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College Football DFS: Conference Championships DraftKings & FanDuel CFB Picks | Friday, 12/3/2021

Matt Gajewski



Conference Championship weekend action kicks off with a Friday two-game slate on DraftKings and FanDuel. This college football DFS breakdown will look at both teams and provide information about each skill position player of note. Make sure to check out our projections, depth charts and datasheets for more information. With that said, let’s dive into the first iteration of the Conference Championship CFB DFS picks for Friday’s matchup.

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College Football DFS: Conference Championship Friday CFB Picks

Western Kentucky vs. UTSA

Western Kentucky (37.5 Total)

Plays per Game – 77.1 (13th)

Pass Rate – 66.98% (2nd)

Seldom involved in the DFS slate this year, Western Kentucky made the CUSA championship with an 8-4 record. Running one of the pass-heaviest and fastest offenses in the country, Houston Baptist transfer Bailey Zappe ($9,000) has excellent in his step up in competition. Zappe is not very mobile, but he averages 411.8 yards passing per game on 48.7 attempts. With the second-highest pass rate in the country, Zappe will often backdoor his way into the 300-yard bonus. He has been above 300 yards in all but one game this year and he threw at least three touchdowns in every game. Previously facing UTSA, Zappe threw for 523 yards and five scores. He is an excellent play.

In the run game, Western Kentucky utilizes a committee comprised of Noah Wittington ($3,500), Adam Cofield ($4,000), Kye Robichaux ($3,000) and sometimes Jakairi Moses ($3,000). Moses allegedly entered the transfer portal mid-week before Week 13. However, he subsequently played in Western Kentucky’s finale, raising questions about the reports. Overall, Whittington leads the team in carries and averages 45.4 yards per game on the ground. Cofield averages 31.1 himself, but also leads the group in targets. For as much as Western Kentucky throws, they seldom target running backs. Cofield’s 19 targets lead the position. Whittington and Cofield are average price-adjusted player attached to a high-powered offense.

At receiver Jerreth Stern ($7,300) found himself in the Biletnikoff discussion. He averages 127.3 yards per game on 13 targets. Sterns is an excellent price-adjusted play here. Mitchell Tinsley ($6,000) has also taken on a much larger role of late. He averages 93.9 yards receiving himself on 7.8 targets. However he has at least 10 targets in three straight games as he takes on a larger role down the stretch. Malachi Corley ($5,300) and Daewood Davis ($4,400) round out the starting group for an offense that primarily uses four wide receivers. Corley and Davis average 53.6 and 55.3 yards receiving per game on 7.8 and 5.1 targets. Both are extremely involved for their prices and make solid salary saving options behind an explosive offense.

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UTSA (34.5 Total)

Plays per Game – 73.7 (34th)

Pass Rate – 44.88% (82nd)

After getting banged up in last week’s game, it appears Frank Harris ($6,400) will be healthy enough to play here. Harris is an excellent dual threat, with 484 yards rushing already this season. UTSA plays extremely fast, allowing Harris to also average 223.6 passing yard through the air on 27.9 attempts. While the volume can be limited through the air, Harris has still shown upside. He has a pair of 300-yard passing games this year and one of these came against Western Kentucky. At a much cheaper price than Zappe, Harris is another strong play here.

Unlike Western Kentucky, UTSA utilizes a dominant run game behind Sincere McCormick ($6,200). On the year, McCormick averages 106.3 yards rushing and 12.3 yards receiving per game on 23.5 touches. Interestingly, McCormick has been below that mark in three of his last four games. However, he has out-carried other backs 72-18 in that span with negative game script elevating carries for the change of pace backs Brenden Brady ($3,700) and B.J. Daniels ($3,000). McCormick is a top two play at the running back position.

UTSA’s alpha receiver is Zakhari Franklin ($5,200). Franklin averages 78.7 yards receiving per game on 8.7 targets. While less pass heavy overall, Franklin has still reached 10 targets twice in the last four games on his 27.4% target share. Joshua Cephus ($4,800) and De’Corian Clark ($4,200) are also very involved. Cephus averages 63 yards on 6.8 targets per game, while Clark checks in with 52.8 yards on 5.3 targets. However, Clark has taken on a larger role of late with at least six targets in four straight games. Both are options as salary savers. With UTSA rotating tight end, focusing on the big three receivers makes the most sense here.

