Michael Dubner highlights the players he’s considering for his core FanDuel lineup in Week 4.
Week 3 Recap
- After the chalk hit in both Weeks 1 and 2, we had some chalk fail in Week 3 and some off the board plays at the top of leaderboards.
- Latavius Murray ($5,200) was set up as the best value on FanDuel as the feature back on a massive home favorite with the goal line role. I’d still roster him again, but this is a reminder that rostering game script dependent RBs adds risk in cash games, no matter how good the spot seems.
- Eric Ebron chalk week may have failed, but he did see 11 targets.
- My thought process behind rostering Tyreek Hill was: (1) the Chiefs were going to put up a lot of points and they were going to be massively owned in cash so I need exposure to this offense, and (2) even though Hill sees lower volume, his volume is more valuable than the average WR. Hill was a good play, but the clear mistake was thinking I had to roster a player due to ownership, when we should just be rostering the best players in cash games.
- It is important to be fluid with your core as we gather more information. Corey Clement showing up on the Friday injury report was a red flag. With the other value at RB last week (Murray, Giovani Bernard) it was easy to pivot off of Clement.
Creating Your FanDuel Core – Week 4
I’m primarily a cash game and single-entry tournament player, and have the vast majority of my money (80 percent) on one lineup. Playing one team forces me to make the optimal lineup. Below are the primary players I’m considering for my core lineup on FanDuel in Week 4.
Saints @ Giants & Bengals @ Falcons
I’m hoping to load up on both value and high-priced options in these two games, as I feel like they all have safe floors in cash and the ceiling to put your roster over the top.
Giovani Bernard ($6,400) and Tevin Coleman ($7,200) as Affordable Feature Backs
At this point I’m willing to blindly play pass-catching RBs against the Falcons, as opposing RBs have been targeted 15.7 times per game (first; four more than second place). The Weekly Explorer highlights these eye-popping numbers Atlanta is surrendering to RBs.
Assuming Joe Mixon is inactive, Bernard is a game script independent RB (due to pass-catching role) who played 88 percent of the snaps last week and will also have goal line duties at just $6,400.
Coleman should capitalize on good game environment, as the Falcons are a five-point home favorite with an implied team total of 28, and have scored 30-plus points each of the past two weeks at home. With Devonta Freeman out, Coleman has 20 and 17 touches the past two weeks. After flukily getting vultured not once, but twice, at the goal line by Matt Ryan in Week 2, Coleman was able to find the end zone last week on four red-zone opportunities.
Sterling Shepard ($6,200) and Tyler Boyd ($5,800) as Cheap Target Hogs
Both Shepard and Boyd have expanded roles due to surrounding injuries — Evan Engram and Joe Mixon are both out, and A.J. Green is battling an injury. New Orleans has been getting flamed by opposing passing attacks, allowing nine WR touchdowns through the first three weeks. The timing of this matchup is ideal for Shepard, who stands to benefit from the expanded target share, which spiked last week with Engram leaving early.
While it might feel a bit chase-y after blowing up for 6/132/1 last week, Boyd’s production should continue to carry over, as the volume is there for him to sustain value. Boyd is priced as the 47th WR on FanDuel, yet over the past two weeks is averaging eight targets per game and is 12th in air yards. After passing on 60 percent of their plays in Weeks 1 and 2, Cincinnati went pass heavy in Week 3 with a 79 percent pass rate. While last week’s negative game script inflated that rate, they should be trailing again, and a pass-heavy approach should be a trend when they are without Mixon.
Michael Thomas ($9,000) is Historically Good
Thomas is off to a historic start, averaging 13.3 targets (32 percent), 12.7 receptions, 133 receiving yards, and one touchdown per game. He’s the safest WR on the slate and possesses the highest ceiling, and is well worth the price. Of course I also like Alvin Kamara and think Odell Beckhmam Jr. is an awesome tournament play, but I plan to prioritize Thomas in cash.
Matt Ryan ($8,100) at Home
Because this article is about creating your FanDuel core group of players to build the rest of your roster around, I don’t always mention a QB. I usually have a few QBs at different price ranges that I’m willing to play, and end up on the one that fits with the rest of my team. But Ryan has been absolutely on fire in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium the past two weeks, scoring 30-plus fantasy points in back-to-back games. As mentioned earlier, the Falcons are expected to score a lot of points, and Cincinnati has allowed multiple passing touchdowns in each of the first three-weeks. A strategy I will consider is rostering both Ryan and Coleman to lock in all of the Falcons’ touchdowns. Which leads me to . . .
