New Year's Day College Football
Georgia -6.5 @ Cincinnati O/U 50.5 Game played in Atlanta, GA
Auburn @ Northwestern -3.5 O/U 43.5 Game played in Orlando, FL
Notre Dame @ Alabama -19.5 O/U 65.5 Game played in Arlington, TX
Ohio State @ Clemson -7.5 O/U 67.5 Game played in New Orleans, LA
Georgia (28.5 Implied Team Total)
JT Daniels ($8.3k FD/$7.3k DK) made 3 starts for Georgia this season and posted game averages of 279.7 passing yards and 3 TDs. The former USC QB recorded -51 rushing yards so he’s no threat to make plays with his legs. He faces his toughest challenge to date as the Bulldogs square off with Cincinnati. The Bearcats limited opposing passers to 192.3 passing yards per game including 5.48 yards per pass attempt. They were beaten for 6 TD passes in 9 games. Of course, this will also be Cincinnati’s toughest challenge to date as well. I do think Daniels is a fine play but will likely go under the radar with Fields, Lawrence, and Jones available on this slate. The Georgia offense favored the run (56.9/43.1 run-pass split) and averaged 68.9 plays per game.
Zamir White ($8.7k FD/$5.9k DK) will start at RB and Kenny McIntosh ($5.9k FD/$3.9k DK) will likely operate as a change of pace RB. White received an average of 12 carries per game with Daniels at QB. 2 of those games were blowouts. His workload figures to increase slightly with James Cook out. White cleared 100 rushing yards in 3 out of the last 5 games. He found paydirt in all but 1 game this season (10 total TDs in 9 games). McIntosh is likely to receive 5-8 carries in the bowl game (42/234/1 rushing this season). Cincinnati allowed 122.1 rushing yards per game including 3.32 yards per carry. The Bearcats ceded 9 rushing TDs in 9 games. They did allow 22/102/1 in the AAC title game to Tulsa’s Corey Taylor II.
Notable target counts through 9 games: Jermaine Burton (48), Kearis Jackson (48), and George Pickens (43 – 7 games).
The Georgia passing game is fairly condensed between Burton ($5.5k FD/$5.2k DK), Jackson ($6k FD/$4.7k DK), and Pickens ($7.2k FD/$6.1k DK). Jackson was targeted 20 times in 3 games by QB Daniels. He posted 8/197/2, 3/33/0, and 5/38/0 in those 3 games (most recent last). Jackson was targeted 10 times in 3 games by QB Daniels (6/71/1 in those 3 games). Pickens drew 22 targets from QB Daniels in 3 games; he posted 8/87/1, 3/25/0, and 5/126/2. Nearly 60% of his production this season came with Daniels at QB. As we saw last year, with competent QB play, Pickens is ultra-productive. Pickens and Burton are noticeably cheaper on FD. Burton is a decent source of salary relief on FD.
Cincinnati (22 Implied Team Total)
Desmond Ridder ($8.8k FD/$8.3k DK) has slate breaking upside but that typically occurs with monster rushing games. Unfortunately, Georgia has one of the best run defenses in the country (more on that below). The junior posted game averages of 232.2 passing yards, 50.8 rushing yards, and 3.2 total TDs per game. In total, Ridder accounted for 29 out of the Bearcats’ 46 offensive TDs this season. He faces off with a Georgia pass defense that allowed 253.4 passing yards per game including 7.08 yards per pass attempt. Georgia yielded 13 TD passes in 9 games. Ridder is a better play on FD due to pricing. The Cincinnati offense favored the run (57.8/42.2 run-pass split) and averaged 68 plays per game.
