This article is part of our FanDuel College Football series.
We have hit Week 9 of the college football season and have some handy tools at your disposal for the upcoming FanDuel slates. Included among those is our always handy lineup optimizer, the weekly rankings by position and some tools to explore on your own like targets, team trends, odds and Defense vs. Position. With all of this information at your disposal, we aim to arm you as much as possible each week.
Fresh blood! We have new teams atop the the implied points category this week with Alabama and UCF both on bye and off the slate. Heading the pack is Oklahoma at 44.3, distancing itself by 3.5 points over Houston, who comes in second at 40.8. The Houston-South Florida game also leads the way with the highest on the over-under scale by a longshot The 74.5 projected total outpaces the closest competition by 10 points. Many of the high-end quarterbacks this week have good matchups, so it may be a good week to pay up for high-end and middle-tier talent at the position.
A full picture of some key statistical categories can be seen in the table below:
Note: All stats are opposing defense. Plays/G are teams combined
YPA=Yards Per Attempt
Without further adieu, the following are some of the players I may target in the main slate this week.
Ian Book, Notre Dame (at Navy) $9,600
After Mammoth performances against Wake Forest and Stanford in terms of fantasy, Book has cooled off to less than 20 points in each of his last two contests. However, it's mainly a lack of touchdowns that has kept him from fantasy relevance, tossing just two touchdowns in each of them after scoring four and five the first two weeks. The Irish shouldn't have much trouble reaching pay dirt this week against a Navy defense allowing 8.1 yards per attempt and 2.1 passing touchdowns per game. Houston quarterback D'Eriq King lit up the Navy defense for 413 yards and three passing touchdowns a week ago, and more of the same should be on tap for Book in Week 9.
Secondary Picks: D'Eriq King, Houston ($10,500)
Tournament Play: Sam Ehlinger, Texas ($9,900)
Brock Purdy, Iowa State (vs. Texas Tech) $9,100
Purdy has averaged 35.59 points in his two weeks as the starter for the Cyclones, providing the team with a dual-threat option under center. Texas Tech's defense has certainly been accommodating to the pass this season, letting up 288.1 passing yards on 7.2 yards per attempt while also surrendering 2.1 passing touchdowns per game. Purdy has the tools to take advantage of the Red Raiders' defense in both facets of the game and should be heavily involved in Iowa State's 29.8 implied points.
Secondary Pick: David Blough, Purdue ($9,200)
Bargain Bin (<$8,600)
Clayton Thorson, Northwestern (vs. Wisconsin) $7,500
Thorson came back to earth last week against Rutgers of all teams, completing just 17 of his 34 pass attempts for 150 yards. He was held out of the end zone for the first time since Sept. 8 against Duke. This play should go over well in tournaments against a Wisconsin defense vaunted in name after a strong 2017 campaign, but the defensive 11 hasn't proven to be as good as a season ago, and the secondary enters the week extremely banged up. Wisconsin's offense should still be able to move the ball with Jonathan Taylor, so it wouldn't be surprising if Thorson is forced to throw the ball a lot again Saturday.
Tournament Play: Jack Coan, Wisconsin ($4,000), Shane Buechele, Texas ($4,900)
Note: both are backups for questionable QBs, so check if either Alex Hornibrook (concussion) or Ehlinger (shoulder) is able to suit up.
Elite ($9,000 and up)
Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin (at Northwestern) $9,700
It's rare for Jonathan Taylor to fall to fifth on a slate, but being held out of the end zone four times in the last five weeks will do that. Taylor hasn't been held under 100 rushing yards in a game this season, and he and Wisconsin could rely even more on the running game Saturday if the offense is missing starting quarterback Alex Hornibrook (concussion). Taylor produces even without reaching the end zone, but he's overdue for a return trip.
Secondary Pick: James Williams, Washington State ($9,600)
Kennedy Brooks, Oklahoma (vs. Kansas State), $7,700
Brooks finally received a full workload last week, after Trey Sermon exited with a leg injury, and he didn't disappoint, racking up 168 rushing yards and a touchdown on 18 carries against a TCU that allows just 157.4 rushing yards per game to all opposing rushers on average. Sermon's status remains up in the air, but there appears to be a decent chance he will skip the contest. If that's the case, Brooks should shoulder the bulk of the work again for the Sooners against a Kansas State defense allowing a slate-worst 5.2 yards per carry and 173 rushing yards per contest.
Secondary picks: Reggie Gallaspy, NC State ($8,500), David Montgomery, Iowa State ($8,900)
Bargain Bin (<$7,500)
Isaiah Bowser, Northwestern (vs. Wisconsin) $6,400
With John Moten (leg) and Solomon Vault (undisclosed) unavailable last week, Bowser burst onto the scene with 108 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries. Even if the two are available again this week as expected, Bowser's play against Rutgers has likely earned him the first opportunity at carries given the running game's struggles prior to that. Wisconsin's defense also allows 5.1 rushing yards per attempt, ranking among the worst on the slate.
Tournament play: LJ Scott, Michigan State ($6,700)
Elite ($9,000 and up)
Miles Boykin, Notre Dame (at Navy) $9,300
While Boykin was held to just five targets last week against Pitt, he turned them into four grabs for 84 yards and a touchdown. He was targeted double-digit times in the two weeks prior and will likely have plenty of opportunities to rack up yardage Saturday against a Navy defense yielding 253.7 passing yards per game along with 2.1 passing touchdowns per contest. He may have to get his work in early, however, as the Fighting Irish are favored by a whopping 24 points and could turn to the running game if they get out to a big lead.
Secondary pick:Rondale Moore, Purdue ($9,500)
Tyre McCants, South Florida (at Houston) $8,100
With the highest projected over-under of the slate, South Florida comes in fourth in implied points this week. Houston's defense also allows a slate-high 333.6 passing yards per game to go along with 7.7 yards per attempts and 1.7 touchdowns. McCants falls in $400 cheaper than fellow Bulls wideout Darnell Salomon, but it was McCants who led the team in targets each of the last two weeks. Given the matchup, it seems like a good bet the senior wideout will put up good numbers and should have a good chance to draw closer to his seven receiving touchdowns from a season ago.
Secondary Pick: Hakeem Butler, Iowa State ($8,400)
Bargain Bin (<$7,500)
Darrell Stewart Jr., Michigan State (vs. Purdue) $5,900
Michigan State has had about as bad of luck as any team in the country in regards to injuries to skill position players. The wide receiver position has been hit hardest, with starters Cody White (hand) and, most recently, Felton Davis III (Achilles) ruled out for the season. Stewart saw a team-high eight targets last week and figures to be the main man in the passing game moving forward. The matchup also bodes well, with Purdue's defense allowing 296.4 passing yards per game.
Secondary Picks: Dezmon Patton, Washington State ($7,500)