DraftKings College Football: Conference Championship Main Slate

DraftKings College Football: Conference Championship Main Slate

This article is part of our 2020 Rankings series.

Slate Overview

The ACC Championship Game stands to draw plenty of DFS interest Saturday with several high-profile players in the fold and a total of 71.0. However, it's the MAC Championship that has the highest total on the board as Northern Illinois and Kent State are expected to combine for 74.5 points. NIU starting quarterback Rocky Lombardi missed the last game but the line and total being what they seem to suggest that Vegas expects him to play and make this one competitive. 

Loading up on the ACC game is tough as the likes of Kenny Pickett, Sam Hartman, Jordan Addison and A.T. Perry all carry hefty price tags. It's difficult to get both sides of this one without making some serious concessions elsewhere in your lineup. 

Getting MACtion exposure is an easier path, and if you've been reading throughout the season, you're plenty familiar with both of these teams. We'll touch on some of the best options from both sides of NIU-Kent later in the article.

Looking at the pass defenses to target, Kent, Pittsburgh, San Diego State, Northern Illinois and Utah State all check in as the bottom five units on the slate. However, only Kent and Pittsburgh are allowing more than 250 passing yards per game. Rather than obvious teams to target Saturday, let's focus on some pass defenses to (mostly) avoid. Georgia and Cincinnati have some of the best pass defenses in the country, not just the slate. However, they're facing some high-powered offenses

Slate Overview

The ACC Championship Game stands to draw plenty of DFS interest Saturday with several high-profile players in the fold and a total of 71.0. However, it's the MAC Championship that has the highest total on the board as Northern Illinois and Kent State are expected to combine for 74.5 points. NIU starting quarterback Rocky Lombardi missed the last game but the line and total being what they seem to suggest that Vegas expects him to play and make this one competitive. 

Loading up on the ACC game is tough as the likes of Kenny Pickett, Sam Hartman, Jordan Addison and A.T. Perry all carry hefty price tags. It's difficult to get both sides of this one without making some serious concessions elsewhere in your lineup. 

Getting MACtion exposure is an easier path, and if you've been reading throughout the season, you're plenty familiar with both of these teams. We'll touch on some of the best options from both sides of NIU-Kent later in the article.

Looking at the pass defenses to target, Kent, Pittsburgh, San Diego State, Northern Illinois and Utah State all check in as the bottom five units on the slate. However, only Kent and Pittsburgh are allowing more than 250 passing yards per game. Rather than obvious teams to target Saturday, let's focus on some pass defenses to (mostly) avoid. Georgia and Cincinnati have some of the best pass defenses in the country, not just the slate. However, they're facing some high-powered offenses with Alabama (7th) and Houston (24) so there might be some investment opportunity at a discount for these teams. Baylor, Iowa and Louisiana are passing offenses I won't target thanks to the matchups, though. 

Northern Illinois, Wake Forest, Kent State and Utah State all have soft run defenses worthy of targeting as all of them allow over 160 rushing yards per game and at least 4.5 YPC. 

Below you'll find our lineup of DFS tools and info to help you build your lineups for this weekend, along with matchup data and position-by-position analysis. 

DFS Tools

Matchup Info

Position-by-Position Breakdown

Quarterback

Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh ($9,700) vs. Wake Forest

We're riding with the horse that got us here as Pickett has deservedly been a frequent mention in these articles throughout the season and a matchup against Wake Forest does nothing to steer us away. Everything sets up well for Pickett here. He's been automatic all season even with a tough schedule, averaging an astounding 338 passing yards and 3.3 passing touchdowns per game. Wake Forest is expected to be competitive in this spot as 3.0-point underdogs and the total is 71.0.  Ideally, you would stack Pickett with Jordan Addison, but that's a combo that eats up $19,000 of your $50,000 cap. There is enough value elsewhere on the board to lock in that stack and still build a quality lineup, however. 

Bryce Young, Alabama ($8,500) vs. Georgia

Much has been made of Georgia's defense all year, and rightfully so, but the Bulldogs haven't faced an offense like Alabama's or a quarterback like Young. Even when Young struggles like last week, he can still produce as evidenced by his 317 yards and two touchdowns despite completing less than 50 percent of his passes against Auburn.

