Winning on FantasyDraft Week 1

Footballguys has partnered with FantasyDraft 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 FantasyDraft 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 FanTASYDRAFT'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 FantasyDraft'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 FantasyDraft Fantasy Points. These figures appear in the FP column.
  • The Price column reflects FantasyDraft's Week 1 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 DFS books, 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. Players in blue represent potential boosts due to others scratching.

General Thoughts

Situations that stand out to me this week.

  • Bank Roll Management - Early NFL Season - Week 1 is always a difficult week as everyone thinks they know more than they actually do. In fact, it is the second least predictable week only to Week 17 which we all know is often a glorified preseason week for some teams. From a bankroll standpoint, treat this week no different than any other week throughout the season, do not get over confident even with some of the large contests out there as it is a long season and you don't want to over-risk your bankroll in Week 1.

  • Use Running Backs in the Flexes - With FantasyDraft, one of the advantages in cash games is that you can start four running backs. Using the flex position for the running back will give you the highest floor due to the number of touches for running backs being more consistent and predictable than a wide receiver.

  • QB Jameis Winston, TB ($11,100) - Bruce Arians replaces Dirk Koetter and brings with him a pass-heavy offense that has been great to quarterbacks throughout Arians' career. Jameis Winston is always a great cash game quarterback simply because the volume is high with little to no running game to speak of with Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones. This offense is going to go through the right arm of Winston and he is in a favorable matchup against the 49ers defense. Mike Evans is a great stack with Winston as when Evans will lineup in the slot, he will be facing K'Waun Williams and have a 8 inch height advantage over Williams.

  • QB Lamar Jackson, BAL ($10,900) - Lamar Jackson is the ultimate GPP quarterback every week as the upside that he provides with the rushing potential is through the roof. While the matchup is a great one going up against a Dolphins team that has major issues at linebacker as they traded Kiko Alonso, Raekwon McMillian is struggling, and the only question is whether the matchup is too good of a matchup. If there is one concern this week, it is does he need to run the ball to beat Miami in the heat and humidity of South Florida or can they do enough with their defense, Mark Ingram II, and their passing game that it limits his upside a little bit.

  • RB Kerryon Jackson, DET ($10,900) - Prior to his injury last season, Kerryon Johnson was electric. Averaging 5.4 yards per carry, being the first Lions running back to rush for 100 yards in 70 games, and played much more of a role in the passing game than anticipated catching 32 passes last season. Look for Kerryon to continue that this season as he goes up against a Cardinals defense that were the worst in the league last season against the run.

  • RB Chris Carson, SEA ($10,600) - All the talk this offseason has been that the Seahawks are going to heavily rely on Chris Carson this season and in Week 1 the matchup could not be any better for the Seahawks. Carson is facing a Bengals defense that allowed the fourth-most rushing yards per game in 2018, and Carson's price is too cheap on all sites across the industry. Chris Carson averaged 22.5 carries over the last four games of the regular season and ranked 3rd in carries per game last season. Brian Schottenheimer said he wants to get Carson more involved in the passing game, which if that comes true, he is a steal this week.

  • RB Leonard Fournette, JAC ($12,500) - Leonard Fournette is a bit of an enigma. His raw talent is unquestioned, but at times he lacks vision and potentially motivation. Heading into his third season, Fournette is averaging just 3.7 yards per carry, but is in a great position this season to potentially rectify that. First, he has a quarterback in Nick Foles who should at least keep the defense honest instead of stacking the box. He is facing a Chiefs defense that allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs last season, and the Jaguars have said they want to get Fournette more involved in the passing game, so if the Jaguars fall behind, look for him to see volume in the passing game.

  • RB Dalvin Cook, MIN ($12,500) - Dalvin Cook is an electrifying running back when he is healthy as we saw in the preseason with his 85-yard touchdown against the Cardinals in the preseason. He is a player who can change the game with one carry and is going up against a Falcons defense that struggled at defending running backs particularly in the passing game allowing seven receptions per game to the position. With the Vikings moving to Kevin Stefanski as their offensive coordinator to become more run focused, look for Cook to play a big role this week in this lineup.

