WIth Missouri/Vandy, LSU/Florida and potentially Ole Miss/Arkansas all either postponed or at least in danger of it, the main Draft Kings slate is thinner than usual. Here are some of the most affordable options who could provide large returns on investment.
Jarret Doege - West Virginia - $7,500
It’s gotten to the point where you can essentially trot out a compliment of players from whatever offense lines up opposite Kansas and do pretty well. Their porous defense has allowed 38, 47 and 47 points to opposing offenses in their first three games while making previously unknown freshman quarterbacks Grayson McCall and Shane Illingworth look like seasoned pros.
This week a pretty competent West Virginia offense that is averaging 32 points and 263 passing yards per game hosts the Jayhawks. The Mountaineers are coming off a nice 27-21 victory over Baylor and will be looking to feast on this soft Kansas secondary. At $7,500, Doege is a suitable mid-priced, high-floor option that you can plug-in at Super Flex if you can cut corners elsewhere.
Devin Leary - NC State - $6,300
With the loss of Florida/LSU and the potential postponement of Mississippi/Arkansas, the QB crop is thinning out rapidly. Over at NC State, HC Dave Doeren is rebounding from a disappointing 4-8 season with a 3-1 record while averaging 34.2 PPG. Florida State transfer Bailey Hockman won the starting QB job out of camp and led NC State to a dramatic 45-42 opening game victory over Wake Forest. However in their second game against Virginia Tech, Hockman was ineffective and pulled in favor of 2019 starter Devin Leary who promptly completed 12-of-16 passes for 165 yards and a touchdown. Leary then led back-to-back winning efforts against Pitt and UVA in which NC State averaged 34 PPG while Leary posted a 6-1 ratio.
This week the surging Wolfpack face a Duke defense that has lost both opening week starting cornerbacks to injury and has stumbled to a 1-4 record. Leary is in the bargain bin for a reason, as he’s still not exactly a blue-chip option yet. However at a thrifty $6,300 price tag Leary is defensible contrarian selection.
Sam Hartman - Wake Forest - $5,800
It seems like just yesterday when Sam Hartman was being ranked as a top-20 pre-season CFF quarterback. Then Sage Surratt opted out, Donovan Greene hurt his back, Wake Forest started 1-2 and all of a sudden the Demon Deacons fast-paced offensive attack that led the FBS in plays per game last year is on the outs. This week Wake gets a Virginia team that might be starting a backup QB that wears a fullback’s number and was just manhandled by NC State last week.
I think we see the gun-slinging Wake Forest offense of old this week. They had a game against Notre Dame postponed before throttling Campbell 66-14 to get their offensive groove back a little bit. Donovan Greene is back along with Taylor Morin and Jaquari Roberson as a formidable wide receiver corps. A Wake Forest stack could be quite profitable while cutting costs as Roberson sports a $4,700 price tag while Taylor Morin will cost you $5,200.
Tank Bigsby - Auburn - $5,900
Almost single-handedly Auburn’s five-star freshman prodigy seems to have resurrected the Tiger running game. While running behind a line of three-star newcomers, Bigsby gained 146 yards on 20 carries for a 7.3 YPC while catching four passes for 16 yards as Auburn’s newly anointed bell-cow of the present and future. Bigsby routinely found extra yards through jukes, spins and jump-cuts, as he dodged an absurd 14 tackles while racking up an average of 5,0 yards after contact on the day.
Which is why it’s puzzling to me that Bigsby is still floating around at the sub-.$6,000 plateau. I’d much rather have him than similarly priced Eric Gray and Zonovan Knight who still have to peel off carries to prominent backfield-mates. I foresee a slow-paced game against South Carolina where Bigsby and Kevin Harris face-off in a ground war.
Rodrigues Clark - Memphis - $5,600
I suppose one of the few nice aspects of this jigsaw-puzzle-esque season is the big games are so staggered that the marquee G5 matchups get a lot more shine from the CFB press than they would have received in past seasons. Case in point is the much anticipated showdown between AAC powerhouses UCF and Memphis. This game has all the elements of a DFS dream matchup, as each team scored over 40 points per game last season with no signs of slowing down in 2020.
Clearly Memphis is being underpriced, because if Kenneth Gainwell were still active and playing this year, he would be priced well into the $8,000+ range ahead of this juicy shootout in the making. As it stands, Rod Clark is averaging 101 yards per game on the ground in Memphis’ two games. My hunch is the multiple postponements from Memphis have pushed them on the back-burner when it comes to recognition of the most prolific collegiate offenses. Take the discounted price here, but without the discounted production.
Christopher Rodriguez - Kentucky - $5,100
With Kavosiey Smoke down and out for a few games, the Kentucky backfield situation has boiled down to a time-share between Asim Rose and Christopher Rodriguez. The powerfully built 5’11” and 224-pound tailback didn’t make an impact in his first game against Auburn; however, in their Week 2 42-41 OT loss to Ole Miss, Rodriguez came alive with 17 carries for 133 yards and two touchdowns.
