Cracking FanDuel: Week 12

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 my projections against FanDuel's prices:

Link to Week 12 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 12 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 the price and expected fantasy points (the higher the value the better).
  • ETP = A team's expected points via the Las Vegas spread and under/over totals. The higher the better.
  • Indicator = Ratio squared x H-Value. It attempts to prioritize the value plays.
  • In the 2017 Cracking FanDuel book, I demonstrated that selecting players who were in the upper half of Ratio, H-Value, and Expected Team Points at their positions led to the best fantasy success. I call these three factors the Criteria. The players that meet all three factors will have a yes in the Crit? column.
  • I have highlighted player's names (in green) that should be strong considerations for your lineups. Most of these players meet the criteria factors. These selections generally reflect the most bang for the buck at their respective positions. Players in yellow represent other selections that I rate slightly worse than the top plays at their position but should be considered for diversification purposes while building your lineups.

General Thoughts

Situations that stand out to me this week.

  • Try not to get caught up in just maximizing total points in the IVCs. One needs to understand that I project touchdowns in decimals. If a player who I projected at 0.4 TDs actually scores a touchdown, that bumps up his projection an extra 3.6 (6*.0.6) fantasy points. It's the reason we show three different sets of projections on our IVCs. This can help to smooth out particular biases.

  • Eight teams have implied team totals of 25+ points. These are the teams that I prefer building my lineups around this week. They are the New England Patriots (32.25), Philadelphia Eagles (29.00), Atlanta Falcons (28.75), Pittsburgh Steelers (28.50), Kansas City Chiefs (28.00), Los Angeles Rams (27.75), Seattle Seahawks (26.00), and the New Orleans Saints (25.75). Conversely, there are a whopping ten teams expected to score 20 or fewer points. I will be avoiding players from those teams. 

  • At quarterback, no one has been hotter than Russell Wilson who has averaged 28.25 fantasy points over his last four games. He draws the 49ers who are allowing the fourth most points to quarterbacks on the season. He has been spreading the ball around to all of his wide receivers and tight ends and I think playing a naked "Wilson" actually is my preferred strategy in strictly cash game formats. QB Alex Smith (just $7,600 at home) and Matt Moore (just $6,000 and likely forced into a volume situation) are also solid choices this week.

  • Two major scratches this week, have me zeroing in on WR Cooper Kupp ($5,400) and RB Tevin Coleman ($6,200). Both represent huge values and play in contests with very high implied team totals. Lock them into all formats. It frees up the necessary cash to build a stacked roster.

  • This is the first week (in a long time) where it feels the top of the tight end board represents great value. Rob Gronkowski ($7,700), Travis Kelce ($7,500) and Delanie Walker ($5,900) all seem like great bets to approach 2X value.

  • On defense, I can't see a reason to play any unit other than Pittsburgh ($4,800) or Cincinnati ($4,900). Both should overpower the woeful Packers and Browns offenses. 

  • The Saints / Rams game has an under/over at 53.5 points. That is a lot of offense. Virtually everyone is in play in these games and most will be highly owned. A situation that I think is nearly guaranteed to reach 2X value is to play BOTH WR Cooper Kupp and WR Sammy Watkins. With Robert Woods sidelined, one (or both) of these players seems headed for a huge game. At just $11,300 in combined salary, they just need to combine for 9 catches for 125 yards and a touchdown to reach 2X value. I believe it's among the safest floors on this slate.

  • Read Steve Buzzard's ownership data (updated on Saturday). It is the best pulse on what people will be doing. Although his chart reflects GPP ownership, it's also the best roadmap of the most popular plays in cash games.

Cash+ Stacks I am targeting:

  • QB Alex Smith / TE Travis Kelce ($15,100)
  • QB Jared Goff / WR Cooper Kupp ($13,000)
  • QB Tom Brady / WR Brandin Cooks ($16,700)
  • QB Russell Wilson / WR Doug Baldwin ($16,500)
  • RB Le'Veon Bell / TD Pittsburgh ($14,200)
  • RB Joe Mixon / TD Cincinnati ($11,100)

Underowned GPP players I am targeting for differentiation:

  • QBs: Ryan Fitzpatrick (2%), Matt Moore (1%), Paxton Lynch (1%)
  • RBs: Christian McCaffrey (5%), Dion Lewis (4%), Joe Mixon (3%), and Jamaal Williams (2%)
  • WRs: Martavis Bryant (5%), Larry Fitzgerald (5%), Ted Ginn (4%), Michael Crabtree (3%), Demaryius Thomas (3%), Davante Adams (3%), and Robby Anderson (2%)
  • TEs: Austin Seferian-Jenkins (3%), Jesse James (1%), Charles Clay (1%)

Sample Roster 1 ($60K) - Naked Wilson - Projected Points = 131.9

  • QB Russell Wilson, SEA - $8,600
  • RB Tevin Coleman, ATL - $6,200
  • RB Le'Veon Bell, PIT - $9,400
  • TE Travis Kelce, KC - $7,500
  • WR Cooper Kupp, LAR - $5,400
  • WR Michael Thomas, NO - $7,600
  • WR Martavis Bryant, PIT - $5,200
  • PK Stephen Gostkowski, NE - $5,200
  • TD Pittsburgh - $4,800

Sample Roster 2 ($60K) - Variation on #1 with LAR WRs - Projected Points = 130.4

  • QB Russell Wilson, SEA - $8,600
  • RB Tevin Coleman, ATL - $6,200
  • RB Le'Veon Bell, PIT - $9,400
  • TE Travis Kelce, KC - $7,500
  • WR Cooper Kupp, LAR - $5,400
  • WR Michael Thomas, NO - $7,600
  • WR Sammy Watkins, LAR - $5,900
  • PK Randy Bullock, CIN - $4,500
  • TD Pittsburgh - $4,800

Sample Roster 3 ($60K) - KC Stack - Projected Points = 130.3

  • QB Alex Smith, KC - $7,600
  • RB Tevin Coleman, ATL - $6,200
  • RB Todd Gurley, LAR - $8,500
  • TE Travis Kelce, KC - $7,500
  • WR Cooper Kupp, LAR - $5,400
  • WR Michael Thomas, NO - $7,600
  • WR Julio Jones, ATL - $7,800/li>
  • PK Randy Bullock, CIN - $4,500
  • TD Pittsburgh - $4,800