Welcome into October where we are roughly one quarter of the way through the 2022 football season! After two weeks of very positive results, there was a bit of hiccup in Week 5’s post. Neither the Maryland offense or Will Levis lived up to my expectations for the afternoon slate. And, the LSU position player speculation (more on this later) definitely did not pan out the way I had hoped at night. The moral of the story? Who gives a fuck! It’s tough week. And, it will always inevitably happen in any predictive endeavor. The best thing anyone can do is move on and focus on the next slate to decrease the likelihood of a repeat stinker. With plenty of season left, I plan to do just that.
As always, the purpose of every post I make here is to attempt to identify value for any particular slate. I am never going to offer the most expensive, obvious, and essentially best players as my “suggestions” or “picks” for a slate. I’m trying to point out options that could help you afford those players and/or options that I believe could provide similar results at a cheaper price based on logic and statistical evidence. That said, let’s talk about some of my favorite plays for the Week 6 Saturday slates!
As previously mentioned, I incorrectly attempted to speculate last Saturday night that Noah Cain would see the lion’s share of action in the Tiger backfield with Armoni Goodwin ruled out. Of course, that meant some former walk-on named Josh Williams led the way with 68 yards on 19 touches! After him, John Emery Jr. led the team with 81 all-purpose yards on nine touches, including a 20-yard rushing score. Yay!
Besides the Cain selection being a complete bust, the main thing I took away from their win over Auburn is that this offense is going to need to heavily rely on running the ball until quarterback Jayden Daniels gets a better feel in the passing game. Especially this week in a matchup with Tennessee who wants to blast everyone with crazy tempo on offense, LSU will want to do everything they can to keep Hendon Hooker on the sidelines.
With all that said, based on mostly price I can see someone in this backfield substantially outperforming their cost. Of the four potential candidates to lead the backfield, three are at a sub-4k price. If Goodwin is able to play, he’d be my top choice to speculate on. If he is out, Williams would be my favorite option at the contest minimum price after leading the Tigers in RB touches last week.
It’ll definitely be a gamble and probably a scenario for the risk-adverse crowd to avoid altogether. But, the combo of cap-friendly prices and a fantastic Vegas projection will make this a hard one to ignore for yours truly.
Speaking of that matchup, if Daniels and his all-world receiver Kayshon Boutte can’t get on the same page this week, I’m not sure that we’re going to see those beautiful big Boutte stat lines we grew accustomed to the past couple of seasons. However, at $4,800 that potential big Boutte ceiling is probably too attractive to pass up in this matchup. Whether it’s against Tennessee this week or not, it’s only a matter of time before he and Daniels connect for a monster game together. He’s simply too good for this drought to continue.
At Michigan St., Payton Thorne’s WR1, Jayden Reed, returned last week against Maryland and picked up right where he left off leading the Spartans in catches, yards, and catching Thorne’s lone TD pass. The ceiling on the offense isn’t anywhere near what it was last year with no Kenneth Walker III, shaky O-line play, and inconsistency from Thorne holding it back. But, Reed’s role and volume in the passing game are as reliable as any other receiver in this slate. That alone should have him north of 6k in any matchup.
In the 5k price range, keep an eye on Bru McCoy and Rakim Jarrett. If Cedric Tillman is ruled out again for Tennessee, McCoy will likely serve as the WR1-1A option opposite Jalin Hyatt. Both will have an increased ceiling sans Tillman in that very tasty DFS matchup with LSU. McCoy comes at a much better price with an equal upside to Hyatt. If Tillman is able to suit up, a nice pivot from McCoy would be Jarrett at the same price. His floor and ceiling would be more reliable than McCoy’s at that point as Maryland’s clear WR1 in a plus matchup at home against Purdue.
Dominic Lovett | WR | Missouri $3,800
Another injury situation to monitor is this sophomore who was in the midst of a breakout season before having to exit last week’s almost-upset against Georgia. In four of five games this season he’s recorded five or more catches as the clear go-to option for quarterback Brady Cook in the passing game. That type of reliable floor warrants at least an additional 1k on Lovett’s value at this point. Their game at Florida is a noon kickoff so we should hopefully have some clarity on his status early on and can act accordingly. If you’re shopping in this range, it will be difficult to find a much better option than what Lovett is presenting on paper.
All things are pointing towards Quinn Ewers making his return as the Longhorns QB1 in this weekend’s Red River Shootout/Showdown/Pillow Fight between Texas and Oklahoma. It was a small sample size, but Ewers looked very sharp against Alabama in just his second career start before exiting with an injury. As a paydown option at the quarterback position, you can’t do much better at his fantastic sub-7k price tag.
With him back, I would also raise the ceiling on everyone in this offense where Vegas is projecting Texas to approach 40 points. Especially on guys like Xavier Worthy and tight end Ja’Tavion Sanders. Back in Week 4, I mentioned the inevitable blow-up week coming for Worthy and it did one week later when he dropped a 7-119-2 line while adding a passing touchdown in Texas’s win over West Virginia. His price still hasn’t adjusted accordingly and he is absolutely capable of similar results in this very juicy matchup with Ewers back under center. Sanders also has enough of a body of work this season that he should be somewhere in the $4,500-5k price range.
In the smaller slates, it sometimes makes the most sense to target single games as opposed to being more player-centric. In certain slates, there are specific games that simply present a higher upside for statistical production on paper that isn’t available elsewhere. In those instances, if the targeted game(s) hits as anticipated, you better be in on the party or else you’ll be out of the cash line.
For this reason, on Saturday night that will be my approach with Oregon in the desert against Arizona and Washington St. in Los Angeles against the Trojans. Both games have similar Vegas projections with totals at or near 70 points, and below-average defense from all sides should provide ample opportunity for offensive production for all four teams involved.
Auburn transfer Bo Nix has been a revelation at quarterback for the Ducks this season. He’s expensive but I think worth every penny in this slate. His counterpart Jayden de Laura for Arizona has proven to be effective as QB1 this season for the Wildcats after being the starter at Washington St. one year ago. Arizona’s competition hasn’t been anything great in 2022, but I’m not so sure anyone in the Pac-12 will be anything great anyway. Especially, defensively. The price on de Laura allows for some very intriguing two QB lineups that I love for a slate like this.
Wide receivers in that same game that present tons of value are Troy Franklin for the Ducks, and Dorian Singer for the Wildcats. Singer is the clear second option in a pass-heavy scheme for Arizona, while the highly recruited Franklin is having the breakthrough-type season everyone expected from him when he arrived in Eugene last season. He operates as Nix’s top target and has already accumulated a 24-391-3 line in five games this year. The price and matchup couldn’t be better for both of them.
In Week 4 I discussed Washington St. receiver Donovan Ollie’s value. His role and production remains consistent as Cam Ward’s preferred choice when dropping back to pass. However, his price still remains probably 1k below his fair market value in a game like this.
Coming in at a sub-5k price, Cougar running back Nakia Watson has averaged 90 plus all-purpose yards on 15 touches across five games this season. With that kind of volume in what projects to be an offensive-friendly environment, Watson makes for an outstanding price/floor/ceiling combo at the running back position Saturday night.
Good luck in Week 6! Follow me on twitter @realBobbyAdcock compliments and insults are always appreciated.