This article is part of our DFS College Football series.
The bowl season carries on Saturday with the big boys slated to take the field in the College Football Playoff semifinals. Unsurprisingly, the highest expectations for scoring come from the LSU-Oklahoma game,where a combined 76 points are expected to grace the scoreboard as two of the top six offenses go at it. Clemson and Ohio State are second on the list, though they lag 13.5 points behind in expected scoring. LSU leads the way in expected scoring (44.75), while Penn State (33.5), Clemson (32.25), Oklahoma (31.25) and Ohio State (30.25) all have implied totals north of the 30-point mark.
Link to matchup chart for sorting/research purposes
Note: RotoWire expected scores are generated by a mathematical equation excluding special teams and points directly off turnovers (from what I understand).
Dec. 28 Plays
Joe Burrow, LSU ($10,500 FD, $8,800 DK) vs. Oklahoma
Burrow and Hurts are the top two quarterbacks on both sites, but the order is reversed in terms of the most expensive quarterback. Thus, Burrow should be a slightly more affordable option on FanDuel than he would be on the DraftKings slate, where he's $700 clear of Hurts for the top spot in terms of cost. Either way, with Clyde-Edwards-Helaire still working through a hamstring issue, there may be an even larger emphasis than usual on the Tigers lethal passing attack and I'm buying into the highest implied point total on the slate. In terms of SP+ defensive rankings, Oklahoma's is the worst on the slate. The Sooners' defense has fared well against two of the three top-20 passing attacks they've faced this year, shutting down Texas Tech and Texas, but they also coughed up 282 passing yards and five touchdowns to Brock Purdy while sliding by Iowa State. Given Burrow's weapons in the passing game, I'm still willing to pay up for Burrow on either site.
Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma ($11,000 FD $8,100 DK) vs. LSU
It's hard to stray from this game when looking at the passing talent. Although Hurts is the highest quarterback on FanDuel and second-highest on DraftKings, it's probably a pick your poison situation at the top of the board. Since it would be difficult to stomach the cost of both quarterbacks at the top of the board, I wouldn't be shocked to see Hurts' ownership at considerably lower rate than usual. He's best utilized on DraftKings if you're looking to consider him, though the higher price tag on FanDuel could drive away even more ownership. LSU has been vulnerable to capable running quarterbacks, notably giving up 212 rushing yards and four touchdowns to John Rhys Plumlee in a game that was closer than it should have been versus Ole Miss. With extra time to look through game tape, don't be surprised if Lincoln Riley looks to that game and implements some designed quarterback runs.
Ian Book, Notre Dame ($9,700 FD, $7,500 DK) vs. Iowa State
I know I'm not going out on a limb, but the price difference between the fourth-highest priced quarterback and the eighth (last of the starters) on DraftKings is just $800. This makes Book an ideal play for the superflex spot on the site. He will take on an Iowa State defense that has surrendered a slate-high 1.8 passing touchdowns per game and 228.3 passing yards per contest. Book's per attempt averages may have dropped slightly as a senior, but his volume has increased enough that he is averaging a career-high 232.3 passing yards per game and has tossed 33 touchdown passes in just 12 games. Book enters the bowl game coming off of five straight with 28 or more fantasy points, with the Irish committing to the passing attack more down the stretch than they did early in the season. I expect to see more of the same Saturday. Book has also run for 516 yards and four scores on the season, so he provides an added ground component that pushes him over the top.
J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State ($9,900 FD, $7,700 DK)
If you're looking at the top of the board at the running back position, Dobbins is the best bet on Saturday's slate. Not only has he scored in all but one game this season, but he's also coming off a combined 383 rushing yards and five touchdowns in the last two games. Those came against formidable defenses in the form of Wisconsin and Michigan, who both rank in the top 25 nationally. Clemson's run defense appears to be equally as stout versus the run as Ohio State's surrendering a slate-low 2.8 yards per carry and 0.9 rushing touchdowns per tilt, but it's worth mentioning that they have faced just two top-25 rushing offenses all season. In those contests, opposing lead backs (AJ Dillon of Boston College and Javian Hawkins of Louisville) averaged four and five yards per carry, respectively against the Clemson defense. Considering Dobbins has handled the rock more than 30 times in each of the last three games and Justin Fields' knee is apparently less than 100 percent, Dobbins seems like a good bet for heavy usage again Saturday.
