FanDuel GPP Domination - Week 15

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.

GENERAL THOUGHTS ON WEEK 15

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.

Week 15 feels like a tournament week to me, as there is one key game everyone is going to be targeting (New England at Pittsburgh).  The slate is smaller this week with so many games not included (one game Thursday, two Saturday, Sunday Night Football and Monday Night Football).  That leaves only 10 games to select players from, so the choices will be limited and ownership on key players will be higher. 

In tournaments, a strong case can be made to fade that top game (NE-PIT).  If it does not become a high-scoring shootout as projected, fading that game and looking in other directions can set you far apart from the pack.  If you want to look for other games to stack, I am looking hard at the Green Bay – Carolina game and also the Rams-Seahawks as well.  One more option is Tennessee at San Francisco, but that is much higher risk than the first two.

Roster construction will also be challenging this week.  The pattern I see a lot of teams looking to follow is a cheap running back with an expensive one, and then looking to save money at wide receiver and/or tight end.  Following that recipe can limit the player pool quite a bit, so finding that value player (or two) or building a roster differently (such as two cheaper running backs) could pay off big as well.

As mentioned before, keep an eye on Las Vegas for Sunday morning.  If the Over/Under totals start to drop for a game, expect adverse weather conditions for passing and kicking games in those contests.

Let’s start to dig in to the players for Week 15.  Here we go: 

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

Footballguys' DFS Week 15 Page

Vegas Value Chart

Interactive Value Chart

Projecting Ownership

Normalized Strength 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 8800 5 2 Med-High Best way to get a big piece of New England, but always a concern that Patriots run more than pass
Aaron Rodgers 8500 n/a 4 Medium Been waiting to get back into action, and healthy. Green Bay needs to win out
Drew Brees 8400 n/a 9 Med-Low Always in play for GPPs, but Jets may not force Brees to have a big game
Russell Wilson 8400 1 3 High Huge part of the Seattle offense and one of the highest floors
Ben Roethlisberger 8000 4 5 Med-High NE-PIT projected to be high scoring, and Roethlisberger tends to excel at home
Cam Newton 7900 2 1 Medium Strong floor due to rushing and Green Bay secondary is a great matchup
Jared Goff 7600 n/a 6 Low Low, low ownership in a game that could be high scoring. Seattle defense is also banged up
Jimmy Garoppolo 7300 n/a 7 Med-Low Two strong starts in last two games and Tennessee is a great matchup
DeShone Kizer 6700 n/a 8 Low Baltimore secondary just gave up 504 yards to PIT. Cleveland still motivated for their first win
Nick Foles 6000 3 10 Med-Low New starter for the Eagles, but has experience. Cheap and strong matchup against NYG

CHALK TALK: I see Week 15 chalk as being spread across four main quarterbacks.  Russell Wilson dominates the production for Seattle, and the Seahawks are projected to score 25 points this week.  Tom Brady is the safest Patriot to use to get a piece of the New England offense, as he should be involved in 2-3 touchdowns against Pittsburgh.  Nick Foles is the third piece of the equation with his bargain price of $6,000 – about a 30% discount from the other big names this week.  The Eagles will look to get him ready for the playoffs, and a date with the Giants should provide a good platform to boost his confidence.  The final quarterback I have on the cash game viable list is Cam Newton.  Taking a quarterback with running ability and rushing touchdown upside raises his floor, as does facing a soft Green Bay pass defense that has been in the bottom 25% against quarterbacks all season long.

GPP:  Drew Brees is going to be overlooked this week, but New Orleans has an implied point total over 31 and Brees could be without Alvin Kamara.  If the Saints decide to throw more than run, we have seen how other quarterbacks such as Alex Smith tore apart the Jets.  Brees has 400-4 upside at home in this matchup.

While I mentioned Russell Wilson and Cam Newton above, the opposing signal callers are both in play.  Aaron Rodgers returns to action in Carolina and Green Bay is in a must-win situation to reach the playoffs.  Normally I like to wait to see how someone does after returning from a layoff, but only the IR status has kept Rodgers from playing.  He is good to go and always has big game upside. 

Jared Goff might be my top risk/reward play this week.  The Seahawks have four Pro Bowlers on defense that will be out on Sunday, and the Rams are one of the top scoring teams in the entire NFL (neck and neck with the Eagles).  Goff gets Robert Woods back this week and he is a great play in all tournament formats, including the game stack I mentioned at the end of the Power Grid this week (tune in to see the stack)!

