Guy) What the hell are you doing?
Fletcher) Iiimmm kicking my asssss! Do you mind?
Fresh off the ass-kicking I took with my September 3 college football DFS plays, I am back at it again for the Saturday slate. In case you missed it, I went 0-fer, which means you did not miss much.
That said, Thursdays mini-debacle made me realize how thorough I need to be if I am going to make all my plays public, so todays effort was much greater, which will hopefully lead to better results.
(Disclaimer – this Spanish language keyboard I am using does not have, or I cannot figure out how to produce, an apostrophe or a colon… so thanks in advance for not judging my punctuation errors.)
Revisiting the purpose of this college football DFS diary, I am documenting all of my plays for both college and NFL – and the thought processes that went into every lineup – so that I can track my record as I go, have more skin in the game, and hopefully help everyone involved learn more about how to succeed in DFS.
Based on the bankroll rules I set for myself in the initial post of this series my week one budget is $10 and will be split between the various formats as follows…
Tournaments – $1 (thank goodness for quarter tourneys)
Multipliers – $2
50-50s – $7
All of these contests are being played at DraftKings, which has become my preferred platform in recent years. If you want to support my work and get a sign-up bonus, join DraftKings through this link.
None of this should be construed as advice for how to build your DFS teams.
Today´s Allocation of Weekly Budget – $0.75 ($0.25 spent on Thursday)
Self reminder – the name of the game in tournament play is volatility. Go big or go home.
Of the nine relevant teams who are expected to surpass 40 points, only three of them have a points-share under 80%. What I mean by point-share is, how much of the game total is the favored-team expected to score. For instance, Missouri is expected to score 48 of the 54 points (89%) in their contest against SE Missouri, which I interpret to mean that the game is going to be ugly and Maty Mauk wont play a full game… not what I want for my DFS lineup. Many of the projected top-scoring teams are in this same situation. The three that arent are
Washington State – 72% point-share (Luke Falk)
Tennessee – 65% share (Josh Dobbs)
Texas Tech – 62% (presumably Patrick Mahomes, but we are not 100% clear)
To be clear, I am experimenting with this point share concept. I dont have concrete evidence on it yet, but that is the whole point of this exercise – to try things, learn from them and improve.
To start off the lineup, I am selecting Josh Dobbs ($9600) because I buy into the expectation that his team will score plenty, but the game will be relatively competitive, meaning he will play the whole way.
Between Falk and Mahomes (presumably) I am a little worried about the weather outlook for Wazzus game, which calls for 40% chance of rain. I also do not like that Falk ($9600) is $1200 more expensive, which would create budget constraints very quickly. I am going to put Mahomes ($8400) into my lineup and see how far I can get. If things do not fit together, or if Mahomes does not start, my fallback option is Dane Evans ($6700) from Tulsa, who is a veteran QB with two intriguing weapons starting his first game in a new, Baylor-like pass-heavy system.
Looking for volatility, I am going to try to pair my quarterbacks with one of their wide receivers with the hopes that a single play could net my DFS team two touchdowns.
For Tennessee, I see that their top receiver from last year has been suspended for this opening game and that their fourth-most targeted receiver from last year is out with an injury. Digging a little deeper, I see that two of the starters listed for this game, Josh Malone (sophomore 5-star recruit who was the third-most targeted receiver last year) and Jauan Jennings (freshman dual-threat QB recruit who switched to WR in the spring to get more playing time and won the slot job over a senior) are priced at the minimum salary of $3000. Because I will make multiple tournament lineups, I will try Malone first and Jennings later. I also probably have the option of putting them both in a lineup if I really want to bet on the Vols having a big game.
Looking to Texas Tech, they return their most-targeted option from 2014, Jakeem Grant ($7900), who saw 20.7% of the team targets while operating from his H position. Meanwhile, the second-most targeted position from last year (19.2%), the Y, has a new starter in the form of Ian Sadler ($4700). After these two interior receiver positions, the next-most targeted receivers saw 10% fewer targets last year. Considering the $3200 price differential, I am going to select Sadler as my stack with Mahomes.
