In daily fantasy football, there are two main types of playing formats; head-to-head games (including 50/50 and double-up formats in which half of the entries win and half of the entries are very sad) and large field guaranteed prize pool tournaments (GPPs) where somewhere between 10-20% of the field is paid out.
In this article we will utilize the FanDuel Week 15 NFL contest period, beginning with Sunday’s 1 PM EST games and continuing through Monday Night Football, with the New Orleans Saints heading north to take on the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field.
Looking through the lens of the FanDuel pricing and scoring system, we will key in on players suited for both H2H and GPP game formats.
Editor’s Note: Rotoworld’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $2,000,000 Fantasy Football Contest for Week 15’s games. It’s only $25 to join and first prize is $200,000. Starts Sunday, Sunday 7th at 1pm ET. Here’s the link.
The important thing to remember about this format is that you want assemble a team that has the highest projected “floor” scoring. The reasoning behind this is simple, you just need to be better than half of the field. Whether it is mano-a-mano or a whole crowd, the top half are victorious and the others are left wondering what just happened to them.
For this reason, we will want to focus on players that have the highest projected points per salary cap dollar. The key word to remember is probable. In today’s NFL, just about any offensive player could have a three-TD day, or they may not see the end zone for a month.
We are looking for those projected stats that are likely to occur. As a general rule of thumb, in this format on FanDuel you will need to score about 120 points in order to put your team in a good position to win. Sometimes you will win with less points, other times you will lose with a much higher score, but that is a reasonable target figure.
With an overall in-game salary cap on FanDuel of $60,000, this means we need our players to score 2 points for each $1k of salary. The roster format includes 1 QB, 2 RBs, 3 WRs, 1 TE, 1 K and 1 D/ST.
Now for the fun part, let’s look at a few players at each position that should be able to “return value” on their FanDuel in-game salary. These will be players that I will be using myself on various iterations of my FanDuel H2H lineups this week. Check out this article on FanDuel NFL strategy to help brush up on the differences between the two different types of formats.
Depending on the style that best suits your team-building preference and appetite for risk, you can go with a premium guy like Peyton Manning or Drew Brees, with a mid-tier QB who has a great matchup, or perhaps even someone who has come into the starting job after that week’s pricing was already created. The key thing to keep in mind though is that we need to find a production ratio of 2pts/$1k of salary.
Ben Roethlisberger $8,700 at ATL: The home/road splits have been dramatic for Roethlisberger this season. In a half dozen games at Heinz Field, he is averaging 374 passing yards and has 20 touchdowns against just three interceptions. On the road over seven games, he has 259 passing yards with just 9 touchdowns and three interceptions, a pretty scary dichotomy for sure! A couple things in his favor this week will be the location, the climate controlled Georgia Dome in Atlanta, and the fact that the Falcons are allowing a league high 288 passing yards per game. Big Ben should be good for 275 yards, 2 scores and a pick. If he can get a third touchdown he will be golden.
Andrew Luck, $10,100 vs HOU: Speaking of golden, Andrew Luck is a Golden God (Almost Famous is on in the background - what a great movie!). Luck is averaging just under 26 FanDuel points per game this season. He has a great matchup at home and every part of the offense goes through him. What more can be said?
Mark Sanchez $7,500 vs DAL: Yes, last week was quite a dud with just 96 yards passing. To be fair, the Seattle offense was almost as tough on Sanchez as the Legion of Boom. Seattle had a MONSTER advantage in time of possession 41:46 to 18:04 and total plays (85 to 45). This week will be much easier for The Sanchize with a familiar opponent in the Dallas Cowboys coming to Philadelphia. On Thanksgiving, the Eagles rolled up a tidy 33 points on 464 yards. We need Sanchez to put up about 16 FanDuel points this week to make us happy - that would be 250 passing yards, two scores and two turnovers. Seems very doable to me.
While QBs are important to constructing a solid fantasy roster, RBs are crucial. Because running backs can earn points with touchdowns, rushing and passing yards, AND receptions, they are usually the most steady source of daily fantasy production. Generally it is wise to “pay up” for a premium RB in a good matchup by utilizing your savings from another position such as defense and kicker, which will be addressed in short order.
