College Football DFS Picks: DraftKings Main Slate Breakdown and Lineup Strategy for Week 9

College Football DFS Picks: DraftKings Main Slate Breakdown and Lineup Strategy for Week 9

This article is part of our DraftKings College Football series.

CFB DFS Picks: DraftKings Main Slate Plays, Lineup Strategy and GPP Targets for Week 9

We've got a funky main slate this weekend with a lot of totals wedged between 50.5 and 58.5 and only one game with a total over 65.0. There are some bad defenses facing bad offenses, so we might have to hold our nose and trust the numbers with some of our picks.

Looking at the highest implied totals, Georgia (39.5), TCU (38), Oregon (37.75), Ohio State (37.5) and Florida State (35.5) comprise the top five while the likes of Georgia Tech, Rutgers and Florida are at the bottom with totals under 20. 

Arkansas, Oklahoma State, Nebraska, West Virginia and California have the shakiest pass defenses on the slate while Oklahoma, Auburn, Nebraska, Florida and Georgia Tech are weakest against the run.

Below you'll find our menu of DFS tools to help you build your best lineups, along with matchup info and position-by-position analysis. 

College Football DFS Tools

Matchup Info

College Football DFS Picks: Quarterback

C.J. Stroud ($9,200) Ohio State at Penn State

Penn State's defense might be best remembered for getting steamrolled by Michigan a couple weeks ago, but let's not forget that the Nittany Lions aren't always airtight against the pass, either. The one truly competent passing attack Penn State faced this year was Purdue and the Boilers threw for 365. To be fair, that was at a 6.2 YPA and just one passing touchdown was thrown and Purdue can have a lot of empty calories in its passing stats. Still, Ohio State isn't going to attack Penn State the same way Michigan did and that means Stroud should be busy. In fact, this could set up to where Stroud sets a new season-high (34) in pass attempts, especially if Penn State can keep pace with its offense. Stroud has been absolutely surgical this season with 10.6 YPA on a 70 percent completion rate along with a 28:4 TD:INT in seven games. Even on the road in a hostile environment, it's hard to see Stroud not returning value. The hope here is that Stroud's salary coupled with the tough matchup keeps the roster percentage in check, but that might be wishful thinking.

KJ Jefferson ($6,300) Arkansas at Auburn

Jefferson's salary this week relative to his production is suspiciously low. Who in their right mind wouldn't play Jefferson over J.T. Daniels if their salary was the same, let alone taking Jefferson and saving $200. I understand where Auburn is traditionally a tough place to play but an 11am local kick in the middle of a brutal season for the Tigers makes me think that Jordan-Hare won't exactly be rocking. 

What's more concerning is Auburn's pass defense, which allows just 186 yards per game. Luckily, Jefferson doesn't need to be great through the air to produce. He has our rushing scores on the year and at least 60 rushing yards in three games. Jefferson is also coming off his best passing performance of the season with 367 yards and five touchdowns on the road against BYU, so it's not out of the question that he has success through the air Saturday. 

Sam Hartman ($8,900) and Malik Cunningham ($8,000) Wake Forest at Louisville

This game has a lot of factors we look for in our lineup builds. High total? Check. We're looking at 64.0-- the second-highest on the slate. Narrow spread? Check. Wake Forest is just a 3.5-point favorite.

Hartman delivered last week with six total touchdowns in a home win against Boston College. Cunningham, meanwhile, is coming off a tough game against Pitt in his return from injury. In a way, that makes me more interested in Cunningham since people will see the 10-for-21 for 122 yards and write him off. Outside of the egg that Cunningham laid against Syracuse in the opener, Cunningham had averaged 37 DK points/game in the lead-up to last week's game. A bounceback is coming and there's a reason why the oddsmakers have Louisville keeping this one close. Cunningham lacks the stacking options that Hartman has, but there's still a path to getting both of these quarterbacks plus some Wake wideouts into a lineup. 

Jordan Travis ($8,200) Florida State vs. Georgia Tech

Travis is flying a bit under the radar with the Noles coming off a bye. The Noles get a home game against a Georgia Tech club that ranks 75th in defensive SP+. Travis has a long track record of solid rushing production with over 500 yards and seven scores on the ground in each of the last two seasons. He wasn't doing much in that facet earlier in the season but has since gotten more involved in the ground game with 21 carries for 172 yards and a score in his last two games. On top of that, Travis has been solid as a passer in ACC play with a 7.8 YPA and 7:2 TD:INT in four games. The thinking here is that Travis won't be widely rostered and he could take advantage of a Georgia Tech defense that's capable of an implosion.