Gerrid Doaks ($6.2k FD/$4.4k DK) is the Bearcats lead RB. He was out-carried 12 to 7 by former Alabama RB Jerome Ford ($6k FD/$4.6k DK) in the AAC title game. Doaks ran for 673 yards and 7 TDs while also catching 14 balls for 202 yards and 2 TDs this season. I’m not particularly interested in Doaks or Ford. Once you factor in QB Ridder, it’s basically a 3-way backfield committee. I will say that both RBs are incredibly cheap on FD and could be used if you need salary relief on FD (I’d side with Doaks since he has a larger body of work this season). Georgia also limited opposing ball carriers to a paltry 69.3 rushing yards per game including 2.27 yards per carry (both slate highs). Additionally, Georgia only allowed 7 rushing TDs in 9 games.
Notable target counts through 9 games: Michael Young Jr. (37), Jayshon Jackson (36), Josh Whyle (31), Leonard Taylor (23), Tre Tucker (23), Jordan Jones (20), Alec Pierce (19 – 5 games), and Gerrid Doaks (18).
Young Jr. ($5.2k FD/$3.9k DK), Whyle ($5.5k FD/$4k DK), and Pierce ($5.9k FD/$5.5k DK) are probably the only rosterable players here. Pierce is the Bearcats best pass catcher, but he struggled with injuries throughout the season. The speedster posted 5/146/1 in the AAC title game on 7 targets. In 5 games, he caught 14 balls for 287 yards and 2 TDs this season. Young Jr. was only targeted more than 5 times in 1 game this season. His upside is rather low as he was held to 60 or less receiving yards in all 9 games (25/273/3). Whyle, the TE, led the Bearcats with 5 TD receptions this season. However, he’s TD dependent as he only recorded 318 receiving yards in 9 games. Bottom line, it’s probably Pierce or bust here. QB Ridder posted a team high 150.7 passer rating when targeting Pierce this season (per Pro Football Focus).
Auburn (20 Implied Team Total)
Bo Nix ($7.6k FD/$6k DK) accounted for 18 out of the Tigers’ 26 offensive TDs this season. He posted game averages of 212.3 passing yards, 35.6 rushing yards, and 1.8 total TDs. The sophomore only topped 240 yards passing in 2 games this season. He was the Tigers 2nd leading rusher though with 98/356/7 this season. He’s in a tough spot as Northwestern has one of the best defenses in the country. They limited opposing passers to 182.2 passing yards per game including 4.96 yards per pass attempt (slate best). They were beaten for 7 TD passes in 8 games. Nix will also be missing his 2nd leading pass catcher against the Wildcats (Anthony Schwartz 54/636/3). The Auburn offense favored the run (53.4/46.6 run-pass split) and averaged 68.5 plays per game.
Tank Bigsby ($7.4k FD/$5.6k DK) is considered questionable and there are rumors that he may be leaving the program. It sounds like he’s more doubtful than questionable (something to monitor pre-lock). The freshman ran for 834 yards and 5 TDs this season (11/84/0 receiving). Shaun Shivers ($5.7k FD/$3.4k DK) or DJ Williams ($5.4k FD/$3.8k DK) figures to start if Bigsby is unavailable. Both guys would likely rotate in the backfield and are cheap on both sites. Williams missed a ton of time over the latter part of the season, but he’s been practicing and reportedly back to full speed. In the last game that both RBs were available, Shivers outcarried Williams 14 to 11. I’d guess they’d split the carries nearly 50/50. The Auburn running game is in a good spot against a Northwestern run defense that allowed 156.5 rushing yards per game including 4.65 yards per carry (slate high). They were slammed for 29/331/2 in last week’s B1G 10 title game.
Notable target counts through 10 games: Seth Williams (90), Anthony Schwartz (85), Eli Stove (48 – 9 games), Ze’Vian Capers (14 – 8 games), and Tank Bigsby (13).
