Cracking FanDuel: Week 16

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 16 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 16 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.

  • We are at the point of the season where many teams are just playing out the games. They can't make the playoffs or have already locked up a spot. I prefer building lineups with players on teams that have everything at stake this week. Carolina, New Orleans, and Atlanta are all vying to win their division and are separated by a game. The Chiefs took the division lead in the AFC with their win against Los Angeles Chargers and can earn a spot with a win this week. Here is an ESPN article that maps out the playoff scenarios.

  • At quarterback, I am locking down the majority of my rosters with dual-threat Cam Newton. The Panthers are in win-mode and they draw a Tampa Bay defense that has been torched all season long. I expect the Panthers to step on the gas and never let off. For that very reason, I also like playing the Tampa Bay wide receivers of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Even slot receiver Adam Humpries could get a lot of looks as the Buccaneers play from behind. In GPPs, I am stacking Newton. In cash games, I think the correct play can be to go with naked Cam so that you could spend up elsewhere.

  • Weather looks to be a non-factor in a majority of games, but we see could snow in the Browns/Bears game. If this does happen, I will be playing the Bears defense in all my lineups.

  • Watch the news regarding RB Samaje Perine. If he scratches, RB Kapri Bibbs ($5,000) will be in play in all formats. He would essentially be the only Washington back on the roster. It's not a great matchup, but he should reach value by volume alone.

  • I think it's foolish to even consider fading RB Ezekiel Elliott in his return week. Dallas' offensive line is playing very good football right now and I expect an emotional Elliott will do everything he can to will this team into the end zone. I am having a hard time seeing a scenario where he doesn't reach value.

  • At the other running back spot, I am likely going to play RB Devonta Freeman in most formats. He is fairly inexpensive ($7,000), and I want exposure to this Atlanta / New Orleans game. Outside of Mohamed Sanu, most everyone comes with a big price tag. The Saints have played great and sit atop the division by one game, but I get the sneaky suspicion that the Falcons win this game. 

  • There is literally no value at wide receiver. I am locking down Michael Thomas, but there are a handful of guys that all make sense. In my base cash-game roster, I am going to play Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Evans/Godwin cost just $11,500. If they can manage 9 catches for 125 yards and a score, this tandem hits 2X value. I like my chances there. 

  • At tight end, I like Travis Kelce ($7,000) in a must-win Chiefs game at home. He is vastly under-priced for his skillset and the Chiefs draw a Dolphins team that has all but given up at home.

  • On defense, I will be using both the Chiefs (always a plus playing Cutler) and Bears (Browns are awful and this game could be snowing). Both seem very safe and will be popular choices.

  • At kicker, I will have exposure to Gostkowski ($5,200), Butker ($4,900), Gano ($4,800), and Lutz ($5,100). All meet my criteria factors and are on teams playing for their playoff lives.

  • 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) - Naked Cam Newton - Projected Points = 127.6

Sample Roster 2 ($60K) - Smith/Kelce stack - Projected Points = 125.6

Sample Roster 3 ($60K) - Naked Cam variant - Projected Points = 127.2