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Cracking FanDuel: Week 4

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 4 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 4 Price
  • The Ratio column reflects the expected points multiplier (per thousand of salary). The higher value the better.
  • H-Value represents our own proprietary formula that matches price and expected fantasy points (the higher the value the better).
  • ExpPts = A team's expected points via the Las Vegas spread and under/over totals. The higher the better.
  • In the 2016 Cracking FanDuel book, I demonstrated that selecting players who were in the upper half of Ratio, H-Value, and Expect Team Points at their positions led to the best fantasy success. I call these three factors the Criteria.
  • I have highlighted player's names (in green) that should be strong considerations for your lineups. All meet the Criteria and have the best average criteria score. They generally reflect the most bang for the buck at their respective positions. Players in yellow are additional players that I like this week.

General Thoughts

Situations that stand out to me this week.

  • If you are a QB in the NFL, you want to be facing the Atlanta Falcons. In Week 1, Jameis Winston shredded this unit for 26.54 FP. In week 2, it was Derek Carr's turn. He put up 24.96 FP. And in week 3, Drew Brees hung 26.94 FP in a losing effort on MNF. And all of these QBs accomplished this through the air. The three QBs combined for just 8 rushes, 22 rushing yards and no TDs. Cam Newton is the lucky winner against this hapless unit this week and he should be able to continue the trend. He also is likely to add significant yardage on the ground and is a threat to score a rushing TD as well.  He is my top play at QB with multiple solid options available this week.
     
  • Brian Hoyer, CHI at just $6,000 draws the Detroit Lions (at home) in a very juicy matchup. Detroit is yielding 276 passing yards, 3.3 passing TDs and 18 rushing yards to opposing QBs through 3 weeks. Adding to this, DET has yet to yield a rushing TD to any player in 2016. Seeing how the Bears will playing rookie Jordan Howard at the RB position, this seems like a great spot for the game plan to attack through the air. It's hard to fade Cam Newton this week, but you should have some exposure to Hoyer. Detroit is yielding the most fantasy points to TEs on a per-game basis. Opposing TEs have managed to score 1.7 TDs per game against the Lions. So if you are going to roll out Brian Hoyer, I suggest you go all-in with the Brian Hoyer-Zach Miller stack. At just $11K total, it has extremely high upside and allows you to get nearly anyone else of significance into your lineup.  It will be the core of my GPP rosters.
     
  • Vegas has the SD/NO game as the shootout of the week with the teams expected to combine for 54.5 points. If this game goes as planned, virtually everyone is in play. Running Backs have shredded the Saints gaining 138 yards, 2 TDs on the ground and 64 yards and 0.3 TDs through the air per week. Let me say that again. RBs are gaining 202 combined yards and 2.3 TDs per game against the Saints. The Chargers have Melvin Gordon and very little else at the position. The field will be on Gordon, but it's just not a fade that seems worthy of doing in cash games. The San Diego defense is equal opportunity bad and have been shredded both in the air and on the ground. They are yielding a league-leading 341 yards passing through three games. And these stats were from Alex Smith, Blake Bortles, and Andrew Luck. Drew Brees is salivating. The Chargers have also given up a lot of production to RBs. Opposing RBs are averaging 138 yards combined, 9 receptions and 1.3 TDs against the unit.  RB Mark Ingram is a solid pivot away from Gordon in GPPs.
     
  • The game that I think has shootout all over it, is the KC/PIT game. The Steelers have generated just 1 SACK in three games. And it's not like they have faced a murderer's row at QB in the early going. Kirk Cousins, Andy Dalton, and Carson Wentz all managed 300 yards in the air against this bend/don't break Steeler defense. Alex Smith is among the best dink/dunk QBs in the league. It's not sexy, but he could compile a lot of yards in this game. And if those drives end up in TDs, look for the Steelers to get Le'Veon Bell going early and often. The Chiefs have yielded 147 combined yards and 1 TD a game to RBs through 3 weeks. If Danny Woodhead (in week 1) can gash this team for 130 yards and a score in just 21 touches, I am confident that Le'Veon Bell can have a day to remember.
     
  • The game that has UGLY all over it could be the CLE/WAS game. Every opposing QB that faces CLE has had a great day against this unit. That includes Carson Wentz first NFL game, Joe Flacco, and Ryan Tannehill. Kirk Cousins has struggled a tad this season, but managed 19 TDs against just 2 interceptions at home last year. This feels like a game where Washington has their way through the air. No RB has yet to get over 80 combined yards against the Browns and with the RBs Washington has on their roster, they likely will funnel their offense through DeSean Jackson, Jordan Reed, and Jamison Crowder. All could have big games. The WAS defense and PK Dustin Hopkins should also have great opportunities. Both Defenses and PKs have averaged 10.0 FP against the Browns per game.
     
  • The Dez Bryant scratch vaults WR Cole Beasley ($5,200) as a must-start in all formats. He leads all DAL players with 8.3 targets a game (and that should increase without Dez going forward). San Francisco has yielded production to Doug Baldwin (8/164/1) and Kelvin Benjamin (7/108/2) the last two weeks. Don't overthink this one. Just pencil Cole Beasley in all of your cash lineups.

Note, the first two sample rosters this week pair the QB with a pass a catcher. This is a strategy I like to play when both of the plays are strong by themselves. If the QB under-achieves, my roster is likely in danger anyway. But if the stack hits for a TD, it should result in a great scoring lineup.

Sample Roster #1 - Main slate ($60K) - Projected Points = 133.2

  • QB Cam Newton, CAR - $9,300
  • RB Le'Veon Bell, PIT - $8,300
  • RB Melvin Gordon, SD - $7,600
  • TE Greg Olsen, CAR - $7,900
  • WR Cole Beasley, DAL - $5,200
  • WR Quincy Enunwa, NYJ - $5,600
  • WR Emmanuel Sanders, DEN - $6,900
  • PK Dustin Hopkins, WAS - $4,500
  • TD Washington - $4,600

Sample Roster #2 - Main slate ($60K) - Projected Points = 132.4

  • QB Brian Hoyer, CHI - $6,000
  • RB Le'Veon Bell, PIT - $8,300
  • RB David Johnson, ARI - $8,700
  • TE Zach Miller, CHI - $5,000
  • WR Cole Beasley, DAL - $5,200
  • WR Antonio Brown, PIT - $9,400
  • WR Marvin Jones, DET - $7,600
  • PK Dustin Hopkins, WAS - $4,500
  • TD Arizona Cardinals - $5,300

Sample Roster #3 - Main slate ($60K) - Projected Points = 130.3

  • QB Kirk Cousins, WAS - $7,600
  • RB Le'Veon Bell, PIT - $8,300
  • RB Melvin Gordon, SD - $7,600
  • TE Dennis Pitta, BAL - $5,400
  • WR Cole Beasley, DAL - $5,200
  • WR Travis Benjamin, SD - $6,600
  • WR Antonio Brown, PIT - $9,400
  • PK Josh Lambo, SD - $4,500
  • TD Arizona Cardinals - $5,300