It’s hard to believe, but we’re already at the end of the first month of the college football season. As usual, there have been some pleasant surprises along the way, as well as some unforeseen disasters arising. Nevertheless, we are in the midst of conference scheduling, meaning we have just crossed the precipice of excitement. Surely, more upsets are on the horizon as we kick off Week 5.
We’ve got you covered for DFS purposes, highlighting our preferred players from Saturday’s main slate.
Or if cash games are more your speed, you can build your lineups alongside our projections with our Lineup Builder. From there, you can hand-build your lineup or lock in a few guys and let the builder optimize the rest based on our projections.
Here’s a brief snippet of what our models look like:
Let’s dive into this week’s slate!
CFB DFS Quarterback Picks
Caleb Williams (USC Trojans): $10,500 DraftKings
For the first time since Week 0, the USC Trojans make an appearance on the main slate. That impact could be even more profound than anticipated as they play in the thin mountain air of Boulder, Colorado. At least, that’s what’s implied from Caleb Williams’ excessive $10,500 salary.
The Trojans signal-caller has been one of the best in the country again this season. Through four games, Williams is completing a jaw-dropping 74.3% of his passes for 1,200 yards, a 15-0 touchdown to interception ratio, and 11.9 yards per pass attempt. Against a penetrable Colorado Buffaloes pass defense, those metrics will climb even higher. Add in his solid rushing metrics, and there’s no telling the heights Williams will achieve in Week 5.
Last week, the Oregon Ducks torched Colorado for 522 yards and 42 points. Williams could move the Trojans even more efficiently, leaving the door open for not only one of the best performances of the week but also the season. The salary on Williams is justified and we are believers that he reaches his fantasy ceiling against the Buffaloes.
Seth Henigan (Memphis Tigers): $8,000 DraftKings
The Memphis Tigers have surprised a few people en route to a 3-1 start to the season. Led by Seth Henigan, the Tigers are poised to move even further up the standings against an uninspired Boise State Broncos squad.
As a third-year starter, Henigan has exceeded his already impressive stats. The junior is completing a career-best 69.4% of his passes for an average of 7.4 yards per pass attempt. Henigan has thrown for over 200 yards already twice this season while throwing multiple touchdown passes in all but one of those outings.
The Broncos aren’t the force they once were. Boise State barely hung on for a 34-41 win against the San Diego State Aztecs last week, getting out-gained in the contest and giving up 439 yards. That was the third time this season they’ve been out-paced on offense, with FBS opponents averaging 512.3 yards per game, sixth-worst in the nation.
Henigan and the Tigers should continue to feast against the Broncos. The Tigers’ quarterback carries a modest salary but could end the day as one of the top fantasy producers on the slate.
CFB DFS Running Back Picks
Ashton Jeanty (Boise State Broncos): $6,800 DraftKings
We may be discounting Boise State’s defense, but their offense is doing something right to offset those deficiencies. The Broncos are a respectable 2-2 despite their defensive shortcomings, and Ashton Jeanty is a big reason why.
Jeanty has emerged as the feature rusher out of the Broncos’ backfield. An injury to George Holani has propelled Jeanty to a more robust workload, and he hasn’t disappointed. In three starts without Holani, Jeanty has rushed for 363 yards and five touchdowns. Included in that sample are two games where Jeanty crossed the century mark, including last week’s 205-yard effort versus the Aztecs.
Further, Memphis’ run defense has been porous at best. The AAC contenders have allowed a 100-yard rusher in two of their three games against FBS foes. Worse, opponents are averaging 188.0 rushing yards per game against the Tigers.
All signs point to another monster fantasy performance from Jeanty. He’ll get the lion’s share of touches out of the backfield and should expose the Tigers’ biggest weakness. According to our projections, Jeanty has the highest ceiling among running backs on the main slate.
Blake Watson (Memphis Tigers): $6,500 DraftKings
Although we usually defer to stacking a wide receiver with one of our preferred quarterbacks, we’re deferring to a running back in Week 5. The last of our Tigers versus Broncos trilogy, we’re highlighting Blake Watson as a potential boom option on the main slate.
