Cracking FanDuel: Week 5

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 5 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 5 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. All 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.

  • If you are playing any slate that includes the MNF games, you should be rostering QB Derek Anderson at $5K (provided he does indeed start). Cam Newton has not practiced all week and is expected to scratch. I feel Derek Anderson's floor is 17+ fantasy points with a ceiling above 20. Roster him in these games lets you achieve flexibility everywhere to get the guys you target. The Buccaneers have allowed 19.7 FanDuel points per game to the QB position. Derek Anderson is a backup, but one of the better ones in the game. On just 29 snaps in garbage time last week, Anderson managed 17-23-172 for 2 TDs and 2 interceptions. He is a no-brainer in contests where he appears.
  • On a similar vein, RB DeAndre Washington, OAK ($4,700) becomes nearly a MUST-START in all formats with the Latavius Murray scratch. Running backs have shredded the Chargers (Spencer Ware - 29.4 FP, John Kuhn - 20.2 FP, Mark Ingram II - 19.5 FP, Frank Gore - 14.8 FP) already in this short season. The Chargers have allowed 8 TDs to running backs (6 on the ground and 2 through the air). DeAndre Washington will split carries at running back but is expected to take the most snaps at the position. At $4,700 lock him into your cash lineups.
  • In order to calculate my Game Predictor data (and subsequent projections) each week, I look at a set of data that matches up the offense against the defense and try to determine how a team should try to attack an opponent. Most matchups are fuzzy in nature (ie a great offense vs a neutral or bad defense). But each week there are some matchups that should be highlighted because they are funneling a game to be played a certain manner. The outstanding passing matchups (where I rate the offense as a top 7 passing offense vs a defense giving top 7 passing production) are as follows: PIT (2) vs NYJ (5) at home, SD (7) vs OAK (3) on the road, and NE (2) vs CLE (6) on the road. For purposes of this look, I have used New England's 2015 offensive stats as they have been playing with backup QBs so far in 2016.
  • The Pittsburgh air attack should be in play again this week. On minimal pass attempts, the Jets have been torched through the air this season. Andy Dalton put 366 passing yards on just 30 attempts in week 1 and the league has been copying that deep-ball blueprint every week since (Tyrod Taylor 297 yards and 3 TDs on 30 attempts; Russell Wilson 309 yards on 32 attempts). The Jets are prone to the deep ball as Revis Island is a fantasy destination WRs can't wait to attend. Revis is out this week, but a backup CB is unlikely to turn this mess around. Ben Roethlisberger has already scored 8 passing TDs in his 2 home games this season. Last season, he managed 16 passing TDs at home (in 6 games) versus 6 TDs on the road (in 8 games). WR Antonio Brown is not only the top WR in play, he is someone you should build your cash games around. WR Sammie Coates Jr (the other PIT deep threat is also in play at a reasonable $5,300 price tag). If the Steelers are successful with this air attack, the Jets may be required to force the ball to WR Brandon Marshall (Decker has been ruled out and Quincy Enunwa is a game-time decision). RB Le'Veon Bell is also in play because of how many plays he will actually line up as a WR. He is essentially matchup proof, but draws a great NYJ run defense.
  • One has to think that QB Tom Brady ahs been studying film for this CLE game for the last 10+ weeks. We all know that the Patriots are going to have their foot on the gas pedal after suffering a humiliating loss at home with their 3rd-string quarterback. I have no idea who will catch all of these passes from Tom Brady, but I am pretty certain he will be among the top players at the position this week. In cash games that don't include MNF, I will be rostering Brady. Those that include MNF, I prefer to save salary and roster Derek Anderson at $5K. There are other players at the position who could have great weeks, but none have the narrative of a scorned Tom Brady just itching to destroy what is facing him. I actually feel a tad sorry for the Browns this week. I expect a no-huddle game script where Brady leads all passers in attempts, yards and TDs this weekend. In GPPs, the New England pass catcher I like this week is TE Martellus Bennett ($6,300). Rob Gronkowski does not look right yet to me and Bennett could be the recipient of those red-zone TD passes we all expect. He is priced hig enough that he could also have lowish-ownership.
  • Rushing Matchups that fit my top 7 / bottom 7 condition are as follows: ATL (7) vs DEN (7) at home, and OAK (6) vs SD (5) at home. The Atlanta situation comes as a bit of a surprise, but it is because the DEN passing defense has been so elite. RB Devonte Freeman is a sneaky GPP play at RB that should get the lion's share of carries this week because of Tevin Coleman's condition at altitude (sickle-cell trait). I have already stated that I love RB DeAndre Washington, OAK at just $4,700 this week in the plus matchup.
  • Another stat I like to look at when building rosters is normalized FRs and Sacks. We don't publish this for the site directly, but I use the background data to forecast fumble recoveries and sacks for defenses. At the top of the list is the Minnesota Vikings who should command the line of scrimmage against the Houston Texans. They are my top defense of the week. It's worth noting who is on the bottom of this list though as they represent teams that will face minimal pressure to their QB. San Diego, Cleveland, Atlanta, and the New York Jets all will create the least amount of pressure according to this formula. If the normalized formula is correct, it means Oakland, New England, Denver, and Pittsburgh are the offenses to target in cash and GPP formats.
  • I hate kickers, but when one comes in at $4,500 and plays in a game that Vegas has touted with a lot of expected points, that's who I want. Welcome Mason Crosby, GB to most of my rosters.

Sample Roster #1 (Sun / Monday Slate) - Projected Points = 132.9

Sample Roster #2 - Main slate ($60K) - Projected Points = 133.0

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