Welcome back to The Daily Grind, the place where I will be discussing all the happenings in Daily Fantasy Sports on a weekly basis. The Daily Grind will be my voice to help you through the constantly changing DFS landscape as I highlight important news, free articles, resources, potential overlay situations, great contests to play and more every week. The emphasis here will be first to cover the four sites that we partnered with this year (FanDuel, DraftKings, FantasyAces and FantasyScore), but I will still discuss major news and contests beyond those sites when applicable.
Last week I got you caught up on the whirlwind of activity in DFS of late, and I am going to cover those topics on a weekly basis throughout the NFL season. As I said before, the news cycle never ends. It seems now to change almost daily, just like the contest lineups we see. Let’s do a quick recap on the week that was and then look ahead to what lies ahead in Week 4.
NFL WEEK 3
Finally, a week that sort of feels normal. Sure we lost a major quarterback, and that impacted plenty of DFS lineups (including my own), but these things do happen. The normalcy was that more favorites and teams we expected to be good did win and for the most part did look good. After three weeks now, we can start to have a much clearer picture of who can do what and who cannot cover a tight end to save their life (I am looking at you, Oakland. Gary Barnidge? Really?). So we turn the page on September and now we have football in full swing, complete with two teams on a bye this week in New England and Tennessee. For the most part, the Titans will not be terribly missed, but the Patriots create an interesting hole as they were the top scorers last week and had plenty of DFS goodness for Week 3. What will the impact be of not having Tom Brady, LeGarrette Blount and Rob Gronkowski be for Week 4? That’s where Footballguys can really help as we can highlight the next best players at each position so you can optimize those lineups. Just use the Interactive Value Charts (IVCs) or our staff lineup recommendations for your cash game roster decisions, or consider David Dodds’ or John Lee’s columns along with the Daily Crusher app for some GPP lineups. Either type of contest, we have you covered.
QUICK DFS LESSON
I always like to share some knowledge every week if I can, and this week is no different. I’ve done this many times in the past (just look at last year’s editions of The Daily Grind for more lessons, I promise they are worth the read), and this week I wanted to pull out the discussion on pivoting. Last season and in the Cracking DraftKings book I talked a lot about the ability to make lineup changes after games had started – a feature not found on FanDuel, but permissible on DraftKings – and the advantages that can be gained in setting up a roster that way. This week seems like a great time to discuss that as I found an interesting option for Monday Night Football this week that might help out many of you if things play out the way I think that they might this week.
First, a quick word on pivoting. As we defined it in our DFS Glossary, pivoting is a change made to an existing DFS lineup. A pivot may be intended as a contrarian strategy to increase the uniqueness of a lineup--switching from a chalk player to another similarly priced player, for instance -- or to account for a late player injury or deactivation. In this week’s example, I am looking to take advantage of a late player availability decision that probably will not come out until Monday, which is Marshawn Lynch. If Lynch is out, Thomas Rawls is going to be a huge value. The problem is – what if Lynch is going to suit up? This is where we can exploit the uniqueness of the DraftKings lineup format with late swaps and a flex spot available. As I mentioned this week on the DraftKings podcast this week, the roster flexibility here affords you to put in a player like Tyler Lockett ($3,500) for Seattle in your flex spot and then you can wait until the inactives come out about 90 minutes before kickoff for Monday Night Football. If Lynch is out, just remove Lockett and put in Thomas Rawls ($3,000) and smile away, as not many rosters are going to have the young running back that could certainly get 15 points or more as the top member of the Seattle backfield if that is how it plays out on Monday.
DFS INDUSTRY NEWS
FanDuel Release Survivor Contest
Last year FanDuel ran three different Survivor contests ($100K, $200K and $300K prize pools), and I was very happy to see that at least one of them is back again this year. I have to tell you that these are some of the most fun DFS contests around. If you are not familiar with the concept, what you do is submit a team each week and if you make the cut, you get a ticket to enter another team the following week. The cuts get harder to make each week (the first week about 75% of the teams advance, easier than a 50/50) all the way until only 2,000 entries are left for Week 8 of the contest (NFL Week 11). Then these 2,000 compete for the top prizes (note that the Top 7,500 entries all cash, so anything above that is for the bigger prizes). The ultimate prize goes to the Top 5 teams, who earn a trip to Las Vegas in December to compete for up to $25,000. Where else can you get this much fun for the rest of the season for only $5? Count me in.
