This article is part of our DraftKings College Football series.
DraftKings College Football: Rivalry Week Main Slate Plays and Strategy
Rivalry Week is here and it's always a bittersweet weekend; on the one hand, we get wall-to-wall football this weekend with tons of intense, meaningful grudge matches. On the other, it marks the end of the regular season and our last big slate for college football DFS. With that, let's dig in and make the most of the Rivalry Week DFS action.
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Austin Reed ($7,700) Western Kentucky at FAU
Reed has been one of the most productive passers in college football this season with 33 passing touchdowns and nearly 4,000 passing yards. He operates an offense with decent tempo (72.5 plays per game) and a high pass play rate (59.2%, 3rd in FBS). Reed averages 44 attempts per game on the road, so we can expect him to be busy against an FAU secondary that isn't overly imposing.
On the other side, N'Kosi Perry ($7,200) is an interesting tournament option. FAU has a solid implied total of 27.25 points and Perry will have his fingerprints all over any Owl scoring. He has 29 total touchdowns and has been careful with the ball, throwing just five interceptions.
Aidan O'Connell ($6,700) Purdue at Indiana
Purdue's offense has lagged a bit in recent weeks, but that sets up a good opportunity to buy back in on the Boilers in this matchup for the Old Oaken Bucket. Indiana's defense is bad, like, really bad. 112th in the nation in SP+ bad. So despite Purdue's recent struggles, it should be able to get back on track Saturday and it starts with O'Connell. Now, O'Connell won't get you any production with his legs, so we're banking on him lighting it up through the air. O'Connell has hit the 300-yard mark on five occasions this season, four of which came against Big Ten foes. The weather should cooperate, too, so the passing conditions should be unaffected.
Garrett Greene ($6,800) West Virginia at Oklahoma State
Greene acquitted himself well in his start last week against Kansas State with four total touchdowns -- three passing, one rushing -- and he had run for over 100 yards in his previous game against Oklahoma. Going on the road makes this a trickier spot, but Oklahoma State is really stumbling across the finish line this season. The defense is particularly bad as it ranks 85th in SP+ and allows the most passing yards per game on the slate (287). Greene's rushing ability is alluring and the soft matchup against a weak secondary means he's set up well to return value at his $6,800 price tag.
Micah Bernard ($5,800) Utah at Colorado
With Tavion Thomas declaring for the draft, Bernard is now set up to take on a prominent role in the offense. Bernard hasn't been overly impressive as a runner this year with just a 4.1 YPC average but he's been highly involved in the passing game with 38 targets. His season-high in carries is just 12 and it's not hard to see him besting that number against Colorado's 131st-ranked run defense.
Bernard will be popular based on the matchup and the Thomas news, so if you want to get a less-rostered piece of the Utah backfield, Jaylon Glover ($4,300) has some appeal. However, we'll need to have his status confirmed during pregame because he warmed up but did not play against Oregon.
Nicholas Singleton ($5,700) Penn State vs. Michigan State
Michigan State's run defense has packed it in late in the season. It allowed 224 rushing yards to Rutgers two weeks ago and then 257 and four touchdowns against Indiana last week. That bodes poorly for Sparty going into Saturday's game when it has to slow down Penn State's run game. Singleton and Kaytron Allen have been the top freshman backfield tandem in the country this season. They've combined for over 1500 rushing yards and 19 rushing touchdowns, with Singleton providing 863 and 10 along with a 6.5 YPC mark. Singleton only saw nine carries in a rout last week, but his workload should tick up this week and the matchup is even more favorable than the one he saw against Rutgers last week. Allen is a fine play from this matchup at $5,900 as well, but Singleton gets the lean from me thanks to his edge in terms of explosiveness.
This ties in with the Austin Reed blurb as Corley and Hall are the Hilltoppers' top targets. Corley is obviously a bit tougher to jam into your lineup builds at $7,300 compared to Hall at $5,400, but Corley's usage absolutely warrants consideration nonetheless. He's averaging 12 targets per game over the last four games and posting 9.3 YPT in that span. Hall, meanwhile, averages just under nine targets in that same span with a similar YPT (9.4) and has scored three touchdowns compared to Corley's one. This duo combined for 34 targets last week and it would not be surprising to see both of them draw 10+ targets again Saturday.
Brock Bowers ($6,100) Georgia vs. Georgia Tech
This is the lowest price point on Bowers this entire season. In fairness, he's in the midst of a funk by his standards with 10 catches for 78 yards on 15 targets over the last three weeks. However, Bowers is in a great spot to break out of said funk against Georgia Tech and its below-average defense. Bowers had three catches for 100 yards and two touchdowns against this group last season. The risk you run with playing Bowers is that Georgia may pull him once they build a big lead, so we'll need him to do his damage early. Still, I believe Bowers can make that happen. In the end, $6,100 is too low of a salary for a player this talented going against a weak opponent.
Barion Brown ($5,100) Kentucky vs. Louisville
Kentucky's struggles in the passing game are well-documented at this point as the 'Cats are reaching the end of what has been a disappointing season relative to preseason expectations. Even so, Brown is showing glimpses of future stardom. Brown was a major factor last week against Georgia with 12 targets; he caught 10 of them for 145 and a score while no other Kentucky receiver had more than three targets. Brown, a freshman, averages 9.2 YPT on the season and now it appears that he may be the top option in the Kentucky passing game. Louisville's secondary is solid so this is a slightly tough matchup, but if Brown can go for 145 on Georgia, he can certainly get it done against the Cards.
Kris Thornton ($6,200) James Madison vs. Coastal Carolina
Thornton just snapped a seven-game touchdown-less streak by scoring twice against Georgia State. He's been extremely effective despite that scoreless drought and is well within shouting distance of posting a 1,000-yard season. As for this matchup, Coastal Carolina's Teal Curtain has not lived up to its name this year. It ranks outside the top 70 in defensive SP+ and allows 8.9 YPA to opposing passing games. Thornton has close to a 30 percent target share over the last three games and this is a good spot for him to convert that volume into strong production.
This is going to be a romp so it would not be surprising to see Georgia turn to its depth options by the time the second half starts. Edwards is the safer bet; he has just four fewer carries than Kenny McIntosh on the year and the same number of rushing touchdowns. He will certainly be in the mix Saturday. I've written up Robinson in this space a few times this year with varying degrees of success. Robinson didn't see the field last week and has just seven carries in his last two appearances. There isn't much in the numbers to suggest there's a breakout imminent for Robinson, to be fair. But he's also a highly touted freshman back and this game will be so lopsided that there's a good chance he sets a new career high in carries against an overmatched Georgia Tech defense.