This article is part of our FanDuel College Football series.
CFB FanDuel DFS Breakdown for Saturday Main Slate
We are nearing the close of the 2023 college football regular season, but that doesn't mean we don't have several interesting matchups down the stretch from a daily fantasy perspective. That said, only a pair of Pac-12 matchups surpass the 60-point expected game total this week, UCLA-USC (65.5) and Washington-Oregon State (62.5). UNC-Clemson and UCF-Texas Tech (59.5 totals) just missed the bar.
Oklahoma (41.0) leads the way on expected score, with Oregon (38.5) trailing closes behind and USC (36.0) also clearing the 35.0-point mark.
We have a handful of sizable favorites this week, but the biggest are clearly Oklahoma (-24.5) against BYU, Oregon (-23.5) against Arizona State and Michigan (-19.5) against Maryland. Missouri (-10.5) versus Florida and Georgia (-10.5) against Tennessee are also double-digit favorites.
To get a full view of the odds and opposing stats for the coming week, check the matchups page in the DFS tools below.
College Football DFS Weather (winds 10+ MPH and precip. chance 50-plus percent noted)
Michigan at Maryland - Wind sitting around 12-13 MPH throughout the game.
Louisville at Miami - Winds around 10-11 MPH all game.
UCLA at USC - Chance for light showers throughout.
UCF at Texas Tech - Wind 11-12 MPH throughout, small chance of rain.
Washington at Oregon State - Sizable chance for rain throughout. Winds are expected to reach 10-11 MPH late in the game.
Notable College Football Injuries/Absences for Week 12
Ethan Garbers, UCLA - Looks set to start Saturday.
Jalon Daniels, Kansas - Doesn't sound as though he's likely to return during the regular season. Announced he will return in 2024 on Thursday.
Jason Bean, Kansas - Taking a lot of reps in practice this week. Sounds promising he may be available.
Dante Moore, UCLA - Was spotted in uniform ahead of warmups last week.
Collin Schlee, UCLA - Hasn't been participating in practice this week.
Kedon Slovis, BYU - Not fully recovered and questionable for Saturday's game against Oklahoma.
Marcus Major, Oklahoma - Didn't play last week, against West Virginia, status unclear.
Dakereon Joyner, South Carolina - Doubtful to play against Kentucky.
Ajay Allen, Miami - Expected to be available against Louisville.
JuTahn McClain, Kentucky - Not in uniform for Saturday's game against Alabama.
Darius Lassiter, BYU - Better chance to play this week after sitting the last two games.
Xavier Guillory, Arizona State - Likely out for the remainder of the season.
Jaden Bray, Oklahoma State - Was unavailable last week and status is unclear.
Luke Grimm, Kansas - did not practice Sunday after missing last week. Was explained to be a wait-and-see situation.
Giles Jackson, Washington - Could potentially return Saturday.
Trey Knox, South Carolina - Took part in practice Tuesday.
College Football DFS Tools
- FanDuel Lineup Optimizer
- Matchups Page (Vegas odds, opponent averages, etc.)
- Advanced Lineups Page
- Team Trends
- Defense vs. Position
- Team Rankings
Week 12 CFB DFS Plays on FanDuel
Bo Nix, Oregon ($11,000) at Arizona State
Nix is probably my favorite option at the quarterback spot this week, even though the per-game averages against may say to take a chance on quarterbacks elsewhere. While the Sun Devils have fared reasonably well against opposing quarterbacks this season, that hasn't quite been the case of late. Cameron Ward compiled a huge game against the Sun Devils in Week 9, and Bryson Barnes followed that up with four passing touchdowns the following week. While UCLA was held in check last week, the Bruins were also using third-string quarterback Collin Schlee in his first significant action of the 2023 season as a passer. The Sun Devils are more stingy against the run, holding three of the last four opponents to 36 percent or more below fantasy average, so I like the chances of a sizable output from the passing attack, and Nix could scamper in on his own, joining the previous quarterbacks that have tallied six rushing scores to date.
Brady Cook, Missouri ($10,200) vs. Florida
Speaking of quarterbacks with some rushing upside this week, that's exactly the reason I'm intrigued by Cook on Saturday. The Gators have allowed opposing quarterbacks to run for 476 rushing yards and six touchdowns this season. When we narrow the scope, 326 of the rushing yards and three of the rushing touchdowns have come in the last two weeks. I'm not expecting Cook to post a Jayden Daniels-esque line this week, but the signal-caller has proven recently he's no slouch as a runner, amassing 198 rushing yards and three scores on the ground over the last four games. If he can compile a decent ground attack and deliver an average game through the air, there's some upside here for a big outing.