FanDuel – NFL Brackets Contest
FanDuel always looks to create new experiences for its customers, and that is definitely the case with their Brackets Contest. The 64 qualifying entries will be placed in a head-to-head bracket style tournament (think “March Madness”) where every week half of the field will advance. Qualifiers will run throughout October with the 64 teams all paired up for November contests through the bracket elimination portion of this contest. The two teams still standing after November 29th will head to Las Vegas for a live final where the winner will walk away with $200,000 and the “loser” only gets $100,000. Not a bad way to leave Las Vegas. Look for qualifiers starting this week for as little as $5 an entry. Once again, I'm in, and I think most DFS NFL fans should be too.
DraftKings – New Multi-Entry Lobby Coming?
I had planned today to share with all of you a recent discovery I made about DraftKings. I was entering in a few early lineups for this week and I noticed that they made a change in how you can take a lineup and enter it into many different contests all at once. I liked it so much that I added it to the Cracking DraftKings blog, complete with some illustrations, but less than a day later, it disappeared. I really liked it and hope that they bring it back soon. Anything that saves DFS players time for entering lineups and affords us more time to think about rosters (or possibly even, gasp, step away from the DFS world for a moment or two) is a good thing. Until it is back, read up on the interface over on the blog and let DraftKings know if you like the idea and hopefully it is back in the mix soon.
UPDATE: I got word from DraftKings that some users were getting a sneak peek at this new interface, and I just happened to be one of them. This feature is in test right now and is likely to be rolled out soon, so for a preview, head over to the blog to see the pictures!
FREE FANDUEL DFS NFL FOOTBALL COVERAGE BY FOOTBALLGUYS THIS WEEK
Before I start to talk about how good all of our coverage is for DFS, there is nothing better than just experiencing it for yourself. That is why this week Footballguys has made all of our FanDuel DFS NFL content 100% free for Week 4. You do not have to be an Insider at Footballguys this week to see our great FanDuel DFS content this week for free. Interested in playing with the Interactive Value Charts? Help yourself. Wondering what David Dodds is looking at for value for this week? Check it out. Find some stacks to start your GPP lineups from Austin Lee. It’s all on our FanDuel DFS page, with over 20 different things to read and digest. You better get started now as there is a ton of information. Help yourself to it all for free this week.
FOOTBALLGUYS AND DFS COVERAGE FOR 2015
Footballguys also did not stand still this offseason. I personally cannot believe how far we have come in such a short time, but it speaks volumes about the staff that Footballguys is so fortunate to have at its disposal. Since the Super Bowl, we decided to dedicate a large amount of effort and resources towards covering DFS fantasy football, because that’s what we are all about. We created not just one but two e-books to cover FanDuel (“Cracking FanDuel”) and DraftKings (“Cracking DraftKings”), and we could not be happier with how they turned out. As fellow Footballguy John Lee likes to point out, no matter what skill level you are at, every DFS player can get something from these two books. The basics of DFS NFL contests all the way up to advanced strategies are extensively covered like no one else can so everyone can hit the ground running this season.
But we did not stop there. The Daily Crusher App was invented and released this year by Footballguys so that DFS players can create lineups for cash games and tournaments and also get deep analysis on their rosters, likelihood of winning and exposure to various players. It can also help you to build, manage and customize lineups across several sites plus check news and articles for DFS. Once you start using this, it will be hard to imagine how you ever lived without it. I'm still learning all the different ways to use this great tool both by experimenting with it and with the help of our Daily Crusher Manual and I can already see its immense value to me as both a cash game and GPP player.
There's a ton more coverage we have this season for DFS, too much to outline in this opening of The Daily Grind, but we have a large section dedicated to each of our sponsor sites listed below.
We even added new video content for 2015. In a partnership with Rotogrinders, you can now see both John Lee and Austin Lee with Dan Back on The Footballguys Rotogrinders Hour. It is a great show with lots of insight. Check it out!
Of course, if you are a bigger fan of The Audible, we have both FanDuel and DraftKings shows for DFS coverage for each site as well. Be sure to subscribe to these weekly podcasts to get your weekends rolling for the NFL DFS slate.
FOOTBALLGUYS DFS CONTEST
Footballguys wants all of their readers to get in on the fun. With the help of both FanDuel, we have a great contest available to Footballguys here in Week 4. The Footballguys Football Championship, presented by FanDuel, offers contestants with a shot at not just a double-up opportunity on their $10 entry, but also a chance at one of the final prizes. All you have to do is beat Sigmund Bloom, David Dodds and Joe Bryant’s scores in a given week and you get a ticket for the Week 11 final contest, where first place will win $5,000. That’s a pretty sweet deal on top of a normal double-up contest, as these extra prizes create a built-in overlay of about $40,000. This one should fill up quickly.
