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 Week 9 – 11/4
Here was the winning lineup from FanDuel’s Sunday Million contest:
QB Jared Goff – LAR (30.34)
RB Kareem Hunt – KC (32.6)
RB Christian McCaffrey – CAR (30.2)
WR Michael Thomas – NO (33.1)
WR Cooper Kupp – LAR (17.4)
WR Curtis Samuel – CAR (18.8)
TE David Njoku – CLE (7.3)
FLEX Jeff Heuerman – DEN (19.3)
DEF Chicago Bears (28.0)
I’ve been doing these NFL DFS Review articles all season, and this was probably the craziest fantasy week of 2018. The New Orleans-LA Rams game lived up to its lofty over/under, but numerous bargain pass catchers seemingly came out of nowhere to record career days. Curtis Samuel of the Panthers and TE Jeff Heuerman of Denver helped the aforementioned winning lineup take home $400k on FanDuel. Who saw that coming? We were blindsided by monster games from SEA TE Nick Vannett (14.2 FP) and Adam Humphries (24.9 FP) as well. All of these players had an ownership rate of 1% or less, and I would categorize them as “noise” instead of reading too much into it.
As strange as the wide receiver and tight end positions turned out to be, running back was somewhat predictable. It seems that all of the popular RBs ended up with monster outings. Alvin Kamara (27%) went for 32 FP, Kareem Hunt (37%) piled on 33 FP, and Christian McCaffrey (32%) racked up 30 FP. At least two of these players were rostered in eight of the top ten lineups.
The winning lineup put a tight end in their FLEX spot; this is not a recommended strategy moving forward. It happened to work out this week, as we actually had several cheap tight ends create some fantasy waves. However, the position has been terrible all season, and reliability concerns will continue to persist down the home stretch of this year.
This New Orleans-LA Rams game had a high 60 point over/under, but Goff and Brees had relatively low ownership rates despite the expected shootout. Goff checked in at 9% while Brees was only at 6%. Both of them were expensive, and the game logs were somewhat mediocre heading into this matchup. Other quarterbacks had cheaper salaries with great draws as well, while Cam Newton and Ryan Fitzpatrick siphoned most of the ownership at the position.
Players with a much lower-than-anticipated ownership rate. This players surprisingly went under-utilized in tournaments:
Drew Brees - QB (5.9%): I mentioned the curiously low ownership rate for Brees and Goff in the section above. In hindsight, I understand how Brees ended up with a backing of less than 6% (mediocre recent performances, other QBs w/ better matchups on paper, expensive, etc) – but I honestly thought his ownership rate would be closer to 10 percentage points higher. It’s unbelievable how good Brees and company perform at home, repeatedly getting into shootouts in the Superdome.
Brandin Cooks - WR (9.1%): Cooper Kupp was the highest-owned receiver of this game, which makes sense given he had a much more agreeable price tag than Cooks, Woods, or Thomas. Still, there was a ton of hype surrounding Cooks while going against his former team in a beautiful matchup on paper. He ended up with 20.4 FP in this high-scoring affair.
The highest owned players of the week. These players were some of the most popular fixtures in lineups:
Kareem Hunt – RB – 37.1%
Christian McCaffrey – RB – 31.8%
Alvin Kamara – RB – 27.4%
Cam Newton – QB – 25.7%
Cooper Kupp – WR – 24.3%
David Njoku – TE – 22.5%
Courtland Sutton – WR – 20%
Landmines of the week. These are players who had high ownership percentages, but ended up with subpar fantasy output:
D.J. Moore – WR: 5.3 FP @ 23%
Adam Thielen – WR: 10.7 FP @ 22.7%
Courtland Sutton – WR: 7 FP @ 20%
Adrian Peterson – RB: 4.8 FP @ 17%
Kenny Golladay – WR: 6.9 FP @ 15.3%
Todd Gurley II – RB: 16.9 FP @ 14.6%
Sutton and Golladay didn't work out this week, but they will continue to see more opportunities in the wake of recent trades shrinking their competition for targets.
Best bargains of the week. These were the value plays who over-performed to boost DFS lineups.
Tevin Coleman – RB: 30.1 FP @ $6600
Duke Johnson Jr – RB: 25.1 FP @ $5200
Adam Humphries – WR: 24.9 FP @ $5200
Jeff Heuerman – TE: 19.3 FP @ $4600
O.J. Howard – TE: 19.3 FP @ $6000
Curtis Samuel – WR: 18.8 FP @ $4600
Nick Vannett – TE: 14.2 FP @ $4600
Mike Davis – RB: 14.2 FP @ $5100
Of this group, Howard and Johnson Jr may have the most staying power. We'll need to see how the Browns utilize Duke Johnson moving forward, but he's a very skilled running back who could see more looks under the new coaching staff. That was certainly the case on Sunday.