Cracking FanDuel: Week 1

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.

Note: In Vegas this week for the FFPC drafts and will add more to this column on Saturday night.

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 1 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 1 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).
  • ETP = A team's expected points via the Las Vegas spread and under/over totals. The higher the better.
  • In the 2017 Cracking FanDuel book, I demonstrated that selecting players who were in the upper half of Ratio, H-Value, and Expected 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. Most of these plays meet the criteria factors. These selections generally reflect the most bang for the buck at their respective positions. Players in yellow represent other selections that I rate slightly worse than the top plays at their position.

General Thoughts

Situations that stand out to me this week.

  • RB Le'Veon Bell, PIT ($9,300) might have just shown up in training camp on September 1, but he enters a situation where he is expected to get massive touches right out of the gate. Pittsburgh is a 9.5 point favorite and will be going against rookie QB Deshone Kizer making his first NFL start. The Steelers let DeAngelo Williams walk in free agency and cut Fitzgerald Toussaint to get their roster to 53 last week. Rookie James Conner backs up Bell but is not expected to log many carries unless the game is way out of hand late.
  • RB David Johnson, ARI ($9,400) was a beast at the end of last year and I don't see anything on the horizon to damper my expectations early this year. David Johnson is about as matchup-proof as one can get as a back. He is excellent both as an insider runner and as a pass-catcher out of the backfield. Detroit's defense consists of Darrius Slay and little else. I expect a full dose of David Johnson in a game Vegas believes will be closely contested.
  • RBs Jordan Howard, Lamar Miller, and Todd Gurley are all playing against soft defenses, but these games all have low expected team totals. Because there is so much value in soft week 1 pricing, I prefer locking into a Bell/Johnson backfield in cash games and finding value at the WR and TE positions.
  • WR Larry Fitzgerald, ARI($6,400) is priced well-below the stars at the position but draws a very favorable matchup this week against D.J Hayden. There might be worse CBs in the league, but Hayden is in the discussion. With the WR2 position in ARI in a bit of chaos, I expect the Cardinals to use the two-person punch of David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald to move the chain this week.
  • If WR Odell Beckham scratches (and I would put the odds of that happening at 60+%), Brandon Marshall is in heavy consideration for me. The team totals are lower than I would prefer (so Marshall would not be a "Criteria" play, but his pricing ($6,800) and his likelihood of being heavily targeted near the goal line is desirable in this TD heavy format.
  • On defense, whoever lines up opposite the NY Jets is likely going to be in heavy consideration every week. The Jets' offensive line is a train-wreck with new players at center and the two tackles. And when your skill players are QB Josh McCown, and WRs Robbie Anderson and Jermaine Kearse, it's hard to see how this team will move the chains against the Bills (who were 5th in sack percentage last season).

Sample Roster 1 ($60K) - Projected Points = 132.5

Sample Roster 2 ($60K) - If Beckham scratches - Projected Points = 132.4+