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This year I have found myself without a truly engaging traditional Fantasy Football league. I’m in a couple of random online leagues, but with no money on the line and no one else I know in the league, my level of interest isn’t particularly high. Intrigued by the idea of being able to win money every week, I decided I would look into the world of Daily Fantasy Sports. I decided I would check out FanDuel, mainly because it was the last commercial for any such site I saw before I decided to give this a shot.
The following are my thoughts and experiences as I navigate the world of Daily Fantasy Sports for the first time. Check back for weekly updates, insights, and strategy as I learn the ins and outs of this burgeoning style of fantasy sports.
If you missed my last entry, I survived a pretty disastrous overall fantasy week by breaking even on the week through my cash games. So this week I’m back it with a whole new set of picks. In my entry going into Week 5, I discussed the importance of diversification and then watched anxiously as that strategy helped me save face and break even in what was just simply a terrible week for fantasy football. Did I mention that already? It was a bad week.
I’ve decided to alter my strategy in one way this week. Simply due to limited funds to allocate, I am forgoing by policy of always entering my 50/50 line-up(s) into at least one large-field contest (which obviously have larger prizes but are more difficult to win). As I’ve said before, the reason for that policy is simple: in a 50/50 contest, there is no difference between finishing 1st or 50th out of 100. Entering each of your 50/50 line-ups into at least one GPP contest ensures that you won’t miss out on a big pay-day when one such line-up hits a huge score. This isn’t something that I’ll abandon long term, just until I can afford to enter more total GPPs each week. That way I can enter some radically different line-ups for one or two entries to give me a slightly better chance to win a big contest. It’ll also give me something else to root for while sweating out the results of my 50/50 contests.
So let’s get to my plays for this week. For quarterback, in 50/50 contests, I’m going with two high-priced options this week. First I’m going with Peyton Manning ($10,200), going up against the down-and-out New York Jets. I don’t always like to spend big on a quarterback, but this week’s match-up is just too enticing. The Jets have given up the second most passing TDs (12) this season, and have given up 270 or more passing yards in 3 out 5 games this year (3 out 4 times when playing teams not called the Raiders). Not to mention the fact that Denver will be without starting RB Montee Ball, meaning the Broncos are going to throw the ball even more.
My other, slightly cheaper QB that I’m rolling with this week is Phillip Rivers ($9100). He’s playing great right now, throwing for 3 touchdowns in 3 out of his last 4 games, all victories, and who is he going up against on Sunday? You guessed it, the Raiders. Statistically speaking, the Raiders have actually not been all that bad against the pass. They rank fifth in the league in passing yards allowed and are in the top ten in passing TDs allowed. But it is their offense that will certainly do them in. They have the last ranked total offense and are going against San Diego’s top ranked defense. The Raider’s defense will be on the field a lot and Phillip Rivers should be able to take full advantage.
At running back, I’m starting by paying up for Matt Forte ($9000) of the Bears. They are facing the Falcons who have one of the worst all-around defenses in the league. By all accounts, this game will be a shootout, with Atlanta’s offense much better at home, but their defense still struggles to stop anybody. Forte’s fantasy value comes largely from his ability to catch passes out of the back field; he’s been targeted at least 5 times every game so far including last week where he caught all 12 passes thrown to him. He’s yet to score on a running play this year but that should change Sunday as the Falcons have given up more rushing TDs (10) than any team thus far.
I’m also going with Eddie Lacy ($8100) against the Dolphins. While not particularly terrible against the run, the Dolphins (12th in the league in Yards Allowed) still give up over 100 yards per game on the ground. Lacy meanwhile, has seemingly found his stride, going over 100 yards for the first time this season last week. He’s scored 3 touchdowns in the last two games and I expect that trend to continue.