  • RB Le'Veon Bell, NYJ ($13,300) - How quickly we forget how dominant Le'Veon Bell was prior to his hold out last season. Bell provides a true dual threat that the Jets are going to look to exploit as they will have a difficult time moving the ball through the air as the Bills corners are some of the best in the NFL allowing the fewest passing yards last season. Look for a lot of a check-down passes to Bell this week which will raise his floor as Adam Gase looks to utilize their newest addition to the team.

  • WR Tyler Lockett, SEA ($11,300) - With Doug Baldwin gone, DK Metcalf less than 100%, and the Seahawks going up against a Bengals defense that allowed the most passing yards per game in 2018 at 276 yards per game, this should be a tremendous opportunity for Lockett and the Seahawks offense. Lockett is underpriced in this game and should see a majority of the volume coming from Russell Wilson this week.

  • WR Christian Kirk, ARI ($8,900) - Kliff Kingsbury brings in the air raid offense that should see a high volume of pass attempts this season. Kirk showed tremendous flashes last season as a big-play speedster averaging 13.7 yards per carry. He should be under-owned this week due to the lack of success in the preseason, but with the aging Larry Fitzgerald as the only real volume threat, Kirk should be a focal point for Kingsbury and this offense.

  • WR JuJu Smith-Schuster ($13,000) - With Antonio Brown gone, JuJu Smith-Schuster is primed to step into a major role in terms of consistent output. The volume will be significant in what should be a high scoring game between New England and Pittsburgh, the only question is will he be able to consistently beat double coverage.

  • WR DeDe Westbrook, JAC ($9,500) - DeDe Westbrook is in a position for a break out season with Nick Foles throwing the ball to the speedy wide receiver. Westbrook who was a first-round talent coming out of Oklahoma, showed tremendous growth last season and should be primed to step in as the primary receiver in Jacksonville.

  • WR Sterling Shepard, NYG ($10,400) - With Golden Tate suspended, Odell Beckham Jr Jr. in Cleveland and a game script that suggests that the Giants will be behind for a majority of the game, look for Shepard to see significant volume in this game. This is a mis-pricing as the pricing came out prior to the Golden Tate suspension.

  • TE Evan Engram, NYG ($8,200) - Similar to Sterling Shepard, the Giants are going to have to move the ball through the air, and they are going to do that through Shepard, Engram and Barkley. Engram is too cheap due to Golden Tate being suspended and is one of the most talented receiving tight ends in the NFL.

  • TE Vance McDonald, PIT ($6,200) - If you are looking for a tight end that is extremely cheap with upside, look no further than Vance McDonald. McDonald went under-the-radar last season with 50 receptions all while splitting time with Jesse James who caught 30 passes last year. With James having moved on to Detroit, and Antonio Brown no longer in Pittsburgh, there are a lot of targets to go around in Pittsburgh and with Ben Roethlisberger having a history of utilizing his tight ends, McDonald could see an uptick in volume, but even if he can keep his 50 catch pace, at just $6,200 he is a great punt play this week.

  • TE Hunter Henry, LAC ($7,300) - Hunter Henry returns from a torn ACL which FantasyDraft must have forgotten how great Hunter Henry looked his rookie season. Henry tore his ACL in the spring of 2018, so there has been plenty of time for his recovery, and all talk has been about how great he has looked and how they want to get him involved in this offense. With Philip Rivers having a long history of utilizing the tight end, he is far too cheap this week and is one of the top players at the position.

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

Players for GPP differentiation

Sample Roster 1 ($60K) - Cash Projected Points = (158.6)

  • QB Jameis Winston, TB - $11,000
  • RB Kerryon Johnson, DET - $10,900
  • RB Leonard Fournette, JAC - $12,500
  • TE Evan Engram, NYG - $8,200
  • WR Tyler Lockett, SEA - $11,300
  • WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, PIT - $13,000
  • Flex RB Dalvin Cook, MIN - $12,500
  • Flex RB Le'Veon Bell, NYJ - $13,300
  • TD Baltimoore Ravens - $7,000
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