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 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 3 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 the 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.

  • QB Deshone Kizer holds the ball too long. It's a common rookie quarterback mistake and it is creating massive opportunities for the defense playing the Browns each week. To date, the Browns have allowed 11 sacks and 8 interceptions to opposing defenses. Cincinnati was able to sack Aaron Rodgers 6 times in week 3 and get LB Vontaze Burfict back from his three-game suspension. This looks like the perfect storm for a defense. At $4,600, I am struggling to see any other defenses that even make sense.

  • The Los Angeles Rams are giving up a combined 177 yards and 1.7 touchdowns a game to opposing RBs. Ezekiel Elliott at home, with an above average offensive line, should see massive workload in this contest. If Chris Thompson (22.6 FPs) and Carlos Hyde (21.4 FPs) can both score twice, what is Ezekiel Elliott capable of? The Dallas Offensive Line is not nearly as dominant this season, but this is as good a spot as Elliott may face all year.

  • FanDuel's expensive pricing of tight ends has me constructing lineups that mostly include dart-throws at the position. It's hard to construct a solid lineup and fit in Rob Gronkowski ($8,500). TE Zach Ertz ($6,900) leads all tight ends with 21 targets this season and is a solid play, but I likely will be diversifying my lineups with NYG Evan Engram ($5,200) and BUF Charles Clay ($5,300). Both should see enough volume and have clear TD potential in week 4 contests.

  • At kicker, I will diversify my lineups using Blair Walsh ($4,800), Matt Bryant ($5,000), Stephen Gostkowski ($5,100), and Phil Dawson ($4,500). These teams all have high implied team totals and are expected to win their contests easily. This usually leads to situations where they should have a lot of FG opportunities.

  • The top of the WR board is a bit pricey for me. Antonio Brown ($9,200) draws a tough division opponent on the road. Odell Beckham ($9,100) has a favorable situation and could explode, but there are a lot of pass-catchers on that Giants team that could limit his upside. I think he is best reserved for GPP consideration. The players I am centering on are all target monsters in the mid-range of salaries. DeAndre Hopkins ($7,300) has found the end zone just once this season but has a whopping 37 targets already. He does not make the CRITERIA list because of his team's implied low team total, but the Seahawks exploited this TEN defense last week and Houston could do the same at home. Since RB David Johnson went down, the Cardinals have thrown a lot of passes to the 34-year old Larry Fitzgerald. His 34 targets are third in the league and he leads all Cardinals players with eight redzone looks. At just $6,700, he is a solid cash play with a very safe floor. I will likely fade him entirely in GPPs though as I tend to like younger players when reaching for upside. AJ Green ($8,000)saw 13 targets last week and has an exploitable situation again this week.

  • The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are scraping together bodies to play defense this week. I expect massive volume for Eli Manning as the Giants have not been able to run the ball this season. Virtually all of the pass-catchers are in play and most look like they will be low-owned for GPP consideration. Tampa Bay has allowed the 4th most FPs to quarterbacks and the most FPs to wide receivers. The Bucs will get CB Brent Grimes back, but he alone can't plug the many leaks this defense has. Vegas has New York with an implied team total of just 20.75 points which eliminate all of these players from making the CRITERIA list, but I suspect Vegas has this one wrong.

My GPP Punt of the Week is RB Joe Mixon

He out-snapped (and outplayed) the other Cincinnati running backs under new OC Bill Lazor and I suspect we will see even more of that this week. At $5,600, he is priced way too low in a situation where the Bengals should have a lead and could have the short field a lot (due to the mistakes of DeShone Kizer).

Cash+ Stacks I am targeting

  • QB Marcus Mariota / WR Rishard Matthews / WR DeAndre Hopkins
  • QB Deshaun Watson / WR DeAndre Hopkins / WR Rishard Matthews
  • QB Philip Rivers / WR Travis Benjamin
  • QB Russell Wilson / TE Jimmy Graham
  • QB Eli Manning / WR Odell Beckham
  • RB Joe Mixon / Cincinnati Defense
  • RB Leonard Fournette / Jacksonville Defense
  • RB Ezekiel Elliott / Dallas Defense

Sample Roster 1 ($60K) - Projected Points = 126.0

  • QB Russell Wilson, SEA - $7,900
  • RB Ezekiel Elliott - $8,500
  • RB Carlos Hyde - $6,800
  • TE Evan Engram - $5,200
  • WR A.J. Green, CIN - $8,000
  • WR Larry Fitzgerald - $6,700
  • WR DeAndre Hopkins, HOU - $7,300
  • PK Matt Bryant, ATL - $5,000
  • TD Cincinnati Defense - $4,600

Sample Roster 2 Cash Plus ($60K) - Projected Points = 123.4

  • Deshaun Watson, HOU - $7,300
  • RB Ezekiel Elliott - $8,500
  • RB Todd Gurley - $8,000
  • TE Evan Engram - $5,200
  • WR A.J. Green, CIN - $8,000
  • WR Rishard Matthews, TEN - $6,000
  • WR DeAndre Hopkins, HOU - $7,300
  • PK Stephen Gostkowski, NE - $5,100
  • TD Cincinnati Defense - $4,600

Sample Roster 3 Cash Plus ($60K) - Projected Points = 122.0

  • Eli Manning, NYG - $7,000
  • RB Ezekiel Elliott - $8,500
  • RB Joe Mixon, CIN - $5,600
  • TE Charles Clay, BUF - $5,300
  • WR A.J. Green, CIN - $8,000
  • WR Odell Beckham, NYG - $9,100
  • WR DeAndre Hopkins, HOU - $7,300
  • PK Phil Dawson, ARI - $4,500
  • TD Cincinnati Defense - $4,600