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 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 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.

  • Only two teams have implied team totals of 25+ points. They are the Kansas City Chiefs (26.25) and Los Angeles Chargers (26.15). Both are at home and are in a 3-way tie for first place in their division. These are the two teams that I prefer building my lineups around this week. Conversely, there are seven teams expected to score 20 or fewer points. I will be avoiding players from those teams in most situations. This slate lacks a lot of explosiveness because New Orleans and Atlanta played on Thursday and Pittsburgh and New England play Sunday and Monday night.

  • Weather in the Indianapolis/Buffalo game sounds awful. It is fully expected to snow, and even if it doesn't, it's going to feel like it's about 10 degrees outside. Outside of the defense and/or possibly the running backs, this is a situation I am avoiding. I likely will be revising my passing and kicker numbers lower as I get a better read on the situation in the morning.

  • Another weather situation to monitor involves the Green Bay / Cleveland game. We are expected to see sparse snow, but the winds could be a bigger issue. DeShone Kizer was already getting sacked a lot...bad weather could be just the tipping point I require to plug in Green Bay defense into most of my lineups. This is a fluid situation that is worth watching up to game time. The field likes WR Josh Gordon (against exploitable Green Bay corners), but bad weather could derail any pass catchers.

  • There is a free square on the bingo board and it needs to be used for RB Giovani Bernard. In cash games, he is unfadable. He will likely be 70+% owned, but this is not a situation that is worth getting cute over. The Bears are allowing 18.9 FPs over the last four games to running backs. The Bengals have minimal healthy options (outside of Bernard) at running back and with Gio costing just $5,100, it's a situation that I will be using in all of my cash and GPP lineups.

  • At my other running back spot, I will have a lot of exposure to Lamar Miller, HOU ($6,600). The 49ers are giving up 25.0 fantasy points a game to backs this season (2nd worst) and despite them tightening up lately (allowing no TDs over the last four contests), they still are vulnerable. Houston plays at home and is favored by three points. It's a very safe floor situation and is one of the more likely players to score a touchdown this weekend.

  • Because of the Gio Bernard free square (that provides tremendous salary relief), I am expecting most owners will use either RB Todd Gurley, TE Travis Kelce or both. I believe Todd Gurley is one of the worst plays on this slate. I am likely to alter my projections downward some more on Sunday. From week ten on, the Eagles have slammed the door on running backs allowing just 82 combined yards a game and just one touchdown over this span. Gurley is a special talent, but he does not come at any discount for such a tough matchup. I will have 0% ownership in FanDuel contests across my rosters tomorrow.

  • In cash games, I will likely go with the field and play TE Travis Kelce. With Gronk out, the position is bare and he is the only elite option. If you need salary relief, Houston's Stephen Anderson is in a great spot and is min-priced. In GPPs, fading Kelce could be the ticket to a great score should he falter (as he will be very highly owned).

  • At the receiver positions, I prefer having players that are playing to get into the playoffs. I like Keenan Allen, Tyreek Hill, and Golden Tate to give their all in hopes of catapulting their teams to victory. Michael Crabtree has a similar role for Oakland and could see more than his usual targets should Amari Cooper scratch. I am wary of any teams with four or fewer wins this late in the season. Coaches start playing lesser talents as they try and solidify their depth charts for the 2018 season.

  • On defense, I will be using a lot of the Bengals and Packers. Green Bay in bad weather could be unbelievable as the Browns yield a lot of sacks and the Packers have been generating their share of them lately too. One of my advanced indicators has Green Bay getting 7+ sacks on Sunday.  Although that probably won't happen, it's an indicator that did jump off the sheet to me. 

  • At kicker, I like Travis Coons ($4,500) in a game with a high expected team total.

  • 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:

Underowned GPP players I am targeting for differentiation:

Sample Roster 1 ($60K) - HOU Stack - Projected Points = 123.2

Sample Roster 2 ($60K) - KC stack - Projected Points = 122.8

Sample Roster 3 ($60K) - LAC stack - Projected Points = 121.9