This article is part of our DraftKings College Football series.
Welcome to our Week 3 breakdown for the DraftKings Main Slate. Below is our suite of DFS tools to help you build your best lineup, including matchup info, DFS optimizer, stats and more. I'll also provide a slate overview and some position-specific plays to target for this Saturday.
- DraftKings Lineup Optimizer
- NEW Matchups Page (Vegas odds, opponent averages, etc.)
- Advanced Lineups Page
- Team Trends
- Defense vs. Position
- Team Rankings
We're treated to a more attractive 12-game menu than the one we were presented last weekend. Nine teams are expected to score more than 30 points per the Vegas implied totals and there are one-off pieces from further down the slate that should draw some interest.
Looking at the passing defenses, Buffalo, Minnesota, Florida State, USC and Tulsa are the worst in terms of YPA allowed while Cincinnati, Clemson, Wake Forest, Indiana and Oklahoma are toughest on opposing passing games. Whether the likes of Coastal Carolina and Colorado can take advantage of those favorable matchups remains to be seen. CCU's Grayson McCall should be up to the challenge – more on him in a bit – but Colorado may not have the talent to get it done through the air.
The run game analysis starts in Columbus with Ohio State's stable of running backs facing a Tulsa defense that coughs up 236 rushing yards per game on 5.4 YPC. This puts a number of Buckeye backs in the mix for this slate. Looking beyond Tulsa – Minnesota, Notre Dame, Washington State and Coastal Carolina have shown to be susceptible to the run game thus far this season.
The marquee matchup on the slate is the showdown in The Swamp between Florida and Alabama. The Gators and Tide have looked impressive thus far. The big question, from a fantasy angle, will be Anthony Richardson's health and usage. Richardson has been flat-out unstoppable through two games, but Florida seems committed to rotating him and Emory Jones at the moment. There's also the issue of Richardson tweaking his hamstring in Week 2. He has practiced all week and Florida will need him out there if the Gators are to have any hope at pulling the upset.
Sam Hartman ($7,800) Wake Forest (-4.5) vs. Florida State
This game has the ingredients to be one of the key matchups on the entire main slate. We have the highest total on the board (62.5) coupled with a narrow spread of just 4.5 which means we can expect plenty of points on both sides with the starters staying in for four quarters. The same can't be said about the expected blowouts in Norman or Columbus.
It's no secret Florida State is suspect on defense. It was shredded by a Notre Dame offense that struggled against Toledo and of course, it famously blew it at the end against Jacksonville State last weekend. Teams are averaging 304 passing yards per game on 8.3 YPA against the 'Noles.
As for Hartman, he has shown improved efficiency as a senior, completing 67 percent of his passes at 8.4 YPA. Granted, Wake has only played Norfolk State and Old Dominion. That said, Hartman only attempted 25 passes in each of those outings. With a more competitive matchup on tap against a marginally better – at least talent-wise – defense, an increase in passing volume can smooth over any regression in efficiency. Wake Forest hasn't had to play its normal offense yet this season, which explains the shockingly low 43 percent pass play split. The Demon Deacons traditionally throw it upwards of 50 percent of the time or more, so look for that to come into play Saturday against a porous Florida State defense.
McKenzie Milton ($6,100) is an interesting play on the other side of this one as he's locked in as the starter and Vegas still expects the 'Noles to keep this one competitive despite last week's results. If you can stomach the risk, a Hartman-Milton duo at QB/S-Flex is an interesting start to a lineup.
Grayson McCall ($8,300) Coastal Carolina (-14) at Buffalo
McCall has several factors working in his favor heading into Saturday's game. For one, Buffalo has the worst pass defense on the slate, at least on paper, in terms of YPA. That's important because Coastal Carolina is a low-volume passing attack, so we want the most bang for our buck each time McCall drops back to pass. With McCall completing over 80 percent of his passes at 12.7 YPA as it is, this is a good setup for an efficient day from the Coastal quarterback.
