This article is part of our DraftKings College Football series.
We've got a bigger menu than usual on this Halloween weekend with 14 games on the main slate as opposed to the 12 we've been getting most weeks.
Games that should draw a lot of attention on this slate will be Wake Forest-Duke (O/U 71.5), Baylor-Texas (O/U 61.5), Cincinnati-Tulane (O/U 61.5), Pittsburgh-Miami (O/U 61.0) and Kansas State-TCU (O/U 58.5). Oklahoma will also get plenty of action and is expected to do a lot of the heavy lifting in a game with an O/U of 66.5.
TCU has the worst defense on the slate by the numbers, allowing 9.2 yards per pass attempt while also surrendering 210 rushing yards per game on 5.4 YPC. This fuels Kansas State's implied total of 31.0 and explains Deuce Vaughn's inflated price tag of $9,400 that is nearly $2K higher than any of his other listings this season.
Looking elsewhere, Tulane, Michigan State, Duke, Oklahoma and Oregon have the worst pass defenses on the board by the numbers with each of them giving up 270 or more yards through the air per game. The Michigan State detail is interesting because Sparty is hosting a Michigan team that is built entirely on the run. Does Michigan trust Cade McNamara enough to test that weakness, or will it continue to run its offense through Hassan Haskins and Blake Corum?
Outside of TCU, Texas, Tulane, Wake Forest and Florida State all have shown to be susceptible against the run.
Below, you'll find our suite of DFS tools along with matchup info and position-by-position analysis.
- DraftKings Lineup Optimizer
- NEW Matchups Page (Vegas odds, opponent averages, etc.)
- Advanced Lineups Page
- Team Trends
- Defense vs. Position
- Team Rankings
Sam Hartman, Wake Forest ($9,000) vs. Duke
Well, I was loud wrong about Hartman last week as he led Wake Forest to 70 points while having the ball for just 18 minutes. This isn't me chasing a mistake, though. Hartman has been money all season long and now gets a home game against one of the worst teams in the ACC, hence Wake's 44.0 IT that ranks second on the slate behind only Cincinnati.
Duke allows 278 passing yards per game on 8.6 YPA. Hartman and Co. won't face much resistance through the air Saturday. The issue isn't whether Hartman is a good play or not, but how to stack Wake Forest. Jaquarii Roberson ($7,600) and A.T. Perry ($7,500) are the two highest salaried receivers on the slate, so going with a full Wake stack ties up nearly half your budget in three players. Going with only one of Roberson or Perry leaves you open to missing a big outing from the other. The pair has gone over 25 DK points each in back-to-back games, so it's possible that both can feast in the same game. That wasn't always the case early in the season with instances like Weeks 2 and 3 where Roberson went off against Norfolk State but was quiet against FSU while Perry had opposite fortune.
A Wake passing game stack is doable on this slate and we'll explore some lower-priced options to make it possible. It will be chalky though, so keep that in mind.
Adrian Martinez, Nebraska vs. Purdue
It's wild how much a staple Martinez has been in these articles this season relative to my expectations for him going into the year. You can't argue with the results, though. Other than Kenny Pickett (!) and Hartman, no quarterback on the slate averages more DK points per game (28.2). He draws a home game against Purdue and Nebraska has an implied total of 29.75.
The 300-yard passing bonus isn't a lock with Martinez but he's flirted with that total multiple times this season and he's a consistent producer on the ground with 100-yard upside to go with touchdown upside. Nebraska lacks great stacking options to pair with Martinez but going solo Martinez in a lineup is something I'll be doing plenty on this slate.
Brock Purdy, Iowa State ($6,400) at West Virginia
Purdy hasn't quite lived up to expectations this season, nor has Iowa State for that matter, but that doesn't mean we can't extract some value from this game in Morgantown. West Virginia has a decent but not intimidating pass defense that gives up the seventh-most passing yards per game of any defense on this slate.
Purdy, meanwhile, has done some of his best work on the road this season. He's completing 79.3 percent of his passes at 9.3 YPA with a 5:1 TD:INT in three games away from Ames. Iowa State rarely asks Purdy to throw more than 30 times, so you're banking on efficiency here and Purdy absolutely provides that. In a week where you'll likely need to make a sacrifice at QB/SFlex to fit in the high-end players, Purdy is an "Any Port in a Storm" type option with a decent floor.
