Cracking FanDuel: Week 2

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 2 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 2 Price
  • The Ratio column reflects the expected points multiplier (per thousand of salary). The higher the 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 the Ratio, H-Value, and Expected Team Point indicators at their positions led to the best fantasy success. I call these three factors the Criteria.
  • I have highlighted the 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 Alex Smith, WAS ($7,100) - QB Kirk Cousins finished as a top-5 quarterback in 2017 with this offense. Alex Smith is the guy we all want to hate, but he draws the always vulnerable Indianapolis Colts at home. Vegas has Washington scoring 27.25 points. Fade him at your own peril.

  • QB Deshaun Watson, HOU ($7,400) - Deshaun Watson struggled last week against the Patriots but gets WR Will Fuller V back this week. He also draws a much more favorable opponent (Tennessee). The price is calling me as no one has more upside at the position. I suspect if Watson has a big game here, he won't be cheap the rest of the year.

  • QB Tyrod Taylor, CLE ($6,600) - This isn't last year's Cleveland Browns. The offense has plenty of playmakers and they battled Pittsburgh to a tie last week at home. They draw the Saints in New Orleans, but that defense was ridiculed last week by Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Tampa Bay offense. Vegas has this game as a lopsided Saints win, but even in that scenario, Tyrod Taylor could get his. At this price, it's hard to imagine a scenario where he does not deliver value.

  • RB Tevin Coleman, ATL ($5,900) - It was announced today that RB Devonta Freeman will miss this week's game. Tevin Coleman had two starts in 2017 without Freeman and logged 39 rushes for 140 yards and 3 TDs. He wasn't very involved in the passing game in those two outings (logging just 1 catch), but I think that is more of an anomaly than what will happen this week. He gets the volume in this game and is a near lock to return value with just rookie Ito Smith spelling him. This isn't an easy matchup, but the high implied team total (25.25 points) and nearly all of the RB touches makes this the free square of the week.

  • RB Alvin Kamara, NO ($9,000) - He logged 12 targets in week 1 and managed 3 touchdowns on his 17 touches. Without RB Mark Ingram (suspended) available to spell him, he is on the field in all of the times it matters. He is expensive at $9,000, but the Saint's team total (29.25) is the highest of the week. After losing to Tampa Bay last week, you just KNOW that this Saints team is not going to be denied. And even with a lead, their defense was so pitiful last week, I see no scenario where Alvin Kamara comes off of the field.

  • RB James Conner, PIT ($7,000) - FanDuel hiked up his salary $2,000 and he is still one of the best bargains at running back. The Steelers under HC Mike Tomlin simply use one back. If Le'Veon Bell wasn't holding out, it would be him. But since he is not with the team, it will be James Conner.

  • RB Todd Gurley, LAR ($8,900) - It pains me to say this, but I might be fading Todd Gurley in the majority of my cash game lineups. And it's borderline crazy, to say the least. Gurley has an exceptional matchup, is at home, and is the primary back on a team Vegas expects to win by 13. So what's not to like? Really nothing, but even with the flex position FanDuel only allows the use of three running backs. My case for Gurley not beating those other three players mostly hinges on price and I could see the Rams resting their star in a fourth-quarter blowout.

  • TE George Kittle, SF ($5,600) and WR Dante Pettis ($4,500) - When WR Marquise Goodwin hurt his quad in week 1, the entire passing offense shifted to TE George Kittle and rookie WR Dante Pettis. You can roster both of these players for just $10,000. Rookie Sam Darnold lit up this Detroit defense in week 1. What will QB Jimmy Garroppolo at home be able to do? Vegas has San Francisco scoring 27.25 points. And you literally can have their two biggest pass-catching weapons for just $10,000. Sometimes the lineups just make themselves.

  • TE Zach Ertz, PHI ($6,500) - With WR Alshon Jeffery and pass-catching RB Darren Sproles out this week, the Eagles will likely be using a lot of WR Nelson Agholor and TE Zach Ertz to move the chains. Both RB Alvin Kamara and WR Michael Thomas had a huge week one against this secondary. I suspect Zach Ertz will be open a lot.

  • WR Antonio Brown, PIT ($8,900) - The Steelers will be without Le'Veon Bell in a game Vegas has set the over/under at 53.5. James Conner will get some of these points, but it's hard to see a scenario where Antonio Brown isn't targeted a lot as well.

  • WR Julio Jones, ATL ($8,500) - He led all players with 19 targets in week 1 and managed 10 catches for 169 yards despite playing an upper-tier defense. He will find getting open even easier this week and plays at home. With the team down RB Devonta Freeman in a must-win game, look for Julio to be heavily targeted again this week.

  • WR Tyreek Hill, KC ($8,100) - Mr. Electric now has a quarterback that can throw it the length of the field. Vegas has this as a ping-pong match with an over/under at 53.5 points. If the track meet happens, give me the guy closest to Usain Bolt and that is Tyreek Hill. The fact he also returns punts/kicks puts his upside as high as any wide receiver this week.

  • TD Atlanta Falcons ($3,400) - QB Cam Newton struggled mightily against an average Dallas defense. This week he plays on the road against a better defense and will be without his star tight end. It's not a sexy play, but Atlanta should get enough sacks and turnovers to justify their low price. Punting here frees up needed cash to get the rest of the criteria plays as outlined above.

  • TD Los Angeles Chargers ($4,400) - They play the Bills. The defense playing the Bills might make this column all year. No other information is even needed.

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

Sample Roster 1 ($60K) - Cash (All Criteria Plays - Projected Points = 143.9

Sample Roster 2 ($60K) - Cash+ (QB/WR and RB/Def stacks) - Projected Points = 141.4

Sample Roster 3 ($60K) - Cash option w/Gurley - Projected Points = 141.2