This article is part of our DraftKings College Football series.
Welcome into this week's breakdown for the Week 4 main slate on DraftKings. We've got 11 games on the slate with five games featuring over/unders in the 60s, so there are plenty of high-scoring games to target.
I'm also excited to debut our new team rankings page, which measures the offensive and defensive efficiency for each team. The higher the number for a team's offensive efficiency, the better. And the lower the number for a team's defensive efficiency, the better.
So teams like LSU, Alabama, and Texas A&M have the most efficient offenses among teams on this slate while Pittsburgh, BYU, and Florida State are on the other end of the spectrum.
Below you'll find a cheat sheet followed by our full suite of DFS tools and a position-by-position breakdown of the slate.
|Team||Opponent||H/A||O/U||Spread||Implied Points||Plays Per Game||Opp. Pass Yds Allowed/ GM||Pass TD/G||Opp. Rush Yds/G||Opp. YPC Allowed||Opp. Rush TD Allowed/G|
Position by Position
Joe Burrow, LSU ($8,500) at Vanderbilt
There isn't much you can say about Burrow's first three games that would be hyperbole. He has gone from perceived weak link on an otherwise championship caliber roster to Heisman candidate. Only Jalen Hurts (14.4 YPA) has a higher YPA than Burrow's 12.47 among quarterbacks with at least 50 attempts. Not Tua Tagovailoa. Not Anthony Gordon. Burrow has also thrown a touchdown on 12 percent of his passes. That is an incredible rate regardless of the competition you've played.
Playing Vanderbilt means playing a secondary that allows 332.5 passing yards per game (127th). Vanderbilt may be coming off a bye, but there's little reason to think it can offer much resistance to Burrow and this Tiger offense that is playing at an unprecedented level for that program.
Ryan Hilinski, South Carolina ($6,300) at Missouri
There are ways to make a strong lineup using the two most expensive quarterbacks on the board in Burrow and Tua. If you want to save some cash at your quarterback or Superflex spot, though, Hilinski is a viable option.
He was more of a compiler last week against Alabama, throwing for over 300 yards but needing 50 attempts to get there. Missouri won't stifle Hilinski and the Gamecocks to that extent, even if the numbers paint a different picture with just 95.7 passing yards allowed per game through three weeks.
The high implied total along with the expectation that South Carolina will be playing from behind suggests that it'll be another busy day for Hilinski through the air. And even if South Carolina isn't trailing, the Gamecocks have the most pass-happy tendency in the SEC, throwing on 60 percent of their plays. The 300-yard bonus is in play here for Hilinski in a way that it might not be for Kelly Bryant and this run-heavy Missouri (53.49 percent rush rate) offense. When the over/under is this high but the price differential between Hilinski and Bryant is $1,200, I side with the cheaper option.
Jonathan Taylor ($8,900) is maybe the most important player on this slate. As the most expensive player on the slate facing a top-tier Michigan defense that is rested coming off a bye after playing a close one against Army. Taylor's price tag coupled with the matchup will likely keep his ownership percentage down to a reasonable lineup. If I were making just one lineup, I'd probably fade Taylor just because it's harder to find the value at quarterback to fit him in. But I will be making multiple lineups, and fading Taylor 100 percent feels like a potentially colossal mistake. Taylor has run for 101 and 132 yards against Michigan in previous matchups and will be the focal point of the Badger attack again Saturday. He's both cash and tournament viable, but if you're looking for other options at running back, you can start with...
Cam Akers, Florida State ($7,800) vs. Louisville
Akers isn't exactly cheap but his usage gives him a solid floor and the shaky Louisville defense raises his ceiling. He has seen at least 34 percent of Florida State's touches in each game this season. and his activity in the passing game is noteworthy. Akers also has 10 catches for 76 yards on 11 targets and two of those receptions have gone for touchdowns.
In terms of the matchup, Louisville allowed 5.48 YPC and four touchdowns on the ground to Notre Dame, which is the only opponent it has faced that is comparable to Florida State.
Salvon Ahmed, Washington ($7,300) at BYU
Ahmed is the clear workhorse in the Washington backfield, having seen 37 percent of the carries thus far and 46 percent of the work in the Huskies' lone competitive game. This one sets up to be competitive as well with the spread at just 6.5 in Washington's favor.
