College Football DFS Picks: New Year's Eve Slate Breakdown and Lineup Strategy

College Football DFS Picks: New Year's Eve Slate Breakdown and Lineup Strategy

This article is part of our DFS College Football series.

Well, folks, we're reaching the end of the road for the 2022 college football season. And I guess the end of 2022 overall. It's been a fun and funky season and while we could sulk that it's about to be over, I prefer to embrace what we still have in front of us. We've got four games to carry us into the new year on Saturday, three of which are excellent matchups and two of which carry national title implications. 

I'm sorry, I just can't feign any enthusiasm for a Kentucky-Iowa bowl rematch with a total that registers below freezing. 

Anyway, the two playoff games will draw a lot of the DFS attention on this slate but Bama vs. K-State could be a lot of fun too if Alabama gives anything close to max effort. For lineup-building purposes, there seem to be four truly viable options at quarterback and it will be interesting to see whether game-stacking UGA-Ohio State will be the trendiest QB-SFlex combo. Max Duggan is also interesting in his own right and Bryce Young could absolutely light it up in his last game, but it's fair to wonder whether he stays out there for the full game. 

The transfer portal and opt-outs open value all across the board, especially in the non-playoff games, so there are viable options south of $4K. Without further adieu, let's dig into this slate and see what we like as we put a bow on 2022. 

DFS Tools

Matchup Info

CFB DFS Picks: Quarterback

C.J. Stroud ($8,200) Ohio State vs. Georgia

If you had to distill this game down to one player, it'd be Stroud. Ohio State's backfield depth has been depleted with TreVeyon Henderson's injury along with Miyan Williams being nicked up late in the year. Even if the Buckeyes were full strength in the backfield, though, it would have been dubious to expect them to have much success on the ground against this defense. That means that Stroud will be tasked with carrying this offense throughout the game. Frankly, that might work in Ohio State's favor.

Georgia's secondary is talented but it's not as strong as the front seven is against the run. There may have been extenuating factors behind the defensive meltdown against LSU that featured 502 passing yards allowed, but it showed that Georgia's defense can look mortal against a talented downfield passing attack. I'm not sure there's a better downfield passing game in the nation than Ohio State's when it's clicking. 

Look for Ohio State's offensive game plan to be centered on testing Georgia's corners deep down the field with Marvin Harrison Jr., Emeka Egbuka and Julian Fleming.  If Ohio State's offensive line can hold up, Stroud could have himself a night. 

Stetson Bennett ($7,500) Georgia vs. Ohio State

I get the reasoning behind it but it still elicits an eye roll to see Bennett priced behind Alabama's backup quarterback on this slate. And barely ahead of Ohio State's backup quarterback, too. 

Bennett has been excellent down the stretch, notching a 15:5 TD:INT with an 8.6 YPA over his last seven games, including wins over Tennessee, Florida and LSU. Ohio State is a very tough matchup for this Georgia offense, though; the Buckeyes match up well in terms of talent and athleticism and J.T. Tuimolaoau plays like he's the second coming of Chase Young, so Bennett will have his hands full. There's also the issue of Georgia's lack of top-end receiving talent. We all know Brock Bowers is a great player, but that's just one piece of the passing game. The Ladd McConkey injury in the SEC Championship looms large, and while I expect him to play, he may not be at 100 percent. Bennett will have to make plays with unproven options, but that's something he's done for the bulk of the season with Adonai Mitchell missing most of the campaign with an ankle injury. 

There were many times throughout the season when I balked at Bennett's pricing on DraftKings because it was too high. This time, on this slate with limited options, I can't believe he's this much of a value at his position.

CFB DFS Picks: Running Back

Donovan Edwards ($6,600) Michigan vs. TCU

How Edwards is only the fifth-highest salaried running back on this slate is beyond me. In fact, I expect him to be the top performing running back in action Saturday. There's no Blake Corum to cut into his workload, and Edwards should be closer to 100 percent after battling a hand injury late in the season, and this is a great matchup for him. TCU has the worst run defense on this slate -- it's not terrible (149.5 YPG) -- but it also hasn't faced an offensive line like Michigan's. The Wolverines run the ball 62.6 percent of the time (10th) at a 5.6 YPC clip (3rd). Edwards should be in line for the bulk of the backfield work in this spot. The only drawback is that he will be immensely popular given the matchup and relative value. On a slate this size, though, fading him could put you behind the field with no real chance of catching up.

Deuce Vaughn ($7,000) Kansas State vs. Alabama

This is unfamiliar territory as Vaughn's opponent, Alabama, is playing in a non-playoff game for just the second time in the CFP era. While it's fair to wonder how "up" for this game the Tide will be, it's hard to see a Nick Saban-coached team just rolling over in this one. 

