I'm very excited to announce Rotoworld's new CFB/DFS Optimizer that brings the high-end technology that sharps have utilized to devastating effect across the entire DFS spectrum. College football optimizers are notoriously difficult to calibrate, which is why we've seen them proliferate in MLB/NBA/NFL but consumer level optimizers for college football DFS are far and few between. Here are some of the most intriguing low-salary options that our new Optimizer is bullish on for this week's Draft Kings CFB/DFS slate.
Brennan Armstrong - UVA vs. Louisville - $6,500 - 26.5 Proj. Points - 4.08 PPT - (Main)
I truly admire how Armstrong approaches the game. While his accuracy is not on par with the lofty standards set by former starter Bryce Perkins, his grit and tenacity are evident every time he pulls the ball down and jaunts into the open field. His utter disregard for his own body is a large reason why he has rushed for 66, 91 and 89 yards in his last three games while averaging 19 carries per contest over that span. Despite completing under 60 percent of his passes, he has still thrown for at least two touchdowns in his last four full games.
Armstrong’s matchup against Louisville this week does nothing to dissuade me from wanting him rostered in the majority of my main slate lineups, since UL is allowing 30 PPG and 201 rushing YPG. They’re so generous defensively that the Cardinals let Hendon Hooker complete all 10 of his passes while falling prey to his red-zone rushing prowess by allowing the hulking signal caller to barrel his way to three touchdowns from inside the ten yard line.
This week the DFS Optimizer loves the red-headed dual-threat quarterback almost as much as I love Hood eggnog. Though he ranks 12th in salary, our projection tool pegs him to score 26.5 points which is good for 6th most in the main slate and second in the invaluable Points Per Thousand metric with 4.08 PPT. The only question about Armstrong is his health but all the reports coming out of UVA say he’s practicing and ready to roll for his very favorable matchup against a listless Louisville defense that evokes memories of Bobby Petrino’s final year.
Malik Cunningham - Louisville @ UVA - $8,100 - 27.7 Projected Points - 3.42 PPT - (Main)
On the other side of the defensively challenged UVA vs. Louisville barn-burner is Malik Cunningham who is poised to take advantage of a porous Cavalier secondary that is allowing 312 passing yards per game and 33 PPG on the year. Last week in a 42-35 loss to VT, Cunningham threw for 350 yards and three touchdowns with Louisville playing catchup for most of the day. In addition to his above-average passing acumen, Cunningham has rushed for at least 40 yards in each of his last four contests.
While UL has had their ups and downs, there’s no doubt that their offense is hitting their stride with scoring outputs of 35 and 48 points in their last two games. Our Optimizer is predicting a 35-31 boat race which plays into the hands of astute DFS managers who will want to target at least one player from each side of this ACC points brigade.
While Cunningham is ranked sixth in terms of salary, he is projected to score 27.7 points which ranks as the third highest projection and fifth most points per thousand in the main slate. With Justin Fields’ game against Maryland postponed, Cunningham’s upside is too tantalizing to pass up on a weekend that is missing several impact games due to postponements.
Jeff Sims - Georgia Tech - $5,400 - 19.3 Proj. Points - 3.57 PPT - (Night)
It puzzles me how Draft Kings continues to suppress freshman phenom Jeff Sims’ value, even when he’s playing a Pitt team that is pretty loose when it comes to it’s pass defense in the wake of All-ACC safety Paris Ford opting out. Sure, the fledgling 18-year old had rough games against two of the top five teams in the nation, Notre Dame and Clemson. However in his other five appearances Sims averaged 23.1 DFS points per game, not bad for a thrifty $5,400 investment in a shortened nighttime slate.
His salary ranks second to last, ahead of only South Carolina backup QB Luke Doty, but he is projected to score 19.3 points which is good for sixth most amongst the late-slate signal callers. His 3.57 points per thousand estimate leads the “Draft Kings After Dark” player pool and bolsters my strong belief that Sims should be a lynchpin of every nighttime lineup.
