NFL H2H vs. GPP Picks: Week 15
In daily fantasy football, there are two main types of playing formats; head-to-head games (including 50/50 and double-up formats, in which half of the entries win and half of the entries are left wondering what went wrong) and large field guaranteed prize pool tournaments (GPPs), where between 10-20% of the field is paid out.
In this article we will utilize the FanDuel Week 15 NFL contest period, beginning with Sunday’s 1 PM ET games and continuing through the Monday Night Football game with the Detroit Lions heading to New Orleans to square off against the Saints.
Looking through the lens of the FanDuel pricing and scoring system, we will key in on players suited for both H2H and GPP game formats.
When constructing a H2H roster, the important thing to remember is that you want construct a team that has the highest projected “floor” with regards to projected scoring production. The reasoning behind this is simple, you just need to be better than half of the field. Whether it is mano-a-mano or a whole crowd, the top half are victorious and the others are looking ahead to next week.
For this reason, we will want to focus on players that have the highest projected points per salary cap dollar. The key word to remember is probable. In today’s NFL, just about any offensive player could have a three-TD day, or they may not see the end zone for a month.
As a general rule of thumb, in this format on FanDuel you will need to score about 120 points in order to put your team in a good position to win. Sometimes you will win with fewer points, other times you will lose with a much higher score, but that is a reasonable target figure.
With an overall in-game salary cap on FanDuel of $60,000, this means we need our players to score 2 points for each $1k of salary. The roster format includes 1 QB, 2 RBs, 3 WRs, 1 TE, 1 K and 1 D/ST.
Now for the fun part, let’s look at a few players at each position that should be able to “return value” on their FanDuel in-game salary. These will be players that I will be using myself on various iterations of my FanDuel H2H lineups this week.
Selecting a quarterback depends on the style that best suits your team-building preference and risk-reward potential. One school of thought focuses on anchoring your roster with a premium guy like Cam Newton or Tom Brady, another way to approach a week may be with a mid-tier QB who has a great matchup, or perhaps even someone who has come into the starting job after that week’s pricing was already created. The key thing to keep in mind, though, is that we need to find a production ratio of 2pts/$1k of salary.
Russell Wilson – SEA vs CLE – $8,800: Wow, just wow. There are not many superlatives left to describe Wilson’s last four weeks. In that stretch he has averaged 22.3 completions on 29.5 attempts for a wildly efficient 75.4 completion percentage. He has 16 passing touchdowns, no interceptions and he has run for 101 yards and a score. Upping the degree of difficulty, the Seahawks have lost rookie running back Thomas Rawls for the season after he broke his ankle after just four carries last Sunday. He now joins TE Jimmy Graham and original lead running back Marshawn Lynch on the sidelines.
The Seahawks are in the hunt for a wild card slot, so they need to do everything in their power to win this game. While a lot of that will fall to the defense who will be welcoming Browns QB, Johnny Manziel, to Seattle along with the Twelfth Man crowd.
A realistic game script would have Wilson leading the Hawks to a couple first-half scores and building a cushion so they can see what they have in their backup running backs. As long as Russell can get to 250 passing yards, 25 rushing yards and a couple scores, he will be at 20 fantasy points. That is a reasonable projection when considering how poor the Cleveland defense is on the road.
Tyrod Taylor – BUF at WAS – $7,500: Taylor has been solid his last three games with seven passing touchdowns and a rushing score, while averaging 256 passing yards and 42 rushing yards on his way to 24.8 FanDuel points per game. Washington somehow is in a three-way tie for the NFC East along with Philadelphia and the New York Giants…sorry Cowboys fans. On the surface, over their last three games they have held opposing signal callers in check, however, digging into the data one will find that they are allowing 286 passing yards per game, but only four aerial scores. By comparison, in the first ten games of the season they allowed 20 passing touchdowns.
Additionally, Washington has not faced a running quarterback all season, with the exception of Cam Newton, who was “held” to 16 yards on four carries as he threw for five touchdowns, and rookie Jameis Winston, who had one attempt for five yards while throwing for a career high 297 yards and two touchdowns. Signs are pointing to a big day for Taylor.
While QBs are a very important building block for a solid fantasy roster, RBs are absolutely crucial. Running backs have the volume and opportunity to earn points with touchdowns, rushing and passing yards, AND receptions; this usually makes them the steadiest source of daily fantasy production.
Generally it is wise to “pay up” for a premium RB in a good matchup by utilizing your savings from another position such as defense and kicker, which will be addressed in short order.
Lamar Miller – MIA at SD – $6,700: After scoring two first-half rushing touchdowns, Miller ended the game with 12 carries, 89 rushing yards, two touchdowns and NO receptions. For some reason the Miami “coaching” staff (and that term is being used loosely) decided to abandon the run in the second half even though the game was far from being decided. Ideally they spend all week kicking themselves and give Miller 18-20 touches the next game out, and this is a nice matchup against San Diego.
David Johnson – ARI at PHI – $6,500: Once again, David Johnson remains reasonably priced – particularly in a matchup against Philadelphia – who have allowed the second most fantasy points to running backs over their last three games. Though he did not score this week, the rookie running back was fine with 92 rushing yards and an additional 31 receiving yards on five catches. As a bonus, the Cardinals’ last game was on Thursday, so the three extra days of rest should do wonders for Johnson and the offensive line.
There are always great WR options at varying price levels and matchups. Typically, what you do at the other positions will dictate how you assemble your receiving corps.
– Odell Beckham Jr – NYG at CAR – $9,100: Beckham has six straight 100+ receiving games along with eight touchdowns during that stretch. This is not an easy matchup on the road against Josh Norman and the Carolina Panthers, but if you have extra salary cap space, ODB is a nice luxury.
