Brock Purdy - Iowa State - $7,200
Is there anything better than seeing a quarterback who is ranked all the way down at 14th in the QB price chart facing Kansas? Purdy hasn’t exactly lit the Big 12 ablaze this season of course, topping 260 yards passing only once while posting a season-high of only two touchdowns. However Iowa State’s signal caller has also posted two touchdowns per game in each of his last four contests while only throwing one interception in that span. He struggled to pass against Oklahoma State’s top-10 defense, but did manage to throw for 302 and 254 yards respectively over his previous two games. Additionally, he’s rushed for at least 35 yards in three of his five games this season.
Kansas is a one-team slumpbuster that currently sports the worst scoring defense in the country that is allowing 45 PPG over five contests. Purdy hasn’t nearly performed at the level many expected him to, but he’s plenty good enough to torch the Jayhawks and represents a solid high-floor option for a mid-range investment.
Michael Penix - Indiana - $6,200
Indiana beating Penn State 36-35 was one of the big stories of Big Ten opening weekend, with Rutgers taking out Michigan State for their first Big Ten victory in their last 21 conference games being the other. Coincidentally, the two upset minded programs face-off against each other this weekend.
Even though Indiana pulled off the upset, they were out-gained 488 total yards to 211 while averaging only 4.7 yards per pass and gaining only 41 yards on the ground. For his part, Penix threw for 170 yards, a 1-1 ratio and a rushing touchdown. His modest production accounts for why he’s pretty low-priced compared to what his ceiling has the potential to be.
Conversely, Rutgers allowed 319 passing yards to the immortal Rocky Lombardi but benefitted from an absurd seven turnovers in order to pull off the upset win, including five fumbles. That turnover ratio is simply unsustainable and cannot be counted upon on a regular basis.
Last year, Penix threw for 282 yards and a 3-1 ratio in a 35-0 evisceration of the Scarlet Knights. When he was healthy for the first four games, he threw for at least 280 yards in three of the four, with the lone sub-280 yard game coming in a 52-0 blowout against FCS school EIU where he didn’t have to do much. Penix is an excellent, mid-priced building block that is tailor made for Super Flex duty.
Ken Seals - Vanderbilt - $5,000
As usual, there isn’t much to choose from in the $5K range as Jeff Sims ($5,500) plays a stifling Notre Dame defense and this week’s starter for Kentucky, Joey Gatewood, ($4,700) plays the vaunted Georgia Dawgs defense. While I can’t fault any of you wild-eyed gamblers for rolling the dice on those two tough-matchup cheap QB’s, I wanted to go outside the box a little bit by shining the spotlight on Vandy QB Ken Seals.
Obviously you’re not going to fall head-over-heels for a Vandy quarterback, but against Ole Miss’ pathetic 44.6 PPG/556 yards allowed defense i’m willing to entertain options that would ordinarily be unthinkable. For their part, the Commodores are only averaging single digits PPG and 257 YPG. Gross.
So what will be worse, Ole Miss’ defense or Vandy’s offense? I watched Seals play against Texas A&M and came away feeling like Seals can develop into a decent SEC starting QB. However he’s a true freshman and is working with a less-talented roster than anyone else in the conference. I won’t fault anyone for taking a flier on Jeff Sims here, but if you need to save $500 more in order to roster a superstar running back, hold your nose and trot out “Navy” Seals.
Tyrion Davis-Price - LSU - $6,100
By now we’re all aware of TDP’s coming out party last week against South Carolina where he rushed 22 times for 135 yards and a touchdown in a 52-24 bashing of the Gamecocks. However he also dominated the carry share against Missouri in their previous game. The problem is LSU chose to throw their way into 41 points, as Davis-Price rushed nine times for 38 yards and a touchdown. With Myles Brennan injured, we should expect to see a similar workload to the South Carolina game to take some heat off of true freshman T.J. Finley. I expect to see TDP and John Emery Jr. ($5,800) to shoulder the rushing load.
