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 11 NFL contest period, beginning with Sunday’s 1 PM ET games and continuing through the Monday Night Football game that features the Bills and Patriots.
Please note the Cleveland Browns, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers 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: Rotoworld’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $2,500,000 Fantasy Football Contest for Week 11’s games. It’s only $25 to join and first prize is $300,000. The contest starts Sunday, November 22th 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 Drew Brees or Ben Roethlisberger; 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.
Cam Newton – CAR vs WAS - $8,600: A lot of people will once again look to Tom Brady – NE vs BUF - $9,200, who is a fine option too, but I am feeling a little more comfortable with Newton going against a Washington defense that is a mess. With several key players injured from all three levels, and with Newton also the Panthers’ best red zone option, he should be involved in a couple scores this weekend.
Brock Osweiler – DEN at CHI - $6,000: Remember, the key for H2H games is to find the most secure price/points ratio that you feel comfortable with. On the season, the Bears have been a middle of the pack defense against opposing quarterbacks and they are allowing nearly 230 passing yards per game and 1.9 touchdowns. That stat line is close to 18 FanDuel points and it would be well above the 2x value proposition we are looking for from our players.
Since Week 2, when they faced Carson Palmer, Chicago has not played against an even semi-elite signal caller other than Philip Rivers (unless you want to count Nick Foles, Teddy Bridgewater, Matthew Stafford, Alex Smith, Derek Carr or Russell Wilson among any measure higher than above average).
Derek Carr – OAK at DET - $7,700: In the event that rolling out Osweiler is not your cup of tea, and it is too tough to scrape together the salary cap to reach Cam Newton or Tom Brady, Derek Carr is a happy compromise. Though this is a West Coast team travelling east, the Lions have been in the bottom five against opposing quarterbacks from a fantasy perspective all season. On the flip side, over his last four games, Carr is averaging 25 completions on 38.5 attempts with 306 passing yards with a robust 13 aerial scores. Enjoy!
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.
Devonta Freeman – ATL vs IND - $9,100: Freeman should be refreshed after the long week. Atlanta played last Thursday night, so his minor aches and pains from his newfound workload will have had a few extra days to heal. This season, the Colts have been mediocre at best against running backs, and with QB Matt Hasselbeck stepping in for the injured Andrew Luck, this would be the perfect time for Atlanta to run, run and then run some more with Freeman.
Charcandrick West – KC at SD - $7,100: While I may be a little late to the party, I cannot ignore a fairly priced running back against the San Diego Chargers who are allowing the most fantasy points to opposing ball carriers this season. With back-to-back 20+ FanDuel point games, including 153 combined yards and two touchdowns in Denver last Sunday, this is a dream matchup and I am willing to be on the bandwagon with everyone else at this price point.
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 – ATL vs IND - $9,100: Spending for a premium wide receiver this week in H2H games is not necessary, however, Jones has been outstanding this season with just two games below 15 FanDuel points. It would not be a shock to see him with half a dozen catches for 100 yards and a score, which would put him right around his value threshold.
Mid-Tier Choices – Larry Fitzgerald – ARI vs CIN - $7,400: It looks like the Cardinals will be leaning heavily on Fitzgerald this week, with WR John Brown - $5,700 nursing a strained hamstring that has kept him out of practice for most of the last two weeks and limited him to just three targets and under two-thirds of the snaps last week against Seattle. Teammate Michael Floyd – $6,400 was having an amazing game against the Seahawks, with seven receptions for 113 yards and two touchdowns, before being pulled with a balky hamstring of his own. Monitor the news leading up to the Sunday night game for any updates. Either way, this is a good matchup for Fitz.
Demaryius Thomas – DEN at CHI - $7,700: Thomas continues to be the primary (and most healthy option) in the Denver passing game. He should see a lot of looks from QB Brock Osweiler, who will be making his first start in place of the injured Peyton Manning.
Bargain Bin Ballers – Danny Amendola – NE vs BUF - $6,100: We have seen QB Tom Brady go to Amendola in the past and he will step in as the new safety valve option with both Julian Edelman and Dion Lewis out of action. He has caught 40 of the 48 passes thrown his way for an outstanding 83.3% conversion rate. Stevie Johnson – SD vs KC - $5,600: Both Malcom Floyd (torn labrum) and Keenan Allen (lacerated kidney) are on the shelf, leaving Johnson as the most experienced wide receiver left standing for Philip Rivers to rely on. He should be in the mix for double digit targets and is a great value at this price point.
Antonio Gates – SD vs KC - $5,900: Gates is a great option for the same reasons that make Stevie Johnson a recommended play, and at their respective prices, I have no issues with utilizing both on the same contest entries.
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.
Sebastian Janikowski – OAK at DET - $4,600: Sea-Bass has not had a field goal attempt for the last two weeks as the Raiders have been successful scoring seven touchdowns. A discounted kicker, with a powerful leg, in a dome works for me.
Chandler Catanzaro – ARI vs CIN - $4,700: The Cardinals are not shy about using Catanzaro, and as a result he has had 11 field goal attempts over his last four games. He is the discounted kicker of choice in the games starting Sunday afternoon or later this weekend.
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 there are solid choices at both ends of the pricing spectrum. The Seattle Seahawks - $5,400 vs SF have a great matchup against a team in complete shambles with QB Blaine Gabbert and RB Shaun Draughn playing prominent roles. Houston Texans - $4,500 vs NYJ - J.J. Watt and the Texans Defense has put up 15+ FanDuel points in three of their last four games. Yes, those are also their only three games over six fantasy points this year, however, this is a fine matchup against the Jets.
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.
Tyrod Taylor – BUF at NE - $7,200: While hoping for lightening to strike twice is not always the most sound plan, it has to be noted that in Week 2 Taylor posted 29 FanDuel points against the New England Patriots, with 242 passing yards and three touchdowns along with a bonus 43 yards on the ground and a rushing touchdown. There is no way that Coach Bill Belichick has forgotten this, but some daily fantasy gamers may have hazy memories from two months ago.
Marshawn Lynch – SEA vs SF - $8,100: This is shaping up to be a fantastic “get back on track” opportunity for Lynch. However, he has been dealing with an abdominal injury and there is a chance that the Seahawks give him a week to rest, making him a tournament option unless we get further clarity. If he is out, Thomas Rawls - $5,600 immediately becomes one of the best options on the board at his heavily discounted price.
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.
Amari Cooper – OAK at DET - $7,200: The Lions have been in the bottom third of the league this season against wide receivers, allowing 13.4 receptions and 175 yards per game. Both Cooper and teammate Michael Crabtree - $6,500 are in play this week and make a great combo or even a trio with QB Derek Carr.
Mike Evans – TB at PHI - $8,000: The price has moved Evans into the tournament bucket, however, keep in mind that Philly plays at a high pace, propping up their opponents play count too. Evans has seen 53 targets in the last four games and has had at least eight catches and 126 yards in three of them. With only one touchdown in that span, he has proven that there is still some upside left in his game…but he has to reach pay dirt.
Rob Gronkowski – NE vs BUF - $8,400: In three of his last four games, Gronk has tallied 19.8 or more FanDuel points. In the other game he had just 6.7 fantasy points. That is devastating at this price point, so he is a tournament option this week for me.
Eric Ebron – DET vs OAK - $5,400: This season the Raiders have been the worst in the league against opposing tight ends, allowing an average of 17.6 FanDuel points per game. Ebron does have three games of 12+ fantasy points and he is someone to have on a tournament roster or two this weekend.
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!