FanDuel GPP Domination - Week 13

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 13

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.

As always, keep an eye out for both injury and weather updates for Sunday, and also monitor the Vegas lines for any movement. If the totals start to drop, expect adverse weather conditions for passing and kicking games in those contests.

Let me get right to it (yes, I know, after several paragraphs) - I really don’t like this week. Everything about it right now feels off. You can tell by my comments on the Power Grid from Thursday night and as I sit here on a Friday, I am really struggling to find players I truly like. For cash games this week, I know that many people will advise to stick with playing your normal amount no matter the level of difficulty, but something just tells me that this is a “GPP only" at best kind of week. The good players you normally want to use this week are not in favorable spots, and the players that are in the semi-valuable category all have at least one (and most have several) reasons not to trust them for their matchup this week. I get that some experts feel that everyone is in the same boat each week and that if you trust your process, the level of difficulty should not matter when it comes to making your weekly DFS investment, but I just cannot get behind it when the best lineups you make in a given week stare back at you with several question marks.

To make matters worse, there are several positions where there are a ton of options but no clear cut favorite for the roster choice. Quarterback and kicker come to mind right away this week, but all of the single spot choices (QB, TE, K, D) have more than one option that makes sense but no consensus top choice. That only adds to the level of difficulty this week.

So what do we do on a week like this? In my humble opinion, we look to minimize the risk as much as possible. That means either reducing the number of question marks in your lineup or going with as many cheaper question marks as you can stomach to get the better options you like in your roster. Also, when it comes to making those decisions, picking players who have value in multiple game scripts and on teams with higher expected point totals are two favorable tiebreakers. That means I am going to be looking at rostering players on home favorites expected to score 24+ points this week and/or players who are cheap options to help squeeze the good players in semi-favorable spots onto the roster. I see a few build options that are either “balanced" (many skilled players in similar price ranges, not too high or low in price) or using 1-2 studs with a balanced lineup and one cheap player in a good spot.

With all this in mind, I am going to try and whittle down the player list some to help, but roster construction should also lean towards building around stacks and game scripts that make sense to you this week. For example, Tennessee-Indianapolis did not work out for me last Sunday, but neither of their secondaries improved over the past seven days. That means the Titans are going to be lower owned (recency bias against them) and their opponents (Houston and Jacksonville, respectively) could be in for production boosts.

Let’s start to dig in to the players for Week 13. Here we go:

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

Footballguys' DFS Week 13 Page

Vegas Value Chart

Interactive Value Chart

Projecting Ownership

Normalized Stength of Schedule (NSOS)

For the Win

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
Tom Brady 9300 1 4 Med-High Highest implied total and a big favorite
Russell Wilson 8200 4 7 Med-High Philadelphia's weakness (if any) is their secondary
Cam Newton 8100 4 2 Med-Low Strong play against the Saints who may be without key DBs
Drew Brees 8100 6 5 Low Always an option, especially at home
Carson Wentz 8000 5 1 Medium MVP candidate against a banged up Seattle secondary
Philip Rivers 8000 2 3 Med-High Home favorite against Cleveland - any questions?
Jared Goff 7900 n/a 8 Low Solid tournament option with upside against Arizona - high implied team total
Josh McCown 7700 n/a 12 Very Low Kansas City has not looked good of late but implied game script has him throwing quite a bit
Derek Carr 7600 n/a 13 Low Will be overlooked with Crabtree suspended, but the Giants are hurting in their secondary
Marcus Mariota 7400 n/a 6 Low Recency bias will keep ownership down, but strong matchup against Houston
Jameis Winston 7300 n/a 9 Low Green Bay's secondary is one of the worst - just needs time in the pocket
Tyrod Taylor 7300 n/a 11 Low Plays well at home and will likely be in catch up mode
Brett Hundley 6400 n/a 10 Low Tampa Bay's secondary is the worst, and Hundley had his best game of the year last week in Pittsburgh
Tom Savage 6000 n/a 14 Very Low No one will be on Savage, but the matchup is good and big things are expected of DeAndre Hopkins
Geno Smith 6000 n/a 15 Very Low Cheap starting option with some upside, but very risky

CHALK TALK: To put it simply, quarterback is a total mess this week. Tom Brady feels safe (high projected score, big favorite) but his price tag is not small. Philip Rivers (at Cleveland) feels like the next best option especially with extra rest after tearing apart the Dallas secondary on Thanksgiving. Again, big favorite (but on the road) and the best path against the Browns is through the air - and Keenan Allen is red hot. The last of the “safe cash" - or safest, I should say - feels like Russell Wilson, who is a home underdog against the Eagles on Sunday Night Football. Tougher matchup but Wilson is such a big piece of the Seattle offense, he does feel like he has a pretty high floor.

