By AFriedman15 – Aaron Friedman researches and writes college football articles for DFS Army. Aaron is a lifelong resident of the Chicago suburbs and a Northwestern alum and football season ticket holder. College football was Aaron’s first DFS sport and he was thrilled to see it return in 2018. He believes that the thrill, pageantry, and the importance of every game are unparalleled in sports. Aaron enjoys betting on the games and watching everything from #Pac12AfterDark to #MACtion, and especially enjoys the Tuesday-Friday games with so much happening on Saturdays. In real life, Aaron is an IT analyst and with his wife, is the parent to three small dogs. Find Aaron on Twitter at @AFriedman15DFS.
2019 CFP National Championship Overview and Notes:
It all comes down to this. On Monday, January 7, 2019, Alabama and Clemson will meet for the for the 2019 CFB National Championship game. Alabama and Clemson meet in the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season, with three of the four meetings being national championship game. The winner will be the first 15-0 team in college football since the 1897 Penn Quakers.
Alabama sits as a 5-point favorite with an over/under of 58.5. The implied team totals are Alabama 31.75, Clemson 26.75.
DraftKings and Fan Duel Pricing Structures:
In general, I like looking at the DraftKings and FanDuel pricing structures to try to take advantage of the pricing on each site. Even if you only play one of the sites, there is value to seeing the pricing across the industry. Here is a pricing grid of the player pricing between the two sites.
Team Depth Charts:
Allright, let’s dig into the FanDuel and DraftKings Single Game writeups!
FanDuel Overview and Picks:
Like Kevin does in his single game podcasts, I do think it’s easier to start with FanDuel as you do not have to deal with the pricing multiplier that DK enforces and the accompanying strategy that goes with it. For MVP, we are literally looking for the highest scorer on the slate.
- My highest exposure MVP will be Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa ($16,000). On betting site myBookie, you can place over/unders on Tua’s player props, which are 21.5 completions, 29.5 attempts, 279.5 yards, and 2.5 TDs, so I am expecting Tua to contend for the high scorer on the slate.
- I do think Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence ($15,500) will garner significantly less ownership with the two QBs at virtually identical prices. Lawrence could easily contend for high scorer, so I will definitely be making some “Lawrence” lineups too.
- The best RB on the slate is Clemson RB Travis Etienne ($14,000), albeit, likely facing his hardest matchup of the season. Etienne rushed for 190-1572-23 on the season, and 14-109-1 last week versus Notre Dame.
- With no pricing multiplier, I don’t see a need to play any of the Alabama RBs in the MVP position.
- Generally speaking, there is extremely minimal possibilities that a WR will be the top scorer, so there is no incentive to have a WR as the MVP.
- All three MVP candidates are viable in flex as well, if they are not already in the MVP position.
- After a very good game last week, Alabama RB Josh Jacobs (109-593-11)has been priced up to $13,000. I like him a lot as a talent, but I am reluctant to pay that much for a piece of the Alabama backfield. That could come back to bite me, so I’ll probably have him in a couple lineups but I’ll probably be underweight compared to the field. Alabama RB Damien Harris (139-819-9) is the starter at $11,000 and has led the team in rushes and you get a discount of $2,000.
- I love Alabama WR Jerry Jeudy here at $12,500. He is by far the most reliable receiver for Alabama and he doesn’t feel like too much of a spend up from Ruggs III ($11,500) or Devonta Smith ($11,000).
- Clemson WR Tee Higgins (56-855-11) is the top stack play with Lawrence. He is the Tigers leading receiver. A GPP pivot to Higgins is Clemson WR Justyn Ross (40-847-8), a stud freshman, who is somewhat priced up based off of a career-game last week vs. Notre Dame (6-148-2).
- Alabama TE Irv Smith Jr. is one of my favorite plays on DK (read more below), and I think he will be drastically underowned on FD, sitting at an awkward $10,000.
- Alabama WR Jaylen Waddle will be more popular in this mid-tier range. I like him a lot too. Waddle is $4,600, compared to Irv at $3,600, so the DK algorithm values Waddle over Smith for what that’s worth.
- Alabama RB Najee Harris went to high school in Antioch, California, about an hour away from Levi’s Stadium. It’s a little funny with the all of the press about the selection of Santa Clara as a host site and the travel expense and distance of the two schools and a bulk of the fan, yet Najee gets a homecoming experience. Renfroe is probably my preferred play in this range.