Switching gears to the running game, I want to find the intersection of good OLine, high point total and reasonable price. Since I am constantly glued to my Phil Steele magazine, I check out his unit rankings to see which of the best OLs are at my disposal today. All of these are among his top 25 units… Georgia, Arkansas, Stanford, UCLA, Auburn, Texas Tech, Mississippi, Indiana, Missouri, Bolwing Green. Obviously it would be great to get Nick Chubb (Georgia) or Alex Collins (Arkansas) but their $9000+ price tags would mean my final four roster spots would have to be acquired with less than $3800 per pick.
Meanwhile, Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey can be had for half their price and steps into a great situation after being a meaningful, multi-faceted contributor last year. Mix in the fact that Northwestern is starting a freshman QB and I can envision the Cardinal possessing the ball extensively and feeding McCaffrey. I am taking McCaffrey ($4800).
I have $19,500 for one RB, one WR and two flex. One player who I want to kick the tires on is Indiana RB Jordan Howard. He is one of my top devy runners and is making his debut for IU after transfering from UAB. IU is expected to score about 36 points with about 63% point-share, meaning the game should be reasonably close, but IU should be playing from ahead. I can envision Howard having a breakout game. I am buying for $7500.
Just kidding… that is going to make it tough for me to fill out my roster at $4000 per pop over the final three positions. Throwing Howard back and will look in the $5500 or less range.
Sony Michel, maybe as a hedge on Nick Chubb getting pulled early?
One game that has kind of a sneaky-high point total, with a clear lead-runner and some quarterback tumult is Maryland – Richmond. Also, it has a 30% chance of rain. Brandon Ross can be had for $4200 with the expectation that he will be Marylands top offensive threat on a day where they are expected to score 39. Lets try this.
For my last receiver spot, I am going back to the Tulsa – FAU game I mentioned earlier, which has a 67 point total and, for Tulsa, a team total of 36. Remember, if Mahomes does not start I am using Dane Evans from Tulsa, so using a Tulsa receiver here essentially would guarantee me that I have a stack regardless of which QB plays… and no matter what I like Ian Sadler in my lineup. Keevan Lucas ($7800) would be a bonus, but he is too expensive. Im going to roll with the oversized, and finally healthy, Keyarris Garrett instead for $5200.
Down to my flex spots and $10,100 remaining, I want to try to find the best upside I can. I remember Jon Bales saying once that everyone in your tournament lineup should have a reasonable chance of scoring two touchdowns in that game. Thats the mindset I must use for these last spots.
One guy who I think fits that bill is Jon Hilliman from Boston College. The Eagles are breaking in a new QB and and 4 new offensive lineman, but the team total is 37? Not sure how that works, but I am pretty sure it implies a big day for Hilliman. I will take the bait for $6900.
$3200 left and I know I have Jauan Jennings there at $3000 if I need him. Scrolling frantically through the bottom of the barrell to see if any starters have been misvalued…
AHA! This could be worth a dice roll. Greg Howell from FAU is the newly minted 1A starter. Maybe he doesnt get every carry, but the majority could be good enough. According to Phil Steele, Tulsa has one of the worst defensive lines and defenses in the AAC. FAU has the 6th best OL in CUSA. Its not pretty, but maybe? With a team total set for 31, I will take the touches and hope for the best.
Wow, that got carried away… I will keep these much shorter moving forward
Next lineup is going to be close to this one, but with a few tweaks.
Right off the bat, Josh Dobbs is going in again, but this time paired with Jauan Jennings. Realizing the limits of the Tulsa defense, I want to give FAU QB Jaquez Johnson ($6200) a try given his dual threat ability and past performance. As far as I can tell, his most trusted remaining receiver with the loss of Lucky Whitehead is Jenson Stoshak ($4400), so that will be my stack there.
I mentioned before that I wanted to get Indiana RB Jordan Howard in a lineup ($7500) which I prioritized here due to the scores he has received in my prospect evaluation system, his quality offensive line, and the high team total. Same as last time, RB Christian McCaffrey is getting the call here, as is TTU WR Ian Sadler. That gets us to the Flex spots wih $9800 left. Because I feel good about the decisions made with the last lineup, I am sticking with Brandon Ross from Maryland. With $5100 remaining, I decided that the upside of Sony Michel was the best value at that point with the notion that he will get some touches while Chubb is in the game and then all of the touches for a period in the early second half. Even though he is a backup, a line of 100+ yards and two touchdowns would not surprise me.