A case can be made for chalk for several more guys for cash-type games. Carson Wentz is having an MVP-type year and will go overlooked. Cam Newton could be poised for a big performance in New Orleans if his thumb is strong enough and the Saints are minus one or more defensive backs. Lastly, Drew Brees is always in play, as the Saints-Panthers game could prove to be a high scoring, back-and-forth affair.

GPP: As I mentioned earlier, there are a lot of options this week. According to Steve Buzzard’s projections for ownership, several players at lower ownership (5% or less) all have reasonable cases for a 300-yard and/or three touchdown performance on Sunday. A game stack for the “Battle of the Bays" between the Buccaneers and Packers is definitely feasible, with both Jameis Winston and even Brett Hundley tournament options at quarterback. Both defenses are near the bottom for pass defense across all stat categories this season, and Hundley just had his best game of the year in Pittsburgh last week. As long as Tampa Bay can protect Winston (the Buccaneers have lost two offensive lineman), this game has a lot of shootout potential.

The other game with some upside for passing looks to be Tennessee and Houston. Neither quarterback is going to be very attractive for a primary choice this week, but Marcus Mariota could be in a great rebound spot after a bad Week 12 to put up strong numbers against Houston in Week 13. Houston is giving up the most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks this season, and Mariota is healthy. If Rishard Matthew is back in action, I love Mariota as a great bounce back candidate.

RUNNING BACKS

Name Salary Cash Rank GPP Rank Ownership Comments
Todd Gurley 8800 6 3 Very High More of a cash game play than anything, as the Rams are balanced on offense
Leonard Fournette 8700 4 2 High Narrative has him getting a ton of work this week
Alvin Kamara 8500 8 9 High Has been incredibly productive, but can his production on a per-touch basis continue?
Mark Ingram II 8000 7 6 Medium Half of the ownership of Alvin Kamara - great pivot
Melvin Gordon III 7900 3 4 High Great spot for a back that is very up and down, as has the Browns defense
Jordan Howard 7500 1 1 High Best combination of talent, opportunity and matchup (vs. SF)
Dion Lewis 6300 9 8 Low Best answer to the question "Who is the feature back for New England?"
Marshawn Lynch 6200 n/a 12 Low Oakland will be without one, possibly two starting wide receivers. Could lead to a run-first offense
DeMarco Murray 6200 2 5 Low Another strong option who is undervalued and will go overlooked
Jerick McKinnon 6100 n/a 7 Low Atlanta is not good against pass-catching running backs
Jamaal Williams 5700 5 11 Med-High Much more value if Aaron Jones cannot go
Duke Johnson Jr 5700 n/a 10 Very Low Cleveland's best offensive option outside of Josh Gordon
Devontae Booker 5600 n/a 13 Very Low Most active back in Denver, but still minimal upside

CHALK TALK: The chalk started to look a lot like Jamaal Williams for Green Bay after he had a strong showing in Pittsburgh last week, but now Aaron Jones may be ready to go and that severely hurt Williams’ value.  Ownership looks like it is heading towards Todd Gurley, but that matchup looks tricky even for a back that gets a lot of usage.

Five backs are projected for 15% or higher ownership and four more are in the 10-15% range.  That just shows how little consensus there is this week for the chalk.  Of course anything can happen last minute (check Footballguys often this time of year), but for now expect that the Top 10 backs will be spread almost evenly across many lineups, so it comes down to personal preferences. 

I find it rather interesting that Mark Ingram II is projected to have about 50% of the ownership of Alvin Kamara.  All it takes is for the Saints to have a lead and Ingram will likely produce more than Kamara, and at 10% Ingram makes for a nice pivot at $8,000. 

The two backs I find most interesting are Jordan Howard and Jamaal Williams.  Howard is in a great spot against the 49ers, who are 30th in rushing defense.  Even though he will be Top 5 in ownership, his price under $8,000 makes him very attractive.  Williams is also a key option if he gets the starting role at a very reasonable price against Tampa Bay.

  

GPP:  Finding a running back under $6,500 for tournaments is a challenge this week.  Aside from Williams, the best options appear to be DeMarco Murray and Jerick McKinnon.  Murray is not in a great spot but he gets plenty of chances for the Titans to punch it across the goal line (seven carries inside the opponent’s five-yard line, with four touchdowns this season).  McKinnon is very interesting as the Falcons are rather suspect against the run.  From Ryan Hester’s Trendspotting (free this week):

Atlanta is yielding 13.0 receiving fantasy points per game to running backs, fourth-most in the league. They allow 6.5 receptions per game to running backs, most in the NFL.  

Speaking of receiving backs, Duke Johnson Jr always feels like a viable option with the Browns often trailing in the second half of their contests.  Johnson has been one of the most productive Browns (an ignominious distinction, to be sure) but he can certainly hit value and then some if he finds pay dirt. 

