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College Football Week 7 Preview: Players to watch, DFS advice and expert predictions

PFF provides every fan with the right information to best prepare for Week 6 of the 2019 NCAA season. We offer advanced stats and grades on key players to watch, DFS advice and expert predictions for a handful of noteworthy NCAA games on the schedule for this week.

Friday, October 11

Virginia @ Miami (Fl)

Players to Watch:
Bryce Perkins has had a down year, even if the Cavaliers are sitting at 4-1 entering their midway point of the season. Perkins has just a 52.4 overall grade through six weeks, second to last in the conference, but is still as elusive a runner as we know at the quarterback position when the play either breaks down or calls for it. The Miami defense missed five tackles on Virginia Tech QB Hendon Hooker just a week ago and Perkins should dominate in that regard on his carries against Miami; it's just a matter of how many carries he gets.

DFS Advice:
Miami QB N'Kosi Perry is getting the start after throwing for well over 400 yards against Virginia Tech, but the Cavaliers defense should hold the stronger secondary with Bryce Hall manning the show. Jeff Thomas is as solid of a play regardless as he's leading the Hurricanes in targets at 29 this year. Though he has just two scores on the year, he's also converted 11 catches into first downs and he's bound to have a breakout game at some point.

Expert Prediction:
The Hurricanes are the inferior team at this stage of the season, and despite being the favorites from Vegas, the chance they lose two in a row at home to schools from Virginia surely seems high. Virginia and Perkins get a statement win that puts them in the driver's seat for the ACC Coastal crown.

Colorado @ Oregon

Players to Watch:
Similarly to last week, if Laviska Shenault can go for the Buffaloes, he is the player to watch. Colorado QB Steven Montez has fared well so far this season without Shenault in the lineup, looking to Tony Brown's way heavily, but Shenault makes this offense go. Listed as day-to-day and likely a game-time decision, if Shenault goes, this game is even more worth staying up for on the east coast.

DFS Advice:
Again, Shenault is the play even with an improved secondary for the Ducks, if he can play. Elsewhere, Jacob Breeland is essentially the tight end to play as he's 11th in the country in terms of total targets while he's second with five touchdowns. Colorado has allowed seven touchdowns in coverage on throws targeted in between the numbers where Breeland has caught eight balls for 175 yards and 100 yards after the catch. Breeland should have a big game if the Colorado linebackers can't step up.

Expert Prediction:
The Pac-12 is as messy as the ACC is this season as each team is seemingly cannibalizing themselves and they're without a shot at the College Football Playoff at this time. That being said, the Buffaloes cover +21 but Oregon wins an easy one in the end on the back of a strong game from their coverage unit.

Saturday, October 12

Oklahoma @ Texas

Players to Watch:
Devin Duvernay. Ceedee Lamb. Trey Sermon. Keontay Ingram. Jadon Haselwood. Brennan Eagles. Charleston Rambo. Jake Smith. Oh, and the quarterbacks Jalen Hurts and Sam Ehlinger. This has a chance to be the highest-scoring matchup of the weekend and a high percentage chance at that. Hurts is No. 2 on our QB rankings while Ehlinger is No. 5. At noon, this is set up to be potentially the marquee matchup of the college football season (until about 7:30 ET when LSU-UF kicks).

DFS Advice:
Avid DFS players are going to certainly be looking at this game as the over/under is riding along the lines at 75.5 through the consensus. Points will be scored with the Big 12's No. 1 and 2 offenses, so it's a matter of whether you stack Sooners or stack Longhorns in this one. Duvernay leads the way by some margin in targets but hasn't turned those into touchdowns like Lamb has as Duvernay has hauled in four touchdowns on 54 targets compared to Lamb's seven scores on just 24 targets. Either player is a safe bet, but a sneaky, likely low-cost option should be true freshman Jadon Haselwood who has ripped off 130 yards after the catch on just 14 receptions and is due for a national-stage breakout performance to announce his presence.

