For this piece, I am going to focus on the main slate on Saturday that starts at 12:00 ET at both FanDuel and DraftKings. With that said, I write this as I sit with my very pregnant wife who could be going into labor any second now or could be induced at any point as well. So I could use some more run good then the rest of you.I will highlight my favorite plays at each position and also offer a couple potential stacks that you should look into.
Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee – Dobbs is one of my favorite options overall as he is an extreme dual threat QB as he played just 7 games last year and accounted for 20 total TDs and has a full off-season to grow into the starting QB position at Tennessee. He could go extremely under owned this slate as he is priced around Falk and priced a little high to be a QB2 with all of the mid-tier options available. If you want to be contrarian with a stud QB, this is your guy and he certainly will be on a fair share of my rosters.
Luke Falk, Washington State – You can NOT ignore a QB playing in Mike Leach’s system and Falk should put up video game type numbers all season long. The nice thing about a Leach team is they generally do not care if they run up the score or not. Washington State is a pure passing offense and they will not try to change who they are just because they are up 45.
Jaquez Johnson, Florida Atlantic – Johnson is a legitimate dual threat QB who gets to face a very weak Tulsa secondary. He is priced way too low for the ceiling he has to offer us and he should be the best value of any position on the day. Johnson averaged double digit carries a game last year and should be able to utilize his size in the red zone in order to find his way into the end zone. There really isn’t much else to say about Johnson haha. He is basically their only offense but is capable of doing so much and is just too cheap to ignore.
Dane Evans, Tulsa – The other QB in the match-up between FAU and Tulsa is Dane Evans and he makes a great play as Tulsa brought in the former Baylor OC to be its Head Coach this year and that should prove to be a great move, at least when it comes to the offensive side of the ball. Evans should continue to grow and improve on some weak overall numbers and has a couple of dangerous WRs to get the ball too. This game is expected to be close and high scoring, so you will certainly see me with a stack of this game in its entirety somewhere.
Christian Hackenberg, Penn St – This game is projected to be pretty low scoring overall and that means people will generally bypass the options in the game. I think that could be a mistake as Hackenberg appears to have something to prove as he really regressed last season. I think his second year under Franklin will lead to a lot bigger things for Hackenberg and this Penn St offense. He has a legit number 1 receiver to go to in DeaSean Hamilton.
Jeremy Johnson, Auburn – I think Johnson makes an interesting pick as he is cheaper than he will be the rest of the season as he is a bit of an unknown in terms of playing more than a half in a game. He does not have the traditional Auburn QB abilities in terms of running the football, but he has a big arm and he is a big, strong dude. I generally want to take a wait and see approach at the beginning of the season, however this Auburn offense has proved to be extremely dangerous over the last handful of seasons and think Johnson could surprise for you in some GPPs.
James Conner, Pittsburgh – Conner is another big time player taking on an FCS team Saturday. The big thing for Conner is the fact that Pittsburgh is not a very explosive team and they are going to be down their most explosive player, Boyd, due to suspension. Conner is used to carrying the ball 30+ times a game and is coming off of an 1800 yard, 26 TD season. I do not expect the final score of this game to be very close, however I do not expect Pitt to blow them away in the first half which means Conner should get a lot of pounding in.
Alex Collins, Arkansas – Collins is going to be a popular option this season as the injury to Williams opens up full time carries for Collins. Both backs topped 1000 yards last year and I think Collins should be in for a jump to 1600+ yards and could approach 20 TDs by the end of the season. This game is expected to be a blowout and that could mean just 15-20 carries for Collines, however he has shown he is more than capable of putting up points in 15 or so carries a game and I think will run all over the weak UTEP defense.
Jalen Hurd, Tennessee – Hurd’s price is very intriguing as is the fact that BGSU finished 102nd in rush defense last season and are very under sized on the DL, which bodes very well for the 240 pound Hurd to dominate in this game. At his size, you could expect him to be suspect in the pass game, however that is not the case as he is capable of hauling in a few passes. The Volunteers are projected to put up 40+ in this one and I expect Hurd to be a big part of their offense.
Christian McCaffrey, Stanford – McCaffrey is extremely cheap and is being projected to receive 20 touches and that kind of volume makes him an excellent option. He averaged over 7 YPC last season and now should get a chance to shine. He is being listed as Mr do everything for the Cardinals as he is listed as their starting RB, KR and PR. He should also line up in the slot as well and create match-up problems for the defense. The match-up itself is not one that stands out as must target, however for the price and projected volume, I do not think you can find a better buy.
Nick Chubb, Georgia – Chubb is going to be a top option pretty much every weekend and this weekend is no different. The reason he finds himself in the GPP section is the fact that this game should be over after about a quarter in a half and Chubb could find himself getting plenty of rest as Michel is certainly an excellent back-up. Richt might try and take it easy on Chubb after all the injuries UGA backs have had over the last few seasons. With that said, as long as Chubb gets 15 or so carries, he is capable of blowing up for 200+ yards and 3 TDs in a short period of time.
Jordan Howard, Indiana – Howard was able to transfer to Indiana after UAB decided they were eliminating the football program, only to have that decision changed. Howard is taking over for the departed Tevin Coleman and may not be quite as dangerous but should be able to put up respectable numbers this season. He is coming off a huge year at UAB and is certainly a power 5 talent. I think a wait and see approach is preferred with Howard, however I think he makes the perfect GPP play as we just do not know what to expect in his first game.