 

RUNNING BACKS

Name Salary Cash Rank GPP Rank Ownership Comments
Le'Veon Bell 9400 2 3 Very High Top stud of the week in the highest projected scoring game
Alvin Kamara 9100 n/a 8 Med-High Concussion concerns, but huge upside and potential
LeSean McCoy 8500 6 4 Medium Reliable option against Miami
Todd Gurley 8400 3 2 High Strong pivot off of Bell
Mark Ingram II 8300 4 5 Med-High Value skyrockets if Kamara is out
Leonard Fournette 8000 n/a 7 High Great game script, if he is healthy
Samaje Perine 6700 n/a 12 Low No one else for Washington at RB
Alex Collins 6600 5 6 Med-High Getting more usage for Baltimore every week
Kenyan Drake 6500 1 1 Very High As long as Damian Williams is out, Drake is a top option
Rex Burkhead 6500 n/a 10 Low Cheap GPP option and exposure to NE-PIT
Dion Lewis 6300 n/a 11 Low Similar to Burkhead, but less TD chances
Latavius Murray 6200 n/a 9 Very Low Best RB for MIN when they are leading
Jay Ajayi 6100 n/a 13 Low Eagles may rely on the ground game behind Foles
Mike Davis 5800 n/a 14 Low If healthy (ribs), sneaky GPP RB option

CHALK TALK:  As I mentioned early on, decisions on what to do with cheap running backs will greatly influence roster construction this week.  Kenyan Drake looks to be in the best spot as he will be featured (assuming Damian Williams does not push him for work) against the Bills, who have given up the most (18) touchdowns on the ground and are a Bottom 10 team in all rushing defensive categories.  Drake is the top option by far if he is to be a feature back this week, which I expect.

Next comes your second choice at tailback, and for me it comes down to three decisions – price point, ownership and player.  That may sound like an oversimplification, but those are the three key factors to consider.  If you are playing for the chalk, Le'Veon Bell is your guy at home against the Patriots.  He is expensive and will be highly owned, but he also comes with a very high floor.  Todd Gurley is a great pivot for all formats, and he should come in at half the ownership – and could out-produce Bell.  If that happens, you would be in fantastic shape against all Bell-based teams.  Both LeSean McCoy and Leonard Fournette will also be expensive but popular options, but I worry about Fournette’s health (he missed practice Wednesday and Thursday) and the Jaguars could rest him if they get out ahead.  I would reserve him for GPPs only, and even then I would use him sparingly.

The other plan of attack that is viable is to go cheap for both running backs.  Alex Collins looks to be in a good spot (at Cleveland) and has seen a ton of work for Baltimore of late (49-255-4 rushing, 6-66 receiving the past three contests).  He makes for an interesting roster construction pivot with Kenyan Drake, or even as a pivot from Drake in GPPs.

GPP:  Alvin Kamara has been a strong play of late, but after sustaining a concussion last Thursday he remains a risky play even if he is cleared for Sunday.  The Saints may try and rest him in what should be an easy matchup with the Jets, so this is part of the reason I really like Mark Ingram II.  He makes for a great pivot off of the more expensive (and higher owned) backs listed above.

Another strong pivot play is Latavius Murray. Since Minnesota’s Week 9 bye and throwing out last week’s loss at Carolina, the Vikings have given Murray 68 carries to just 46 for Jerrick McKinnon.  Murray over those four games had four touchdowns, including a dominant win over the Rams.  The game script looks to match that this week with Minnesota expected to control the game against Cincinnati, a team that just gave up a huge game to Jordan Howard (23-147-2). With all the injuries to the Bengals on defense, I really like Murray’s upside at incredibly low ownership. 

