Mark Lindquist

Daily Fantasy Decisions

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CFB DFS Lineups: Week 1

Friday, August 31, 2018


We lead with our main Saturday DFS lineup before looping back to check out Friday's potential wares.



Saturday 12:00 EST Lineup


The format: $50,000; 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 FLEX, 1 SUPER-FLEX


Ole Miss QB Jordan Ta’amu at Texas Tech ($9,800) -- In a game that should prove to be one of the more entertaining defense-optional contests of Week 1, Ta’amu is the play, here. Unlike on the other sideline, which sees all sorts of quarterback mystery on the depth chart between McClaine Carter, Jett Duffey and Alan Bowman (all listed as co-starters), you know what you’re getting with the Rebs. Ta’amu threw for 1,682 yards with an 11/4 TD/INT ratio last season, starting five games after Shea Patterson went down injured. Three of those five starts saw him top 300 yards passing, while four of five came with multiple touchdown passes. Texas Tech yielded 282.2 yards passing yards a game a year ago, which placed them 123rd in the FBS.


For a price comparable, you could get Penn State’s Trace McSorley at $9,800 versus Appalachian State, a matchup far less palatable than that of Ta’amu and friends, while Mizzou’s Drew Lock would set you back $9,500. Even with Lock’s penchant for torching nobody opponents -- he’ll be setting up shop against Tennessee-Martin this weekend -- interested parties should be aware that Lock will be working against the constraints of new OC Derek Dooley’s stodgy pro-style offense -- and a newly-installed stodgy pro-style offense at that.


Ohio State RB Mike Weber vs. Oregon State ($6,600) -- Why would you want OSU’s backup running back, you might ask. Surprise, surprise, JK Dobbins ($10,300) did not actually beat Weber out in camp. They’re listed as co-starters on Ohio State’s first depth chart of the season. You can only read so much into depth charts, but either Weber just turned in a strong offseason or Dobbins took the foot off the gas pedal after a nice finish to the 2017 campaign. Regardless, the tangible reality for DFS players is that we have no real idea how carries are going to shake out, here. What we know for sure -- Dobbins is the most expensive running back on the board, while Weber can be had for relative pennies. We view Weber as a $7,500-8,000 back on discount, while Dobbins is being marked up by about $1,300.


FAU RB Devin Singletary at Oklahoma ($7,100) -- You probably won’t be able to invest in Motor at a cheaper price than this all year long. There’s no doubting his statistical bonafides: Singletary topped 100 yards rushing in each of the final 12 games of the 2017 campaign, with six games of at least 150 yards rushing in that space. The real question, here, is just how difficult the sledding will be against the Sooners. At the very least, Lane Kiffin will be feeding him the ball on repeat, given an unsettled equation at quarterback.


It’s not like last year’s OU team was particularly strong against the run, either. In seven of their 14 games a year ago, they allowed a 100-yard rusher (David Montgomery also dropped 144 total yards). On average, the Sooners surrendered 238.2 yards rushing per contest. As with Weber, we feel that you’re gaining a major monetary advantage with Motor. It’s just that here, you’re seeing a discount of around $2,000. Strike now.


Iowa WR Brandon Smith vs. NIU ($3,900) -- Ready to dive into the bargain bins? Maybe find a cool hat? That’s what we’ll be doing with our next two wideouts. Not everything can be cheese and crackers. With our cheaper options, we like to play big. Smith has two things going from him, here. First, he’s earned a starting spot for an Iowa offense with the tools to pass more than we’re accustomed to. Second, he’s fast. We’re fans of the fast guys. While there’s the risk of the goose egg, you just need Smith to break off a deep touchdown or two and you’re in business. At 6-foot-3, 220 pounds, the former high jumper has a frame perfect for red zone work. Investing in Iowa’s passing game can be a trying experience, but at $3,900, Smith’s real upside comes in the fact that it’s barely an investment at all. He’s been a jump-ball stud in preseason camp.


Penn State WR KJ Hamler vs. Appalachian State ($3,900) -- Hamler will be taking over as starting slot wideout, the role which DaeSean Hamilton had previously held. In high school, he was nicknamed the “Human Joystick” and his energy has been the talk of camp. We like Hamler not only as a sneaky upside performer in high-volume passing attack, one who comes at a considerably cheaper price than more heralded teammate Juwan Johnson ($7,500). Hamler will also be returning kicks for the Nittany Lions, so you get that nice little touch if you pull out the wallet for him.


Oklahoma WR (TE) Grant Calcaterra vs. FAU ($4,800) -- Calcaterra, of course, does not play wide receiver, but we’re at the mercy of DraftKings designations with this one. Regardless, the 6-foot-4, 240-pounder is worth breaking open the piggy bank to modest degree. You’ll recall that Mark Andrews just bowed out of the collegiate game with a 62-958-8 receiving line this past season, with a trio of 100-yard receiving games and fewer than four grabs registered in only four of 14 contests a year ago. That’s one more 100-yard showing than WR CeeDee Lamb, one less than Marquise Brown. You can’t expect a 1:1 correlation between Andrews and Calcaterra, but it’s an offense which heavily utilizes its move tight ends. And hey, we’ll admit to being a little less certain in QB Kyler Murray than others around our electronic office. Perfect safety blanket to break in the athletic signal-caller? A 6-foot-4, 240-pound tight end. Rather than try to throw a dart at which of Lamb or Brown comes up with the big game on Saturday, game theory this thing up and dance with Calcaterra.