BIG CONTESTS FOR WEEK 4
I already discussed two major contests that were unveiled this week – NFL Survivor and NFL Brackets contests – and for most sites, that would be plenty. Well, that’s why FanDuel is not most sites. The big boy on the DFS street continues to offer some of the largest volume of contests around. Start off with the Week 4 $6 Million Contest that just saw the prize pool go up by a cool million and has just a $25 entry all the way down to the NFL Sunday Rush, which I have to highlight again this week. Last week they upped the prize pool from $1M to $1.5M, and they weren’t satisfied with that. So now in Week 4 the Rush has a $2M prize pool, and first place is now worth $150,000. Not a bad contest for just $5 to enter. But of course there is more, and as we mentioned earlier in The Daily Grind, FanDuel partnered with Footballguys to create an exclusive Footballguys-FanDuel Championship with over $40,000 in free prizes where you can turn a double-up entry into a ticket for a Week 11 final where if you can beat Joe Bryant, David Dodds and Sigmund Bloom in the week you can add up to $5,000 to that $20 you won in the $10 double-up. That's pretty sweet right there. And of course you have to take note of the Playboy College Football Championship, where you can earn one of 70 exclusive entries to the PCFC event at the Playboy Mansion on November 21st. Qualifiers will be running all season long at FanDuel, so take some shots at these great tournaments with extra incentives and prizes. Let's also not forget about the biggest one of them all, the $12M Fantasy Football World Championship that was announced early this season. Find a qualifier you like and take a shot and winning millions of dollars. The hard part is not deciding if to play, but which contests to target and try and take down.
DraftKings did not make any major changes from Week 3 to Week 4, and that is a great thing as there is a ton of cash to try and walk away with again this week. Someone will once again become an instant (or over-the-weekend, but instant sounds better) millionaire in the $7M Millionaire Maker this week. First place walks away with $1.2M dollars, not a bad payday at all. DraftKings still has the biggest contest around with their $15 Million contest announcement from a few weeks back, and qualifiers are still in play for as low as $3 an entry. Hmmm, $3 for a shot at $5 Million. I’m in, and I think everyone should take a shot at this big prize.
As far as the rest of the contests for this week, there are plenty of tournaments at DraftKings to sink your teeth into, even after the Millionaire Maker. At a price point of just $3, the $1.5M Play-Action tournament is certainly appealing, and this week they increased the $9 tournament again by another $100,000. That puts the NFL Slant contest up to $700K in prizes and you can win as much as $50,000. There' are also several giant 50/50 contests in the lobby as well, including a $25 entry with 10,000 winners about to get $50 Tuesday morning. Lots of contests and lots of money to be had in Week 4.
You have to check out what FantasyAces is offering this season. Not only are they going bigger and better for the NFL, but they are also going for a Live Final for College Football!
First, FantasyAces announced the $500,000 NFL Live Final for 2015, which will be in Las Vegas on December 13th. The live final will have 40 entrants competing for a $100,000 grand prize. Qualifiers will run all season long up until the live event, including satellites to get into qualifiers at a discount.
The other major event for FantasyAces is their other live final, the $100,000 College Football Live Final. The live event will take place in Newport Beach, CA on November 21st where 13 finalist will compete for the $100,000 prize pool. The only way to claim a seat to the live final is to win a FACFC qualifier contest, which will be held weekly beginning September 3.
FantasyAces also has an interesting format called SalaryPro, where you get bonus points for staying furhter and further under the salary cap. More and more are trying out this unique format, so be sure to check out the lobby over at FantasyAces for contests that use this rule.
FantasyScore is offering up a GPP with a twist this year. If you can finish in the Top 3 in their Fantasy Football Championship Satellite, you can grab an elusive golden ticket for an entry towards the Week 16 championship game where $25,000 will be awarded. Another way to get a ticket is to go after the $20 entry satellite that is giving away four tickets. Check out all of these contests and more at our FantasyScore page.
Footballguys has you covered here - both in major DFS announcements and the tools you need to build winning lineups.
As one last reminder, Footballguys' FanDuel NFL DFS content is 100% free this week. As an added bonus, here is an article to how in depth Footballguys' staff can be in FanDuel coverage, as we break down receiver / defense matchups for Week 4:
FEXPOSED: FANDUEL MATCHUP CONSIDERATIONS FOR WEEK 4
by Alex Miglio and Aaron Rudnicki
After a rough start, the Week 3 iteration of this column got on track. Hopefully you were able to avoid goose eggs from Tyler Eifert and Torrey Smith and take advantage of good values like Allen Hurns.
Bye weeks begin this week, and competition gets tighter as a result. Let's take a look at some of the better or worse matchups of the week.