Matt Forte $9,000 vs NO: Forte is going to be incredibly popular this week and with good reason. The New Orleans Saints are a bottom three fantasy defense against running backs, and with Brandon Marshall out for the rest of the season, the Bears are going to rely on Forte more than ever. He is just 15 receptions shy of tying the all-time running back record. I am projecting Forte for 120 yards, 8 receptions and a touchdown, with definite room for upside. He will be the building block of the majority of my teams this week in all formats.
Justin Forsett $7,700 vs JAX: Ho hum, another week, another 14+ FanDuel point performance. Those of you who have been reading my columns for any length of time are very aware that I like to lean on Forsett for my H2H lineups. Jacksonville is allowing the fifth most rushing yards per game this season (132.8) and I expect the Ravens to lean on Forsett once again as they try to stay in the playoff mix.
Chris Johnson $5,300 and Christopher Ivory $5,200 at TEN: The Titans were once again wrecked by their opponents running game last weekend and have been a hot mess all season, allowing a league worst 141.5 yards per game on the ground. This appears to be a great spot to save a little salary cap this week so you can spend up for a high flying wide receiver. The only problem is that it truly is a coin flip for which back is the better play. CJ2K does have revenge on his side taking on his former squad, but Ivory has been the more reliable performer over the last month. Either way for this price point and the matchup, you can’t really go wrong to sprinkle them in a few of your lineups.
There are always great WR options at varying price levels and matchups. Typically what you do at the other positions will dictate how you assemble your receiving corps.
Top Shelf Options – Odell Beckham Jr $8,600 vs WAS: Over his last seven games, ODB is averaging just under 20 FanDuel points per game. Washington has allowed the third most passing touchdowns this season with 28 aerial scores. Don’t waste too much time thinking about this play. Alshon Jeffery $8,400 vs NO: With Brandon Marshall out for the rest of the season, Alshon Jeffery will be nearly as popular as Matt Forte this week. The Saints are allowing the third most passing yards per game this season at a robust 265, and the Monday Night Football game currently has the highest over/under of the week at 54.5 points. Make sure to get some exposure to this high-flying affair.
Mid-Tier Choices - Jordan Matthews $7,000 vs DAL: Prior to running into the Seattle buzz saw last week, Matthews was coming off five straight weeks of double-digit production during which he averaged just under 17 FanDuel points per game. This is a great matchup, so do not be afraid to go back to the well at this appealing price. Kenny Stills $6,100 at CHI: Like New Orleans, the Chicago Bears are one of the worst teams at defending the pass. Stills is coming off a dud, so hopefully his ownership will be lower than it was last week. This is a fair price and he is once again a nice play.
Bargain Bin Ballers – Marquess Wilson $4,500 vs NO: Why not go for it with a minimum priced receiver in the matchup with the highest projected score this week? Four catches for 50 yards is a decent target for his production this week, as he will be on the field a lot more with Brandon Marshall out. Donte Moncrief $5,700 vs HOU: Moncrief could be in line for a start with Reggie Wayne potentially out with a torn triceps muscle. Monitor the news this week - if Moncrief is in line for the start, he becomes a core wide receiver option.
Martellus Bennett $6,700 vs NO: Yes, another Chicago Bear recommendation. With the Monsters of the Midway projected to score 28 points, there should be a lot of fantasy goodness to go around.
Jordan Cameron $5,100 vs CIN: After missing six weeks with a concussion, Cameron was very solid in his return. In his absence, the Browns have solidified their running game and now have an inspired passing attack with Josh Gordon back from suspension and a new quarterback this week in Johnny Manziel.
Kickers are very tricky to project, so I typically look for the lowest-priced kicker in a decent matchup, ideally in a dome or a fair weather stadium. This week I like Blair Walsh $4,800 at DET kicking in Ford Field and Connor Barth $4,700 at SD in warm San Diego.
Defense / Special Teams (D/ST)
D/ST is another position that is very hard to predict because so much of their value comes from return touchdowns. The best teams will have 10 return scores on the season and the worst around four, which makes it tough to know which team to roster.
This looks like a good week to again spend at the D/ST position. The Baltimore Ravens $5,300 vs JAX have been very solid over the last month with three games of 10+ fantasy points, and the Jaguars have been very good to their opponents. The Detroit Lions $5,400 are in another fantastic matchup this week against the Vikings, and if you need to save a little, the Kansas City Chiefs $4,900 vs OAK are going to be very popular play at this rock bottom price.