Expert Prediction:
Last year's game was exciting as they come in college football and this year's iteration seems to be heading in that direction. This game has many fireworks, but Jalen Hurts gets a Heisman-worthy performance with a big day through the air and enough plays on the ground in pivotal spots to get the Sooners a double-digit win. Sooners don't cover but win in the end.

Memphis @ Temple

Players to Watch:
If you thought the noon slate of games on Saturday was just OU-UT, you thought wrong. The AAC's top team and top offense (Memphis) will be put to the test against the Temple defense, who is No. 2 in the conference. Damonte Coxie should produce a big game against Temple's coverage unit if the Tigers want a shot at this one while RBs Kenneth Gainwell and Kylan Watkins have gained over 800 yards and 400 yards after contact combined. They've broken 28 combined tackles and should have a big impact.

DFS Advice:
If you want to look away from Ehlinger/Hurts due to their price tag at QB, this may not be your game as the coverage units for each team have allowed five or fewer passing touchdowns this season. Isaiah Wright is always a fun player to pick up due to his total of touches both through the air and on the ground, as he seems to be the likeliest player to score among the team's receivers. The Temple stable of running backs is also likely worth a look.

Expert Prediction:
Memphis runs away from the Temple defense, who couldn't seem to stop Jaret Patterson and the Buffalo Bulls on the ground. It's a closer game and the running games should be pivotal for the Tigers. Take the under, take the Tigers.

Florida State @ Clemson

Players to Watch:
With a week off for each team before this matchup, FSU's turned back to James Blackman at quarterback, so this should be an interesting matchup to see if he can push the ball down the field against the Clemson secondary and their rolling, roaming group of safeties and linebackers. Tanner Muse has been strong in all facets while James Skalski, Isaiah Simmons, Nolan Turner and K'Von Wallace are all grading extremely high for the ACC's top defense. Watch how defensive coordinator Brent Venables moves his talented back-seven middle-of-the-field defenders with beauty to confuse the Seminoles on offense.

DFS Advice:
Cam Akers is essentially out of the question against a stout rushing defense but a lower-priced receiver to pick up could be Keyshawn Helton, who emerged two weeks ago for FSU. Helton now has three scores on just 16 catches and could do some damage in the slot where UNC found success against Clemson. Either way, Tee Higgins and Justyn Ross are both primed for big games against a lackluster Seminole defense.

Expert Prediction:
The Seminoles come out fired up but so do the Tigers. A few scores in, FSU can't compete with Trevor Lawrence, but they do make it interesting with a potential back-door cover in the end. Clemson wins but not by 27.

Washington State @ Arizona State

Players to Watch:
A rare 3:30ET Pac-12 game should shed light on an exciting offensive game between the Sun Devils and Cougars. Jayden Daniels, the true freshman starter for Arizona State, should have a big game like the rest of the quarterbacks who have faced Washington State have this season. Anthony Gordon needs to limit the turnover-worthy passes in this one, but each team's skill players should see a bevy of targets and yards-after-the-catch chances in this one.

DFS Advice:
Brandon Aiyuk is currently fifth in the country, with 308 of his yards coming after the catch while the Cougars have given up a whopping 644 YAC this year. On the other side of the ball, Arizona State's defense has given up 674 yards after the catch themselves paving the way for RB Max Borghi, who has 258 YAC yards compared to just 239 total receiving yards, to have a big game.

Expert Prediction:
Buy the Sun Devils in this one as it's basically a pick 'em game at this stage. Give the home team the advantage and hope for an offensive fireworks show. The pass-catchers have big games, the defenses struggle and the over hits with the Sun Devils by 3.

Alabama @ Texas A&M

Players to Watch:
Tua Tagovailoa dominates the headlines here, and even though he's heading into College Station for the first time in his career as the starter, this one is shaping up for him to carve their defense up like a Thanksgiving turkey. Tagovailoa should have a big-time performance as the Crimson Tide are all but a big game away from jumping the Clemson Tigers in our Power Rankings.

DFS Advice:
It's hard to pick against any of the Crimson Tide receivers at this stage, but if there's one player to stay away from, it's likely Alabama RB Najee Harris as the Aggies haven't allowed a 100-yard rusher and have contained running backs out of the backfield this season.

