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Cracking FanDuel: Week 3

Footballguys has partnered with FanDuel and as part of that deal, I will be penning a weekly piece that tries to cover some of the finer points on beating their contests.

Footballguys has partnered with FanDuel and as part of that deal, I will be penning a weekly piece that tries to cover some of the finer points on beating their contests. This article will usually appear on Saturdays and not include the early Thursday games.

My approach to FanDuel's Daily Games

In salary cap games where other companies are determining prices, I like to see where their thoughts differ substantially from my projections. My value chart below matches up my projections against FanDuel's prices:

Link to Week 3 Value Chart

Some explanation of my Excel manipulation is in order:

  • Everything is sorted by position
  • I have converted my projections to FanDuel Fantasy Points. These figures appear in the FP column.
  • The Price column reflects FanDuel's Week 3 Price
  • The Points per $K column reflects the expected points per $1,000 of salary allocated (the higher the value the better).
  • H-Value represents our own proprietary formula that matches price and expected fantasy points (the higher the value the better).
  • I have highlighted player's names (in green) that should be strong considerations for your lineups. They generally reflect the most bang for the buck at their respective positions. Players in yellow also are worth consideration when building your roster.

The Complexity of this Week

Prior to the Thursday game, I felt this might be one of the easiest slates to handicap ever. Seattle and New England are giant favorites at home and it looked like Eddie Lacy would scratch (giving James Starks great value). I had penciled in James Starks and Marshawn Lynch everywhere. Both were locks to achieve value allowing me to grab the other value guys on the board. As I write this, the Marshawn Lynch and Eddie Lacy situations are game time decisions. And both are in games that start after roster lock. It's a challenging situation, but I am looking to pivot off of both of these situations on FanDuel. Lynch could be a beast, but he also has a higher chance of aggravation than normal. If Seattle gets a large lead (like Vegas predicts), the team could pull him and have Fred Jackson handle a larger load. Note: I have not tweaked my projections on Lynch (but that likely comes tonight or Sunday morning as more news is available).

I still suspect that James Starks will have a bigger role than Eddie Lacy this week (and Lacy could still scratch), but with the game playing on Monday night I probably won't have the clarity I look for in playing daily games.

General Thoughts

Situations that stand out to me this week.

  • The Chicago Bears will be down Jay Cutler and Alshon Jeffery as they travel to play an angry winless Seahawks team in Seattle. Vegas thinks this contest will be UGLY and the line sits with Seattle favored by 14.5 points. Don't overthink this. There is not an easier defense to slot into your cash games. You might want to look elsewhere for your GPP though as this play will be among the most owned situations all week. If you are pressed for cash, the Patriots ($4,700) offer similar upside in a game where they are favored by 13.5 at home.
     
  • There are a LOT of hurt players already this NFL season. These situations can represent great value allowing you some very strong lineups. At RB, the situation I am watching closely is whether RB NYJ Christopher Ivory scratches. Unlike Lacy and Lynch, we will KNOW this situation as the Jets play against the Eagles in the morning slate. If Ivory scratches, pencil in Bilal Powell ($5,200). It will be an easy chalk play in cash games.
     
  • In that same game, the Jets are likely to be without Eric Decker (who is trending the wrong way). He is a game-time decision, but if he scratches then the passing game is going to go through Brandon Marshall and Bilal Powell. I prefer Powell because of price, but both should do well in a game that Vegas puts the over/under at 46 and with the Jets being favored by 2.
     
  • The "Steel Curtain" defense moniker for the Pittsburgh Steelers might be replaced with "Satin and Lace" soon as they are beyond soft this season. Through two games, they are giving up an average of 312 passing yards and 3 passing TDs per contest. Vegas has the under/over in this contest at 47.5 and they see the game as a pickem. If you want to veer off the beaten path a bit, guys like QB Nick Foles ($6,500), Kenny Britt ($5,400), and TE Jared Cook ($5,400) are all flying way below the radar.
     
  • The 2015 Patriots defense looks to be a shell of the unit that won the past Superbowl. They are yielding 297 yards and 2 TDs through the air and another 147 yards and 1.5 TDs on the ground per contest. As 13.5 point favorites, Vegas expects the Patriots to conquer the Jaguars easily. But giving up those yards both on the ground and in the air, will they? Bill Belicheck can't possibly plug all the holes overnight on this unit, but he has historically tried to scheme to take out the best player on the opposing team. I sense the coverage rolls to WR Allen Robinson who is coving off a big week. He is priced right at $6,600, but the lesser owned Allen Hurns might be the play of the week. At $5,100 in a game where the Jaguars will likely be playing from behind, he could see a lot of targets (and likely softer coverage). I expect him to find the endzone this week
     
  • As bad as the defense for the Patriots has been to date, has there been a better offense on display? I like pissed-off Tom Brady. I am guessing he has Direct TV, because this guy is shredding the league. He dismantled the supposedly great Buffalo defense last week. Through two games, the Patriots are AVERAGING 377 yards and 3.5 TDs through the air. Rumors have floated that the Patriots will lean a lot more on the running game in this contest with Blount. Although that's possible (especially icing the game late), I am not buying it. This team is electric with RB Dion Lewis on the field. With Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski, a healthy Ammendola, and now Lewis, this is an offense that can run hurry-up with the best of them. Gronkowski is both the best pass catching and blocking TE in the league.  This often leads to defenses out of sync when the Patriots go no-huddle.  Lewis moves all over the place and looks like an upgraded Shane Vereen to me (although he needs to stop fumbling). Simply put - Just play everybody here. FanDuel will limit you to 4 only though. The ones I like the best: PK Gostkowski ($5,000), WR Edelman ($7,700), Gronkowski ($8,400), and Brady ($8,700).
     
  • The Indianapolis Colts are 0-2. This is the same team that Vegas identified as one of the favorites to win the SuperBowl just a few weeks ago. Unlike the Cowboys, the Colts have most of their offensive players healthy. They play an improved Tennessee Titans team, but it still has amongst the worth corners in the game. Remember Travis Benjamin shredding this unit long last week? My guess is Andrew Luck and TY Hilton are a bit better than Johnny Football and Travis Benjamin. I suspect they will find much needed lanes to get their offense on track this week.

Sample Roster 1 ($60K) - Projected Points = 130.6 

  • QB Tom Brady, NE - $8,700
  • RB Bilal Powell, NYJ - $5,200
  • RB Lavius Murray, OAK - $7,000
  • TE Rob Gronkowski, NE - $8,400
  • WR Brandon Marshall, NYJ - $7,400
  • WR Julian Edelman, NE - $7,700
  • WR Allen Hurns, JAX - $5,100
  • TD Seattle Seahawks - $5,300
  • PK Stephen Gostkowski, NE - $5,000

Sample Roster 2 ($60K) - Projected Points = 128.4

  • QB Nick Foles, STL - $6,500
  • RB Le'Veon Bell, PIT - $8,800
  • RB Adrian Peterson, MIN - $8,900
  • TE Greg Olsen, CAR - $5,900
  • WR TY Hilton, IND - $7,600
  • WR Brandon Marshall, NYJ - $7,400
  • WR Allen Hurns, JAX - $5,100
  • TD New England Patriots - $4,700
  • PK Stephen Gostkowski, NE - $5,000