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 left wondering what went wrong), and large field guaranteed prize pool tournaments (GPPs), in which between 10-20% of the field is paid out.
In this article we will utilize the FanDuel Week 3 NFL contest period beginning with Sunday’s 1 PM ET games and continuing through the Monday Night Football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Green Bay Packers.
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: Play against our writers in the Rotoworld Football Championship – a series of one-week fantasy contests on FanDuel with $20K in FREE prizes! Enter the Week 3 contest before it fills.
When constructing your NFL DFS lineups, the important thing to remember for head-to-head contests is that you want construct a team that has the highest projected “floor” with regards to projected scoring production. 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 looking ahead to next week.
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.
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 fewer 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.
Picking a QB depends on the style that best suits your team-building preference and risk-reward potential. One school of thought focuses on anchoring your roster with a premium guy like Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers; another way to approach a week may be 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 2 PTS/$1K of salary.
Russell Wilson - $8,400 vs CHI: It would appear that the Seahawks are in a near “must win” situation this week after starting the season 0-2. They are always a much different team when they are playing in front of their fans at home and I expect them to rally this week against the Chicago Bears. Wilson is showing once again that he can get it done with his legs and he is averaging a healthy five FanDuel points per game on the ground. He is the best way to consolidate any of the Seattle aerial stats and he has a good chance to be involved in three touchdowns this week.
Nick Foles - $6,500 at STL: Week 2 had so many injuries to quarterbacks (Tony Romo, Matthew Stafford, Jay Cutler, Drew Brees) that it almost feels like a bye week. A popular strategy in H2H contests is to look for a low-salary quarterback that is stepping into a starting role as an injury replacement. This week, I would rather look to a discounted signal-caller who has already been getting work.
The PIT at STL game actually has one of the highest projected scores with a 47.5 o/u. At the rate the Steelers have been piling up the points, their opponents have been forced to go to the air early and often. Through their first two games they are allowing 290 passing yards per game and they have given up the second most passing touchdowns in the league so far with six. We should see Foles with 250 passing yards, two scores and enough rushing production to offset any turnovers.
While QBs are a very important building block for a solid fantasy roster, RBs are absolutely crucial. Running backs have the volume and opportunity to earn points with touchdowns, rushing and passing yards AND receptions; this usually makes them the steadiest 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.
Marshawn Lynch - $8,700 vs CHI: Coach Pete Carroll has yet to really establish a consistent offensive flow, so I have no issues using both QB Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch on the same entries this week. The Seahawks need a statement game to start the momentum rolling and Lynch should be a big part of that against the Bears. Chicago is in the bottom third of the league against the run and they have yet to face a back quite like Lynch.
Le’Veon Bell – PIT at STL - $8,800: After watching teammate DeAngelo Williams rack up 200+ yards and three scores over the last two weeks, Bell should be raring to go. Bell is involved in all facets of the game as we saw last year when he rolled up 1,361 rushing yards and also had 83 receptions for 854 receiving yards. Williams will likely be brought in to spell him every couple of series, however, I have no issues spending on Bell this week.
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 – Julio Jones - $9,000 at DAL: Through the first two weeks of the season, Julio has posted 50.6 FanDuel points on 22 receptions for 276 yards and two scores. His price keeps inching up, however, if you are looking for a premium option, he is your guy. Antonio Brown - $9,300 at STL also deserves consideration, though it will be interesting to see if he loses any production with Le’Veon Bell back in the mix.
Mid-Tier Choices – Allen Robinson - $6,600 at NE: There are several mid-tier options this week that should provide solid point totals, and while we cannot expect a repeat of his six-reception, 155-yard, two-TD bonanza from last week, the Jaguars will certainly need to throw to keep pace with the Patriots. Larry Fitzgerald - $6,700 vs SF: While expecting three touchdowns would be filed under “chasing points”, penciling in Fitz for half a dozen catches, nearly 100 yards and a decent shot at a score means he’s easily in the top 10-15 receivers at a very reasonable price point.