FLEX: Washington State WR Davontavean Martin at Wyoming ($6,400) -- Want to live on the edge of the world? Pony up for a Wazzu entity. During this week’s flurry of depth chart releases, one of the more absurd -- OK, it was the most absurd -- two-deeps we saw came out of the office of Cougs HC Mike Leach. Not two, not three, but four quarterbacks were listed as co-starters in Gardner Minshew, Trey Tinsley, Anthony Gordon and Cammon Cooper. If you can look past the base silliness of Leach naming four starting quarterbacks, Martin is the first option in the throw-happiest offense in the country -- Luke Falk led the country in pass attempts each of his three full years starting. We also think it’s an intriguing counterplay on Wyoming, which will have to steel itself against both leaden legs with one game already under their belt, as well as a week of praise in which national writers lauded them as the toast of the town. The Cowboys’ defense does scare us, and we certainly wish Leach would give us a little clarity with this one. We’re willing to roll the dice, anyway. The great thing about Washington State is that they will not stop firing bullets even if the scoreboard sends them a cease-and-desist letter in the form of a blowout. We don’t think this will be a blowout.


S-FLEX: Cal QB Ross Bowers vs. North Carolina ($7,000) -- Oh how we love this match-up. For starters, Bowers ripped UNC for 363 yards and four touchdowns in the opener last season. It was a remarkable performance several reasons, most notably that Bowers had not even attempted a pass -- let alone started a game -- in his first two years on campus. And he did so playing in a completely new offense under former Eastern Washington HC Beau Baldwin. This time around, he’ll head into competition against the Tar Heels with one season of starting and two full offseasons in Baldwin’s system. That’s not all folks. Last year’s game was played in Chapel Hill. This back end of the home-and-home will be played on Bowers’ turf. One bonus nugget for you -- UNC will have 13 players sitting out suspended for this opener. Flying cross-country, it would surprise us none of they came up somewhat limp. Big numbers coming for Bowers.


FRIDAY LINEUP


Colorado State QB K.J. Carta-Samuels vs. Colorado ($8,500) -- Carta-Samuels paid dividends against Hawaii in Week 0, throwing for 537 yards and five touchdowns. We’ll double down, here, against a leaky Colorado defense which just lost star CB Isaiah Oliver to the NFL.


San Diego State RB Juwan Washington at Stanford ($7,900) -- Washington is the latest cog in what’s become a perpetual motion machine in the running backs room for HC Rocky Long. Rashaad Penny dropped 175 yards rushing and a score on the Cardinal last season.


Utah State RB Gerold Bright at Michigan State ($3,800) -- Bright might have the luminosity of dark matter on the DraftKings menu, but we like him to shine like a quasar in this match-up. While Bright saw just 29 carries last season, he turned those into 249 yards at an 8.6 YPC clip. And that only came after a midseason transition from wideout to running back. With a full offseason at his new position now in the books, Bright came out in August camp to win the starting job outright. The Spartans make for a worthy adversary defensively, but at just $3,800, Bright’s not burning a hole in your pocket.


Colorado State WR Olabisi Johnson vs. Colorado ($6,400) -- We already hit on this favorable matchup when we rolled out Carta-Samuels above. Same basic logic applies with Johnson, too. He went off for a 6-157-2 receiving line versus Hawaii. We’ll see just how sustainable this molten-hot offense is over the coming weeks -- regression is bound to kick in after a few games -- but for now, ride what we know is a hot hand. We’d like to stress that Colorado’s pass defense is porous.


Stanford WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside vs. San Diego State ($6,700) -- Admittedly, we view this largely as a game which will be dominated by both squads on the ground, with the passing attack of secondary importance. In a thinner receiving pool, though, we’ll bank on the stronger trends we saw near the end of the past campaign to carry over. Arcega-Whiteside caught at least four passes in four of Stanford’s final five games. He caught a quartet of touchdown passes in that space. Caveat -- we are as high as anybody when it comes to Stanford’s passing attacking led by QB K.J. Costello. If you aren’t there with Stanford’s offense as of yet, though, we get it.


Duke WR Johnathan Lloyd vs. Army ($4,700) -- Blue Devils HC David Cutcliffe was effusive in his praise of Lloyd this summer, saying that the 6-foot, 190-pounder had “the best camp of everyone.” As if it needs to be said given Cutcliffe’s comments, Lloyd has earned a starting role for the opener. T.J. Rahming is the team’s headliner at wideout, but you would have to put up $2,900 more from the savings account to swaddle him into your lineup. That $7,600 price tag for Rahming is reasonable in its own right, really, if not quite as palatable as that of Lloyd.


FLEX: Western Kentucky WR Quin Jernighan at Wisconsin ($3,300) -- Obviously, if you’re drafting Jernighan, you’re playing a game of limbo with at least one of your positions in order to invest elsewhere. That’s our tact, here, and Jernighan will have a starting opportunity on Friday. The Badgers should be able to win this one going away, meaning throw, throw, throw for a WKU team already inclined to do so.


S-FLEX: Nevada WR McLane Mannix vs. Portland State ($8,700) -- Skimping with Jernighan at our flex spot allows for the flexibility to grab Mannix, arguably the most appealing option at the position. DraftKings has only one receiver -- Michigan State’s Felton Davis ($8,900) costing more. The price difference between the two is essentially negligible, but we prefer Mannix all things even anyway. Better matchup and plays in a scheme more conducive to statistical glory.



Mark Lindquist holds a master's degree from the University of Iowa and writes baseball and college football for Rotoworld.com. He's currently working on a memoir about life, death, rock 'n' roll and his year teaching at a Chinese university. You can reach him on Twitter @markrlindquist.
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