The purpose of this article is to take you through my thought process while constructing my DFS lineups. After reviewing my FanDuel lineups last week, we will analyze my DraftKings lineups from this week. The first thing I wanted to note is that there are two key differences between the two main DFS sites. 1) Draft Kings scoring rewards a full point for per (PPR) reception while FanDuel only scores a half-point per reception. 2) DraftKings has an extra flex position. Consequently, FanDuel has seven roster spots while DraftKings has eight roster spots. With that behind us, let’s get into Week One.
Week One gave a monster 13-game main Saturday slate on DraftKings. The slate included a few conference games, a primetime matchup (Alabama versus Miami), a couple of mismatches, and some intriguing non-conference battles.
Right off the bat, I eliminated players from three teams (Northern Iowa, Miami-Ohio, and Navy). Northern Iowa and Miami-Ohio were heavy underdogs. Both teams had an implied team total of 14 or less. I eliminated Navy because I concluded that they’d struggle to run the triple option against Marshall. Marshall had one of the best run defenses nationally last season. That reduced the slate down to 23 teams.
I considered eight quarterbacks: Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler ($9,700), Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder ($9,200), Alabama’s Bryce Young ($8,900), Mississippi State’s Will Rogers ($8,700), Oregon’s Anthony Brown ($8,300), Miami’s D’Eriq King ($7,400), Maryland’s Taulia Tagovailoa, and Kansas State’s Skylar Thompson ($6,800).
Skylar Thompson was my favorite quarterback on the slate when factoring in salary. I prefer to roster dual-threat quarterbacks and he fits that profile. I was thrilled to lock him on both of my lineups. Thompson has one of the highest ceilings in college football when the matchup is favorable. That was certainly the case this weekend with Kansas State hosting Stanford. Stanford struggled against the past last season, and they were even worse at defending the run. The Cardinal allowed 8.33 yards per pass attempt in 2020. Moreover, they allowed 12 touchdown passes in six games. Fortunately, Thompson paid off with salary with 20.06 Draft Kings points even though the final score was rather low (24-7 Kansas State).
I rostered Anthony Brown on one of my two-line ups. Like Skylar Thompson, Anthony Brown is a dual quarterback. Brown put up some massive fantasy scores when he started at quarterback for Boston College back in 2018 and 2019. He was also in a favorable matchup as the Ducks welcomed Fresno State. Fresno State was projected by Pro Football Focus to have the third-worst defensive line and fifth-worst secondary in the Mountain West Conference (out of 12 teams). Brown finished with 21.48 Draft Kings points which was fine but wasn’t enough to contend in tournaments.
D’Eriq King was, arguably, my biggest mistake of Week One. King led the nation in “points responsible for” back in 2019. While at Houston, King was responsible for 27.5 points per game. Due to the matchup with Alabama, I correctly concluded that most gamers weren’t going to roster King (was only rostered on 9% of lineups). This was a spot I was going to zig where other gamers zagged. I failed to adequately consider how tough the matchup was for Miami this weekend. Alabama was projected to have the Southeastern Conference’s second-best defensive line and top overall secondary, per Pro Football Focus. Meanwhile, King was playing in his first game post-ACL surgery. The combination of rust and Alabama’s swarming defense led to an awful day for King and the Miami offense. King recorded 9.16 Draft Kings points and basically ended my chances at contending in tournaments.
I considered running backs: Iowa State’s Breece Hall ($9,000), West Virginia’s Leddie Brown ($8,000), Texas’ Bijon Robinson ($7,400), Cincinnati’s Jerome Ford ($7,000), Oklahoma’s Eric Gray ($6,900), Iowa’s Tyler Goodson ($6,800), Alabama’s Brian Robinson Jr. ($6,500), Kansas State’s Deuce Vaughn ($6,300), Marshall’s Sheldon Evans ($4,700),
This slate was loaded with some of college football’s top running backs. Consequently, I made the decision to play an extra running back in each of my lineups at the flex spot. I knew I was going to roster Leddie Brown and Deuce Vaughn due to their workhorse roles and great matchups. Brown averaged 19.1 carries and 101.0 rushing yards per game last season. He’s also a major threat in the passing game. The Terrapins allowed 230 rushing yards per game last season. They were hammered for 14 rushing touchdowns in five games. I correctly concluded that Brown would be a nightmare for Maryland on Saturday.
