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It's hard to be annoyed after a solid slate of Week 12 DFS plays -- yet here we are.
For all the excitement that came from guys like Nakia Watson (25.6 points) and Dallan Hayden (38.6 points) being absolute smashes last week, it's the annoyance of finding out Samuel Brown wasn't playing that really stands out. Brown's absence, which wasn't revealed until after kickoff, came completely out of nowhere and left several DFS players in shock when their player was inexplicably sidelined.
One of the more overarching issues with the legalization of sports gambling and growing popularity in college football DFS is the fact that coaches and staff are allowed to share little to no information on their team/player if they so desire. Will this change in the future? It's perhaps too early to tell. It will probably take thousands of bettors getting burnt on a bet by a national powerhouse's failure to disclose key information to get the ball rolling, but we'll see.
Even announcing inactives 90 minutes before kickoff would be a start.
Not everybody will agree with my statement. Most may not even care. But I'd like to think those investing time to read my weekly article may at least care a little about college football's lack of transparency in this new age of college football.
Nevertheless, I can't complain about the overall outcome of several of my plays. While my wide receivers both flopped, both quarterbacks and two of three running backs going off for big days is about as fun as it gets. With rivalry week officially on hand, let's have a look at an exciting slate of Week 13 plays.
The Play Rates
Quarterback Rush Attempts
Mispriced Player of the Week
Tavion Thomas, RB (Utah)
DraftKings PriceP $6,100
The only thing stopping Tavion Thomas from going off this weekend against Colorado is head coach Kyle Whittingham. Currently, the Utes are favored by 29.5 points against the one-win Buffaloes, which should allow Thomas (142-687-7) multiple opportunities to batter a defense that should be wildly overmatched.
Thomas has seen a steep drop from his 2021 production where he rushed 204 times for 1,108 yards and 21 touchdowns, but the junior running back still has twice as many carries as backup Micah Bernard (73-303-2) and is averaging over 70 yards from scrimmage per game. Against a porous Stanford run defense, Thomas broke out for a season-high 180 yards and two touchdowns and should have a chance to do something similar against a Colorado defense that's allowing the most rushing yards per game (232.5) in the nation.
Tripling his Week 13 salary won't be an easy task for Thomas, who would need 18.3 points for that to happen -- but it's not farfetched to think he could hit that number and much more on Saturday.
It only took until Week 13 of the college football season for the folks at DraftKings to welcome James Madison to the Saturday main slate. The Dukes have had an exciting start to their FBS tenure, getting off to a 7-3 start while ranking as one of the top teams in the nation in several categories.
Transfer quarterback Todd Centeio, who came over from Colorado State at the end of last season, has thrown for 2,410 yards, 21 touchdowns and five interceptions while adding another 368 yards and six scores on the ground. His 28.9 fantasy points per game on DraftKings are good for the third-most of any quarterback on this week's slate. His $5,800 price, however, makes him just the 40th most expensive quarterback on the slate.
Closing the regular season at home, Centeio and the Dukes welcome a 9-1 Coastal Carolina team that will be without starting quarterback Grayson McCall. In their last two games without McCall. JMU's stout defense, which is allowing the 14th-fewest yards per game in the nation (299.9) will try to take advantage of a backup quarterback and give Centeio plenty of opportunities to hang points on a Chanticleers team that's allowing 26.9 points per game.
Among qualified quarterbacks per PFF, Centeio ranks fifth in the nation in yards per attempt (9.4) and is tied for 20th in big-time throws (20). As you might expect, his deep ball has played a prominent role in JMU's passing game, as he's completed 24-of-55 deep passes for 710 yards and nine touchdowns.
Coastal Carolina is allowing the 14th-most passing yards per game (276.8) to opposing offenses this season, and is allowing the seventh-highest YPA at 8.5. Playing at home, Centeio should have plenty of opportunities to torch the Chanticleers for a few big gains, and wouldn't need much to pay off at his $5,800 price tag.
Sean Clifford, QB (Penn State)
DraftKings Price: $7,100
Touting Sean Clifford is one of my least favorite things to do. But in what will likely be his final home game at Penn State, Clifford has a chance to go out on top against a bad Michigan State defense. Last season on the road against Michigan State Clifford threw for 313 yards and three touchdowns but fell 30-27 in a snowy East Lansing.
Now, with revenge likely on his mind, Clifford and company will look to torch a Sparty defense that's allowing 236.8 passing yards per game and has allowed three 300+ yard passing games on the season.
Per usual, Clifford isn't blowing away opposing defenses with his arm, but he's had four games with three or more touchdowns on the season, and offers a little additional upside as a rusher. He's averaging 19.3 fantasy points per game on DraftKings, and would need 21.3 points to triple his salary on the weekend. Those interested in stacking Clifford can pair him with Mitchell Tinsley ($6,100), the most expensive PSU receiver on the slate. Tight end Brenton Strange ($4,600) is another worthwhile dart throw, although Strange will likely need to score to pay off at his price. However, the redshirt junior has caught 30-of-36 targets for 345 yards and five scores on the season.
Larry McCammon III, RB (Florida Atlantic)
DraftKings Price: $4,800
FAU plays host to Western Kentucky to close out the season as one of the more run-heavy teams on the slate (FAU) aims to slow down the pass-happy Hilltoppers (60.9% pass rate). To do this, running back Larry McCammon (177-878-5) could be asked to shoulder the load -- as has been the case for much. McCammon's 177 carries are nearly double that of backup running back Zuberi Mobley (95-509-3), while quarterback N'Kosi Perry (50-307-6) has also played a key role in FAU's rushing attack.
McCammon hasn't been the most consistent of backs on the season, with three 100+ yard games on his resumé to go with another three games where he was held under 50 yards. The Owls currently sit as seven-point home dogs but have a chance to keep this one close and stick to what they do best. Western Kentucky is allowing 154.0 rushing yards per game to go with 1.3 rushing touchdowns per game while the Owls rank near the middle of the pack in yards allowed per play at 7.3.
With a projected total that currently sits at 61 points, oddsmakers like this game to turn into a high-scoring affair. If that holds, McCammon should be able to manage at least one score while returning solid value at a relatively low price.
Kris Thornton, WR (James Madison)
DraftKings Price: $6,200
If you're going to roll with Centeio you might as well run it back with his No. 1 receiver. Kris Thornton is averaging 20.7 fantasy points per game on DraftKings -- the third-most of any receiver on the slate -- but like Centeio, is priced like a run-of-the-mill player.
Thornton, who leads the Dukes with 54 receptions for 918 yards and seven touchdowns, is tops on the team in targets (83) by a mile, with the next closest player being Reggie Brown with 38 targets. We mentioned Centeio's impressive yards per attempt average, which aligns perfectly with his receivers' aDOTs. JMU's four-leading receivers in targets all have aDOTs of 11.6 yards or higher, with Thornton (who has seen 80% of his snaps come in the slot) ranking second with a 14.2 aDOT.
At 5-foot-8, 180-pounds, Thornton has turned out some big games for the Dukes. He's gone for 100+ yards in five of 10 games this season and tends to score in bunches. He's found the end zone in just three games all season, but has scored two touchdowns twice, and opened the season against Middle Tennessee with a three-touchdown game.
Of course, if you're interested in making a cheap, galaxy-brained play off of Thornton, you can consider Terrance Greene ($3,800). A true "boom-or-bust" player, Greene has seen five or more targets in three games this season and has three games with 60+ yards. He also has two touchdowns to his name. Greene is more than capable of breaking off a big gain and is averaging a solid 8.2 YAC/REC on the season.