The Week 10 DraftKings early slate features 15 games, 14 of which have a total of at least 54 points. Texas Tech-West Virginia checks in with the highest total, hovering around 80, while TCU-Oklahoma State and Cincinnati-Houston are both over 70. Four other games are coming in with at least 60 points, giving daily fantasy players plenty of stacking opportunities. It's a slate where winners will need big points to finish in the money.
Chad Kelly, Ole Miss (vs. Arkansas) - $6,700
In this content, 17 of the 30 starting quarterbacks are priced higher than the average cost per player. While that's not unusual, Kelly seems like the lowest-priced option in an imaginary upper tier capable of big production. He's thrown for 372 yards or more in three of his last four games, and while interceptions remain a problem, the matchup couldn't be more inviting. The Razorbacks rank 115th against the pass, allowing 273 yards per game and just surrendered 380 to Tennessee-Martin.
C.J. Beathard, Iowa (at Indiana) - $5,500
When looking for quarterback bargains, no strategy has proved better than checking the Hoosiers' opponent. Indiana ranks last against the pass, allowing 342.1 yards a game. The Hooisers have surrendered at last three touchdowns in five of eight games, including their last two outings against Michigan State and Rutgers. Neither of those offenses are known for their aerial assaults, which seemingly bodes well for Beathard on Saturday. Beathard has only topped 200 yards once in his last four games and hasn't scored in his last two, so there's clearly some risk involved. But it appears to be calculated risk.
Others to consider: Gunner Kiel, Cincinnati (at Houston) - $7,100; Thomas Sirk, Duke (at North Carolina) - $6,700; Nick Mitchell, Oregon State (vs. UCLA) - $4,700
Mikel Horton, Kentucky (at Georgia) - $4,100
Horton seems likely to step in as the Wildcats' workhorse Saturday with Stanley Williams dealing with a shoulder injury. He had 109 yards on 14 carries last week, and Georgia has allowed at least 174 yards in four of five SEC games.
Storm Barrs-Woods, Oregon State (vs. UCLA) - $3,500
The running-back pool isn't overly inviting this week, seemingly down a bit due to injuries and the inclusion of so many pass-happy attacks. Barrs-Woods has done little to instill confidence, rushing 28 times for 111 yards in his last four games. That insures he won't be on many rosters this week. But the Bruins rank 109th against the run, allowing 208.6 yards per game, holding only California under 192 yards in five conference games. And with Beavers' backup quarterback Nick Mitchell set to make his second straight start, it seems reasonable to expect a run-dominated attack.
Jela Duncan, Duke (at North Carolina) - $3,200
When I first set out writing this column, Duncan was one of my favorite picks. But as I've composed, that feeling is fading some as I just don't trust the Blue Devils to do the right thing and feature him. In limited work, Duncan has brought a different attitude to the Duke backfield, running with power and aggression. He averages a robust 6.6 yards per carry but has not topped eight carries in five games since returning from injury. With the team's three-headed backfield trimmed to two this week due to the absence of Shaun Wilson ($3,500, leg), Duncan will share carries with only Shaquille Powell ($4,100). Powell hasn't averaged better than 3.8 yards per carry in four straight games. Meanwhile, the Tar Heels have allowed more than 200 yards rushing in five games to date.
Others to consider: Kalen Ballage, Arizona State (at Washington State) - $4,700; D'Angelo Brewer, Tulsa (vs. Central Florida) - $4,400
James Washington, Oklahoma State (vs. TCU) - $4,500
I must be missing something, because Washington appears too good to be true this week. He has 10 catches, 303 yards and three touchdowns in his last two games, is priced $1,000 less than the average per slot and is in a game with a total of 77. Expect Washington to appear on a lot of rosters this week.
Ryan Switzer, North Carolina (vs. Duke) - $4,200
Since going without a catch against Wake Forest, Switzer has 11 grabs for 163 yards in his last two games. He's a bit of a poor-man's Artavis Scott, as he does a lot of damage after the catch, but did get behind a Pittsburgh defense for a 71-yard strike a week ago. I like that the Tar Heels are feeding Swizer the ball, and that should continue against the Blue Devils this week. Duke ranks eighth nationally against the pass, but those numbers are a bit skewed due to games with North Carolina Central, Army and Northwestern. They've allowed 270 yards or more through the air in their last two, including last Saturday to Miami backup quarterback Malik Rosier, who routinely through deep passes over defenders.
Derrick Mitchell, Iowa (at Indiana) - $3,000
If you're buying into going against the Hoosiers' pass defense, the Hawkeyes' top receiver, Matt VandeBerg ($4,300), is certainly a better and safer pick. But Mitchell is an interesting option. He's listed at wide receiver in this contest but as a running back on the Hawkeyes roster. He's rushed for a touchdown in each of their last two games as the team's backfield has become a bit of a committee. Mitchell has added five catches in that span. While the volume is not high, his price is rock bottom, and at 212 pounds, a goal-line carry at a minimum can be expected.
Others to consider: Deon Cain, Clemson (vs. Florida State) - $3,400; Justin Hobbs, Tulsa (vs. Central Florida) - $4,800; Max McCaffrey, Duke (at North Carolina) - $4,100; Victor Bolden, Oregon State (vs. UCLA) - $4,100; Matt VandeBerg, Iowa (at Indiana) - $4,300; David Glidden, Oklahoma State (vs. TCU) - $4,400
This Week's Picks
QB – Trevone Boykin, TCU (at Oklahoma State) - $9,400
QB – Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech (at West Virginia) - $7,600
RB – Jela Duncan, Duke (at North Carolina) -$3,200
RB – Mikel Horton, Kentucky (vs. Georgia) - $4,100
WR – Shelton Gibson, West Virginia (vs. Texas Tech) - $5,500
WR – Deon Cain, Clemson (vs. Florida State) - $3,400
WR – Keyarris Garrett, Tulsa (vs. Central Florida) - $6,800
FLEX – James Washington, Oklahoma State (vs. TCU) - $4,500
FLEX – Dominique Williams, Washington State (vs. Arizona State) - $5,300
I'm officially done with bad quarterback play. While I've finished in the money to some degree more often than not, mediocre at best production from one of my two quarterbacks has been my season-long Achilles' heel.
The running back choices could change a bit, and I have $200 to play with. I don't love Garrett this week due to the likely blowout that will ensue, but he's $1,500 less than Josh Doctson, has the necessary upside to justify his cost and seems unlikely to be quiet two weeks in a row. Gibson has scored in all but one contest this season and has 302 yards more than the team's next leading receiver, suggesting he's underpriced in a game with a total of 80. Cain is quietly the Tigers second-leading receiver with 322 yards, 252 of which have come in his last three games. And Dominick Williams is a rock solid option weekly whose price appears to have fallen a bit thanks to a two-game scoreless streak.