Others to Consider
Jordan Travis, Florida State ($6,600) at Clemson: The Tigers are still tough defensively even if the offense is in shambles. Even so, Travis has been a steady source of rushing production of late with over 100 rushing yards in his last two games against ACC foes. This could be a somewhat forgotten game on the slate so the roster percentage on Travis should set you up for leverage if he's able to return value.
JT Daniels, Georgia ($6,500) vs. Florida: This is contingent on Daniels starting of course but the Georgia offense is explosive through the air when he's behind center. There's plenty of downside and risk given Kirby Smart's comments about playing two quarterbacks and Daniels' own long layoff. But the upside is there as well in GPPs.
This is a tough one to navigate this weekend. We have some of the best running backs in the nation with plus matchups on the slate but DraftKings really holds your feet to the fire on the pricing. After Caleb Williams (and Spencer Rattler to keep us honest), the next four highest-priced players on the board are running backs. That's Bijan Robinson, Deuce Vaughn, Jerome Ford and Breece Hall. All are great options, of course, but they complicate your lineup build as quarterback isn't exactly a treasure trove of value this week, either. In a vacuum, all those guys are great plays. Instead of going further into why each of them will crush this weekend, I'll offer up some more affordable recommendations to help round out your lineups.
Zamir White, Georgia $6,000 vs. Florida
A cursory glance at White's box scores won't really catch your eye. He hasn't rushed for more than 79 yards in any game this season, nor has he gotten more than 18 attempts in any outing. He does have an impressive seven touchdowns on 83 attempts but some may label that "Touchdown Deodorant" more than anything.
What makes this week different is that Georgia will be playing in what should be its most competitive game of the season to this point with Florida checking in as two-touchdown underdogs. That sets up a scenario where, unlike in previous weeks, Georgia won't have the luxury of resting White in the fourth quarter (he has just 15 fourth-quarter carries on the year and has only appeared in four fourth quarters). The other wrinkle is that Georgia's only other between-the-tackles runner, Kendall Milton, is out with a knee injury. This boosts White's workload projection against a Florida defense that gives up 157 rushing yards per game to conference opponents.
TL;DR: don't get hung up on White's early-season stats. This is a spot where Georgia rides White for a heavy workload against a weak run defense. This is doubly true if Georgia starts JT Daniels as the Bulldogs likely won't want to expose him to Florida's pass rush more than it absolutely has to. In a week where it's hard to find bankable running backs under $7K, White stands out as a strong play.
Abram Smith, Baylor ($7,200) vs. Texas
There's a lot to like about this matchup to begin with, but when you add the overall slate context, Smith becomes a primo option this week. Running back is tough to navigate this week with so many of the desirable options checking in north of $8,500 or even $9,000, making it tough to build a good lineup without some serious bargain hunting.
Smith, meanwhile, is $700 less than Miami's Jaylan Knighton, who averages just 4.1 YPC and goes on the road to face a tough Pitt run defense. The Baylor back has a 39 percent share of the rushes and rips off 7.5 yards per carry. Texas has the second-worst run defense on the slate behind only TCU. The opportunities will be there for Smith to bludgeon the Longhorns. Teammate Trestan Ebner ($4,300) is an interesting bargain option, too. In addition to having a 28 percent rushing share, Ebner has a good track record as a pass-catcher and is electric in the return game. Texas ranks 122nd in kick return yardage allowed. You're not betting on a kickoff return touchdown necessarily, but it's an interesting detail when considering Ebner in this matchup.
Rodney Hammond, Pittsburgh ($4,200) vs. Miami
Starter Israel Abanikanda is a game-time decision with a concussion, so Hammond could be elevated into the No.2 role by kickoff if he sits or is limited. Vincent Davis should be a factor too, but he averages just 3.3 yards per carry over 79 attempts. Hammond, meanwhile has shown to be nothing short of explosive, averaging 6.2 YPC. Most of his damage has come against New Hampshire and UMass, but he had his number called 11 times last week against Clemson and racked up 66 yards. That's not nothing. It might be smart to fade this one if Abanikanda plays, but if he's out, Hammond should challenge for double-digit carries in the rain against a mediocre (150.8 RuYD/G Allowed) defense.