No Josh Dobbs at QB this time, however Dane Evans gets proactively played here, instead of the backup treatment he got in tournament lineup 1. He gets stacked with top target Keevan Lucas. For my second QB, with the goal of creating variance, I went with unknown CJ Beathard who has the Iowa starting job and strong team total to support a nice debut for him. For better or worse, it was one of the Vegas lines that stood out like, what do they know that I dont, and I decided to ride their coattails. He gets stacked with Iowas most proven receiving commodity, Tevaun Smith. Maybe I am getting lazy here, but McCaffrey and Ross just create so much flexibility due to their low price and their strong likelihood of a high touch count. I am sure I will curse this decision on Monday. Oh well.
As a sort of hedge against not having any of the Tennessee passing offense, I really wanted to get Jalen Hurd, their lead RB, so he went in the Flex. Down to $8700, I went looking for a cheap boom-bust pass catcher and found the phenom Hunter Henry. He is Arkansas second favorite target and their best touchdown threat. Would it be surprising if UTEP hung around long enough to activate the Arkansas pass game? Finally, knowing I had a few cheap options in my back pocket, I went looking for a cheap RB. Algernon Brown from BYU fit the bill as the replacement for Jamaal Williams. Taysom Hill should draw a ton of attention and, in expected windy conditions, I could see Brown receiving a large number of carries.
Today´s Allocation of Weekly Budget – $1 ($1 spent on Thursday)
Feeling like I have a good sense of floor and upside, I want to fill this roster with high-floor high-upside players.
Maybe I am falling into a trap here, but so many factors point toward a good outing for Dane Evans, so I am locking him in with his main guy Keevan Lucas. Mixing things up, I am rolling out Auburn QB Jeremy Johnson. Although the Auburn team total isnt spectacular at 34, playing Johnson is kind of a hedge against all the uncertainty of the offense, with the Duke Williams playing time issue and the unknown running back split. No stack for JJ.
Back at it with Hilliman and McCaffrey at RB. Also, you will see that my flex plays were both running backs I have used before. (Maybe I get too fixated on certain games and players and dont diversify enough?)
One game I havent touched yet, but features a 36 point team total is UCLA – Virginia. Even though we dont know who UCLAs passer will be, his top target will certainly be Jordan Payton. Finally, I circle back on Tennessee WR Jauan Jennings, who I feel might have a slightly higher floor than his bargain brother Josh Malone. Jennings it is.
Today´s Allocation of Weekly Budget – $4 ($3 spent on Saturday)
Alright, I am out of gas on the writeups. Here are the 50-50 lineups I am using.
Total Shares of Players (8 possible lineups)
Josh Dobbs – 4
Patrick Mahomes – 2
C.J. Beathard – 2
Dane Evans – 2
Jeremy Johnson – 2
Kevin Hogan – 1
Matt Johnson – 1
Tommy Armstrong – 1
Jaquez Johnson – 1 (I thought I played him more than this. Guess I just hated the stack options)
Brandon Ross – 8 (oh shit! got carried away – or lazy – with this)
Christian McCaffrey – 5
Jon Hilliman – 4
Greg Howell – 3
Jordan Howard – 3
Jalen Hurd – 3
Algernon Brown – 2
Wayne Gallman – 1
Jaylen Walton – 1
Sony Michel – 1
Ian Sadler – 5
Jauan Jennings – 3
Josh Malone – 2
Keyarris Garrett – 2
Keevan Lucas – 2
Hunter Henry – 2
Roger Lewis – 2
Jordan Westerkamp – 2
Jenson Stoshak – 1
Tevaun Smith – 1
Jordan Payton – 1
DaeSean Hamilton – 1
Dan Vitale – 1
In doing this count and looking back through my rosters, I realized that I have a reliance on RBs in the flex position. Not sure if that is good or bad, just a thing to monitor.
Alright, so now here is the fun part… you get to tell me where you agree or disagree with my thought process, player selection, etc., so go ahead and leave a comment.