This article is part of our DraftKings College Football series.
We've got another 14-game mega main slate on our hands this week with plenty of high totals and high implied totals to build around. The standout game is, oddly enough, an AAC matchup as SMU travels to Florida to take on South Florida. That game paces the slate with a total of 72.5 points and while it might not be as bonkers as the SMU-Houston game from last weekend, there's plenty of reason to believe this will be a track meet. Oklahoma-West Virginia comes in second at 68.5 but I'm leery of both of these offenses pushing the score to the over despite the shoddy defenses on either side.
Looking to the defensive units to target, Arkansas, Tennessee, Oklahoma State, USF and West Virginia are the weakest against the pass. USF, Oklahoma, SMU, Oklahoma State and Nebraska check in with the weakest run defenses. This is a gigantic slate, though, so we don't only need to fixate on the extremes in order to find the right plays.
My last comment on this slate is about Ohio State. I think us DFS'ers have been frustrated by the offensive output in recent weeks. It's important to remember that Vegas isn't discounting the Buckeyes at all, though. They're favored by 40 (!) points against the Hoosiers. Maybe this is the time to go back to a Buckeyes stack after some disappointing outings in late October through last weekend.
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Tanner Mordecai ($8,100) SMU at South Florida
When I first sat down to write this and saw SMU was on the slate, my first thought was to see Mordecai's salary after last week's outrageous performance with 10 touchdowns. And my expectation was that he would be a fade for me this week. Then I saw he's just $8,100 going up against South Florida and, welp, here we are.
We can't expect lightning to strike twice with Mordecai but we might get close. USF is in shambles and has the worst defense in the country per SP+. This game has the highest total on this 14-game slate and USF, for as bad as they are, check in as just 17.5-point underdogs, so it could be competitive enough for SMU to keep Mordecai busy. Again, Mordecai won't reach last week's totals but this is a game to get some exposure to and it's not like a good game from him was completely out of character; he'd been averaging 23 DK points per game prior to the monster outing against Houston. One thing to monitor will be the weather, though the remnants of Hurricane Nicole should be wearing off by then.
Riley Leonard ($7,900) Duke vs. Virginia Tech
Did you know Riley Leonard has more rushing touchdowns this season than Dorian Thompson-Robinson? Or that he has the fourth-most rushing yards among FBS quarterbacks? Not too shabby. And when a player like Leonard is playing a home game against a bad Virginia Tech squad, we have to take note.
The risk with rostering Leonard is that he's not prolific as a passer. Rarely does he throw it more than 30 times in a game and his YPA is a pedestrian 7.5 YPA. He hasn't thrown multiple touchdowns in a game since Week 3 against North Carolina A&T. We can tolerate that risk when Leonard is running for at least 60 yards and a touchdown like clockwork as he has over the last three weeks. Leonard's rushing ability gives him a solid enough floor at this price and the matchup adds to his ceiling.
Others to Consider: Dillon Gabriel, Oklahoma ($8,000); KJ Jefferson, Arkansas ($6,500)
Quinshon Judkins ($7,000) Mississippi vs. Alabama
Beware Alabama coming off a loss. They're going to be angry!
Yeah, okay. They're still a sieve against the run on the road. In three SEC road games, the Tide have given up at least 180 yards and two rushing scores in each outing. And now they have to stop arguably the best rushing offense in the SEC. The Rebs not only average 267 rush yards per game on the ground, they're doing it on 5.59 YPC. That's a dangerous combo of volume and explosiveness that Mississippi is rolling out there, and Judkins is at the forefront.
Over the last four weeks, Judkins has wrestled the No.1 distinction away from Zach Evans, out-carrying the TCU transfer 84 to 29 and racking up five rushing scores to Evans' one. Evans is interesting in this spot, too, to be clear because his explosiveness makes him a threat to take it to the house any time he gets the ball.
Blake Corum ($8,300) Michigan vs. Nebraska
Michigan is going to paste Nebraska. The Wolverines are 30.5-point favorites at home against a Nebraska team working with a backup quarterback. And while you might say that this is a spot where Michigan can build a lead and take it easy, you have to remember that Jim Harbaugh has no problem laying a whooping of biblical proportions when the opportunity presents itself. Toss in the fact that Corum is building a Heisman case and it wouldn't be surprising to see him take on his customary workload. With an average of 27.5 carries against Big Ten opponents, Corum could lead the slate in volume this week against a Nebraska run defense that, while slightly improving, still gives up close to 200 yards per game on the ground. Corum will smash this weekend and is one of the best high-priced plays to build around.