Clearly losing Schwartz is a monster blow. Williams ($6.2k FD/$5k DK) and Stove ($5.6k FD/$4.1k DK) will likely be peppered with targets with Schwartz out. Williams, the deep threat, caught 3+ balls in all 10 games this season. He cleared 50 receiving yards in 8 out of 10 games. The junior recorded 42/687/4 this season. Stove figures to benefit the most from Schwartz’s absence. He averaged 5.33 receptions over the final 3 regular season games. It looks like he’ll be moved to slot (40/330/3) which makes sense since he does most of work near the line of scrimmage. While I’m not totally sure which WR figures to round out the starting lineup, I’d guess it’d be Capers ($5.1k FD/$3.1k DK). The freshman is a secondary play. In limited action, Capers had 6 receptions, 73 receiving yards, and 1 TD this season. Kobe Hudson ($4.6k FD/$3k DK) could also see more action (4/41/0 on 5 targets in 8 games). Both WRs were 4-star prospects.
Northwestern (23.5 Implied Team Total)
Peyton Ramsey ($6.5k FD/$5.4k DK) accounted for 11 out of the Wildcats’ 23 offensive TDs this season. The senior posted game averages of 180.3 passing yards, 26.6 rushing yards, and 1.38 total TDs per game. Slighly concerning for his prospects is that Northwestern utilized one of their RBs as a wildcat QB in last week’s B1G Ten title game. Despite that, this is a good spot for Ramsey (cheap on both sites too). Auburn allowed 237.8 passing yards per game including 7.23 yards per pass attempt (slate high). Auburn allowed 17 TD passes in 10 games which is also a slate high. The Northwestern offense favored the run (57.9/42.1 run-pass split) and averaged 74 plays per game.
Cam Porter ($6.4k FD/$4.9k DK) has averaged 20 carries, 101.5 rushing yards, and 1.5 total TDs over the last 2 games (ILL/OSU). He has tallied all 4 of his rushing TDs over the last 3 games. While he’ll likely lose some snaps to QB Ramsey, he figures to be leaned on heavily against Auburn. Auburn allowed 163.1 rushing yards per game including 4.3 yards per carry. They ceded 14 TDs in 10 games. Evan Hull ($5.9k FD/$3.6k DK) could see some action at RB though he did not receive a carry in the B1G Ten title game (13/149/1 against Illinois in the game prior to the OSU game).
Notable target counts through 8 games: Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman (58), Kyric McGowan (46), Riley Lees (32), and John Raine (25 – 7 games).
First off, McGowan won’t play after entering the transfer portal. RCB ($6.8k FD/$4.8k DK) should be busy with McGowan out. The senior has drawn 26 targets over his last 2 games. He’s caught 8 balls in 3 different games over the last 5 games. RCB leads the team with 38/447/4 this season. Lees ($5.2k FD/$3.8k DK) had a quiet season (15/157/1). He cleared 25 receiving yards just one time this season. He figures to see an increase in targets with McGowan gone. Bryce Kirtz ($4.7k FD/$3k DK) has been pegged as a guy that will need to step up with McGowan no longer around. The freshman caught 2 balls for 16 yards in last week’s B1G Ten title game. McGowan was often utilized in the running game; it’s unclear how Northwestern expects to replace that option (24/141/1). It’s possible that the Wildcats utilize RCB on reverses or perhaps they’ll just lean on their RBs. Auburn struggled defending the opposing teams’ top pass catcher over their final 3 regular season games (MSU’s Walley (slot) 8/100/0, TAMU’s Wydermeyer (TE) 8/89/2, and BAMA’s Smith (perimeter) 7/171/2). That trend would certainly benefit RCB. Raine ($5.1k FD/$3.2k DK), the TE, is a secondary play (18/157/1). He had 4+ receptions in 3 out of 7 games.
Notre Dame (23 Implied Team Total)
Ian Book ($8.5k FD/$6.7k DK) struggled his second swing at Clemson. The dual threat QB threw for 219 yards (0 TDs) while taking 6 sacks and piling up -35 rushing yards. I’m guessing that he’ll likely go under-owned after that performance. The senior accounted for 23 out of the Irish’s 46 offensive TDs this season. Book posted game averages of 236.5 passing yards, 39.1 rushing yards, and 2.1 total TDs. He faces off with an Alabama defense that was more vulnerable to the pass than the run. The Crimson Tide allowed 243.5 passing yards per game including 6.82 yards per pass attempt. Alabama allowed 14 TD passes in 11 games. In games against top 5 teams over the last 2 seasons: Book threw for 275 yards, 2 TDs, and 2 INT against UGA in 2019/310 passing yards, 1 TD and ran 67 yards against Clemson earlier this season, and his struggles in last week’s game have been mentioned above. The Notre Dame offense favored the run (59.3/40.7 run-pass split) and averaged 71.5 plays per game.
