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 DIVISIONAL ROUND WEEKEND
To help you out each week, I will give you some general thoughts as we progress through the season. The playoffs are a different animal entirely, and for several good reasons. First, there are just four games, so the player pool is clearly shallower. Adding to the difficulty is the level of competition – all of these teams are rather good, so the matchups to exploit are harder to find. There are still a few that are there, but many other lineups are going to be targeting these same players. To win a GPP, you are really going to have to take some stands on game scripts and players and pick your roster accordingly.
This weekend FanDuel made it even harder for most contests. Unfortunately, FanDuel decided that they would create three slates similar to last weekend – Saturday only, Sunday only and all four games combined – but the available entries are much, much larger for the two-game slates. To say that another way, the “Main Slate” which would normally have the most games available is not all four games this week (as it was last weekend) – but instead it is two one-day slates. So rather than being able to play most of your contests all weekend long, most entries will have to focus on either Saturday only or Sunday only. This has upset a lot of people, and it is leaving a bitter taste in several mouths as we wrap up the NFL season. So, if you want to play contests across all four games, secure entries as soon as possible and also let FanDuel know your thoughts on these decisions. It is possible that they may change going forward if they hear enough responses, so voice your opinions.
Now, to help the discussion a little, I will emphasize the four-game viewpoint throughout the summaries at each position – but I will also add a few more names as finding sleepers that have some upside on two-game slates are going to be even more important. Finding a pivot away from a player likely to be very highly owned on a two-game slate and having him outperform that chalk pick will go a long way towards winning a GPP that spans just two NFL games. It should go without saying, but finding the guys who are going to take the ball across the goal line will be paramount this week. A fullback or backup tight end that gets a goal line rush or catch for a score could be all the difference when there will be so much overlap across rosters.
Just like last week, I broke down all four games in For The Win for the weekend, so I will re-share those thoughts here:
(Saturday, 4:35PM Eastern, NBC) PHILADELPHIA (+3) vs. ATLANTA (Over/Under = 41-41.5)
“Okay Jeff, you have lost your mind. Are you seriously taking the Eagles?” I hear you, believe me, I do – and I am well above any favoritism in these write-ups towards the team I have followed for a long, long time. I understand that the Falcons looked great last week, but Philadelphia is a team of 45 players that went 13-3 on the year and got better all season long – until Carson Wentz tore his ACL. If Wentz was under center, the Eagles would be favored by about 5-6 points easily in this spot, but instead they are getting three and are a #1 seeded underdog after a bye. Atlanta actually did the Eagles a favor by beating the Rams, as now Philadelphia hosts a less-talented team (in my opinion) than having to face the Saints. The Eagles have strong, favorable matchups against Atlanta at tight end (Zach Ertz plus some Trey Burton) and running back, especially pass-catchers (Jay Ajayi, possibly Corey Clement or Wendell Smallwood). Philadelphia also has a good defense, although I do expect Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu to test the secondary. Bottom line for me is this – Vegas is telling you that Nick Foles is worth more than a touchdown swing away from what the Eagles would be as 5- or 6-point favorites at home. I believe that Doug Pederson and OC Frank Reich can devise enough West Coast style offensive plays to get the ball out of Foles’ hands quickly and to his tight ends and backs in space. Do I think this will be a close game? Absolutely. Am I taking a #1 seed as an underdog after two weeks to rest and prepare, even with a veteran backup quarterback starting? You better believe it. Eagles 27, Falcons 23. PICK: Eagles
(Saturday, 8:15PM Eastern, CBS) NEW ENGLAND (-13) vs. TENNESSEE (Over/Under = 47-47.5)
New England gets as close to a gimme as you can get here. The Patriots are rested and getting a low seeded team that must feel like they played and won their Super Bowl last week with an unexpected comeback win in Kansas City. One could argue that the Chiefs blew it just as much as the Titans won it, but fair is fair and Tennessee got the job done. Now comes a far steeper challenge with Marcus Mariota heading to Foxboro. Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and an underrated defense await the Titans, and I expect Brady to pick apart Tennessee all day long with both passing and also plenty of running to keep the Titans’ offense on the sidelines. The Titans may score some points, but it will not be over 17 and New England looks poised for at least 31, so that’s my call – Patriots 31-17. PICK: Patriots
(Sunday, 1:05PM Eastern, CBS) PITTSBURGH (-7) vs. JACKSONVILLE (Over/Under = 40.5-41.5)
Jacksonville kicks off “Rematch Sunday” as the Jaguars visit Pittsburgh for the second time this season. Back in Week 5, Jacksonville dominated the Steelers 30-9, winning in convincing fashion on the road. The game really got away from the Steelers for several reasons. First, they could not establish a run game with LeVeon Bell, who finished with just 47 yards on 15 carries (he did add 10-46 receiving). Second, Pittsburgh had to settle for three field goals in the 40 minutes of play instead of touchdowns, which left the score 9-7 in favor of the home team. When the weather started to turn ugly with heavy rain, Ben Roethlisberger was bitten twice by the interception bug in the third quarter, and both of them were returned for touchdowns by Telvin Smith and Jalen Ramsey, respectively. That turned the game quickly, and Pittsburgh had little choice but to throw most of the fourth quarter, and two interceptions and a meaningless (but lengthy) second touchdown run for Leonard Fournette iced the game late.