Both backs were productive last week, with Emery also receiving 18 totes for 88 yards and a touchdown. I was hoping to see a lower price tag on Emery to help his value, but as it stands a $300 spread simply isn’t enough for me to move off of TDP following his big game last week.
Zamir White - Georgia - $6,000
UGA’s opponent Kentucky is coming off a 10-point showing against Missouri in which their starting quarterback Terry Wilson injured his hand and will now miss this week’s game. UK is running a one-dimensional ground-based offense that plays right into the hands of a Georgia defense that is allowing a sterling 65.5 YPG rushing.
Georgia is not going to have a problem building a lead and could even end up putting a sound thrashing on Kentucky that would mean more opportunities for White to cash in short-yardage touchdowns and subsequently increase the rushing reps as the Dawgs salt-away the game in the second half. Additionally, I love everything i’ve seen from blue-chip freshman RB Kendall Milton ($3,300) who runs violently and racked up 44 yards on just six carries against Alabama. If the game gets too far out of hand, we could see both Milton and White provide value at their respective prices.
Ja’Veon Marlow - Vanderbilt - $4,000
I’m not in love with the $5K range options this week and prefer to go low if i’m going to try and save some cash, so i’m going Value Plays or Super Savers, depending on how heavy I want to invest in the high-end options. I really liked Nakia Watson and Dedrick Mills for the money, but that game is now off the slate.
As such, i’m choosing to double-up on the previously mentioned Ole Miss/Vandy game that includes the two worst units in the SEC facing off. Something has to give, and i’m hopeful that Vandy’s offense can make headway against the soft Ole Miss D. From what recent reports are saying, it appears Marlow will hopefully be ready to return this Saturday. I will certainly be giving him a turn in a couple of my lineups if he does, since Marlow has clearly been the best back for Vandy prior to his injury.
Week 1 in a 17-12 loss to Texas A&M, he rushed 16 times for 65 yards with 2 receptions for four yards. He followed that up with 17 totes for 83 yards as the lone bright spot in a 41-7 drubbing at the hands of LSU. He has drastically outplayed number two running back Jamauri Wakefield who is only averaging 3.2 YPC on the year. Frankly, it’s not particularly close in terms of talent and i’m confident that HC Derek Mason will eventually heap a heavier load on Marlow when he’s ready. Plus, anytime you have an opportunity to take a cheap flier on a running back who shares a name with a notable character from The Wire, you have to do it. Remember - the game hasn’t changed, it’s just more fierce.
Snoop Conner - Mississippi - $4,300
Jerrion Ealy is $6,600 this week and i’m trying to figure out why there’s a $2,300 spread between him and Snoop Conner, as everyone’s favorite 90’s rapper has received a similar workload. Let’s go to their respective stat lines over the past four games:
8-25-1 vs. Kentucky
21-128-2 vs. Alabama
15-40-0 vs. Arkansas
13-75-0 vs. Auburn
10-44-1 vs. Kentucky
19-120-2 vs. Alabama
23-112-1 vs. Arkansas
17-74-1 vs. Auburn
Don’t get me wrong, Ealy’s likely got a pocket full of touchdowns, but his homeboy does too...at a significant discount. If you’re looking to save $2,300 against the worst team in the SEC, Snoop ain’t leavin’ til’ six in the morning.
Calvin Austin III - Memphis - $5,900
Cincinnati has the best defense in the AAC, bar none. But Memphis’ offense is arguably just as good respectively. Additionally, we haven’t seen Memphis utilizing the ground game to punch in TDs in anywhere near the volume we had seen in previous years with Kenneth Gainwell and Patrick Taylor.
Even when Coxie was still in the mix, Austin III has scored a touchdown in every game this season, with back-to-back games of 150+ yards since the former WR1 opted out. This is Stone Cold Calvin Austin’s offense now, as he has received 40 targets over the past three games. Targets = points, and we’re seeing Austin III getting force fed with double digit targets in a high-octane offense for three weeks in a row. DK isn’t pricing in his upside at $5,900.