Kyren Williams ($8.2k FD/$6.2k DK) is one of the fastest players in college football. The sophomore RB ran for 1,061 rushing yards and 12 TDs on 195 carries while also catching 27 balls for 282 yards and 1 TD. He’ll need to have a huge game if Notre Dame has any shot at beating Alabama. He averaged 19.3 carries over the last 3 games. Alabama limited opposing ball carriers to 107.1 rushing yards per game including 3.17 yards per carry. They allowed 11 rushing TDs in 11 games. Alabama allowed 2 individual players to run for 100+ yards all season long. Ironically enough, they were teammates (MISS’s Ealy and Connor). Williams makes for an interesting tournament play as I think Harris, Etienne, and Sermon will all be more popular.
Notable target counts through 11 games: Javon McKinley (56), Michael Mayer (50), Ben Skowronek (36 – 9 games), Kyren Williams (35), Avery Davis (33), Tommy Tremble (28), and Braden Lenzy (14 – 6 games).
McKinley ($6.5k FD/$4.9k DK), Sko ($5.9k FD/$4.4k DK), and Davis ($5.7k FD/$3.2k DK) are the likely starting WRs. McKinley is the deep threat and he hauled in 31 passes over the final 6 games. He cleared 100 receiving yards in 3 out of the final 5 games (40/697/3 this season). Sko averaged 4 receptions per game over the last 5 games. He’s a big bodied WR that has slate winning upside but can also bust your roster. He posted 2/107/2 (PITT) and 5/62/3 (BC) in 2 different games this season. He had 4 games with 35 or less receiving yards. Mayer ($5.8k FD/$3.5k DK) was targeted 6+ times and had 4+ receptions in each of the last 3 games. He posted 35/388/2; him and Davis are secondary targets. Davis had 2+ receptions in 7 out of the final 8 games (23/307/2). QB Book posted a 131.3 passer rating when targeting McKinley, 106.1 when targeting Mayer, 145.5 when targeting Sko, and 106.5 when targeting Davis. When Alabama was beaten via the air it was usually over the middle of the field (TAMU’s RB Smith 6/123/2, MISS TE Yeboah 7/181/2, FLA’s slot WR Toney 8/153/1, and FLA TE Pitts 7/129/1). They also allowed 8/82/0 to TAMU TE Wydermeyer. Could this be Mayer’s time to shine? Also slot speedster Braden Lenzy ($4.9k FD/$3.1k DK) is finally healthy and should play a factor in this game if you’re willing to roll the dice in large field tournaments (he could very well airball though). He’ll likely carry almost no ownership.
Alabama (42.5 Implied Team Total)
After watching Clemson eviscerate Notre Dame, I’m expecting Alabama players to be VERY popular. QB Mac Jones ($10.4k FD/$8.7k DK) posted game averages of 339.9 passing yards and nearly 3 TD passes. Jones posted 6 300+ yard passing games (4 with over 400). Notre Dame allowed 224.5 passing yards per game including 6.9 yards per pass attempt. They were roasted for 322 passing yards and 3 TDs by Clemson’s Lawrence last week. The Alabama offense favors the run (54.2/45.8 run-pass split) and averages 69.5 plays per game.
