FanDuel GPP Domination - Week 5

A Deeper Look at Who to Target for FanDuel GPPs this Week

For those of you who are new to Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS), GPPs are "Guaranteed Prize Pool" Tournaments with larger, sometimes very large prize amounts.  FanDuel is one of the biggest sites in DFS and offers some of the biggest prizes in the industry.  The goal of this article is to guide you towards some players that could help you take home that big prize.  Footballguys offers a ton of resources to help you build that winning lineup, and this is just one of the many - but I hope that you will find it a valuable resource and check this article out on a regular basis.

Before we talk about the players for this week, we cannot completely ignore cash game plays.  Typically a "GPP player" for the week is one that can score big or score terribly - the classic "boom or bust" player.  A wide receiver that can catch two deep balls for two scores can get you 30+ points - or he might wind up with nada.  Chasing 1-3 big plays can win you a tournament, but filling out a roster completely with these types of options will likely leave you well short of first place.  That is why you cannot ignore the cash game plays each week as well, as combining the two groups is what usually leads to those big victories in GPP contests.  So expect some mention of players who are cash game plays each week, as well as some players that could be considered for both GPP and cash games.

Note - this article is not intended to provide a fully exhaustive list of every possible player.  That would be an immensely long group of players.  These are just some of the best options I see for GPPs this week when considering value, price, upside, and matchups.

Second note - Keep in mind the multiplier target(s) you want to hit for both cash and GPP / tournaments on FanDuel.  In general, you are looking for 2x in cash (twice the cost of the player in $1,000 increments) and 3x in GPP.  That means a player that costs $6,000 should produce 12 or more points in cash and 18 or more in GPPs.

Now, on with this week's top options:

GENERAL THOUGHTS ON WEEK 5

To help you out each week, I will give you some general thoughts as we progress through the season (you can also find more on the weekly Power Grid show - be sure to watch and subscribe!).  For this week, there are many options at all positions, almost more than last week.  The problem is that the salaries feel a little tighter, and most everyone is waiting for Sunday inactives to hopefully find one (or more) value plays to get better players in the lineups.

This week on FanDuel, the first question comes in at the running back position. Do you roster LeVeon Bell or fade him? Given the general overall pricing (there is enough value to fit Bell in without too much roster compromise) and the matchup (great), I say start with Bell in your lineup in nearly every format. In very large GPPs, I can see fading him some - but not all lineups. I think his price is still reasonable at under $10,000. 

After the Bell decision, questions circle around how to get exposure to the biggest game on the Main Slate - Dallas and Green Bay., Aaron Rodgers is expensive, and so is Jordy Nelson, but the Dallas options (Dak Prescott, Dez Bryant) at the same spots are much easier to roster. That means Rodgers and Nelson are better in GPPs because their ownership should be much lower. Even better for tournaments is to find pivots or other players to get exposure to these offenses at a lower cost - such as using Randall Cobb. Ezekiel Elliott is an interesting case here as he offers exposure to the Cowboys but costs not only a lot of cap money but also your second running back spot. 

In general this week, teams are going to be constructed around Bell and the Cowboys-Packers matchup. Finding reasonable pivots to those choices, and also to the likely roster construction of paying up at running back and saving at quarterback will lead to more unique rosters this week.

  

Here are a few general references I will be using as the season progresses:

Footballguys' DFS Week 5 Page

Vegas Value Chart

Interactive Value Chart

Projecting Ownership

Now, without further ado, here are the players I like the most this week.   

QUARTERBACKS

Name Salary Cash Rank GPP Rank Ownership Comments
Aaron Rodgers 9500 2 4 High Huge price tag, but big projections. Only his high price keeps him from top ownership
Russell Wilson 8000 4 6 High Uncertainty in the backfield could make this a Wilson game -running and passing
Ben Roethlisberger 7900 n/a 1 Low Always plays better at home, and great pivot off of LeVeon Bell lineups
Cam Newton 7800 n/a 2 Med-Low One more week going to the Newton well, who plays much better on turf
Dak Prescott 7700 1 5 High Dallas expected to score a lot of points, and Prescott can run or pass for production
Carson Palmer 7200 3 3 Medium Philadelphia's weakness is the pass, and Palmer is on a three-game 300-yards passing streak
Eli Manning 7000 n/a 7 Low The Giants have to throw, plain and simple

CHALK TALK: As I mentioned above, Dak Prescott and Aaron Rodgers are the top two choices here for many who want to get exposure to the (projected) highest scoring game on Sunday. Prescott is the preferred option at the discounted price ($1,800).

