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 8 NFL contest period, beginning with Sunday’s 1 PM ET games and continuing through the Monday Night Football game with the Indianapolis Colts visiting the Carolina Panthers.
Please note the Buffalo Bills, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins and Jacksonville Jaguars 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 $4,000,000 Fantasy Football Contest for Week 8’s games. It’s only $25 to join and first prize is $500,000. The contest starts Sunday, November 1st at 1 PM ET. Here’s the link.
When constructing a 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 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 2pts/$1k of salary.
Andy Dalton – CIN at PIT - $8,100: This is a nice matchup for Dalton against the Steelers, who have allowed just over 290 passing yards per game this season. While no longer the Steel Curtain, Pittsburgh has been solid against the run this season, and it makes sense that the Bengals will end up doing most of the heavy lifting through the air in this divisional matchup.
Cam Newton – CAR vs IND - $8,000: Newton has been keeping up his production with his legs, scoring four rushing touchdowns over his last five game. While that will be tough to continue at that rate, he is the main red zone rushing threat for the Panthers, and he has rushed for 240 yards in his last six games. As a bonus, the Colts are allowing 294 passing yards and 1.7 aerial scores per game along with nearly 190 rushing yards per contest.
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.
Todd Gurley – STL vs SF - $8,100: Back to the well once more. While Gurley’s matchup is not quite as delicious as last weekend, San Francisco lost too many defensive veterans in the offseason. And, with the high usage he is seeing, Gurley is a solid option even with the price hike.
Le’Veon Bell – PIT vs CIN - $8,900: Ideally we will see QB Ben Roethlisberger back under center this week, which should be a major boost for the Pittsburgh offense. Cincinnati has been league average against the run, and Bell is far from league average. Hopefully, in the “what have you done for me lately” world of DFS, he may be a little under the radar this week.
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 TB - $9,200: So far this season, Jones has 89 targets through seven games. He is the first, second and third option when QB Matt Ryan drops back to pass, and if you have the extra salary cap space, he is a solid top option if you choose to make this a spend position. From my perspective, this week seems like one where we will want to secure top running backs in H2H contests, so we will need to find some WR value.
Mid-Tier Choices – Alshon Jeffery – CHI vs MIN - $7,700: Coming off the bye, Jeffery should be about as healthy as he has been all season. In his two games this year, he has 22 targets for 13 receptions, 225 yards and a score. Splitting the difference seems like an attainable target.
Bargain Bin Ballers – Stefon Diggs – MIN at CHI - $6,700: Diggs paid off in a big way last weekend, and I don’t have any issues going back to him this week for another division road matchup in the Windy City. He has amassed 48.8 FanDuel points in his last three games and has become the top option for the Vikings passing game. Michael Floyd – ARI at CLE - $4,900: Now with back-to-back weeks with 13+ FanDuel points, I have confidence in using Floyd as a deeply discounted wide receiver option. It is clear that QB Carson Palmer is not locking in on one pass catcher, so I am thrilled to get a small slice of the Cardinals passing game on the cheap. Willie Snead – NO vs NYG - $5,800: Trust the process. Yes, Snead disappointed last week with just three receptions for 25 yards. Digging a little deeper, he was on the field for 71 snaps, 20 more than any other game this season, and he did see seven targets, which equaled his second-highest total on the season. Enjoy the discount this Sunday.
Tyler Eifert – CIN at PIT - $6,000: This is a good matchup for Eifert as the Steelers have allowed the fourth most FanDuel points per game to opposing tight ends this season. With six touchdowns in six games this year, including two multi-touchdown games, Eifert is definitely going to be a big part of the Bengals Offense going forward.
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 NYG - $4,600: The new Saints kicker should do well in the Super Dome this Sunday.
Matt Bryant – ATL vs TB - $4,800: Another home dome option, Bryant should see several opportunities this weekend against the porous Tampa Bay defense.
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 St. Louis Rams - $5,100 vs SF were phenomenal against the Cleveland Browns, however, we have seen their price escalate as a result. This is a good matchup against San Francisco and turnover prone QB Colin Kaepernick. The Arizona Cardinals - $5,400 at CLE have been averaging 10.7 FanDuel points per game this season, and while they are on the road, the Browns have been making every defense that faces them look like they are chock full of all-pros. If you feel the need to go with a deeply discounted option, the New Orleans Saints - $4,200 vs NYG warrant consideration at home against Eli Manning and the Giants.
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 at BAL - $8,500: Each of the last few seasons, Rivers has been underpriced on FanDuel at the start of the season and has rolled through the league like gangbusters. Then, around the halfway point, Rivers is priced up and the decline starts as the nagging injuries catch up. This has me dropping Rivers from the H2H section to the tournament section, because as we saw last weekend, the bottom can drop out at any time or he could uncork an amazing 20 FanDuel points in a half.
Derek Carr – OAK vs NYJ – $6,800: Yes, WR Amari Cooper will probably be on Revis Island this weekend, however, Michael Crabtree – $5,700 has been solid when facing single coverage. Carr has been playing very well this season and will have the benefit of being at home.
Chris Johnson – ARI at CLE - $7,300: The Browns have been horrible defensively this season, allowing opposing running backs to rack up 33.7 FanDuel points per game. Look to Chris Johnson or teammate David Johnson - $5,100 as potential tournament options.
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.
Odell Beckham Jr. – NYG at NO - $8,700: ODB just did not look like he was completely healthy against the Cowboys, and frankly he was disappointing with just four catches for 35 yards. This should have a lot of gamers looking elsewhere, which makes him a nice tournament option with his upside potential.
Antonio Brown – PIT vs CIN - $8,400: Okay, if you are playing on the early Thursday contests, there is a chance we may not have official news of QB Ben Roethlisberger’s status. I would not mind using Brown and or teammate Martavis Bryant - $7,200 along with Big Ben in a low dollar tournament, purely as a speculation play.
A.J. Green – CIN at PIT - $8,200: At some point we are going to see Green post another 20+ fantasy point game, and this is a matchup where that could happen, as the Bengals and Steelers have combined for an average of 46.8 points per game over their last four meetings.
Greg Olsen – CAR vs IND - $6,400: With Rob Gronkowski playing on Thursday Night Football, Olsen is the most expensive option on the board. I think gamers will be looking elsewhere this week and trying to save at the position, making Olsen an interesting option as QB Cam Newton’s most trusted receiver.
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!