Expert Prediction:
Alabama gets a big win after jumping out to an early lead. Tua throws a handful of touchdowns, equaling the number of touchdowns that A&M has allowed all season through the air. Take the over, take the Crimson Tide +17.

Michigan State @ Wisconsin

Players to Watch:
Jonathan Taylor-Touchdown should do just that, score touchdowns as Michigan State's weak link on defense has been star-studded running backs this year. They allowed J.K. Dobbins to go over 100 yards and a score while Taylor himself has run for over 100 in 10 straight contests. Make it 11 and watch as Taylor proves himself, yet again, as the nation's top running back.

DFS Advice:
Taylor is always a safe bet but is always going to come with a high price tag. We've seen heavily-targeted receivers put up big numbers against Michigan State this season, but Jack Coan has thrown just two touchdowns through the air. If you're not going to go with Taylor, you're likely not going to play anyone in this contest.

Expert Prediction:
Defense is the key to this one and JTT single-handedly carries the Badgers to a two-score victory. The over/under of 40.5 is enticing because of Taylor's ability to rush for multiple scores himself, but this one seems like a classic Big Ten defensive battle and a low-scoring affair. Badgers win but be wary of that 40.5 total.

Texas Tech @ Baylor

Players to Watch:
How Texas Tech QB Jett Duffey fares will go a long way in deciding the outcome of this one. We know Charlie Brewer is a dominant college quarterback and his star receiver Denzel Mims will come down with a highlight-reel catch, or two. Baylor's defensive stars of James Lynch and James Lockhart should be able to get to Duffey and he'll either have to utilize the quick-passing game or take off with his legs, something we haven't seen him have much success with this year.

DFS Advice:
A Texas Tech wide receiver is always an easy thought for DFS, and T.J. Vasher is likely the best play there from an overall value standpoint. Mims and Vasher lead their respective teams in total targets and with points coming in a hurry in this one, you'd likely want to own one of those two, if not both. The Red Raiders have allowed seven passing touchdowns this year and four of them have come to the opposing No. 1 wide receiver (Tylan Wallace, Ceedee Lamb).

Expert Prediction:
The Bears have stymied several offenses in their path, but this is their toughest defensive matchup so far. Baylor should use the stronger of the quarterbacks as Brewer finds Mims for a go-ahead touchdown in the second half to secure a double-digit victory.

Nebraska @ Minnesota

Players to Watch:
There is no stopping the trio of receivers in Minnesota. You can only hope to contain them. Tyler Johnson, Rashod Bateman and Chris Autman-Bell are, without a doubt, one of the country's best wide receiver trios and Nebraska's suspect cornerback play will be tested.

DFS Advice:
Nebraska CB Dicaprio Bootle has allowed five touchdowns as the primary coverage defender so it's a safe bet to assume one of Johnson, Bateman or Autman-Bell scores a touchdown if all three don't find the end zone. Use your capital wisely and stack a duo of Gopher receivers, you won't be disappointed.

Expert Prediction:
Minnesota still needs one of those statement victories and led by QB Tanner Morgan, the Gophers row the boat against a suspect Cornhuskers secondary. The defensive play exceeds expectations and shuts down Adrian Martinez and Co. to a big win for Minnesota.

Penn State @ Iowa

Players to Watch:
KJ Hamler is certainly the best player on the field when the Nittany Lions are on offense. Hamler should have a field day against Iowa's coverage this season, but when the Hawkeyes are on the field, their star tackle Tristan Wirfs is a must-watch prospect. He'll have to go against a stout unit of edge rushers from Penn State in Shaka Toney, Yetur Gross-Matos and Jayson Oweh, not to mention Micah Parsons when he blitzes.

DFS Advice:
Hamler is primarily used out of the slot and Iowa doesn't utilize a ton of their cornerbacks to cover inside receivers, instead relying on their linebackers and safeties. Hamler is the fastest dude on the field at pretty much all times, so his speed and elusiveness should be in full display against the Iowa defense.

