This article is part of our DraftKings College Football series.
CFB DFS Picks: DraftKings Main Slate Breakdown and Lineup Strategy for Week 7
As a fan of the sport, it really doesn't get much better than what we're being treated to this weekend in college football. Michigan-Penn State, Tennessee-Alabama, TCU-OK State, Syracuse-NC State, Utah-USC, and BYU-Arkansas are all tremendous matchups and make this week one of the biggest inflection points of the entire season. Luckily, it's also an awesome weekend for DFS as this main slate is also about as good as it gets. Tons of high totals, good offenses and bad defenses to enjoy. Oh, and we get a MACtion game sprinkled in. More on that in a bit.
As is tradition, below you'll find the slate matchup info with tons of useful stats to work with, along with all of our DFS tools to help you build your best lineup. I've also written up my top plays by position along with GPP targets.
College Football DFS Tools
- Lineup Optimizer
- Matchups Page (Vegas odds, opponent averages, etc.)
- Advanced Lineups Page
- Team Trends
- Defense vs. Position
- Team Rankings
- Advanced Team Stats
Shoutout to the slate makers for letting us get warmed up to some MACtion instead of going with some uninteresting game with name brands and little else. They already had Minnesota vs. Illinois on this slate, so I guess they owed us.
The total is 58.5, which isn't as high as some of the others on this slate, but By George at least it's not the 39.5 we're getting for Illinois-Minnesota.
Western Michigan does not have a great scoring offense (105th), and we can only excuse so much of it from its non-conference schedule. 13 points against Pittsburgh and Michigan State, respectively, is forgivable to an extent. Six points against San Jose State is less so, but those Spartans actually rank ninth in the nation in scoring defense.
Anyway, back to this game. Ohio's defense is bad. Like, bad bad. Like 127th in scoring defense and 131s (that's dead last) in total defense. Let's see if we can get the right pieces from this game.
Corey Crooms ($6,600) is the leader of this group; he has a 31% target share at 9.0 targets per game. The efficiency hasn't been great (50% catch rate, 6.8 YPT) but three touchdowns helps and it's worth noting that almost none of the WMU receivers have both strong volume and good efficiency. We'll take what the defense is giving us. If you have the $6,600 to spare for a WR, Crooms is a strong play. $100 more for Quentin Johnston might be the better move, but $300 more for Mitchell Tinsley against Michigan wouldn't be.
Among cheaper WMU options, Anthony Sambucci ($3,500) is interesting. He lags behind Crooms and Jehlani Galloway in target share but it's trending in the right direction with eight in his last game. Sambucci has caught just seven of 15 targets. Those seven catches have gone for 137 yards. The positive trend with his role in addition to the seemingly strong explosiveness make Sambucci an interesting GPP play in the mid-$3K range.
Let's not ignore the Ohio side, though. Western's defense hasn't been exceptional by any means 101st in scoring defense and 69th in total defense. If you check out the targets page linked in the DFS tools and filter by this slate, you'll notice that Sam Wiglusz ($5,000) ranks 7th among this group of players in targets (42) and is tied for the lead in touchdowns. He isn't getting the absurd 15+ target-type games but he's seeing seven per game and catching 83 percent of them at 10.3 YPT.
Pairing Wiglusz with Ohio quarterback Kurtis Rourke ($6,200) creates a cheap stack with tons of upside as Rourke actually ranks sixth at his position on this slate in fantasy points per game and averages over 35 attempts per game. Jacoby Jones ($3,600) is coming off his best game of the season and is worth a look, too.
Max Duggan ($8,000) TCU and Spender Sanders ($7,900)
These two hardly need an explanation at this point. It doesn't hurt that they're going head-to-head in the game with the highest total on the slate (68.5) while TCU checks in as 3.5-point favorites. Duggan has caught fire of late and has averaged 38.1 DK Points over his last three outings; he has 12 total touchdowns (3 rushing) and over 1,000 total yards in that stretch. He faces an Oklahoma State defense that is sturdy against the run but shaky against the pass, allowing 304 yards per game through the air. This could lead to TCU putting an added emphasis on Duggan's passing and a slight move away from the run game.
As for Sanders, he faces a TCU defense that is slightly above average against both the run and the pass. He has been getting done on the ground all season with at least one rushing score and at least 11 rushing attempts against every FBS opponent OK State has faced. I'd bet on that continuing Saturday and something like last week's game with 17 rushes and two rushing scores isn't out of the question. If I'm stacking Sanders and Duggan in a lineup, I'm likely going Sanders solo and pairing Duggan with Quentin Johnson or Derius Davis.