GPP:  Both Prescott and Rodgers are in play for GPPs because they can achieve 3x or higher, but Rodgers is the tougher one as he will need almost 30 points to get there. That feels like a 300-yard game with three passing touchdowns, which is possible but not exactly probable. I believe that Prescott has a better chance to hit 3x of his $7,700 (roughly 23 points), but any rushing touchdowns by Ezekiel Elliott will dampen that outlook. Given that both quarterbacks are projected to be in the Top 3 of GPP ownerships, I am likely to look elsewhere for my quarterbacks this week - but who exactly? Let me build on the chart above.

Ben Roethlisberger has a good track record at home, racking up 30 fantasy points per game in Pittsburgh (compared to under 18 on the road) over the past four seasons. Given that many will target LeVeon Bell for their rosters, a Roethlisberger-Antonio Brown stack at low ownership for both feels quite contrarian, but not at all out of the realm of possibility for both to hit the 3x mark. Given other options at tailback, going the route of the Steelers stack will push your roster way up the charts if the passing game is the preferred scoring method over the ground attack for Pittsburgh this week.

Last week I nailed Cam Newton against New England, and I am going to continue riding that wave (much like DeShawn Watson did the week after he faced the Patriots). The reasons I like Newton this week extend beyond the post-Patriot euphoria. Newton's splits on turf versus grass are rather interesting, to say the least. Over the past four years, Newton has about 25% more fantasy points (29 on turf vs. 22 on grass), a better TD:INT ratio (1.9:0.5 vs. 1.4:0.9 - or roughly 4-1 on turf and 3-2 on grass) and better rushing numbers on the turf (50 yards and 0.6 touchdowns per game on artificial turf vs. 27 yards and 0.4 scores on grass). Clearly Newton loves how he can move on the fake grass, and he gets that this week in Detroit. I think his upswing in production continues, at least for one more game.

Three other quarterbacks catch my eye this week with their teams struggling to move the ball on the ground. Arizona's Carson Palmer travels to face the Eagles this week, and Palmer has three 300-yard games in a row over the past three contests. With Philadelphia's questionable secondary, Palmer has a strong chance at moving the streak to four games on Sunday. Eli Manning has nearly no ground game to speak of, and while the Chargers are not a pushover through the air, Manning has little else to rely on but to drop back and throw it around. Lastly, unless a clearer picture emerges for the Seattle backfield this week, Russell Wilson may be asked to do it all on his own as both a runner and a passer against the Rams.

 

RUNNING BACKS

Name Salary Cash Rank GPP Rank Ownership Comments
LeVeon Bell 9500 1 1 High Stud running back in a pristine matchup
Kareem Hunt 9000 5 5 Med-Hi Hunt is a Top 5 back so far this year, and will be overlooked in ownership again this week
Ezekiel Elliott 8900 3 4 High Dallas and Green Bay should be high scoring, and Elliott will be a major part of the Cowboys' offense
Todd Gurley 7800 2 3 High Majorly discounted top end running back this week in a matchup better than most expect (Seattle)
Carlos Hyde 7200 6 6 Medium Hyde should see tons of touches again this week in Indianapolis
Melvin Gordon 7100 4 2 Low Gordon saw limited touches (and production) against the Eagles in Week 3, but the Giants are tough against the pass
Bilal Powell 6600 n/a 12 Low With Matt Forte out again, Powell likely sees plenty of work, but still just in the GPP category
Christian McCaffrey 6200 n/a 7 Low Speedy target out of the backfield and slot, which have been problem areas for the Lions on defense
Joe Mixon 5900 n/a 10 Low The game script is there, but are the touches?
LeGarrette Blount 5900 n/a 9 Low If Wendell Smallwood is out, this could be a Blount week
Wayne Gallman 5200 n/a 11 Low Only in play if he starts against the Chargers, and even then it is risky
Thomas Rawls 4800 n/a 8 Very Low Likely beneficiary of the Chris Carson's injury, and if he is featured this week, the Rams give up a ton of production on the ground