Also Consider: Robby Ashford, Auburn ($5,200); 

College Football DFS Picks: Running Back

This is a great week to pay up for running back. The priciest option, Chase Brown ($7,500), is hardly cost-prohibitive relative to what we're used to seeing with the top-billed RB on a slate. He faces a Nebraska defense that has improved in conference play but is still not capable of shutting him down. Mo Ibrahim ($7,300) is someone we've seen hover in the mid $8K-$9K range so this is a nice discount as he gets a home matchup against Rutgers. Now, Rutgers has a sneaky-tough run defense (87.4) so this could be a bit of a slog. Luckily, Ibrahim can still get it done; he had 30 carries in a blowout loss last week. Let's explore our other options in the backfield.

Sean Tucker ($7,000) Syracuse vs. Notre Dame

Sean McDonough said it best last week in regards to Tucker's usage against Clemson.

I don't think Syracuse makes that same mistake twice and leaves Tucker out of the game plan for reasons unknown.  Tucker has just 19 carries over the last two games after averaging 22 per game in the first five games of the season. Notre Dame hasn't been overly stout against the run this season. It just let UNLV (!) average 5.2 YPC and run for three scores without its starting running back. This is a great spot for Tucker to remind everyone that he's one of the best backs in the country. Logan Diggs ($3,900) is an interesting option on the other side of this matchup after his breakout last week. Audric Estime is arguably Notre Dame's most talented runner but three lost fumbles in the last four games is going to be problematic for his role.

Raheim Sanders ($6,900) Arkansas at Auburn

Auburn's run defense is ripe for the picking this week as the Tigers surrender over 200 rushing yards per game. Arkansas is one of the most run-heavy teams in the country at 63.5 percent and Sanders is dominating the work with a 42 percent rushing share. He's delivering with that volume, too, ripping off 6.2 YPC with seven touchdowns in seven games. He's coming off a season-low in carries against BYU in a game where Arkansas bucked its usual offensive trends but Sanders still managed to run for a season-high in yardage. 

Sanders should push for 20+ carries against a vulnerable Auburn run defense. 

Tank Bigsby ($5,400) Auburn vs. Arkansas

On the other side of the Auburn-Arkansas matchup we have Bigsby. He's really the only thing Auburn has going on offense and is coming off a 179-yard, two-touchdown outing against Ole Miss in Week 7. Arkansas isn't particularly strong against the run; the Hogs allow 5.04 YPC and three rushing scores per game against SEC foes. I'd be in on Bigsby in this matchup anywhere under $7K so getting him at $5,400 is a nice way to pair upside and value in a game with the third-highest total on the slate.

Jirehl Brock ($5,400) Iowa State vs. Oklahoma State

Brock should be closer to full-go this week coming off a bye after he was clearly limited against Texas. When healthy, Brock pushed for a 40 percent rushing share so that means the he should have plenty of bites at the apple against an Oklahoma defense that surrenders over 200 rushing yards per game. Cartevious Norton ($3,700) should be a full-go as well here and is an interesting pivot off of Brock that still gets you exposure against the worst run defense on the slate. 

College Football DFS Picks: Wide Receiver

Targeting passing games this week is a little tricky. The worst pass defenses on the slate are all facing offenses that are much more run-heavy, have shaky passing games in their own right, or both. It'd be nice to target the Arkansas secondary, but Auburn doesn't have what it takes to burn them. Same goes for Kansas State even if Adrian Martinez is back. Still, it's an interesting group of pass-catchers this week so let's take a look at who can help us cash.

Michael Mayer ($5,600) Notre Dame at Syracuse

It's Halloween weekend so Michael Mayer of course had to make the cut for this article. 

Mayer ranks third on this slate in targets over the entire season and yet he ranks outside the top 25 in salary among pass catchers this week. He is Mr. Everything in the Irish passing game with a preposterous 36 percent target share. Syracuse is tough defensively and will be at home, but the Orange are also coming off a draining loss at Clemson. I'm not saying Syracuse will overlook the Irish, but it wouldn't surprise me if the Orange will be a little sluggish from the after-effects of that game. Regardless, Mayer is a near-lock for double digit targets and that is hard to find among players priced under $6K. 

