FanDuel Roundtable #1

Eavesdrop as various staff members share their views on a range of topics.

This week we discuss the following:


Tyrod Taylor in cash games?

Do you consider Tyrod Taylor a safe enough play to feature in cash games, or does he look like more of a tournament play to you?

Alex Miglio: Almost. But it could be a trap.

I love what Tyrod Taylor might bring to the table against a soft Indianapolis Colts defense. He looked fantastic in the preseason. He's liable to score 10 fantasy points just with his legs.

Or, he might fall flat on his face when up against a bona fide NFL defense, one that has seen the proliferation of

As good as Taylor was in the preseason, he didn't face stiff enough competition to make me confident in his floor when the real bullets are flying. That he is a minimum price option will certainly make him popular, but he isn't in many of my cash game lineups for Week 1.

Maurile Tremblay: I absolutely consider Tyrod Taylor an excellent cash-game play. You generally want to play it safer in cash games than in tournaments, and Taylor is not a safe play—but he presents value that is worth the risk. There's such a thing as being too risk-averse even in cash games. If you regularly pass up terrific value plays, you'll be at a disadvantage in the long run against people who take advantage of such plays. They won't work out every time, but you're not supposed to win every 50-50 you enter. That's an impossible goal. A realistic goal is to win about 60% of the time, and high-value quarterbacks like Tyrod Taylor can help you do that even if they totally bomb out occasionally.

To me, both Tyrod Taylor and Jameis Winston are decent cash-game plays based on their low salaries.

Chad Parsons: I view Tyrod Taylor as the best value at quarterback period. Many prefer safe plays at quarterback for cash games, but I welcome the risk when I can save $1,000s on the cap and have elite rushing upside independent of Taylor's passing production. At $5,000, Taylor allows for an additional two studs in lineups. I will have at least 50% exposure to Taylor in Week 1.

Mark Wimer: Absolutely I do—he's got a solid receiver in Sammy Watkins, and we know he's likely to score some points with his legs. I won't plug him in universally this week but he'll be a part of the puzzle at quarterback for my cash games. I agree with Maurile on Tampa's situation this week, as well—I also really like Jameis Winston for both cash games and GPPs (more on the below talking about QB-receiver stacks).


Paying Up

Who are you most likely to pay up for in cash games this week: Aaron Rodgers ($9,700), Andrew Luck ($9,200), Adrian Peterson ($9,200), or Odell Beckham Jr Jr ($8,800)? What do you especially like about that player?

Maurile Tremblay: My vote is for Odell Beckham Jr Jr, followed by Adrian Peterson. I think both Rodgers and Luck are good values, but this week looks like a week to go with a value play at quarterback in order to free up cap space to pay up for a top running back or WR. I love both Eddie Lacy and Adrian Peterson this week, and I love Odell Beckham Jr Jr every week. The fact that Antonio Brown already played leaves Beckham as my clear favorite wide receiver on the Sun-Mon slate, so I'll give him the edge over Adrian Peterson since I like Eddie Lacy just as much at RB.

Chad Parsons: Adrian Peterson. The 49ers defense has the potential to be the worst in the NFL. Peterson returns to primetime after his year-long absence and I expect a statement game. In terms of strategy I am more likely to pay up for a top running back than quarterback.

Mark Wimer: Honestly I don't like any of these guys for cash games—Rodgers is still adjusting to life without Jordy Nelson (Rodgers on Nelson: 'He does things that you just can't teach out there... You can't replace him with one guy. It's just not possible. You just have to have everyone else lift their level of play and try and make up for the loss, if that's possible. But you don't get better losing a guy like Jordy Nelson. You just try to get back to where you were when you had him.').

Andrew Luck has missed reps with top receiver T.Y. Hilton due to Hilton's recent concussion, and they face a hard-nosed Bills' defenseat Ralph Wilson in the opener.

Adrian Peterson is very pricey and his offensive line is juggling personnel here in Week 1 (I wrote about the Vikings' offensive line woes here on the Cracking FanDuel Blog)—it seems to me that Peterson will have a hard time scoring twice his salary for cash games, let along the 3x one needs for GPP consideration.

As Maurile noted, Beckham Jr. has the best prospects, but at that price point I prefer Julio Jones ($9,000) in what looks like a for-sure shootout on the early Monday Night Football game in Atlanta vs. Philadelphia—Giants-Cowboys games are always entertaining but NFC East games sometimes descend into low-scoring grudge matches with lots of penalties. I think the PHI-ATL game has a higher floor and ceiling for scoring and Jones is the better choice between he and Beckham.


Favorite Week 1 Stack

Who is your favorite QB-receiver stack in Week 1, and what excites you about the combination's upside potential?

Alex Miglio: There are so many good ones, it's hard to choose. If I had to, it'd be Tony Romo ($8,700) and Dez Bryant ($8,700), edging out a Matt Ryan ($8,800) and Julio Jones ($9,000) stack on price differential. Romo has scored over five fantasy points per game more against the New York Giants than he has against everyone else over the past five years, and the running game won't be quite what it was when DeMarco Murray was around. And Dez Bryant is, well, Dez Bryant.

Maurile Tremblay: This is a week where I am going to enter a bunch of different lineups in GPPs because there are so many stacks I like. Stacks involving the top receivers from Dallas, Atlanta, Detroit, Philadelphia, Indianapolis, and the Giants all look attractive to me, and the Packers offer two separate stacks I really like (involving both Cobb and Adams). If I had to pick just one, I agree with Alex—I'll take Tony Romo and Dez Bryant. The Dallas-NY Giants game is going to be a high-scoring affair, and the Cowboys duo is very reasonably priced given my projections for them.

