This article is part of our DraftKings College Football series.
When you sit down to watch collegiate football, matchups between elite teams are fun. Of course, those matchups often have to be avoided from a DFS perspective, though they can still provide answers or alternatively prompt questions. For example, who is Jalen Milroe as a starting quarterback? Will we get any answers against a South Florida program that has been lackluster for a while now? There are no games between ranked teams on the main slate for Week 3, but there are 14 matchups on this docket, and intriguing DFS options abound. Allow me to get to them.
We have some high-level teams on the road here, but in matchups, they mostly should be able to handle. I do have some curiosity about, say, LSU down in Starkville or Penn State visiting Illinois, for example. Florida State and Alabama, on the other hand, shouldn't have any issues. Things are bleak at Boston College right now. I'm also curious if South Carolina finally gives Georgia and Carson Beck a challenge.
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Week 3 CFB DFS Plays on DraftKings
Jordan Travis ($9,700), Florida State at Boston College
At the upper echelons of quarterback options, Travis stands out. He emerged a transformed quarterback in 2022, retaining the threat his legs provide (417 yards and seven touchdowns rushing) but adding a new dimension as a passer (3,214 yards, 24 touchdowns, only five interceptions). Travis was a bit inefficient against Southern Mississippi, a team Florida State could ease off the throttle against, but versus LSU, the Heisman hopeful tossed four touchdowns and added another on the ground. Boston College has lost to Northern Illinois and barely beaten Holy Cross. It also allowed 7.4 yards per pass attempt last season, and the team definitely seems worse so far in 2023.
Sam Hartman ($8,500), Notre Dame vs. Central Michigan
A denizen of the Great Lakes State for most of my life, I have watched the fortunes of the Directional Michigan schools ebb and flow. The Chips have not been all that fired up in recent times. Getting smashed 31-7 by Michigan State was not ideal to begin with, but honestly having to win a shootout with New Hampshire 45-42 is the real cause for alarm about this defense. Any fears of how Hartman would perform outside of Wake Forest's distinct/gimmicky offense have abated after three outings with the Fighting Irish. He's completed a staggering 75.0 percent of his passes with 10 touchdowns and zero interceptions. Hartman has been an efficiency machine, and Central Michigan has shown no signs it can stand in the way of opposing quarterbacks succeeding.
Tanner Mordecai ($7,200), Wisconsin vs. Georgia Southern
Luke Fickell took the Wisconsin job, brought in Phil Longo, and anointed SMU transfer Mordecai his guy in a new-look offense. The guy didn't bring passing to Madison with the intent to let the evolution fall by the wayside. It has been a slow start for Mordecai, but he has completed 69.0 percent of his passes. In his two years at SMU, he threw for over 3,500 yards and 30 touchdowns on both occasions. Call it growing pains, but all the pieces are in place in theory, and I think against Georgia Southern, they can be in place in practice. The Eagles' defense ranks 124th in SP+ and allowed UAB, a team not known for passing acumen, to throw for 385 yards at 9.0 yards per attempt last week. It's now or never for Mordecai.
Jack Plummer ($6,600), Louisville at Indiana
Plummer and Jeff Brohm are reunited in Louisville, where Brohm is royalty, after Plummer spent a season with Cal, where he excelled. Weirdly, he threw two picks against Murray State last week, but he completed 72.7 percent of his passes in that game, and he only threw nine picks all of last season. Indiana hasn't been tested yet by a quarterback, but it allowed 8.0 yards per attempt in 2022. At this salary, Plummer brings intriguing upside.
Miyan Williams ($7,000), Ohio State vs. Western Kentucky
Williams has barely touched the ball this year, mostly due to a lack of necessity, but he's still found the end zone twice, and last year he ran for 825 yards and 14 scores. With the Buckeyes facing the worst quarterback situation they've had in years, relying on the running game makes sense. The Hilltoppers love to toss the ball around the field, but they are still a Conference USA team with a Conference USA defense, and they've been run on in 2023, even by Houston Christian.
Ja'Quinden Jackson ($6,700), Utah vs. Weber State
Jackson was a splashy big-play back in 2022. Though he only carried the ball 78 times, he tallied 531 yards and nine scores. That's 6.8 yards per carry! After a tough game against Florida last week, he bounced back with 129 yards on 19 carries. Now, the Utes should smash Weber State, an FCS squad. Jackson should play a part in that, though. Maybe he only gets a dozen or so carries, but Jackson has shown that with that kind of workload, he's still perfectly capable of 100 yards and a score.
Jase McClellan ($6,300), Alabama at South Florida
I fear the Bulls will face the wrath of a Crimson Tide team looking to score points with the playoff selection committee (and, you know, actual points) by stomping a proverbial mudhole in their opposition. This game will be about getting Milroe back on track, but also the run game, led by McClellan. Last year, South Florida gave up 43.1 points per game and a woeful 6.4 yards per carry. Yes, a new coaching staff is in place, but the Bulls have only faced pass-happy Western Kentucky and FCS team Florida A&M. That run defense has not been challenged yet.
Makhi Hughes ($4,600), Tulane at Southern Miss
Tyjae Spears is now in the NFL, and Hughes, a redshirt freshman, has stepped into the lead role for the Green Wave. He carried the ball 23 times for 92 yards and a score against Ole Miss, planting his flag on the job going forward. Now, it was against Florida State, but Southern Miss allowed 8.3 yards per carry in that matchup, which is robust to say the least. Even against Alcorn State, USM gave up 6.3 yards per tote.
Jermaine Burton ($7,100), Alabama at South Florida
Alabama's offense gets right, part two. Burton has been efficient thus far. He's only been targeted five times, which is admittedly a concern, but he also had five catches for 120 yards and two touchdowns. I already mentioned South Florida's woes against the run and in terms of allowing points, last season. Well, it also gave up 9.3 yards per attempt through the air.
Keon Coleman ($6,500), Florida State at Boston College
Mike Norvell knows how to find the gems in the transfer portal. Coleman had 58 catches for 798 yards and seven touchdowns with Michigan State last season, and now he has gone from competent quarterback play to high-level quarterback play. Indeed, Coleman has been a star with Florida State, racking up 12 catches for 170 yards and four touchdowns already. Boston College hasn't seen anybody near Coleman's caliber this season, but the defense has still been forthcoming with points for the opposition. I expect Coleman to find the end zone, maybe even multiple times if I dare to be ambitious with my predictions.
Luther Burden ($5,900), Missouri vs. Kansas State
This is a "bet on talent" play. Kansas State tends to play good defense, but Missouri is at home, and Burden is one of the most talented receivers in college football. As a vaunted true freshman, Burden didn't wow, but eight total touchdowns for a first-year receiver is solid. This year, Burden is getting looked to by Brady Cook time and time again. He already has 18 targets, which he's turned into 15 catches for 213 yards and a score. A massive talent at home at this salary is worth a play to me.
Jordan Moore ($5,100), Duke vs. Northwestern
When Jordan Moore lost the battle to be Duke's starting quarterback to Riley Leonard last season, he converted to wide receiver. It panned out for all parties involved, as he tallied 60 catches for 656 yards and five touchdowns. Moore had some issues against Clemson, but he was targeted nine times, and that means something. Versus Lafayette, a much easier matchup, to be fair, he turned his four targets into four catches for 84 yards and a score. Northwestern is a program in disarray, and while it hasn't shown in the defensive numbers against the pass, it has played Rutgers and UTEP, teams with unremarkable quarterback play. Leonard and Moore are a connection beyond what the Wildcats have faced thus far.