Others to Consider
Joe Ervin, Kansas State ($3,000) vs. TCU
TCU's defense is falling apart as it gives up a slate-worst 210 rushing yards per game on 5.4 YPA. Deuce Vaughn is obviously the frontman for the K-State offense but he's not built to take up 20+ carries most weeks. Ervin is the next man up and sees around 7.0 carries per game. With Skylar Thompson not running as much post-injury, Ervin could find his way into a decent workload against an awful defense at min-price.
Jake Bobo, Duke @ Wake Forest
If you're trying to get exposure on the other side of the Wake Forest-Duke game, Bobo is your guy. He has a great blend of target share (29.6%) and efficiency (8.2) that you aren't going to find among many other sub $6K receivers. Duke will be trailing for the bulk of this contest so the run game could be abandoned, and that may lead to Bobo -- who has seen double-digit targets in four games -- pushing for a new season-high in targets. The main downside with Bobo is that he's a between-the-20s receiver with just one touchdown on 49 receptions. Still, the PPR wrinkle here is enough to put Bobo on the radar this week.
Josh Whyle, Cincinnati ($3,700) at Tulane
I don't like recommending tight ends or really any Cincinnati pass catchers as the Bearcats tend to be a low-volume passing attack that spreads it around to multiple targets. Still, Whyle is drawing 12% of Cincinnati's targets and is a red zone threat when the Bearcats opt to do something other than run The Touchdown Play for Jerome Ford. Whyle brought in four of six targets for 60 yards and two scores last week and Tulane's pass defense is the worst on the slate at 300 passing yards allowed per game. He's a GPP consideration only, but Whyle is worth a look if you need a sub-$4K pass catcher.
Marvin Mims, Oklahoma ($5,900) vs. Texas Tech
Mims has been frustrating this season and no one can really argue otherwise. The volume just hasn't been there, as he averages just north of three targets per game. Having just one catch for 14 yards against Kansas is less than ideal, too. All of that being said, Mims is still having a crazy efficient season. He has caught 22 of 26 targets at 18.1 YPT. We can't expect much more than three targets in any given week for Mims, but we know that he'll make the most of the looks he gets. I'm inclined to bet on a bounceback at home from the Sooner offense and that puts Mims on the GPP radar at the very least.
Tyquan Thornton, Baylor vs. Texas
No one will confuse this Baylor offense for the mid-2010s when the Bears were lighting teams up through the air week-in and week-out. The Bears rank 105th in passing volume as they've assumed a more physical, run-first identity on offense. That doesn't mean Thornton has been nothing short of a great bounceback story this season.
After a disappointing 2020 with 16 grabs for 158 yards in five games, Thornton has come back to his 2019 form. Thornton is up to 32 catches for 547 yards and five scores on 56 targets. That's a strong blend of volume and efficiency with touchdown upside. He actually has the highest target share of any player on the slate, checking in at 31.5%. Baylor has a solid implied total of 32.0 and Texas' defense is middling against the pass. Texas' offense will keep the pressure on the Bears to keep up on the scoreboard, so this could be one of Baylor's highest passing volume setups of the season.
Bargain bin receivers are likely a must for a lot of builds this weekend, and there are some options in the Georgia receiving corps.
McConkey is the lead Dawg in the receiving corps right now, having caught nine of 11 targets for 177 yards and a score over his last three games. He's set to remain in the rotation, even if Jermaine Burton and others are healthy enough to play. The question is whether he has a strong connection with JT Daniels as most of his production has come while playing alongside Stetson Bennett.
Mitchell is Georgia's best freshman receiver and has been since the spring game. He has also seen 11 targets over the last three games, including seven against Kentucky. He's a skilled route runner who can create problems for Florida cornerbacks. At just $3,300, Mitchell just needs a handful of catches with a decent YPR to return value. I believe Mitchell could be in line for at least that type of game with room for more if Florida forces Georgia to keep the ball more in the air than usual.