In this article we will utilize the FanDuel Week 7 NFL contest period beginning with Sunday’s 13-game slate going through Monday Night Football, when the Houston Texans will be heading to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers.
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.
As a reminder, 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.
Editor’s Note: RotoGrinders.com is our exclusive partner for one-week fantasy football strategy. Want to take your FanDuel game to the next level? Check out RotoGrinders' FanDuel Incentives Package to get picks and advice from proven daily fantasy winners.
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 3-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.
Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-week $500,000 Fantasy Football league for Week 7's games. It's only $10 to join and first prize is $40,000. Starts Sunday, October 19th at 1pm ET. Here's the link.
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 Philip Rivers, 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.
Joe Flacco $7,700 vs ATL: After an outstanding performance in which he set an NFL record for the quickest to start a game with five touchdowns (16:03 of elapsed game time), Flacco will not be sneaking up on anyone. The real beauty is that most people will still not want to roster him after his “lucky” performance against Tampa Bay. Fortunately for those of us who can look beyond that, we will see that this week’s opponent, Atlanta, gives up nearly as many passing yards per game as the Buccaneers. At his mid-tier price, Flacco just needs to go for 16 points, which would easily be accomplished with 250 passing yards, two TDs and one INT. Considering he has gone for 25+ FanDuel points in two of his last three starts, he also provides some very nice upside potential this week.
Andrew Luck $10,000 vs CIN: After a relaxing 10 days between games, the Indianapolis Colts should be raring and ready to go against Cincinnati. On the season the Bengals are allowing nearly 270 passing yards per game and a league worst 40 rushing yards per game to opposing signal callers. Luck already has two rushing scores this season, and even with his lofty price point, if he performs only as well as the previous quarterbacks who have faced Cincinnati, he will be good for 18 FanDuel points. Getting to 23+ does not seem like too much of a stretch.
Russell Wilson $8,400 at STL: I am going back to the well with Wilson this week. According to RotoGrinders’ Defense vs. QB tool, St Louis allows the eighth most fantasy points to quarterbacks on the season. After watching Colin Kaepernick spring for 343 passing yards, three TDs and 37 rushing yards, I feel that Wilson has a floor of around 19 FanDuel points, and for him to achieve this level of production he would need 200 passing yards, two TDs, one INT and 40 rushing yards. Since a lot of people, myself included, were heavily invested in Wilson last week and not thrilled with the outcome, he will likely have a lower ownership % than he should.
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.
Arian Foster $9,100 at PIT: In his last two games, Foster produced 30.2 FanDuel points in Dallas and 27.6 against Indianapolis on a short four-day turnaround. After 10 days off to rest his ailing hamstrings, this is likely the healthiest Foster will be the rest of the season. His Monday night opponents, the Pittsburgh Steelers, are just middle-of-the-road against running backs this season, and they have yet to face anyone even remotely close to Foster’s caliber (CLE x2, BAL, CAR, TB and JAX), so I am projecting a comfortable 20-point baseline for talented back.
Le’Veon Bell $8,400 vs HOU: Bell has been one of the most consistent running backs this season, and that sort of predictably and safety is valuable when constructing H2H lineups. Though he has only scored once this season, Bell has had 4+ receptions in all but one start. Averaging 16.6 FanDuel points per game, if he does get in the end zone his point-per-dollar production will easily pay off his salary.
Jerick McKinnon $5,900 at BUF: After getting a surprise starting nod over Matt Asiata last week, McKinnon should be the lead back going forward for Minnesota this season. The Buffalo Bills will not be an easy matchup this week, but at his price point McKinnon should reward his owners with extra value, especially if he can reach the end zone.
There are always great WR options at varying price levels and matchups. Typically what you do at the other positions will dictate how you assembled your receiving corps.
Top Shelf Options – Jordy Nelson $8,900 vs CAR: With Julio Jones nursing a sore ankle and Demaryius Thomas facing the #1-ranked passing defense this weekend in the 49ers, it is easy to make Nelson the premium WR play this week. Nelson is averaging 19.1 FanDuel points per game this season and has scored less than 12.8 points just once. Don’t think too hard on this one.
Mid-Tier Choices – Mohamed Sanu $7,200 at IND: It is already sounding like A.J. Green is going to be sitting out another week, which would again leave Sanu as Andy Dalton’s featured target. Averaging 15.2 points per game and as only the 14th most expensive WR, Sanu is a great option. Golden Tate $6,700 vs NO: Yes, his seven receptions for just 44 yards were disappointing, but don’t lose sight of the fact the he was targeted 14 times. With Calvin Johnson likely sitting out another week, I don’t think I will be alone in giving Tate a second chance on Sunday. Odell Beckham Jr $6,200 at DAL: With Victor Cruz sidelined for the remainder of the season, Beckham should have ample opportunity to showcase his game-breaking talent as the new WR2 for the Giants.
