Week 5 action kicks off with a Thursday showdown slate, and DraftKings and FanDuel have great contests for these games. 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 Week 5 CFB DFS picks for Friday’s matchup.
College Football DFS: Week 5 Thursday CFB Picks
Virginia vs. Miami
Virginia (28.5 Implied Total)
Plays/Game – 82.3 (7th)
Pass Rate – 66.80% (4th)
Virginia enters this contest as a 3.5-point underdog in a game with a 62-point overall total. The Cavaliers are 2-2 after dropping two straight games to North Carolina and Wake Forest. For DFS purposes, this team plays at one of the fastest rates in the country and rarely runs the ball. They also have an excellent offensive line that ranks 26th in pass blocking.
Brennan Armstrong’s ($17,700) Heisman talk has died down after two consecutive losses, but his DFS viability remains as strong as ever. A solid dual threat, Armstrong has 48 yards rushing this year and averages 422 yards passing on 44.8 attempts per game. He has easily eclipsed 300 yards passing in every game this year, completing 66.7% of his passes for 9.5 yards per attempt. Armstrong is the top overall play on the slate.
Starting running back Wayne Taulapapa ($9,300) missed last week’s game with a concussion. He only had 65 yards on 16 total carries through three games. His status should be monitored, but he is a low-upside option either way. Mike Hollins ($7,500) functioned as the primary backup, carrying six times, while Devin Darrington ($1,800) mixed in for four carries in place of Taulapapa. Neither are great options unless Taulapapa sits out. Ronnie Walker ($1,500) played 31 snaps to Darrington’s 12, but he only saw one carry. For reference, Hollins played 44 snaps.
Virginia will rotate their personnel at wide receiver, but they run so many pass plays that all must be considered. Dontayvion Wicks ($14,100) leads with 460 yards on 34 targets. Behind him, Billy Kemp ($11,100) has 266 yards on 33 targets. Ra’Shaun Henry ($6,300) ranks third with 28 targets, but he only has 224 yards on the year. He has seen nine and 10 targets in back-to-back games. Jelani Woods ($8,700) will function as the tight end, but he has 247 yards on 24 targets. He also has 16 combined targets in the last two games. However, he was spotted in a walking boot earlier this week. This could open more targets for former quarterback Keytaon Thompson ($8,100). He already has 232 yards on 23 targets while adding 12 carries out of the backfield. Thompson broke his hand and allegedly will play with some sort of cast, which seems problematic for a receiver. Virginia will not hesitate to use four wide receivers, making any of these players strong options when healthy. For those looking at pure dart throws, Malachi Fields ($1,500) has six targets combined in the last two games and a 22% route participation. Backup tight end Grant Misch ($1,500) is in the same range for those looking for punts. Misch may become an even better play if Woods is ruled out.
Miami (34.5 Implied Total)
Plays/Game – 77.3 (21st)
Pass Rate – 57.76% (18th)
Another 2-2 team, Miami lost to Alabama and Michigan State while narrowly defeating Appalachian State. Their other win came in a meaningless game against Central Connecticut State, but this team also looks solid for DFS purposes. Miami ranks 21st in plays per game and has the 18th-highest pass rate. Unfortunately, their starting quarterback D’Eriq King continues to battle injury. Miami’s offensive line has taken a step forward, but they will allow pressure against some of the country’s better defensive lines. Fortunately, Virginia generates pressure at a bottom-15 rate.
For Miami, so much relies on the status of King ($16,200) and his injured shoulder. King reportedly moved around in practice on Monday, helping his chances of playing. Already coming off an ACL tear last December, King gives the Hurricanes the best chance to win. King already has 96 yards rushing in three games this year while averaging 255.7 yards passing on 41.3 attempts per game. If healthy, King is an excellent play CFB DFS pick. If King cannot go, Miami used both Tyler Van Dyke ($15,600) and Jake Garcia ($15,300). The two have rotated and project to do so in this game as well.
At running back Cam’Ron Harris ($14,700) leads what should be a timeshare. He has 272 yards rushing on 51 carries. However, Harris is extremely active in the pass game; he already has 119 yards receiving on 12 targets. Behind him, Donald Chaney suffered an injury, but Miami returns Jaylan Knighton ($6,600) from suspension. Knighton was listed as a co-backup with Cody Brown ($4,500). Brown carried 14 times for 77 yards against Central Connecticut State last week. Knighton managed 209 yards on 52 carries last year while adding 11 receptions in nine games as a change of pace. He adds an explosive element to this backfield.
At receiver Charleston Rambo ($12,600) is the clear leader, with 288 yards on 36 targets (25.4% target share). In a competitive game against Michigan State, Rambo saw a ridiculous 17 targets. Behind Rambo, slot receiver Mike Harley ($10,200) and Keyshawn Smith ($7,200) are the next men up. Harley ranks second on the team with 25 targets, but he only has 148 yards in his short-yardage slot role. Smith ranks second on the team with 160 yards receiving on just 17 total targets. Tight end Will Mallory ($3,900) is also involved. He only has 64 yards on 12 targets, but he has the third-highest route rate on the team. Miami will rotate their receivers to some degree, involving Xavier Restrepo ($2,400), Romello Brinson ($2,100) and Dee Wiggins ($1,500). Restrepo ran a route on 42% of dropbacks, while Brinson and Wiggins checked in at 32% and 33%, respectively, against Michigan State. Restrepo has 155 yards on 12 targets, while Brinson and Wiggins have seven and six targets, respectively, this year.
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