NFL H2H vs. GPP Picks: Week 5
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 5 NFL contest period beginning with Sunday’s games and continuing through the Monday Night Football game with the Pittsburgh Steelers visiting the San Diego Chargers.
Please note that the Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New York Jets and Carolina Panthers 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 to 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 “projected.” 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 2 pts/$1k of salary.
Tom Brady – NE at DAL – $8,800: Don’t think too long about this one. The Patriots are coming off their bye week and they should be fresh and ready to continue storming through the league. Through three games, Brady already has 1,112 passing yards and it is hard to see his opponent, the Cowboys or his coach, Bill Belichick, slowing him down before he at least has a solid 20+ FanDuel points.
Tyrod Taylor – BUF at TEN – $7,500: Just when I was ready to move on, I am going to stay with Tyrod Taylor as one of my H2H options on FanDuel. There is a very strong possibility that RB LeSean McCoy (hamstring) and rookie RB Karlos Williams (concussion) will both be out, leaving Taylor to shoulder the majority of the load.
Though this is a road game, Buffalo is a slight favorite at -2.5 according to the Vegas odds. In their first two games, the Titans allowed Johnny Manziel and Jameis Winston to throw for two touchdowns each and just shy of 16 FanDuel points apiece. Those seem like safe numbers for Taylor to achieve, and he has upside with his volume and rushing potential.
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 receiving 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 or kicker, which will be addressed in short order.
Le’Veon Bell – PIT at SD – $9,000: Through his first two games back, Bell is averaging 20.5 rushing attempts, 7 receptions and a combined 141 yards per game. With QB Ben Roethlisberger out and Michael Vick no longer the dazzling superstar he once was, the Steelers will be relying on Bell to lead the way on Monday Night Football. It would not be shocking to see him again approach 30 total touches in this matchup.
Todd Gurley – STL at GB – $6,700: At this incredibly friendly price point, Gurley is going to be one of the most popular running back options in all formats this weekend. He is a special talent, but do remember, we have seen just one outstanding half of football so far in his professional career, so do not go completely overboard with your expectations.
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 – Odell Beckham Jr.- NYG vs SF – $9,000: Yikes, I feel for the 49ers, who are heading out East again, this time to the Meadowlands with a bunch of questions following them. Beckham was very quiet last week with just five receptions and 38 yards, however, San Francisco is allowing the eighth-most FanDuel points to opposing wide receivers this season. Yes, he is spendy, but with Julio Jones –ATL vs WAS – $9,200 a little dinged up, ODB gets the slightest edge this weekend.
Mid-Tier Choices – Keenan Allen – SD vs PIT $7,700: With teammates Stevie Johnson (hamstring) and Malcolm Floyd (concussion) potentially out, we have to once more look to Keenan Allen as a solid option, particularly with the matchup against the porous Pittsburgh secondary. Through three weeks, he already has 46 targets and he is averaging 17.8 fantasy points per game. Larry Fitzgerald – AZ at DET $7,400: Fitz disappointed his backers last weekend with “only” seven receptions for 99 yards. Some people have a problem there, but I don’t have one.
Bargain Bin Ballers – Pierre Garcon – WAS at ATL – $6,200: Clearly, Garcon is the top option for QB Kirk Cousins, and he has seen 35 targets over the last four games, leading to 24 receptions, 216 yards and two scores. The volume is there, and this week he should see the production against the Falcons in what could be a very high scoring game. Willie Snead – NO at PHI – $5,300: There are not a ton of cheap options out there this week, however, it does look like Snead has surpassed Marques Colston – $5,300 in the pecking order for the admiration of QB Drew Brees.
Rob Gronkowski – NE at DAL – $8,400: This feels like a week to Gronk. With injuries and bye weeks thinning the field, this is one of those times where Gronkowski stands out even more than normal.
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 Cairo Santos – KC vs CHI – $4,600 and discount dandy Josh Lambo – SD vs PIT – $4,500 are both options at home. If you have the extra cap space to spend, then Stephen Gostkowski – NE at DAL – $5,000 in the Jerry Jones Dome is the way to go this week.
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 ten 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 very reasonable price points this weekend. The New England Patriots – $4,700 at DAL are in a nice spot against a banged up Cowboys squad, even on the road. The Denver Broncos – $4,900 at OAK are not going to be intimidated by the resurgent Oakland Raiders. Lastly, if you just want the cheapest D/ST with the best matchup, then the New York Giants – $4,300 vs SF are worth a look on Sunday Night Football against the road-weary 49ers.
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.
Philip Rivers – SD vs PIT – $7,500: Rivers very nearly made the safe H2H play section, but with a banged up offensive line and the potential loss of two of his receiving options, I just could not quite elevate him to that level. However, he is a fine play, and if you are up for a little risk in your H2H games, he works in all formats. Pittsburgh has a lot of holes in their secondary and TE Antonio Gates – $5,500 will be returning from his four-week suspension.
Andy Dalton – CIN vs SEA – $7,300: This play is not for the faint of heart, but that is why I have it in the tournament section. Gamers are still not believing in Dalton, and the name-brand Seahawks defense is going to limit the popularity of the Red Rifle this week. Even with Kam Chancellor back, I think that the Bengals are going to have one more decent option than Seattle has defenders this weekend, and if they have the right game plan in place, this could be a great source of production.
Matt Forte – $8,400 CHI at KC: With 15.5 FanDuel points, Forte did not sink the tournament hopes of his supporters last weekend. He had 29 touches, and if he had scored, it would have been an outstanding game. I like him this week for a similar workload, and think that he will have a good shot at surpassing the 20 fantasy point plateau against the Chiefs.
Devonta Freeman – ATL vs WAS – $7,600: Nearly half of his career production has come in the last two weeks, so while I am reluctantly on board, it must be mentioned that the front seven of the Washington defense is pretty solid and Freeman will be a popular play. However, if teammate Tevin Coleman – $5,700 is out again, Freeman should see enough volume to be a viable boom/bust 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.
Demaryius Thomas – DEN at OAK – $8,600: While we have yet to see a big game from Thomas, we know it is coming at some point. While I would only use him in tournaments, I have no issues pairing him with teammate Emmanuel Sanders – $7,700 and I think both could have a very solid game carrying the offense with the running back woes currently being suffered by the Broncos.
Randall Cobb – GB vs STL – $8,200: While Cobb and the Packers passing attack let a lot of people down last week, that just means they will be underrepresented in tournaments with The Masses likely focusing on the Patriots. Cobb, James Jones – $6,400 and QB Aaron Rodgers – $9,200 are not going to be kept in check forever and by the way, the Rams have allowed opposing wide receivers to rack up just shy of 200 yards per game over their last two contests. If the receivers are healthy, these three are a great tournament trio.
Charles Clay – BUF at TEN – $5,700: Clay is an interesting pairing with QB Tyrod Taylor – $7,500 or as a solo option. A lot of gamers will likely be drawn towards Jason Witten – $5,700 at the same price point, however, I prefer the upside and low tournament usage of Clay.
Owen Daniels – DEN at OAK – $4,900: While he is averaging a troubling three receptions and fifteen yards receiving per game, he has scored in his last two outings and the Oakland Raiders are allowing 22.7 FanDuel points per game to opposing tight ends through the first quarter of the season.
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!