J. Michael Sturdivant ($5,200) California vs. Oregon

California's passing game is mediocre, or "mid" as the kids say. Sturdivant has at least 10 targets in four games this season including a combined 25 targets in his last two games. He has a 23 percent target share on the year so he's getting looks regardless, but in a game where Cal projects to be playing from behind, the Bears may be forced to dial up a ton of passes even with Jadyn Ott in the backfield. Sturdivant's $5,200 price tag means that he can return value even with a lot of empty-calorie production as Cal tries to catch up or keep pace with the Ducks.

Emeka Egbuka ($6,900) Ohio State at Penn State

Ohio State should just put Jaxon Smith-Njigba in bubble wrap until the Michigan game and let C.J. Stroud keep cooking with Egbuka, Marvin Harrison Jr. and Julian Fleming. JSN's salary is down to $6,500 and he could be on a limited snap count again, so this should be the Harrison-Egbuka show through the air Saturday. Harrison's salary is reasonable at $7,400 and he's a touchdown machine with 10 already. Egbuka is $500 cheaper and though he trails in touchdowns, he still has seven on the year and has the same amount of targets (57) as Harrison while averaging 2.4 more YPT (12.9). Egbuka has just one game under 21 DK points this season and it should stay that way after another good outing Saturday in Happy Valley.

And for what it's worth, Fleming is a nice bargain at $5,100.

Johnny Wilson ($6,100) Florida State vs. Georgia Tech

Wilson needs to be considered on this slate and especially if you're rostering Jordan Travis. The Arizona State transfer is a hulking presence at 6-foot-7 and 235 with surprising movement skills for his size. He's starting to turn it on, too, as he has combined for 220 yards and a score on 28 targets over his last three games which was arguably Florida State's toughest stretch of the season. Coming off the bye, playing at home, and facing Georgia Tech all add up for this to be a good spot for Wilson.

Also Consider: Troy Franklin, Oregon ($6,800); Jahmal Banks, Wake Forest ($6,300); Dominick Blaylock, Georgia ($3,200)

College Football DFS GPP Plays

Branson Robinson ($3,000) and Daijun Edwards ($4,100) Georgia vs. Florida

Georgia doesn't have a true star in its backfield so it has been comfortable with mixing and matching at running back all season. This has frustrated fantasy managers as it makes it tough to pick between this group, but it also opens a path to finding a decent return from one of these Bulldogs. Robinson is more of the wildcard and that's why he's a min-priced dart. The freshman has 20 carries for 132 yards and a score in his last two games after getting 14 carries in his first four games. With Georgia checking in as 22-point favorites, it would not be surprising to see Georgia go away from the likes of Kenny McIntosh and Kendall Milton (who is uncertain to play) in favor of Robinson to close things out. We might see a snowflake next to Robinson's name until 5:00 Eastern, but this could be a game where he takes over and returns value in the second half alone.

Speaking of Milton, it sounds as though he could be available. However, I'm skeptical that he sees a significant workload, especially if this game is lopsided and Georgia has to have him closer to 100 percent for the Tennessee game. With that, Edwards could step in as the No.2 back for the Dawgs on Saturday. He has double-digit carries in four straight games and touchdowns in three straight. He's better between the tackles than McIntosh and should be in the mix from the start of the game onward. On top of all of that, Florida has the fourth-worst run defense on the slate and Georgia averages 196.7 YPG on the ground on 5.6 YPA. 

Trey Palmer ($7,600) Nebraska vs. Illinois

Many will see Palmer as the second-highest salaried receiver, look at the matchup and keep scrolling. It's fair; Illinois has locked down better passing games than Nebraska's all season and the Illini have the second-best pass defense in the country in terms of yards per game. They've also registered an absurd 2:12 TD:INT ratio. Palmer should be on the radar in spite of all of this, however. The LSU transfer has a 30 percent target share while averaging 12.0 YPT. The efficiency could dip down a bit against the Illini but double-digit targets is certainly in play, and with DraftKings being full-point PPR, this should work out. 

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. John McKechnie plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: Fanduel: mckech3; DraftKings: mckech3.
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John McKechnie
John is the 2016 and 2021 FSWA College Writer of the Year winner. He is a Maryland native and graduate of the University of Georgia. He's been writing for RotoWire since 2014.
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