Chad Parsons: Sam Bradford and Jordan Matthews. The snap volume in Philadelphia is high and the probability of a shootout with Atlanta mirrors the sentiment. Bradford has dealt with plenty of injuries in his career, so the best time to roll him out in early. Both are medium-priced options at their respective positions with top-5 upside.

Mark Wimer: I really, really, like Jameis Winston vs. the Tennessee secondary—the Titans made Alex Smith look like the second coming of Brett-Favre-in-his-prime during the third preseason game and have been dreadful on defense for quite some time now, with no signs of improvement coming into 2015. Winston has worked with Vincent Jackson a lot due to Mike Evans' absence from preseason and even the practice sessions leading up to this game (he didn't practice until Friday), I think Winston will rely on Jackson after establishing rapport with him in the preseason. I'm going with Winston-Jackson quite a bit this week, in the big $$$ GPPs and also some of the cash games.


Week one Bankroll Considerations

Are you putting a smaller percentage of your bankroll into play this week than you normally would? If so, why?

Alex Miglio: If the contests had only been open for a week or two, that would have been the case. They have sat there, open for weeks now, luring me in to a little action here and there, to the point where I am playing just as much as I would any other week. Hopefully some percentage of early entrants set their lineups and forgot about them. (Don't do that—check your lineups now if you haven't in a while.)

Maurile Tremblay: I honestly don't know yet. I generally try to avoid putting a lot of my bankroll into play in Week 1 because there are always so many upsets and unexpected occurrences. That works to the disadvantage of people like me who build lineups based on the hope that everything will go according to plan. It works to the advantage of people who make random lineups and try to get lucky—because there's a lot of randomness in Week 1. (This does not mean that random lineups have a positive expectation in Week 1—just that they may be less negative than normal. The positive-expectation play is still to work from the best set of projections possible, even though projections will be less accurate in Week 1 than in, say, Week 6, and therefore the expectations of good players may be lower in Week 1 than in Week 6.) I feel like my main advantage over the field is accumulating and analyzing and processing all of the information that is available—and there is less information to go on now than there will be in a few weeks.

So I feel like I should generally enter fewer contests in Week 1 than I will later on.

But there's another factor to consider that militates in the opposite direction. As of now, it appears that there will be more overlays this week than normal. I can't bring myself to pass up good overlays, so if that state of affairs still exists on Sunday morning, I will be entering as many lineups as I can.

Chad Parsons: Yes. While there may be more 'new money' in DFS to open the season, we also have less data regarding team trends and strengths, and matchup quality. I would rather be more confident in my lineup later in the season with more information.

Mark Wimer: Yes. Week 1 is more unpredictable than any other, as the chemistry on offensive lines and defensive units is still coalescing—I limit my exposure to unpleasant surprises by only putting about 5% of my bankroll in action Week 1.


Kickers and Defenses

Do you wait until you've filled in the rest of your roster before looking at defense and kicker, or do you give them a higher priority than that?

Alex Miglio: I don't usually look to fill those positions until near the end. I usually wait until I need just a tight end or my last receiver to do so, in order to determine how much money I will have to spare.

Maurile Tremblay: I don't give any position any inherently higher or lower priority than any other. I try to find the best values at every position. If there's a kicker that really stands out from the rest of the pack—more than any quarterback or running back does—I will make that kicker a higher priority than any quarterback or running back. Before I insert any player into any lineup, I look over the players at all positions, including kicker and defense, and I prioritize players based on a combination of gut feel and H-Value regardless of position. That last part contains a bit of a hedge, because it's true that I often have less of a gut feel about kickers and defenses than I do about players at other positions. But that's something that can vary from week to week—it's not a consistent law of nature.

Chad Parsons: I will spread around my exposure with the most fungible positions based on cap remaining. Minimum-salary kickers are easy to roll out as a lottery ticket and most of the defensive units are within a few hundred dollars of cap, allowing for the Jets, Dolphins, Packers, and Colts to fill my lineups—all in the 10-35% range of exposure.

Mark Wimer: I look for value at all positions, and then build my rosters around QB-receiver stacks. So QB-receiver first when building rosters, then I look at my short list of prospects at each position for the week and juggle the lineups until I'm happy with the overall team. I come into roster construction with a list of players (including team defenses) I think have value for the week in question, and then go from there.

For example, consider Week 1 team defenses:

This week I like the Seattle D, the Carolina D, and the Miami defense($5,000, $4,800 and $4,700) at the high end of the range and Green Bay ($4,500) and the Jets defense($4,400) in the middle of the range. That's an unusually high proportion of road teams, but Miami and Green Bay get offenses that are in turmoil due to injury (Chicago's receivers generally, DeSean Jackson for Washington) and drama at quarterback (prima-donna Jay Cutler; new starter Kirk Cousins) and look likely to crush their opponents thoroughly on the defensive side of the game in my opinion. Cleveland's offense is not impressive, especially in the passing phase of the game, making life easy for the Jets. Ditto for St. Louis (and St. Louis may start reserve running back Benny Cunningham this week due to injuries higher up the depth chart), easing the task of Seattle's defenders. Carolina has good pass rushers against the most-sacked quarterback in the league last season, Jacksonville's Blake Bortles. KC at the Arian-Foster-and-Andre-Johnson-less Texans with Brian Hoyer as the starting quarterback also looks attractive ($4,300) though KC generally has stronger defensive performances at home in thunderous Arrowhead Stadium.

I eschew the bottom tier of defensive teams unless there is a huge, unexpected blow to the opposing offense late in the week after FanDuel has already set the defensive team prices—going cheap at defensive team generally has blown up in my face so I don't do it anymore. They are cheap for a reason, after all.

That will do it for this edition of the FanDuel Roundtable. Please join us again next week.


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