CHALK TALK:
  More (cow) Bell please.  Seriously, LeVeon Bell may be in 101% of lineups in cash if that were possible.  The best running back, under $10,000, and an ideal matchup - and enough value to make him fit rather easily.  Now, in game theory, there is a viable thought to fade him here, but I honestly do not think he will be over 40% owned in GPPs (according to Steve Buzzard's projections, it looks to be about 27%, which feels just a little low to me).  To get to 3x, Bell needs 28.5 points - which almost requires two touchdowns (doing the math, with just one touchdown he would need about 11 catches and 170 total yards to get to 28.5).  Certainly possible, but the GPP play here forces you to think about two scores, and I am not sure he gets there - but I certainly see it within reason to project him for 150 total yards, two touchdowns and a few catches.  It is a tough call to say to keep him in GPP lineups or not, as there are certainly several viable pivots.  Speaking of which...  

GPP:  As I mentioned in the quarterback section, it is perfectly viable to use Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown as a stack while fading Bell this week.  If you are going that route, look for Todd Gurley and either Ezekiel Elliott, Kareem Hunt or Carlos Hyde to round out your running backs - or a few cheaper options off of the table above.  Melvin Gordon is my favorite pivot here as his ownership will be low and the recency bias will be against using him, which makes him a great play as the Chargers will want to use him early and often against the Giants.  Thomas Rawls is my next favorite cheaper choice if he gets the clear start for Seattle, and maybe even if he doesn't but is just active, as many will be too scared to use him.  In my opinion, Rawls was inactive last week due to the depth chart and that Chris Carson fulfilled the same role on the team.  With all of the potential Rawls snaps planned for Carson and no other use for Rawls, why would they have him active?    Christian McCaffrey rounds out the backs that have big upside this week off of my list that I wanted to highlight, as Detroit has given six or more catches to running backs in three of the first four games this season.  I believe McCaffrey catches at least that many and finds the end zone this week, as Fozzy Whittaker will not be on the field nearly as much.


WIDE RECEIVERS

Name Salary Cash Rank GPP Rank Ownership Comments
Antonio Brown 8400 4 2 Medium Low game score total, but most likely Steeler to be productive in Baltimore
A. J. Green 8200 3 6 Med-High The game script looks to favor the defense and the run game for the Bengals, but Green always has big game upside
Jordy Nelson 8100 1 4 Med-High Top option for Aaron Rodgers in a high scoring contest in Dallas
DeAndre Hopkins 7600 2 10 High Houston's top target is always in play, but the Kansas City defense is solid
Doug Baldwin 7000 8 7 Med-High With Seattle having question marks at running back, Russell Wilson may look to his top target often against the Rams
Larry Fitzgerald 6800 5 9 Med-High Fitzgerald gets a great matchup against the Eagles this week
Randall Cobb 6700 n/a 1 Medium Slot WRs have great success against Dallas this year, and Cobb will be lower owned than Jordy Nelson
DeVante Parker 6600 10 13 Med-High Parker has had a ton of volume this year, even in a low producing offense in Miami
Dez Bryant 6500 6 5 Med-High Bryant has faced tough coverage all season long, but gets a great matchup against a weak Green Bay secondary
Sterling Shepard 6000 n/a 9 Low  Gets a great slot corner matchup against the Chargers
Jarvis Landry 5800 n/a 14 Medium Jay Cutler will be throwing short early and often Sunday
Devin Funchess 5600 n/a 8 Med-Low Funchess scored twice last week in New England, and Cam Newton went out of his way to mention how Funchess is from Detroit
Rishard Matthews 5400 9 12 Med-High Top receiver for the Titans - more value if Mariota plays
John Brown 5100 n/a 11 Low Philadelphia's weakness is their secondary, and the Eagles will focus on Larry Fitzgerald
Jaron Brown 4500 7 3 Very Low Minimum priced WR with home run potential
Nelson Agholor 3900 n/a 10 Very Low Strong leverage play for the Eagles as Alshon Jeffery will face shadow coverage