For cheaper options at running back, I’m looking at Branden Oliver ($6200) of the Chargers. The rookie RB burst onto the scene last weekend, rushing for 114 yards and a TD against the Jets. He’s going against the aforementioned Raiders this week who are terrible against the run. A somewhat sneakier option at RB is Andre Williams ($6300), another rookie from the Giants. He filled in nicely for injured Rashad Jennings and will start in his place this week. He’s facing Philly, who ranks 28th so far in rushing yards allowed.
On to the wide receiver position, where I’m looking mostly at mid-priced and bargain players since I spent big at QB and RB. The exception to that is in GPPs:
(If I haven’t already defined it, GPP stands for guaranteed prize pools, which are tournaments when the money is guaranteed by the site even if the contest doesn’t fill completely, typically it is the most common name for larger prize, longer odds tournaments)
In more than a couple GPPs this week, I’m pairing Peyton Manning with Darmaryius Thomas, but in cash games I’m going for more moderately priced recievers. I chose Alshon Jeffrey ($7,700), but really either he or Brandon Marshall ($7,900) are pretty good mid-level options this week against Atlanta. I prefer Jeffrey this week only because Marshall’s ankle has clearly continued to bother him despite not being listed on the team’s injury report. If Marshall’s ankle holds up though, this could be his lowest price of the season provided his numbers bounce back.
I also like DeSean Jackson ($7,100) for Washington going against Arizona. The Cardinals are fresh off of getting torched for 476 yards by Peyton Manning last week. While I don’t think Kirk Cousins will put up numbers like that, I do think that he’s good enough to get the ball to Jackson against the Cardinals’ 31st ranked pass defense. Jackson was also pretty impressive against Seattle’s defense on Monday night, hauling in 5 catches for 157 yards including a 60 yard TD. I’m certain he’s looking forward to a more favorable match-up this weekend.
I also like Golden Tate ($6,400) for the Lions against Minnesota this weekend. Calvin Johnson looks like he’ll miss tomorrow’s game, making Tate the #1 option. The Vikings are 11th in the league at stopping the pass. But Tate’s low price per his usage this weekend should still pay off. I’m also a picking rookie wide receiver Odell Beckam Jr ($6000). He emerged last week in his first NFL game, catching 4 passes for 44 yards and a TD. Philly is poor against the pass and I expect Beckham Jr to quickly become a favorite target of Eli Manning’s.
With AJ Green being ruled out of Sunday’s game against Carolina, the Bengals now provide a couple of discount receivers that both could outperform their price-tag this week. I’m a big fan of Mohamed Sanu ($6000) this week going against Carolina. He’ll be the #1 option against the Panthers’ 16th ranked pass defense. Also, if you’re looking for a minimum player this week, Brandon Tate ($4500) could be an interesting play. With Green and Marvin Jones out, Tate will slide all the way up to #2 on the WR depth chart and with a favorable match-up, will likely have at least a couple of opportunities to make plays.
If you want to spend big on a tight end this week, I’d go no further than the most expensive option, Bronco’s Julius Thomas ($8200). Basically you can’t go wrong with any Bronco’s pass catcher this week against the Jets, but Julius Thomas has caught 7 of Peyton Manning’s 12 TD passes, catching at least 1 in each game thus far. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there is Martellus Bennett ($5900) of Chicago. He’s coming off a down game so you can get him at a discount, and he’ll be playing in what should be a shootout in Atlanta.
For defenses this week, I like Detroit ($5000) against Minnesota. They continue to be one of most difficult defenses to score against (3rd in points allowed) and they got their first defensive TD of the season last week. I’m also going with the Broncos D ($5000), who faces one of the worst offenses so far in the Jets on Sunday.
Since the kicker position (along with defense) is extremely difficult to predict, I’m going with what worked for me last week; who’s kicking inside? The Rams’ Greg Zuerlein ($5000) will be kicking in a dome at home on Monday night versus the 49ers. I’m also going with Robbie Gould ($4600) who will be kicking in the Georgia Dome in what should be a high-possession contest.
So that’s all my thoughts on Week 6, check back in on Tuesday to see how I did.