College Football DFS Showdown Strategy, Picks & Predictions for Virginia vs. Miami (Thursday, Sept. 30)
Samuel Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Miami Hurricanes running back Cam’Ron Harris (23).
Thursday CFB DFS Breakdown
Showdown Strategy for Virginia vs. Miami
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Our friends at theCFFsite have provided their CFB DFS Showdown breakdown for Thursday night’s ACC matchup between the Virginia Cavaliers and Miami Hurricanes (7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN).
College fantasy football die-hards, CFB DFS players and college football player props degenerates should all glean expert insight and analysis from this DFS Showdown Slate breakdown to help you make some money on Thursday evening.
Player DFS salaries are listed (in parentheses) on first reference. DraftKings DFS pricing is denoted in green; FanDuel DFS pricing is denoted in blue.
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-105o / -115u
To Captain, or Not To Captain?
Brennan Armstrong ($17,700 / $17,500) is obviously a lock in our lineups; but, the real question is whether to slot him in as the Captain or not.
This matchup clearly favors Armstrong. The Hurricanes defense ranks 93rd against the pass, conceding 246 yards and 28.1 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season.
With literally no running game to speak of, the Cavaliers offense falls on Armstrong’s shoulders. As a result, Armstrong ranks second in pass attempts per game (45.0) and leads the Cavs with 9.25 carries per game.
Fade Cavaliers Running Backs
I have zero interest in the Cavaliers running backs, because Virginia is patently disinterested in running the football.
Cavaliers RB1 Wayne Taulapapa ($9,300 / $7,500) was seen fully dressed at practice after missing the team’s last contest. Nonetheless, both Taulapapa and Mike Hollins ($7,500 / $7,000) are priced too highly for running backs that average fewer than six carries a game and have no involvement in the passing offense.
Target Virginia’s Passing Offense for Game Stacks
The combination of Armstrong’s usage and Virginia’s 6-point underdog status indicates that we want to stack the Virginia passing game if possible.
As of Tuesday, there have been no official updates regarding Virginia tight end Jelani Woods ($8,700 / $10,000), who was seen in a walking boot around his foot/ankle area. Monitor his status leading up to kickoff.
Primary Receiving Options
Dontayvion Wicks ($14,100 / $13,500) posted back-to-back games of 100 receiving yards or more. He has also scored four touchdowns in the last three games. Wicks remains the team’s big-play threat with an Average Depth of Target (aDOT) of 19.7 yards.
Billy Kemp IV ($11,100 / $11,500) has earned double-digit targets in consecutive games but suffered a case of the drops (2) against Wake Forest in Week 4.
Ra’Shaun Henry ($6,300 / $8,500) lost his cool late in the game vs. Wake Forest with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. That notwithstanding, Henry has 19 targets in the last two games and played the most snaps of any Cavaliers wide receiver vs. Wake Forest.
Secondary & Dart Throw Options
Among Virginia’s secondary options in the passing game, tight end Grant Misch ($1,500 / $6,000) stands out due to his team snap share. Milsch was in on 51-of-90 snaps in Week 4 and received a season-high three targets in place of Woods.
Six-foot-four freshman Malachi Fields ($1,500 / $6,000) has seen his snap counts increase over the last two games and has six targets during that span. However, I’m not certain that he would see the field in a competitive matchup.
Keytaon Thompson ($8,100 / $9,500) is probably eliminated from the player pool after suffering a broken hand against North Carolina. Thompson played with a cast on his hand last week and his snap counts (40) didn’t dip as much as expected. However, his reduced productivity was noticeable: Thompson logged only two catches on three targets.
-105o / -115u
Will Quarterback D’Eriq King Suit Up?
As of writing, we don’t have official word on whether or not D’Eriq King ($16,200 / $16,000) will play against Virginia, but it sounds like he will not be available.
So, we plan for the alternative of Tyler Van Dyke ($15,600 / $11,000) getting the nod on Thursday, although it should not surprise anyone if we also see freshman Jake Garcia ($15,300 / $11,000) since the two were deadlocked following camp in the race for the backup quarterback job.
Both players looked up to the task against Central Connecticut State last weekend, combining for 417 yards and more touchdown passes (five) than incompletions (four).
Whoever starts for Miami will get a favorable matchup against a UVA pass defense that has allowed eight passing touchdowns in the last two games alone and is 94th in Pass Play Success Rate.
Cavaliers Run Defense is Vulnerable
As bad as the pass defense has been of late, Virginia has been arguably worse at defending the run, allowing nearly 400 yards to North Carolina in Week 3 and 203 yards last week to Wake Forest.
Sophomore Jaylan Knighton ($6,600 / $7,500) will return to the lineup after missing the first month due to suspension, but how ready will he be in terms of conditioning?
Backups Cody Brown ($4,500 / $7,000) and Thaddius Franklin Jr. ($3,300 / $6,500) saw extended work against CCSU, combining for over 160 yards and three touchdowns, but that was a chance for Manny Diaz to get a look at Miami’s future (if he’s even around for it).
My expectation is that we see a heavy dosage of starter Cam’Ron Harris ($14,700 / $10,500) as played 88 of 90 snaps in the Hurricanes’ last competitive game.
No guarantees Harris or any other back will take advantage of the UVA defense as Miami. Is 125th in Stuff Rate, 124th in Line Yards and 97th in Rush Play Success Rate.
Eight different receivers saw 17 or more snaps last week, and while I think this staff will try to see some of the younger players more as the season goes along, we should get back to the normal rotations of Mike Harley ($10,200 / $9,000) and Charleston Rambo ($12,600 / $13,000) as we saw the first three games.
Is Key’Shawn Smith’s Job as Miami’s WR3 in Peril?
As for who that third WR will be, is Key’Shawn Smith’s ($7,200 / $7,500) starting job in a bit of jeopardy?
Smith played a decent amount against Central Connecticut State, but he didn’t have a single target while his backup Romello Brinson ($2,100 / $6,000) had the No. 1 play on SportsCenter following his Odell Beckham Jr.-like one-handed touchdown grab in the end zone.
Brinson’s snap counts increased between Weeks 2 and 3. He played a fairly significant amount against Michigan State and then saw season highs last week.
Sneaky Captain Option at Tight End?
Tight end Will Mallory ($3,900 / $7,000) has not had the season to date that we expected of him with just eight receptions on 12 targets, but you can formulate some really interesting lineups with him in the captain slot for someone that plays three-quarters of games.
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