What intrigues me about Young in this matchup is that Alabama is not in a position to run the ball. At all. Georgia's defense would be tough to run on even if the Tide were at full strength, but Brian Robinson is banged up, the offensive line is struggling, and Trey Sanders is the only other healthy scholarship running back on the roster. I anticipate Alabama abandoning the run and turning things over to Young, which should lead to one of his higher passing volume games of the season. 

Again, this is a tough matchup for Young but he may get north of 45 attempts with upwards of 30 of those going to Jameson Williams and John Metchie. That's too many quality attempts to ignore on this slate, especially when Young projects to have a much lower roster percentage than usual. 

Dustin Crum, Kent State ($8,300) vs. Northern Illinois

Crum is the quarterback to target from Saturday's highest (expected) scoring game as he gets another crack at Northern Illinois. He lit up MAC opponents all year, averaging 30.9 DK points in MACtion on the strength of 22 total touchdowns (12 passing, 10 rushing) along with a high completion rate (67.2), a high YPA (8.7) and 447 rushing yards. He possesses similar dual-threat upside to Sam Hartman or Desmond Ridder but at a nice discount despite playing in an anticipated track meet. A stack is possible with Crum as well as nearly 70 percent of Kent State's targets are channeled to Dante Cephas ($7,100), Keshunn Abram ($5,400) and Nykeim Johnson ($4,100). Crum accounted for nearly 400 total yards and four total touchdowns in his first meeting against Northern Illinois. 

Running Back

Blake Corum, Michigan ($4,300) vs. Iowa

Hassan Haskins is rightfully the top-billed running back but when he's $1,400 more expensive than the next guy at his position, it's hard to get heavy exposure to him. On the other hand, many people will likely be fading Haskins for that reason so there may be some GPP appeal there. As always, it's all about how you build around your studs. 

Corum is interesting, though. He's down at $4,300 after checking in between $7,000-$8,000 for much of the season. That's due to a late-season foot injury, but he returned against Ohio State and showed that his explosiveness is back with six carries for 87 yards, including a 55-yard run. When healthy, Corum has garnered a 32 percent share of the rushes this season. Now, a lot of that came before Haskins established himself as the true workhorse for the Wolverines and it's unlikely that this goes back to an even split Saturday. What I do expect, though, is that Michigan goes heavy on the ground game and I could see a 25/12 split between the two, and Corum pushing into the double digits should be enough bites at the apple for him to return value against the Hawkeyes.

Greg Bell, San Diego State ($5,200) vs. Utah State

San Diego State has gotten here with defense, running the ball, and having a cheat code at punter. Unfortunately, I don't think there's a way to get any fantasy points from Matt Araiza crushing 70-yard coffin corners, but there is a way to get value from the Aztec run game.

San Diego State runs it 60.63 percent of the time (16th), though it's a little concerning that its run-play rate has dipped to 52 percent over the last three games. Playing Nevada and Boise State in that stretch can understandably steer the game plan towards the pass in order to keep up, and Utah State will certainly force the issue with its own pass game. Even with that recent trend, Bell's workload has remained steady with at least 15 carries in each of those outings. 

As for the matchup, things definitely set up well for Bell. Utah State allows 164 rushing yards per game on 4.5 YPC. Bell may not be matching last year's explosiveness (4.5 YPC compared to 5.6 in 2020) but he's seeing consistent volume in a run-heavy offense and there's a clear path to success for him against Utah State's defense. There's value in that at a mid-tier salary. 

Marquez Cooper, Kent State ($6,500) vs. Northern Illinois

It's nice when we have recent history to draw on for this slate and we get it here with a rematch on deck between these two teams after they combined for 99 points in Week 10. Cooper did his part, too, taking 23 carries for 173 yards and two touchdowns against the Huskies. That performance sparked a hot streak for the sophomore as he has recorded over 22 DK points in each of his last four games and has reached the end zone in all of those outings. 

If you want exposure to the NIU run defense but can't squeeze in Cooper, Xavier Williams ($4,400) is a nice pivot. He has a 21 percent rushing share (117 carries) to Cooper's 38 percent share and rips off an impressive 6.1 yards per rush. Williams ran for 103 yards against NIU in Week 10 and is coming off his best game of the season, a 168-yard performance with a pair of touchdowns. He'll likely be a popular value option at running back in most tournaments but it's backed with good rationale. 