Bargain Bin Ballers – Donte Moncrief - $6,000 at TEN: Through the first two weeks, Moncrief has 19 targets for 13 catches, 168 yards and two TDs. He should once again be on the receiving end of a lot of attention from QB Andrew Luck with teammate T.Y. Hilton still dealing with a deep knee bruise. Michael Crabtree - $6,000 at CLE: Speaking of targets, Crabtree already has two dozen, and after many years in the run-first San Francisco offense, he is a little under the radar.
Rob Gronkowski - $8,400 vs JAX: As long as he is healthy, he is the top option in all formats.
Travis Kelce - $6,400 at GB: If the Chiefs hope to stick with the Packers on Monday Night Football, they are going to need to feed the rock to Kelce.
Crockett Gillmore - $5,400 vs CIN: If you are looking for a discounted option, Gillmore is your guy. Through the first two games he has 111 yards and has managed to find the end zone in each outing. Plus, he is HUGE at 6’6” and 265 pounds, making him a great red-zone target.
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 Chandler Catanzaro - $4,700 vs SF and the minimum priced Travis Coons - $4,500 vs OAK at home against the Raiduhz, or the equally cheap Andrew Franks - $4,500 vs BUF.
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.
There are decent D/ST options at all price points this week. The Seattle Seahawks - $5,300 vs CHI are the team to spend on if you want to ride in style. The New England Patriots - $4,700 vs JAX will be incredibly popular as two-touchdown favorites against the Jaguars. Finally, if you want to see if the magic is real, the Cleveland Browns - $4,600 vs OAK have an interesting matchup at home against Oakland.
Large Field Tournaments - 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.
Carson Palmer - $8,100 vs SF: Well, the Arizona passing game certainly looks legitimate, and with RB Andre Ellington likely out for a couple more weeks, the Cardinals are only going to go as far as Carson Palmer can carry them. He should continue to flirt with 300 yards and three scores this week against the punchless 49ers defense.
Andrew Luck - $9,000 at TEN: Oh my goodness, Andrew Luck is horrible. I would never pick him. Good, let’s allow the other gamers to think that; we can take a chance on him in a large field tournament, pair him with WR Donte Moncrief and hope they connect a couple times against the Titans.
Adrian Peterson - $8,900 vs SD: Well, after two weeks he hasn’t scored a touchdown, so he must be washed up right? Nope, Peterson was close a couple times against Detroit last weekend, and now, through two weeks, he has 135 rushing yards and five receptions for 79 receiving yards. All he has yet to do is find pay dirt. I suspect he will be on less than 20% of all tournament entries this weekend.
Jamaal Charles - $8,700 at GB: The Monday Night game has the highest projected point total of the week at 49.5, and if the Chiefs are going to keep pace with the Packers, they will need a multi-touchdown game from Charles. Through the first two weeks of the season, Green Bay has allowed the second most rushing yards at 154 per game. The only worry here is that Coach Andy Reid forgets he has Charles on his team. Sadly, we have seen this happen several times before.
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 – $9,300 at STL: This worked out well last week when we paired Brown with QB Ben Roethlisberger - $8,500, and I am willing to go back to the well again. Yes, it is a bit risky that Le’Veon Bell may take away some of Brown’s looks, however, that worry will extend to other gamers too. Ideally that keeps this pairing under-utilized again this weekend.
Calvin Johnson - $8,200 and Golden Tate - $6,800 vs DEN: Depending entirely on the health of QB Matthew Stafford - $7,400, I have no issues going back to this trio in tournaments. Last Sunday Megatron saw 17 targets and Tate had 11 come his way. The Lions are going to throw in order to beat the tough front seven of the Broncos Defense, which could lead to some fantasy goodness.
Eric Ebron - $5,100 vs DEN: I do not mind using Ebron with QB Matthew Stafford (if healthy) and one of the Lions’ other receivers in tournaments. Ebron has scored each of the first two weeks and he is averaging a solid 4.5 receptions and 48 yards per game. If Ebron does not tweak your beak, then look to one of the recommended tight ends above.
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!