 

WIDE RECEIVERS

Name Salary Cash Rank GPP Rank Ownership Comments
Antonio Brown 9300 1 3 Very High Always in play, but NE-PIT has high scoring potential
Michael Thomas 8100 5 9 Med-High Top target for Brees, but will they need to throw?
Adam Thielen 7600 n/a 10 Med-High Good matchup vs. CIN, but could be a blowout
Josh Gordon 7500 6 1 Medium No Jimmy Smith for Baltimore, Gordon has major upside
Brandin Cooks 7400 n/a 11 Medium Top receiver for Brady, but Gronkowski may push for targets
Devin Funchess 7300 8 6 High Carolina in a plus matchup against GB secondary
Larry Fitzgerald 7300 10 n/a Medium Slot receiver in a good matchup against Washington
Jordy Nelson 7200 n/a 13 Low Favorite target for Aaron Rodgers
Doug Baldwin 7100 9 7 High Seattle - Rams could be a shootout
Stefon Diggs 6800 n/a 12 Med-Low Similar to Thielen, but cheaper
JuJu Smith-Schuster 6700 3 5 Medium Cheap exposure to NE-PIT (if healthy)
Robert Woods 6700 n/a 14 Low Back in action for the Rams, low owned, high upside stack option
Marquise Goodwin 6600 7 2 Med-High 20 targets the past two weeks, plus matchup vs TEN
Cooper Kupp 6500 n/a 15 Low Back in a second WR role with Woods back, which offers better matchups
Rishard Matthews 5800 4 8 Low SF-TEN sneaky candidate for a shootout
DeDe Westbrook 5700 2 4 High Targets keep increasing, and other JAX WRs are not 100%

CHALK TALK: Wide receiver is the spot where a lot of key decisions need to be made this week.  For chalk plays, most will gravitate to the top wide receiver in the biggest total game of the week, making Antonio Brown the top wide receiver option by a wide margin.  After that, values are the target to fit in the Rob Gronkowskis and Le'Veon Bells of the world.  Values outside of Kenyan Drake are hard to find, so WR2 and WR3 are the targets.  The leading candidates are DeDe Westbrook and Rishard Matthews, both of which should be top options for their respective teams for targets.   JuJu Smith-Schuster is also a viable option if he is healthy, as he offers a cheap way to get exposure to the Patriots-Steelers game.

GPP:  I mentioned earlier that San Francisco – Tennessee is a sleeper game to target, and if you go for Jimmy Garropolo, the wide receiver to target is certainly Marquise Goodwin.  He has 26 targets the past three games, leading to 18 catches and 283 yards over that span.  If he can find the end zone against one of the worst pass defenses, he offers strong upside at moderate ownership.

Josh Gordon was a hot commodity the past few weeks, and now he faces a Baltimore team that just yielded 504 yards to Pittsburgh.  With Jimmy Smith out, Gordon has 150+ yard and two touchdown upside against Baltimore.  This could be the game that the Browns finally win.

Minnesota is expected to dominate Cincinnati, and if they decide to throw the ball around against the Bengals, both Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs are in great spots.  Thielen has the better matchup out of the slot, but Diggs is slightly cheaper. 

As a general rule this week, I really prefer one or two of the cheaper options in the “chalk” section and a wide receiver stacked with my quarterback.  

  

TIGHT ENDS

Name Salary Cash Rank GPP Rank Ownership Comments
Rob Gronkowski 8500 3 4 High After his suspension, expect a big game against Pittsburgh
Zach Ertz 7900 2 3 Medium Should be back from the concussion, and Foles will target him often
Jimmy Graham 6700 1 2 Med-High Great option to stack with Wilson
Delanie Walker 6500 n/a 1 Medium Faces his former team in a plus matchup
Vernon Davis 5800 n/a 5 Med-Low Washington is running out of viable options
Greg Olsen 5600 n/a 6 Med-Low Strong sleeper for Cam Newton stack

CHALK TALK: The list at tight end is pretty short this week, as Rob Gronkowski is returning to action.  New England is projected to score the second-most points this week (second only to the Saints).  Pittsburgh has the top DVOA ranking against tight ends this season, but their defense has really changed with the tragic injury to Ryan Shazier.  Gronkowski will see plenty of targets and is well worth spending up for this week, and he will be the highest owned tight end in all formats.  

 

GPP: With only ten games on the Main slate, the choices are a bit thin at tight end.  Zach Ertz also is expected to be back after a concussion, and he should be a popular choice for both DFS and Nick Foles against the Giants.  New York has been one of the worst defenses against tight ends, so Ertz will be in a prime spot.

