They are finally putting actual numbers on the weeks, so that must mean the real college football season is finally upon us, and DraftKings is kicking off Week 1 with a massive Thursday slate, featuring eight games. This $15 slate has a prize pool of $100,000, with $25,000 going to the winner, so let’s dig in and find the best value plays at quarterback, running back, and receiver:
Eric Barriere, Eastern Washington ($5,200):
Right out of the gate, the first major slate of the season, and DraftKings hits us with massive mispricing. You can make a good case that regardless of pricing, Barriere is the top quarterback option on the board, in terms of raw points. He was second to Trey Lance for the FBS Heisman last year. Now throw in the salary mistake and this is the best chalk you will ever eat. He might come close to 100 percent ownership here, especially since you can play two QBs on DraftKings, but this is no time to get cute with a fade. There are plenty of other places to differentiate. This is a free square that must be played.
Hank Bachmeier, Boise State ($6,500):
Bachmeier was named the starter over Jack Sears last week, and with the most-popular roster construction on the slate likely featuring Barriere and Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, Bachmeier is going to come in low-owned, but in a good situation, as he gets to throw to the top wide receiver on the slate, Khalil Shakir. Assuming Shakir doesn’t go nuts running the ball (he could), Bachmeier should produce solid numbers here just through that QB-WR association.
Charles Williams, UNLV ($5,900):
With Eastern Washington wanting to throw the ball all day, the Runnin’ Rebels will really be runnin’ to try and take the air out of the ball and control the clock. That tees things up nicely for Williams, who gets to face one of the worst run-defenses in the country and will likely touch the ball at least 20 times.
Nate Noel, Appalachian State ($4,100):
The more popular running back will be Cameron Peoples at $6,900, and Peoples is primed to have a big game against East Carolina’s porous run defense. But because Appalachian State is going to run the ball all day in this spot, there is going to plenty of carries to go around, and Noel is technically listed as the No. 1 back on the depth chart. Noel is going to get his opportunities, and at his severe price discount, he makes a solid play as a No. 2 back.
Talolo Limu-Jones, Eastern Washington ($5,000):
Again, the soft pricing on the Eastern Washington guys is going to lead to elevated ownership, but this is another “good chalk” play, as Jones commands Barriere’s attention from the slot. Andrew Boston ($4,300) is another solid option on this team, and the three-man stack of Barriere, Limu-Jones, and Boston is going to be used quite a bit. Still worth doing.
Jaden Blue, Temple ($4,300):
There’s really nothing sexy about a Temple-Rutgers matchup, especially with Ohio State-Minnesota and some of these Western shootout games on the slate. But that doesn’t mean this East Coast rumble won’t have some DFS value, and Blue is probably the best of the bunch. He figures to command double-digit targets and the Rutgers defense is certainly beatable. He probably won’t slip entirely under the radar, but his cheap price tag will allow for a lot of roster options with the high-priced plays.