With Thursday night college football just a two-game slate, your DFS lineups must be nearly perfect in order to cash out. With two matchups of high-octane offenses and stout defensive action, here’s who to target in your lineups on FanDuel.
Superflex: John Rhys Plumlee, QB, UCF ($12,500)
As good as the Temple defense is, they have yet to face a player quite like John Rhys Plumlee. The UCF quarterback has grown his game as a downfield passer in 2022 but still presents an unfair advantage with his legs. Temple will pressure Plumlee, that is without question, but Plumlee has shown time and time again that he’s special with the ball in his hands on the ground.
Expect Temple to spy Plumlee with a host of linebackers. With spying on Plumlee, the Owls will lose a coverage defender on the underneath routes. That opens up a big door for crossing routes and wide screens that get the ball in space. As such, UCF skill players are in play just as much as Plumlee is here.
QB: JT Daniels, West Virginia ($9,500)
JT Daniels was expected to put up big numbers in the West Virginia offense this season. He hasn’t quite lived up to the billing just yet, however. But much of that can be put on the incredible talent of CJ Donaldson Jr. who has forced WVU to carry it more because he deserves it. With Donaldson’s absence in the game against Baylor, expect to see a bit more air in the designed offense for WVU.
Daniels has a wealth of options to throw to and the Baylor defense showed a slight weakness on deep shots along the boundary against Oklahoma State. WVU’s screen game and short-area attack won’t work against Al Walcott so Daniels will have to bring his downfield accuracy on a clear Thursday night. He’s more than capable of doing such a thing.
RB: Isaiah Bowser, UCF ($9,500)
Back to the previous point about Plumlee, Isaiah Bowser represents a great option against what is a stout Temple defense. With the likelihood of a spy staying in to protect against Plumlee’s legs, this frees up Bowser for winnable matchups in space against outside backers or downhill safeties.
Bowser has enough power to overmatch the safeties and just enough juice to make the linebackers miss. Expect him to get a heavy dose of the carries in the red zone for scoring chances while also presenting a challenge on early downs as he keeps the UCF offense on schedule.
RB: Johnny Richardson, UCF ($5,400)
Similar to Bowser, Johnny Richardson should see a ton of work against Temple. Except Richardson’s work will likely come through the air as he’s the third-most targeted pass catcher on the Knights’ roster. At his current value, that’s too much bang for the buck to pass up.
Richardson makes the most out of his receptions, hauling most in on swing-screen attempts that look to get him to the boundary. With the spy on Plumlee, screens will certainly work against this aggressive Temple defense. Not to mention the fact that Richardson is also averaging over seven yards per carry and hasn’t found the end zone on the ground yet. That should change in this one.
WR: Bryce Ford-Wheaton, West Virginia ($9,800)
The second-most targeted wide receiver in the Big 12 is in action on Thursday night. For his value, despite the high ticket price, Bryce Ford-Wheaton hasn’t disappointed this season. Ford-Wheaton is averaging nearly 12 yards per catch and has four touchdowns through the air this season.
He’s a big-play threat and a reliable pass catcher who should be Daniels’ favorite target as they look to air it out against Baylor. With his ability to win downfield and track the football well, Ford-Wheaton is a must-start against any defense, especially this Bears’ defense.
WR: Kaden Prather, West Virginia ($6,700)
Doubling down on WVU wide receivers and grabbing Kaden Prather does two things for your DFS lineup: All but guarantees you the receiving touchdown that is sure to be thrown against Baylor and frees up space to grab the top Baylor pass-catching option as well. Prather is second only to Ford-Wheaton in targets and has scored twice this year.
He may be lacking in the yards-per-catch figures this year, but that’s because he wins so quickly over the middle of the field, and pressure has gotten to Daniels quickly enough to force the ball to him quickly. With a heavy dose of the aerial attack expected, Prather could see nearly 10 targets and, at his current value, is a must-grab.
WR: Ben Sims, Baylor ($6,200)
Grabbing Baylor’s top pass-catching option is a smart choice here. Ben Sims is the most targeted receiver on the Bears’ roster from his tight end spot. Not only is he a red-zone threat, but Sims also projects as a high-floor player who has caught at least four passes in every game this year.
He won’t go for many yards, so you have to hope for touchdowns with Sims. But given his safe, secure hands, he’ll surely be targeted in the scoring areas against West Virginia.