Honestly, I'm not a huge fan of the quarterback spot this week in the matchups. But, if we're looking for some possible under-the-radar spots to attack the position, I'll start with Howard, who has seemingly retaken his role as the head honcho under center after briefly ceding a sizable workload to Avery Johnson. Johnson isn't completely out of the mix, but Howard is the guy again. The Jayhawks enter play Saturday having yielded a slate-high 10 rushing touchdowns, which includes four separate games where the opposing quarterback has run for two or more scores. Howard has the capability to match that, doing so twice already this season, and he scored 27.6 points and 36.3 points the only other two times he's found pay dirt on the ground multiple times. McCarthy faces a Terps defense that hasn't played up to par of late, allowing Northwestern and Penn State QBs to go 29 percent and 40 percent over fantasy average. While Nebraska struggled last week, they also lost starter Heinrich Haarberg in the first half and couldn't find footing with the backups. However, there's certainly major risk involved coming off a week where McCarthy attempted just eight passes, a number that will likely scare off the majority of people with Jim Harbaugh now out of the mix for the rest of the regular season.
Ollie Gordon, Oklahoma State ($10,800) at Houston
I made this recommendation last week as well, and Gordon's dud of an effort destroyed the vast majority of my otherwise promising daily lineups. I still think it was the right call, and I'm more than willing to return to that spot here in a game against a Houston offense that is unlikely to follow the UCF suit with a blowout that limits Gordon's involvement and effectiveness. Assuming the Cowboys can stay more in-system here, Gordon should get a hefty chunk of carries, and he squares off against a Cougars defense that has allowed the last three running back rooms to surpass season averages by 30 percent or more. Coming off one of the more embarrassing losses in the Mike Gundy era, I expect the Cowboys to go back to ramming the ball down the opposition's throat, and the 32.5 expected points suggest Vegas believes the Cowboys will find the end zone plenty of times in this one. Given that Houston's defense has held three of the last four opposing QBs well under fantasy average, I'm anticipating a heavy dose of Gordon and the ground game this week.
Tahj Brooks, Texas Tech ($9,800) vs. UCF
While Oklahoma State (see Gordon above) couldn't get things going last week against UCF, that hasn't been the case for most teams this year. UCF is one of the worst run defenses in the country, yielding 196.0 rushing yards per game despite the minimal output last week, and all but two of the last seven opponents have tallied 42 percent or more fantasy points on the ground than average. Brooks is the clear workhorse for the Red Raiders, toting the rock 31 or more times in each of the last three games, and this could prove to be one of his best efforts of the season if the expected game script (Texas Tech -2.5) holds true, which wasn't the case for Gordon last week.
Gavin Sawchuk, Oklahoma ($6,100) at BYU
I initially debated whether I viewed Sawchuck as simply a GPP play, but there are enough factors working in his favor to where I would be comfortable deploying him in a cash game format as well. Sawhcuk has compiled 100-plus rushing yards in back-to-back weeks and is coming off his biggest carry count of the season (22) against West Virginia. The redshirt freshman was viewed by many as the most talented back in the Sooners' room entering the season, but he wound up buried on the depth chart for much of the year. Now that he's seemingly back on top, he should retain a healthy carry count again this week. Sawchuk also sports a bargain-bin salary, something that's hard to come by for a running back sporting this kind of volume recently, and even harder on a team with the highest expected score on the slate. He also faces a BYU defense that has allowed each of it's last four opponents to go over fantasy average, with the last two going 50 percent or more above average. Anywhere near that mark for Sawchuk in his newfound lead role, and he would easily return at least three times his salary.
Martinez hasn't lived up to the billing many envisioned of him this year, partially due to the fact that the Beavers' passing attack has been better than expected, thanks to Clemson transfer DJ Uiagalelei. That said, Martinez has come into his own a bit recently, rushing for 100-plus yards in each of the last two games and finding paydirt four times last week versus Stanford. Surprisingly, the Beavers are actually favored against the unbeaten Huskies and sport an expected score of 32.0 points. Washington showed some minor cracks on the defensive front last week, allowing Utah's running backs to average 33 percent over season average, and the rainy weather expected could result in a bit more of a ground lean from the two teams than usual. Martinez is one I'm willing to back as a result, given his recent outputs.
Steele's matchup is certainly one that has been targeted time and time again from a fantasy perspective. The Trojans' defense has allowed 4.8 yards per carry, 182.3 rushing yards per game and 1.8 rushing scores per game on the season, and Steele is the back I would trust of the Bruins' rushing options to take advantage on that front. The problem is that UCLA is a 6.5-point underdog in this contest, and USC's pass defense has been essentially equally bad, if not worse so far this year. With just 29.5 points expected, it leads to some questions about where the points will come from. It just seems like, given the chance for some rain throughout and the fact that Steele has a 3x game (25.6 FD points versus Stanford) under his belt already this year, Steele would be the place to get involved in this one.
