FanDuel GPP Domination - Week 8

A Deeper Look at Who to Target for FanDuel GPPs this Week

For those of you who are new to Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS), GPPs are "Guaranteed Prize Pool" Tournaments with larger, sometimes very large prize amounts. FanDuel is one of the biggest sites in DFS and offers some of the biggest prizes in the industry. The goal of this article is to guide you towards some players that could help you take home that big prize. Footballguys offers a ton of resources to help you build that winning lineup, and this is just one of the many - but I hope that you will find it a valuable resource and check this article out on a regular basis.

Before we talk about the players for this week, we cannot completely ignore cash game plays. Typically a "GPP player" for the week is one that can score big or score terribly - the classic "boom or bust" player. A wide receiver that can catch two deep balls for two scores can get you 30+ points - or he might wind up with nada. Chasing 1-3 big plays can win you a tournament, but filling out a roster completely with these types of options will likely leave you well short of first place. That is why you cannot ignore the cash game plays each week as well, as combining the two groups is what usually leads to those big victories in GPP contests. So, expect some mention of players who are cash game plays each week, as well as some players that could be considered for both GPP and cash games.

Note - this article is not intended to provide a fully exhaustive list of every possible player. That would be an immensely long group of players. These are just some of the best options I see for GPPs this week when considering value, price, upside, and matchups.

Second note - Keep in mind the multiplier target(s) you want to hit for both cash and GPP / tournaments on FanDuel. In general, you are looking for 2x in cash (twice the cost of the player in $1,000 increments) and 3x in GPP. That means a player that costs $6,000 should produce 12 or more points in cash and 18 or more in GPPs.

Now, on with this week's top options:

GENERAL THOUGHTS ON WEEK 8

To help you out each week, I will give you some general thoughts as we progress through the season (you can also find more on the weekly Power Grid show (link to be updated Friday - available on the DFS home page) - be sure to watch and subscribe!). For this week, there are lots of options again, but many of the decisions will hinge upon scratches that will happen this weekend, so expect some updates here on Saturday.

This week feels a little strange.  With six teams on bye, a game on Thursday, Monday and also early on Sunday, the Main Slate is about as small as it ever gets with just ten games available.  Throw in concerns about weather on the East Coast and some unattractive games this week and the options really start to tail off quickly.  That said, the general build strategy for cash games appears to be to pay up at running back and look for value at wide receiver.  Given that recipe, flipping the script could lead to rather unique builds for Week 8.  Additionally, quarterbacks are all priced nearly the same, so it will come down to personal preferences at the position.  Coupling this with limited options at both kicker and defense this week and uniqueness will have to come from the skill positions.

For GPPs, I am strongly recommending building your stacks and filling in the pieces around those stacks with your short list of favorite players (quite likely a mix of cash and GPP options from the tables below). Stay tuned to Footballguys for all the updates on injuries right up until inactives come out at 11:30AM Eastern.

A special note for this week – weather is a concern.  The East Coast is under the gun for a major storm on Sunday.  Keep an eye out for weather updates for Sunday, and also monitor the Vegas lines for any movement.  If the totals start to drop, expect adverse conditions for passing and kicking games in those contests.   

Here are a few general references I will be using as the season progresses:

Footballguys' DFS Week 8 Page

Vegas Value Chart

Interactive Value Chart

Projecting Ownership

Normalized Stength of Schedule (NSOS)

Please note that if a player isn't mentioned in the write-ups but is in the table, it does not mean that I like the player more in the write-ups. The discussion sections are to add more detail, support and clarity for those players mentioned, but all of the picks in the tables are viable options if they are ranked.

Now, without further ado, here are the players I like the most this week.

 

QUARTERBACKS

 

Name Salary Cash Rank GPP Rank Ownership Comments
Deshaun Watson 8000 n/a 9 Low Very low owned but has big upside at Seattle
Russell Wilson 7900 3 6 Medium Temper expectations as the Texans' secondary is getting healthy
Carson Wentz 7900 1 7 High Great matchup against SF, but weather could be a problem
Derek Carr 7800 n/a 1 Low Love this matchup for the Oakland passing game, no Lynch
Cam Newton 7800 n/a 3 Medium Tampa Bay defense is a M*A*S*H unit
Kirk Cousins 7800 2 5 Medium Washington-Dallas has a high O/U
Matthew Stafford 7700 n/a 8 Low Lions coming off of the bye, Pittsburgh has not faced many good QBs this year
Andy Dalton 7600 n/a 4 Medium One of the best matchups of the week
Tyrod Taylor 7600 n/a 10 Med-Low OAK-BUF is a sleeper pick for a shootout
Philip Rivers 7500 n/a 2 Medium New England pass defense is a prime target for the Chargers


