CFB DFS Week 12: Value Plays to Target

·8 min read

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The pro tip of the week is quickly turning into me saying, "find out who Michigan State is facing, and play that team's quarterback."

In Week 10, it was Purdue's Aidan O'Connell torching the nation's worst pass defense for 536 yards, three touchdowns and 35.1 fantasy points. Then last week I went back to the Michigan State well with Taulia Tagovailoa ($5,900) only to see him reward my faith with 350 passing yards, two touchdowns and one interceptions and 25.6 DraftKings fantasy points, good for the overall QB12 on the main slate, and the overall QB7 in PTS/$1,000 (4.34).

I should preface all of this with saying that I won't be recommending Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud as a value play against Michigan State this weekend, mainly due to the fact that his $9,500 price tag is the furthest thing from a value.

But Stroud does get Michigan State and is playing at home, so that could be good.

I also invested my weekly faith in running backs into Mississippi State pass-catching extraordinaire Jo'Quavious Marks. caught 4-of-5 targets for 14 yards, and rushed another nine times for 33 yards against Auburn, but only managed 11.3 fantasy points on the weekend. He finished as the overall RB24 on the main slate, which was rather disappointing given his $6,700 price point. We needed nearly double his 11.3 points for Marks to return value on the weekend.

Then Terps' receiver Marcus Fleming caught 1-of-2 targets for 23 yards (3.3 points), but exited the matchup against Michigan State early with an injury (undisclosed) and did not return. He has since been ruled out for the season.

With only a few weeks left of this college football DFS season, let's get into some of my favorite value plays for Week 12.

Phil Jurkovec, Boston College QB

Game: Boston College (-2) vs. Florida State - O/U 54.5
DraftKings Price: $4,500

Since making his return from a devastating hand injury that he suffered early in the season, Boston College quarterback Phil Jurkovec has been a tough man to fade.

Fortunately, even after a 48.5 point output against Georgia Tech last weekend, the price setters at DraftKings aren't giving us any reason to fade him this weekend against Florida State. As a matter of fact, they're encouraging us to roster Jurkovec.

Phil Jurkovec Fantasy Stats
Phil Jurkovec Fantasy Stats

Perhaps I should backtrack a bit.

Jurkovec didn't set the world on fire in his return against Virginia Tech. He completed just 7-of-13 passes for 112 with no touchdowns and one interception, but did rush for 65 yards and one touchdown. While he wasn't electric, Jurkovec did triple his value that weekend against the Hokies, finishing with 16.0 fantasy points and 3.55 PTS/$1,000.

Last week would've been the week to play Jurkovec, when he threw for 310 yards and two scores while also rushing for 71 yards and three touchdowns in a 41-30 win over Georgia Tech. Sadly, he and Boston College weren't even on the slate.

Jurkovec has never been one to dominate in fantasy, but he did average 21.0 fantasy points on DraftKings last season, and has some sneaky rushing upside that makes him capable of breaking a slate wide open. Had he been available on last week's main slate, Jurkovec would have been the highest scoring fantasy QB, surpassing the QB1 on the week, Will Rogers of Mississippi State (42.9, $7,400).

In limited action, Jurkovec has been highly efficient. Of the quarterbacks on the slate, he leads the pack with a 9.0 yards per carry average and has forced 10 missed tackles on just 18 carries per Pro Football Focus. He also leads all quarterbacks on the slate in points per pass attempt (1.5) and points per completion (2.4).

It should be noted that some of these numbers will likely regress for Jurkovec, who managed just 0.63 points per pass attempt in 2020. However, his rushing upside this season is better than we have ever seen from him, as he's rushed 22 times for 197 yards and four touchdowns.

When it comes to stopping opposing quarterbacks, Florida State ranks dead (295th) last in points allowed to opposing quarterbacks. And Jurkovec is quite literally the cheapest quarterback available on the slate at $4,500.

This could result in him being a chalky play, but if the public sleeps on Jurkovec and he gives us another solid performance on Saturday, he could wind up being a slate breaker.