Delanie Walker gets to face his old team once again this week, and he has been really performing well of late (14-167-2 the last three weeks).  Walker last faced the 49ers in 2013, and he had a solid game (3-52-1).  San Francisco has really fallen off in performance of late against tight ends, mostly when facing above average tight ends.  Jimmy Graham, Zach Ertz and Evan Engram all have touchdowns against San Francisco since Week 8, so I like Walker for at least a 4-60-1 type performance.

I like both tight ends in the Carolina – Green Bay game this week.  Jimmy Graham has 14 catches and 9 touchdowns in the Red Zone this year and he offers great exposure to Russell Wilson in a stack or even a GB-CAR game stack.  A sleeper option that very few will even try to use is Greg Olsen, who was on the field for 92% of the snaps last week but saw just one target.  I tend to believe that last week’s strange game script (who would have predicted three touchdowns for Jonathan Stewart) was a big part of the lack of Olsen’s usage.  With the weak Green Bay pass defense and their Bottom 10 ranking in normalized strength of schedule against tight ends over the past five weeks, Olsen is a great GPP option at low ownership.

   

KICKERS

Name Salary Cash Rank GPP Rank Ownership Comments
Will Lutz 5200 2 1 High  
Stephen Gostkowski 5000 5 6 Medium Great kicker, but Pittsburgh is a tough place to kick
Ryan Succop 4800 6 5 Low The 49ers allow a ton of points to kickers
Kai Forbath 4700 1 2 Med-Low High scoring game expected, and home favorite
Josh Lambo 4700 3 3 Medium Everyone may wish for a Lambo at Christmas, but I am sure that this is not what they mean
Robby Gould 4500 4 4 Med-High San Francisco scores a lot of points from the kicker spot

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 15 offers a few options, but I am not looking to go too crazy with my selection this week.  Wil Lutz looks to be in the best spot – strong favorite at home in a dome with New Orleans expected to score over 31 points.  Kai Forbath is in a similar position for cheaper, so either kicker is a reasonable choice at the top of the list.  Both have made several 50+ yard field goals as well, so these are the clear top options.

Tournament kickers are tougher calls this week, as I would be hesitant to pivot away from the top options.  But to offer you a few choices, Josh Lambo is a decent pivot for Jacksonville, but he has only two 50+ yard field goals all season.  Both kickers in the Tennesee – San Francisco matchup (Ryan Succop and Robby Gould) have solid upside and of course Stephen Gostkowski is one of the best kickers in the NFL.  New England is projected to score the second-most points, but he is expensive.   

 

TEAM DEFENSES

Name Salary Cash Rank GPP Rank Ownership Comments
Jacksonville 5900 3 1 High Houston has a problem, and it starts with the Jaguars defense
Baltimore 5000 n/a 5 Med-High Baltimore has two shutouts and faces Cleveland
Minnesota 4800 2 4 Med-High The Bengals scored seven points last week, and that may be their upside in Minnesota
Philadelphia 4700 n/a 3 Med-Low Eagles need to support Foles, and the Giants look like they have given up
New Orleans 4600 1 1 Very High Possibly best combination of upside and price

CHALK and GPP:  Week 15 looks very simple - take Jacksonville, Minnesota or New Orleans.  All three teams are big favorites and look to be in a great spot to rack up 10+ points this week.  Jacksonville gets a rematch with Houston, and their offensive line is in worse condition than Week 1.  Couple that with T.J. Yates being under center and the Jaguars could light up the Texans all day long.  Of course, that is why they are so expensive, but a strong argument exists that they are worth it.

Minnesota gets to host the Bengals, who managed to score just seven points at home last week.  The Vikings are looking to bank another win before two NFC North contests, and they are going to be getting after Andy Dalton after a tough loss at Carolina last week.  New Orleans is in a similar spot but it looks to be even better for the Saints, as they host the Jets who have to start Bryce Petty at quarterback.  This one could be ugly for New York, and the Saints defense is very opportunistic.  A Pick Six is definitely within reason.

For tournaments, both the Eagles (at the Giants) and the Ravens (vs. Cleveland) are options, but I strongly favor using Philadelphia.  The Giants have all but given up for the season, while the Eagles will be rallying as a team for a playoff push to secure the top seed and support Nick Foles.  I worry about the pick of Baltimore, but when you face an 0-13 team you have to be mentioned.  I almost mentioned the Browns themselves as a GPP, but that might be a stretch.  In general, I would stick to the Top 3 on the list and only really consider the Eagles if you want to be more unique.  

 

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


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