CHALK TALK:
 FanDuel’s pricing on quarterbacks is not prohibitive, but the pricing is very similar across the board.  Outside of the Top 4 options (Tom Brady, Dak Prescott, Drew Brees and Matt Ryan), 13 starting quarterbacks are between $8.000 and $7.300.  So unless you really want to pay up, the choice comes down to preference instead of pricing this week.  Many are going to gravitate towards Carson Wentz this week with the Eagles expected to blow out the 49ers, but there is a threat of significant rain and wind on Sunday in Philadelphia.  Assuming that is not an issue, Wentz will be the chalk as he gives the best exposure to the Eagles’ offense.

GPP:  After Wentz, I see a lot of potential for games to be back and forth shootouts this week.  My favorite is Oakland at Buffalo, as both Derek Carr and Tyrod Taylor have good matchups and the Raiders will be without Marshawn Lynch (suspended).  Andy Dalton is a strong option with A.J. Green and Tyler Kroft in good spots against the Colts at home, while Cam Newton looks primed to pick apart a very suspect Tampa Bay defense that is riddled with injuries and are already ranked 30th against the pass

Two additional flier options are Deshaun Watson (at Seattle) and Matthew Stafford (vs. Pittsburgh).  Watson is a dual threat quarterback and can move his offense well, while Stafford faces a highly regarded Steelers defense that has not faced many good quarterbacks on the year.  I believe that both of these passers are going to go overlooked in tournaments as both are coming off of their bye weeks, but they have 3x+ upside.

Injuries are also factoring into Week 7. Jameis Winston is questionable, but if he scratches, the matchup is still good for Ryan Fitzpatrick against his former team. Buffalo can be picked apart through the air, and who would know that better than a former Bills quarterback. Brett Hundley also gets a starting nod this week as another backup forced to start due to injury, but I am leery of that Saints defense. I would rather pivot away from cheaper options to a lesser owned but cash-viable quarterback like Marcus Mariota, who can run and also faces a Browns team that is great against the run but near the bottom of the NFL in pass defense.

 

RUNNING BACKS

 

Name Salary Cash Rank GPP Rank Ownership Comments
Le'Veon Bell 9400 2 4 Very High PIT-DET only available on FanDuel - expect high ownership
Ezekiel Elliott 9000 3 5 Very High DAL-WASH highest implied total this week, and Elliott had three scores last week
LeSean McCoy 8400 1 2 Very High McCoy finally had his big game last Sunday, and still the main cog in the Buffalo offense
Melvin Gordon III 7900 5 1 Medium Prime spot for a receiving back against New England
Mark Ingram II 7200 4 3 High Game script favors the Saints to run the ball late
Christian McCaffrey 6300 n/a 8 Low Tampa Bay may be good against the run, but they have given up 5+ catches to four different RBs this season
LeGarrette Blount 6100 n/a 7 Med-Low Eagles may need a mudder on Sunday to pound the ball against SF
Chris Thompson 6000 n/a 10 Med-Low Cheap exposure to Washington
Joe Mixon 5900 6 6 Medium Narrative is high to get Mixon the ball this week
Wendell Smallwood 5500 n/a 9 Low Smallwood catches the most passes out of the backfield, something SF is not good at defending


CHALK TALK:
 The chalk play this week is going to involve paying a lot of money on two top running backs for many fantasy players.  Ezekiel Elliott and LeSean McCoy will be very popular options after their big Week 7 performances, and Le'Veon Bell will also be popular since Pittsburgh is not on the Main Slate on “that other big site”.  Finding value options will be tougher this week at running back, as risk increases as price drops across the board.  

GPP:  Pivoting away from the big names at the top is going to be a great way to differentiate rosters for Week 8.  Melvin Gordon III is in a great spot against New England, as the Patriots have given up 4+ receptions to running backs 5 times already this season.  Gordon is a big part of the run and pass offense for the Chargers, and New England will not have their best linebacker (Dont'a Hightower) this week.  Speaking of teams that give up a lot of catches, the Buccaneers have allowed 5+ catches to running backs four times this season in just six games.  This factors in well for Christian McCaffrey, who should see a lot of targets from Cam Newton (46 targets over the past four contests)

A player sparking much debate this week is Joe Mixon.  Will he be the top back for the Bengals?  If so, the game script is perfect for him as Cincinnati should be up late and be looking to run out the clock.  There is no guarantee though, which makes him a solid GPP option.  LeGarrette Blount also looks to have a favorable game script, and if the weather is really bad in Philadelphia, this mudder of a runner could grind out the fourth quarter for the Eagles.  Wendell Smallwood could run his upside, however, if he gets a lot of touches and receptions early.  San Francisco is not very good against receiving rushers (four receiving touchdowns, 46-526-4 receiving against) and Smallwood is the best option in the Philadelphia backfield for catches.