McCall also adds a running element despite not having truly shown it yet this season. He ran for over 500 yards and seven touchdowns last season and he punched in his first rushing score of the season last week. This will be Coastal Carolina's most competitive game to date, so look for the full Chanticleer offense, which features McCall's running ability, to be on display.
The pitfalls with McCall are that this game could get bogged down in terms of pace (CCU is 111th in plays/gm) and that his options are tough to stack as Jaivon Heiligh is the top salaried receiver on the board. Pairing the two is sinking a good amount of salary into a run-heavy offense, but the hope is that the per-play efficiency will win out.
Adrian Martinez ($7,300) Nebraska (+22.5) at Oklahoma
I hold my nose as I go back to the Martinez well, but hear me out. For one, he's running a good bit and he's been effective in that regard. Martinez has run for over 100 yards in each of his two games against FBS competition. He's also Nebraska's best rushing option as none of the Husker backs average more than 4.3 yards per carry despite the soft schedule to this point. Even if Nebraska has an anxiety-inducing implied total of 19.75, Martinez can rack up points with his legs even if the Cornhuskers aren't putting points on the scoreboard. And with Nebraska checking in as big underdogs, it's unlikely those running backs get much work anyway.
Martinez also has a legitimate receiving corps at his disposal, headlined by Samori Toure and Oliver Martin, provided Martin is available after missing two games. With both of them in action, Martinez will have enough firepower on the outside to produce through the air. And not to jinx it, but Martinez has yet to throw a pick on 74 attempts and his career road splits are actually better than his home splits.
This play isn't for the faint of heart and it's not a move I'd go to in cash games, but there's tournament logic.
Will Shipley ($5,300) Clemson (-28) vs. Georgia Tech
This is my favorite running back play of the week. Shipley, a five-star recruit, finally has a path cleared to fantasy relevance with Lyn-J Dixon finding himself in the doghouse and Clemson lacking obvious star power elsewhere in the backfield. We've already caught a glimpse of Shipley's talent, albeit against an FCS opponent, when he ripped South Carolina State for 80 yards and a pair of touchdowns on eight carries last week.
Now listed as a co-starter for Saturday, Shipley is ready to shoulder the load against an overmatched Georgia Tech defense that is giving up 163 rush yards through two games (one of which was an FCS opponent). Clemson will have a lead from the get-go here, so the runway is clear for Shipley to push for 15+ touches. Shipley's breakout is coming, and this could be the week it happens.
TreVeyon Henderson ($5,200), Ohio State (-24.5) vs. Tulsa
This will be a popular play as everything sets up for Ohio State to trounce Tulsa on the ground. It will still be worth it, however. Henderson's talent was obvious from his first few touches against Minnesota in the opener and even if he didn't light it up against Oregon, he still pushed for double-digit carries and found the end zone. Henderson should see a similar workload this week against a Tulsa defense that allows 236 rushing yards per game. Ohio State will be motivated to get the bad taste out of its mouth from last week's season-altering loss and Tulsa drew the short straw having to go up to Columbus this week.
Eric Gray ($5,200), Oklahoma (-22.5) vs. Nebraska
Gray's season-long investors may be disappointed in their early returns with the Tennessee transfer totaling 101 rushing yards on 18 attempts and no rushing scores. It turns out Kennedy Brooks is pretty good, too. Who knew? (We knew.)
There's another positive in Gray's ledger in that Oklahoma didn't have a real opponent in Week 2 so it's hardly a surprise the Sooners didn't run him into the ground ahead of its first Power 5 matchup of the season. Oklahoma, which checks in as 22.5-point favorites, should be positioned to play its starters more this week and with the Sooners expected to be in front for much of this one, Gray is in a nice buy-low spot. Brooks will of course get his share of work, which could lead to some frustrating goal line sequences for Gray investors, but Gray projects to be plenty involved too. Gray gets to face a Nebraska defense that has struggled a bit (143.0 rush yards allowed) this season despite having a game against Fordham to bolster those numbers. Don't let two quiet weeks from Gray distract you from the fact that he's a talented runner in a top-tier offense. It's going to click eventually, and this weekend is a good bet for that starting to happen.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
David Bell ($7,700) Purdue (+7.0) at Notre Dame
Notre Dame's defense has yet to jell under new defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman, who is working in a lot of inexperienced players. While that's manifested more in the run game than the pass game, this is still a secondary that isn't as intimidating as in years past. Unfortunately, Purdue doesn't have much in the way of backfield options, so the pass game is still the way to go if looking for Boilermaker exposure.