Top 5 Projected Scorers according to the Rotoworld CFB/DFS Optimizer
- Hendon Hooker - 30.3 - $9,700
- Justin Fields - 28.6 - $10,200
- Malik Cunningham - 27.7 - $8,100
- Charlie Brewer - 27.1 - $6,200
- D’Eriq King - 26.6 - $9,300
Gary Brightwell - Arizona vs. USC - $5,200 - 16.4 Projected Points - 3.15 PPT - (Main)
In their season opener last week, Arizona State gashed USC for 258 yard and 6.8 YPC on the ground. Starting running backs Deamontre Trayanum and Rachaad White combined for 24 carries, 160 yards and 2 touchdowns, with White snagging three receptions for 70 yards and another touchdown in the air. In fact, of Jayden Daniels’ 134 yards, only 64 of them went to wide receivers. The point is - USC got marched on by the Sun Devils with impunity.
Obviously ASU is at a more advanced point in their team’s development, but last year Gary Brightwell excelled on a per-carry basis while backing up J.J. Taylor. He averaged a superb 5.9 yards per carry, a rock-solid 27% broken tackle rate and 4.35 yards after contact. All of these marks constitute well above average performance metrics. Keep in mind that the Wildcat offensive line trotted out a whopping 11 different lineups last year due to attrition. The benefit of dealing with a make-shift line is Arizona returns 8 lineman with starting experience and 71 overall line starts.
Brightwell ranks 19th in salary, but ninth in projected points with 16.4 and third in points per thousand thanks to his frugal $5200 price tag. It’s like you’re getting a Mercedes with the sticker price of a used Pinto.
Michael Carter - UNC vs. Wake Forest - $6,100 - 19.2 Projected Points - 3.15 PPT (Main)
The only thing Michael Carter has done wrong this season is share a backfield with Javonte Williams who is tearing up the ACC with reckless abandon. That’s the only rationale I can come up with for why Carter is priced all the way down at $6,100, the 11th ranked running back by salary in the DK main slate. UNC is racking up a service academy level of rushing output, averaging 240 rushing yards per game along with 538 total YPG.
For his part Carter has logged a steady diet of 16+ carries in five of his last six contests, averaging 105 yards per game on the year while posting exactly 46 receiving yards in two of his last three games. In addition to his bargain basement price tag, Carter ranks third in projected points with 19.2 and third in points per thousand at 3.15. His teammate Javonte Williams is a gargantuan $3,400 more than Carter’s price tag for the week, despite the two sharing carries evenly throughout the year. Value plays simply don’t get more appealing than Carter.
Tyler Lavine - SMU @ Tulsa - $3,600 - 11.8 Projected Points - 3.28 PPT (Night)
Entering the season SMU opted to share carries between TJ McDaniel and Ulysses Bentley in an attempt to replace departed 2019 rushing leader Xavier Jones and his 23 rushing touchdowns. Through the first three games all was going according to plan until McDaniel sustained a season-ending injury on his first carry against AAC rival Memphis. From that point forward Bentley earned the lion’s share of carries for a potent Mustangs offense that averages 193 rushing yards 40.5 points per game.
Following McDaniels’ exit, Tyler Lavine (5’11/220) has emerged as the clear change of pace back behind Bentley. In his last four games the sophomore thumper is averaging just under 10 touches per game while establishing himself as a reliable short yardage and goal line option. Lavine’s performance in the last two games is especially noteworthy, as he has accrued 145 total yards, three touchdowns and 34.5 DFS points in that span. This is a prime example of why targeting low-priced, moderate-volume players in potent offenses can be a profitable strategy in weekly DFS formats. Clearly HC Sonny Dykes trusts Lavine to spell Bentley (5’10/184) and punch in short yardage touchdowns that require a more burly ball carrier. Lavine far and away the most appealing sub-$4,000 rushing option from the eight game set of evening games.
Top 5 Main Slate Projected Running Back Scorers According to the Rotoworld CFB/DFS Optimizer
Kyren Williams - 22.9 - $8,900
Brendan Knox - 22.1 - $8,500
Master Teague - 20 - $7,600
Michael Carter - 19.2 - $6,100
Stevie Scott - 19 - $7,200
Drake London - USC vs. AZ - $5,800 - 18.2 Projected Points - 3.10 PPT (Main)
Former Mike Leach QB and air raid disciple Graham Harrell took over the Trojan offense last season and immediately took their offense from 26.1 to 32.5 PPG, while elevating their passing game from 249 to 336 passing yards per game. Their top three wide receivers were pounded with targets in the new system, as each of them saw over 100 targets and posted at least 900 receiving yards.