 

WIDE RECEIVERS

Name Salary Cash Rank GPP Rank Ownership Comments
Keenan Allen 8100 7 5 Very High Great matchup, but expensive
DeAndre Hopkins 8000 1 3 High Also in a great matchup and seeing big majority of Houston targets
Adam Thielen 7800 9 4 Medium Slot receiver against Atlanta (where Thielen should line up more) has more upside
Brandin Cooks 7600 10 6 Very High Top WR target for Tom Brady with Chris Hogan still sidelined
Michael Thomas 7600 11 8 Medium All he needs is to find the end zone. Yes, this is a recording
Mike Evans 7500 2 1 High Great matchup against Green Bay. Expect big numbers if Jameis Winston gets protection
Devin Funchess 7500 13 9 Medium Big game the first time these two met in Week 3
Robby Anderson 7200 14 10 Medium Touchdowns for five games in a row and two last week
Jarvis Landry 6900 15 n/a Med-Low Jay Cutler is back and Denver will be without Aqib Talib
Demaryius Thomas 6700 n/a 17 Medium New QB, new favorite target as Trevor Siemian prefers Thomas
Sterling Shepard 6700 n/a 19 Low Shepard is back, but his quarterback is now Geno Smith.
Davante Adams 6500 4 2 High Favorite target for Brett Hundley - 37 targets the past four weeks
Cooper Kupp 6300 6 7 High Seeing plenty of targets (25 over three weeks) from Jared Goff
Rishard Matthews 6100 12 11 Very Low If healthy, will be a favorite target for Marcus Mariota
Mohamed Sanu 6100 n/a 12 Low Cheap way to get exposure to Atlanta passing game, and Julio Jones gets tough coverage
Marqise Lee 6000 3 13 Medium Top receiver for Blake Bortles, 32 targets before getting shadow coverage last week from Patrick Peterson
Josh Gordon 5800 n/a 17 Low As much as I want Gordon to do well, I cannot endorse a Browns WR to score 15+ fantasy points after a three-year layoff, even with Gordon's talent
Cordarrelle Patterson 5500 n/a 18 Very Low Oakland wide receivers are going to be thin on Sunday, and Seth Roberts will draw tough coverage
Josh Reynolds 5200 n/a 14 Very Low 61 snaps, 6 targets for a 4-37-1 day last week. Strong GPP upside
Randall Cobb 5200 n/a 20 Low Cheap option for Brett Hundley
Dede Westbrook 4700 8 15 Med-Low The rookie has 16 targets the past two weeks and is very cheap
Zay Jones 4500 5 16 Very Low Buffalo is beat up and Jones is also very inexpensive

CHALK TALK: What a long list we have this week.  As you might have expected, there are a ton of options given all the quarterbacks in the first section.  Paring this list down over the weekend will be one of my goals, but overall the cash list is going to target wide receivers in very favorable spots with high target volume.  Two categories will emerge – under $7,000 values and elite options.  The elite candidates have to have a lot of value, targets and in great spots, such as DeAndre Hopkins (against the Titans) and Mike Evans (against Green Bay).  Value plays such as Cooper Kupp and Marqise Lee lead the lower end of the spectrum.  Finding two options

GPP:  This goes back to targeting a few games (GB-TB, TEN-HOU) or key players in advantageous spots.  Adding to the two games, I can see Rishard Matthews, Davante Adams and even Randall Cobb as viable options in game stacks as listed above.  The other option I really like is to target home favorites with bigger point totals but to take the second receiver in a good CB/WR position.  This points me to Dede Westbrook and Josh Reynolds, or even Mohamed Sanu (as Julio Jones should draw Xavier Jones). 

The last category is more of a hybrid, as receivers who are cheap and could see enough volume to accumulate productive numbers.  That holds true for Zay Jones, Robby Anderson and Cordarrelle Patterson.  The riskiest of all is Josh Gordon, who returns to action after three years off but is such an elite athlete that a big performance is maybe 5-10% possible, which should match your exposure to him this week.