Journey Brown, Penn State ($7,700 FD, $4,900 DK)
Brown has really settled into a primary rushing role for the Nittany Lions down the stretch, averaging 97.8 rushing yards and totaling seven rushing scores. While Noah Cain is expected to be back in the mix for the bowl game, I fully expect Brown to still carry the primary workload. In terms of rush defense, Memphis is by far the best it gets in terms of matchup. The Tigers enter the Cotton Bowl having allowed 99 or more rushing yards to the opposing lead backs in each of the last three games. With Sean Clifford less than 100 percent but expected to go, this is another situation where the running game could be utilized more than usual, especially since the matchup should dictate a ground-heavy approach. Brown's price tag fits nicely into a FanDuel lineup and certainly won't bust the budget on FanDuel either checking in fifth on the price scale for FanDuel and all the way down at nine on DraftKings.
Kennedy Brooks, Oklahoma ($7,400 FD, $5,400 DK)
Brooks' price tag is slightly more expensive on DraftKings but catches you a break when looking for buying options on the FanDuel. The sophomore back has taken on a larger role as a rusher down the stretch, toting the rock 20.5 times on average over the last four games after receiving just 7.9 per contest through the first eight. Rhamondre Stevenson served as Brooks' primary sub on offense, but he will be unavailable for the contest due to a suspension levied against him earlier in December. This could result in Brooks getting an even heavier percentage of the Sooners' carries. While LSU allows just 3.6 yards per carry and 119.6 rushing yards per game, there have been very few teams capable of keeping pace with them this season, resulting in most teams abandoning the run game. If Oklahoma can remain within shouting distance long enough, Brooks could be in line for another big day.
Justin Jefferson, LSU ($8,600 FD, $6,000 DK)
Jefferson has fallen behind Ja'Marr Chase on the fantasy totem pole, but this is a matchup where the junior may be more built to thrive. Oklahoma's defense has surrendered 41 passes of between 15 and 24 yards in length this season, nearly double the amount of passes allowed that have reached 25 or greater. While Ja'Marr Chase has hauled in 39 passes of 15 yards or more, 21 of those have gone for 25-plus yards. Jefferson fits more into that sweet spot, hauling in 30 passes of 15 or more yards but just 10 that have eclipsed 25. Of the 20 passing touchdowns the Sooners have surrendered through 13 games, just two of them have come from 40-plus yards out, so the Tigers will likely be forced to get the ball over midfield for most, if not all of their scores. For Jefferson, 13 of his 14 touchdowns have come from 39 yards or less out, while Chase only has 11 of his 18 from that distance. Jefferson has also seen the largets target share percentage of the three (21.6) over the last two games, though it amounted to just one more target than what Chase saw over that span.
Tee Higgins, Clemson ($8,500 FD, $5,600 DK)
There's going to be scoring on both sides in the Clemson-Ohio State game even though it doesn't get the offensive hype of the Oklahoma-LSU bash. When it comes to wide receivers between the two sides in the contest, HIggins is the most reliable in the scoring department, hauling in 13 through 13 contests this year. Like Quintez Cephus of Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game, Higgins possesses the ball skills to beat cornerbacks even in close coverage, which will likely be the case often in Saturday's CFP Semifinal. Becuase of the matchup, he gets a slight price cut on DraftKings, making him a slightly more enticing option on that site.
Pat Freiermuth, Penn State ($6,700 FD, $4,300 DK)
Freiermuth has gone silent down the stretch, resulting in the a significant price deflation from what we saw early in the middle of the season. Memphis has been burned by tight ends on a few occasions this season, allowing a pair of touchdown passes to Louisiana-Monroe, another two to SMU tight ends and one to Cincinnati the week before the conference championship rematch. Freiermuth. The Tigers have been particularly vulnerable to tight ends in the red zone, allowing five receiving touchdowns. That's exactly where Freiermuth makes his mark the most, hauling in seven touchdowns to trail only KJ Hamler among the Nittany Lion pass catchers. At a discounted price on both sites, Freiermuth should be worth the price of admission.
Goin' Fishing Play: Garrett Wilson, Ohio State ($5,400 FD, $3,800 DK)
It's difficult to find great value plays on a short slate, so if you're really desperate for a cheap option at the wide receiver position for a GPP play, Wilson may be your man. He typically doesn't receive much attention, handling just 3.1 targets per game, but the true freshman has turned in five touchdowns this season and has see a slight increase to 3.8 targets per tllt over the last five. Wilson has turned in just three double-digit fantasy efforts on the season, so this may be just a play for the bold, but it's one that could pay dividends should he find pay dirt.