It’s important to remember that heading into 2019, Michael Pittman was roundly considered the third wheel behind Tyler Vaughns and Amon-Ra St. Brown. However Pittman broke out in a big way with 101 receptions for 1275 yards and 11 touchdowns in the high octane USC passing attack. This year, Drake London slides into the vacated starting spot left by second round NFL draft choice Pittman. The sophomore paid immediate dividends by catching all eight of his targets for 125 yards and a TD while breaking five tackles which amounts to an elite 62 percent broken tackle rate. He is taking over the slot role vacated by Amon-Ra St. Brown, where London managed to post a flawless 158.3 passer rating when targeted in his first 2020 appearance.
Arizona’s beleaguered defense allowed the 10th most total yards, sixth most passing yards and 12th most points in the nation last season. Somehow London is ranked 11th on the DK salary chart this week. His modest price tag means he should be a staple of your night slate lineups. To paraphrase his pop-star namesake, Drake is a good DFS option, and you know it.
Ty Fryfogle - Indiana vs. Michigan State - $4,700 - 14.8 Projected Points - 3.15 PPT (Main)
Indiana has been quite the Cinderella story in the early going, defeating Big Ten East bullies Penn State and Michigan en route to an unbeaten 3-0 record. Fourth year head coach Tom Allen has this offense humming, with Indiana averaging a robust 37 points per game while laying waste to two Big Ten blue-blood programs in the process. The Hoosiers aren’t just a basketball school anymore, as sensational sophomore southpaw quarterback Michael Penix Jr. is making up for lost time after missing the second-half of his promising freshman season due to injury.
Last week against the formerly vaunted Michigan defense, IU rolled up 460 total yards, 28 first downs and 38 points on defensive guru Don Brown. Arguably nobody had a bigger impact than Ty Fryfogle who made several high degree of difficulty plays, including an incredible one-handed grab down the right sideline that set up his 24-yard toe-tapping touchdown reception in the second quarter. He has firmly established himself as a key cog in the Indiana offense, as Fryfogle is averaging nine targets per game as the team’s primary outside wide receiver alongside slot-monster Whop Philyor.
In spite of his heavy usage the senior wideout is still only listed as the 30th wide receiver in terms of salary in Saturday’s 11 game main slate on Draft Kings. The optimizer loves Fryfogle’s potential to make an outsized impact relative to his sub-$5,000 price.
Jonathan Mingo - Ole Miss vs. South Carolina - $5,000 - 16.3 Projected Points - 3.26 PPT (Night)
Much maligned Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin has experienced myriad twists and turns over the course of his tumultuous coaching career, but you cannot understate how the man runs his offense. The Rebels currently rank sixth in total yards per game with an average 541 yards, while also throwing for 325 YPG and scoring a prolific 38 PPG. The same principle outlined for why USC wideouts are a prudent DFS investment applies here as well. Though Elijah Moore is the clear alpha dog in the Mississippi aerial attack, Mingo has carved out a consistent supporting role for a much more affordable price.
His scoring output seems to fluctuate based on the relative success of Mississippi’s offense as a whole, as he exploded for eight catches, 128 yards and two touchdowns against Kentucky on October 3, then followed up that eruption with a pedestrian one catch, 11-yard showing against Alabama. DFS is all about targeting boom or bust players on the lower end of the salary chart who can win your week if they hit their ceiling, and there are few wideouts in the nighttime slate that have bigger boom potential than Mingo at a very reasonable price.
Last week he caught six passes for 90 yards for a meager $4,900 investment. Even though Mingo has proven to be a consistent presence in the lethal Rebels’ offense, he still only ranks 22nd on the salary chart in an eight game slate. He represents a stellar value at $5,000 with our Optimizer rating the big play receiver as fifth in projected points per thousand. His affordable pricing coupled with a sky-high ceiling makes Mingo simply too enticing to pass up.
Top 5 Projected Wide Receiver Scorers According to the Rotoworld CFB/DFS Optimizer
- Drake London - 18.2 - $5,800
- Amon-Ra St. Brown - 17.2 - $6,700
- Ty Fryfogle - 14.8 - $4,700
- Tutu Atwell - 14.8 - $6,500
- Dee Wiggins - 16.4 - $4,000