Oregon vs. Utah

Oregon (27.5 Total)

Plays per Game – 69.5 (75th)

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Pass Rate – 43.19% (95th)

A much slower game overall, Anthony Brown ($7,200) will look to rebound after Oregon’s slaughtering at the hands of Utah two weeks ago. As a player, Brown has excellent dual-threat ability, with 642 yards on the ground this year. While this includes a single 100-yard performance, he still only averages 53.5 yards on the ground per game. As a passer, Brown is hurt by Oregon’s slow, run-heavy offense. He averages just 209.5 yards passing per game on 27.4 attempts. This includes a single 300-yard game against Colorado this year. However, Utah already held Brown in check. In their previous game, he completed 48.6% of his passes for 231 yards, while rushing for just eight. His mobility makes him an attractive play, but the matchup is difficult here for Brown.

At running back Travis Dye ($7,000) continues to function as the lead back in the absence of C.J. Verdell. On the year, Dye averages 85.7 yards rushing and 28.6 receiving per game on 18.5 touches. However, he has easily exceeded 20 touches in three of his four last games. His lone game below that mark came against Utah, where he carried the ball six times and received two targets. Oregon lost so badly that they pulled their starters. As 3-point underdogs, that does not project to be the case here. Dye is a top two running back play on this slate.

At receiver Oregon lost Johnny Johnson, Jaylon Redd, and Mycah Pittman in a two-week span. Formerly a nasty rotation, Oregon now has a condensed target tree between Devon Williams ($6,100) and Kris Hutson ($4,300). Williams has 10 and six targets since the injuries and transfers, while Hutson has 8 and 10. However, Williams has worked well ahead of Hutson for most of the year. Williams has 540 yards receiving to Hutson’s 355. Both are somewhat viable here, but neither is a strong price adjusted play. The receivers in the Western Kentucky play receive more volume and have a higher scoring expectation at similar prices. Oregon receivers are purely GPP plays for that reason. Behind Williams and Hutson, Troy Franklin ($4,000) functions as a rotational WR3 alongside Dont’e Thornton ($3,000). Neither is a particularly good play.

Utah (30.5 Total)

Plays per Game – 69.2 (78th)

Pass Rate – 43.89% (88th)

Similar to Oregon, Utah operates a slow, run-heavy offense. Cameron Rising ($6,700) has been extremely efficient since taking over for Charlie Brewer midseason. However, he is still limited by the overall offensive philosophy. Rising is active in the run game with 346 yards on the year. However, he has a limited ceiling in this capacity with just three games over 50 yards. He also has a single 300-yard passing game, which occurred against USC. Conversely, he has six games below 200 yards passing, including his scoreless 178-yard performance against Oregon two weeks ago. Utah simply tends to focus on the run game when playing from ahead. While certain competitive games could coax a celling out of Rising, he is just a middling quarterback play in most weeks. As just 3-point favorites, Rising does have GPP appeal.

At running back Tavion Thomas ($7,700) now eclipsed 20 carries in each of his last two games since returning from injury. Thomas averages 88.7 yards rushing per game on 15.5 touches, but he has taken on a larger role down the stretch. In addition to Thomas, T.J. Pledger ($5,400) has 23 carries over Utah’s last two games. He averages 54.3 yards rushing himself in Utah’s prolific rushing attack. However, neither is particularly involved in the pass game. Micah Bernard ($3,300) operates as the top pass catching back, averaging 2.2 targets per game. Bernard seldom carries the ball, making him dependent on negative game script. Overall, Thomas and Pledge are both solid plays here.

In the receiving game, Britain Covey ($4,700) leads the team with 64 targets. However, he only averages 34 yards per game on 5.3 targets in a low-upside role. Tight end Brant Kuithe ($4,900) has been the team’s best playmaker through the air. He averages 43.5 yards per game on 5.2 targets. Kuithe is complemented by Dalton Kincaid ($4,100), who averages three targets per game himself in Utah’s 12-personnel-heavy offense. The WR2 had been Devaughn Vele ($3,000) for multiple weeks, but his route rate fell below 10% last week for no apparent reason. In his place Solomon Enis ($3,600) and Theo Howard ($3,000) both participated in about 50% of the routes. There is no need to throw darts on ancillary Utah pass catchers outside of massive tournaments. Kuithe, Covey, and Kincaid are the safest plays here.

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Alex Baker, the No. 1 DFS player in the world, developed and maintains the CFB DFS ownership projections for DraftKings. Looking for more DFS college football stats and DFS college football lineups? Check out our industry-leading college football DFS projections for DraftKings.

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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