Xavier Hutchinson - Iowa State - $5,500
Hutchinson has been heating up like a microwave dinner the past two games, as he caught 9-of-10 passes for 77 yards against Texas Tech and 8-of-9 passes for 68 yards and a touchdown against the stout Oklahoma State defense last week. He also threw up 83 yards and a touchdown three games ago against Oklahoma where he caught 3-of-6 passes.
Those numbers stand in stark contrast to his 4-of-12 for 43 yards game in their opening week upset loss to ULL. Clearly Hutchinson is developing a rapport with Purdy and is solidifying his role as WR1 for the Cyclones. ISU has the pleasure of being the latest team to use the Jayhawk defense as kindling, as Hutchinson is a steal at $5,500 in this slate.
Whop Philyor - $5,400
Last season Philyor caught 69-of-101 targets for 985 yards and five touchdowns, averaging 14.3 YPC for the pass-oriented Hoosier offense. He’s clearly the number one target, as he caught five of a team-high nine targets for 36 yards and a touchdown against a very good Penn State defense that locked down Indiana to the tune of 211 total yards on the day.
As noted in the Penix blurb above, Rurgers allowed 319 passing yards last week to Ivan Drago’s foil, The Italian Stallion, Rocky Lombardi of Michigan State. If Philyor can turn nine targets into a 14.6 point day against a defense like PSU, imagine what he can do against Rutgers? Last season, Whop caught 10-of-12 passes for a “whop-ping” 182 yards and a phenomenal 10.8 yards after catch against the Scarlet “Letter” Knights.
Phlyor is an absolute steal at $5,400 and should form a potent stack with his QB Michael Penix this week in a classic letdown spot for RU following their emotional victory last week over Sparty.
Joseph Ngata - $3,200
I know...I KNOW. He’s been certifiably persona non-grata so far in 2020, but I just can’t shake the visage of him tearing up the Clemson D in the 2019 spring game. With Tee Higgins and Justyn Ross not playing this season, Amari Rogers has been the one constant in the Clemson passing attack. Ladson, Cornell Powell and Braden Galloway have all rotated through as the second-fiddle wideout thus far.
Ngata finally, mercifully, played last week by catching 2-of-4 passes for 15 yards against Clemson’s ACC bugaboo Syracuse. They face a BC defense this week that has allowed 27, 40 and 30 points in their past three games. I have no confidence that BC will stop Clemson and with Dabo pushing hard for a Trevor Lawrence Heisman run, that equates to an avalanche of passing yardage. HC Swinney has been praising Ngata effusively for over a year now and i’m confident that he’s going to pop one of these weeks for 100 yards and a TD. If he does so at $3,200, he’s going to win you some cash. BC might even be able to score a couple of TDs which means Trevor Terrific will have to stick around beyond halftime. Second-half Trevor is the kind of stuff DFS dreams are made of.
Kayshon Boutte - $3,200
It’s easy to forget that LSU has scored 52, 41 and 41 points in each of their last three contests. The big, bad, Boutte daddy has played at least 29 snaps in three of LSU’s four games this season, catching 10-of-13 targets for a 77% catch rate and 120 yards and has yet to drop a single pass.
Anytime you’re dealing with receivers under $3,500 on the DK slate, you’re going to have to inject some bold projections in order to justify using a WR spot on such a high-variance player. However Boutte is a five-star freshman who is being broken in alongside freak-tight end Arik Gilbert. In terms of talent, Boutte is tailor-made to assume Justin Jefferson’s slot role that created so much havoc for opposing defenses last season. With the amount of snaps he’s playing, and the potential for LSU to be chasing against Auburn this week, we could very well see the highly-touted true freshman shake his Boutte in the end zone for the first time.