Keevan Lucas, Tulsa – Lucas is Evans’ number 1 target and should be in line for a monstrous season for the Hurricanes. Lucas is coming off of a 101 catch, 11 TD sophomore season and is line to see those numbers increase thanks to the new offensive system being put in place. The FAU pass defense is going to be extremely weak as they were terrible last year and graduated 3 of their 4 starters. Lucas should be the top receiving option of the day.
River Cracraft, Washington State – Cracraft seems to be getting a little over looked from a stud standpoint as a lot of people are over Gabe Marks, even though he bumped heads with Leach last year and was injured for much of the season as well. There seem to be some question marks about him overall and when looking to get a piece of this high powered offense, the obvious choice in my eyes is River Cracraft. Not only does he have an awesome name, but he is the slot man who should have a number of games with double digit receptions.
Jordan Westerkamp, Nebraska – Westerkamp comes into the season as the top receiving options for the traditionally ground and pound Huskers. With that said, Mike Riley has come to Nebraska looking to bring more balance to their offense in order to use the athletes they have on the outside. The Huskers other top WR options, Pierson-El is going to miss this game due to injury which should open up even more things for Westerkamp.
Jordan Payton, UCLA – Payton has had to build rapport with a new QB and it may take a few games to work in their favor, however he is priced just way too low for what he offers us as far as talent goes. Payton started out extremely well last year and looked like a breakout star, but definitely faded as the UCLA offense looked to pound the ball a lot more with Perkins and Hundley. Perkins is still here in the offense, however Rosen is more of a passing QB than Hundley was at UCLA. At $4700 on DK, I think he is an instant plug and play GPP option.
Gabe Marks, Washington State – I know I had a few not so great things to say about Marks above, however the truth is that he is a very dangerous WR who could surprise this season, especially if the bad blood between he and Leach is in the past. This is an offense that throws the ball 50-70 times a game and should complete 30-45 passes each week. That means there are a lot of balls to go around and Marks should receive his fair share. He is extremely dangerous and could put up a monster stat line against an FCS opponent.
Devon Cajuste, Stanford – I love what Cajuste offers on the football field and if the end of last season is any indication, he scored 3 TDs in the last two games played, then I think we have ourselves a sleeper in terms of fantasy production. Stanford needs to find a way to replace the explosive Ty Montgomery and I think a combination of Cajuste and and Owusu will certainly do that. I love Cajuste’s TD upside and think he is a great GPP sleeper.
Luke Falk, River Cracraft, Gabe Marks of Washington State – This is an expensive stack, however I really like the upside it offers as Washington State throws the ball more often than any school in the country and they have a coach that is not afraid to run up the score. With that said, if you wanted to get creative with this stack and try to save some money at WR, you could include Dom Williams in place of one of the other two. This game does not have a line posted as its one of the many FBS vs FCS match-ups on the day.
Dane Evans, Keevan Lucas, Keyarris Garrett of Tulsa – As I stated earlier, this game is expected to be extremely close while being pretty high scoring. This stack ends up in my stud stacks because of the value that Evans offers, which makes it easier to roster Lucas and Garrett. The Hurricanes do not have much in terms of RBs and may rely on short, quick passes as their type of running game. This may be my go-to stack of the day.
Pat Mahomes II, Jakeem Grant, Devin Lauderdale of Texas Tech – Texas Tech is a team you could list under stud stacks pretty much every week. The reason they aren’t there for me this week is the fact that a starting QB has yet to be named and that scares me a bit and makes me think they might be using both QBs at points in this game. The rumor is that Mahomes ill be making the start and should he see the entire game, this trio could rival the Washington St trio in terms of production. Texas Tech has a tougher opponent than Washington St does in this as Sam Houston St is no slouch at the FCS level. Make sure to pay attention to the news to make sure you get your hands on the right QB in this stack.
Deshaun Watson, Mike Williams, Artavis Scott of Clemson – I think as the season grinds on, this Clemson offense is going to be an excellent one to stack. The reason they are in the other spot for Saturday is the fact that this game should be over by the end of the first quarter. Watson is coming off of a major injury and they might look to rest him as soon as its clear to do so. This offense is so dangerous that these guys could account for 5+ touchdowns in a half and call it a day, which is definitely enough to pay off the salaries associated.
With the CFB season just getting under way, do not be afraid to lean more chalky than you usual would as there is so much roster turnover in CFB that it makes it tough to really predict offenses. We know who big time recruits are and those who are able to transfer and not have to sit out a season, but we just do not know what to expect out of new starters. Some guys take over in offenses that tend to churn out studs at the position year in and year out, so those are the new guys I like to target as the system a player plays in has a huge effect on their performance. When it comes to finding RBs, I certainly want to find schools that return most, if not all of their starting OL. Having that kind of cohesion up front certainly helps a RB.
The last thing I want to do is ask some help of you guys. When it comes to the stacks category, would you prefer the way that I did it for this article or would you like me to point out games in general to stack? Stacking in football is generally different than in baseball and I want to know your preferences as I think a case can be made for both styles. I just want you guys to get what you want out of this article! Hit me up on twitter with your thoughts as I look forward to hearing your suggestions.