Deuce Vaughn was Kansas State’s leading rusher and leading pass catcher last season. Further enhancing his appeal was a matchup with Stanford’s woeful defense. The Cardinal allowed 222 rushing yards per game to opposing ball carriers in 2020. They surrendered 12 rushing touchdowns in six games.
I debated utilizing Breece Hall in the flex spot. Ultimately, his price was too prohibitive for my lineups. I was fine with fading him since I assumed that Iowa State would blow out Northern Iowa. That decision worked out for me even though Hall received 23 carries. Iowa State’s offense struggled on Saturday and Hall’s 20 Draft Kings points weren’t slate-breaking.
My best play of the day was rostering Bijan Robinson. Unfortunately, I didn’t play him in both of my lineups. I decided to put Bijon Robinson in one lineup and Brian Robinson Jr. in the other lineup. Bijan Robinson exploded for 36.6 Draft Kings points. I wanted some exposure to Bijan Robinson because he established himself as a legit Heisman Trophy candidate late last season. The matchup with Louisiana was also an exceptional spot. Louisiana struggled to contain the run last season (allowed 20 rushing touchdowns in 11 games). Meanwhile, Brian Robinson Jr. wasn’t nearly as effective. The Alabama starting running back only tallied 8.0 Draft Kings points. I thought that Alabama would take a run-heavy approach since Bryce Young was making his first career start. Unfortunately for my lineup, Young lit Miami up with four touchdown passes. The Alabama running game took a backseat to Young and the passing game.
I considered a ton of different wide receivers (too many to list out). Instead, I’ll write about the wide receivers that ended up in my lineups. The only wide receiver that I played in both of my lineups was Jordan Whittington. Whittington racked up 21 receptions in 2020 despite missing five games (played in five games). His 4.7 ADOT (average depth of reception) last season suggested that Whittington was running routes close to the line of scrimmage. He also averaged 4.2 receptions per game which is great for Draft Kings full PPR scoring. Whittington was also expected to play a major role in the Longhorns’ offense this season. I correctly concluded that he would be peppered with high-percentage targets. The sophomore led the Longhorns with seven targets. He caught all seven targets and posted 113 receiving yards and one touchdown (27.3 Draft Kings points).
I rostered four other wide receivers across my two lineups. Jamire Calvin and Rakim Jarret both worked out while Charleston Rambo and Troy Franklin disappointed.
Jamire Calvin had a starting assignment in Mississippi State’s pass-happy offense. He was making his Bulldogs’ debut after spending three seasons at Washington State. Calvin transferred to Mississippi State to play for his former coach, Mike Leach. Consequently, I assumed Mike Leach would immediately utilize his former wide receiver. That assumption proved to be correct as Calvin ran the second-most pass routes on the team (36). The senior posted 15.7 Draft Kings which was respectable considering his $4,800 salary.
Rakim Jarrett was a former five-star prospect. The Maryland wide receiver is blessed with track-star-like speed. He seemed to develop a rapport with starting quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa at the end of last season. Jarrett had averaged 83.5 receiving yards when they two were on the field together (two games). I also assumed that no one would play Jarrett due to his high salary ($6,300). I was correct and was glad to see Jarrett explode for 27.4 Draft Kings points at 4% ownership.
Charleston Rambo had a huge 2019 season with Oklahoma but struggled in 2020. He transferred to Miami and earned one of the starting wide receiver spots. Unfortunately, Miami struggled on offense as they were destroyed 44-13 by Alabama. Rambo’s 8.9 Draft Kings points was disappointing.
Troy Franklin is a freshman and expectations were through the roof for the young wide receiver. The freshman was slated to start at wide receiver for Oregon. His salary was $3,000 which is DraftKings’ minimum salary. I didn’t need Franklin to do much since he was so cheap. However, he failed to play a single snap on Saturday. What happened? I’m not sure. There were no injury reports on Twitter related to Franklin and there are no articles regarding his situation.
I managed to record minimum cash with one lineup, and I missed the money with my other lineup. Hopefully, Week Two will bring better results!