 

WIDE RECEIVERS

 

Name Salary Cash Rank GPP Rank Ownership Comments
A.J. Green 8500 1 3 High Pristine matchup againt the Colts
DeAndre Hopkins 8000 7 6 Med-Low Target monster for Houston, Texans coming off of a bye week - but matchup is tricky against Seattle
Keenan Allen 7800 3 1 Med-High WR1 against New England? Yes, please
Doug Baldwin 7700 6 5 Med-High Seattle's passing attack runs through Baldwin
Michael Thomas 7500 2 4 Med-High Disappointed many last week with no TD but still lots of targets, catches and yards
Amari Cooper 7200 n/a 7 Medium Buffalo is a good matchup and Lynch is suspended
Michael Crabtree 7200 9 2 Medium Same as Cooper, but more TD upside
Pierre Garcon 6700 10 n/a Medium Philadelphia secondary is suspect, and Garcon is a target monster. SF should have to throw
Devin Funchess 6500 n/a 8 Med-Low Tampa Bay secondary is very injured, and highly suspect
Marvin Jones Jr 6100 n/a 9 Med-Low Detroit will be overlooked with the Lions coming off of a bye, but with Golden Tate out, Jones has a lot of upside as DET WR1
Nelson Agholor 6000 8 10 Medium Three TDs in three weeks, high implied score - only issue is weather
Jordan Matthews 5700 n/a 11 Low Sneaky WR3 option this week as Buffalo WR1
JuJu Smith-Schuster 5500 4 12 Low Should start for Pittsburgh and cheap - but could be high owned
Josh Doctson 5200 5 14 Medium Rumor is that he will start as the X receiver in a game with a 50-point total
Deonte Thompson 4900 n/a 13 Very Low Very sneaky option for Buffalo in what could be a shootout, 4-107 last week

 

CHALK TALK: A.J. Green has a fantastic matchup in Week 8 against Indianapolis this week, so expect to see his ownership at very high levels come Sunday.  Now, the problem begins after Green, as the budget starts to get tight to afford solid WR2 and WR3 options.  Cheaper receivers like Josh Doctson (implied starter, and big projected total for Washington) and JuJu Smith-Schuster on Sunday Night as probable starters that could catch 4-6 passes may be the way many go this week.  

GPP:  This is always the longest list of the week, even with only 20 teams to consider in Week 8.  Keenan Allen is the top target for Philip Rivers, and New England (yes I keep repeating this) is the worst against the pass in the NFL at 310+ yards a contest.  Michael Thomas is also in a prime spot against the Bears, who are projected to win big (29-19) at home.  The problem is that Chicago has not given up a big game to wide receivers since the Green Bay game on Thursday back in Week 3, so it is hard to go all in for Thomas, even with Drew Brees at home and Thomas seeing 28 targets the past three contests. Doug Baldwin is also in a good spot as the top receiver for Seattle but Houston could get back Kevin Johnson on Sunday.

Weather permitting, I do like Nelson Agholor this weekend.  Alshon Jeffery will be too popular, while Agholor has scored three times in the past three games for the Eagles.  I also like his breakaway speed, which means that if the weather is poor, Wentz can hit him on a short pass that Agholor can take all the way.  From that same game I also like Pierre Garcon from a volume standpoint, but the touchdowns have not been there for him this season.

Better GPP options for me come from the Buffalo-Oakland game.  The Raiders have to throw it with no Marshawn Lynch, and the Bills are tied for 6th-worst passing defense in terms of yardage this season.  Jameis Winston just lit them up last week for almost 400 yards and three touchdowns, and Carr’s ownership is projected to be criminally low.  Pairing him with either Amari Cooper or Michael Crabtree could make for a great GPP stack for the week. On the Buffalo side, if this game gets into a shootout, Tyrod Taylor can either find Jordan Matthews or the newly added Deonte Thompson (4-107 last week) to move the ball down the field.

