College Fantasy Football Value Picks
Week 1 Dominated by the Ground Game
Week 1 of college football is in the books and immediately apparent is the differences between NFL football and College football when it comes to Daily Fantasy Sports. In terms of roster structure and scoring, there are only slight differences between the two, but the way the game is played, and how that affects players on the positional level, can make or break your profits in Daily Fantasy football tournaments.
As far as NFL goes, the general trend is that quarterbacks are the biggest point scorers and their salary usually reflects that. Quarterbacks also bring consistency but lack the high end volatility that really sets your lineup apart. Running backs are also consistent value picks in the NFL but as the NFL is transitioning into a pass dominated league, the real fantasy value lies in NFL receivers.
What week 1 of College Football showed us is that these same fundamentals do not cross over in the NCAA. This weekend 49 running backs exceeded the 20 point threshold while 29 quarterbacks, 2 tight ends, and 39 receivers were able to accomplish that feat. If we push that threshold up to 50 points, we are now down to 16 running backs and 3 quarterbacks and 14 receivers.
This tells us that College Football strategy is more inclined to run first and so running backs should play a larger focus in your fantasy picks. Also, keep in mind that there is less data available on college players than professional so Fantasy sites are often less capable of setting player salaries and there is more opportunity for value picks. This means there is higher risk but more opportunity to profit if you implement the right strategy.
Week 1 Running Backs
The three leaders on the ground of the weekend were Ray Lawry of Old Dominion, Chris Hairston of East Carolina, and Royce Freeman of Oregon. Old Dominion and East Carolina were matchup up against each other in a run battle that ended in Old Dominion up 38 to 34 and 7th ranked Oregon beat Eastern Washington 61 to 42.
Ray Lawry racked up 223 rushing yards with 4 touchdowns for a total of 49.3 fantasy points for Oldiminion’s victory. Chris Hairston on the other side of the ball also scored 4 touchdowns with 154 rushing yards and 5 receptions for 19 receiving yards giving him an identical fantasy point total of 49.3. In the high scoring Oregon game, Royce Freeman logged 180 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 18 receiving yards, and 3 touchdowns for a total of 42.8 points.
When making your draft picks at the running back position, be sure to keep in mind that a teams run when they are up and pass when they are behind. Don’t pick a running back on a team that is facing a tough opponent.
In the passing game, less touchdowns were scored but the points per reception scoring structure allowed several receivers to attain good fantasy value. Keevan Lucas of Tulsa got 193 receiving yards on 10 receptions for a total of 46.4 fantasy points. Rashon Ceasar of UL Monroe caught 13 receptions for 153 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns. This amounted to 43.5 fantasy points.
Devin Lauderdale of Texas Tech caught 8 passes for 150 yards and 2 touchdowns and a total of 38 fantasy points. Receivers still provided value in College Football Cash Drafts but receiver value was not quite as common or influential as it was with running backs.
Also from Texas Tech, Patrick Mahomes II was one of the top fantasy performers at the Quarterback position. He accumulated 425 passing yards and 48 rushing yards with 4 passing touchdowns for a total of 35 fantasy points. Often in both NFL and CFB Daily Fantasy Contests, quarterback and receiver performances are correlated, so if you’re betting in a high stakes contest, it can be a good idea to pair quarterbacks with their receivers. The same does not go for running backs and other positions though, running back performance is usually inversely correlated with quarterbacks and receivers.
Other high scoring quarterbacks were Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma with 388 passing yards, 3 passing touchdowns, and a running touchdown for 36.5 fantasy points and Jeff Driskel of Louisiana Tech with 274 passing yards for 4 passing touchdowns and 1 rushing touchdown totalling 33 fantasy points.