This article is part of our FanDuel College Football series.
We are back for the first full weekend of college football, and we have a massive 14-game slate to fill the Saturday viewing period. topping the expected scoring charts is a team in USC that already has a game under its belt, sporting an expected score of 52.5 points. No other team crosses the 50-point threshold, but Oklahoma (57.5), Texas (47.5) and Alabama (45.5) all top 45. The Crimson Tide are the heaviest favorites at -39.5, while USC and Texas A&M are just a point behind. and Oklahoma (-36.5), Texas (-35.5) and Auburn (-35.5) round out the teams favored to win by at least 30.
Potential Weather Impacts (Subject to change)
UMass at Auburn: Slight Chance of precipitation
Nevada at USC: Slight chance of precipitation, potential for winds north of 11 MPH early in the game.
UTSA at Houston: Chance of some rain around kickoff and winds possibly above 10 MPH throughout.
MTSU at Alabama: Chance of rain at kickoff that dwindles quickly.
There are no expected major impacts from what I can tell.
Notable Injuries/Absences for Week 1 in College Football
Robby Ashford, Auburn - Considered questionable for the opener.
Alton McCaskill, Colorado - Remains a question mark for the opener, but he's been non-contact for most of camp.
Jamarion Miller, Alabama - Missed some time early in camp but scrimmaged and scrimmaged in mid-August at less than 100 percent.
Joshua Cephus, UTSA - Was reportedly near 100 percent in mid-August following a knee issue.
De'Corian Clark, UTSA - Considered a game-time decision for the opener as he recovers from a right leg injury that ended his 2022 season early.
Devontez Walker, North Carolina - Awaiting word on his appeal for a waiver to play in 2023. He won't play unless something pops up in the next 24 hours regarding his status.
Cam Camper, Indiana - Wasn't quite 100 percent in late August but is expected to play in the opener.
Garrett Miller, Purdue - Not listed on the opening depth chart, but should be a starter when healthy.
Caleb Fauria, Colorado - Was reportedly close to making his way back into team practices in mid-August.
Mike O'Laughlin, Houston - Listed as a starter on the opening depth chart.
College Football DFS Tools
- NEW FanDuel Lineup Optimizer
- Matchups Page (Vegas odds, opponent averages, etc.)
- Advanced Lineups Page
- Team Trends
- Defense vs. Position
- Team Rankings
Week 1 CFB DFS Plays on FanDuel
Frank Harris, UTSA ($10,400) at Houston
Harris is as dynamic as they come at the college level, throwing for 4,000 yards and 32 touchdowns last season while rushing for 602 yards and another nine scores. There are some questions regarding the health of his top wideouts entering Week 1, but he should at least have Cephus and also has at least Oscar Cardenas at his disposal as well, with De'Corian Clark (leg) a bit of a question mark. Even if Clark sits, Harris should still put up big numbers against a Houston defense that is losing more than half of its returning production from a season ago, including most of its leading tacklers and sack producers. I expect this game to be a shootout, and Harris should be in the thick of the big producers.
Conner Weigman, Texas A&M ($9,600) vs. New Mexico
There's really no clarity at running back for the Aggies as to how the carries will be distributed in the expected blowout. One thing that is clear is that Weigman returns under center after a solid close to the 2022 season and returns a couple of high-caliber wideouts in Evan Stewart and Ainias Smith. I'll take my chances with those weapons and continuity under center, plus the fact that New Mexico is replacing more than half of its production from last year as well on a defense that allowed 7.6 yards per pass attempt. This will likely turn into a blowout, but I think Weigman gets in his production before that happens.
Chandler Morris, TCU ($9,400) vs. Colorado
After an exciting year on the Max Duggan train, we're back to Chandler Morris at the helm. Morris had a three-game string of action in 2021 that included a 40-point fantasy effort against Baylor. Morris has the running ability to be an impact player on that front, and Colorado intends to run a blazing-fast offense this year, which figures to benefit Morris and TCU's offense if a solid TCU defense can take care of business. It seems unlikely the Buffs will go from one of the worst teams in the Pac-12 to the top tier, and there's a reason Duggan and Co. sport an expected score of 42 points for this one. TCU's backfield loses Kendre Miller, leaving a backfield with minimal production from last year. Morris seems like the best bet to produce for this offense, whether it be through the air or on the ground.