Taulia Tagovailoa ($6,900) Maryland at Indiana
This is another game to attack this week with plenty of viable options on both sides. Tagovailoa of course stands out above the rest; he comes into Week 7 with back-to-back 300 yard games and is completing 72 percent of his passes in Big 10 play. The Hoosiers have one of the weaker pass defenses on this slate and have allowed 16 passing touchdowns in six games, which is tied for fourth-most in FBS. The weather shouldn't be a factor here, so look for Maryland's pass-happy ways to continue in this spot. His top targets aren't overly cheap ($5,000-$6,200) but when Tagovailoa is checking in under $7K, it's not overly difficult to stack up some Terps. Connor Bazelak on the other side of this game is just $6K and is going to throw it 40+ times. The slight pay-up to Kurtis Rourke of Ohio likely makes more sense but Bazelak's passing volume is notable.
Quinn Ewers ($5,700) Texas vs. Iowa State
This one is simply too cheap to ignore. By extension, Ewers will be very popular Saturday but that's alright if he delivers. Ewers really does look like he's going to live up to the massive hype he's had since his high school days. He returned for a huge game against Oklahoma and shredded the Sooners to the tune of 289 yards and four touchdowns on 31 attempts. Iowa State's defense (17th in SP+) is markedly better than the Sooners' 47th-rated unit, but it's still not overly imposing and Ewers will be at home in this game.
Again, this will likely be a chalky play but Ewers should be good for at least 4.5X return and gives you so much flexibility with the rest of your lineup.
Hemby and Littleton have combined to form a formidable 1-2 punch for the Terps. Maryland is still a pass-first team, but that hasn't stopped these two from producing. Hemby has a good bounce-back opportunity on the ground here considering he's been held to 16 total carries for 53 yards in the last two weeks after posting two 100-yard performances in his first three games. What adds to Hemby's appeal on DraftKings is his pass-catching acumen; Hemby has caught 20 of 21 targets over the last five weeks for 200 yards and a touchdown. He hasn't had fewer than four targets since Week 3. With his pass-catching role, he has a decent shot at 100 total yards and a touchdown. That's a solid return at sub-$6K.
Littleton, meanwhile, is an absolute tank that Maryland is starting to get revved up. Listed at 6-foot and 285 pounds, Littleton has rumbled for six rushing scores in six games on just 45 carries. Purdue stifled Maryland's run game last week but Indiana won't be able to have that same success. He's unlikely to contribute much as a pass-catcher but he is Maryland's secret weapon when they get into scoring range with five red-zone touchdowns. Both backs have at least 25 percent of the Maryland rushing share and are playable at their respective salaries this week.
Sieh Bangura ($5,500) Ohio vs. Western Michigan
Lost in my love letter to MACtion was Bangura. Don't worry, he gets his own writeup instead. Bangura has a 41 percent rushing share on the year and that number climbs to 48 percent when eliminating the one game he missed against Fordham. He's coming off a four-touchdown day against Akron and has flirted with 100 rushing yards in both of his MAC games thus far. Again, Ohio should be able to basically name its score Saturday so nabbing a workhorse in a high-scoring offense for less than you can get either of Virginia Tech's running backs (no offense to Malachi Thomas and Keshawn King) seems like something we need to consider. His counterpart on the other side of this one, Sean Tyler ($6,400) has some appeal as well.
Devin Neal ($5,700) Kansas at Oklahoma
The Jalon Daniels injury makes Kansas' offense worse overall, of course, though there could be a silver lining as it pertains to Neal. Daniels was taking on a 25 percent rushing share that now figures to be redistributed to the Jayhawks' backs as Jason Bean is not the runner Daniels was. Bean can still run with 879 career rushing yards, but he won't have the same rushing workload as Daniels.
Neal has taken on over 40 percent of the carries over the last two weeks and Daniel Hishaw is also banged up. Look for Neal to push for a season-high in carries against an Oklahoma defense that is in shambles, especially against the run where it allows 214 yards per game.
Jahmyr Gibbs ($7,900) Alabama at Tennessee
Alabama's run game is going to be important Saturday. The atmosphere is going to be insane and Bryce Young might not be at 100 percent if he even plays at all. The best way to take the juice out of the crowd is go sustain drives with the run game and Gibbs is capable of handling that. Gibbs' workload has ticked up in light of Young's shoulder injury and that should continue here. He has seen just under 20 carries per game in his last two games. Now, it's fair to point out that Tennessee's pass defense is its Achilles heel and not its run defense (89 RuYd/Gm) but they haven't faced a rushing attack like the Tide's led by Gibbs.