Markus Wheaton, WR, PIT vs. BAL ($5,000)
Miglio: Big Ben’s big injury poses a real problem for fantasy footballers -- does the offense tank under 35-year-old Michael Vick, or is it too good to fail? It’s tough to tell, which is probably why it’s best to fade expensive Antonio Brown until we see more. This is a great matchup based on how Baltimore’s secondary has played over the past couple of weeks, however, and Markus Wheaton would be a far cheaper option who figures to see some targets this week.
Rudnicki: Has the Ravens secondary been exposed the past two weeks? They were beaten pretty badly by the Raiders and Bengals, giving up three touchdown in each game to opposing receivers. Jimmy Smith is better than he’s shown of late, butLardarius Webb and nickel corner Kyle Arrington may have some trouble with the speed of these Steelers receivers. There’s a good chance that the Ravens will need to devote safety help to wherever Antonio Brown goes, so Wheaton could be a nice low risk/high reward option with a chance to hit on some deep balls.
Doug Baldwin, WR, SEA @ DET ($5,000)
Miglio: You have to read the tea leaves a bit when picking and choosing between Seattle receivers. Last week tight endJimmy Graham was heavily involved in the passing game, not coincidentally after he was reportedly “frustrated” with his role. Whatever the truth is in that situation, the receivers didn’t get much action in a laugher. This week, the Lions come to town, and they figure to key on the big tight end. Doug Baldwin tends to shine out of nowhere, and he faces a pretty
Rudnicki: Last week didn’t quite go as planned against Chicago, but Baldwin still managed to pull in all three targets thrown his way. He just took a back seat to Jimmy Graham and Jermaine Kearse in a game where Seattle was never really threatened. This week, he goes up against a Detroit defense that has had a lot of trouble containing receivers. The Chargers wideouts had 22 catches against them in Week 1, and last week the Broncos topped that total with 23. He’s working as more of a possession receiver this year, and should be able to take advantage of a Lions defense that has been really soft over the middle.
Eddie Royal, WR, CHI vs. OAK ($4,700)
Miglio: There isn’t much to like about the Chicago offense these days. But a matchup against the Oakland secondary might be good medicine for that ailing unit. Depending on whether Alshon Jeffery is back or not, Eddie Royal might find himself facing looser coverage this week, and the Bears could be passing plenty in the second half if the game gets out of hand.
Rudnicki: It’s obviously tough to get excited about a player with 11 catches on the year who has Jimmy Clausen throwing to him. But, the Raiders corners are still a pretty glaring weak spot, and Chicago will likely need to try and open things up a bit to keep pace with the newly explosive Raiders offense.
Nelson Agholor, WR, PHI @ WAS ($4,900)
Miglio: It might be best to fade the entire Philadelphia-Washington tilt with Hurricane Joaquin threatening the mid-Atlantic coast, but you never know what value you might find if the game is indeed played as scheduled. The Philadelphia Eagles got off the schneid last week, but that doesn’t mean the passing game got on track. Washington’s secondary should help get Sam Bradford and Co. firing on all cylinders. That includes Nelson Agholor, who has been a ghost on offense thus far this season after plenty of preseason hype.
Rudnicki: Agholor has not looked comfortable yet, but he’s not alone when it comes to the struggles of the Eagles passing attack. He was shut out last week while matched up primarily against Darrelle Revis, but gets a much more favorable matchup this week (if the weather holds up). Washington’s starting LCB DeAngelo Hall is out and will likely be replaced byBashaud Breeland, who gave up 8 catches and two touchdowns on just 10 targets last week.
Donte Moncrief, WR, IND vs. JAX ($6,300)
Miglio: A late, desperation touchdown saved Donte Moncrief’s fantasy owners last week, but he still had just 32 yards on the day. The Jaguars just got done getting annihilated by the Patriots -- though that may be the case for any team that gets in New England’s way -- and Moncrief could find himself with a fancy stat line this Sunday.
Rudnicki: The Jaguars don’t yet have the corners they need to play in Gus Bradley’s Seattle-style defense. The Colts offense showed signs of life last week, and Moncrief has been the most productive and reliable option they have. If you expect Luck to figure things out and turn his poor start around this week, Moncrief is a likely benefactor.
Ty Montgomery, WR, GB @ SF ($4,700)
Miglio: Everyone was in on the scoring last week against the Kansas City Chiefs, and the Packers have an even juicier matchup against a hapless 49ers defense in Week 4. While Randall Cobb makes for a nice cash game option and James Jones can be used in any format, Ty Montgomery might have a big game in GPP lineups.
