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), in which somewhere between 10-20% of the field is paid out.
In this article we will utilize the FanDuel Week 9 NFL contest period beginning with Sunday’s 1pm games and continuing through Monday Night Football, with Indianapolis set to take on the New York Giants on primetime.
Editor’s Note: Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-week $3 Million Fantasy Football league for Week 9's games. It's only $25 to join and first prize is $500,000. Starts Sunday, November 2nd 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.
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 Andrew Luck, 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.
Andrew Luck $10,100 at NYG: Sheesh, 400 yards passing and three touchdowns were only good enough to get Luck the third-best FanDuel QB numbers for Week 8. With six teams on bye (Atlanta, Buffalo, Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, Tennessee), there will not be as many choices as normal this week, so we really need to make our picks count. The NY Giants are in the bottom third of the league for passing defense, and if there is one thing that Luck can do, it is shred mediocre secondaries. Luck is averaging 26.1 FanDuel points per game this season, and in this matchup I see an 80% probability that he will get 24 points (325 passing yards, 3 TDs and 1 INT), which is just what I am looking for.
Colin Kaepernick $7,800 vs STL: Coming off a bye, Kaepernick will likely be overlooked by a lot of daily fantasy gamers who will be chasing Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger after last week’s impressive performances. That is fine by me, since I don’t mind having a solid differentiation play as one of my main options this week. At his reasonable price, Kaepernick just needs to score 17 points to make his backers happy. On the season he has scored 15+ FanDuel points in all but one start. Just three weeks ago, Kaepernick had a season-high performance in St Louis on Monday Night Football, throwing for 343 yards and three scores and adding another 37 yards rushing for a total of 29.4 points. Even if he gets just two-thirds of that production, he will return value.
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.
Jerick McKinnon $6,300 vs WAS: Over their last five contests, the Redskins have allowed 140 rushing yards a game at just under five yards per carry. The yardage and touches have been there the last two weeks for McKinnon at 19 and 92 respectively, and he would be held in much higher regard if he would have just found the end zone. He is a strong possibility to get his first score against Washington this week.
Andre Ellington $7,700 at DAL: The Cowboys are giving up a healthy 4.8 yards per attempt to opposing rushers, and with Ellington averaging 25 combined touches per game over his last five contests, I am willing to roll the dice with him once more as one of my key running backs for Week 9.
Branden Oliver $7,000 at MIA: Ten days off since his last game should have allowed Oliver a nice respite to recover from his increased workload. The Dolphins are middle of the pack, allowing 22 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. I think Oliver is a solid option as long as the other San Diego backs are still convalescing for one more week.
Jeremy Hill $5,200 vs JAX: In the event Giovani Bernard is limited or held out this weekend (keep tabs on the injury report - he left early last week with a hip injury), Hill would be an intriguing option against the Jaguars, who are a middle-of-the-pack defense on the season, having allowed 4.0 yards per carry.
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 – Antonio Brown $9,000 vs BAL: Over the last few weeks, the Ravens passing defense has been slipping, and they are now in the bottom third of the league. In his first meeting against Baltimore back in Week 2, Brown had seven receptions for 90 yards and 13.5 FanDuel points. Not great, but not too shabby either. Since then, Brown has averaged eight catches for 108 yards and he’s recorded six TDs, which equates to 21.6 points per game overall. Don’t overlook the obvious this week.
Mid-Tier Choices – Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins (both are $6,900) vs PHI: While I don’t recommend having both of them on your same H2H lineups, I will have one or the other on most of mine this week to take advantage of their great matchup with the Eagles. Odell Beckham Jr. $6,600 and Rueben Randle $6,400 vs IND: Another set of teammates that I just cannot seem to avoid. Again, don’t roster them both on the same entry, but as Pittsburgh demonstrated last Sunday, the Colts can be beat through the air. Allen Robinson $6,500 at CIN: It took him until Week 7 to get his first score, but he now has reached paydirt in his last two games. The Jaguars will need more of the same if they hope to manage a road victory in the Jungle.
Bargain Bin Ballers – Jordan Matthews $5,900 at HOU: In games in which the Eagles are facing defenses that are able to shut down tight ends, they often look to Jordan Matthews. This is shaping up as a nice sneaky play, with the Texans ranked eighth in fantasy points allowed to TEs and 28th against wide receivers. Mike Evans $6,000 at CLE: Last week made it five games in a row that Evans had exactly four catches. He is getting solid yardage and finding the end zone too, and with opposing defenses focusing on Vincent Jackson, he has had plenty of room to operate.
Jordan Reed $5,500 at MIN: Reed once again had a solid game on Monday Night, posting seven receptions and 40 yards. He is still at a reasonable price point again this week and will be on a lot of my H2H lineups.
Larry Donnell $5,400 vs IND: On the season the Colts are allowing 12 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends, which is the 12th-most in the league. Yes, the two fumbles in his last game were not encouraging, but at this discounted salary, it will be very hard to pass him up.
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 again like Cairo Santos $4,800 vs NYJ and the minimum-priced Billy Cundiff $4,600 vs TB.
