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 2 NFL contest period beginning with Sunday’s 1 PM ET games and continuing through the Monday Night Football game between the New York Jets and the Indianapolis Colts.
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 $5,000,000 Fantasy Football Contest for Week 2’s games. It’s only $25 to join and first prize is $1,000,000. The contests starts Sunday, September 20th at 1 PM ET. Here’s the link!
When constructing a your NFL DFS lineups, the important thing to remember for head-to-head contests 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 less 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 Aaron Rodgers; 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 2 PTS/$1K of salary.
Andrew Luck – $8,900 vs NYJ: It will be interesting to see how the New York Jets Defense handles Andrew Luck this week. Sure they looked great last Sunday, but that was against Josh McCown and Johnny Manziel. Though Luck will likely be without his top target T.Y. Hilton, who is expected to miss a week or two with a bruised knee, he is one of the best quarterbacks in the game and should be able to compensate with his remaining receiving options. It will be interesting to see if Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis is assigned a side of the field, shadows Donte Moncrief or Andrew Johnson or just jumps in where needed on Monday Night Football. Regardless, I am expecting Luck to throw for 250+ yards and two touchdowns. Additionally, he should have enough rushing yardage to offset any turnovers.
Sam Bradford - $7,500 vs DAL: Bradford is back again as my mid-tier cash game quarterback for this week. Though it was disappointing to see him account for just one touchdown, he had a solid game by completing 36-of-52 pass attempts for 336 yards and a score. The majority of the Eagles Offense is going to go through him, and even though this is a “revenge” game for DeMarco Murray, Bradford is my preferred option in this game with the current highest projected over/under on the NFL odds board at 55.5 points.
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.
Justin Forsett - $7,800 at OAK: It was a tough matchup last week against the Broncos in Denver, however, I suspect Forsett to be much more productive in Oakland this weekend. The 18 touches last week were solid and I think we will see him exceed 20 on Sunday and find the end zone. A hundred or more yards, 4-5 receptions and a touchdown will be well within reach against the Raiders Defense.
Carlos Hyde - $7,000 at PIT: With the Week 2 contests being posted before the final Monday Night Football game, Carlos Hyde’s new role/workload as the featured back for the San Francisco 49ers was not accounted for, which is a definite benefit for us. We know that the Steelers Defense will be keying on him, however, I am comfortable employing Hyde at this favorable 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 - $8,800 at NYG: Jones is entrenched as the go-to play in all formats after his dominating performance Monday night against the Eagles. The Giants allowed 356 passing yards and three touchdowns to Tony Romo last weekend, and I expect Matt Ryan and Julio Jones to find similar room to operate in this matchup.
Mid-Tier Choices – Jordan Matthews - $7,000 vs DAL: Matthews was outstanding last week with 10 receptions on 13 targets for 102 yards. The only thing missing was a touchdown, but I like his chances to rectify that this weekend against the Cowboys. Jarvis Landry - $7,100 at JAX: Landry was solid last week with eight receptions on 12 targets, as well as a punt return touchdown. He should again see double digit targets and be heavily involved in the Dolphins game plan.
Bargain Bin Ballers – Donte Moncrief - $6,000 vs NYJ: With teammate T.Y. Hilton likely to miss a game or two with a deep knee bruise, this looks like a good time to target Moncrief. It will be interesting to see if he ends up on Revis Island, but he should once again get double digit targets from Andrew Luck. Brandon Coleman - $5,000 vs TB: Coleman has the size to take over as Drew Brees’ preferred redzone target with Jimmy Graham now in Seattle. He was solid in Week 1 with four catches on seven targets for 41 yards and a score. At this price point, I am finding him on quite a few of my teams where I am spending at the other skill positions.
Rob Gronkowski - $8,300 at BUF: Yes, this is going to again be a difficult decision in H2H contests; to Gronk or not to Gronk. That is the question. If you think of his production more like a WR1, the price point becomes a lot more palatable. At this point in the season, with him still relatively fresh having played the first game ten days ago, I am willing to pay the premium, even in this difficult matchup. Jason Witten - $6,000 at PHI will be wildly popular after his 22 FanDuel point week and with Dez Bryant out for the next month plus.
Last week I had Tyler Eifert as my $5K TE option, so hopefully the trend will continue with Jordan Reed vs STL $5,000, who should continue to be a safety valve option for Kirk Cousins, who will have very little time to look downfield behind that horrible offensive line against the St. Louis Rams.
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. This week I like the minimum-priced Zach Hocker - $4,500 vs TB as the minimum priced kicker with the dome-field advantage, and if you are looking for a bit of a differentiation play you can spend Adam Vinatieri - $5,000 vs NYJ, who will be in Lucas Oil Stadium on Monday Night Football against the J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, JETS!
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 decent D/ST options at all price points this week. The Baltimore Ravens - $5,000 at OAK looked pretty solid last Sunday in Denver and this matchup is going to feel like a walk in the park by comparison. The New Orleans Saints - $4,500 vs TB are an interesting discounted option at home against rookie quarterback Jameis Winston. Lastly, if you want to keep picking on Washington, the St Louis Rams - $4,900 at WAS are at an awkward price point that may keep a lot of gamers away.
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 - $6,300 vs NE: Taylor looked very capable in the first half of his Buffalo debut, well outside of those two first quarter timeouts. He did not end up with gaudy totals after Buffalo remained in control for most of the games, and he definitely has 20+ FanDuel point upside on any week with his ability to scramble.
Jay Cutler – $7,200 vs ARI: Cutler actually was decent in his first game and the myriad of injuries plaguing his wide receivers did not have too much of an effect on the offense. Cutler is as capable as any quarterback in the NFL of going for a big day with 300+ yards and multiple touchdowns, and the best part is that he will likely only be on 5-7% of all tournament rosters.
Matt Forte - $8,900 vs ARI: Forte is one of the few running backs that I am comfortable pairing with his quarterback on the same entry in tournaments. Forte was a large part of the offense in Week 1 and I suspect that will continue in Week 2, particularly in the passing game against the tough run-stuffing defense of the Cardinals. Last season Forte had 102 receptions for just over 800 yards and four touchdowns in addition to his 1,000+ rushing yards. He is a factor in all facets of the game for Chicago and a fine tournament play this week.
Ameer Abdullah - $6,400 at MIN: Abdullah was exciting in his debut for the Lions and he had more opportunities (11) than Joique Bell (eight) and Theo Riddick (two) combined. To be fair, the Lions only had 47 offensive plays. It would not surprise me if Abdullah had a two-touchdown game.
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.
Antonio Brown – $9,200 vs SF: Brown had an excellent Week 1 as the Steelers leaned on him in the absence of RB Le’Veon Bell. The Niners were better than expected on defense against the Vikings on Monday Night Football, however, Ben Roethlisberger - $8,400 and Antonio Brown present a much more formidable challenge and are a nice pairing in tournaments.
Calvin Johnson - $8,100 and Golden Tate - $6,700 at MIN - The Lions passing game was disappointing on Sunday, however, that will just help keep their popularity in check, making this duo a nice synergy play with the addition of QB Matthew Stafford - $7,700 for tournaments.
Heath Miller - $5,400 vs SF - $5,400: Since Week 1 Thursday Night Football was sooooo long ago, I think a lot of gamers are going to forget that they forgot about Miller in the season opener and they will overlook him again this week. This is a nice price point and I think the popular move will be to drop down to Austin Seferian-Jenkins - $4,500 at NO or to “pay up” for Tyler Eifert - $5,900 vs SD after his impressive nine-reception, 104-yard, two-touchdown game against Oakland.
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!