Max Duggan - TCU - $6,800
The last time Oklahoma took the field, Sam Ehlinger tossed up 287 passing yards with a 2-2 ratio to go with 23 carries for 112 yards and four rushing touchdowns against them. Obviously not every game devolves into a 53-45 quadruple-overtime fiasco, even in the defensively-challenged Big 12.
TCU’s last game was a 21-14 war of attrition that saw Kansas State slowly grind the clock down behind true freshman Will Howard who took over for injured starter Skylar Thompson. However in their previous 33-31 victory over Texas, Duggan completed 20-of-30 passes for 231 yards and a 0-0 ratio to go with 79 rushing yards and two rushing TD’s.
Oklahoma has allowed 38, 37 and 45 points in their three Big 12 games thus far. Skylar Thompson threw for 334 yards/1-0 ratio to go with three rushing touchdowns. Brock Purdy threw for 254 yards/1-0 ratio and a rushing TD. They’ve allowed seven rushing touchdowns to opposing rush-oriented quarterbacks. Everything Oklahoma struggles with, Duggan excels at. Quarterback rushing TD’s are like mana falling from heaven. Expect to see two or more from Hacksaw Max Duggan this Saturday.
Sam Hartman - Wake Forest - $5,900
Wake Forest has scored 42, 66 and 40 points in the three games after their opening week Clemson loss. The Demon Deacons averaged 82 snaps per game in 2019, the most in the nation. Last week in a 40-23 victory over UVA, Hartman threw for 309 yards and a touchdown in a game that was competitive in the fourth quarter.
Against a Virginia Tech team that has been cranking out points this year, it’s entirely possible that Wake Forest will be playing catch-up for a sizable portion of this game. Fortunately, VT allowed 56 points to a UNC team that has struggled to produce explosive plays, and 31 points to a middling Duke offense. Wake Forest will likely lose this game, but will attempt to throw their way back in the game. Hartman is a rare quarterback with big-game potential under $6K.
Harrison Bailey - Tennessee - $4,500
The Tennessee quarterback situation is among the most unsettled positions in the P5, as redshirt senior Justin Guarantano is simply not the answer under center for the Vols. Apparently HC Jeremy Pruitt has finally caught on to that fact as he auditioned “several” quarterbacks for the starting gig in practice this week.
The most-talented quarterback on the roster, by a comfortable margin, is true freshman Harrison Bailey. The towering 6’5/225 neophyte was rated as the third-best pro-style quarterback in the country according to 247 Sports, who bestowed an elite .955 grade on the four-star recruit.
Obviously the Tennessee offense that is averaging 323 YPG and 23.5 PPG is not exactly steamrolling their opponents. However Alabama allows 29 PPG and with the Vols almost assuredly trailing in this game, you could certainly see Bailey get the vast majority of reps in an effort to get the youngster as much experience as possible to help him get acclimated to the college game. He’s a dice-roll this week, but if Bailey ends up taking first-team snaps he will be far and away the most attractive sub-$5K QB option available.
TJ Pledger - Oklahoma - $6,400
The Oklahoma running back room has been an unsettled group for most of the year in the wake of Kennedy Brooks opting out. Pledger missed the first game, but has been available for each of the last three games. He started off slow, receiving 24 carries over his first 2 contests for 88 yards and a 3.7 YPC.
However last week Pledger broke out, rushing 22 times for 129 yards, 5.9 YPC and two touchdowns while also snagging two passes for 24 yards against Texas in the Red River. Looking behind the numbers, Pledger improved his yards after contact average to a solid 3.55, ripped off four runs of 10+ yards and posted a 28% broken tackle rate. Pledger may have solidified RB1 status as he rang up the first truly explosive game from a OU running back all season. At $6,400, it’s worth the calculated risk to find out, but if you’re a Marcus Major believer (12 rush/43 yds/1 TD last game) and want to gamble, it would only cost you $3,700.
Michael Carter - UNC - $5,900
Entering 2020 all the hype surrounding UNC was centered on sophomore sensation Sam Howell, Dyami Brown, Dazz Newsome and the Tar Heel passing attack. However once the games started, UNC wasn’t throwing up 400 passing yards and 5 TDs on a weekly basis as predicted. Sam Howell has been “good” averaging 290 yards per game in the air with a 9-4 ratio through four games. Dyami Brown has held his own, leading the team with 17-296-3. However Dazz Newsome has been relegated to a role player instead of the game-breaker the UNC fans had hoped for.
Instead, we’ve seen the backfield combo of Michael Carter and Javonte Williams thrive, combining for 120 carries, 878 yards rushing, a 7.4 YPC and nine touchdowns. No other running back has more than three carries on the year, with all of the backup running backs on the roster combining for 17 yards rushing.
Carter posted at least 127 total yards in each of their first three games, averaging 17 touches per game and blowing up Virginia Tech for 214 yds/2 TD on the ground. Along with the rest of the offense he had an off-game last week against Florida State, rushing 17 times for 65 yards to go with two catches for 5 yards. I’m willing to give Carter a mulligan there since he has been exceptional otherwise, sporting a robust 8.4 YPC, 4.72 yards after contact and is breaking tackles at an elite 40% rate.
Carter is dramatically undervalued as his $5,900 price tag represents one of the best values on the slate due to DK’s reactionary pricing that over-weighed his previous game.
Velton Gardner - Kansas - $4,400
Unlike the last two backs, i’m not going to break out a slew of data to support my choice of Velton Gardner because, frankly, there isn’t a lot of sizzle on Gardner’s steak. Now a lot of that has to do with a Kansas OL that returns two offensive starters on an offensive line who appear to be vying for an internship position as New York City subway turnstiles.
