Cracking FanDuel: Week 2

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 2 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 2 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 players 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.

  • The New England at New Orleans shootout. The teams that gave up the most combined yardage in week 1 square off in New Orleans and the Vegas bookmakers put the over/under at a whopping 57 points. One week doesn't define a team, but the Saints have been a horrible defense for a long time and they looked particularly bad last week giving up those yards to a Sam Bradford led offense with minimal weapons. If Sam Bradford can hang 346 passing yards and 3 TDs on just 32 pass attempts, what can Tom Brady do with more opportunities and a better supporting cast this week? It's a situation that I think is unfadeable in strict cash games. The potential for close to 400 yards and 4 TDs is too great to pass up.

    WRs Brandin Cooks and Chris Hogan look to be the major benefactors in the passing game. Hogan is expected to fill the slot role with Danny Amendola listed as OUT on Friday's injury report. TE Rob Gronkowski is always a factor in high-scoring Patriot games, but I need to see more from him on the field to pay such a premium. On the opposite side of the field, Drew Brees will likely be asked to throw often as the Saints attempt to match the points put up by the Patriots. WRs Michael Thomas and TE Coby Fleener look to be the major recipients, but I have some reservation that Thomas could be shadowed all night by a very talented CB Malcolm Butler.

  • RB Marshawn Lynch's Coming Home Party. Oakland high-school legend came out of retirement so he could play for his hometown. To say he is loved in the Bay Area would be an understatement. He faces a Jets defense that has been gutted this offseason. And those changes were evident this past week as the Bills amassed 190 rushing yards and a TD against this sub-par unit. I don't always buy into "narrative street", but the gameplan this week will be a healthy dose of Marshawn Lynch. He should get his TD and possibly a lot more. Another situation that I believe is unfadeable at his price in cash games.

  • The Kansas City Chief's Offense. The Kansas City Chiefs came up big on Thursday Night Football showcasing their rising stars RB Kareem Hunt and WR Tyreek Hill. Many critics cited the slow linebacker play by the Patriots, but anyone watching the game also saw how fast this team is. Dink and dunk specialist Alex Smith no longer looks pedestrian with players that are capable of chunks of yards after the completion. QB Alex Smith, RB Kareem Hunt, WR Tyreek Hill, and TE Travis Kelce all make my CRITERIA list.

  • WR Larry Fitzgerald's Role. What a difference a week makes. Superstar RB David Johnson is OUT for at least 12 weeks. WR John Brown is OUT with a quad injury. TE Jermaine Gresham is a game-time decision but has not practiced all week (and is expected to be inactive). David Johnson and John Brown combined for 18 targets and those targets will go somewhere. My bet is on Larry Fitzgerald (who had 13 targets in the opener) and draws an Indianapolis defense that allowed over 300 yards passing to Jared Goff in week 1.

  • RB Melvin Gordon is Under-Priced at $7,600. He draws a plus matchup against a team that allowed 140 yards rushing per game last season. Gordon is also heavily involved in the passing game making him a solid play no matter what the game script is.

  • Horrible Value at TE. I hate all the TEs at their prices this week.

  • Under-Owned GPP Plays. If you are not reading Steve Buzzard's ownership info each week, you are doing it wrong. In GPPs, you should be targeting players that you believe have a better chance to get 3+ times value than their ownership percentage. At QB, I like Alex Smith (4%), Philip Rivers (4%), Derek Carr (4%), and Jameis Winston (4%). At RB, I like Devonta Freeman (8%), Todd Gurley (7%) and Mark Ingram (2%). At WR, I like Doug Baldwin (10%), J.J Nelson (8%), Amari Cooper (6%), Michael Crabtree (6%), Ted Ginn (4%), Marqise Lee (2%) and Allen Hurns (1%). At TE I am intrigued by Jared Cook (2%) and Charles Clay (2%).

Late-Swap Strategy for this week

I am repeating this from my blog.

I think the winning play in CASH games this week on FanDuel looks like this:

  • Play Larry Fitzgerald
  • Play your NO/NE and KC plays from the early slate only

and then punt everything else to the late slate.

This affords you maximum ability to tweak your rosters accordingly based on if you project yourself to win or not.

  • If behind by a lot, play a QB/WR and RB/DEF stack
  • If behind by a bit, play a stack
  • If ahead, lockdown value with safe choices.

To maximize this approach, I would keep a minimum 1 RB, 1 WR, and the TE, DEF, and PK positions open (ie filled with late game players)

Against some opponents, they will have tipped the majority of their hand and you can effectively BLOCK them from winning (especially if they play some duds)

Cash+ Stacks I am targeting

  • QB Tom Brady / WR Chris Hogan or Brandin Cooks
  • QB Alex Smith / WR Tyreek Hill or TE Travis Kelce
  • QB Russell Wilson / WR Doug Baldwin or TE Jimmy Graham
  • QB Ben Roethlisberger / WR Antonio Brown
  • QB Derek Carr / WR Amari Cooper or Michael Crabtree
  • RB Marshawn Lynch / Oakland Defense
  • RB Jacquizz Rodgers / TB Defense
  • RB Thomas Rawls / Seattle Defense (High Risk)

Sample Roster 1 ($60K) - Projected Points = 126.4

  • QB Tom Brady, NE - $9,200
  • RB Melvin Gordon, LAC - $7,600
  • RB Marshawn Lynch, OAK - $7,200
  • TE Travis Kelce, KC - $7,600
  • WR Larry Fitzgerald, ARI - $6,600
  • WR Tyreek Hill, KC - $7,200
  • WR Chris Hogan, NE - $6,200
  • PK Blair Walsh - $4,600
  • TD Baltimore Defense - $4,700

Sample Roster 2 ($60K) - Projected Points = 126.9

  • QB Aaron Rodgers, GB - $9,100
  • RB Melvin Gordon, LAC - $7,600
  • RB Marshawn Lynch, OAK - $7,200
  • TE Coby Fleener, NO - $5,300
  • WR Larry Fitzgerald, ARI - $6,600
  • WR Julio Jones, ATL - $8,800
  • WR Chris Hogan, NE - $6,200
  • PK Phil Dawson, ARI - $4,500
  • TD Baltimore Defense - $4,700