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College Football DFS Confident Cash Plays: Week 1

Welcome to the second edition of 2019’s Confident Cash Plays!

ICYMI, last week was a hit for our suggested player pool with the exception of a couple of dirt cheap running backs. The optimal lineup using just our player pool scored 196.96 points — easily a 3x profit in most cash contests. Now it’s on to Week 1 of the College Football season with our first full 10-game main slate!

Like I said last week, we’ll break down a player pool of the best plays in College Football to make sure you cash. If you want GPP plays, we have a piece for that too that our very own Ryan Collinsworth is putting together! But! If you want to win some cash every week to fuel your GPP bids (or you just like cash DFS formats) then this is the place to be!

But without further ado, let’s jump into Week 1 and the ideal player pool to go with this week!

Quarterback

Stud Starts

Let’s start things off with the obvious. Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama, $9200) and Justin Fields (Ohio State, $9000) are insanely expensive. However, given the ridiculous values available at wide receiver this week you’ll able to roll one of these guys into your lineup pretty easily, and if you don’t, there’s a good chance that automatically eliminates you from cashing. Given the betting lines on their respective games, Alabama and Ohio State both have an implied potential to score at least 45 points this week. That’s nearly a touchdown more than any of the other 18 teams. But which one should you go with if you have to choose?

Fields might be new to this starting college quarterback thing, but playing FAU feels pretty safe. FAU was an absolute train wreck last year on defense. They gave up about 240 passing yards per game, allowing an average of 31.8 points per game to some pretty putrid Conference USA teams. Things shouldn’t go much better against an Ohio State team stacked with speed.

But …

Tagovailoa returns his entire receiving corps and will likely be without his top three running backs for the first half (Najee Harris and Brian Robinson are suspended for first half and Jerome Ford is hobbled). Alabama likely airs it out early and often for the first two quarters. Yes, Duke had a pretty solid pass defense a year ago, but it won’t mean much playing against an entire lineup of future NFL wide receivers. Tagovailoa probably has the safest “known” floor. At least one of these QBs should be in your cash lineups.

Cheap Pairings

You may notice this slate has several new starting quarterbacks that don’t exactly count as “safe” cash options on teams with high implied point totals this week. And surprisingly, Jake Bentley ($7700) for South Carolina is the only mid-priced quarterback with extensive experience and a high implied team point total (about 37 points) this week. Bentley hasn’t had a long history of being a preferred cash play. And 37 points may be the second-highest implied point total South Carolina receives all year. But that’s because North Carolina is absolutely horrible (sorry Tar Heels fans). Bentley should be a great pivot quarterback from the big two if you want to stack flex or lock in the safest 18-20 superflex points on the board.

The only other two quarterbacks I’d recommend on this grossly priced quarterback group are new faces, Michael Penix Jr. (Indiana, $6500) and Matthew McKay (N.C. State, $6800). Why? Let’s look at their offenses from last year and their opponents this week.

 Michael Penix Jr.Matthew McKay
2018 Team Pass Att/Game40.138.2
2018 Team Pass Yds/Game257.8313.2
Week 1 OpponentBall StateEastern Carolina
Opponent 2018 Pass Yds/Game Allowed210.4270.1
Implied Week 1 Point Total3936

It’s clear that McKay is in a ridiculously favorable matchup. He’s the pick between the two, and probably the absolute best value of the week. However, if the $300 difference allows you to add an extra elite receiver, then feel confident going with Penix Jr. who should be even better than Peyton Ramsey was for the Hoosiers last season. They’re both quarterbacking favorites against Group of Five teams with highly questionable defenses. They’re under $7000 and can easily be paired with Tagovailoa or Fields without your flex positions suffering. Enjoy.

Priority: (1) Tagovailoa or Fields, (2) McKay, (3) Pennix Jr., (4) Bentley

Running Back

Stud Starts

It’s not too often that Draft Kings nails the top four running backs, but it looks like they did this week. Patrick Taylor ($8500), Stevie Scott ($8100), J.K. Dobbins ($7900), and Kylin Hill ($7800) are all on top tier offenses with high implied point totals. They’re all facing poor run defenses. And they’re all favored to win. But let’s break down their opportunities to find the best value.