 

CHALK TALK:  Two names are immediate options if you can fit them in your roster, and they are both in the biggest game of the Main Slate.  Both Jordy Nelson and Dez Bryant are top options at wide receiver in Week 5, but their salaries may make it hard to fit both of them in your lineup.  As such, a few other cheaper options are near the higher end of the chalky receiver list, highlighted by Larry Fitzgerald (at the Eagles) and DeAndre Hopkins (vs. Kansas City).  Both veterans are likely to see 10+ targets this week and make for solid options, but likely do not have that 3x upside you really need for tournament play.  That can also be said of DeVante Parker, who has the talent but is limited by the pedestrian play of his quarterback, Jay Cutler.

GPP:  So what are the alternatives in Week 5 to get those triple-plus value plays at wide receiver we really want?  As a general rule for the week, the secondary receiver is the better option.  That means you should consider Randall Cobb over Jordy Nelson, for a great example.  Nelson will be higher owned, costs more, and Cobb has a great matchup out of the slot (Dallas' Orlando Scandrick).  A similar story can be told to take Sterling Shepard over Odell Beckham, Jr.  Devin Funchess has a great narrative going this week with Cam Newton mentioning him as being from the Detroit area, and Funchess had two touchdowns last week.  I also like going with Jaron Brown over Larry Fitzgerald to take the top off of a suspect Eagles secondary.  Even Nelson Agholor has strong upside with Alshon Jeffery likely seeing shadow coverage from Patrick Peterson on Sunday.

Now, I am not going to say to completely fade the stud wide receivers, as Dez Bryant and Jordy Nelson do have two touchdown upside.  But with heavier ownership on Nelson, I would rather go towards Bryant, and he is also cheaper.  Antonio Brown (as mentioned earlier) is the one elite wide receiver that could explode on Sunday, and I like the idea that if he scores twice, it really hurts LeVeon Bell owners in tournaments.    


TIGHT ENDS

Name Salary Cash Rank GPP Rank Ownership Comments
Travis Kelce 7000 2 3 High Good matchup at Houston
Zach Ertz 6600 1 5 High The Eagles force feed their top tight end - makes a great play if you can afford him
Jared Cook 5500 3 1 Medium-Low Tight ends make for good matchups against the Ravens
Charles Clay 5700 4 4 High Buffalo has little to offer at wide receiver
Evan Engram 5200 n/a 6 Med-High Tougher matchup against the Chargers, but Engram has 4+ catches every week this year
Austin Seferian-Jenkins 5500 5 2 Low Cleveland is the worst team against tight ends this year, and Josh McCown loves to check down

 

CHALK TALK: Tight end is rough for Week 5, with really only Travis Kelce and Zach Ertz at the top of the list for cash games.  Kelce gets a good matchup at Houston as the Texans gave up a strong stat line to Rob Gronkowski in Week 3 (8-89-1) and have not faced any other strong options.  Ertz sees a ton of targets from Carson Wentz and should again on Sunday.  Both are tougher to fit this week, however, due to higher pricing.

GPP:  Once again, you have two choices this week from a GPP strategy perspective.  You can go with a higher priced tight end and hope that Kelce or Ertz continues to put up strong numbers, but that will cost you valuable cap space.  The alternative of looking for cheaper options that may see a good workload and could find the end zone feels a lot more palatable this week.  Jared Cook (vs. Baltimore) is in a great matchup against the Ravens, and with Oakland using a backup quarterback in E.J. Manuel, Cook may see far more targets than in most weeks.  Charles Clay appears to be the top receiver for the Bills, but Cincinnati knows this and will cover him as much as possible.  My favorite cheaper option for Week 5 is Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who also has a quarterback that likes to throw to tight ends and Josh McCown is heading back to Cleveland, where he and Gary Barnidge used to light it up most weeks.   Cleveland has been a bottom five team against tight ends so far, so Seferian-Jenkins is my favorite upside play under $6,000 at tight end.     