Wide Receiver

Jameson Williams, Alabama ($8,000) vs. Georgia

As mentioned with Bryce Young, Alabama projects to be extremely pass-heavy on Saturday with a banged up and ineffective ground game likely being scrapped early in the game. Alabama isn't shy about where it's going with the ball in the passing game with Williams and John Metchie combining for nearly 50 percent of the Tide's target share. And the end-of-season totals were skewed by Williams being ejected for targeting against Auburn, which led to Metchie handling an absurd 23 targets. In weeks 1-12, Metchie had 77 catches for 895 yards and seven touchdowns on 101 targets (26%) while Williams had 59 catches for 1,218 yards and 13 touchdowns on 89 targets (23%). There wasn't a massive target difference between the two in any game outside of Week 7 against Mississippi State when Metchie had eight targets to Williams' three. Williams still caught two passes for 77 yards and a touchdown in that game, for the record.

As it pertains to this matchup, Williams has proven he can handle a high target volume as he's seen double-digit targets in four of his last six full games. He'll be busy again Saturday and even though Georgia is tough against the pass, it won't be able to shut down Williams 10+ times in a row. 

Brock Bowers, Georgia ($6,700) vs. Alabama

Alabama's secondary hasn't been quite what we're used to this season, checking in at 42nd in the nation in passing yards allowed per game. The pass rush headlined by Will Anderson will make it tough for Georgia to call many deep dropbacks, but Bowers is an asset at all levels of the field. 

The freshman tight end leads Georgia in every major receiving category, corraling 37 of 53 targets for 652 yards and 10 touchdowns. Bowers isn't just a reliable target in terms of catch rate but also a nightmare with the ball in his hands that can find his way to the endzone from anywhere on the field. Georgia may struggle to get the run going against the Tide and Bowers will be the key to loosening up the defense

Jermaine Burton ($4,700) is the only other Georgia pass-catcher I trust this week.  He's fully healthy after a midseason injury and averages 15.0 yards per target on the season. He'll be more involved than he has been in recent weeks with blowout conditions hindering his usage down the stretch. 

Trayvon Rudolph, Northern Illinois ($6,900) vs. Kent State

This isn't because Rudolph had 309 yards and three touchdowns in his last time out against Kent State. Okay, it's a little bit because of that. But there's reason to believe Rudolph can turn in another strong performance against the Flashes. 

Tyrice Richie is unlikely to play Saturday and Cole Tucker may be at less than 100 percent after missing the regular-season finale. That leaves the bulk of the pass-catching duties to Rudolph, who caught 46 of 74 targets for 827 yards and seven touchdowns during the season. As long as Rocky Lombardi suits up, Richie is more than capable of nice returns on the $6,900 price tag. 

Jeremy Singleton, Houston ($4,300) vs. Cincinnati

Houston has one of the toughest matchups on the slate going against a Cincy defense that allows just 161.5 passing yards per game, good enough for third in the nation. The Bearcats allowed more than one passing touchdown just once this season and the most yards they've allowed through the air is 257 against Notre Dame. Cincinnati has 17 interceptions compared to eight passing touchdowns allowed. It's a tough outfit to say the least. 

This game sets up decently for Singleton's statistical profile, though. While Nathaniel Dell is the unquestioned alpha with a 29.3 percent target share and 11 touchdowns, Singleton is a nice complementary option alongside him that offers big-play potential. Singleton averaged 10.2 YPT and 18.1 YPR on 46 targets this season and five of his 26 catches went for touchdowns. Point being, Singleton doesn't need heavy target volume to produce and with Dell likely to draw most of the attention of the Cincinnati secondary, Singleton could get loose for a big play or two and return value. It also helps that the script sets up for a high-volume passing day for Houston as the Cougs check in as double-digit underdogs.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John McKechnie
John is the 2016 and 2021 FSWA College Writer of the Year winner. He is a Maryland native and graduate of the University of Georgia. He's been writing for RotoWire since 2014.
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