Xavier Worthy ($5,700) Texas vs. Iowa State
Like Ewers, Worthy is priced suspiciously low this week. Sure, Worthy had fewer targets than Jordan Whittington and Ja'Tavion Sanders in the romp over the Sooners, but Worthy is still the leader of this passing attack. Worthy has reached the end zone in each of his last three games and drawn at least five targets in each of those. With Ewers back last week, Worthy caught just three of six targets for 29 yards and a score. Those aren't great numbers of course, but he's not going to be held in check two weeks in a row.
BYU receivers have been tough to solve this year. Injuries have plagued Nacua and Gunner Romney, but both are healthy now. That didn't stop Epps from leading the way against Notre Dame last week. Arkansas can't stop anyone through the air, allowing 307 passing yards per game. Their schedule hasn't helped in that regard, to be fair, but 300+ passing yards on average is still a mark of a leaky secondary. If you're interested in Jaren Hall at quarterback this week, it's not too difficult to stack the Cougs with these two wideouts.
Quentin Johnston ($6,700) TCU vs. Oklahoma State
I'm going back to the well on Johnston as his salary has actually dropped by $100 from last week despite going off for 14 catches and 206 yards against Kansas. As mentioned with Duggan, the Oklahoma State secondary has been shaky this season and is the weak link of its defense. Johnston should continue to be heavily featured going forward and it continues this week.
Chimere Dike ($5,600) Wisconsin at Michigan State
A Wisconsin receiver? In this economy?
Dike is carrying the Badger passing attack, especially lately. He has drawn double-digit targets in back-to-back weeks and answered the bell with 15 catches for 261 yards and three scores. His huge game against Northwestern is doing a lot of the heavy lifting for those numbers, but now he gets to face a Michigan State defense that is a ways away from being fixed. Look for Dike to pace the Badger pass-catchers Saturday with some legit upside in a favorable matchup.
Tyler Van Dyke ($5,000) Miami at Virginia Tech
Van Dyke's season has not gone the way most were expecting, nor has the Hurricanes' season overall. The one-time Heisman dark horse has just a 7:4 TD:INT through five games and that's while having faced a mostly favorable schedule. The nadir came in Week 4 when Miami was trounced at home by Middle Tennessee and Van Dyke completed 50 percent of his passes with 138 yards and two picks. The bye week thereafter seemed to do him some good, though, as Van Dyke unleashed 57 pass attempts for 496 yards and a trio of touchdowns against UNC last week at home. Van Dyke and Co. will be heading to Blacksburg, a traditionally tough environment that hasn't proven to be as such under Brent Pry, this week. The Hokies have struggled in anonymity this season minus their very public loss to Old Dominion in Week 1. Granted, the offense has been the main source of said struggles, but the defense is only okay (44th).
Was last week the start of a turnaround for Van Dyke and the Miami offense, or merely a blip in an otherwise disappointing season? At $5K, I'm willing to see if it's the former in at least one lineup.
Josh Henderson ($5,200) Indiana vs. Maryland
$5,200 is a little higher than I'd like to see for Henderson but with so many value plays available elsewhere, we can work with it. Henderson isn't churning out eye-popping rushing production (47 carries, 191 yards, two scores), he is definitely getting it done as a pass-catcher. As mentioned earlier, Indiana is throwing the ball a ton (49.2 Att/G). That's second behind only Texas Tech. Indiana isn't as efficient or explosive through the air, but a lot of that is thanks to how much they use their backs in the passing game. Henderson has caught 10 of 13 targets for 107 yards and two scores over the last three weeks. We'll need that level of pass-catching production to continue for this play to work out, but there's certainly a path with how much Indiana is throwing it.
It's a rare double-tight end sighting in this article. With Mallory, he's one of the most talented players in the country at his position and is leading Miami in target share (17%) by a decent margin. He has seen double-digit targets in back-to-back games and is a worthwhile dart this week, especially if you're considering going to the bargain bin with TVD.
Schoonmaker has the tougher matchup between himself and Mallory, to be clear. That said, he has developed a clear rapport with J.J. McCarthy with 24 targets over the last three weeks, including 10 last week. He has caught 23 of 28 targets for 229 yards and two touchdowns thus far this season.