PlayerPrice2018 Team Rush Att/Game2018 Touches/GameVacated RB carries/game from 2018Week 1 Opponent2018 Opponent Rush Yds/Game AllowedImplied Team Week 1 Point Total
Patrick Taylor$850043.916.120.9Ole Miss220.836.5
Stevie Scott$810035.720.30.6Ball State24039
J.K. Dobbins$790040.718.312.3FAU186.146
Kylin Hill$780039.512.66.5Louisiana-Lafayette219.140.5

There’s a lot to take in, but if you look closely and understand a little context you’ll find that Scott is the chalk RB1. IU is facing one of the worst run defenses in the country in recent memory. He’s the definite feature back that should see 20 touches or more with a new quarterback at the helm for Indiana. There’s not much room for opportunity growth, but his floor is likely 100 yards and a touchdown this week. Taylor could see an increased role given all the new faces in the Memphis backfield, but the Tigers will certainly spread the load like they usually do. That plus the fact that Memphis is playing a tougher team in Ole Miss makes the choice between Scott and Taylor a bit easier.

Dobbins could see the same number of carries as Scott this week given the departure of Mike Weber, but FAU (even with their faults) is better beaten through the air. Dobbins should be able to grind the clock down after the Buckeyes take a three score lead, but in that scenario per-touch efficiency could easily be limited. However, Dobbins should still be a superior play to Hill given Ohio State’s implied point total advantage, assumed better quarterback situation, and Hill’s history of average touches per game. Hill should be in store for the most touches of his career, but still has to make a bigger jump than any of the other big four.

All four could and should hit, but there’s a clear order of priority.

RB1 Priority: (1) Scott, (2) Dobbins, (3) Taylor Jr., (4) Hill

Cheap Pairings

Asim Rose (Kentucky, $6100) is the perfect mid-priced running back pivot option off the RB1 options. Kentucky should easily drop 30 points (implied 36.5 given betting line) against Toledo this week. They’re replacing nearly their entire receiving corps and an elite college starting running back in Benny Snell. Plus Kentucky averaged over 40 rushes per game last season.

Master Teague III (Ohio State, $4500) could get the Ohio State backup work this week against FAU with Demario McCall questionable to play. The RB2 last season for Ohio State averaged over 12 carries per game. That’s a solid touch opportunity for a cheap RB2 option

Rico Dowdle ($5100) or Tavien Feaster ($4000) could both have a good game against the embarrassing North Carolina defense this week. The Tarheels allowed about 220 rushing yards per game and the Gamecocks should win by double digits. Given that Feaster transferred to play and has been hyped up as a receiving option by the coaching staff I’d probably lean towards the cheaper option.

Kylan Watkins ($3900) is listed second on the Memphis depth chart. If Memphis holds suit with last year’s distribution that could mean 16 or more touches for just $3900. He’s more of a GPP play, but definitely a nice name to consider if you drop big money on receiver instead of running back.

The biggest steal of the week could and should be Keilan Robinson for Alabama. He would normally be the RB4 on Alabama’s depth chart, but Najee Harris and Brian Robinson are suspended for the entire first half. Jerome Ford is recovering from a lower leg injury. That means Keilan could be the go-to option at running back on a 32.5-point favorite for minimum price. Flex him and forget any other options this week.

RB2 Priority: (1) Asim Rose, (2) Feaster, (3) Watkins, (4) Teague, (5) Dowdle

Flex Priority: Keilan Robinson

Wide Receiver

Stud Starts

“Which Alabama wide receiver do I start?”

That’s likely the most popular question this week in a game that should see Alabama should score 40 points in three quarters. And as I mentioned, the Crimson Tide will be without their top three running backs for the first half. Expect a ton of throws. To help you understand where the targets might go let’s look at last year’s adjusted numbers for the Alabama wide receiver quartet.

PlayerAdjusted DominatorAdjusted Yards Per Team Pass AttemptAdjusted Touchdowns Per Team Pass Attempt
Jerry Jeudy27.1%3.010.032
Henry Ruggs III19.5%1.810.027
Jaylen Waddle15.5%1.940.016
Devonta Smith14.9%1.830.016

Even if Devonta Smith ($5300) plays he won’t be healthy, and even if he were, he’d be the fourth option pretty easily in this offense. Jerry Jeudy’s efficiency is just undeniable. And despite Henry Ruggs‘ ($6900) ability to find the end zone, Jeudy still scored at a higher rate per game. It’s really impossible to fade Jeudy, even with the price. However, if you stack him with Tua the rest of the lineup will be near impossible to fill. The true value may come via Jaylen Waddle ($6200). He’s $2100 cheaper than Jeudy and $700 cheaper than Ruggs. Plus he typically posts better yardage numbers per team pass attempt than Ruggs, which is more predictable week to week than touchdowns. Really all three can be played, but Waddle will allow you to fill out the other two receiver slots with ease.