- Clemson WR Hunter Renfroe (2800 DK/7000 FD) had a career-low one touchdown on the season, but he is the most productive receiver in the history of the CFP with 35 catches and 5 TDs in 6 career CFP games. He is one of my favorite punts across the industry.
- Alabama QB Jalen Hurts ($6,000) might be the riskiest play on the slate, but I still find myself wanting some exposure, with him at minimum price. Against Oklahoma, he had one pass for 10 yards and one rush for 4 yards for a whopping 2.7 DK FP. But in the Georgia game, he went for 16.1 DK FP filling in for Tua. Will the Crimson Tide have some special plays for Hurts in possibly his last game with the Crimson Tide? Hurts is an FD only play as he is priced way too high for DK consideration.
DraftKings Overview and Picks:
With DraftKings, there is a 1.5x pricing multiplier for captain, so there is merit to playing someone who will not be the high scorer, although I typically start my builds with the highest projected scorer.
- Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa would cost $18,000 as your captain, which seems like a lot but for comparison’s sake, Kyler Murray was $19,800 last week, in the same role. Tua is my favorite choice for captain. On betting site myBookie, you can place over/unders on Tua’s player props, which are 21.5 completions, 29.5 attempts, 279.5 yards, and 2.5 TDs.
- In comparison, Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence’s props are 20/34.5, 230.5 yards, and 1.5 TDs, which is still very good, and I will want some captain shares of Lawrence if multi-entering. The true freshman, put up 28.7 DK FP last week, his second best effort on the season. There is a big step up from Notre Dame to Alabama, but I still would not be surprised to see him finish near 20 DK FP. However, Lawrence is a decidedly 2nd choice for captain to me.
- My third favorite captain choice is Alabama WR Jerry Jeudy, who offers a little salary relief, $5,000 cheaper than Tua. Jeudy led the team with 97 targets for 63 catches, 1176 yards, and 13 touchdowns, all of which led Bama. If Jeudy does well, and he has had few bad games, you can do well with Jeudy as captain and Tua in flex.
- My next favorite choice, and one I’d only use if entering 5 or more lineups is Alabama TE Irv Smith Jr (40-667-7), who in my opinion is drastically underpriced compared to his talent. Irv lines up in the backfield, in the slot, and his seperation and improved blocking skills will make him a starter at the next level. This is admittedly risky, but former Alabama TE OJ Howard torched Clemson for 8 catches 314 yards, 3 TDs in the first two Alabama-Clemson matchups. Both sides are different in Alabama-Clemson IV, but Smith is arguably the biggest matchup nightmare Clemson will have to worry about. The rest of the receiving core, Jeudy, Ruggs, Waddle, and Devonta Smith are all average to smaller build WRs and Smith at 6’4, 241 is by far the biggest receiver getting regular work.
- Lastly, I will have Clemson WR Hunter Renfroe (2800 DK/7000 FD) in my captain pool. I would only use him as a captain if you are had a career-low one touchdown on the season, but he is the most productive receiver in the history of the CFP with 35 catches and 5 TDs in 6 career CFP games.
- All of Tua, Lawrence, Jeudy, Irv, and Renfroe are viable in the UTIL positions, if you are not using them in the captain’s position.
- Irv and Renfroe are my favorite value plays.
- Clemson RB Travis Etienne ($10,400) is a strong play. He has basically crushed regardless of game-script, so you can play him regardless of the other pieces in your lineups.
- I like Alabama RB Josh Jacobs better on DK than FD. $8,000 on FD seems like a fair price given his floor. Jacobs is only $1,600 more expensive than Damien Harris on DK compared to $2,000 more expensive on FD. I find it significantly easier to find the extra $1,600 on DK, where $2,000 on FD is somewhat of a substantial hit.
- Both of the Clemson receivers Higgins and Ross are strong plays with Lawrence or as a comeback with a Tua lineup. Clemson WR Tee Higgins (56-855-11) is the top stack play with Lawrence. He is the Tigers leading receiver. A GPP pivot to Higgins is Clemson WR Justyn Ross (40-847-8), a stud freshman, who is somewhat priced up based off of a career-game last week vs. Notre Dame(6-148-2)
- The kickers are okay. I find myself wanting to take a shot on someone with more upside like Waddle, Irv or Renfroe.