Bell is a tremendous combination of floor and ceiling, locking in a 25 percent target share of a passing offense that ranks 17th in attempts per game. That share could be even higher if last week's game against UConn wasn't such a laugher, but we won't complain about three touchdowns on six catches, either.
With Purdue expected to be playing from behind, look for Bell to push well into the double digits for targets, something he did all but once last season and has already done once in a competitive game this year. With the PPR scoring factored in, Bell is a core play on this slate.
Quian Williams ($5,100), Buffalo (-14.0) vs. Coastal Carolina
No one will confuse Buffalo with a high-flying passing offense, but the early signs are promising on that front under first-year offensive coordinator Shane Montgomery, who comes over from JMU. Buffalo ranked 119th in pass attempts per game last season and is holding steady at 31st through two games this season.
As for the matchup, Coastal Carolina hasn't played a real passing offense yet, having gone up against Citadel and Kansas. And yet those two combined to average 7.2 yards per pass attempt. That's not terrible, so Coastal could get a bit exposed through the air if Buffalo's current offensive trend holds. That's where Williams comes in.
Williams, an Eastern Michigan transfer, holds a 23 percent target share and 11.1 YPT mark despite facing stiffer competition last weekend against Nebraska. Buffalo's implied total checks in at just 21.75, so a full stack isn't advisable, but Williams sets up as a viable one-off play from the mid-tier of the receiver board.
Jayden Reed ($6,900) Michigan State (+4.5) at Miami
I'll start by saying I am not a believer in this Miami team. This isn't even holding the Week 1 steamrolling at the hands of Alabama against it, either. It's a fringe Top-20 team but not one that is all that intimidating on either side of the ball.
With Reed, he's a talented player who was productive since his freshman season at Western Michigan. Last year was a mess in East Lansing, but it looks like Sparty has a competent offense this time around and Reed has a strong share of this passing attack at 20 percent. Yes, he lit up Youngstown State in Week 2 to goose his stats, but he also averaged 9.1 YPT against Northwestern in the opener. Reed is still a big-play threat regardless of the opponent (10/56 catches went for 25+ yards as a freshman) who will be heavily involved Saturday. If Michigan State has a chance at pulling the upset, Reed will be a part of it. The $6,900 price tag should keep his roster percentage at a reasonable level in GPP's, too.
Jaquarii Roberson ($6,800) Wake Forest (-4.5) vs. Florida
This stands to be a popular play, and with good reason. Roberson commands a 27 percent target share of an offense that will be throwing more than it needed to in its first two games (Old Dominion, Norfolk State). He's efficient with that volume at 9.5 YPT. Wake draws a matchup against one of the worst pass defenses on the slate as the Noles have coughed up 304 passing yards per game and 8.3 YPA. Again, this will be chalky, but Roberson should be able to return value regardless. A.T. Perry ($4,900) would be my pivot for lineups looking to differentiate while still getting Wake Forest exposure. He's got a 12 percent target share and has been explosive at 14.3 YPT.
Calvin Jackson ($4,900) Washington State (+8.5) vs. USC
USC is in a tailspin after firing its coach after a crushing Week 2 loss at home to Stanford. Now it has to head up to Pullman for an afternoon game against the Cougs, who will test the Trojans through the air.
Jackson meets some impressive thresholds in the Washington State passing game, locking in a 19.4 percent target share at 12.9 YPT. Other players have comparable target shares, but none are as efficient as Jackson. He's the one I'd bet on to produce from this passing game Saturday.