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College Football DFS: Week 1 DraftKings & FanDuel CFB Picks | Wednesday 9/1/2021

Matt Gajewski

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The college football DFS season is finally here. With Week 1 action set to kick on Wednesday, DraftKings and FanDuel provided a Showdown for the Jacksonville State vs. UAB game. This CFB DFS breakdown will look at each team and provide information about each skill position player of note within the contest. 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 college football DFS picks for Wednesday’s matchup.

College Football DFS: Week 1 CFB Picks

Jacksonville State vs. UAB

Jacksonville State (16.5 Implied Total)

Plays/Game – 67.5

Pass Rate – 40.3%

Jacksonville State won the Ohio Valley last year by going 10-3. They lost to Florida State 41-24 before dropping games to Austin Peay and Delaware (playoff semifinals). They had a win over FIU (19-10) as well. John Grass enters his eighth season as Jacksonville State’s head coach, and he is 68-21 in his time with the program. Offensive coordinator Jimmy Ogle has also been with the program for 22 seasons. This offense is a little slower, and generally prefers to pound the ball on the ground. That said, they did pass 37 times against Florida State, so they are sensitive to game script.

Zerrick Cooper ($14,100) will be the starting quarterback. He transferred from Clemson in 2018 and missed most of last year with an ankle injury. He completed 67% of his passes for 671 yards and one score in four games last year. Cooper also rushed for 83 yards and five touchdowns on 41 attempts last year. In 2019 he completed 59.2% of his passes for 3,404 yards and 28 touchdowns and rushed for 320 yards and six touchdowns. Zion Webb ($16,800) performed well as the backup, but he should remain in that role here. Both DraftKings and FanDuel incorrectly priced Cooper, making him a strong play.

The run game should feature a three-person committee consisting of Josh Samuel ($12,300), Uriah West ($10,800), and Pat Jackson ($3,300). Samuel finished as the most efficient back on the ground. He rushed for 773 yards and eight touchdowns on 139 carries. This included 163 yards against FIU. West finished with 687 yards and eight touchdowns on 137 attempts. He also eclipsed 100 yards against FIU. West tied for third on the team in receiving with 17 catches for 195 yards. Finally, Jackson rushed for 371 yards and three touchdowns on 92 attempts. His opportunity declined throughout the year. He had at least nine carries in each of his first five games but never hit that mark in the second half of the season.

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Jacksonville State lost a few productive pass catchers in Trae Barry, Logan McVay, and Jared Scott. Dave Russell III ($9,600) will return as the leading returner. He caught 25 of 40 targets for 340 yards last year. He was not as productive as Barry, but he ran the most routes on this team. Jacksonville State also returns Ahmad Edwards ($7,500), who ran the third-most routes. Edwards caught 17 of 29 targets for 284 yards. Michael Pettway ($6,600) should also receive more opportunities as the team’s primary slot receiver. Pettway played 91.3% of his snaps in the slot last year, catching 17 of 29 targets for 229 yards. Jacksonville State will rotate multiple receivers, so Quan Charleston ($4,200) and Duke transfer Damond Philyaw-Johnson ($1,500) are prime candidates to earn snaps as well. Charleston caught 15 of 25 targets for 163 yards and ran the fifth-most routes. For reference, route leader Russell ran 244, and Charleston ran 137. Philyaw-Johnson caught seven of 16 targets for 96 yards before falling out of favor with the Blue Devils last year.

At tight end, Jacksonville State took a huge hit, losing their leading receiver in Barry. New starter Braydon Hill ($1,800) only caught 2 of 9 targets for 13 scoreless yards last year. This is a historically productive position for Jacksonville State, with a completely unproven incoming starter.

Kickers are viable low-risk options in college football DFS Showdown. Jacksonville State uses one kicker in Alen Karajic ($5,400). Last year he made 14 of 19 field goals and 42 of 44 extra points.

UAB (31 Implied Total)

Plays/Game – 66.4 (105th)

Pass Rate – 40.3% (109th)

UAB was 6-3 last year with losses to Miami, Louisiana, and Louisiana Tech. Their coaching staff remains intact, and the team returns eight starters on offense and nine on defense. This includes all five starting offensive linemen, a group that only allowed four sacks last year and has three All-Conference players.

Tyler Johnston ($18,000) will start at quarterback for UAB. Johnston only played in five games before suffering an injury last year. He completed 58.8% of his passes for 843 yards and seven touchdowns. Johnston has now averaged at least 8.7 yards per attempt in three straight seasons, and he also cut down his turnovers. Johnston is an excellent dual-threat, with 359 yards and 247 yards rushing in 2018 and 2019. Last year he had 34 in five games. He is the most expensive play on the slate for a good reason.

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UAB lost Spencer Brown in the run game but returned DeWayne McBride ($14,700) and Jermaine Brown (8,100). The two were listed as co-starters. McBride was the team’s second-leading rusher behind Spencer Brown. He rushed for 439 yards and four touchdowns on 47 attempts (9.3 yards per carry), though he did not catch a pass. Jermaine Brown carried 63 times for 25 yards (4 per carry) and caught eight passes. Larry Wooden ($6,900) and Lucious Stanley ($3,600) were listed as the third and fourth backs. Both could rotate in for a few carries.

At receiver, UAB lost their top two pass catchers in Austin Watkins and Myron Mitchell. They return their third-leading receiver Trea Shropshire ($13,500), who caught 14 passes for 311 yards and two touchdowns last year. Shropshire functions primarily as a downfield threat and averaged 22.2 yards per reception. The other starter on the depth chart is Ryan Davis ($11,700), who only caught three passes for 45 yards last year. He projects to take over the slot role vacated by Mitchell. The final starting receiver position listed Samario Rudolph ($8,400) and RaJae’ Johnson-Sanders ($4,500) as co-starters. Rudolph caught three passes for 59 yards last year, while Johnson-Sanders reeled in two for 20.

UAB likes to utilize multiple tight ends, and last year Hayden Pittman ($4,800) and Gerrit Prince ($3,900) ranked fourth and fifth in yards. Pittman caught 19 passes for 227 yards and a touchdown, while Prince caught nine passes for 102 yards and four touchdowns. Pittman ran 142 routes to Prince’s 92. For reference, leading receiver Watkins ran 198 routes.

Like Jacksonville State, UAB only uses one kicker in Matt Quinn ($6,300). Quinn made 31 of 32 extra points last year and 11 of 12 field goals.


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Looking for more CFB DFS picks content? We have loads of articles, data, DraftKings and FanDuel cheat sheets and more on the Awesemo CFB DFS home page.

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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