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 13 NFL contest period, beginning with Sunday’s 1 PM ET games and continuing through the Monday Night Football game with the Dallas heading to the nation’s capital to take on Washington in a division rivalry game.
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 $2,000,000 Fantasy Football Contest for Week 13’s games. It’s only $25 to join and first prize is $200,000. The contest starts Sunday, December 6th at 1pm ET. Here’s the link.
When constructing a H2H roster, 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 quarterback all 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 Rodgers or Tom Brady, 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 at NO – $9,000: Thanksgiving was the first time this season that Newton has been held without a passing touchdown, however, he did make it into the end zone for his seventh rushing score of the year. Back in Week 3 against New Orleans, Cam posted his only 300+ passing yard performance and three combined touchdowns. This is a safe play, as Newton should be in the mix for at least 20 FanDuel points.
Ryan Fitzpatrick – NYJ at NYG – $7,500: This is a bit of a contrarian play, but if you glance at Fitzpatrick’s game log, you will see he has been solid all season. The New York Giants are allowing the third-most fantasy points to opposing signal callers this season and Fitzpatrick has really gelled with WRs Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall.
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.
Thomas Rawls – SEA at MIN – $7,000: This is not an easy matchup on the road against a tough defense, however, the workload continues to be there for Rawls and he should see between 20-25 touches. While Minnesota has allowed just four rushing touchdowns this season, they are allowing the tenth-most rushing yards in the league.
Javorius Allen –BAL at MIA – $6,800: Another running back who has come into a starting job due to injury, Allen was solid on Monday Night Football in Cleveland this week. The Miami Dolphins are allowing the third-most fantasy points to running backs this season and much like Rawls, Allen should see a sizable workload.
David Johnson – ARI at STL – $5,900: With RB Chris Johnson placed on the injured list and Andre Ellington dealing with a turf toe, there is a strong likelihood that the Cardinals will be turning to this year’s third-round pick to tote the rock. David Johnson already has seven touchdowns on the season, and at this price point, he just needs 60 yards and a score to make his backers happy. Also, by utilizing discounted running backs this weekend, we can easily land two premium pass catchers on our rosters.
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 – DeAndre Hopkins – HOU at BUF – $8,900: Well, the Texans pretty much controlled their last game from the outset and did not need to pass. The eight targets that Hopkins saw were the lowest total of the season and an anomaly when we consider the lowest total he had seen this season was 11. The weather looks good at Ralph Wilson Stadium and I think we will see Hopkins get back on track this weekend.
Julio Jones – ATL at TB – $9,200: It was a bit of a surprise to see Julio with single-digit targets for the first time in seven weeks, particularly in a game where the Falcons were relying on a backup rookie running back. In the four games prior to last week, Jones posted no fewer than 18.7 FanDuel points. He is another premium option who should see a bounce back this week.
Mid-Tier Choices – Jarvis Landry – MIA vs BAL – $7,400: The Baltimore Ravens have been a nice team to pick on through the air and Landry has been outstanding this season as he is nearly a lock for double-digit fantasy points and is averaging a robust 15.3 FanDuel points per game this season.
Alshon Jeffery – CHI vs SF – $7,700: Jeffrey was solid in his return from injury on Thanksgiving and he also will have had a couple extra days rest prior to his matchup with the 49ers. On the season San Francisco has been among the worst teams against wide receivers. If TE Martellus Bennett is out this week, Jeffrey is an outstanding option at this depressed price point.
Bargain Bin Ballers – The savings this week is clearly with running backs, however, if you need a discounted receiver, then looking to someone from the Seattle Seahawks as they try to replace TE Jimmy Graham is a reasonable solution. However, the tough part is that QB Russell Wilson spreads the ball around so I would rank them Doug Baldwin – $6,200, Tyler Lockett – $5,300 and Jermaine Kearse – $5,600 against the Vikings in Minnesota.
Greg Olsen – CAR at NO – $6,600: The New Orleans Saints have allowed the second-most fantasy points to tight ends this season and Olsen already posted one big week against them with eight catches for 134 yards and two scores in the third game of the season.
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.
Robbie Gould – CHI vs SF – $4,600: The 49ers’ defense has struggled most of the season, so Gould should have a few scoring opportunities in this matchup.
Cairo Santos – KC at SD – $4,800: Sometimes it just all comes together for a kicker, and this has been Santos’ year. He has scored no fewer than nine fantasy points over his last five games and he has had multiple field goals in five of his last eight games. The weather should be favorable in San Diego.
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.
While I don’t particularly like to take defenses on the road, the Cincinnati Bengals – $4,800 will be facing the Browns who just lost QB Josh McCown for the season, so they will be looking to either Austin Davis or Johnny Manziel. The New England Patriots – $4,800 in a December game in Foxborough Stadium against the struggling Eagles… I choose the Fightin’ Bill Belichicks in this matchup.
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 Bryce “3rdDFS” Mauro discuss their daily fantasy football strategies each week. Here’s the link.
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.
Tom Brady – NE vs PHI – $9,400: I have no idea how he will do it, but would it really be surprising to look up at the end of the week and see Tom Terrific at the top of the fantasy point leaderboard? The entire offense is going to be funneled through him and with the Eagles allowing the second-most fantasy points this season to opposing quarterbacks, there is more than just a glimmer of hope here.
Ryan Tannehill – MIA vs BAL – $7,300: The trend of continuing to pick on Baltimore has been very, very good to those paying attention to how bad the Ravens pass defense is this season. Tannehill has posted two or more passing touchdowns in eight of his last ten games. At this price point, if he got to 21 FanDuel points, it would be a victory for his tournament backers.
DeAngelo Williams – PIT vs IND – $7,200: If QB Ben Roethlisberger successfully passes the NFL concussion protocol, then Williams becomes a fine play in all formats. If Big Ben is out, then he stays in the tournament section. He is truly the only option for the Steelers. In the three games since Le’Veon Bell was injured, Joseph Todman is the only other Pittsburgh running back to receive carries… and he has only had three.
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 vs KC – $7,000: Yes, this is really becoming a thing. However, because of their reasonable prices and solid production, targeting a couple options in the Raiders passing game continues to work. Keep an eye on the injury report for the Kansas City Chiefs, as it looks like they will be without their top linebacker Justin Houston this week after he suffered a sprained MCL. This means less of a pass rush, and once more we can look to Cooper and Michael Crabtree – $6,600 as well as QB Derek Carr – $7,700 in tournaments. It is unlikely that WR Seth Roberts will have another two touchdown game.
Jeremy Maclin – KC at OAK – $6,500: In his last eight games, Maclin has three single-digit FanDuel point performances. So why am I recommending him? Well, it is because he has also had three 20+ fantasy point performances in that same stretch. The Raiders struggle on defense and this game has the makings of a sneaky high-scoring affair.
Brandon Marshall – NYJ at NYG – $8,100: Marshall and teammate Eric Decker – $7,200 have been an outstanding tandem with Decker scoring a touchdown in eight of his ten games this season and Marshall nearly matching him scoring in eight of the eleven games he has played. The Giants are definitely a defense to target against this week.
Scott Chandler – NE vs PHI – $5,300: Someone has to catch the ball from Brady this week. Chandler has found the end zone in two of the last three weeks and on Sunday Night Football in Mile High Field, he saw eleven targets and managed 14.3 FanDuel points. Even if WR Danny Amendola is cleared to play in this game, I like Chandler at this low price point.
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!