Damonte Coxie (Memphis, $7800) seems overpriced at first glance, but Ole Miss has one of the worst secondaries east of the Mississippi River. They allowed over 260 receiving yards last year per game. Coxie accounted for 30% of Memphis’ receiving offense last year. Eighty yards and a touchdown seems like all but a lock. As cash plays goes that’s pretty safe, but not the highest upside option. If you pivot off of Jeudy, Coxie could help you fit in a better third receiver.

As I mentioned in my 2019 College Football Watch List, Lynn Bowden ($6500), K.J. Hill ($6700), and Elijah Moore ($6400) are all in for ridiculous WR1 opportunity.

Bowden is the only returning Kentucky receiver who grabbed more than 10 receptions last year and should be in for absurd market share numbers against a Toledo defense that allowed 255 receiving yards per game last year.

Hill is just 47 receptions away from the all-time receptions record for Ohio State, and the Buckeyes lost 188 receptions of production from last year’s squad. Hill should be a PPR monster every single week this year. It’s just icing on the cake that FAU allowed 240 receiving yards per game last season.

Moore is the slot receiver for Ole Miss. That role has averaged 75 receptions over the past three seasons. Plus the Memphis defense allowed nearly 260 receiving yards per game last season. Given his cheaper price of $6400, he may be the best value among all the expensive receiver options this week. The thing is that he’s never been the alpha before. Both Bowden and Hill have.

WR1 or WR2 Priority: (1) Hill, (2) Bowden, (3) Moore, (4) Waddle, (5) Jeudy, (6) Coxie, (7)  Ruggs

Cheap Pairings

Shi Smith (South Carolina, $5600) is nearly $2000 cheaper than Bryan Edwards even though their per-game numbers were pretty similar last year. If you don’t believe me, let’s just check it out.

PlayerReceptions/GameReceiving Yards/GameReceiving TDs/Game
Bryan Edwards4.265.10.54
Shi Smith4.161.20.36

Yes, Edwards has a higher shot at a touchdown, but their receptions and yards were surprisingly close. And Shi could assume some of Deebo’s type of targets from last year too now that he’s gone to the pros. Smith is the best mid-priced option on the receiver board.

If you guess which Ohio State wide receiver will step up as the second leading target this week you’ll likely coast to cash. As mentioned earlier, FAU is easily beaten through the air. And all the depth receivers for the Buckeyes are pretty cheap. Austin Mack ($4800), Binjimen Victor ($4600), and true freshman Garrett Wilson ($4500) are supposed to be a part of the top four for Ohio State according to coach Ryan Day. All of them could hit, However, my suggestion between the three is Victor. Victor’s per-game numbers were better than Mack’s last season, and Wilson is still just a true freshman.

C.J. Riley (N.C. State, $4900) is probably the best value on the entire board at wide receiver this week. N.C. State is trying to replace 173 receptions between Jakobi Meyers and Kelvin Harmon, and Riley should be the X (Harmon’s role from last year). Emezie will still get his work as the Z receiver. Thayer Thomas may succeed from the slot and be a value at $4800 too. But Riley, at 6 feet 4 inches and 205 pounds, looks like and plays closest to Harmon from a year ago. Eastern Carolina gave up 270 receiving yards per game last year. Riley should be the red-zone option given his role. He’s still under $5000. How?

Depth WR Priority: (1) Riley, (2) Smith, (3) Victor, (4) Thomas, (5) Wilson

And that’s all folks! Hope your teams kill it in the main slate of Week 1 College Football! Make sure to check out Devy Weekly to learn more about breakout studs every single week of the season. Please find me on Twitter @FF_TravisM to chat more about all things college football and NFL! And as always, keep living that Dynasty Life!

Image Credit: David Dennis/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Tua Tagovaolia.

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