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It’s Week 9 of the college football season, which is not only amazing (seriously, how are we nine weeks into the season already?), but also a bit frustrating for most college football fans. Simply put, a lot of fans are wondering one simple thing: How are we so many weeks into the season, with so few meaningful games on the schedule?
It’s a question that will plague historians for years to come, but while everyone is already bummed about Week 9, and already looking forward to Week 10 (hello, Florida State-Clemson and LSU-Alabama) I’m feeling like Rihanna entering the weekend: All I see is signs. All I see is dollar signs.
Ok, so maybe that was a little bit cheesy, but with such little focus on the college football world this week, what better opportunity to make some cash playing DraftKings? There won’t be one. So take advantage.
As always, here is our Week 9 preview, and for those of you who have never played before, here are the details:
– Free for new users or $3 to enter
– Only 200 spots so join quickly!
– $600 in prizes
– First place wins $200
– Top 44 scores win money guaranteed
– Starts Sunday, November 1st at 1:00 PM EST
– Salary Cap Style Drafting. $50,000 to select 9 spots. 8 players and 1 defense.
– Roster Format: 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 Flex and 1 Defense
And here is who I’m picking this weekend.
Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma ($8,400)
Under normal circumstances, there’d be a zero percent chance I’d wager on any Oklahoma player in any seemingly meaningless, easily winnable game late in the season.
Honestly, how many times has this exact scenario ended in heartbreak before?
You all know the scenario I’m talking about, right? The Sooners enter a random late-season game as a heavy double-digit favorite. They come out flatter than Kliff Kingsbury’s glorious six-pack (oh, it’s real. And it’s spectacular). They turn the ball over a few times early. A third turnover forces Bob Stoops to fidget with his visor and scream into his headset as his lower chin starts jiggling, and gives every viewer in America motion sickness.
Then the Sooners come out of halftime, gain momentum, take the lead and look ready to put the opponent away until all of a sudden an undersized, 6’1, 260 lb. defensive lineman who will definitely be working at Enterprise in a year makes a big tackle for loss, stuffing OU on a crucial third down. Next thing you know, the Sooners are clinging to a 14-10 lead, and you’re screaming at the TV, “Why the hell did I pick Oklahoma?” while your dog hides under the bed.
Again, we’ve all been there. But this time, I think it’s going to be different.
For starters, this isn’t the same Oklahoma team we’ve seen in years past. When they lost to Texas three weeks ago, it seemed like the inevitable late-season Oklahoma swoon that we’ve all grown to know and love was upon us… but instead, it proved to be the opposite. Since then, the Sooners are playing their best football in years, outscoring their last two opponents 118-27. Meanwhile Mayfield has proven to be remarkably steady (seven TD’s, a 71 percent completion percentage in those two games) and he might just be going against the worst defense he’ll see all year.
Kansas gives up an average of 318 passing yards a game, including over 9.1 yards per completion… both the worst marks in the Big XI, meaning that if there were ever a game where the Sooners break their late-season trends and blow out an opponent, this is it.
Josh Rosen, UCLA ($7,600)
Let’s play a little game.
Say you’re the star quarterback at a major university. Say you’re coming off the performance of a lifetime which put you in the national headlines. Then say, the next day you made even bigger national headlines for putting a hot tub in your dorm room, which is not only a chick magnet, but makes you the single coolest college football player since Johnny Manziel.
Then, just as you’re riding this high, school officials made you take that hot tub out, since it is almost certainly a health code violation. Say all that happened to you in the span of like 10 days. Well, that was Josh Rosen’s last week. And after that hot tub time machine was removed from his dorm room, you don’t think he’s going to be pissed when UCLA plays Colorado this weekend?
I think he is.
And I also think he is so fired up, Rosen comes out and throws for something insane like 500 yards and five TD’s, while gushing announcers simply refer to the performance as “The Hot Tub Game” for years to come.
It’s going to be historic.
And when some idiot like me spends six months working on a 10,000 word oral history of “The Hot Tub Game” 10 years from now, how will you remember that game?
Will you remember it as the game that made you rich?
Or will you remember it as the day you lost millions, because you didn’t listen to Torres in his DraftKings weekly preview?
The ball is in your court, my friend.
Soso Jamabo, UCLA ($5,300)
Speaking of “The Hot Tub” game (don’t you just love how I’ve already made that a thing?), there are a few things we know about UCLA’s running game going into Saturday: Paul Perkins is hurt. When Paul Perkins got hurt last week, Soso Jamabo stepped into his place. When Soso Jamabo stepped into his place, he had the best performance of his career, rushing for 79 yards on 18 carries.
Given that Jamabo will once again receive the bulk of the Bruins’ carries, and given that Colorado is probably a little bit too emotional coming off their first Pac-12 win in nearly three years, I’m thinking UCLA wins big, and Jamabo once again has the best numbers of his career.
And since I have nothing else to say about Jamabo as it pertains to this weekend’s game, let’s once again remember this spectacular tweet he sent out the day he committed to UCLA.
(And yes, I know the tweet was in reference to some rap lyrics. I don’t care. It was awesome)
Ronald Jones II, USC ($4,200)
Speaking of true freshmen running backs in the Pac 12, Jones has basically become USC’s equivalent of Jamabo… only without all the big-time recruiting hype, and very public, ahem, interests in the opposite sex.