Even still, the Deuce will be loose this week. This is likely Vaughn's last game in a Wildcat uniform and even in a tough matchup, he will still get his. Vaughn finished the season with 1,425 yards on the ground (13th) and his 42 receptions ranked sixth in the nation. One knock on Vaughn could be that he had just eight rushing touchdowns -- a far cry from his 18 in 2021 -- but it's worth noting that Adrian Martinez was a serious vulture early in the season when healthy. Vaughn has punched one in on the ground in three straight. 

Even if Vaughn's touchdown upside is somewhat limited -- K-State's implied total is just 24.5 -- he's got such a stranglehold on the rushing work (53 percent rushing share) and is so involved in the pass game (17 percent target share) that he'll be able to compile enough catches and yards to return value. 

Also consider: Kenny McIntosh, Georgia ($6,300)

CFB DFS Picks: Wide Receiver

Marvin Harrison Jr. ($8,100) Ohio State vs. Georgia

If I'm in on C.J. Stroud, by extension I pretty much have to be in on Harrison as well Saturday. Even if you're a Stroud skeptic, Harrison still has to be in consideration. He was one of the most productive receivers in the nation all season with 72 grabs for 1,157 yards (16.1 YPR, 10.6 YPT) and 12 touchdowns in 12 games.

If you're reading this article, you're plenty familiar with Harrison. My point for this article is that he's a worthwhile play despite the hefty price tag and seemingly tough matchup. As mentioned earlier, the secondary is the one "weak point" -- if we can call it that -- of the Georgia defense. Ohio State will test Georgia through the air upwards of 45 times Saturday and Harrison will have claim to 12-15 targets in my estimation. 

His teammate, Emeka Egbuka, is interesting either as a pivot from Harrison or as part of an OSU passing stack. He drew 15 targets in the last game and 10 targets in Week 12, showing a significant uptick in his role. If Georgia sticks Kelee Ringo on Harrison, Egbuka could be matched up with true freshman Malaki Starks. 

Derius Davis ($5,600) TCU vs. Michigan

Did you know that Davis has as many receiving touchdowns (5) as teammate Quentin Johnston? Johnston is of course the better player and has a much higher target share, but Davis is an interesting option on this slate. Michigan is going to be putting a lot of attention on Johnston and Davis has been the No.2 target in this offense. He's not capable of handling a high target volume but what he lacks in that respect, he makes up for in speed. Davis is one of the fastest players in college football so it might just take one play for him to hit value. As someone who is likely fading Johnston in most lineups, Davis is a pivot that I will be targeting.

Adonai Mitchell ($4,300) Georgia vs. Ohio State

Mitchell's salary is explained by his lack of playing time this season due to a high ankle sprain that basically wiped him out from Week 2 onward. He suited up against LSU and logged 13 snaps, and now has had an additional month to get closer to 100 percent. Georgia's receiving situation is not great going into this one with Ladd McConkey likely to be limited in some capacity. Mitchell, if close to full-go, could be the primary receiver for Georgia on the outside. Vets like Kearis Jackson and Dominick Blaylock can be useful in the intermediate passing game, but Mitchell can do things that those two can't down the field. If you're looking for Georgia passing game exposure that isn't Brock Bowers, Mitchell is an intriguing option. Arian Smith ($3,300) is Georgia's fastest receiver if you're really looking to throw caution to the wind, for what it's worth.

Also Consider: Jermaine Burton ($5,700) Alabama  


Max Duggan ($7,900) TCU vs. Michigan

I do not expect this game to go well for TCU. It's a brutal matchup for the Frogs as they're outmanned along both lines and it's difficult to see them keeping pace for 60 minutes. However, that leaves some significant garbage time potential. 

C.J. Stroud had a "bad" game against Michigan and still wound up with 349 passing yards and a pair of touchdown passes. We could see something similar from Duggan in this spot, though 300 passing yards might be a tall order. Fortunately, Duggan can make up the difference on the ground as he's a good athlete and willing runner who churned out 404 yards and six touchdowns this season. With the Frogs unlikely to get much going with its conventional ground game, it may be on Duggan to play hero ball and pick up yards with his legs when plays break down. It might start ugly and it might be a slog for Duggan overall, but by the end of the game, he should finish with enough to return value for his backers.

JuTahn McClain ($4,100) Kentucky vs. Iowa

If Chris Rodriguez was playing, I wouldn't drop the $5,800 on using him against Iowa's stout run defense. Getting Kentucky's projected No.1 back at $4,100 is a different story, though. McClain is the best of the rest after Rodriguez declared and Kavosiey Smoke hit the portal. The junior running back averaged 6.0 YPC over his last four games of the season and logged 15 receptions on 23 targets on the season. Kentucky is without quarterback Will Levis, too, so the ground game will be heavily featured Saturday for better or for worse.

McClain isn't a high-ceiling option but the floor appears to be solid for a player in this salary range. We're banking on him getting enough volume to make this a worthwhile value play at this part of the player pool.

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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