Cracking FanDuel: Week 4 - Footballguys

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 4 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 4 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.

  • Offensive scoring is up this season and week 4 predicts a lot more of the same. Nine teams are expected to score 24+ points on the 24-team main slate. Make sure you get your shares of players involved on teams with expected high team totals. Listed by descending expected team points:

    1. Atlanta Falcons - 28.75 points (home vs CIN)
    2. Los Angeles Chargers - 28.25 points (home vs SF)
    3. New Orleans Saints - 28.00 points (away at NYG)
    4. New England Patriots - 27.25 points (home vs MIA)
    5. Green Bay Packers - 27.00 points (home vs BUF)
    6. Chicago Bears - 24.75 points (home vs TB)
    7. Cincinnati Bengals - 24.75 points (away at ATL)
    8. New York Giants - 24.50 points (home vs NO)
    9. Indianapolis Colts - 24.00 points (home vs HOU)

  • The New Orleans offense - I generate a pressure indicator each week matching up an offensive's ability to avoid sacks and fumbles against a defensive's ability to record them. Last week New Orleans had the 4th best situation to produce points. This week they top the chart as the Giants simply have no pass rush. We saw what Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara, and Michael Thomas were capable of when Brees can just sit in the pocket. Expect a lot more of the same this week. I have Brees, Kamara, and Thomas atop my position lists for points scored. My approach in cash games will be to avoid Brees (better values elsewhere) while grabbing the meat of the offense with Kamara and Thomas.

  • QB Deshaun Watson ($7,400) - I expect a tremendous amount of pressure on Watson as he plays behind possibly the worst offensive line in football. And I actually think Indianapolis defense could have a big game with sacks and possible fumble recoveries. But garbage time still counts in fantasy football and Watson's price is way too cheap at just $7,400. He has provided 3X value in the last two weeks in similar situations.

  • Overpriced Tight Ends - On FanDuel, tight ends are a major downer. None are worth their price so the "theoretically correct" play is usually to pay down at the position. Generally, the position has to score a touchdown to return value as only the elite tight ends see enough targets to record significant yardage. My paydown strategy this week will consist mostly of TE Jared Cook. I don't particularly like the play, but I hate paying more for better options even more.

  • RB Ezekiel Elliott ($8,200) - The Lions are yielding 29.5 fantasy points per game to running backs this season and over 6 yards a carry. Dallas is struggling to find a passing game but still has a dominant run blocking offensive line. Don't overthink this situation. This feels like a two-touchdown game for Elliott.

  • Def Los Angeles - Defenses had sacked QB Jimmy Garoppolo 13 times in the first 3 weeks. Expect backup C.J. Beathard to see even more pressure. Watch the injury report closely as both San Francisco running backs are dinged up. If the 49ers end up playing without Matt Breida, I expect C.J. Beathard to have an exceptionally long day as he has relied on the RB dump off a lot in the past.

  • Injury situations that could move things significantly - It's a who's who sporting the questionable tag this week. Some of these situations could significantly move my board around should the player in question scratch. Notably, I am monitoring these situations very closely: QB Aaron Rodgers, RB Leonard Fournette, RB Chris Carson, RB Matt Breida, RB Alfred Morris, RB LeSean McCoy, WR DeAndre Hopkins, WR Golden Tate, WR Keenan Allen, WR Larry Fitzgerald, WR Randall Cobb, WR Doug Baldwin, WR DeVante Parker, WR Alshon Jeffery, WR Josh Gordon, TE Rob Gronkowski, and TE Charles Clay. Nearly all of these situations vaults someone else into heavy consideration if they are indeed inactive. Stay flexible in your lineup builds and be ready to pounce should these situations present themselves.

  • Your GPP roster needs to tell a story - Staffer Steve Buzzard took down the Sunday Million with a lineup that looked odd to many people. But it told a story. He was all-in on Atlanta with QB Matt Ryan/WR Julio Jones/WR Calvin Ridley and also had opposing RB Alvin Kamara on his roster. His storyline was clear. He envisioned New Orleans getting a lead and using a lot of Kamara while Atlanta had to throw to catch up. And he smartly reasoned that both offenses could hold pace so he wanted maximum value in this shootout. His "odd play" was the Buffalo defense and they were owned just 0.7%. But his storyline was perfect. The Bills were at home and Minnesota had yielded 11 fantasy points the week before to an average Green Bay unit. The Bills (despite their early-season woes) made the playoffs last year mostly because of their defense. This was a simple case of early season over-reaction as the low-priced Bills should have never been so under-rostered. And by taking the contrarian position, Steve also faded all of the Minnesota players that were widely rostered. We can't all have weeks like Steve had, but walk through your GPP roster build and ask yourself how can this lineup win? What popular team/game should I take a contrarian view on? What low-rostered player(s) can separate me from the pack if they reach value?

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

players for GPP differentiation

Sample Roster 1 ($60K) - Cash (non-stack - Projected Points = 141.5

Sample Roster 2 ($60K) - Cash+ (Mayfield super stack - Projected Points = 139.1

Note: This gets a big boost if WR Keenan Allen scratched.

Sample Roster 3 ($60K) - Cash+ (Rivers stack - Projected Points = 137.7

Note: This gets a big boost if WR Keenan Allen scratched.

Sample Roster 4 ($60K) - Large GPP - Projected Points = 135.6

Note: Low rostered guys with upside surrounded by chalk.