Jones rushed for 73 yards two weeks ago against Notre Dame… in a game where Clay Helton immediately said that he regretted not getting him more touches. Then Helton followed it up by, you know, actually giving him more touches, and Jones responded by rushing for another 78 yards and a touchdown last week against Utah.
While USC has veterans on their roster like Tre Madden (still dealing with a lingering injury) and Justin Davis, the simple truth is that Jones has been their best back the last few weeks. And with Helton coaching for his job, he has no choice but to get his best back as many touches as possible.
Add in the fact that USC will probably try to keep the ball on the ground more this week against Cal, and keep the ball out of Jared Goff’s hands, and this feels like it could be a huge performance for Jones.
Geronimo Allison, Illinois ($5,100)
When it comes to Daily Fantasy college football, I have three rules that I’ve abided by for years (and by “years,” I mean “the last nine weeks”)
1. Always start as many guys as you can who are facing Texas Tech’s defense.
2. Always start any running back who is playing UMass (as covered in last week’s preview)
3. And never miss the opportunity to put someone named “Geronimo” in your lineup… especially when that guy named Geronimo has had at least eight catches, for at least 90 yards in each of the last four games.
Also keep in mind that for all the talk about how good Penn State’s defense has been (and it has been good) they’ve faced just one team all year ranked in the Top 40 nationally in passing offense.
Playing a pass happy Illinois team, in a noon kickoff, after back-to-back emotional weeks (at Ohio State, neutral site game against Maryland) think there’s a chance the Nittany Lions come out a little flat Saturday?
Alex Erickson, Wisconsin ($5,200)
You know what the great thing about playing Daily Fantasy (and gambling in general) is? You get to pay a little too much attention to games that you otherwise wouldn’t normally care about.
Take for example, Rutgers and Wisconsin.
If you weren’t gambling on this game, and didn’t have Alex Erickson in your starting lineup, you’d probably flip on your TV Saturday afternoon, forget this game was on, see a score sometime around 7 p.m. and think to yourself “Rutgers? Wait, did they fire their coach at halftime of the Ohio State game last week? Or did I totally make that up.” Then you’d spend the next 10 minutes Googling, “Rutgers fired coach” only to find out that he hadn’t in fact been fired, before going back to watching more important games.
Again that’s what would happen. But thankfully that won’t be an issue.
Instead, you’re going to have Erickson in your lineup this week, Wisconsin is going to be up 41-7 and driving late in the fourth quarter, and you’re going to be anxiously stuck on the Big Ten Network, praying that whoever is the Badgers’ backup quarterback finds Erickson in the corner of the end zone to pick you up a few extra points in Daily Fantasy.
That’s what’s going to happen, to which I ask: Isn’t gambling great?
(Also, since I gave you no factual evidence on why I am adding Erickson to my lineup this week, here goes: He has 26 catches in his last three games, including a touchdown last week against Illinois. Not to mention that, oh by the way, Rutgers is the 124th ranked pass defense in college football, and is going on the road, with a lame duck coach, just one week after getting their brains beat in by Ohio State.)
Nelson Spruce, Colorado ($5,500)
Look, I’ll be blunt: I know nothing about Spruce, other than that he is far and away Colorado’s best receiver, and that he is also one of Fox Sports’ college football analyst Joel Klatt’s favorite players in college football.
Considering that Joel Klatt forgot more about college football yesterday than I’ll know in my life, I’ve been playing Spruce in Daily Fantasy every chance I get. And last week he came through for me with a six catch, 60 yard performance, with a touchdown thrown in for good measure.
I’m not quite sure that he’ll put up quite those numbers this week against UCLA.
But I also know that in the famed “Hot Tub Game” the Bruins are going to jump out early, and Colorado will have no choice but to pass the ball the rest of the game.
At best, I’m a genius, and Spruce picks up a bunch of yards and touchdowns for us.
At worst, Spruce picks up some garbage time yards against UCLA’s third string defense as Josh Rosen goes down as a legend for his 500 yard, five TD performance in “The Hot Tub Game.”
Either way, you’re a winner as long as you have Spruce (and Rosen) in your lineup.
David Glidden, Oklahoma State ($5,000)
I have three thoughts, and three thoughts only on this game.
1. Always start as many guys as you can who are facing Texas Tech
2. Glidden has been Oklahoma State’s most consistent receiver all season
3. Always start as many guys as you can who are facing Texas Tech
And as Forrest Gump once said, “That’s all I have to say about that.”
Ramadi Warren, Tulsa ($3,700)
Had I heard of Warren 10 minutes before I started this article? No.
Is that stopping me from naming him my stone-cold, rock-solid, (still looking for sponsorship) can’t miss, steal of the week? Absolutely not.
Here are the facts on Warren: His Tulsa squad is facing SMU, one of the worst rushing defenses in college football this weekend, and Warren is in line to get the bulk of his team’s carries with Zack Langer still nursing a hamstring injury.
If Langer is somehow healthy enough to go by Saturday morning, I may change this pick.
But for now, Warren is my stone-cold, rock-solid, (still looking for sponsorship) can’t miss, steal of the week.
Happy drafting everyone!