Bargain Bin Ballers – James Jones $5,500 vs ARI: Somewhat lost in the shadow of teammate Andre Holmes’ magnificent performance, Jones had another solid showing with his fourth double-digit fantasy outing in his last five games. Allen Robinson $5,600 vs CLE: He did not disappoint last week with eight receptions for 68 yards. We’re still waiting on his first score of the season, but he is a solid play with his nearly eight targets per game. Jarvis Landry $5,400 at CHI: Landry converted his eight targets into season-highs in receptions (6), yards (75) and his first touchdown. As an added bonus, he also handles punt and kick return duties.
Already with nine TDs on the season, Julius Thomas $8,600 vs SF is the premium option if you are looking to spend at TE. Where I am not spending, which is in most of my squads, I am rostering Jordan Reed $5,400 vs TEN, who finally returned from his hamstring injury and looked great against Arizona with eight receptions and 92 yards.
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 really like Shayne Graham $4,600 at DET and the minimum-priced Cairo Santos $4,500 at SD.
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 when they may occur.
Generally I start at the bottom of the price list and work my way up until I find a defense that has a matchup that doesn’t completely scare me. This week I am mixing in the mid-priced selections of the Cleveland Browns $5,200 at JAX, who have allowed double-digit production to every D/ST they have faced so far, and the Green Bay Packers $4,800 vs CAR, who will be forced to pass to stay in the game, which should lead to a couple pick-six opportunities for the Packers.
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.
Cam Newton $8,400 at GB: Well, that phenomenal performance against the Bengals last week certainly caught me off guard. I barely had Newton in my top 10 quarterback projections. This week he gets a great matchup against the Packers, who are allowing a league-worst 154.5 rushing yards per game. With all the Carolina running backs injured, Newton will again have to carry the offense all by himself. His ownership will definitely be higher this week, but he does have 30-FanDuel point potential if he can go for another 100 rushing yards.
Derek Carr $6,800 vs ARI: He won’t be sneaking up on anyone after last week’s performance. However, with the Arizona Cardinals allowing a league-worst 309 passing yards per game and Andre Holmes $6,000 and James Jones $5,500 forming an inexpensive receiver duo, you can create your own mini-Raiders juggernaut.
Jamaal Charles $8,500 at SD: Coming off a bye week, Charles should be back to full strength after dealing with several nagging injuries. I am not nervous about his workload, even though the KC coaching staff has talked about increasing the timeshare with Knile Davis. Charles is the rare back who is a threat to score from anywhere at any time, and a multi-touchdown game is always in play with him.
Lamar Miller $6,900 at CHI: With Knowshon Moreno out for the season, the Dolphins backfield is again Miller’s alone. Lamar has had a TD or 120+ combined yards in every game except one. I expect him to be a low-owned option this week with his matchup against Chicago and think he is a fine tournament option.
DeMarco Murray $9,400 vs NYG: Murray has had a tremendous workload this season, averaging 30 combined touches per game. At some point he will likely leave a game early with an injury, which is why I am relegating him to GPP status.
Bishop Sankey $5,500 at WAS: I was as shocked as you were when I saw Jackie Battle get the short-yardage touchdown for the Titans last week. Heck, I did not even realize he was still in the league. That said, at the low price of $5,500, and facing a shaky defense, I expect Sankey to be in the 10%-owned-range-or-less category for GPPs this weekend. All he needs is 80 yards and a score to bring a smile and joy to those that have kept the faith. (Full disclosure: I am an alumnus of the University of Washington).
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 $8,700 vs HOU: After racing out to five touchdowns in his first four games, Brown was held scoreless for the second straight game last week. I don’t think the drought will make it to three games.
Emmanuel Sanders $7,800 vs SF: This week we will get to see the unstoppable Peyton Manning against the immovable San Francisco passing defense (allowing just 207 yards per game). Sanders surprising still doesn’t have a touchdown yet this season, and with Peyton just three touchdowns away from becoming the all-time leader, it feels like the stars are aligning for some Sunday Night Magic.
Terrance Williams $6,900 vs NYG: With all the attention on Dez Bryant, I think people are forgetting that Williams is just three games removed from a 22.7-FanDuel point performance against the Saints. The Giants have had a fair amount of trouble slowing down opposing aerial attacks (262 yards per game allowed).
Andrew Hawkins $5,300 at JAX: After averaging 10+ targets per game during his first month, Hawkins saw just two (zero catches) last week. That seems more like an anomaly than anything else, and he should be more involved against the Jaguars this week.
Jared Cook $5,200 vs SEA: On the season, the Seahawks have given up the third most points to tight ends. This bodes well for Cook, who is definitely an under-the-radar option this week.
Jordan Reed $5,400 vs TEN: Yes, I listed him as a favorite H2H option this week, but I truly like him in all formats, and he will likely be the TE I roster on the majority of my lineups this week. He gets a matchup against the Titans, who are allowing the eighth most points to TEs on the season.
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!