For his part, Gardner has served as the co-starter to the now opted-out Pooka Williams and has actually outgained the more high profile Pooka 225-to-196 while receiving four less carries. Velton’s (great name) 4.8 YPC is a full yard more than Williams’ 3.8 YPC and they are currently knotted up at two touchdowns a piece. Gardner should get a substantial bump in touches as he now assumes the RB1 role. For $4,400 in a rivalry game against Kansas State who is starting a true freshman quarterback, he’s the best value available in the $4K range. .
Christian Beal-Smith - Wake Forest - $4,200
I see a lot of value in the Wake Forest lineup this week, as I do not believe DK has adjusted for the likelihood of a two-way shootout against Virginia Tech as the Over/Under is at 68. Kenneth Walker’s price at $7,200 this week, $3,000 more than CBS. On the year, Walker has 67 carries to Beal-Smith’s 58. Walker has certainly been more productive than CBS, but the carry distribution has been pretty close as the cheaper option CBS has averaged 16 touches a game since the Week 1 fiasco against Clemson.
With a game that has the shootout potential of Wake/VT, there remains a distinct possibility you see 70 yards and a touchdown from the short-side of the Demon Deacon backfield.
John Metchie - Alabama - $5,500
Alabama is going to have ample opportunity to light Tennessee’s defense on fire thanks to the merry-go-round of quarterbacks HC Jeremy Pruitt is likely to throw at an Alabama defense that is ready to pin their ears back and get after the toxic QB stew of Guarantano/Maurer/Shrout/Bailey.
Tennessee is highly unlikely going to move the ball in the air, and likely won’t be very effective on the ground thanks to the 8-man boxes the Vols are likely to face. Alabama is going to receive excellent field position and we’ve already seen what Metchie is capable of as he has caught 78% of his targets while averaging 24.9 YPC and is sporting a pristine 158.3 passer rating when targeted. I see this game being heavily tilted towards Bama’s juggernaut offense and Metchie should have several opportunities to put one in the end zone.
Seth Williams - Auburn - $4,900
I really, REALLY didn’t plan on having any part of Seth Williams this week, due to a couple of reasons. Bo Nix’ underwhelming passing acumen being one, Seth Williams dropping passes like the Beatles dropped hits in the 60’s being another. He’s failed to secure 6-of-22 catch opportunities for a ghastly drop rate of 27%.
Not exactly the into you’d expect for a player recommendation, but hear me out. Auburn is playing the country’s worst defense, Ole Miss. They have allowed a staggering 580 YPG and 47 PPG, including 315 passing yards per game. If Bo Nix can gas it up against any team in the SEC, this is the one. With Williams, my reason for the recommendation has to do with his substantial target volume. Even though he only caught seven passes for 144 yards over his last two games, he received a team-high 22 targets including 13 last week vs. South Carolina.
I simply can’t pass up a bargain and though I get the sneaking suspicion Eli Stove could receive more looks, I am still giving Williams one more shot at this price. May Tim Tebow have mercy on my soul.
Tayvion Robinson - Virginia Tech - $4,800
In doing film research this offseason, I queued up a couple VT games to get a look at Hooker, Herbert, James Mitchell and Tre Turner. Yet I found myself being drawn to Robinson over the more heralded Turner. He’s not big at 5’10/187, but he sets up his cuts real well and gave the opposing corners hell. If you had no preconceived notions watching the games, you would have thought it was Robinson who would be cast as the number one option heading into 2020.
The Braxton Burmeister experiment is mercifully over, as his lack of ability to throw passes beyond 15-yards was a major hindrance to the offense. Robinson had an easy chemistry with Hooker last season and now that he has been re-inserted as the quarterback, we should see an increase in passing production.
Virginia Tech has an offensive line that is not to be trifled with, returning all 5 starters and 127 line starts in total. It’s the driving force behind Khalil Herbert’s rushing explosion and will also provide time for Hooker to uncork more passes toward Robinson and company. As stated earlier, there’s value all over the board in the VT/Wake game that should be a points bonanza. Robinson is my favorite Virginia Tech receiver and is quickly becoming the Hokies WR1.
Jaquari Roberson - Wake Forest - $4,600
Roberson has excelled in the wake of Sage Surratt’s departure and Donovan Greene’s back injury, catching 20 of 26 passes for a 77% catch rate, 314 yards, 15.7 ypc. and two touchdowns in three contests against FBS foes.
Advanced stats love his talent, as PFF College bestowed a 92.6 receiving grade on the talented wideout, which is actually the top grade for all receivers in FBS this year. Roberson boasts a 129 passer rating when targeted and has yet to drop a pass in 20 catch opportunities.
Wake Forest's WR1 Roberson is an exceptional value and can be added as a centerpiece of this week’s afternoon slate since DK’s hasn’t caught up to the reality that Wake Forest has a new number one wide receiver.
Theo Wease - Oklahoma - $4,500
Conventional wisdom had Theo Wease battling Jadon Haselwood for the starting outside wide receiver role opposite Charleston Rambo. When Haselwood suffered a knee injury in the summer, Wease became a trendy breakout candidate for Lincoln Riley’s high-octane offense. However through the first three games the four-star prospect only saw 12 targets which he converted into just 93 yards and no touchdowns.
Last week all that changed, as Wease finally got his chance to be involved in the Sooner offense. He caught 8-of-10 passes for 52 yards, gaining five first-downs and dodging two tackles. He finally looked comfortable in his role and I don’t think his $4,500 price accurately reflects his uptick in usage. His showing against Texas may very well have gained Lincoln Riley’s trust and opened the door for an increased role in a pivotal Big-12 matchup against a TCU team that allowed 37 points to Iowa State and 31 to Texas.
$4,500 is a smoking deal for a highly-touted prospect like Wease who is just coming into his own.