Najee Harris ($11.2k FD/$9.2k DK) ran for 1,262 yards and 24 TDs while also catching 32 balls for 316 yards and 3 TDs in 11 games. He was given 31 carries in last week’s win over Florida. He had 8 multi TD games this season. He’s the overall RB1 on Friday. Notre Dame limited opposing ball carriers to 110.5 rushing yards per game including 3.7 yards per carry (2nd most on the slate). They ceded 12 rushing TDs in 11 games. Travis Etienne managed to pile up 124 rushing yards and 1 TD on only 10 carries in last week’s game against Notre Dame.
Notable target counts through 11 games: DeVonta Smith (123), John Metchie III (61), Najee Harris (41), Miller Forristall (24), Slade Bolden (23), and Jahleel Billingsley (13).
Not much needs to be said about the Heisman favorite, Smith ($11.5k FD/$9k DK). He has 2+ TD receptions in 6 out of the last 8 games. He posted 98/1,511/17 this season. He’s clearly WR1 on Friday. Notre Dame has allowed team highs to their opponents’ top pass catchers in each of the last 3 games (8/121/1 to CLEM’s slot WR Rodgers, 8/69/0 to CUSE’s perimeter WR Harris, and 4/84/0 to UNC’s perimeter WR Brown). Metchie III ($7k FD/$5.1k DK) has 4+ receptions in each of the last 4 games while clearing 55 receiving yards in all 4 games. He’s a great play on Friday as well. His numbers should be better, but he’s dropped several passes as of late (44/782/6). He and Smith rarely leave the field. Bolden ($5.4k FD/$3.3k DK) and Billingsley ($5.2k FD/$4.2k DK) are secondary plays as they rotate in the slot. Bolden is averaging 3 receptions and 41.5 receiving yards over the last 2 games (6 total targets). Billingsley has 11 receptions, 208 receiving yards, and 2 TDs over the last 5 games. I wouldn’t be surprised if Bolden earns more snaps this week as Alabama will likely try to exploit their speed advantage. TE Forristall ($5.3k FD/$3.3k DK) is also a secondary play; the senior had 9 receptions for 72 yards over the last 2 games (20/222/1 this season).
Ohio State (30 Implied Team Total)
Justin Fields ($10.6k FD/$8k DK) is coming off his worst career game at Ohio State as he struggled with a thumb injury and played without one of his top weapons in Chris Olave. The dual threat QB accounted for 20 out of the Buckeyes’ 31 offensive TDs this season. Fields posted game averages of 253.5 passing yards, 45.7 rushing yards, and 3.33 total TDs. On paper, the matchup with Clemson is rather difficult. The Tigers limited opposing passers to 198.6 passing yards per game including 6.94 yards per pass attempt. They surrendered 11 TD passes in 11 games. Fields completed 30 out of 46 pass attempts for 320 yards, 1 TD, and 2 INT in last year’s matchup with Clemson. He ran for 13 yards on 14 attempts. The OSU offense favored the run (62.4/37.6 run-pass split) and averaged 72.7 plays per game.
Trey Sermon ($8k FD/$6.6k DK) set an OSU record with 331 rushing yards and 2 TDs on 29 carries in last week’s B1G Ten title game. That was his second straight game with 110+ rushing yards. Master Teague ($7.2k FD/$4.1k DK) was reportedly injured during the B1G Ten title game with a possible head injury. Teague is probably questionable for this week’s game as nothing has been announced from what I can tell. If he does play, he’s an interesting leverage play off Sermon. Unfortunately, we likely won’t know, and this is the last game of the day. Clemson’s defense was stout against the run, and they limited opposing ball carriers to 99.8 rushing yards per game including 2.79 yards per carry. They allowed 8 rushing TDs in 11 games.
Notable target counts through 6 games: Garrett Wilson (50), Chris Olave (42 – 5 games), Julian Fleming (12 – 5 games), Trey Sermon (10), and Johnny Ruckert (10).
