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College Football DFS: Bowl Games Projections & CFB Picks | Friday, 12/17/2021

Matt Gajewski

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The 2021-22 college football bowl schedule has been released and we are embarking on postseason play. Action opens up with a pair of bowl games on the schedule today, providing a two-game slate on DraftKings and FanDuel. This college football bowl game projection article will provide a DFS breakdown and look at each team and provide information about each skill position player of note. Make sure to check out Awesemo’s projections, depth charts and datasheets for more information. With that said, let’s dive into this week’s iteration of the CFB DFS picks for today’s bowl game matchups.

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CFB DFS Picks: College Football Bowl Projections

Bahamas Bowl: Middle Tennessee State vs. Toledo

Middle Tennessee State (20.75 Implied Total)

Plays/Game – 72.5 (42nd)

Pass Rate – 52.51% (34th)

The lesser of the two bowl games on the Friday slate, this game still provides a few intriguing pieces for DFS. Middle Tennessee State typically employs an uptempo, pass heavy approach on offense. At the quarterback position, a late season injury to Chase Cunningham ($6,600) forced Middle Tennessee State to evaluate their depth. The Blue Raiders used a combination of Mike DiLiello ($6,500) and Nicholas Vattiato ($6,100). The two split snaps evenly in Middle Tennessee’s final game of the season, which was a 27-17 win over FAU. However, DiLiello played better, completing 12 of 19 passes for 131 yards and a score. DiLiello also has superior mobility, out-rushing Vattiato 220 to 18 on the year. Ultimately, the superior performance could give DiLiello an edge in terms of the starting job. However, there is a decent chance that this is a timeshare in the bowl game.

At running back, Middle Tennessee State has also employed a timeshare between Martell Pettaway ($4,400), Frank Peasant ($3,000), and Chaton Mobley ($3,300), Pettaway technically leads the group with 39.6 total yards on 8.4 touches per game. Peasant is not far behind with 26.6 yards on 7.1 touches per game. Mobley has become an afterthought for the more part, but the entire situation is hurt by the emergence of DiLiello. DiLiello has at least five designed runs in each of Middle Tennessee’s last three games. This number spiked to 10 in the Blue Raiders’ most recent game. Overall, this is not the best situation for DFS and is a tournament-only consideration.

At receiver, Middle Tennessee State legitimately uses seven receivers. Leading the position, Jimmy Marshall ($5,100) and Jarrin Pierce ($5,500) are both tied with a team-leading 57 targets. However, Marshall has 515 yards to Pierce’s 410 this year. Pierce runs slightly more routes, evidenced by his 73% route rate in Middle Tennessee’s final game to 65% for Marshall. Interestingly, Jaylin Lane ($4,800) and Yusuf Ali ($3,700) are also tied with 53 targets on Middle Tennessee. Ali has 432 yards to Lane’s 408, but both have become increasingly involved in the Blue Raiders’ last four games. Both average 6.5 targets per game in that span, compared to 4.3 for Marshall and Pierce. From there, Izaiah Gathings ($3,400) and D.J. England-Chisolm ($3,500) are also tied with 43 targets on the year. England-Chisolm has a slight edge in terms of routes and targets over Middle Tennessee’s last four games. In that span, England-Chisolm and Gathings average 4.8 and 4.3 targets per game, respectively. Finally, C.J. Windham ($4,100) also plays a rotation role for this team. While he only has 38 targets on the year, he is still averaging 3.5 targets per game over Middle Tennessee’s last four contests. Overall, this team is a complete rotational mess, but this is a potential situation to exploit for tournaments.

