Cracking FanDuel: Week 1

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 1 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 1 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

General Thoughts

Situations that stand out to me this week.

  • QB Andy Dalton ($6,800) - The Colts did nothing to improve their secondary that was one of the worst in the league last year. Meanwhile Andy Dalton and the Bengals return two receivers in Tyler Eifert and John Ross, who missed almost all of 2017. At nearly $2K cheaper than the elite options, Dalton offers salary relief that can be used to roster surer players (David Johnson and Rob Gronkowski) I gravitate towards at other positions.
  • QB Tyrod Taylor ($6,600) - The Browns have made dramatic improvements in the off-season. At the forefront of those changes is replacing the disappointing DeShone Kizer with Tyrod Taylor, who inherits the best receiving corps he has played alongside since becoming an NFL starting quarterback. Taylor will enjoy throwing to Jarvis Landry, Josh Gordon, Antonio Callaway, and Duke Johnson Jr throughout the season and his price feels like solid value against the Steelers. [Monitor the weather in Cleveland on Sunday morning before making a final decision to roster Taylor, as the conditions could be unfavorable.]
  • RB James Conner ($5,000) - The ongoing holdout by Le'Veon Bell is a boon to James Conner's fantasy prospects. There is no better running back value on the FanDuel main slate and Conner should occupy 100% of your cash game rosters and a significant proportion of your tournament lineups, as well. The offensive line will be doing everything they can to disprove the notion that their blocking is somehow less valuable than Bell's ability to evade defenders. The case for Conner is bolstered if field conditions merit an emphasis on the ground game.
  • RB Alvin Kamara ($8,700) - Mr. Efficiency, Alvin Kamara, returns with a vacant backfield after Mark Ingram II was suspended after violating the league's PED policy this Summer. Kamara was lights out in his rookie season, finishing with 13 touchdowns on a hair over 200 touches while sharing time with Ingram throughout. For the month of September, Kamara will have the bulk of the backfield responsibilities to himself, which should give him ample opportunity to pick up where he left off last season.
  • RB Alex Collins ($6,700) - Always roster cheap home favorite running backs. Alex Collins fits that description and gets an excellent matchup against the Bills, who allowed more rushing touchdowns than any other team in the league last year. Collins finished 2017 as the feature back in Baltimore and touched the ball an average of 20 times per game after the Ravens' Week #11 bye. Playing in front of a home crowd as 7.5-point chalk, Collins should be heavily featured and get extra work late in the game while running out the clock.
  • RB David Johnson ($8,600) - No justification is needed to roster David Johnson after what he displayed in his first two seasons in the league. The 26-year old is electric and enters this season motivated to achieve his goal of 1,000 rushing and 1,000 receiving yards. He gets a superb matchup to start towards that goal against the Redskins, whose inefficiencies defending opposing runners is highlighted by the 23.5 FanDuel points per game they allowed over the course of the season (27th in the league).
  • WR Keelan Cole ($4,500) - Keelan Cole is simply the beneficiary of sites releasing their pricing as early as they do. When Marqise Lee went down with injury, Cole vaulted up to the number one receiving in this offense. Cole will go up against the Giants who have struggled against wide receivers over the last several seasons and will likely go up against the weak spot in this Giants defense in Eli Apple. This is an ideal matchup for Cole who averaged 107 yards receiving in his last four games of the season last year.
  • WR Chris Hogan ($6,700) - Hogan elevates up to the number one wide receiver for the Patriots after Julian Edelman is suspended for the first four games and Brandin Cooks is now on the Rams. In the game that has the highest projected total, Hogan should be in a position to take advantage of a secondary that allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to wide receivers in 2017 and while they should be better this season, Hogan will likely see a lot of 34-year-old Jonathan Joseph.
  • WR JuJu Smith-Schuster ($7,000) - JuJu Smith-Schuster should be in a great spot this week going up against a Browns secondary that while it should be better this season did allow the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers over the last eight games last season. The biggest concern here is the rain, so check in on Footballguys weather report late Saturday night.
  • TE Rob Gronkowski ($7,900) - Similar to Chris Hogan, the Patriots only have a few viable receiving options and Gronkowski is a big part of their passing game this week. Houston really has struggled historically against the tight end as they allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends including a game last season where Gronkowski had 8 receptions for 89 yards and a touchdown. Gronkowski will be heavily targeted in this game.
  • Def Baltimore Ravens ($4,800) - Targeting Nathan Peterson seems like a good idea. The last time we saw Peterson, he was starting against the Chargers and threw five interceptions in the first half before being replaced. This is an offensive line for the Bills that Footballguys Matt Bitonti has as the worst offensive line in football. Expect Peterson to have little to no time this week which could once again lead to some turnovers.

Cash+ Stacks I am targeting (listed highest to lowest cost)

Sample Roster 1 ($60K) - Cash - Projected Points = 128.4

Sample Roster 2 ($60K) - Cash+ (QB/WR and RB/Def stacks) - Projected Points = 124.8