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 week I am mixing in the Cleveland Browns $4,800 vs TB, since the Buccaneers have one lonely win and six losses on the season and the Minnesota Vikings $4,900 vs WAS, with the Vikings coming off their second straight 15+ FanDuel-point performance and should be in line for another fine showing against turnover-prone Washington. Where I have extra cap space, I think the Kansas City Chiefs $5,300 vs NYJ are in a great situation to get double-digit fantasy points.
Editor’s Note: Tune into GrindersLive for NFL Game Night, presented by RotoGrinders every Thursday at 7pm. See Eric “EMac” MacPherson, Justin “STLCardinals84” Van Zuiden and Bryan “RookieBlitz” Fontaine discuss their daily fantasy football strategies each week.
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.
Peyton Manning $10,000 at NE: Ten days off should be nice for Old Man Peyton, and I expect him to start the second half of the season with a strong showing. However, there is just a little bit of doubt in my mind that it will be his typical 25+ FanDuel-point performance. I can see Coach Belichick just daring the Broncos to run the ball, which would help keep the clock moving and the ball out of Peyton’s hands until the final quarter. If this were to happen, I would rather have Andrew Luck on my H2H rosters. Yes, this is splitting hairs, however, it is juuuuust enough to have me use Manning more in GPPs this weekend.
Nick Foles $8,400 at HOU: His excellent game (411 yards and two TDs) was lost in the shuffle last weekend. Sunday he will heading to Houston, home of the NFL’s third-worst passing defense. I believe we will once again see ownership levels in the 5-6% range, which will be to our advantage.
Teddy Bridgewater $5,900 vs WAS: On the other end of the pricing spectrum, we have Bridgewater. Yes, he hasn’t done a whole lot this season, but that is why his price is still so low. If he could just manage to score more than one touchdown in a game, his return on value would be stellar. Also, with him at the helm of your tournament entry, you can really stack the rest of your roster.
Ben Roethlisberger $8,000 vs BAL: Yes, this is the epitome of chasing points, as Roethlisberger had one of the greatest fantasy performances of all-time last week. However, the Ravens lost CB Jimmy Smith on Sunday and have been struggling to defend the pass the last few weeks. Maybe enough people will be looking at Tom Brady to continue his resurgence or to Eli Manning in the hopes he can work over the Colts like Big Ben just did, which would keep his ownership to a lower level.
Jamaal Charles $9,000 vs NYJ: For the third straight week, I am going with Charles as my top GPP option with his multi-TD upside. He has not disappointed, but this week is a tougher matchup against the Jets, who have done a very solid job of defending the run this season. Between that factor and his lofty price, I don’t want to swing and miss with this pick in my H2H contests, so I will happily ride with him in my tournament entries again this week.
DeMarco Murray $9,600 vs ARI: Murray posted 22.1 FanDuel points without getting a touchdown. Now THAT is impressive. On pace for 464 touches, at some point the wheels are going to come off the wagon on his phenomenal season. Until them, he is a great risk/reward option.
Marshawn Lynch $8,200 vs OAK: Well, it sure seems the Seahawks are doing their best to implode just nine months removed from their Super Bowl victory. Lynch could go for 150 yards and two scores or we could see him riding a unicycle on the sidelines to stay loose before the game. What I am trying to say is that there is no outcome that would truly surprise me with him this weekend.
Shane Vereen $6,600 vs DEN: As I mentioned in the Manning writeup, I am speculating that the Patriots will try to control the clock in their matchup with Denver. That means lots of short passes to Vereen, which are basically long handoffs in this offense. At a half-a-point per reception, those catches can really start to add up after a while.
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.
Jeremy Maclin $8,400 at HOU: Maclin is seeing just shy of 11 targets per game, which is the third-most in the NFL. He is a great combo play with Nick Foles this week. Also, do not forget about Jordan Matthews $5,900, who will be off everyone’s radar.
Demaryius Thomas $9,200 and Emmanuel Sanders $8,200 at NE: It seems like in Denver’s offense, anyone can go for multiple touchdowns at any time. Predicting who it is going to be from week-to-week is the tricky part. At their current prices, you can really only pair one of them with Peyton, or play them both and go with a cheaper signal caller.
Andrew Hawkins $6,200 vs TB: Over his last two contests, Hawkins is averaging 16.4 FanDuel points, and this week’s matchup against the porous Tampa Two “defense” (allowing 286 passing yards per game) is a great one.
T.Y. Hilton $8,100 at NYG: Well it certainly looks like Hilton has arrived this season. With all the injuries to the other key members of the Colts Offense, he has become the apple of Andrew Luck’s eye. At this price tag I will still have him on several of my H2H iterations. However, with such a short track record, I think he is better suited as a large-field tournament option. Additionally, don’t shy away from Donte Moncrief $6,200, who will be wreaking havoc on the other side of the field.
Rob Gronkowski $7,900 vs DEN: Well now, that was a performance for the ages (9 catches, 149 yards and 3 TDs) that will likely not be duplicated. Of course it is Gronk, so that could just be his warmup act.
Clay Harbor $5,200 at CIN: If you are looking to be thrifty, Harbor will be facing the Bengals this week, a team that’s allowing the second-most fantasy points to tight ends 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!