NFL H2H vs. GPP Picks: Week 4
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) in which between 10-20% of the field is paid out.
In this article we will utilize the FanDuel Week 4 NFL contest period beginning with Sunday’s 1 PM ET games and continuing through the Monday Night Football game with the Detroit Lions visiting the Seattle Seahawks.
Please note that there is a 9:30 AM ET game in London between the New York Jets and the Miami Dolphins. The Tennessee Titans and New England Patriots are on a bye this week.
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 less 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.
Depending 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 Tom Brady or Andrew Luck, 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.
Tyrod Taylor – BUF vs NYG – $7,600: It is time for us to truly take notice of Tyrod Taylor as a solid H2H play this week in his matchup against the New York Giants. It looks like there’s a very strong possibility that RB LeSean McCoy will be sitting out this week to allow his balky hamstring to heal. This means that the Bills will be relying heavily on Taylor and rookie RB Karlos Williams. Through three weeks the G-Men are allowing the most passing yards in the league a 336 per game. In his last two games, the first-year starter is averaging 22 completions on 29.5 attempts, and 260 passing yards per game. Any rushing production is just icing on the cake. He is a solid option this week if you are willing to take a chance based on his somewhat limited body of work.
Aaron Rodgers – GB at SF – $9,200 – Rodgers grew up in California and attended college at UC Berkley where he was 17-4 as a starter over two seasons. So this is very much a friends-and-family game and all of the narrative is in play. Of course, it also helps that Rodgers is probably the best quarterback in the game right now. The 49ers are allowing opposing signal callers the third-highest passing rating in the league at 111.6, and they will not have any answers for Rodgers in this matchup.
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.
Mark Ingram – NO vs DAL – $8,100: Ingram gets to face a Cowboys’ defense that was just run roughshod for 193 combined yards and three touchdowns by the relatively unknown RB Devonta Freeman. Ingram is a much more talented back and his team is going to be relying on him heavily with QB Drew Brees likely out for another week or two. Ingram is averaging 15.3 FanDuel points per outing and I like him to eclipse the 20 fantasy point plateau in this matchup.
Latavius Murray – OAK at CHI – $7,500: While they have only allowed two rushing touchdowns through their first three games, the Monsters of the Midway are allowing the fourth-most rushing yards to opponents at 135.7 per game. Murray should see 20-25 touches in this contest and he is involved in all facets of the Oakland offense.
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.
Top Shelf Options – Julio Jones – $9,400 vs HOU: Through the first three weeks of the season, Jones is leading the league with 46 targets, 34 receptions and 440 yards, and he is second with four receiving scores. Yes, he is spendy, but with Antonio Brown playing on Thursday night, he is the premier option once again.
Mid-Tier Choices – Keenan Allen – $7,700 vs CLE: It has quickly become clear that QB Philip Rivers will be leaning on Allen this season. Through three weeks he already has 39 targets and he is averaging 18.7 fantasy points per game. Larry Fitzgerald – $7,400 vs STL: It looks like as long as QB Carson Palmer is healthy, we have to consider Fitz a top 10-15 option each week.
Bargain Bin Ballers – Donte Moncrief – $6,300 vs JAX: Moncrief slipped a little in Week 3, however, he did find the end zone for the third straight week. He continues to match teammate T.Y. Hilton target for target and he should continue to provide solid production for this reasonable price point. Allen Robinson – $6,500 at IND: In the same game we can look to the other side of the field and utilize Robinson, who has been targeted on nearly 39% of the Jaguars’ passing attempts this season. Even though everyone knows the ball is going to him, he provides a solid fantasy floor with that opportunity volume.
Charles Clay – $5,200 vs NYG: The NY Giants are allowing 17.4 FanDuel points per game to opposing tight ends this season and this time to use Clay either with or without QB Tyrod Taylor in H2H contests.
Martellus Bennett – $5,500 vs OAK: Through the first three games, the Raiders have allowed an astonishing 23.7 FanDuel points per game to opposing tight ends, including such luminaries as Tyler Eifert, Crockett Gilmore and Gary Barnridge. Regardless of who is under center for the Bears this weekend, we need to give Bennett strong consideration.
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. If you are looking for a minimum priced option then Zach Hocker – $4,500 vs DAL and fellow minimum priced kicker Josh Lambo – $4,500 vs CLE are both options at home. If you have the extra cap space to spend, then Adam Vinatieri – $4,900 vs JAX with his dome-field advantage is the top play.
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.
There are decent D/ST options at all price points this week. The Seattle Seahawks – $5,300 vs DET are once again the team to spend on if you want a deluxe option. The Denver Broncos – $4,700 vs MIN will be incredibly popular in the Mile High City as seven point favorites. Lastly, if you just want the cheapest D/ST with the best matchup, then the Indianapolis Colts – $4,400 vs JAX are likely to be quite popular.
Large Field Tournaments aka 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.
Carson Palmer – $8,200 vs STL: Back to the well once more this week. The matchup against the St Louis Rams will be a little tougher for the Cardinals, however, I do suspect the Rams will stay in the game a lot longer than the 49ers did last week. The bonus is that the Rams have a fairly stout run defense, so that should dictate more action through the air again this weekend for Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald and crew.
Andrew Luck – $9,100 vs JAX: Luck was solid last week with 260 passing yards, two touchdowns and another 21 yards on the ground. We are going to need to see spectacular (300 yards and three touchdowns) in tournaments, though, if we want to climb to the top of the leaderboard. Through three games, the Jaguars are allowing 284 yards and nearly two aerial scores per contest. We should again see Luck on less than 15% of all tournament rosters, making him an outstanding option.
Matt Forte – $8,300 vs OAK: Forte sees some of the highest % usage of the offense when compared to any other running back in the league. This week I am looking at Forte more as a tournament option because I am really curious to see how he does with a more mediocre defense trying to stop him, as opposed to the Seattle Seahawks’ stalwart unit. QB Jay Cutler is out for another week, so Forte will be the main option once more for the Bears.
Karlos Williams – $6,300 vs NYG: As of this writing Tuesday night, we do not have definitive playing status for RB LeSean McCoy, so for the time being, I am using Williams as a tournament option. However, if we get more concrete news about McCoy being held out this week, Williams will be one of the best values and most popular plays in all formats. The rookie has managed to score a touchdown in each of the first three weeks this season, despite averaging just over eight touches per game. The New York Giants are allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs, making this a phenomenal matchup for the Bills.
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.
Odell Beckham Jr – $9,100 at BUF: Ten days is a long time and it seems like a lot of gamers are overlooking Beckham this week. The Bills are allowing the third-most fantasy points per game this season to opposing wide receivers, and pairing ODB with QB Eli Manning – $7,800 is a nice tournament combo.
Randall Cobb – $8,200 at SF: While Cobb will not be sneaking under the radar this week after posting three scores on the marquee stage of Monday Night Football, he also did not receive a price bump since the games were already posted prior to his monumental effort. Fellow wideout Davante Adams has already been ruled out this week with a high ankle sprain, making Cobb and teammate James Jones – $6,000 solid options as solo plays, or as a trio with QB Aaron Rodgers.
Jordan Reed – $5,600 vs PHI: It sounds like WR DeSean Jackson may return this week, however, Jordan Reed has proven to be QB Kirk Cousins’ most reliable target and he is a fine sneaky option to use in tournaments, as he was very close to having two touchdowns last Thursday against the Giants. Most gamers will forget that little tidbit.
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!