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Toledo (30.75 Implied Total)

Plays/Game – 69.6 (73rd)

Pass Rate – 47.65% (64th)

As 10-point favorites, Toledo is the clear offensive target for DFS in this matchup. Toledo plays slightly slower and more balanced that Middle Tennessee, but efficiency should make up that ground. At quarterback, Toledo benefits from a strong dual threat in Dequan Finn ($8,000). Finn split time with Carter Bradley ($6,900) to start the year, hurting his stats, but he has emerged as a strong option down the stretch. Finn already has 419 cumulative yards rushing, giving him a solid floor. As a passer, Finn has been up and down. He currently completes 59.7% of his passes for 8.8 yards per attempt. This includes one game above 400 yards, but only three others above 200. Either way, the mobility makes Finn a safer quarterback option on the two-game slate. Middle Tennessee State is also slightly weaker against the pass.

At running back, Toledo has one of the premier feature backs in the MAC conference in Bryant Koback ($7,700). Koback averages 106.3 yards rushing and 28.3 yards receiving per game on 18.7 touches in Toledo’s offense. He has at least 18 touches in each of Toledo’s last three games, making him a solid play here. Change of pace work will be handled by Micah Kelly ($3,500). Kelly averages 5.3 touches per game, but he has eclipsed that number in three of Toledo’s last four games. If Toledo plays to the spread, he could see additional work in the second half, putting him in play for GPPs.

Toledo has experienced a rash of injuries at the receiver position to close the regular season. Toledo first lost Bryce Mitchell to a season-ending injury, before Danzel McKinley-Lewis ($4,600) and Jerjuan Newton ($3,300) missed the final game of the season for undisclosed reasons. Regardless of injuries, Isaiah Winstead ($4,400) is the most-targeted receiver on the team. he averages 40.4 yards receiving per game on 5.4 targets. Behind him, Devin Maddox ($3,900) averages 46.8 yards receiving per game on 4.5 targets. Without McKinley-Lewis and Newton, Matt Landers ($5,200) emerged as the frontrunner for the WR3 job. Landers only has 23 targets on the year, but he ranks third on the team in receiving with 377 yards. His big play ability could become interesting, if McKinley-Lewis and Newton miss the bowl game again here. However, DeMeer Blankumsee ($3,000) could siphon away some targets and at worst, this is a six-receiver rotation when fully healthy. Winstead and Maddox are the two best stacking options with Finn.

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Tailgreeter Cure Bowl: Northern Illinois vs. Coastal Carolina

Northern Illinois (26.5 Implied Total)

Plays/Game – 71.3 (50th)

Pass Rate – 35.98% (126th)

For two teams that tend to favor the run and a slower tempo, this game has a surprisingly healthy total. Northern Illinois is quarterbacked by former Michigan State quarterback Rocky Lombardi ($7,000). Lombardi has solid mobility at first glance with 407 cumulative yards rushing this year. However, most of that occurred in three games where he eclipsed 70 yards. Lombardi actually has not been above 30 yards rushing in any other contests this year. Interestingly, Lombardi has at least seven designed runs in each of his last two games. However, poor pocket awareness and sacks have mitigated this rushing potential. As a passer, Lombardi averages 200.8 yards per game on 25.8 attempts. Coastal Carolina plays middling pass defense, potentially opening Lombardi to a ceiling game. However, the larger concern is Northern Illinois’ preference to run and his lack of involvement in that area of the game in recent weeks.

At running back, Northern Illinois lost their lead back Harrison Waylee ($5,700) to an arm injury in Week 5. Since then, Jay Ducker ($4,900) has handled most of the work, but this will be a committee to some degree. Ducker averages 94.4 yards rushing on 17.9 touches. He only has five targets all season, making him somewhat game script dependent here. Antario Brown ($3,700) and Clint Ratkovich ($4,100) are the primary change of pace backs, accounting for 9.9 and 8.8 touches per game, respectively. Ratkovich is the preferred pass catching back and he leads the team in targets with 17. However, Brown has increasingly chipped away at Ducker’s workload. Looking like a timeshare moving forward, Ducker, Brown, and Ratkovich look best played in GPPs. As 10-point underdogs, Ratkovich does have the upside as a pass catcher.