Expert Prediction:
Iowa suffers from a Michigan hangover, and despite playing at home where they receive the benefit of the doubt, Penn State is the better team on offense, defense and at seemingly each individual position matchup. Don't touch the over/under but take the Lions -3.5.

USC @ Notre Dame

Players to Watch:
Tyler Vaughns and Michael Pittman could have big days against the Notre Dame secondary, but Chase Claypool is a big man for the Fighting Irish to keep an eye on. If Claypool makes a play, expect a double team or two to follow, opening the lanes for potentially a big day through the air for dynamic freshman Javon McKinley.

DFS Advice:
Claypool has seen more than double the targets than any other ND wide receiver, but when McKinley gets the ball, all he does is churn out big plays. He's averaging 11.6 yards after the catch per reception and all but one of his catches has scored six points or moved the chains for a first down.

Expert Prediction:
The Trojans can't hang with this Irish team who still have aspirations of a berth in the College Football Playoff. They need wins and they need big wins. This is one of them. Irish, big.

Florida @ LSU

Players to Watch:
The keynote player to a big day of playmakers in big games is Joe Burrow. The nation's leader in too many statistical categories to name, Burrow is the leader in the Heisman race and leader in our quarterback rankings. He gets to go against a Florida secondary, which has allowed just four touchdowns through the air this season in arguably his first true test. He'll stand tall in the pocket despite almost surely being pressured often as he's the nation's highest-graded passer on pressured attempts.

DFS Advice:
Justin Jefferson and Ja'Marr Chase have been seemingly unstoppable this season, and that is likely to continue against Florida. Each of the four touchdowns allowed through the air by the Gators has been to big-bodied, physical receivers (Seth Williams, Ahmad Wagner, Brevin Jordan, Keaton Upshaw) and that's the type of receivers the LSU duo certainly are. Big numbers should follow Jefferson and Chase this year.

Expert Prediction:
The LSU offense is significantly better than the Kentucky offense and the playmakers on the outside are significantly better than the Wildcats possessed during their game against Florida. That being the Gators' biggest scare to date, the Burrow-led Tigers should put fear into Gators fans as he comes out of this game with another Heisman-worthy performance, giving him two on the season. Tigers by 13.

Utah @ Oregon State

Players to Watch:
Isaiah Hodgins is the man to watch when Oregon State has the ball as he has more than double the next receiver in terms of total targets. Jake Luton hasn't thrown an interception this season and is playing extremely well despite what their overall record would indicate. Hodgins is second in the nation in total #BigTimeCatches this year as 13 of his receptions have earned our highest grade. He's as fun a receiver to watch as there is in college football.

DFS Advice:
Tyler Huntley and Bryan Thompson have developed a nice rapport as of late as Thompson went over 100 yards in two of his past three games against subpar defenses. He should be a lower-priced option as the Utes aren't necessarily known for their downfield throwing, but the Beavers defense is closer to the likes of Washington State's defense where Thompson had 111 yards on four catches.

Expert Prediction:
Oregon State keeps this one closer than expected just because of their offense and secure a cover of -14. Utes win is never in question, but the Beavers keep it within 10 points all game.

Washington @ Arizona

Players to Watch:
Khalil Tate didn't let us down last week as he threw for 404 yards and three scores against Colorado. He'll need that kind of success through the air against a much stiffer test in Washington who features the likes of Myles Bryant in coverage, a guy who should hear his name called earlier than later in April.

DFS Advice:
Aaron Fuller had an interesting day against Stanford a week ago, dropping four balls but hauling in nine catches for a whopping 171 yards. He's the clear-cut No. 1 receiver in this game, and even with the drops to his record last week should see a ton of targets come his way. He's bound to convert one of those into a touchdown for the Huskies.

Expert Prediction:
Washington can light up the scoreboards when they fire on all cylinders, and if they can get past the stink of their last outing against Stanford, they should be able to put up enough points to cover the over and cover the spread. That likely doesn't happen. Huskies win and cover as the defense steps up, but the defense is so good that the under hits.

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