KICKERS

Name Salary Cash Rank GPP Rank Ownership Comments
Greg Zuerlein 5200 n/a 2 Very Low Huge Week 4, but is expensive. Very low owned, great contrarian play
Dan Bailey 5100 5 5 Med-Low Probably too high owned, and Dallas should score more TDs than FGs
Mason Crosby 5000 6 6 Med-Low Not many will wait on a kicker for Sunday night
Matt Prater 4900 4 4 Medium Just misses the 24+ point line, but in a good spot
Jake Elliott 4700 1 1 High I am not getting cute this week. Elliott is the best play in all formats.
Chris Boswell 4700 2 3 Med-High Big home favorite with a high implied score
Aldrick Rosas 4500 3 7 Med-High Punt play that meets the criteria - but very risky

CHALK and GPP: These general kicker comments will likely be repeated week after week, but they are important so take note.  Yes, FanDuel is the only DFS site left that uses a kicker, but you have to deal with it if you are playing on FanDuel.  Sorry, that's how it goes.  But there's some good news - you can actually make smart, informed decisions that can go a long way towards increasing your bankroll.  First, there are four general criteria in picking a kicker:

  1. Pick a kicker who is playing at home
  2. Pick a kicker who is in a game where his team is favored
  3. Pick a kicker whose team is expected to score at least 24 points.
  4. Pick a kicker who will not be in bad weather.

Just following that above recipe will help you quite a bit.  Remember - a 50+ yard field goal is five points or almost as much as a touchdown.  That's significant.  

Just like last week, there are not many cheap values to really consider in Week 5. Last week I recommended to just go with Phil Dawson, and that worked out well. For the most part, I am sticking with the cheapest kicker that meets my criteria, and that is Jake Elliott of the Eagles this week. I know he will be highly owned, but that's fine by me as long as he performs. I will differentiate my GPP lineups elsewhere.

For a few tournament fliers, Greg Zuerlein is worth a shot even though he put up a monster score last week with seven field goals. Zuerlein is expensive at $5,200, which will keep his ownership down, but he still has a lot of confidence after that performance and he does hit all of the criteria. The rest of the options I list above are worth a flyer, such as Mason Crosby or Dan Bailey in the big game on the Main Slate or even Chris Boswell for cheap against Jacksonville.  

TEAM DEFENSES

Name Salary Cash Rank GPP Rank Ownership Comments
Pittsburgh 4800 2 7 Medium Jacksonville has the lowest implied team total (17.5)
Philadelphia 4600 1 6 High Will be heavily owned, and Arizona plays early on the East Coast, but Eagles' secondary is suspect
Baltimore 4500 n/a 2 Low The Ravens have snagged nine INTs and face E.J. Manuel
Oakland 4300 3 5 Medium Baltimore has shown little on offense of late and travel East to West Coast
New York Jets 4300 4 1 Med-Low The Jets have won two in a row, and the Browns have thrown nine picks already
Miami 4100 n/a 3 Low Very cheap, and could be facing a backup QB
Cincinnati 4500 5 4 Low Buffalo projected for just 18 points, and limited options in the passing game

CHALK and GPP:  There are actually quite a number of options this week on defense once again in Week 5. Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are bigger favorites this week and lead the list of defensive options, but I believe that fading them is likely to be a better GPP option this week. The Jets face Cleveland, and the Browns have thrown nine interceptions already this season and the game is a toss-up. Baltimore faces Oakland on the West Coast and both teams are not very good on offense right now, especially with E.J. Manuel at quarterback for the Raiders. Cincinnati deserves strong consideration against a surprising Buffalo team, but if the Bengals shut down LeSean McCoy this week - and Buffalo has held the lead backs that they have faced under 50 yards a game and 3.3 yards per carry - then it could be a long day for the Bills.

  

Good luck this weekend!

Questions, suggestions, and comments are always welcome to pasquino@footballguys.com