At receiver, Northern Illinois also last their top playmaker in Tyrice Richie ($4,200) at the midpoint of the season. His status has not been updated, but his chances of playing look low. Watch for him ahead of warmups. In his place, Trayvon Rudolph ($6,200) and Cole Tucker ($4,900) have provided some consistency. Rudolph had a two-game span with 35 targets immediately following Richie’s injury. However, he has seen just 17 total targets in his three games since, making him a volatile asset here. Rudolph does average 67.2 yards per game on six targets. Tucker has battled injury for much of the year as well, but when healthy, he averages 61 yards per game on 6.5 targets. Tucker is the better price-adjusted play. As for the ancillary receivers, Mohamed Toure ($3,000) took a major step in the conference championship. While he only received one target, he still participated in 73% of routes, making him a play piece from this offense in GPPs. At tight end Miles Joiner ($3,000) was not targeted in NIU’s final game, but he is still another player on the field for most snaps. He will split time with Tristen Tewes ($3,000) to some degree, but he is the primary tight end. Both Toure and Joiner are tournament viable.

Coastal Carolina (37 Implied Total)

Plays/Game – 67.2 (104th)

Pass Rate – 38.97% (117th)

Despite playing at a snail’s pace and running incessantly, Coastal Carolina has remained one of the more efficient offenses in the country. In part to playing on the weaker side of the Sun Belt, Coastal Carolina’s offense continually put up points. With Northern Illinois ranking 98th in yards passing allowed per attempt and 122nd in yards rushing allowed per attempt, Coastal should have no issues moving the ball here. At quarterback, Grayson McCall ($8,600) is a veteran quarterback. McCall has solid mobility with 247 yards rushing on the year. He also averages a hyper-efficient 255.2 yards passing on just 21.2 attempts. Even in Coastal Carolina’s offense, McCall is still the safest quarterback option on the board.

At running back, Coastal Carolina already lost Reese White ($5,300) in Week 9 to an ankle injury. White has not played since, but there is some optimism around the program that he could make his return here. Prior to the injury, White averaged 73 total yards per game on 9.6 touches. Without him, Shermari Jones ($6,300) has taken on an enormous workload. Jones averages 101.6 combined yards per game on 15.7 touches this year. However, Jones has reached at least 15 touches in each of his last four games, eclipsing 20 touches in three of the last four. Without White, Braydon Bennett ($3,600) has also taken on increased opportunity. On the year, he averages 7.3 touches per game, but he reached at least seven touches in each of his last four games. Bennett operates as the team’s third down back, leading the group with 22 targets. If White returns, Bennett would become nothing more than a large-field tournament dart throw. Jones is an excellent play and White would offer a solid pivot in tournaments, if active.

At receiver, Jaivon Heiligh ($7,100) is the team’s alpha. Heiligh averages 86.2 yards receiving per game on 7.4 targets per game. This actually equates to a 31.5% target share in Coastal Carolina’s low volume offense. The Chanticleers second primary target is tight end Isaiah Likely ($6,800). Likely averages 68 yards receiving per game on 5.8 targets. Both Heiligh and Likely project to get drafted, but neither has indicated that they will skip this game. Heiligh is the better price-adjusted play at a slightly more expensive price tag. The WR3 in this offense is Kameron Brown ($4,700). Brown averages 46.9 yards receiving per game on 3.7 targets. However, he has been more involved of late with at least four targets in each of Coastal Carolina’s last four games. Behind him, Greg Latushko ($3,000) and Tyson Mobley ($4,000) split time as the WR3. Neither are particularly strong options here.


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Looking for more DFS CFB picks and DFS CFB predictions? Alex Baker, the No. 1 DFS player in the world, developed and maintains the DraftKings DFS CFB ownership projections for this week. Check out our industry-leading CFB DFS projections for today.

Matt Gajewski graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in Economics. Matt has worked in the fantasy industry for the past four years, focusing on DFS and Sports Betting. Matt specializes in NFL, College Football, College Basketball, XFL, and MMA. With GPP victories across the major sports, Matt also qualified for the DraftKings 2020 Sports Betting Championship and won a seat to the College Basketball Tourney Mania final.

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