 

TIGHT ENDS

 

Name Salary Cash Rank GPP Rank Ownership Comments
Rob Gronkowski 8400 n/a 4 Medium Always in play given that New England is in high scoring contests every week
Jimmy Graham 6400 4 2 Med-Low Getting more and more involved in the Seahawks' offense
Jordan Reed 6100 3 5 Medium Reed scored twice against the Eagles on Monday and the Washington - Dallas game has the highest projected total
Tyler Kroft 5700 n/a 6 Low All he does is catch touchdowns
Hunter Henry 5500 2 1 Med-High New England's passing game has given up the most passing yards per game (310.3), and Henry's numbers over the past two weeks (9-163) are strong
Jason Witten 5400 1 3 Medium Witten is relatively cheap and has 12-115-1 in the last two weeks

CHALK TALK: Many roster builds will not allow for spending a lot at the tight end position this week, but if you can pull it off for Rob Gronkowski, it may be a great tournament play.  Most likely all players – cash and GPP – will be looking in the mid-range of prices for their tight ends this week.  Both Jason Witten and Hunter Henry look to be very popular as they face Washington (fourth-most TE fantasy points against) and New England (worst against the pass) respectively.

GPP: Rob Gronkowski is always a strong option if you can make the rest of your roster work, but I am fading Zach Ertz due to price and matchup (San Francisco is remarkably one of the best defenses against tight ends).  Jimmy Graham deserves a mention due to his touchdown upside alone, as he has scored in the past two weeks and nearly had a second score against the Giants last week.  Jordan Reed is a big part of the Washington offense, and they are projected to score a lot of points against Dallas.  Tyler Kroft gets my final vote here as he gets a lot of targets in the red zone and has scored three times since taking over for the injured Tyler Eifert, and Indianapolis has given up good four touchdowns to tight ends this year. 

 

KICKERS

 

Name Salary Cash Rank GPP Rank Ownership Comments
Stephen Gostkowski 5200 n/a 1 Med-High Expensive, but always seems to make the top of the list
Will Lutz 4900 2 3 Medium Strong option and indoors at home
Jake Elliott 4800 n/a 2 High Was my clear cut choice until I heard about potential terrible weather
Randy Bullock 4600 1 4 Med-High Probably the best value overall

CHALK and GPP: These general kicker comments will likely be repeated week after week, but they are important so take note. Yes, FanDuel is the only DFS site left that uses a kicker, but you have to deal with it if you are playing on FanDuel. Sorry, that's how it goes. But there's some good news - you can actually make smart, informed decisions that can go a long way towards increasing your bankroll. First, there are four general criteria in picking a kicker:

  1. Pick a kicker who is playing at home
  2. Pick a kicker who is in a game where his team is favored
  3. Pick a kicker whose team is expected to score at least 24 points.
  4. Pick a kicker who will not be in bad weather.

Just following that above recipe will help you quite a bit. Remember - a 50+ yard field goal is five points or almost as much as a touchdown. That's significant.

Week 8 looked pretty simple before weather conditions started to look bleak for the East Coast.  A major storm system is targeting the eastern seaboard, which makes games from D.C. to Philadelphia and New York a concern for wind and rain.  That puts my favorite kicker, Jake Elliott, under weather watch and I am now ranking Cincinnati’s Randy Bullock as my top option as a result.  Will Lutz is also in a dome and meets all the criteria, and of course Stephen Gostkowski is always in play.

 

TEAM DEFENSES

 

Name Salary Cash Rank GPP Rank Ownership Comments
Philadelphia 5400 2 1 High Expensive, but expected to handle SF, and weather could be ugly
Seattle 5100 3 2 Medium Seattle is a tough matchup for the Texans, even after their bye
Cincinnati 4800 1 3 High Top choice this week across the board against the Colts
New Orleans 4800 n/a 5 Medium Chicago's offense has not done much at all, and the Saints are underrated
Carolina 4700 n/a 4 Med-Low 24 sacks and four turnovers in 7 games so far
Buffalo 4600 n/a 6 Med-Low Oakland will struggle to run without Lynch, and 10AM start for the West Coast Raiders

CHALK and GPP: Everyone will be targeting Cincinnati this week in cash, as they are a big home favorite over the Colts.  The sleeper pick is the Eagles, who are primed to beat up on San Francisco in the rain as the 49ers are on the road for the fourth time in five contests.  The game is also at 1PM Eastern, which will be an early start for San Francisco, who is also traveling to the Eastern time zone for the third time in four weeks.  If you can squeeze Philadelphia in, I highly recommend them this week.

Other GPP options are far less appealing to me for this week.  Buffalo faces an Oakland team also playing early in their day, and the Raiders will be without Marshawn Lynch.  Carolina looks primed to take on Tampa Bay to rack up sacks and turnovers, while the Saints host Mitchell Trubisky who threw only seven times last week.  With New Orleans at home and favored, another defensive touchdown is certainly possible after racking up three in Week 6 against Detroit.

Questions, suggestions, and comments are always welcome to pasquino@footballguys.com


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