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) where between 10-20% of the field is paid out.
In this article, we will utilize the FanDuel Week 7 NFL contest period beginning with Sunday’s 1 pm ET games and continuing through the Monday Night Football game with the Baltimore Ravens visiting the Arizona Cardinals.
Please note the Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos and Green Bay Packers are on a bye this week.
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 7 contest before it fills.
When constructing a H2H roster, the important thing to remember is that you want to 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 “projected.” 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.
Editor’s Note: Rotoworld’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $4,000,000 Fantasy Football Contest for Week 7’s games. It’s only $25 to join and first prize is $500,000. The contest starts Sunday, October 25th at 1pm ET. Here’s the link.
Choosing a quarterback 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 Andrew Luck, 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.
Philip Rivers – SD vs OAK - $8,000: Though he is not the flashiest of recommendations, he has been very solid this season averaging just over 20 FanDuel points per game. With the Chargers’ offensive line dinged up and running back Melvin Gordon disappointing in his rookie campaign, we should see Rivers carry the offense once more making him a relatively safe option as your signal caller this week.
Carson Palmer – AZ vs BAL - $8,200: These are not the same Baltimore Ravens who used to terrorize opposing offenses wreaking havoc all over the field. Instead, this version of the Ravens is actually allowing the most FanDuel points to opposing quarterbacks at 22.5 per game. Last weekend in Pittsburgh against the Steelers, Palmer piled up 421 passing yards as the Cardinals could not get anything going on the ground. He should flirt with 300 yards and a couple of scores on Monday Night Football.
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 receiving 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 or kicker, which will be addressed in short order.
Todd Gurley – STL vs CLE - $7,400: The Cleveland Browns have been a bottom-five defense for most of the season against running backs from a fantasy standpoint. Gurley will likely be a popular pick at this price point and I have no issues going with the obvious here and looking to differentiate at another slot.
Devonta Freeman – ATL at TEN - $8,700: At some point Freeman is going to disappoint us with a bad game. On the season, the Titans have allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. Yes, last week they got worked over at home by the Dolphins allowing 180 yards and two scores on 32 carries for a healthy 5.6 average. I am chalking that up to a bit of an anomaly yet I am still cautiously optimistic that Freeman will post 15+ fantasy points.
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 Option – DeAndre Hopkins – HOU at JAX - $9,200: With 89 targets on the season through six games, there is not much left to say about Hopkins…well other than the fact that he came into his Week 5 matchup at Jacksonville averaging 20.2 FanDuel points per game and he tallied a monster 31.8 fantasy points. If you have the funds, he is worth playing as it is clear that the Texans will be leaning on him all season.
Mid-Tier Choice – Larry Fitzgerald – AZ vs BAL - $7,800: Yes, back to the well once more with Fitzgerald. He is a fine option on his own or as a pairing with QB Carson Palmer. The Ravens are allowing 15.7 receptions, 222 yards and 1.5 touchdowns per game to opposing wide receivers.
Bargain Bin Ballers – Willie Snead – NO at IND - $6,500: After the long week, I am counting on the Saints’ coaching staff to come up with a few new wrinkles and hope to see Snead make just his second appearance in the end zone this weekend. The Colts are allowing the third most fantasy points to wide receivers this season and the Saints love to throw. Stefon Diggs – MIN at DET - $5,800: With 28 total FanDuel points in his last two games at Denver and against Kansas City, I have no issues liberally employing him as a discount dandy across my rosters in all formats this week.
Antonio Gates – SD vs OAK - $5,800: The Oakland Raiders are by far the worst team in the league against tight ends, allowing 38% more fantasy points per game than the second worst team. Through his first two games back from his PED suspension, Gates has been targeted 27 times resulting in 18 receptions, 187 yards and two touchdowns. Don’t think too long about this pick.
Delanie Walker – TEN vs ATL - $5,500: If you can’t find the extra $300 to get to Antonio Gates, Walker would be someone deserving of consideration. While he has not found paydirt, he does have 19 receptions and 201 receiving yards over his last three games. The touchdowns will come.
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.
Josh Lambo – SD vs OAK - $4,700: For the late game set, I am fine with taking Lambo, who has put up 33 FanDuel points over the last three weeks. The weather looks good once again in San Diego, and the Chargers should have no problems scoring against Oakland.
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 ten 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 very manageable price points this weekend. The St. Louis Rams - $4,500 vs CLE are in an excellent spot against the Browns and at this price point they will probably be on nearly half of all contest entries. The San Diego Chargers - $4,400 vs OAK are in the mix as the best play on the late game set against the hapless Raiders. With the great cheap options, it is highly unlikely that many gamers will consider the Arizona Cardinals - $5,100 vs BAL although they have been averaging a healthy 11.8 FanDuel points per game this season and should be keyed up for their Monday Night Football appearance.
Editor’s Note: Tune into GrindersLive for NFL First Look, presented by RotoGrinders every Wednesday at 8pm. To see Eric “EMac” MacPherson, Paul “BoggsLite” Errington and Stephen “StevieTPFL” Young 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.
Andrew Luck – IND vs NO - $8,900: If the crowd continues to stay with QB Tom Brady, Luck could be completely overlooked by 80-90% of all gamers this week. While all the attention was on the Patriots, don’t forget that Luck posted 312 passing yards and three scores along with another 35 yards on the ground. The matchup against the Saints is a favorable one, as they are allowing the second-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season.
Landry Jones – PIT at KC - $6,000: Look, this is not a play for the faint of heart or fiscally responsible. However, if you want to throw caution to the wind in a low dollar tournament, stranger things have happened. Let’s not forget that Arrowhead Stadium has one of the loudest crowds outside of Seattle and this will be a tough spot for Jones, however, with the firepower the Steelers have at the skill positions, there is a chance to catch lightning in a bottle.
Christine Michael – DAL at NYG - $5,600: It sounds like Jerry Jones’ team is making a lot of changes this week with QB Matt Cassel getting a shot and RB Christine Michael getting his first pro start. Michael has always been uber-talented, but he has never made the most of his opportunities, so this is far from a sure thing. The savings at this position will allow you several other deluxe options, though.
Arian Foster – HOU at MIA - $8,600: With 51 touches in his last two games, Foster is getting the ball every other play when he is on the field. It seems that he is as healthy as he will be all season. Enjoy the usage and potential major upside, however, do be prepared for the wheels to fall off at the worst possible time as this usage tends to catch up with him quickly after so many miles on his odometer.
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.
T.Y. Hilton – IND vs NO - $7,700: Hilton looked great against the Patriots posting six catches, 74 receiving yards and a touchdown on his way to 16.4 FanDuel points. With QB Andrew Luck back, he and teammate Donte Moncrief - $6,500 are both back in the mix as viable options.
Gary Barnidge – CLE at STL - $5,900: Five touchdowns in his last four games including a pair last weekend against the Denver Broncos. Look, sometimes things just can’t be explained and we have to go along for the ride.
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!