In daily fantasy football, there are two main types of playing formats; head-to-head games (including 50/50 and double-up format, 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 9 NFL contest period, beginning with Sunday’s 1 PM ET games and continuing through the Monday Night Football game with the Chicago Bears visiting the San Diego Chargers.
Please note the Detroit Lions, Kansas City Chiefs, Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks, Houston Texans, and Baltimore Ravens are on 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: Rotoworld’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $3,000,000 Fantasy Football Contest for Week 9’s games. It’s only $25 to join and first prize is $500,000. The contest starts Sunday, November 8th at 1 PM ET. Here’s the link.
When constructing your NFL lineups, the important thing to remember 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 Aaron Rogers or Drew Brees; 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 2pts/$1k of salary.
Tom Brady – NE vs WAS - $9,500: Normally I would not want to spend so much on a quarterback, however, with the many injuries that occurred last week, there is a lot of value available, which will allow us to splurge on a luxury quarterback. The Redskins have been in the top third of the league’s rushing defenses and the bottom third in the pass defenses from a fantasy perspective, however, they have a lot of defensive players that will be game-time-decisions this week. This will likely be another game where the Fightin’ Belichicks turn to Tom Terrific to secure a victory.
Jameis Winston – TB vs NYG - $6,700: Hang with me for just a moment. Yes, the NY Giants allowed an incredible, historic performance to a future Hall of Fame quarterback in Drew Brees, but that is not the main reason why I am recommending Winston in H2H games. On the season he is averaging 16.9 FanDuel points per game and he has multiple touchdowns in five of his seven starts. The G-Men are allowing 315 passing yards per game and have recorded just nine sacks this season, and they have allowed at least one passing touchdown in every game. At this price point, we just need Famous Jameis to throw for 250 yards and a score. Everything else is gravy.
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.
DeAngelo Williams – PIT vs OAK - $6,500: Williams has been great when filling in for Le’Veon Bell, and in this great matchup against the Oakland Raiders, this is a play where we will just want to follow the crowd at this price and best our opponents at another spot.
Jeremy Langford – CHI at SD - $6,100: Langford got a price bump, however, much like Williams he is in a fine matchup against the San Diego Chargers on Monday Night Football. On the season, the Chargers have allowed the tenth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs, and while most likely won’t double down with both Williams and Langford, I will have one on nearly every roster this weekend.
Devonta Freeman – ATL at SF - $8,900: The San Francisco front office has clearly decided to torch the ship this season. Taking a top-end running back against a team in disarray is a fine option. Though it has been two weeks without a score, Freeman still leads the league in touchdowns, and the 49ers are allowing 25.3 FanDuel points per games to opposing running backs this season.
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 – PIT vs OAK - $8,700: The Steelers are a rare team; you can utilize both a running back and a wide receiver and not have them cannibalize production from one another. Brown is an outstanding option this weekend.
Mid-Tier Choices – Alshon Jeffery – CHI at SD - $7,900: Jeffery was magnificent last week and I am recommending him once more. With RB Matt Forte sidelined for the next couple weeks, Jeffery becomes the Bears primary option. The Monday Night Football matchup with the San Diego Chargers hosting Chicago projects as one of the highest scoring games of the week on the NFL odds board, so we want to make sure to get a player or two in this contest.
Bargain Bin Ballers – Willie Snead – NO vs TEN - $6,100: Last week in this space I wrote that we needed to trust the process, as Snead was still on an upward trajectory with his involvement in the Saints Offense. He did not disappoint with his six receptions, 65 yards and two touchdowns. While we can’t expect two scores again, he still is coming of a game in which he had his second-most snaps and targets on this season. Michael Crabtree – OAK at PIT - $5,800: Over his last three games, Crabtree has turned 29 targets into 17 receptions for 219 yards and two scores. This game could easily turn into a track meet with both sporting incredibly porous defenses. Stevie Johnson – SD vs CHI - $5,400: It has been announced that WR Keenan Allen has been placed on injured reserve with a kidney injury, and TE Ladarius Green suffered an ankle injury, which leaves ample opportunity for Johnson to pay off this very reasonable price point.
Rob Gronkowski – NE vs WAS - $8,500: This is a nice matchup for Gronkowski, and as previously mentioned, there is plenty of value to facilitate rolling in luxury this weekend at a couple positions.
Jordan Reed – WAS at NE - $5,700: When healthy, Reed is seeing just shy of ten targets per game from QB Kirk Cousins. There is little reason to expect to see those opportunities decrease in this tough matchup, with Washington needing to muster every point they can if they want to have a chance against the Patriots.
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.
Kai Forbath – NO vs TEN - $4,600: Forbath is in the Super Dome once again, and he should have several scoring opportunities this weekend against the Titans.
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 a couple top options this weekend, however, they are also above $5,000. While they are expensive, they carry the same price tag for everyone so I don’t mind spending a little extra for the potential security. The Denver Broncos - $5,300 at IND are not cheap and are on the road, but the Broncos have failed to reach double-digit fantasy points just once this season and it was last week against Aaron Rodgers; they ended the night with nine FanDuel points. The Philadelphia Eagles - $4,700 at DAL have been averaging 10.3 FanDuel points per game this season, and while they are on the road, the Dallas offense is not the most intimidating right now. If you are more comfortable with taking a home defense, the Buffalo Bills - $4,700 vs MIA warrant consideration against the Dolphins, whom they worked over for 15 FanDuel points in Week 3 on the road.
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.
Philip Rivers – SD vs CHI - $8,600: Losing WR Keenan Allen will be a tough blow for the Chargers, but Rivers has shown time and time again that he can find the open receiving options. His price has crept up enough that I am relegating him to tournament status, but he still does have decent options in TE Antonio Gates and WRs Malcolm Floyd and Stevie Johnson, along with RB Danny Woodhead.
Derek Carr – OAK at PIT - $7,000: In his last two games, Carr has posted 29.1 and 23.9 FanDuel points against the NY Jets and San Diego respectively. The matchup against the Steelers is shaping up to be full of fantasy goodness, and rolling with Carr and one or two of his receivers this week is a fine tournament play.
Dion Lewis – NE vs WAS - $7,400: Lewis can get his points in a myriad of ways, and while Washington has been solid this season against opposing running backs, Coach Belichick has plenty of tricks up his sleeve. Lewis should be in line for double-digit fantasy points with upside for more.
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.
Mike Evans – TB vs NYG - $7,500: Evans is a great play in all formats this weekend against a New York Giants squad that was just embarrassed for the all-time single game passing touchdown record. With most of the other Pewter Pirate receiving options dinged up, Evans should see a giant helping of targets coming his way.
Amare Cooper – OAK at PIT - $7,300: It looks like the Oakland Raiders have the makings of a solid passing game for several years to come with Cooper and Carr.
Martavis Bryant – PIT vs OAK - $6,900: Bryant has 20 point fantasy upside if things go his way, and with the loss of RB Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh will be relying on their passing game more than ever.
Heath Miller – PIT vs OAK - $5,800: On the season the Raiders are allowing 19.4 FanDuel points per game to opposing tight ends, which is nearly 10% more than the next worst team. Last week Miller had 10 receptions and 105 yards on 13 targets, however, in the six preceding games he had just nine catches for 84 yards and a touchdown. This is very much a boom-or-bust play.
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!