Week 1 of the college football season continues on DraftKings with the first major Saturday slate of the season, featuring 13 games. This $15 slate has a prize pool of $150,000, with $50,000 going to the winner. With so many games and so many teams, identifying the best value plays is critical to taking down such a large-field GPP. Here are the best values by position for Saturday’s main slate:
Jake Haener, Fresno State at Oregon ($7,600):
Quarterback is primarily a spend-up position this week, with the elite QBs checking in above $8,900. But where DraftKings allows for two quarterbacks in a lineup, there are some “cheaper” plays worth considering. This might be a week to look at non-QBs in the super-flex, however, as that’s where much of the value resides this week. Haener got the job done last week against UConn. Obviously, this is a much tougher matchup, but Haener’s price has also come down considerably ($9,700 in Week 0) to reflect that. Still, he should continue to make plays with Jake Cropper at wide receiver, so he’s viable this week.
Taulia Tagovailoa, Maryland vs. West Virginia ($7,200):
The Alabama transfer only started four games last year, and he was decidedly boom or bust. When he really boomed against Minnesota, he put up 47 DK points. Maybe West Virginia isn’t the best defense to go hunting for booms, but Tagovailoa has shown he’s capable of it. A GPP play only, of course.
Skylar Thompson, Kansas State vs. Stanford ($6,600):
Thompson looked like a star on the rise after torching Oklahoma on the ground and through the air in his second game last season, amassing 39 DK points in the process. Next game, a shoulder injury ended his season. Now he’s back, he’s considerably underpriced compared to the field and Stanford is vulnerable to the run. This is a terrific play to make if double-QBing your lineups.
Deuce Vaughn, Kansas State vs. Stanford ($6,300):
We noted above that Stanford has all sorts of trouble with opposing running games. So, naturally, we’re going to key on the lead back for said opponent. Vaughn exploded over his final two games last season, topping 100 yards and 30 DK points in each. Let’s see if he can keep it rolling in a smash matchup.
CJ Verdell, Oregon vs. Fresno State ($6,000):
Verdell’s 2020 went pretty much the opposite of Vaughn, as the Ducks’ top runner really struggled in his final three games. We’ll give him a pass, as he gets an up-tempo matchup against Fresno State. He’s as capable as anyone of going off for a big game, and his end-of-season game logs might scare people away, keeping his ownership in fine GPP territory.
Rasheen Ali, Marshall at Navy ($3,300):
Look at this article in the Huntington Herald-Dispatch. Marshall head coach, in explaining why Ali is considered a co-starter at running back, compares redshirt freshman Ali to Saquon Barkley. Wow. For $3,300, I’ll buy what this guy is selling.
Jordan Whittington, Texas vs. Louisiana ($5,000):
Whittington has gotten a lot of praise from the coaching staff in 2021, with head coach Steve Sarkisian gushing about his versatility and the trust he’s earned from the coaches. If he is able to make the kind of impact the coaches are alluding to, he has a chance to break the slate at a cheap price.
Jamire Calvin, Mississippi State vs. Louisiana Tech ($4,800):
There’s a lot of uncertainty here, with one key receiver possibly being suspended for the first game after an altercation in last season’s bowl game. It all adds up to Calvin being a safe play in an offense that should have success through the air.
Jadon Haselwood, Oklahoma vs. Tulane ($4,500):
Haselwood was named a co-starter along with Theo Wease, but now Wease is out multiple weeks with an injury, opening the door for Haselwood to make some noise and earn himself a large role in the offense.