It’s finally here; the college football season kicks off on Saturday! Granted, Week 0 typically features a modest slate, but nevertheless, there are some entertaining matchups to look forward to. We’re digging into the main slate, which features a few conference games, some high-profile teams, and a couple of gaudy totals, implying big fantasy performances should be expected.
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Let’s dive into this week’s slate!
CFB DFS Quarterback Picks
Logan Bonner (Utah State Aggies): $8,600 DraftKings
Logan Bonner doesn’t have the highest salary, but we like his ceiling (second-highest in our projections) in Week 0 action. The Utah State Aggies quarterback had a coming-out party in 2021, completing a career-best 61.2% of his passes for 3,628 yards.
Last year, the senior eclipsed the 300-yard passing mark five times, throwing multiple touchdowns in 12 of the 14 contests. Although his receiving corps will look different in 2022, Bonner remains an elite fantasy option in the Aggies’ pass-first offense. Utah State opens the season against the UConn Huskies, elevating Bonner’s ceiling.
The Huskies were one of the worst defensive teams in the college ranks last year, giving up 38.5 points and over 450 yards per game. Bonner will get his season started in style and is our preferred quarterback pick for the main slate.
Austin Reed (Western Kentucky Hilltoppers): 9,000 DraftKings
The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers open their 2022 season against FCS foe, Austin Peay Governors. That means we should expect big things from Austin Reed, who makes his FBS debut for the Hilltoppers. Reed joins WKU from Div. II school West Florida, where he led the Argonauts to a championship in 2019.
The graduate transfer has continued his development since then, throwing for 310.8 yards per game last season with 38 touchdowns against just eight interceptions. Reed adds value on the ground, as he found the end zone four times last year with the Argos.
According to our projections, Reed has the highest median and ceiling projections and should help the Hilltoppers run away with their season-opener.
Jordan Travis (Florida State Seminoles): $8,800 DraftKings
Junior quarterback Jordan Travis rounds out our trio of top selections for the main slate on opening weekend. Travis enters his second season as the starter for the Florida State Seminoles and has his preferred target, Ontaria Wilson, back in the fold for the upcoming season.
FSU opens the season against the Duquesne Dukes, who gave up an average of 369.0 yards and 35.5 points per game in two FBS matchups last season. We’ve seen Travis torch opponents with his arm and legs, ensuring that the dual threat will keep the Dukes on their heels all game.
The Seminoles have failed to live up to expectations over the last couple of seasons, but Travis will help them get their season off to a better start against Duquesne.
CFB DFS Running Back Picks
Chase Brown (Illinois Fighting Illini): $7,900 DraftKings
Illinois Fighting Illini running back Chase Brown returns for another season after his breakout sophomore campaign. Brown rushed for 1,005 yards last year, adding 142 yards through the air and finding paydirt five times. We’re expecting Brown to take a more significant chunk of the workshare in 2022, and that’s reflected in our modeling.
The Canadian ranks second in median and ceiling projections and should find holes against a Wyoming Cowboys squad that is horrid against the run. Last year, the Cowboys allowed 169.1 rushing yards per game, ranking third-last among Mountain West teams.
They’ll have even less success stopping Brown and the Fighting Illini, who ran the ball 57.4% of the time in 2021, ranking 31st in the nation.
Titus Swen (Wyoming Cowboys): $6,000 DraftKings
The Cowboys can return the favor with Titus Swen, who took over the lead-back role after Xazavian Valladay transferred to Arizona State. Swen was an integral part of Wyoming’s rushing attack last season, toting the ball 132 times for 785 yards.
He’ll take on an even more significant role with a Cowboys team that runs the ball more than just about every FBS team. In 2021, Wyoming kept the ball on the ground 63.1% of the time, which was the eighth-highest rushing play percentage.
Swen will get the lion’s share of those touches against Illinois, giving him the most prominent canvas to work on. At 5.9 yards per carry, we could see him single-handedly carry the Cowboys’ offense.
Calvin Tyler Jr. (Utah State Aggies): $8,100 DraftKings
Inferring from the betting market, the Aggies have one of the easiest paths to victory against the Huskies. Utah State enters the matchup as prohibitive -26.5 favorites, with a lofty 59-point total. Running back Calvin Tyler Jr. will be a primary contributor and leads the way in median and ceiling projections.
The senior was a tentpole in offensive production last year, leading the team in rushing attempts, yards, and touchdowns while getting a few looks in the passing game. Tyler Jr. will bite off a bigger piece of the workload once the Aggies build themselves a lead and run out the clock to their presumed victory.
CFB DFS Wide Receiver Picks
Malachi Corley (Western Kentucky Hilltoppers): $7,600 DraftKings
Malachi Corley is the priciest wide receiver on the main slate, but according to our model, he’s deserving of the distinction. Corley benefits from playing with Reed and, for stacking purposes, correlates well with Reed’s expected ceiling.
With the departure of Mitchell Tinsley, Corley moves into the limelight for the Hilltoppers and will be the primary target in the passing game. Corley showed that he thrives with volume, grabbing six or more catches in six of his first nine games.
Not surprisingly, eight of his nine best fantasy performances came during those outings. Corley and Reed will get on the same page early, and we’re expecting both players to flourish against the Governors.
Trey Palmer (Nebraska Cornhuskers): $6,200 DraftKings
The Nebraska Cornhuskers are wasting no time in getting their season started, jumping straight into a Big Ten matchup against the Northwestern Wildcats. Trey Palmer joined the Cornhuskers through the transfer portal this past offseason, immediately upgrading their passing game.
The junior was a tertiary option at LSU but will be Casey Thompson’s go-to target all season. Palmer flashed his brilliant with the Tigers last season, breaking off a season-long 61-yard reception against Texas A&M while averaging 11.5 yards per reception.
Palmer re-invigorates the Cornhuskers’ aerial attack, and we should see that pay dividend against Northwestern.
Kyle Williams (UNLV Rebels): $6,300 DraftKings
There typically aren’t a whole bunch of winnable games on the UNLV Rebels schedule, but Week 0’s matchup against the Idaho State Bengals meets the criteria. As such, we’re expecting the Rebels’ passing game to be on point, leading to an effective outing from Kyle Williams.
Last season, the junior receiver ranked second on the team in yards and catches, and will take on a more prominent role with the departure of Steve Jenkins. Williams flashed his elite potential last season, going for 117 or more yards in two of his last five games.
That’s a good omen for the start of this season, as UNLV starts their season with a bang.