Slot WR Wilson ($8.7k FD/$7.2k DK) seemed to struggle with Olave ($8.6k FD/$6.4k DK) sidelined. He posted a season low 4/49/0. Prior to that, Wilson recorded 111+ receiving yards and/or scored a TD in each of the 1st 5 games. In total, he posted 38/621/5 in 6 games. Olave is back after dealing with COVID-19. He cleared 100 receiving yards in 4 out of 5 games this season. He also caught at least 5 balls in all 5 games (36/526/5). It’ll be interesting to see if he’s back to full speed after dealing with the illness. If he’s limited, expect Julian Fleming to see an increase in playing time. Fleming ($5k FD/$3.4k DK) struggled to get on the same page with QB Fields in last week’s B1G Ten title game (4/53/0 on 7 targets). Jameson Williams ($4.8k FD/$3.1k DK) is the 3rd starting WR alongside Olave and Wilson. He’s done virtually nothing all season (5/78/1 on 8 targets). Ruckert ($5.2k FD/$3.2k DK), the TE, is a TD or bust play (9/60/3 this season). He’s bageled in 3 straight contests. Only 1 pass catcher cleared 100 yards this season against Clemson (ND’s perimeter WR McKinley 5/102/0).
Clemson (37.5 Implied Team Total)
Trevor Lawrence ($11k FD/$8.8k DK) is my favorite QB on this slate. The future pro accounted for 29 out of the Tigers’ 60 offensive TDs this season despite missing 2 games. Lawrence posted game averages of 305.9 passing yards, 23.4 rushing yards, and 3.22 total TDs. He catches an OSU pass defense that struggled mightily at time this season. The Buckeyes allowed 261.3 passing yards per game (slate high) including 7.03 yards per pass attempt. The Buckeyes allowed 9 TD passes in 6 games. The 2 games OSU played against rank teams they allowed: IU’s Penix Jr. to throw for 491 yards and 5 TDs (1 INT), and PSU’s Clifford threw for 281 yards and 3 TDs (1 INT). The Clemson Tigers offense favored the pass (53.2/46.8 pass-run split) and averaged 75.5 plays per game.
Travis Etienne ($9.8k FD/$6.9k DK) is a threat in both the running and passing games. The senior piled up 882 rushing yards, 524 receiving yards, and 15 total TDs in 11 games. He cleared 100 rushing yards in 3 games while clearing 100 receiving yards in 2 games. He’ll be very popular. Ohio State was solid against the run this season as they limited opposing ball carriers to 96.7 rushing yards per game including 3.35 yards per carry.
Notable target counts through 11 games: Amari Rodgers (89), Cornell Powell (67), Travis Etienne (53), Braden Galloway (37), EJ Williams (32), and Frank Ladson Jr. (28 – 8 games).
Rodgers ($8.1k FD/$6.5k DK) had 6+ receptions in 8 out of 11 games this season. The slot WR racked up 69 receptions, 966 receiving yards, and 7 TDs this season. The senior cleared 60 receiving yards in 9 out of 11 games. Powell ($7.1k FD/$5.8k DK) is the deep threat. He caught 4+ balls in each of the last 5 games. The senior cleared 90 receiving yards in 4 out of the final 5 games. He posted 45/743/5 this season. Galloway, Williams, and Ladson Jr. are secondary plays. Galloway ($5.1k FD/$3.6k DK) posted 25/331/2. He hasn’t cleared 50 receiving yards in 7 games. Williams ($5.8k FD/$4.3k DK) posted a career 4/80/1 in the ACC title game (2 TD receptions over the last 3 games). He’ll likely rotate in on the perimeter with Ladson Jr. ($5k FD/$3.7k DK) Ladson Jr. failed to draw a target in the ACC title game (missed the prior 3 games). Ohio State was throttled by IU’s perimeter WR Fryfogle earlier this season (7/218/3). His 3 TD receptions went for 63/33/56. Powell will be the pass catcher to challenge OSU’s backend.
Final note: As we’ve seen, there’s been some craziness with injuries (and lack of reporting) this bowl season, I think targeting the playoff games is the way to go (probably rather obvious with the game totals) as these teams certainly have the incentive to win/play their top players.