Others to Consider: Tyjae Spears, Tulane ($6,500); Kaytron Allen ($5,700) Penn State
Xavier Weaver ($5,900) South Florida vs. SMU
On the other side of the SMU game we have Weaver, who has carved out a 36 percent target share over the last three weeks (10 Tgt/G) and delivered 17 grabs for 239 yards and three touchdowns. SMU's defense isn't as bad as it played last week but it's not an overly intimidating unit, either.
USF, as mentioned, is 17-point underdogs so the pass will be heavily featured and there's no question that Weaver is the top option for the Bulls in that facet of the game. Jimmy Horn ($5,100) is an interesting pivot off Weaver that still gets you exposure to the Bulls' passing game, but Weaver's target share advantage is worth paying up the extra $800.
Luther Burden ($5,200) Missouri at Tennessee
This isn't betting on a Tennessee no-show after last week's loss to Georgia. That said, I'm not sure Tennessee will be as fired up this week against Missouri now that their perfect season is out the window. Missouri is still a heavy underdog and is going to have to get away from its run-heavy tendencies Saturday if they want to have a prayer at an upset given that Tennessee is extremely stout against the run. This plays into Burden's hands nicely.
The five-star freshman is starting to flash his potential and carving out a significant target share with 6.2 targets per game over his last five outings. Missouri is also good about getting the ball in Burden's hands as a runner as he has taken 12 carries on the year and scored on two of them. This game sets up for Missouri to go to the air more than we're used to seeing and Burden stands to be the primary target against a UT pass defense that's anything but fixed.
Kayshon Boutte ($5,300) LSU at Arkansas
LSU has been getting some Letdown Watch discourse this week after its season-defining win over Alabama last weekend. That's fair, but I'm not buying it. LSU is going to keep its foot on the gas against a reeling Arkansas team that just lost to Liberty at home.
Boutte has been a disappointment for his season-long investors but this is a good opportunity to jump back in on him as a value. He has at least seven targets in each of his last three games and has caught 74 percent of those targets at 9.1 YPT in that stretch. The only drawback is the lack of touchdowns but against an Arkansas team that is vulnerable through the air, that trend could be bucked Saturday. Boutte's talent far outweighs his salary this week and though the start of the season was rough, he seems to be turning things around in time for the stretch run.
Others to Consider: Kaleb Smith, Virginia Tech ($5,200); Jaylin Noel ($4,900) Iowa State
This is an interesting leverage play from the USF-SMU game. While most will be targeting the passing games, and rightfully so, the run defenses on either side are jarringly bad. USF coughs up 214 rushing yards per game while SMU is only marginally better, surrendering 199.
Battie is the slightly safer bet in terms of volume with his 37 percent carry share that spiked to 53 percent last week. He has crossed the 100-yard mark in back-to-back games and could be a huge part of the game plan if USF opts to go with a possession-based attack that sustains drives in order to keep SMU's offense on the sidelines.
The case for Gardner isn't as clear-cut; he's one of several talented runners in the SMU backfield. The thing is, SMU has a number of banged up running backs, which could vault Gardner into a profitable role for a $5K player. Camar Wheaton missed last week's game, as did Tre Siggers. If both remain out, Gardner is primed to push for double-digit carries. And that many cracks against a porous run defense should pay dividends.
Hunter Dekkers ($5,700) Iowa State vs. Oklahoma State
Dekkers' ceiling isn't overly high but the matchup and salary combo gives him some juice on this slate. Oklahoma State's secondary is abysmal, surrendering 291 passing yards per game and 304 per game against Big 12 competition. Dekkers is a high-volume passer that averages 40 attempts per game against FBS teams and has a solid completion rate of 65 percent. He doesn't offer a ton as a rusher but a 300-yard passing game is absolutely in play in this spot. At $5,700 you get a decent floor and plenty of flexibility with the rest of your build. A Dekkers-Xavier Hutchinson pairing isn't overly cost-prohibitive this week and might not be a chalky stack.