64 plays per game.
Deon Hankins ($6.9k FD) ran for 113 yards and 2 TDs on 17 carries in the season opener despite being listed as the backup. He’ll see the bulk of the carries this week with Qaurdraiz Wadley ruled out. I’m not considering Hankins despite his great season opening performance.
Target counts from last week’s season opening win are Jacob Cowing (12), Justin Garrett (6), Devaughn Cooper (5), Walter Dawn Jr. (3), Josh Fields (1), and Quardraiz Wadley (1). Cowing ($6.8k FD) is the one guy that’s remotely interesting. The young WR averaged 73.5 yards receiving over the final 6 games in 2019. He kicked started the 2020 season with 7 receptions for 116 yards.
In 2019 (12 games), UTEP was 70th in passing yards allowed with 229.6 yards/game. They were 108th in rushing yards allowed with 201.3 yards/game. The defense gave up 25 TD on the ground (2.08 TD/game) and 27 TDs through the air (2.25 TD/game) last season.
Texas (50.5 Implied Team Total)
Sam Ehlinger ($10.7k FD) spurned the NFL in order to return to Texas for one more season. The dual threat star QB posted game averages of 281.2 passing yards, 51 rushing yards, 3 total TDs, and .77 INT in 2019. Ehlinger recorded multiple TDs in 11 out of 13 games. The only downside is playing time. With Texas installed as 6 TD favorites, he’ll likely find himself on the bench for the majority of the second half. The Longhorns’ offense operated at a nearly 50/50 run-pass split last season and averaged 73.1 plays per game.
Keoantay Ingram ($8.6k FD) will start with Roschon Johnson ($7.7k FD) backing him up at RB. Ingram is a talented runner who battled injuries for most of the 2019 season. He still managed to run for 853 yards and 7 TDs while catching 29 passes for 242 yards and 3 TDs on 34 targets last season. The junior capped the 2019 season with 108 yards rushing on 13 carries against a very stout Utah defense. He is one of the top RB options on this slate. Johnson should see enough time in this projected blowout to be viable on this slate. The former QB turned RB ran for 649 yards and 7 TDs on 123 carries. He also plays in the passing game (23/158/1 on 30 targets). This week’s opponent, UTEP, was bludgeoned via the ground a season ago. The Miners coughed up 25 TDs to opposing runners in 2019.
Tarik Black ($8.4k FD), presumably Jordan Whittington ($5.6k FD) in place of the injured Jake Smith, and Josh Moore ($6.5k FD) will start at WR with Brennan Eagles ($7k FD) and Al’Vonte Woodard in the WR rotation. Black is the former Michigan WR that flashed monster upside before falling victim to foot injuries in back-to-back seasons. He’s a big play waiting to happen; hopefully he can put the foot problems behind him. He’s an NFL talent provided he avoids the injury bug. Whittington played RB last season and was used sparingly. He was the 134th recruit nationally in 2019. Moore redshirted last season; he appeared in 6 games before a season ending injury in 2018 (7/53/1 that season). He was the #45 overall recruit back in 2018. These 3 will have a big task after losing Devin Duvernay and Collin Johnson to the NFL. Those two accounted for 186 targets, 143 receptions, 1,947 receiving yards, and 12 TDs in 2019. Eagles played third fiddle last season as a freshman. It is a little surprising he’s not starting after he posted 32/522/6 on 62 targets in 2019. Woodard playing sparingly last season.
Cade Brewer ($5.5k FD) is the starting TE. Brewer appeared in 9 games and caught 11 passes for 159 yards and 1 TD on 16 targets.
In 2019 (13 games), Texas was 127th in passing yards allowed with 292.5 yards/game. They were 45th in rushing yards allowed with 138.9 yards/game. The defense gave up 13 TD on the ground (1 TD/game) and 28 TDs through the air (2.15 TD/game) last season.
All target counts (which is free to access) are from Pro Football Focus.