Cracking FanDuel: Week 6

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 6 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 6 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.

  • This is a really tough pricing week. FanDuel's pricing has caught up on most players making fielding a strong team a little tougher this week. I expect the cash game pay lines to be a tad lower than in recent weeks as well. In tough weeks, roster construction becomes a key component to building winning lineups.
     
  • In tight pricing weeks, I like to start with my kicker and defense. I am looking for cheaper options so that I can preserve as much cap space as possible. The kicker I will be playing in 95% of my cash and GPP lineups this week is PK Nick Novak ($4,500), HOU. Three teams are allowing their opponents over 3 field goal attempts per contest. Those teams are the Miami Dolphins, Indianapolis Colts, and the New York Giants. Of these three situations, only one of these kickers will be kicking at home as a favorite...and that is Nick Novak. The fact he is min-priced at $4,500 just means I am playing him in nearly all situations this weekend.
     
  • There are some intriguing cheap options on defense, but my gut tells me that the Bills just wreck Colin Kaepernick this week. Regardless of where you stand politically, some players are likely to be going after Kaepernick extra hard this week. Adding to that narrative, Kaepernick has lost a lot of weight (and he was already pretty skinny) when he converted to a Vegan diet this off-season. He last started at QB in week 9 of 2015. Adding all of that together against a Bills defense that has been playing outstanding football and I think Colin Kaepernick struggles mightily in this contest. In the past, Kaepernick has been a player who gets sacked a lot and the Bills (under the Ryan brothers) are sure to oblige with a lot of pressure. The Arizona Cardinals managed 7 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, and 2 INTs against the 49ers last week. Sadly for the 49ers, I don't see it improving this week. At $4,800, this is cheap enough to not consider cheaper options.
     
  • The LOCK-OF-THE-WEEK has to be RB LeSean McCoy, BUF ($8,200). in the last three games, running backs have shredded this 49ers front. David Johnson hung 32.0 FP, Ezekial Elliott managed 22.2, and Christine Michael scored 24.1 FP. Johnson and Michael both reached the endzone twice. In all three of these contests, it was clear that the 49ers opponent would be attempting to establish the run. But even knowing that would be the funnel, the 49ers could muster no defense. Look for the Bills to roll out this same game-script and ride LeSean McCoy hard in this contest.
     
  • At the other RB position, I like Lamar Miller, HOU ($7,900) or Le'Veon Bell, PIT ($9,300). Both should see a lot of action this week in winnable game scripts featuring the players. Lamar Miller has yet to find the endzone, but I expect that to change this week. The Colts have been nearly as bad as the 49ers and they also give up a lot of receiving yards to backs. Jordan Howard managed 45 yards receiving and a score last week to finish with 23.8 FP. Le'Veon Bell has been a monster since he came back from suspension and this looks like another favorable situation. Both DeMarco Murray (week 5) and LeGarrette Blount (week 2) have gained over 120 yards rushing against the Dolphins defense. The Dolphins don't necessarily yield a large ypc, but find themselves making so many mistakes during the game that opponents get a volume of rushing attempts against them. In a game where the weather is suppose to be drizzle, I suspect another week of huge volume for Le'Veon Bell.
     
  • At Quarterback, the situation I like the most is Cam Newton ($8,900). With the Panthers at 1-4, they are in must-win territory now. Concussions be damned, Cam is likely going to put the team on his back here and it looks like a spot where he could have success passing the ball. In just 4 games played, the Saints have already allowed three 300+ yard passing games (Rivers - 321 in week 4, Eli Manning - 368 in week 2, and Derek Carr - 319 in week 1). Las Vegas has this as the highest score of the week at 53.5 points with an implied Carolina team total of 28.0 points. The downside of Cam is the possibility of another concussion. In week 1, most observers felt he suffered a concussion near the end of the game (team refutes that). In week 4, he definitely suffered a concussion (and sat out week 5). If you are scared off by this situation, you can get Tom Brady for just $100 more. He doesn't have the upside of Cam (because of the running plays near the goal line), but has a far safer floor. I likely will sprinkle in both in my cash games. A low-cost option is Alex Smith. At $6,800, he is priced too cheaply against an OAK team that has been gashed for a lot of passing yards and TDs. Three QBs have already put up 28+ FP against the Raiders (Rivers, Ryan, and Brees). I am not suggesting Alex Smith is at the same level as those three QBs, but he is on par with a Joe Flacco who managed 22 FP against the Raiders. Last year Alex Smith managed 18.34 and 24.78 FP in his two games against the Raiders. Coming off a bye, I expect similar results this week.
     
  • Until the Browns show they can stop the TE position from scoring, I will be playing whoever is playing the Browns. In the past two weeks, the Browns have yielded a whopping 5 TDs (Martellus Bennett - 3, Jordan Reed - 2) to the TE position. This week TE Delanie Walker, TEN ($6,700) gets the dream matchup.
     
  • The WRs are so tightly priced, some of your decisions might be made for you at this position based on how you have constructed your lineup so far. For cheap guys, I like WR Michael Thomas, ($5,400). He plays in the highest O/U game at 53.5 and is near min-salary. He out-snapped Willie Snead in weeks 1 and 4 and is likely to see an uptick in designed plays for him out of the Saints bye week. His 31 targets trail only WR Brandin Cooks (32).
     
  • Make sure to check the weather before kickoff (nflweather.com). There are some games expecting rain that could impact how they attack the other teams. JAX/CHI, PIT/MIA, KC/OAK all could see rain. .

Sample Roster #1 (Main Slate) - Projected Points = 126.0

Sample Roster #2 - Main slate ($60K) - Projected Points = 128.7