Another to consider: Dillon Gabriel, Oklahoma ( $11,100)
Hunter was suspended for part of camp for a violation of team policies but has been practicing with the team and is listed as a starter on the depth chart. However, Hugh Freeze has been mum on whether or not Hunter will face any in-game punishment. Someone in this backfield is about to have a monster day, and I think the uncertainty could scare some people away from Hunter, which makes him a solid GPP play. If you want to play the possible punishment card, Alston is listed as Hunter's backup and slots in at an easily affordable salary. this game is expected to be a blowout either way, so Alston could prove to be a fine play regardless of Hunter's status.
Kevorian Barnes, UTSA ($8,400) at Houston
As mentioned in Harris' section above, Barnes will be facing a Houston box that will be losing most of its production from a season ago. When I see box production gone, that certainly is intriguing for the uber-talented Barnes, who is a sizable Doak Walker candidate at 10/1 in multiple places. As I described above, I anticipate this game to be a shootout, and I think there will be enough production to go around that both Barnes and Harris are viable candidates for DFS.
CJ Baxter, Texas ($7,000) vs. Rice
Texas didn't release an official depth chart for the season opener, but Baxter is expected to be part of a 1-2 punch in the backfield this season and has reportedly taken first-team reps in practice this week. Things are all pointing toward him being a big contributor early alongside Jonathan Brooks ($10,000), and the $3,000 difference in salary is more than enough to convince me to go with Baxter here against a Rice defensive front that yielded a slate-high 5.4 rushing yards per attempt last season.
Tawee Walker, Oklahoma ($4,700) VS. Arkansas State
Most saw Gavin Sawchuk and Jovantae Barnes as the backs set to lead the Sooners this season. While that may end up being the case in the end, head coach Brent Venables indicated that Walker was the most consistent in camp, and he's listed as a co-starter alongside Marcus Majors ahead of the aforementioned pair. Given the salary for Walker here, it's worth the risk that he doesn't produce in the opener, especially in an Oklahoma offense projected to tally 47.5 points.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Antwane Wells, South Carolina ($8,700) vs. North Carolina
While looking through the top names on the board, we have players with new quarterbacks (Ohio State, Tennessee, Texas) or who are facing productive and experienced secondaries (Washington). Then I got down to Wells, and everything seemed to click. He's got Spencer Rattler under center, capped off the 2022 season with three 25-plus point fantasy efforts in the last four, and he's facing a North Carolina pass defense that couldn't stop anyone last year. The Gamecocks' passing attack should flow through Wells again in 2023, and he should have a significant say in the expected 31 points the team is expected to put up, according to Vegas.
Jalil Farooq, Oklahoma ($8,400) vs. Arkansas State
Farooq is the expected candidate to lead Oklahoma's wide receiver room in 2023. With that, the fact that you have Dillon Gabriel at quarterback and that the Sooners are expected to put up huge point totals against the Red Wolves, and the math seemingly adds up to value here. Farooq closed 2022 with touchdowns in three consecutive games, and I see no reason why he can't continue that stretch in the opener.
Side note: Andrel Anthony ($5,700) is also listed as a starter and reportedly have a good camp, so I wouldn't blame you for that one either.
Hey, I'm sorry, but I'm not going to tell you which of these three to pick, because it could be a crapshoot or more than one could turn out to be productive. Theoretically, Jones is listed as a starter, and McCollum and Paysour are listed as co-starters in the slot, so perhaps that gets you to lean toward him, but Paysour has a history of producing when given a shot, and McCollum transfers in after a productive season at Georgia Tech last year. This is all assuming that Devontez Walker doesn't receive a waiver ahead of kickoff as well, though there is no indication any word is coming yet. That said, the running back room isn't particularly impressive again and one of the best quarterbacks in the country in Drake Maye will be firing footballs to this group, so it's worth it, especially in GPPs, to take a shot somewhere in this room.
Chris Carpenter, UTSA ($4,800) at Houston
I wouldn't blame you for going Joshua Cephus ($8,500) at the top of the UTSA wideout board, as they have a track record of success and is seemingly healthy for the opener at a reasonable salary. I also wouldn't fault you for taking a shot at De'Corian Clark ($7,800) if word comes down prior to kickoff that he's giving it a go. I'm just of the mindset that UTSA's offense just proved last season that it can support three fantasy-relevant wideouts, and Carpenter has seized a starting role vacated by Zakhari Franklin's departure for Ole Miss. I do like this play a bit more if Clark is out, but he's still a big health question mark even if he plays, and he may not be at the top of his game. That said, Carpenter's speed was viewed as troublesome enough that the team attempted to get him involved last year, and he served as the team's primary kickoff returner. At this salary, in this explosive offense, I could easily see a big play or two from Carpenter making this a worthwhile play.