Welcome to Championship Weekend, friends! Rather than our normal bargain bin column for the week, we’ll be rolling out full lineups for Friday’s Pac-12 title game and Saturday’s main slate. Enjoy and good luck!
Friday slate: Pac-12 Championship Game (Utah vs. Oregon)
Captain: Utah RB Zack Moss ($15,900) -- Moss is the third-most expensive player in this matchup, trailing only the two starting quarterbacks. Irrelevant in our book. Pricey, sure, but our merry band’s conductor is the maestro of consistency. We trust production from him more than we do from either Tyler Huntley or Justin Herbert. Moss scored at least one touchdown in every game this season save for one. He rushed for at least 100 yards in 7-of-12 games. Shell out the big bucks and go into the game feeling comfortable.
Utility: Oregon WR Juwan Johnson ($8,000) -- We feel Johnson is a wee bit overpriced, but we’re willing to shell out the higher number due to his upside. It just requires us to scrimp and save below, which we’re more than willing to do. As for the upside? Johnson at his best is capable of huge performances, as he pulled off against USC, when he caught seven passes for 106 yards and three touchdowns. And we suspect that Oregon will be down in this game -- we like Utah to win comfortably -- necessitating Throw Mode from Justin Herbert.
Utility: Oregon WR Johnny Johnson III ($7,800) -- While Johnny is not the most expensive Oregon receiver on the board -- that would be the above Juwan Johnson at $8,000 -- we think he’s the smartest Ducks play among Justin Herbert’s potential options. Johnson III has scored just six touchdowns on the season, but he is currently working on a streak of three consecutive games with a touchdown, having scored four total in that space.
Utility: Oregon WR Jaylon Redd ($7,400) -- Yup, we’re plugging in all three of Oregon’s top receivers. If the Ducks are going to pull an upset, here, it’s going to be through the air with Herbert. Redd has been blanked from the end zone in four consecutive games, but he’s had at least four catches in three of those four contests. It’s not like he’s gone AWOL down the stretch. Just AWOL from the end zone. On that front, Redd earlier this season posted a touchdown in six straight games. Have trust.
Utility: Utah TE Brant Kuithe ($6,200) -- A frequent visitor to the end zone, Kuithe scored nine total touchdowns in the regular season. That includes three rushing, all scored in his last two games. As a receiver, he hit the paint in two of his final three games, with three total scores in that space. If you can get any gravy from a carry or two, slick, friendo.
Utility: Oregon RB Cyrus Habibi-Likio ($4,600) -- Habibi-Likio probably won’t get you too much on the yardage front (that’s more a CJ Verdell production), but get ready for all the touchdowns! Hopefully! His 6-foot-1, 222-pound frame is perfect for pounding it in in short range, with 10 trips to the end zone during the regular season. Compare that to Verdell’s five and you start to get dreams of vultures. We see Habibi-Likio swooping in at least once on Friday. He has scored touchdowns in three straight games, with four total in that space. Keeps it going upcoming. And on the cheaper side, which helps after you put down the big bucks on Moss.
Saturday main slate
Quarterback: Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts ($9,000) vs. Baylor -- You have to pay more for Hurts than any player on the morning slate, but there’s a reason for that: He’s almost guaranteed astronomical points. Hurts has accounted for 49 total touchdowns this season, has thrown for multiple touchdowns in all but two games and has rushed for at least 55 yards in all but one game. Against Baylor earlier this season, he finished with four passing scores. Maybe he’ll even show up before halftime in the rematch.
Running back: Cincinnati RB Michael Warren II ($6,300) at Memphis -- Just do what you did last weekend, Mr. Warren. While the Bearcats lost to Memphis 34-24 on Saturday, giving the Tigers home field for the title game in the process, it wasn’t for Warren’s lack of trying. He put up 122 rushing yards plus a score in the defeat, his third straight 100-yard game and fifth straight with a touchdown. Warren comes at the sweet, sweet nexus of price and production. There are flashier names, but Warren just gave us proof of concept. And he doesn’t have to face off with Georgia.
Running back: Boise State RB George Holani ($5,600) vs. Hawaii -- Affordable upside against a bad rushing defense? As the kids say, let’s go. Holani was at his best against Utah State two weekends back, rushing for 178 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Now, Colorado State -- pour one out for departing HC Mike Bobo -- held Holani to just 42 yards rushing last Saturday, but even in that contest, he received 18 carries. He has seen double-digit carries in five of his last six games. There’s a clear trust from the coaching staff. Hawaii ranks 111th in the country against the run on a per-game average. When these two teams earlier met on Oct. 12, Holani put up 64 rushing yards and a score while backing up Robert Mahone. We’re not worried about Mahone, who did not play last weekend and saw just two carries the weekend prior.
Wide receiver: Clemson WR Tee Higgins ($6,000) vs. Virginia -- Higgins has been torching people throughout the second half of the season, perhaps the biggest beneficiary of Trevor Lawrence’s down-the-stretch brilliance. He caught two touchdowns against South Carolina in the season-finale, three against Wake Forest the weekend before that. All told, Higgins has scored in four consecutive games. While he has just three games this season over 100 yards receiving, we’ll take touchdown upside over yardage upside, here.
Wide receiver: Boise State WR Khalil Shakir ($5,400) vs. Hawaii -- Shakir tied his season-best with seven catches against Colorado State last weekend, for his second-highest yardage total with 103 yards. He has now caught seven passes on the nose in two of his last four games. Shakir caught a touchdown when these two teams played during the regular season.
Wide receiver: Central Michigan WR JaCorey Sullivan ($5,100) vs. Miami (OH) -- While Sullivan has just three touchdowns this season, it’s not for lack of attention. And it hasn’t resulted in a lack of yardage production. Sulllivan caught at least five passes in each of the final five games of the regular season, with two games over 100 yards receiving in that space and none under 80 yards receiving. We’ll cross our fingers for a touchdown or two, but even if no scores are forthcoming on Saturday, Sullivan’s not going to give you a goose egg.
Flex: Central Michigan RB Jonathan Ward ($6,600) vs. Miami (OH) -- While the Power Five title games are receiving all the noise, the Group of Five slate just has so many undervalued options. Ward has scored touchdowns in seven consecutive games -- he has 16 total this season -- and finished the regular season with three straight games over 85 yards rushing, with the front two of that three seeing him over 100 yards rushing.
SuperFlex: Memphis WR Damonte Coxie ($5,800) vs. Cincinnati -- Coxie found the end zone in four consecutive games to finish up the regular season, scoring six times in that space. And against Cincinnati in the regular-season incarnation of this title game, which we saw six days ago, Coxie caught six passes for 145 yards and a touchdown. We’ll take seconds on that.