Philip Rivers ($7,800) and Melvin Gordon ($8,700) with High Team Total
I will also consider rostering Rivers and Gordon together. Gordon is averaging 21 opportunities and is third among RBs in fantasy points per game (22). While San Francisco has been above average against the run this year, the Chargers are expected to be in positive game script as double-digit home favorites with an implied team total over 28. Gordon is used in all facets of the game, as he’s averaging eight targets per game and has 10 red zone opportunities so far. He has one of the highest touchdown expectations every week.
With such a high team total, there’s enough potential points to roster both Gordon and Rivers. Rivers has eight passing touchdowns and is the QB6 on the year. San Francisco has allowed the seventh most fantasy points to QBs this year (23.4), including the third most air yards. Just like the Falcons, it’s not a bad idea to just secure the majority of fantasy points in the Chargers offense due to its floor and ceiling effect on your roster.
Allen Robinson ($6,500) against the Buccaneers
Robinson enters Week 4 averaging 65 yards per game and hasn’t found the end zone yet. Diving a little deeper, we see that Robinson’s opportunity is there for him to have good weeks, as he’s averaging nine targets per game (17th), 107 air yards per game (15th), and has a 0.7 Weighted Opportunity Rating (10th). He now gets the porous Buccaneers secondary that we’ve been attacking this entire season. After allowing the most fantasy points to WRs last year, the Bucs are allowing the 4th most this year. I do have QB concerns for Robinson as Mitchell Trubisky has been awful to start the year, but Robinson could put it all together in Week 4 given the opportunity and juicy matchup at $6,500.
Jarvis Landry ($7,000) with Baker Mayfield at QB
I don’t know if I’ll actually end up rostering Landry because of all of the other plays I mentioned earlier, but ideally I want to get on the Browns offense early and take advantage of Mayfield sooner rather than later, and Landry should continue to see massive amounts of volume (12.3 targets per game). I also really like David Njoku ($5,200) in tournaments, as he could have the biggest opportunity change with the better pure passer under center. Based on Njoku’s affordable price, he’s a borderline cash play but certainly has risk considering the disappointing start to his season.
Eric Ebron ($5,500) as a Target Hog
While Ebron chalk week failed last week, I’m not scared to go back again this week, as his price tag remains affordable and he still saw 11 targets last week. The Weekly Explorer reveals that even with Jack Doyle playing the first two games, Ebron is still fourth among TEs in targets on the season.
I don’t mind chasing the targets with Ebron who also has six red zone targets on the year. Houston is emerging as an above-average matchup for TEs, even Rhett Ellison scored last week.
DFS Lineup Optimizer
A new segment that I will be adding this week is showing how you can use the RotoViz DFS Lineup Optimizer to ]create lineups around the FanDuel Core that you create. I like to utilize the “lock” feature to lock in my must plays. For example, if I lock in Michael Thomas and the three RBs mentioned in this article, the DFS Lineup Optimzer spits out the following lineup:
While I’m not comfortable with Tyler Eifert in cash, I will make a mental note that I am high on the Bengals-Falcons game (as mentioned earlier), but wasn’t originally on Eifert, so he’s someone to consider in tournaments. To correct this lineup for cash, I will use the block feature to remove Eifert and Ryan Fitzpatrick, which gives me the following lineup:
I’ll need to do some tweaking to get off the Bills defense, but you can see how valuable and easy this lineup optimizer is as you continue to tweak the configurations.
- With bye weeks beginning and good offenses in the primetime games, I am highly concentrated on two games. That does add risk, as it lowers my floor if game script doesn’t go according to plan, but it also increases the upside of my rosters. Cash isn’t just about floor — we want to make profit, not just break even.
- I’m not going to make the mistake again of rostering someone in cash due to ownership — just play the best plays.
You can follow me @Michael_Dubner, where I’ll provide any updates to my FanDuel core as they may arise through the weekend. Good luck everyone, I hope to see you all at the top of the leaderboards.