Knowing the expected ownership rates heading into a weekend of FanDuel contests is a powerful tool. Knowledge is power. There will be heavily-used players and underrated options from which to pick and choose quality lineups. Cash games are the perfect place for using a bevy of highly-owned options and playing it safe. The cash line is simply finishing above the average score (typically in 110-120 point range). In a tournament field (GPP), finishing in the money takes more risk and variance to achieve a high mark worthy of cashing. There is no prize difference between finishing middle of the pack or dead last in GPP contests. Here are the strategies centered around player ownership for FanDuel this week:
*Collected ownership data from Thursday Night locking contests, representing expected weekend data*
CONSENSUS PLAYS OF WEEK
Tom Brady at 32% in Thursday contests is the clear preferred option at quarterback for Week 3. The Patriots are strong favorites against Jacksonville and Brady has two strong games under his belt.
Dion Lewis leads the way at running back upward of 20%. Lewis has dominated the box score and backfield snaps through two weeks in New England, even consistently winning routes as a split out receiver. LeGarrette Blount’s return in Week 2 was met with less than 10% of the snaps against Buffalo. While Lewis has shined through two games, Week 3 projects as a comfortable Patriots victory, which has been a game script for Blount and a bevy of power running.
LeVeon Bell is back from his two-game suspension and at a premium price on most sites, including FanDuel. DeAngelo Williams has performed well in Bell’s absence and Bell offers more in the passing game.
Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawks are well-positioned by the schedule makers to get back on track in Week 3 after their 0-2 start. The Jay Cutler-less and defensively-challenged Bears come to Seattle where the Seahawks should control the game. Lynch at a premium price makes a lot of sense with an ideal matchup and likely game script for a strong team looking to rebound.
Julian Edelman at upwards of 25% paces the early ownership at wide receiver. Aaron Dobson flashed in Week 2, but Edelman is still the go-to option for the hot Tom Brady. Jacksonville is a better matchup for opposing passing games than on the ground and Edelman is still a medium-level price considering his attachment to Tom Brady.
Antonio Brown continues his historic run of high-floor performances. The addition of LeVeon Bell spreads the production and boosts the run game, but DeAngelo Williams was already solid on the ground the opening two games. Only Julian Edelman was more heavily-owned at receiver early in the week.
Larry Fitzgerald and Arizona get the poor pass defense of San Francisco and 25% early ownership. The Cardinals are a top-5 team total by Vegas and nearly a touchdown favorite. A healthy Carson Palmer makes a tremendous difference for Fitzgerald and the entire Arizona offense.
Stephen Gostkowski and Brandon McManus headline the kicker ownership of 10% or more for Week 3. The Patriots have a gaudy team total of 30.5, while Denver is No.4 for the week at 25.5. Both are among the highest-priced options at the position.
The Jets get the hapless Eagles offense in New York as the top-owned GPP defense. They also have an affordable $4,500 salary. Seattle is a close second at 14% with Jimmy Clausen under center, on the road, at the Seahawks.
AGAINST THE GRAIN
Nick Foles had a minimal ownership early in the week, but is a sneaky FanDuel play. The Steelers are one of the quarterback matchups to target dating back to mid-2014. Stacking Foles with Kenny Britt or Jared Cook is an inexpensive way to create a unique lineup for GPP tournaments.
T.J. Yeldon is a contrarian play against New England. The Patriots have been an efficient matchup for opposing running backs and Yeldon has exceeded the box score with strong play to open the season. Yeldon was less than 2% owned in early contests.
Ameer Abdullah: Joique Bell has looked pedestrian at best in Detroit’s backfield. Abdullah has flashed in space. With Denver’s outstanding pass defense, Abdullah and Eric Ebron are stronger bets to outperform expectations than Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate.
Vincent Jackson: With Austin Seferian-Jenkins out and Mike Evans in line for his first game of full snaps, Jackson is the constant for Jameis Winston. Houston is a better matchup for opposing pass games than on the ground and Jackson had less than 1% ownership in Thursday GPP tournaments. Teammate Mike Evans is a similar price and similar ownership for the record.
Keenan Allen: The Vikings are a positive efficiency matchup for opposing pass offenses and Allen is coming off a lackluster game in Week 2. On the road, the Chargers are short underdogs as well.
Jason Witten is dealing with a bevy of bumps and bruises, but remains the steadiest element of the Dez Bryant-less Dallas passing game. Atlanta is a positive efficiency matchup through the air and Witten is sparsely-owned for Week 3. (Editor's note: Witten may not play this weekend, so react accordingly. Gavin Escobar makes for an interesting GPP play at that point.)
Graham Gano at $4,700 offers a small savings over pricier options at kicker, plus less than 2% ownership. The Panthers have a solid team total of 24.5 and a positive matchup against New Orleans.
The Browns are a strong matchup at home against Oakland and have a high projection from Footballguys.com projectors, yet sport only 2% ownership.
EXAMPLE GPP ROSTER 1
This lineup uses a blend of highly-owned and contrarian plays, plus a triple stack of the Arizona passing game. John Brown is sparsely-owned compared to Larry Fitzgerald and Brown has draw defensive penalties in the opening two weeks making his tape look better than the box score. Lynch and Seattle's defense are betting on another highly probable game script of a comfortable Seahawks victory against the Bears. The sacrifice of Lynch at running back is downgrading from Rob Gronkowski to Tyler Eifert at tight end. Donte Moncrief at $6,000 is another option over adding John Brown to Palmer-Fitzgerald in this lineup. Dion Lewis is a variation over T.J. Yeldon at RB2 as well.
EXAMPLE GPP ROSTER 2
This represents an option with the Patriots triple stack of Tom Brady with favorite targets Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski. Going with Marshawn Lynch as well, corners must be cut at wide receiver and No.2 running back. High-upside plays with quality quarterbacks fit the mold with James Jones and Darrius Heyward-Bey. David Johnson has been rising in terms of playing time and another upside option with big-play ability. Graham Gano and the Browns defense offers variance from the masses with low-ownership.
CASH GAMES: GO WITH THE HERD
Last week's lineup
|DST||St. Louis Rams||4900||17%||4|
With a philosophy which had a very high success rate of cashing in 2014, this lineup bombed in Week 2 with a total of 97. On to Week 3 and getting over the Drew Brees hangover...
Week 3 Most-Owned Lineup
|DST||New York Jets||4500||17.0|
The highest owned lineup for Week 3 is loaded with Patriots, adding Dion Lewis to the triple stack in the passing game above. The only danger is New England going with a run-heavy approach and going to LeGarrette Blount as the thumper for significant work. Blount saw minimal playing time (less than 10% of the snaps) in Week 2 as Dion Lewis continued to dominate touches. Blount is minimally-owned and affordable, another GPP option this week from the top projected team total in the Patriots. Donte Moncrief is another quality blend of ownership, upside, and quarterback for Week 3 as the Colts look to rebound against Tennessee.