This article takes a look at the previous week of NFL action while breaking things down from a daily fantasy perspective. We will review winning lineups and provide main takeaways to consider for future weeks in DFS.
I believe this is a beneficial process for any DFS enthusiast. It is something I have been doing for years while trying to retune my approach and recognize any blind spots I missed in my previous week of research. Having said that, it’s important to identify the overarching themes that led to a winning lineup and how they can frame your mindset moving forward. In other words, I’ll be looking to separate the “signals” from the “noise” while recognizing some GPP strategy moves that did/didn’t pay off.
FanDuel Sunday Million 9/30
Here was the winning lineup from FanDuel’s Sunday Million contest:
QB Carson Wentz – PHI (21.04)
RB T.J. Yeldon – JAC (22.2)
RB James Conner – PIT (32.5)
WR Odell Beckham – NYG (27.38)
WR Robby Anderson – NYJ (25.8)
WR Taywan Taylor – TEN (2.5)
TE Zach Ertz – PHI (22.0)
FLEX Todd Gurley – LAR (31.3)
DEF Pittsburgh (17.0)
This winning lineup went with Carson Wentz and Zach Ertz as a stack. They weren’t the highest-scoring duo, but Wentz’s 21 FP combined with 22 FP for Ertz kept the lineup in contention. Take note that both of these players were under 10% owned, especially Wentz at just 3.1%.
Stacking James Conner and the Steelers defense gave this lineup a massive boost. You could’ve found the rationale for Conner in our NFL GPP Plays article from last week. He was only 17% owned while facing an Atlanta team that allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs.
MAIN TAKEAWAY #1: Conner had produced three straight subpar fantasy performances before Sunday’s breakout. That led to a lower-than-deserved ownership rate despite the promising matchup. I’ve said it several times throughout this article series, but finding underachieving players in prime breakout spots continues to be one of the best tournament strategies. Conner serves as another case in point.
Robby Anderson won this person a million dollars; think about that for a moment. Anderson was only $4900 on FanDuel, coming through for 25.8 FP with three receptions, 123 yards, and two touchdowns. The matchup wasn’t really that great against Denver either. The Jets posted some of the most surprising fantasy scores of the day, as teammate Isaiah Crowell went off for 219 rushing yards and a score.
MAIN TAKEAWAY #2: If you are taking a chance on a cheap receiver, you might as well look towards a big-play guy who has a chance to come away with a deep score (or two). Antonio Callaway, DeSean Jackson, John Brown, and Kenny Stills are some other guys who fit that mold.
Taywan Taylor flopped with only 2.5 fantasy points. This lineup won a million dollars anyway.
MAIN TAKEAWAY #3: I don’t mind the pick, as Taylor is getting more involved in the offense. Marcus Mariota also looked much better in last week’s win. However, there will undoubtedly be consistency issues with the Tennessee passing game throughout the season, and Taylor fell victim to that on Sunday. That just goes to show that you can have a “dud” in your lineup and still contend for the top spot in large tournaments.
The Packers’ passing game made numerous appearances in the Top 10. Aaron Rodgers was only 2.6% owned, racking up 28.68 fantasy points at Detroit. Green Bay relied heavily on the passing game while trying to overcome an early deficit. There were questions surrounding Rodgers’ effectiveness while playing through injury prior to this week. He came through for the sliver of fantasy backers who trusted him. The beat-up Green Bay receiving corps allowed Marquez Valdes-Scantling to emerge with 16.3 fantasy points on a $4800 salary. I thought he would be higher-owned (9.6%) as a trendy bargain prospect. Davante Adams had a very low ownership rate (3.2%) while playing through injury, proving to be a nice pairing with Rodgers for 24.5 FP.
Pittsburgh and Cincinnati provided some of the best ROI among fantasy defenses. The Steelers came up with 17 fantasy points and the Bengals ended up with 25 FP. Arizona and Kansas City emerged as surprise options as well. It appears that saving on a defense was the way to go, as these four teams are littered through the top ten lineup – especially PIT and CIN.
Landmines of the week. These are players who had high ownership percentages, but ended up with subpar fantasy output:
TE Vance McDonald (31.5%) – 1.1 FP
DEF Tennessee Titans (33.9%) – 7 FP
WR Calvin Ridley (27.6%) – 5.8 FP
RB Melvin Gordon (33.9%) – 20 FP
RB Christian McCaffrey (29.3%) – 17.8 FP
WR Tyler Boyd (23.6%) – 6.4 FP
Vance McDonald was cheap in a great matchup, but things didn’t work out his way. James Conner and Antonio Brown took over for the Steelers’ offense, leaving little room for fantasy production among the other weapons … Calvin Ridley appeared to be in a fantastic spot against a bad Pittsburgh defense. The Steelers came to play on Sunday, surprisingly shutting down a Falcons passing attack that was cruising up to this point … Melvin Gordon’s score of 20 FP wasn’t bad, and you would probably be okay with that in cash games. However, Todd Gurley and Saquon Barkley came up with much better scores as the high-priced alternatives … A similar story can be told for Christian McCaffrey, who was outpaced by similarly priced running backs like Barkley, Conner, and even Yeldon at a discount … Tyler Boyd was riding a heater with plenty of targets to boot, but regression took hold on Sunday. In fact, the Cincinnati offense didn’t do much in this one, relying on RB Mixon and the defense to post a fourth quarter comeback vs Miami.