I don’t think you need me to tell you that Week 8 was one of Fantasy’s most devastating injury weeks, and a lot of season-long leagues will be affected greatly. Chances are, if you didn’t have your elite injured player’s backup, then someone snagged them away from you on the waiver wire. It sucks, but you are now left without Le’Veon Bell and must figure out how to survive, which is nearly impossible.
Luckily, these things aren’t a real problem in the Daily Fantasy world. With your pick of any player, almost any week, all you have to worry about is staying under budget and outsmarting the hundreds or thousands of opponents that managed to get signed up using some promo code they saw during a commercial. You can sign up any week, especially if your season-long team just went in the toilet, and hedge your bets to make some of that entry fee back.
The key to winning any fantasy-style game is getting the most bang for your buck. Even in season-long leagues the key to success is drafting players with value that are likely to outperform their draft position. That’s where we come in. Each week we will provide you cheaper, high value, options on FanDuel that can help you begin building the perfect lineup, and by spending less on the players we suggest you’ll have budget room for those elite monsters you love like Julio Jones.
When playing 50/50 matchups the best strategy is to play it safe since you only need to outscore half the pool. In order to do this you need to project a safe outcome in terms of Cost Per Point (CPP). For clarity, I like to target around 130 points in Head-to-Head and 50/50 play, which comes out to be around $460 per point ($60,000 FanDuel budget divided by 130 desired points). We are in the business of targeting players likely to come at a cheaper CPP, more “bang for our buck”.
It seems like every quarterback is expensive now, as the “price setters” are figuring out that nearly all the players at this position can put up a ton of points in a given week. There aren’t very many trustworthy guys that are priced super cheap, but saving even a couple thousand here could help you snag someone like Gronkowski who is performing much higher than his respective peers (18.8% more points than TE2 – Barnidge), compared to say Tom Brady (10.9% better than QB2 – Rivers).
While he hasn’t made many of my weekly rosters, Jameis Winston is an intriguing target this week. Priced at $6,700 on Fanduel, we would hope for about 14.5 points out of him, and although he may be a rookie, his floor is well above that. Winston only had one week in which he scored less than 15 Fanduel points, and this week he plays the New York Giants defense that just gave up 7 touchdowns to Drew Brees. Now, Winston may not be Brees from a talent standpoint, but against a defense currently allowing the 4th most fantasy points to the position, you should be confident he will reach and exceed his floor/worth in cash games.
Speaking of high floors, Derek Carr has managed to average 20.7 Fanduel points since returning from his Week 1 injury. During that stretch he has only failed to score multiple touchdowns once, and that was against a Denver defense that even managed to shut-down Aaron Rodgers. At a shocking $7,000 cost, he would not only be a safe play in 50/50 games but also a great value with upside in tournament play. In half of his “healthy” games (Week 2 – Week 8) he managed 3 or more scores, including his 4 touchdown performance against a Jets defense that holds fantasy quarterbacks to the 8th fewest fantasy points. Plus, this week he plays a weak Steelers secondary, in a game that has the potential to be one of the highest scoring games of the week based on ESPN’s Daily Lines. This is the same reason you should take Big Ben in tournament play!
I think the running back position could easily be the best place to save your budget this week. I mentioned the injury woes of Week 8, but in Daily Fantasy that really just offers a chance for you to claim value on guys that will fill in and, if nothing else, retain value through volume.
I would never wish injury on any player, but when Le’Veon went down it was clear who would be finding his way into my FanDuel lineups in Week 9, Mr. DeAngelo Williams. Fantasy owners and Daily Fantasy Players most likely remember the first couple weeks during Bell’s suspension when Williams was second in the league in rushing saw 46 touches on his way to two very strong fantasy performances. The Steelers have not gone away from the run, regardless of who they had at QB, and haven’t shown a trust in depth behind DeAngelo. The Raiders, who they play this week, are much better at stopping the run than the pass, but based on sheer volume and chances for touchdowns due to the high scoring potential of this game, Williams is a lock to be worth his $6,500 price point.
Joseph Randle is gone, and Christine Michael has done nothing to warrant significant work in the near future, leaving a workhorse type workload in Dallas for Darren McFadden. I’ve never thought McFadden had a lack of talent, just an injury problem. We get to ignore those here in the Daily Fantasy world, unless they have a limiting injury prior to the game. Darren McFadden proved capable the last two weeks, averaging 18.75 Fanduel points as the Dallas lead back. He even performed well against the Seahawks last week, who are currently allowing the fewest points to the position. This week McFadden and the Cowboys play the Philadelphia Eagles,who have been impressive against the run (only one RB rush touchdown), but this is another case where I think volume alone will get him to where we need. McFadden is used plenty in the pass game to offset even a bad running day (20 targets in last 3 games), and with Cassel under center I suspect the dumpoff passes will continue to come his way.