Watson has been a do-it-all option for the Tigers this season. The senior is averaging a career-best 5.9 yards per carry, rushing for four touchdowns so far this season. However, Watson’s contributions aren’t limited to the ground game. The New York native also leads the team in receptions, grabbing all 24 of his targets for 213 yards (second-best on the team) and another score.
As noted, the Broncos defense isn’t up to snuff this season. Opponents continue to trounce Boise State, and that should be exacerbated by Watson in a hostile environment. Watson doesn’t have the most expensive salary but he definitely has one of the highest ceilings on Saturday. Combined with Henigan, they could form one of the highest-scoring duos on the docket.
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CFB DFS Wide Receiver Picks
Xavier Weaver (Colorado Buffaloes): $6,800 DraftKings
We are dipping our toes in the Buffaloes’ waters again, going back to Xavier Watson as our top wide receiver. Weaver was kept in check last week against the Ducks but did maintain his workload. He should bounce back with another elite effort against a bendable Trojans defense.
Home field has been the advantage for Colorado this season. The Buffaloes are averaging 436.0 yards and 39.5 points per game in their friendly confines. Moreover, USC has no objections getting into a track meet, forcing opponents to keep pace with their prolific offense. All that bodes well for Weaver as he re-captures his early season glory.
Weaver has built a secure connection with Shedeur Sanders through the opening month of the season. The senior wide out has led the team in targets for three straight weeks, eclipsing 12 each time out. More importantly, he’s made he most of those looks, hauling in 34 of his 45 passes for a 75.6% catch rate and nearly doubling the next closest Buffaloes pass-catcher in receiving yards.
Once again, Weaver is the pacesetter in our median and ceiling projections. Home teams are averaging 263.0 passing yards per game against the Trojans, ensuring that Weaver remains a focal point on offense and reaches his pinnacle at Folsom Field.
Jeremiah Hunter (California Golden Bears): $5,900 DraftKings
We’re staying in the Pac-12 with our second selection, pointing to Jeremiah Hunter to maintain his current form against the ASU Sun Devils. The California Golden Bears enter the conference battle as prohibitive -12.5 favorites and should have no problem dispatching ASU on the strength of another strong offensive performance.
Cal’s scoring prowess has been on full display this season, and Hunter has featured prominently in each contest. The Golden Bears have gone north of 30 points in three of their four contests, with Hunter finding paydirt in all but one of those games. Additionally, the junior leads the team in receptions and receiving yards, catching no fewer than five passes in any matchup this year.
Arizona State employs a loose standard when it comes to defending against the pass. The Sun Devils rank 99th in the country, allowing an average of 264.7 passing yards per game versus FBS competition. As we saw last week, USC had no problem going north of 320 yards against them.
Although we’re not anticipating California matches USC’s output, we do expect Hunter to remain an integral part of the Golden Bears’ attack. He should exceed his implied value and end the day as a top performing wide receiver.
Ricky Pearsall (Florida Gators): $7,400 DraftKings
After opening the year with a loss to the 14th-ranked Utah Utes, the Florida Gators have rattled off three straight wins. They’re looking to make it four in a row and 2-0 in conference play with a win over the Kentucky Wildcats. Over the past few weeks, Ricky Pearsall has established himself as the premier player on offense, a trend that should continue into Week 5.
Pearsall’s contributions to the Gators’ passing game put him in the upper echelon of pass-catchers across the FBS. His 26 receptions and 362 receiving yards are easily the high marks within the program, but also put Pearsall among the top 25 receivers in the nation.
His recent sample also suggests that Pearsall’s fantasy ceiling knows no bounds. The senior caught all six of his targets last week for 104 yards. That was the second time in three weeks in which Pearsall surpassed the century mark and the fourth time that he caught at least six passes.
Pearsall’s salary reflects his potential, but that shouldn’t stop DFS punters from rostering this beast. We like him to reach his fantasy ceiling against the Wildcats.