Editor’s Note: Tune into GrindersLive for NFL Game Night, presented by RotoGrinders, every Thursday at 7 PM to see Eric “EMac” MacPherson, Justin “STLCardinals84” Van Zuiden and Bryan “RookieBlitz” Fontaine discuss their daily fantasy football strategies each week. Here’s the link.
Large Field Tournaments aka Guaranteed Prize Pools (GPPs)
Depending on the contest, GPPs will generally pay out 10-20% of the field. It will take an outstanding score in order to finish in the money, so your mentality needs to be that you want to be in the top 10% or finish last. Being middle of the pack or even above average does not come with any reward, so don’t be afraid to take a few risks and stray from the herd.
Johnny Manziel $6,700 vs CIN: Well, it doesn’t even matter how he does on Sunday, as Twitter may actually break either way. My guess is that Manziel will be on probably 20-25% of all rosters in large field tournaments this week, so it may not be a bad idea to go a different direction, or at least don’t pin all of your hopes to him.
Derek Anderson $5,000 vs TB: About the same time that it was announced that Johnny Football was going to be starting this week, news came out that Cam Newton was involved in an automobile accident. Early word is that he has some back issues, however, as of this writing nothing has been reported on the severity. Monitor this situation leading up to game time, because if Anderson gets the start, he will have an insane point/price ratio. Not that we should think that six touchdowns are in play a la Ryan Fitzpatrick, but a couple hundred yards and two scores at this price will be the cornerstone of a lot of leaderboard teams this weekend.
Joique Bell $7,500 vs MIN: Back-to-back weeks for 20+ FanDuel points and Bell is still going to be off-the-radar of most daily fantasy gamers. The Detroit game plan against inferior opponents is for them to get out to an early lead and then let the ground game carry the day. Minnesota is a bottom ten team against running backs from a fantasy perspective, and as early eight-point home favorites on the NFL Vegas odds board, I think we will see more of the same production from Bell this week.
Le’Veon Bell $9,600 at ATL: Each of the last three weeks, Bell has set a new career high for fantasy points. He has another fantastic matchup this week against the Falcons, who are allowing the most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season. There will be enough value available that you can work Bell into your lineups without too much trouble this week for tournaments, especially if you are going with a cheap quarterback.
Generally in a GPP it is a good idea to pair a receiver with your QB so you can double up on your points if they connect for a score or two. Remember you want to go big or go home in this format.
Antonio Brown $9,100 and Martavis Bryant $6,800 at ATL: For the daring, I am going to recommend going with both Steelers receivers this week. It is an interesting gambit for this duo that projects to be on very few tournament lineups together. Add in Ben Roethlisberger for additional synergy in a low dollar GPP and consider it an entertainment expense.
Dez Bryant $8,500 at PHI: The catches and yardage have been there for Bryant, however, after scoring six touchdowns in four games, he hasn’t hit pay dirt in his last two contests. I have a feeling this week that will change against Philly, and he will likely be overlooked by a lot of daily gamers.
Charles Johnson $6,600 at DET: Well, it looks like the Vikings have a new go-to wide receiver. Over his last four games, Johnson has turned 30 targets into 15 catches for 283 yards and two scores. Minnesota is likely going to be playing from behind, so this should help boost Johnson’s opportunities. I like him for 100 yards, half a dozen catches and a score this week.
Jimmy Graham $6900 at CHI: With just four fantasy points in his last two games, I am not sure what exactly is wrong with Graham. Two games ago he had zero targets, but last week he had 11, so it doesn’t appear that he is seriously injured. Though there have been rumblings that he may be hiding something, it could truly just be bad luck. As previously mentioned in the H2H sections, I really like Martellus Bennett and Jordan Cameron this week, so I am focusing on them for my tournament squads, but I will probably have Graham on a lineup or two just to have a little more rooting action in the Monday night game.
Kickers and Defense / Special Teams
Generally I will utilize the same handful of cheap kickers and DSTs across my H2H and GPP lineups because of their inherent boom/bust nature.
Feel free to send questions via Twitter: @EmacDFS
Good Luck Gamers!