This strong performance is the continuation of a trend dating back to last season, as CRod scored a touchdown in each of Kentucky’s last four games of the 2019 season while going for at least 125-plus yards twice in that span. Last week against Mississippi State Rodriguez split carries with Rose, rushing seven times for 38 yards and the team’s lone rushing TD. His backfield competitor Rose carried eight times for 22 yards. Rodriguez is clearly out-performing Rose at the moment and should receive a boost in workload over the next few weeks with Smoke out of action.
Kentucky’s offense should perform better offensively against Tennessee than they did against MSU. At $5,100 the price is right to take a shot on Rodriguez in the Wildcats’ run-heavy offense.
Ricky Person JR. - NC State - $4,500
Similar to his quarterback, Leary, Person is being disrespected on Draft Kings this week. Each of the past 2 scoring periods he was a $6,800 investment. However after gaining 39 yards last week, he has been exiled to the realm of the Super Savers at $4,500. It’s hard for me to rationalize the precipitous price drop. Person Jr. has received at least 13 carries in each game this season and scored touchdowns in his previous two contests where he averaged 22.5 points per game. He even chipped in two receptions in each of his first two games.
The observations about NC State’s offense certainly apply to Person Jr. as well. He’s in a 3-man committee, which knocks some of the luster off of him, but at the $4,500 cost the variance is more than baked in. Last week wasn’t Person Jr’s turn to put up big numbers. This week against Virginia he’s more than reasonably priced for the upside he presents.
Damonte Coxie - Memphis - $6,100
How a proven WR1 who has posted back-to-back 1,100 yard receiving seasons is relegated to the $6,000 range is beyond me. For perspective here are three wide receivers within $300 of his price tag:
De’Vion Warren - $6,000 - Arkansas - The Tommy Tutone of this list, a one-hit-wonder if I ever saw one. If you are entertaining Warren as a viable option once Treylon Burks is back, please stop playing DFS. This isn’t the game for you.
Josh Palmer - Tennessee - $6,500 - Much like his famous musician father, Robert Palmer of “Simply Irresistible” and “Addicted to Love” fame, Josh Palmer is a solid choice for a yacht rock selection or a season-long CFF format, but with Justin Guarantanamo-Bay helming the offense, there is a hard-ceiling for Palmer that is far less appealing than Coxie. (Side note: No idea if Josh Palmer is Robert Palmer’s son...In fact it’s highly unlikely.)
Coxie is such a no-brainer here that his ownership rate should be substantial. Hop on board the Coxie train at $6,100 and watch the points flow like water.
Terrell Jana - Virginia - $5,300
UVA loves to throw the ball, as the Cavaliers produced three 100+ target wide receivers in 2019, with Jana being one of them. The quick strike rhythmic offense of UVA has picked up right where they left off last season, as UVA is averaging a staggering 51 passing attempts per game in 2020. That mark is in the top-five nationally and it’s the Cavalier receiving corps that is the direct beneficiary of the high passing volume.
Last week against NC State Jana received a ridiculous 21 targets, catching nine for 111 yards in the losing effort. Jana received eight targets in each of UVA’s first two games, so he is clearly being prioritized in the passing game. He even has a premium matchup against Wake Forest where there promises to be plenty of action. The only drawback is the status of starting QB Brennan Armstrong, but no matter who is throwing there will be plenty of pass catching opportunities for Jana. He’s as safe as it gets at $5,300.
T.J. Simmons - West Virginia - $4,600
Simmons is the second leading returning receiver for the Mountaineers, catching 35 passes for 455 yards, 18.0 YPC and four touchdowns as the WVU starting slot receiver. However heading into West Virginia’s opening week, Simmons was suspended for a violation of team rules. As such Simmons didn’t see the field until WVU’s last game against Baylor, catching four passes for 82 yards in the 27-21 victory.
West Virginia WR1 Sam James is listed at $6,900 this week in a very tasty matchup against the hapless Jayhawks. However with Simmons slated to receive a full array of snaps at slot, he is just as good a bet to reach the end zone, at $2,300 less on the ledger. Take a flier on Simmons if you’re looking for a relatively safe play on short money.
Noah Gray - Duke - $3,800
It seems like every week a tight end goes berserk. First it was Sean Dykes, then Kyle Pitts racked up 170 yards and three TDs and last week Kenny Yeboah erupted for Ole Miss. Which is why old reliable Noah Gray is still dwelling in the $3,800 Super Saver basement. The meat and potatoes tight end posted 11 points in each of his first three games before kicking it up a notch Week 5, catching six passes for 51 yards and a touchdown in a narrow 38-31 loss to Virginia Tech.
But last week against Syracuse, Gray only caught two passes for 14 yards in the 38-24 win. The hulking tight end had been priced in the mid-high $4,000 range the previous three weeks, but his price tag cratered with the off game against the Orange on Saturday. I’m betting on a performance much closer to the steady-eddie first four weeks of the season as opposed to the aberration from last game. Take a shot on Gray if you need a bankable double-digits from your WR3.