Another to consider: Will Shipley, Clemson ($7,800) vs. North Carolina
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Rome Odunze, Washington ($10,200) at Oregon State
Odunze is the most reliable weapon on the Washington offense, turning in 20-plus FD point efforts on the regular, including 24.6 last week against Utah. While things can sway a bit from week to week, Odunze is essentially a lock to hit at least double digits on a given week, and he's crossed the 20-point barrier six different times. The Beavers have held opponents under average in each of the last six games but by no more than 23 percent in any of the last four and five percent or fewer in two of the last four. Around average for Odunze would get him to 20 on the week, and it may be difficult to find that tally elsewhere on the board, given the matchups. The Huskies are also underdogs for this contest, so it could turn into a situation where the passing game is much more involved, and I don't trust the other wideouts enough to use the salary gap as a reason to divert paths.
Drake Stoops, Oklahoma ($8,800) at BYU
If you decide you want a piece of the passing attack for the Sooners on Saturday, Stoops has to be your man at this point. BYU has allowed its last two opponents to go over average at the wide receiver position in terms of fantasy points, and Stoops' average in the last two weeks has been nearly 30 points. So, anywhere close to or going over that mark would give him 3x value at the wide receiver spot, something that is often hard to come by. The Sooners are heavy favorites, so it wouldn't be shocking to see this turn into a run-heavy second-half approach, but Stoops can get his en route to reaching that territory.
Brock Bowers, Georgia ($8,000) vs. Tennessee
The hype around a Bowers return last week continued to build as the game drew closer, and the star tight end indeed returned to action. Surprisingly, there seemed to be few restrictions for him just a handful of weeks after undergoing surgery on his ankle, and there's little to be concerned about another week removed from the procedure. Bowers also gets a matchup here in Tennessee that has seen two of the last three teams' tight ends -- UConn and Kentucky -- put up big games. Bowers' talent is on another plane from nearly all others at the position at the college level, so a production near 60 or 102 percent above average, like that of UConn or Kentucky, could have Bowers challenging for 20-plus points this week.
Brenden Rice, USC ($7,300) vs. UCLA
I've come to back Rice by the process of elimination. The Trojans possess an expected score of 36.0 this week, good for third on the slate. They have to get there somehow. I first looked at quarterback, where the Bruins are the only team on the slate allowing negative rushing yards (-30) and no rushing touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks this season. Presumably, that rules out a big rushing game from Williams. Running backs haven't fared any better, scoring under average in every single game this season and by 30 percent or more in all but two games. What position hasn't scored under average, you ask? Why, it's wide receiver. In fact, four of the last five wide receiver units have posted scores above average against the Bruins. My conclusion: USC must pass the ball a lot to put points on the board and reach the expected score this week. After a downturn in production at wide receiver in the middle of the year, Rice has resurfaced as the key piece recently, amassing a season-high 11 targets last week. For a guy with 11 touchdowns on the year, his salary doesn't reflect it, partially due to the wide distribution of targets. Still, Rice has a reasonably consistent floor in the double-digit territory and has two 22-plus-point efforts on his ledger, so there is enough upside and recent production to make me back him this week.
Brown has one of the best matchups on the slate against a Cowboys defense that yields a slate-worst 8.5 yards per pass attempt, 255.4 passing yards per game, and 2.1 passing scores per game, good for second most on the slate. While it was a tough call between Brown and Joseph Manjack, I ultimately settled on Brown for the volume and upside factor. Brown may only have three touchdowns to his name compared to Manjack's five in the last four games, but Manjack hasn't topped 17.6 points in that span despite a multi-touchdown game last week. Brown has hit 21.8 and 19.1 in two games he's scored this year and even has 18.3 points in a game he didn't, and he faces a defense that has allowed 582 passing yards and four passing touchdowns in the last two games, so a touchdown could get him near season-best territory in this one.
Velling also faces a decent matchup against a Washington team that has allowed three of the last five tight ends to go 40 percent or more above season average. If you decide not to look at Damien Martinez in the backfield, Velling is a cheaper option to get in on the Beavers' scoring, and he leads the team with eight touchdowns this year.
A hail mary pivot from Rice at wideout would be Branch, who hasn't really produced much after a promising start in the first two weeks when he turned in a pair of touchdown receptions. However, he got the start last week and drew the second-most targets (either five or six, depending on the source), so there's reason for hope if you are in desperate need of someone far down the salary scale.