I mentioned this next back in my analysis of the Chicago Bears Week 8 Film. With another playmaker and fantasy star, Forte, sidelined another backup will be given the chance to succeed like DeAngelo. I’m not sure his talent or his team’s offense really compare to Williams’, but I’m all in on Jeremy Langford of the Chicago Bears in Week 9. After watching him takeover last week following Forte’s injury, I wasn’t wowed but I was no longer concerned. Langford is a smart back that hits the holes in the offensive line decisively and gets positive yardage. I think there will be plenty of opportunities this week against the Chargers defense that has allowed the most points to the position in fantasy play, and based again on the limited roles of the other backs on the depth chart, I think Langford will find himself with a lot of work in both the run and pass game in a week where Pro Football Focus believes he needs to prove he can be the future feature back.
Some of the top receivers have great matchups this week, so if you manage to save your money, you may be able to grab multiple of them. Julio, Beckham, and Brown all have favorable matchups, and I’m not hesitating on snagging them. However, if you need more affordable guys to plug in around them, you may have luck looking at their opponents, since these games are some of the highest potential scores of the week.
Amari Cooper has a great matchup against the Steelers in a game that could see a high pass volume and two weak secondaries. Cooper has been consistently great when he’s not playing one of the top-6 passing defenses in the league. The Broncos and Jets are ranked 1st and 6th respectively in NumberFire’s metrics, which helps explain why he only averaged just over 7 Fanduel points in the weeks he played them. Although, in the remaining matchups he averaged an impressive 15.5 points, and at the price of $7,300, that is almost exactly what we need for him to be of value.
His teammate, Michael Crabtree, might even be the better pick this week and has just as much potential to be a value play, since he only costs $5,800. I mentioned the generous matchup, but Crabtree has been nearly matchup proof, going for 7/102/1 on 12 targets against the Jets last week. That’s his second solid fantasy outing in a row, after posting a 6/63/1 line the week prior against the Chargers. I’m not sure I trust him as much as Cooper for consistency, but at his low price he only needs to return 12.6 points, which will essentially be determined by if he finds the endzone or not. Every week he has scored a touchdown, he has exceeded 15 Fanduel points.
While I think Crabtree has a good shot at obtaining value through scores, I think Decker is the closest thing to a lock we will find. His teammate Marshall is questionable and injured, and it looks like Fitzpatrick will be throwing the ball to him (better than the alternative). Decker has quietly been a great fantasy option, finding the endzone in 5 of his 6 games. He hasn’t managed a game over 100 yards receiving, but his consistency in the redzone makes him a safe play. To reach our CPP Decker will need to score 13.7 Fanduel points, which is exactly what he has averaged in those 6 games. The kicker here is that he gets to play the Jaguars, who NumberFire ranks as the 5th worst passing defense, giving him a great opportunity for an above average week.
*Also watch for Stevie Johnson at $5,800 to exceed recent totals with teammate Allen out.
Anyone who isn’t Gronk I would consider as a budget saving play. Even Olsen is listed $2,100 cheaper than him. However, at the price you pay for the position, you still need to return plenty of points.
I think Antonio Gates gives you an opportunity to get your money’s worth and then some any week he is healthy. Against the Bears 24th ranked passing defense (based on NumberFire metrics) Gates should have plenty of room to work and continue the 15.76 point average he has maintained since his return. He is only $6,000, and with Allen out and the Chargers high pass volume, Gate’s chances of reaching the target 13 Fanduel points is very high.
Jordan Reed shouldn’t lose too much work if DeSean Jackson returns, but even if he lost a few looks he would still be worth his $5,700 cost. Reed has averaged 13.7 points on FanDuel in his 5 weeks of play, including a 11/72/2 performance in Week 7, and that is well over what he would need to reach target CPP for owners. His volume while playing for Washington is impressive, averaging 9.4 targets per game. I think this just happens to be another guy who is at a discount due to injury history, but since we are only latching on to him for the week, you are safe.
Who has a dome, and who is at home? Honestly, just target high scoring games in decent weather. The price difference is just so small you can take whoever you want.
I rely heavily on defensive streaming scores from The Fake Football and Denny Carter when creating lineups. The Eagles and Chargers both have favorable defensive matchups with the Cowboys (Cassel) and the Bears (see articles on turnover woe’s). The Broncos are always a good pick for the money, but if it comes down to you needing the extra $500-600 to snag elite talent elsewhere, those are some good cheaper options.