BYU, though scrappy and impressive through three games, has been leaky against the run, allowing the second-most yards per carry (4.75) of any team on the slate. Ahmed is a strong pivot should you move away from Taylor or Akers as your RB1.
Elijah Collins, Michigan State ($4,600) at Northwestern
This would be the only exposure I'd want to get to this game on either side. Collins is still relatively cheap and owns a 50 percent share of the Spartan carries. Last week wasn't great – 19 carries for 72 yards and a touchdown – but that might actually work in our favor for this week.
Northwestern is shaky against the run, allowing 4.56 yards per carry. UNLV posed almost no threat in the passing game last week and yet Northwestern still allowed Charles Williams to rip off 144 yards and two scores. A state line like that is at least plausible this week considering his hold on the lead role along with the Wildcats' weak run defense.
Others to Consider
Isaiah Spiller,Texas A&M ($5,000) vs. Auburn
This is a GPP consideration given the tough matchup and relatively low over/under of 47.5; however, Spiller is now entrenched as the starting running back and has some intriguing traits to make him worth using in a lineup this week. He was one of the top running back recruits in his class and at 6-foot, 220 pounds, he's built to handle a heavy workload against an SEC defense. If Auburn is missing star defensive lineman Derrick Brown (upper body), that Tiger run defense suddenly isn't as imposing.
Javian Hawkins, Louisville ($4,400) at Florida State
Hawkins is reeling off 6.9 yards per carry and has the team-lead in carries at 49 rushes through three games. He doesn't offer much upside as a pass-catcher with just two targets on the year but among the cheap running backs, he offers a volume floor with some big-play upside.
Terrace Marshall ($7,200) and Justin Jefferson ($7,600), LSU at Vanderbilt
It's a matter of preference when picking between Jefferson and Chase – Jefferson is the more targeted player with 23 through three games and he's more explosive with 16.3 YPT. Marshall, meanwhile, has six touchdowns on 16 catches. Both have great matchups and should hit value at their given price points. Ja'Marr Chase is returning from suspension and is a worthwhile piece of this LSU receiving corps at $5,700.
Chatarius Atwell, Louisville ($4,400) at Florida State
Known to some as Tutu, Atwell is Louisville's most exciting player thanks to his top-notch speed and explosiveness along with his versatility. Atwell started the season by getting 11 targets against Notre Dame, and while his hands betrayed him on a few of those looks, the separation ability was apparent. His hands were better in Week 3, when he caught four of six targets for a whopping 141 yards and three touchdowns against Western Kentucky.
With no other Louisville receiver seeing more than 10 targets through the first three weeks, Atwell's 20 targets show that he's locked in as the Cardinals' top target. The matchup is pretty favorable, too, as Florida State is giving up the second-most passing yards per game of anyone on the slate at 324. Atwell is an obvious value for his $4,400 price tag.
Quez Watkins, Southern Miss ($4,800) at Alabama
Obviously there's a ton of risk in using a Southern Mississippi player against a team like Alabama. That risk is baked into the price when it comes to Watkins, though. Watkins is an SEC-level talent who caught seven of nine targets for 209 yards and two scores against Troy in his 2019 debut last week. It was no fluke, either. He caught 72 passes for 889 yards and nine scores in 2018.
Southern Miss will be trailing throughout Saturday's game, so the run game should be worked out of the equation early, leaving plenty of targets for Watkins and Jaylond Adams. While I don't expect either to be overly efficient with the volume, I won't rule out a busted coverage resulting in a big play. Watkins is the more serious big-play threat here and thus gets my recommendation here, although Adams at $5,100 has his own merits.
Jaylen Waddle, Alabama ($4,800) vs. Southern Mississippi
Unless he's dealing with some undisclosed injury, there's no reason why Waddle has been this quiet through the first three weeks of the season. His targets have dropped from six to four to one since the season started, so there's some risk here. But his YPT of 14.0 ranks only behind Henry Ruggs III's 14.4 mark among the Tide receivers, and this sets up as a week where Alabama might not have to lean on the likes of Jerry Jeudy. With Smith checking in $1,300 less than DeVonta Smith and $1,700 less than Ruggs, even one splash play from Waddle could make fading the top three worth your while.
Others to consider
Gabriel Davis, UCF ($5,800) at Pittsburgh: He leads the team in targets and I expect some positive regression when it comes to his catch rate – 10 grabs on 24 targets is a far cry from his career mark of 61 percent.