College Football Kickoff

By: Keith Hall on September 2, 2015

With the turning of the calendar from August to September, the DFS landscape begins to change.  September 1st gives MLB rosters the oppurtunity to expand and we see an influx of players getting a chance to prove to clubs they deserve to be in the big leagues.  It becomes very difficult to grind out MLB when we have so many players getting chances that we haven’t seen for a good portion of the year.  It becomes even more difficult when you are just two weeks away from NFL starting.

For most of us, football consumes our weekends from September through January.  Most of our time is spent researching for fantasy drafts, rooting on our players and our hoping that those players don’t contribute to our favorite teams losing.

I live in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  Just 15 minutes from the University of Tulsa, 90 minutes from Stillwater, and two hours from Norman.  The turn of the calendar to September means College Football is here.  On Saturdays in Oklahoma, TV’s are locked into the Sooners, Cowboys, and Golden Hurricane.  Around the country, there are many cities that are the same exact way.  With the growth of the DFS industry, FanDuel, DraftKings, and Fantasy Aces are holding live finals strictly for the college football season.  Which will only add another element to the drama of a Opening Saturday afternoon Florida Atlantic vs. Tulsa showdown!

There is still a massive edge in CFB when it comes to DFS.  Of course, we all know of Ohio State, Oregon, USC, Alabama, and about 30 other select schools around the country that seem to get non-stop coverage on a weekly basis.  Where CFB is different than NFL is there aren’t just 32 teams that face off every weekend, there are roughly, on any given weekend, over 120.  Now, the good thing is that the sites don’t include every single game on a slate.  On any given Saturday, there will be at least two, if not three, different slates in action for that day.  Throw in the Wednesday and Thursday night contests, and we now have relevant football six out of seven days of the week! There are some things you should know going in though.  Welcome, to my NCAA rundown to prep you for having a successful season!

****Pick a Slate****

If you’re anything like me, when trying to juggle DFS, a wife, research, a wife, writing articles, a wife, producing videos, and a wife, it becomes a little overwhelming and you start to miss things.  I am guilty of doing far too many times than I care to admit.  In order to stay focused and not become overwhelmed for CFB, we need to pick a slate and stick to it.  Remember, there are over 120 NCAA FBS teams, and that’s a lot of players.  Normally the sites will split up a full Saturday of action into groups.  Pick one that you like, and attack it head on.  It creates tunnel vision, which should allow you to not become overwhelmed and confuse things.  It sounds basic, but with the growing money in the DFS industry, sharper players are going to be banking on CFB rookies getting in over there head and not being able to apply themselves.  Start your research early.

****Know the Depth Chart***

I make excel spreadsheets of every depth chart.  Not because I refer back to it often,although I do, but so I have at least read every possible player that I can to myself out loud.  There’s nothing worse when doing your research and seeing something jump out at you and only seeing it for the first time.  There is an extreme advantage on knowing who the 4th receiver is on Western Kentucky tomorrow night because the casual player, unless they follow WKU, won’t have any idea who Nicholas Norris is and why he could be worth a look in GPP’s.  Know your depth charts of the teams on the slate.  Put them in a spreadsheet and add some notes with it.  In two weeks, when WKU is back in the slate you’ve chose for that weekend, you have that to refer back too.  As the season goes on, you just keep adding to it.

****Preparing for Points****

If you’ve watched any CFB, you know that all talent isn’t the same.  There is an extreme difference in overall talent between Alabama and Bowling Green.  The good thing is that we don’t have to worry about defenses when doing our research.  The bad thing is that even the top defenses in the country, allow 300+ yards a game.  CFB is like the NFL on Red Bull.  Don’t Blink! You will miss five touchdowns really quick!

Get used to it though, different schools run different types of offenses.  Florida State runs more of a pro style offense, while Washington State will throw the ball 60 times a game and not blink an eye.  Maximize this.  One of the biggest things to look at is offensive pace.  How many offensive plays do they run per game?  The more plays my players are on the field for, the more fantasy points they have the potential of scoring.

****Know the Vegas Spread****

This becomes a little redundant when we talk about the basics of each sport.  There is a difference when it comes to CFB though.  If you have a team that is 25+ point favorites, look a little deeper in the RB depth chart from that team.  If it looks like he gets “garbage time” points, he will go lower owned in GPP’s because of the Vegas total.  There were times last year where the starter of teams didn’t produce a lot of fantasy points, and didn’t play in the second half of games due to blowouts.  Someone still has to get those points.  Knowing your depth chart, and not being scared to take a chance in GPP’s with teams that have large spreads, will allow you to take advantage of the lower ownership, at a cheaper price tag, and still have production.

****Profit with Tulsa****

Okay, not really just with Tulsa, but all small schools.  I don’t just use Tulsa because they are in my backyard, they have the smallest enrollment out of any NCAA FBS school in the country.  They also just hired Phillip Montgomery as their new head coach.  WHO??  Sorry.  Let me explain.  In case you didn’t know, Phillip Montgomery was the Offensive Coordinator at Baylor when RGIII and  Bryce Petty put up video game numbers.  He also had a quarterback in Houston by the name of Kevin Kolb.  He now takes that offense to Tulsa, where he has promised to go fast.  There is a lot of fantasy goodness there, and by knowing your small schools, you can profit tremendously.  Smaller FBS schools don’t have the depth at the skill positions that bigger schools do.  Nor the talent.  They stay in the game a lot longer because of that.  They are trying to move up the rankings to get better bowl games to get more money for their program so they will run up the score as often as they can.  CFB coverage a lot of times is limited to the Power 5 conferences and the four team playoff.  Don’t fall into that trap.

****QB Drama****

There are three types of QB’s in CFB.  The one you want to find whenever you can is your Hybrid QB.  This would be your Marcus Marriota, RGIII, Michael Vick types.  They can pass, run the read option, and when things break down, swing the “Juke” stick every which way like they were being controlled by your 12 year old self at a sleepover.  These are your most dynamic players in the country, and there are more of them out there than you realize.  They have the ability to score the most points on a weekly basis.  The next is your Fun & Gun QB.  These are your QB that are going to throw the ball all over the yard and again, put up massive numbers.  Look for schools switching offenses as well.  QB’s that have a stereotype built in from last year that are switching to fantasy friendly offenses are going to go under owned at the beginning of the year.  The last, is your option QB.  Navy, Air Force, and Georgia Tech all run versions of the option offense.  These QB’s go very low owned, and with good reason.  It’s extremely difficult to project the type of game they are going to have.  They could run for 25 yards and 1 TD, but they are seen running all over the field.  With option style QB’s, as soon as they pitch it, they lose all yards gained.  It now goes to the RB.  Usually about two or three times a year though, they go off for 200 yards and 3 TD’s with 120 yards passing and 2 TD’s in the air.  Be on the lookout for these opportunities and don’t be afraid to go against the heard in GPP’s to get the lower ownership.

****Adapt to the landscape****

As always, with every sport, you have to be able to take in all of the information and adapt.  Keep learning, and keep adjusting.  Even more with CFB than with any other sport, we are dealing with humans.  Now we’re dealing with 18-20 year old college students.  We never know if they were out the night before at a party, or if their girlfriend broke up with them that morning, and how it will effect their performance.  Find the beat writers on twitter and be able to adapt to the news that you see.  Even when doing this, we are all sure to get burned this year at some point.  It’s the nature of college.  You never know what is happening a lot of times.

Here’s to a profitable CFB DFS Season!!