Sammy Watkins – BUF at WAS – $7,200: One of the biggest complaints about trusting Watkins for fantasy purposes was that he did not see enough targets. He has had 10+ in two of his last three games, and in that span he has 14 catches, 348 yards and four touchdowns. While he may be a little more boom/bust than some gamers prefer in their H2H games, it is hard to overlook him in this matchup against Washington.
Allen Hurns – JAX vs ATL – $7,000: Hurns was solid in his return from a concussion and he tallied 18 FanDuel points on three receptions, 105 yards and a touchdown. With the volume of the Jaguars’ passing game, and Allen Robinson commanding extra attention, there is a good chance Hurns can get deep for a score in single coverage. He has found the end zone in eight of his last ten games.
– Robert Woods – BUF at WAS – $5,100: While I would not play Woods on any rosters where I already have other Bills, he does deserve consideration as an EXTREME discount option. There is enough value at the other positions that we should not have to dip this low in the player pool this week.
Rob Gronkowski – NE vs TEN – $8,500: Gronk is back and now LeGarrette Blount has been lost for the season. The Patriots have been dealing with a lot of injuries this season, but they keep chugging along like a well-oiled machine. Despite missing a game due to injury, Gronkowski has already reach 1,000 yards receiving on the season, which is good for the tenth highest total in the league.
Richard Rodgers – GB at OAK – $5,500: Picking on the Raiders with tight ends has been a solid strategy. Considering the Rodgers to Rodgers connection, there is no reason to change course now.
Kickers are very tricky to project, so I typically look for the lowest-priced kicker in a decent matchup, ideally in a dome or a fair weather stadium.
Chandler Catanzaro – ARI at PHI – $5,000: Though this is an outdoor game, Catanzaro has seen at least two field goal attempts in nine of his last ten games. In that tenth one, he ended up converting six extra points in Detroit.
Defense / Special Teams (D/ST)
D/ST is another position that is very hard to predict because so much of their value comes from return touchdowns. The best teams will have 10 return scores on the season and the worst around four, which makes it tough to know which team to roster.
With the savings available this week, there is no reason not to be hesitant about splurging on the Seattle Seahawks – $5,400, who will be hosting the Cleveland Browns. From the middle tier we have Houston – $4,800 and J.J. Watt, who will be heading to Indianapolis to take on the Colts who will be led by either 40-year-old Matt Hasselbeck and his sore ribs, or Charlie Whitehurst. In that same game, if QB Brian Hoyer is out with a concussion, the Indianapolis Colts – $4,100 are fine option against quarterback T.J. Yates.
Large Field Tournaments — Guaranteed Prize Pools (GPPs)
Depending on the contest, GPPs will generally pay out 10-20% of the field. It will take an outstanding score in order to finish in the money, so your mentality needs to be that you want to be in the top 10% or finish last. Being middle of the pack or even above average does not come with any reward, so don’t be afraid to take a few risks and stray from the herd.
Matthew Stafford – DET at NO – $7,800: While the New Orleans Saints were able to hold rookie signal caller Jameis Winston in check, they are still a team to target. The Lions really do not have anything to play for, so ideally they decide to turn Stafford loose and forget this idea of focusing on avoiding interceptions, as it clearly is not working to do much besides stagnate their offense.
Tom Brady – NE vs TEN – $9,500: At this price point there is little margin of error of Tom Terrific in H2H contests, however, in tournaments he is a fine option because it would not be shocking to see him have a four-touchdown day with the Patriots’ running game decimated by injuries.
DeAngelo Williams – PIT vs DEN – $7,000: This is not going to be an easy matchup for the Pittsburgh, however, they are at home and that will help. The best part about Williams is that he is involved in the passing game when the Steelers are behind, and obviously heavily involved in the running game when they are ahead. There is just a wide range of outcomes here for Williams. I would not be surprised to see him get 20+ fantasy points, but I would also not be shocked if he were held to single digits. I suspect he will be very popular in all formats this weekend.
Denard Robinson – JAX vs ATL – $6,300: If rookie T.J. Yeldon is out this week with his knee injury, Robinson is a fine upside play. In the middle of last season he had a couple nice games when thrust into the lead role. Unfortunately, his size does work against him as he cannot hold up to the sustained pounding a running back takes. However, for our purposes, if he gets a shot this week, he is a nice option.
Generally in a GPP it is a good idea to pair a receiver with your QB so you can double up on your points if they connect for a score or two. Remember you want to go big or go home in this format.
Calvin Johnson – DET at NO – $8,000: The numbers are not pretty. Over his last two games, Johnson has four catches for 60 yards and a touchdown on just 13 targets. Heck, against the St Louis Rams he did not have a reception until just before the final two minute warning. On tap is a glorious matchup against the New Orleans Saints who have been crushed all season by even semi-competent passing attacks. If there is any chance to see Megatron again this season, it will be in this matchup.
Amari Cooper – OAK vs GB – $6,900: After a tough matchup last week against Denver, both Cooper and Michael Crabtree – $6,700 are solid mid-tier options with upside. This game has the third highest projected point total of the week at 47 and that may inch up even higher as we get closer to Sunday.
Will Tye – NYG vs CAR – $4,900: With Tye playing in the Monday Night Football game, the pricing algorithm did not change his salary. Over his last four games he is averaging just shy of 10 FanDuel points per outing and that is solid, considering he has just one touchdown in that total. If the Carolina rush gets to Eli Manning, he will be checking down to Tye more than a couple times as he safety receiver.
Kickers and Defense / Special Teams
Generally I will utilize the same handful of cheap kickers and DSTs across my H2H and GPP lineups because of their inherent boom/bust nature.
Feel free to send questions via Twitter: @EmacDFS
Good luck gamers!