FanDuel Mini: Week 9

Breaking down FanDuel's new Mini game where you pick 5 players each week.

This season, FanDuel kicked off its NFL contests with a new format called "FanDuel Mini." In a Mini NFL contest, you pick five players - one quarterback, two running backs, and two wide receivers (tight end included). FanDuel Mini comes in two styles, Mini and Mini Unlimited. In the standard FanDuel Mini contest, you just have to pick five players and stay within the salary cap ($60,000). It is similar to the regular FanDuel contest but just a smaller version with five players instead of nine players. In a Mini Unlimited contest, every player is priced so that there are no salary cap restrictions, so you can roster any combination of players you want. 

The lobby is loaded with Mini games at all different price points and there is also a free Mini game called "FanDuel Golden 5" which you can enter each week to try to chase the week's perfect starting 5 lineup. Each week, the grand prize will increase by $20,000 until it's claimed, then it starts over at $20,000. FanDuel will award whatever cash is remaining on Week 17 to that week's top finisher - which will make for a guaranteed season-long payout of $340,000. 

Week 9 FanDuel Golden 5 - Prizes
1st $100 and $160,000 for Perfect Lineup
2nd - 9th Voucher to NFL Mini Unlimited Spider 2-Y Banana ($25 Value)
10th - 359th Voucher to NFL Mini Unlimited Fumblerooski ($2 Value)


Anyone can pick the top projected players each week at each position, but that would have landed you with a Week 8 team of Carson Wentz (18.14), Le'Veon Bell (13.10), Ezekiel Elliott (25.90), A.J. Green (10.20), and Antonio Brown (9.50). These contests are run on the Sunday only main slate and do not include Thursday or Monday Night games. The key is to be able to think outside of the box and find the players that are in good matchups and mix them in with one or two star players on the week. Carson Wentz was in a great spot at home against the 49ers but he did have weather against him in this game and that could have been you first hint to move off of him. Russell Wilson took home the top honors at the position with 36.08 points against the Houston Texans in a back and forth high scoring affair. The top two running backs in Ezekiel Elliott and LeSean McCoy made this team two weeks in a row now and predicting them would have been the easier decisions out of the five players. DeAndre Hopkins has been being force fed targets all season from Deshaun Watson so it is no surprise to see him at the top of this list. JuJu Smith-Schuster is the big surprise on this list and he did most of his damage on a single 90+ yard touchdown reception.

  Top Projected Players - Week 8   Actual Top Players - Week 8  
QB Carson Wentz 18.14 Russell Wilson 36.08
RB Le'Veon Bell 13.10 Ezekiel Elliott 25.90
RB Ezekiel Elliott 25.90 LeSean McCoy 26.30
WR A.J. Green 10.20 DeAndre Hopkins 32.40
WR Antonio Brown 9.50 JuJu Smith-Schuster 28.80
    76.84   149.48


Looking ahead to Week 9, we will use Dodds projections to see what players will likely be the highest owned in this type of format. In order to win one of these FanDuel Mini games, you are going to have to identify 1-3 of the top projected players from all the positions and likely pair them with a few lesser obvious plays. After six weeks we already see that there is a trend that you want to have a quarterback and stack him with one of his wide receivers and build around that. In Week 8 that trend actually didn't come true with Russell Wilson as the top quarterback but not one of his wide receivers at the top with him as it was DeAndre Hopkins on the other side of that game.

QB   RB   WR/TE  
Deshaun Watson 23.6 Kareem Hunt 19.6 DeAndre Hopkins 15.9
Russell Wilson 21.6 Todd Gurley 19.3 Julio Jones 13.6
Drew Brees 20.1 Mark Ingram II 17.2 Mike Evans 13.4
Dak Prescott 19.1 Leonard Fournette 16.5 Michael Thomas 13.3
Alex Smith 19.0 Lamar Miller 16.0 A.J. Green 13.2
Cam Newton 18.9 Devonta Freeman 13.2 Zach Ertz (TE) 12.4
Carson Wentz 18.4 Alvin Kamara 12.3 Doug Baldwin 12.0
Jameis Winston 17.7 Doug Martin 11.9 Dez Bryant 12.0
Derek Carr 17.1 Chris Thompson 11.8 Michael Crabtree 11.7
Marcus Mariota 16.3 Adrian Peterson 11.5 Will Fuller V 11.4


It will be hard to throw in a single entry into these Mini contests as there will be so many options that you will want to use to help you cover all your bases. I like trying to narrow it down to your favorite stacks on the week and playing those. You are going to want a QB/WR combo in your lineup and another option would be to stack the team's opposing WR with your QB/WR combo. For example this week you could look at a Dak Prescott/Dez Bryant/Tyreek Hill stack or switch it up with Alex Smith/Tyreek Hill/Dez Bryant. You could also do the same with the Tampa Bay at New Orleans game which has a close point spread and one of the higher over/unders with 50.0 points. That would cover three out of five positions for your team and you would have to look at plugging in a pair of running backs to complete your roster. For choosing my running backs I want a combination of someone who has a high projection for the week but also someone that has already shown that they will get a high volume of touches (rushing attempts + receptions).


Week 1-8  Rushing Attempts Receptions Total Touches
Kareem Hunt 146 28 174
Todd Gurley 145 27 172
Jay Ajayi 138 14 152
Leonard Fournette 130 15 145
Carlos Hyde 112 31 143
Lamar Miller 119 18 137
Mark Ingram II 107 30 137
Javorius Allen 99 32 133
Frank Gore 110 14 124
C.J. Anderson 107 12 119

The clear top two volume running backs this week are Kareem Hunt and Todd Gurley. Both Hunt and Gurley have 174 and 172 total touches and third on this list is Jay Ajayi at 152 who is coming to a brand new team. Locking both Hunt and Gurley into your lineup seems ideal as you would have a huge edge over all the other volume running backs this week. Leonard Fournette coming off of two weeks rest seems like a strong play behind Hunt and Gurley as when he is healthy he gets 25+ touches a game. Mark Ingram II and Lamar Miller are two other plays this week that you have to consider for pure volume alone and their matchups are also very attractive this weekend. As far as Ajayi, Hyde, Allen, Gore and Anderson I think I will fade them this week and go with the other five running backs on this list when making lineups.

Don't for get to take your Free shot at "FanDuel Golden 5" contest for Week 9 and chase the $180,000 perfect lineup. The other main contest that should get your attention is the $15,000 Fumblerooski that is a $2 entry fee and has a first place prize of $1,500.

Best of Luck in your Week 9 DFS contest!

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