The Daily Dose – FanDuel
By Bryan Sweet, DFW Senior Writer and Co-Owner, @FantasyFreakDFW
Welcome to your DFS Daily Dose. If you’re new to the scene, I suggest you read this post to get a general overview of what we’re going to be talking about in this article every week. Once you’ve finished getting caught up, rejoin us as we look back at the week that was and also for some strategy for taking down both cash games and GPPs on FanDuel this week.
Well, we’ve finally made it to the final week of the NFL regular season. The week most fantasy footballers dread, not only because the season is coming to a close but because so many players do not play in this week. Fortunately for DFS players, that just means more opportunity for some guys who normally don’t see playing time. With a full complement of games on Sunday this week, we have all 32 NFL teams to choose from. However, as you’ll see, it’s best to focus on the games that have something at stake. So, let’s get to our picks for this week 17 slate.
History suggests if we can hit 2X value overall on FanDuel, you will cash approximately 85% of the time. With a $60,000 budget to build our team, that means our target should be 120 total points. So, how can we maximize our chances of reaching that magic number? Let’s take a look at some players who should eclipse that 2X value threshold and get us on our way.
Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks ($7,600, 20.5 projected points) Wilson is the riskiest of the QBs playing for something this week as several scenarios could end up put Wilson on the bench for some portion of the second half. The Seahawks need a win and a loss by Atlanta to secure the #2 seed in the NFC and a first-round BYE next week, so if Atlanta gets out to an insurmountable lead, the Seahawks could decide to rest their star QB. Also, if Seattle or their opponent San Francisco gets out to a big lead, the same could happen. We expect the Atlanta-New Orleans game to remain competitive, so Wilson should be able to reach cash game value without too much trouble against a 49er team that is assured of the #1 or #2 pick in next year’s NFL draft and is just looking to finish the season.
David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals ($9,300, 22.1 projected points) Who else did you expect to see in this spot the final regular-season week of the year? Johnson has been a monster this season, with only Le’Veon Bell being comparable throughout the season. With Bell resting this week, Johnson immediately becomes the top RB play, as evidence by his nearly-$10,000 salary. Fortunately, there are enough low-priced guys to offset that and still build a competitive lineup. The Cardinals have nothing to gain by winning, but this team is still a talented unit and might want to make a statement to the rest of the NFC West with a resounding victory over the Rams. The only way Johnson isn’t in all my lineups is if the Cardinals indicate they don’t plan on playing him the entire game.
Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers ($8,200, 18.1 projected points) It could be argued Nelson is in line for Comeback Player of the Year with his performance this season after a knee injury forced him to miss much of last season. Nelson has been particularly effective in recent weeks, coinciding with the improved play of QB Aaron Rodgers. As mentioned earlier, this is a huge game for both teams, and there is no reason to expect anything less than four quarters of action for all involved. The last time the Packers played the Lions, Nelson hauled in two of Rodgers’ four TD passes and contributed 101 yards on six receptions. Lions CB Darius Slay is expected to suit up for this game, potentially dinging Nelson’s ceiling slightly, but Nelson has been up to the task of playing well against elite CBs, so that shouldn’t dissuade us from using him in this matchup.
Utilizing these players, and remembering our goals of 120 total points and players with consistently high floors, we could put together a lineup consisting of the following.
DeAngelo Williams is certainly a risky option this week, but with the news that the Steelers starters will likely sit out this game, he should be able to reach value on volume alone. The same can be said for William’s teammate, Eli Rogers who has been productive with Antonio Brown on the field and now won’t have to contend with Brown for targets. Julio is the most elite WR playing this week in a game that is expected to be a shootout as the Falcons look to secure the #2 seed in the NFC if things fall right. Kelce has been on another level recently and is not even the highest-priced TE on the slate, making him an auto-start this week.
The draw for these big tournaments isn’t simply to make it above the money cut line, but to turn a small entry fee into a big win. As such, the focus shifts to players with a higher upside than those in our cash games lineup, but also more risk to have a bad game. Also, we want to go a little “off the grid” and find players that will be owned by a smaller percentage of entrants. Let’s see if we can find a few players that could push us toward the top of the leaderboard in a GPP.
Tom Savage, QB, Houston Texans ($6,600, 15.7 projected points) Even though the Texans have already secured the AFC South crown and cannot improve on their #4 seeding in the playoffs, you have to imagine they will want their starting QB in the first round of the playoffs to get as much time under center as he can. Savage has been respectable since taking over for Brock Osweiler, and this week gets to face a Titans defense that has allowed more passing yards than any team not from North Carolina. When you surrender 17+ FD points to the likes of Trevor Siemian, Blake Bortles and Matt Barkley, a contrarian play with Savage doesn’t seem quite so crazy.
Chris Ivory, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars ($6,600, 13.3 projected points) If Ivory were completely healthy, this would be a no-brainer with the move of T.J. Yeldon to IR this week. However, Ivory sustained a hamstring injury in last week’s game against Tennessee and is officially questionable for the Jaguars week 17 game. Ivory has practiced every day this week and is expected to get the majority of the carries if his hamstring allows for it. Ivory has averaged better than five yards per carry the last few weeks and has two TDs on just 61 touches. Add to that the fact Jacksonville is facing the sieve-like defense of the Indianapolis Colts and Ivory should crush value….if he can stay healthy.
DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans ($7,200, 12.7 projected points) I cannot, in good conscience, recommend Tom Savage as a GPP play and not look to his #1 target as a GPP option as well. Hopkins has been a major disappointment this season, but some of that can be blamed on poor QB play and Osweiler not giving Hopkins the targets a true #1 WR typically receives. That doesn’t seem to be the case for Savage who peppered Hopkins with 17 targets in Houston’s week 15 game against Jacksonville. We’ve already discussed Tennessee’s inability to stop the passing game this season, so Hopkins could be in for a monster outing in the final week of the 2016 season.
Here is what one of my lineups will look like this week, including the players I listed above.
The savings we’re getting at QB, RB1 and WR1 allow us to plug in some studs to offset the low floor those low-priced guys have. Still, with so few sure things on the docket for the final week of the regular season we have to go out on a limb to find great value. This lineup is likely destined for one of two results: a high finish in GPPs or a very low finish. I don’t expect a cash line sweat for this lineup because of the boom or bust nature of it.
Thanks for checking out the latest edition of the Daily Dose. We’ll schedule another appointment for next Saturday and see how we did in week 17. Best of luck!