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College Football DFS: September 5, 2015 – Night Slate

Below are positional rankings for the night slate of DraftKings contests on Saturday with some commentary along the way. Keep in mind that salary has a huge impact on a player’s ranking. 

If you missed my rankings/analysis of the early slate, here it is.

Quarterback

  1. Skyler Howard – $6,800 – West Virginia
  2. Vernon Adams – $8,400 – Oregon
  3. Kyle Allen – $6,600 – Texas A&M
  4. Dak Prescott – $10,100 – Mississippi State
  5. Malik Zaire – $5,600 – Notre Dame

Skyler Howard started the last three games of the 2014 season for West Virginia and threw the ball 40 and 45 times in the last two games along with 17 carries. That’s a lot of volume for a guy priced under $7,000 this week. And don’t think he might not get that kind of volume against Georgia Southern. GSU went 9-3 in the Sun Belt last year, and two of those losses were to North Carolina State and Georgia Tech by a combined five points. I think West Virginia well have to play four quarters in this one.

Were I not such a big fan of Howard as a value play, I’d have Vernon Adams ranked tops at the position. Oregon has been in the top 11 of  the S&P+ offensive ratings for each of the last five seasons with the offense being plenty effective for two seasons before Marcus Mariota ever took over. Adams himself was super impressive at Eastern Washington scoring 100 combined passing and rushing touchdowns in 25 games over the last two seasons. I know the competition wasn’t as stiff, but four touchdowns per game over the course of two seasons is impressive at any level. And since Oregon is facing his former team, he’ll still be playing against a defense from that previous level for one more game.

The rest of the quarterbacks listed are really superfluous. I suppose if you didn’t want to spend much at all on quarterbacks you could forego Adams and pair Howard and Kyle Allen. Or if you need even more salary relief than that, Malik Zaire is an option. And I’m sure Dak Prescott will have a nice game, I just think his price tag is too high.

Running Back

  1. Derrick Henry – $6,400 – Alabama
  2. Tre Madden – $4,000 – USC
  3. Corey Clement – $5,700 – Wisconsin
  4. Tarean Folston – $5,100 – Notre Dame
  5. Joel Bouagnon – $5,000 – Northern Illinois

Derrick Henry’s price tag is very confusing to me. The kid has averaged 6.6 yards per carry in a little over 200 career carries in his first two seasons. But with T.J. Yeldon now in the NFL, Henry’s workload is going to increase significantly. He scored 11 touchdowns last year as the backup, so double digit touchdowns this year is a given. I guess if there’s a knock on Henry it’s that he won’t do much in the passing game, but I couldn’t care less at this price point.

I’ll come back to the second ranked back in a moment, but let’s talk about my No. 3 ranked back, Corey Clement. Clement was the backup to Melvin Gordon last year, and though those are big shoes to fill, Clement is capable of filling them. In 214 career carries in his first two seasons, Clement has averaged 6.99 yards per carry. He’s good. The problem, of course, is his matchup against Alabama, who had the highest rated run defense in the country last season. I would have no problem with you rostering Clement. None at all. But I get it if the matchup scares you. Let’s call Clement more of a GPP play than cash.

As for that second ranked back, Tre Madden should provide some serious salary relief. USC’s leading returning rusher, Justin Davis, is out with a rib injury, so Madden will be the lead back Saturday. In fact, coach Steve Sarkisian has been quoted as saying Madden will be the “workhorse” in Week 1. If I didn’t like Henry so much, I’d probably have Madden and his value potential ranked tops at the position.

The other two backs listed, Tarean Folston and Joel Bouagnon, are here simply in case you need to fill a flex spot with someone in this price range. But if you find yourself in that situation, I might lean toward a receiver in that spot.

Wide Receiver

  1. Byron Marshall – $7,300 – Oregon
  2. ArDarius Stewart – $3,700 – Alabama
  3. Shelton Gibson – $3,200 – West Virginia
  4. Ricky Seals-Jones – $4,200 – Texas A&M
  5. Devonte Boyd – $5,500 – UNLV
  6. Will Fuller – $6,500 – Notre Dame
  7. De’Runnya Wilson – $5,200 – Mississippi State

To be clear, I think Byron Marshall is overpriced a little bit, but there’s not a more expensive receiver that I’m using today. Because I want Adams in a QB slot, I want to stack him with someone and Marshall is by fat the safest choice. Marshall led the team in receptions and yards by very wide margins last year and was second in touchdowns to Devon Allen, who is still recovering from a torn ACL.

In the 2-3-4 spots in my rankings, we’re in value city. I’m not in love with the idea of rostering an Alabama receiver for hoping that Henry just goes nuts. But ArDarius Stewart has serious breakout potential and is potentially a huge value at this price point. Alabama isn’t playing a patsy Week 1, so they should have to play a full four quarters against Wisconsin. Moving on to Shelton Gibson, he’s almost a must-play for me since I’m such a fan of the WVU quarterback. He has apparently won a starting receiver job for the Mountaineers, and he also has a lot of value potential in a potentially high volume game. And finally, Ricky Seals Jones is the most experienced of these three value options. He trailed off toward the end of last season, which is a bit concerning, but he’s still a starting receiver in a potent offense.

The last three options are upper classmen who could be of use. I quite like Devonte Boyd, and I’ve been going back and forth on Boyd and Clement for a flex spot. Were you playing a cash game, I might prefer Boyd. As for Will Fuller and De’Runnya Wilson, they should both be rostered if you decide to roster their quarterbacks who were ranked #4 and #5 above.

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