      

TIGHT ENDS

Name Salary Cash Rank GPP Rank Ownership Comments
Rob Gronkowski 8100 1 1 High Gronkowski + Buffalo = Profits
Zach Ertz 7500 7 8 High Sunday Night Football TE stud will get overlooked (part 1)
Jimmy Graham 6700 6 9 Med-High Sunday Night Football TE stud will get overlooked (part 2)
Delanie Walker 6400 3 4 Medium Sees plenty of targets from Mariota, and becomes WR1 if Matthews is out
Greg Olsen 5800 n/a 5 Med-Low Could play even if he does not practice all week
Jack Doyle 5700 5 10 Low Target monster for the Colts, which can add up to respectable value due to volume
Ricky Seals-Jones 5600 4 3 Very Low Elite athlete that is finally getting to play
Jared Cook 5500 2 7 High Top target for Derek Carr if Cooper is out
Hunter Henry 5400 n/a 2 Medium More and more involved in Chargers' offense, Cleveland is bad against tight ends
Cameron Brate 5000 n/a 6 Low With Winston back, likely to see more targets

CHALK TALK: There are two schools of thought this week – pay up for Rob Gronkowski or try and save some money for a tight end that will be the top target for his franchise.  Gronkowski has had ridiculous numbers from when he has played in his home town in his career:

His six games in Buffalo:

5/109/1
7/113/1
7/94/0
5/104/1
7/109/2
4/54/2

That’s right – seven touchdowns and five games with 90+ yards receiving.  In a word, dominant.  If you can afford him, get him in your lineup.

Alternatively, both Oakland and Tennessee may be short on wide receiver options this week.  Jared Cook (against the Giants, no less) and Delanie Walker (if Rishard Matthews is out) are very strong options at a discount.

 

GPP: Tournament options are not that plentiful, but there are some options at both ends of the price spectrum.  Both tight ends in Sunday Night Football (Zach Ertz, Jimmy Graham) are red zone monsters capable of racking up 100 yards and a touchdown, but their price and ownership may keep them from being big options this week.  I much prefer the cheaper options in favorable spots such as Hunter Henry against Cleveland or Ricky Seals-Jones against the Rams.  Greg Olsen may go overlooked if he does not practice this week, while Cameron Brate will also be low owned, but with Jameis Winston back under center he is likely to see far more targets against Green Bay.     

KICKERS

Name Salary Cash Rank GPP Rank Ownership Comments
Will Lutz 5000 1 1 Med-High Best combination option overall
Matt Bryant 4900 2 2 Medium Second favorite but back is bothering him, which could easily limit distance
Ryan Succop 4800 n/a 5 Medium Has not had a good game in weeks
George Tavecchio 4700 n/a 6 Low Only one game with 10 or more points
Nick Novak 4700 n/a 3 Med-High Great spot but could be under 100% healthy and has only one game over 10 points
Josh Lambo 4600 n/a 4 Medium Not reliable enough to count on just yet

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 13 is one of the trickier weeks for kickers. By my count there are six kickers on Sunday playing for home favorites expected to score 24+ points. That will define my short list for the week.

Rather than going cheap, I am going for the best floor possible for Week 13. That may mean spending a few extra hundred, but in my experience it is a better use of your budget to spend up a little bit at kicker (and defense, for that matter) for a better option. That has me looking at three kickers who have at least five games of 10+ points this year - Ryan Succop, Matt Bryant and Wil Lutz. Succop has struggled of late, and Matt Bryant’s back is not at full strength. That leaves Lutz, who happens to have eight games of 10+ points this year - more than Bryant (7) and Succop (5). Lutz is my kicker for the week.

TEAM DEFENSES

Name Salary Cash Rank GPP Rank Ownership Comments
Jacksonville 5600 2 5 High Always in play, but good matchup against the Colts
Los Angeles Chargers 5300 1 4 Very High Hosting Cleveland, that's all you need to know
Philadelphia 4600 n/a 2 Low The Eagles are very opportunistic and will be overlooked
Chicago 4600 n/a 1 Low San Francisco on the road at the Bears - good spot to take a shot
Green Bay 4400 n/a 3 Low Tampa Bay is missing two offensive lineman - could be a big day against Winston

CHALK and GPP: Week 13 is not the week to get cute. There are two strong favorites in Jacksonville (against Indianapolis) and the Chargers (hosting Cleveland), and not too much beyond that aside from a few GPP options. For the most part, sticking with the Chargers or Jaguars make a ton of sense against two weaker teams on the road.

As for my tournament darts for Week 13, I like two home teams against some teams with issues and one opportunistic favorite on the road. The Bears are hosting the 49ers this week with a new quarterback, and we have all seen how Chicago can jump on an opponent. Jimmy Garropolo looks like a reasonable starter so far, but the talent around him is severely lacking. With 15 forced turnovers, three touchdowns and a safety this season, Chicago is certainly in play. The same can be said for Green Bay, who goes up against a Tampa Bay team that will be without two starters on their offensive line. Even though they have just 22 sacks, 19 turnovers forced is a solid number and both could go up significantly in Jameis Winston is in a pocket that keeps collapsing.

The final team to mention is Philadelphia, who seems to leap up and have a big game just when it is unexpected. A road team in Seattle is not the usual call for a defense, but the Eagles are so opportunistic and have such big play upside that they make for a great lower owned option in big tournaments.

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


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