Cracking FanDuel: Week 14

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 14 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 14 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).
  • ExpPts = A team's expected points via the Las Vegas spread and under/over totals. The higher the better.
  • In the 2016 Cracking FanDuel book, I demonstrated that selecting players who were in the upper half of Ratio, H-Value, and Expect 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 meet the Criteria and have the best average criteria score. They generally reflect the most bang for the buck at their respective positions. Players in yellow are additional players that I like this week.

General Thoughts

Situations that stand out to me this week.

  • Weather could end up being a very big deal this weekend. The CIN/CLE and SEA/GB games are predicting light snow. The DAL/NYG is predicting snow flurries. In general, I almost exclusively avoid the kickers in snow contests and am reluctant to play the quarterbacks in them. Five more games are expected to have double-digit plus winds. I generally am not worried about wind impacting games unless the speeds get above 20mph. Right now these winds are all being forecasted around 11-14 mph. Follow our Sunday morning update to see how the latest data might impact game scripts (The good news is Vegas lines also generally move to this news).
  • Besides the weather, we also have the situation where 25% of the teams have just 4 wins or less. These teams are not playing for anything and could substitute players they wish to evaluate for next year. In some ways, this could end up being the hardest week to predict as teams deviate from the normal script way more than usual.
  • Whereas last week featured ten games that Vegas expected to score 25+. Only seven such teams exist this week. The highest implied team total is a modest 26.75 points for Tampa Bay (well below most weeks).
  • Because of these factors above, I actually suggest rolling out multiple cash+ (stacking QB with WR or TE) game lineups (for variance) and playing the week a bit softer than usual regarding bankroll management.
  • On defense, I am playing only the Vikings ($4,800) or Bengals ($5,000). My pressure indicator suggests Cincinnati is the best defense, while my Game Predictor algorithms suggest Minnesota should be the choice. Both have juicy matchups. The Vikings play the Jaguars who have all but given up. Jacksonville will roll out a lot of subs as injuries have decimated their core unit. Four of the last five defenses have scored double-digit fantasy production against the Jaguars. I expect an elite defense like the Vikings that needs the win to remain in the playoff hunt to go for the kill against this team. As for the Bengals, they will get to play turn-over prone RG3 who could also be shaking off some rust. Add in light snow as projected and this has the makings of something truly crazy. Defenses have logged 23.0, 22.0, and 14.0 FPs the last three weeks as the wheels have completely come off on the winless Browns. The Bengals are not playing for much, but they don't want to be the only team to lose to this team.
  • At kicker, my math is pointing me to Dan Bailey, but the weather is scaring me off a bit. Roberto Aguayo is min-priced at $4,500 and is involved in the game with the highest team total. I also like Prater and Vinatieri and will have some exposure to them as well.
  • The FanDuel pricing for most of this season has made it easy to just pay up at running back while fielding solid QBs and WRs. This week is no different. You are likely going to have your best success in cash games by just locking down one or both of David Johnson and/or Le'Veon Bell. They are pricey, but you essentially get a RB and a WR with each of these selections. David Johnson has logged 34 targets over the last 3 games (that resulted in 24 catches for 251 yards and 3 TDs through the air). Le'Veon Bell does more damage as a runner, but has also seen 21 targets over the last 3 weeks. You will likely need to fade at least one of these guys to take down a GPP, but in cash games just play them and get the edge on anyone who does not. When I do diversify my rosters at RB, I like using Jeremy Hill (especially when I use CIN defense) and also will have some shares of Frank Gore.
  • At WR, there are a number of under-priced guys jumping out to me. Golden Tate, DET has led all receivers over the last two weeks with 222 yards yet is priced at a modest $6,300. His 17 targets over that same span should yield a productive day even if he does not find the endzone. WR Julian Edelman (MNF slates at $6,800) is in a similar situation as Tate and has amassed 40 targets over the last 3 games. His catch-rate (just 24 receptions) is way lower than expected so his pricing has yet to catch up with his expanded role with Gronkowski sidelined. He is someone I will be targetting in GPPs that feature MNF on the slate. The usual suspects of Antonio Brown, and Mike Evans expect large roles in their games this week.
  • The Tight End pricing is so soft for the top players, it doesn't make a lot of sense to try and save money here. Graham, Olsen, and Eifert are all in play in Cash+ lineups for me this week. Over the last 4 weeks, the Packers have yielded the 2nd most FPs to TEs. If the weather is reasonable, I suspect Jimmy Graham, SEA ($6,600)is featured a lot in this contest. He is my #1 TE on the board by a good bit. If I am looking for salary relief at the position (a sound strategy most all weeks, but not needed this week), I would use Cameron Brate, TB ($5,600). He logged 9 targets last week and outside of WR Mike Evans and the RBs, the Bucs are noticeably short of pass-catchers that are still healthy. In a game that has shootout written all over it, Brate is a good bet to see a lot of targets and redzone chances.
  • Injuries / Scratches I am watching closely. Atlanta Falcon's WRs are all banged up. It's being reported that Julio Jones could scratch and Mohammed Sanu has already been ruled out. WR Taylor Gabriel (all 5' 8 of him) should see an expanded role. I will likely shift more production to him today as I hear more about Julio's situation. At just $5,400 he could have a huge role this Sunday. Another situation I am watching closely is the status of Michael Thomas. He looks like he will now play, but if he was to scratch it would vault Brandin Cooks to the best WR value on the board.
  • Here are my Cash+ stacks I will be rolling with this week: Luck/Hilton, IND; Wilson/Graham, SEA; Wilson/Baldwin, SEA; Rogers/Nelson, GB; Newton/Olsen, CAR; Newton/Ginn; Stafford/Tate, DET; Cousins/Jackson, WAS (old team narrative); Cousins/Crowder, WAS; Winston/Evans, TB; Winston/Brate, TB; Dalton/LaFell, CIN. I know that's a lot of options, but playing these in 2X, 3X, 5X, and 100-man, and some GPP situations has led to my bigggest wins this year. I am staying with this approach.

Let's jump to some samples for the Sunday Main Slate.

Sample Roster #1 (Wilson to Graham) - Projected Points = 130.8

Sample Roster #2 (Luck to Hilton) - Projected Points = 129.9

Sample Roster #3 (Newton to Olsen) - Projected Points = 129.2

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