Fast forward to this week and I believe that the Steelers will look to flip the game script on its head. Jacksonville is small on the interior of their defense, and I expect Pittsburgh to run early and often with Bell. That will set up play action to Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Brown had a big day (10-157) in the first meeting. The Pittsburgh plan should be to run it and play defense, especially against the run and force Blake Bortles to beat them. In the first matchup Bortles only attempted 14 passes, so making him do something to move the ball will be the strategy for the Steelers. After watching how ineffective the Jaguars were against Buffalo, Pittsburgh has to like their chances in the rematch, and I tend to agree. Steelers 27, Jaguars 13. PICK: Steelers
(Sunday, 4:40PM Eastern, FOX) MINNESOTA (-4) vs. NEW ORLEANS (Over/Under = 45.5-46.5)
The Wild Card Weekend closes with our second rematch of the regular season. Back in Week 1, the Saints were blown out by the Vikings on Monday Night Football 29-19 (it was 29-10 until the final two minutes left), but so much has changed since that matchup it is hardly worth analysis. The Saints changed their starting cornerbacks so erase the Stefon Diggs two touchdown performance (to a degree). Dalvin Cook was lost for the year mid-season, so his big performance is a distant memory, as is Sam Bradford’s 346-yard, three touchdown game. Everyone is going to be looking at the Saints and their win at home over Carolina last week, but their defense allowed Cam Newton to throw for 376 yards and two scores and yielded 26 points – at home. Meanwhile, Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram struggled, and Minnesota’s defense is much, much better than the Panthers, especially against the run. The Vikings will be overlooked, but I like all of Minnesota’s passing game with Kyle Rudolph looking to replicate Greg Olsen’s 8-107-1 afternoon from last weekend. The Vikings also have to be encouraged by the combined Carolina ground game (26-107) against the Saints last week, so both Latavius Murray and Jerrick McKinnon have upside. The biggest factor for me is going to be the home team and their defense, and I believe the Vikings stuff the run and get after Drew Brees. Minnesota is the best dark horse left in the NFC, and they are being underestimated as they look like a complete team to me. Vikings 30, Saints 20. PICK: Vikings
Understanding how I think the games will play out will give you a strong idea of my thoughts for picks this week. As mentioned before, you need to take stands this weekend to have success, and I may take a few extreme ones for larger GPPs because I believe that there is a reasonable path to success for a player or two I expect few to target.
As far as lineups go this week – and I will discuss all three states a bit – the Patriots are going to be very popular. Any playoff team expected to win 30-17 based on projected scores will result in a lot of ownership for those players. Look for Tom Brady, Dion Lewis and Rob Gronkowski to be extremely popular.
The next factor is going to be the weather. A storm system is hitting the East Coast, and with games in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Foxboro, Massachusetts the cold and possibly wet weather could be a factor. That said, it is January and these teams should be used to it, but warm weather teams (Jacksonville, Tennessee) or dome teams (Atlanta) on the road may not. The other impact is that the Saints-Vikings game in a dome will also be popular, or as popular as it can be on two- or four-game slates.
With smaller slates this weekend, finding the touchdowns will be of paramount importance. Tournaments will be won by teams that can roster 3-4 touchdown scorers at the skill positions outside of quarterback. Focus on those possibilities to find value and boost your odds of finishing at or near the top of the leaderboards.
Pittsburgh offers up some expensive options this week with LeVeon Bell and Antonio Brown. Fitting both will be tricky, and both will be popular based on how they performed all year and against the Jaguars in their first meeting. Fading one or both could bring strong uniqueness to your roster.
Lastly, I listed out all of the quarterbacks, kickers and defenses this week for the eight teams. That does NOT mean I like them all, but I figured that all of these options will be under consideration for rosters (especially for tournaments), so I wanted to share my outlook. As always, be sure to read the summaries below each table for more detailed thoughts.