Rudnicki: The 49ers secondary has major issues, and now they have to face Aaron Rodgers? That sounds like a dream matchup for the Packers receiving options. Montgomery figures to see more playing time if Davante Adams can’t go, and I like his chances against Kenneth Acker or Tramaine Brock.
Mike Evans, WR, TB vs. CAR ($7,500)
Miglio: Has Josh Norman begun construction on his island yet? Carolina's cornerback has quickly climbed the ranks, and he has become a nightmare for opposing wide receivers. Evans might be a target hog, but lining up against Norman is bad news for fantasy business.
Rudnicki: Evans struggled a bit against Johnathan Joseph last week, but overall had a solid outing with seven catches on an amazing 17 targets. If Tampa keeps throwing to him that often, he almost has to put up good numbers again, but I’d be wary of him lining up across from Josh Norman this week. Also, the Panthers offense is the type that will try to grind out the clock and control the ball, which would also limit the chances for Evans. There are only a handful of corners in the league you want to avoid going up against, and Norman is probably in that group.
Larry Fitzgerald, WR, STL @ ARI ($7,400)
Miglio: It has been a magical start to the season for Larry Fitzgerald and his longsuffering fantasy owners. Finally, he lives up to his stature as one of the best receivers in the game. Quarterback Carson Palmer has looked his way early, often and with great success. But don’t let recency bias cloud your judgment -- this week he goes up against a defense that heldAntonio Brown out of the end zone and allows the third-fewest fantasy PPG thus far on the season.
Rudnicki: The Rams at home are obviously capable of playing suffocating defense due to their dominant defensive line. Fitzgerald has had a ton of success working out of the slot this year and it will be tempting to stick with him again, but chances are he will find things a lot more difficult this week.
Allen Robinson, WR, JAX @ IND ($6,200)
Miglio: Vontae Davis hasn’t quite been the shutdown corner he was last year yet this season, but that doesn’t mean you should start Allen Robinson. A few weeks ago this game had all the trappings of a blowout with huge garbage time potential for the Jaguars offense, but the Colts have been anything but dominant. It could be a much closer affair, and Robinson’s potential dud against Davis looms large.
Rudnicki: All signs point to Robinson lining up across from Vontae Davis a lot this game. In the season opener, the Colts put Davis on Sammy Watkins and often gave him safety help over the top as well. If they use similar coverage on Robinson this week, chances are Bortles will look somewhere else.
Kyle Rudolph, TE, MIN vs. DEN ($5,000)
Miglio: These days it just seems like a good idea to fade all offensive players against the Denver Broncos defense. Kyle Rudolph has shown promise in the fantasy realm, and he’s priced nicely. But don’t fall into that trap.
Rudnicki: The strength of the Broncos defense is at the cornerback position, and also their pass rush. While that might tend to favor a tight end since the quarterback will be looking to get rid of the ball quickly on short patterns over the middle, the reality is that the Broncos defense just doesn’t give up many opportunities to anybody. Rudolph didn’t produce much in easier matchups the past couple weeks and the Vikings offense will likely rely heavily on Adrian Peterson once again.
Jarvis Landry, WR, MIA vs. NYJ ($7,200)
Miglio: The Dolphins offense ran into a brick wall in the team’s home opener last week. The Buffalo Bills harassed quarterback Ryan Tannehill into oblivion, and Miami was down huge before anyone could re-apply sunscreen. Fortunately the Dolphins get another shot at home, right? Unfortunately, that home game is in London -- home field advantage foiled.
Jarvis Landry continues to get targeted a ton -- even in the red zone -- but he is far more valuable in full PPR leagues with limited touchdown upside. That gets worse this week when he squares off against Darrelle Revis and that re-tooled Jets secondary.
Rudnicki: If the Broncos have the best group of corners in the league, the Jets are probably right behind them. Even though Landry will mostly work out of the slot and avoid Darrelle Revis, Landry is still going to have to deal with Buster Skrine. The second-year pro is the only weapon that Miami seems to have on offense right now, so you also have to figure that the Jets will be very focused on limiting his chances.
Heath Miller, TE, PIT vs. BAL ($5,500)
Miglio: Whereas Markus Wheaton makes for a nice GPP play at that price, Heath Miller may be in for a long night as a mid-tier tight end. Not only does he get a downgrade at quarterback, but the Ravens have been rather stingy against tight ends thus far this season.
Rudnicki: The Ravens have not faced the toughest group of tight ends in the league, but through three games they have only allowed seven catches for 30 yards. Tyler Eifert had some chances last week but wound up getting shut out completely. Michael Vick has made good use of tight ends in the past, but the trends here seem to suggest this is a good matchup to avoid.
Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to email@example.com.