Leddie Brown, West Virginia RB

Game: West Virginia (-3) vs. Texas - O/U 56.
DraftKings Price: $6,200

Unless you've lived under a rock this past week, chances are you are well aware of the recent loss Texas suffered last weekend against Kansas.

In that game, Kansas running back Devin Neal rushed 24 times for 143 yards and three touchdowns and caught another two passes for 26 yards and one touchdown.

Struggling against the run has been a common theme for the Longhorns this season, as the they are allowing the 15th most rushing yards per game (204.8) and the 16th most rushing touchdowns per game (2.3). Texas also ranks 80th in tackle grades at 63.8, while their rush defense is graded as the 17th worst in the nation at 49.7 - no surprise there.

Now the Longhorns travel to West Virginia for a tilt with the Mountaineers and running back Leddie Brown.

Leddie Brown Fantasy Stats
Leddie Brown Fantasy Stats

Brown has had weeks as a DFS dominator in 2021, going over 30 fantasy points in four of his 10 games this season, and has dominated WVU's backfield in total touches (201).

Of the running backs on this weekend's slate, Brown ranks as the RB6 in total touches, but is the cheapest of those backs by a landslide. Looking at the top-6 backs in total touches on this weekend's slate, Brown is coming in at a $6,200 price point. Michigan's Hassan Haskins, who is fifth in total touches is the second-cheapest back of this ground at $7,600.

On the whole, Brown's $6,200 price for the weekend ranks as the 16th highest on the weekend, which feels like a generous discount given his volume (20.1 touches per game) and the defense he is facing.

Brown won't pop in the efficiency numbers like points per touch (1.0, 22nd) or points per carry (1.2, 15th) but that can be the case with bell cow backs who are still prone to down games, which Brown has had three games in which he scored 7.2 points or fewer.

The matchup with Texas is a generous one, and Brown has been the wheel that keeps the WVU offense turning. Brown would need 18.6 points to triple his value in this one, which could be within reach. On the year, he is averaging 20.4 points per game on DraftKings.

Chris Olave, Ohio State WR

Game: Ohio State (-19) vs. Michigan State - O/U 68.5
DraftKings Price: $6,400

Another great weekly pro tip that has come to light over recent weeks is finding the cheapest Ohio State wide receiver and putting him in your lineup. This, like playing quarterbacks against Michigan State, has the chance to work particularly well against Michigan State as well. And the Buckeyes just so happen to be playing host to Sparty this weekend.

You might not always walk away with the highest scorer from the trio of Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave and Jaxon Smith-Njigba, but that doesn't mean the value isn't there.

Each of these receivers is averaging 20.4 fantasy points per game or more on the season, with Smith-Njigba being the lowest scoring of the three on a per-game basis.

Chris Olave is currently second amongst this trio with 22.2 points per game as he is also averaging a solid 3.9 fantasy points per reception.

Chris Olave Fantasy Stats
Chris Olave Fantasy Stats

On the year, Olave ranks first on the Buckeyes in targets (81), but is third in receptions (51) and yards (708). He does however lead the team with 11 receiving touchdowns, and is the preferred deep threat with an average depth of target of 14.6 yards, which also leads the team.

You don't have to look at any kind of fancy spreadsheet or advanced stats to know that Michigan State has been brutal against the pass all year. And on the flip side, Ohio State ranks sixth in the nation in passing yards per game (353.6), and is averaging the fifth most passing touchdowns per game at 3.2.

Overall, Olave is the 20th highest-priced receiver on the slate, but the sixth highest-scoring receiver on a per game basis. That this kind of discrepancy exists in a game where the Buckeyes are facing the worst passing defense in the nation is almost mind blowing.

Olave would need 19.2 points to triple his value on the slate, a total he has surpassed in half of his games this season. His volume has been decent as of late, as he's averaging 10.7 targets per game over his last three games. Olave has also scored at least one touchdown in every game dating back to Week 4 against Akron.

If there were one knock against him heading into Saturday against Michigan State, it's that Olave hasn't gone for 100-plus yards since Week 6 against Maryland (120). However, if you're looking to break a dry spell in receiving yards, a matchup against the Spartans has been known to do the trick.

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