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Creating Your FanDuel Core – Week 14

Michael Dubner highlights the players he’s considering for his core FanDuel lineup in Week 14.

WEEK 13 RECAP

  • Link to Creating Your FanDuel Core – Week 13
  • While Spencer Ware didn’t end up breaking the slate, consider deleting your FanDuel account if your process didn’t lead you to Ware in cash. I decided to go overweight on Ware in GPPs, but anytime a player is that highly owned, it is fair to consider an ownership-based fade in large-field tournaments.
  • Luckily we got Ware, making it unnecessary to roster Carlos Hyde, who did absolutely nothing.
  • Todd Gurley did Todd Gurley things.
  • I have to accept the L with Tyreek Hill considering we know what we’re getting ourselves into when rostering him in cash – he may have an attractive week-winning ceiling, but he always comes with a low price-adjusted floor. Unfortunately he had the bottom-percentile outcome last week, but if we repeat last week’s slate over again he’d have plenty of week-winning scores as well.
  • On the other hand, I won’t accept the L with Aaron Jones. I’m still convinced my process suggests he was one of the best plays on the slate. After his strong play and increasing snap rates of 74 percent, 90, and 75 the previous three weeks, there’s no way anyone could have projected a 51 percent snap rate in week 13. Mike McCarthy was rightfully fired following the game. I guess the takeaway here is rostering players with bad coaches does add unpredictability.

CREATING YOUR FANDUEL CORE – WEEK 14

I’m primarily a cash game and single-entry tournament player, and I 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 FanDuel core in Week 14.

PICK YOUR TWO FAVORITE EXPENSIVE RBS

EZEKIEL ELLIOT ($8,800) AS A HOME FAVORITE

Over the last 4 weeks, Elliot is being fed 29.6 opportunities, which has led to an incredible 23.5 expected fantasy points per game.

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The Cowboys are 3.5-point home favorites versus an Eagles defense that has fallen apart due to injuries. Over the last month, the Eagles are allowing the second most fantasy points to opposing RBs, including 176 yards and 2 touchdowns per game. That includes their earlier Week 10 matchup when Zeke went for 187 yards and two touchdowns.

Elliot’s 6.8 targets per game over the past month further secures his floor. He’s always a threat to score multiple TDs. The Weekly Stat explorer projects Elliot with a median score of 20 FanDuel points.

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SAQUON BARKLEY ($8,900) LEADS THE NFL IN EXPECTED FANTASY POINTS PER GAME

Barkley is fifth in rushing attempts (195), third in targets (91), and third in red one opportunities (51), which help him secure the top spot in the expected points category.

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Like Elliot, Barkley also draws a positive matchup at home versus Washington. The Fantasy Streaming App gives Barkley the fifth best matchup.

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Barkley has 100-plus yards in 12 of 13 games and has scored a touchdown in eight games, giving him a strong floor and ceiling projection.

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Alvin Kamara ($8,300) torched the Buccaneers earlier this season, and Christian McCaffrey ($9,100) is on a remarkable scoring streak. All four of these expensive RBs are great plays, and I recommend fitting in at least two of them into your lineups.

PICK YOUR FAVORITE CHEAP RB

Jaylen Samuels ($4,600) expects to split the Steelers backfield with Stevan Ridley. I prefer Samuels, as he’ll be the primary pass-catching back, filling in for James Conner’s 68 targets (eighth), and the Steelers are first in pass plays per game (43). Samuels is attached to the high-scoring Steelers offense, who are double-digit favorites with an implied team total of 30.75 points versus the hopeless Raiders.

I can’t say I knew who Jeffrey Wilson ($5,600) was before last week, but anytime a RB sees 23 touches it should catch your eye. What’s especially appealing is his pass-catching role, as he saw nine targets. Wilson played on roughly 75 percent of the snaps and saw about 30 percent of the 49ers’ opportunities.

I think both are really good salary-savings plays, but neither are must plays. They will likely pay off their salary if they get the majority of the work in their backfields, but there’s still uncertainty in their roles. Samuels is cheaper and carries a higher ceiling as he’s attached to a better offense, but I think Wilson carries a higher touch floor.

Even if you aren’t comfortable with their roles, I think you should at least consider them given what it opens up for the rest of your roster spots. Hopefully we get more certainty with their roles before kickoff.

ERIC EBRON’S ($6,400) OPPORTUNITY IS OUT OF CONTROL

Ebron is fourth in receiving expected fantasy points, fourth in targets, first in red zone targets, and fourth in air yards per game among TEs this season.

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Without Jack Doyle in the lineup, Ebron has seen a jaw-dropping 11 targets per game. For reference, Zach Ertz averages 10.1 targets, Travis Kelce 9.5, and George Kittle 7.7.
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KEENAN ALLEN’S ($7,900) SECOND HALF EXPLOSION

Once again, Allen is tearing up the second half of the season, with 15-plus FanDuel points in each game since Week 9.Screen Shot 2018-12-06 at 5.27.04 PM

During that timeframe, Allen ranks second among WRs in expected fantasy points per game (per the RotoViz Screener).

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The Chargers are without their touchdown scorer Melvin Gordon, and are still implied for 30.75. Allen has double-digit targets in three of five games and at least one red-zone target in each of those game.

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CHRIS GODWIN ($5,600) WITH DESEAN JACKSON OUT

This past offseason RotoViz’s Cort Smith highlighted Godwin as a potential breakout candidate. Godwin drips with upside, and that’s been realized in the three games DeSean Jackson hasn’t played the past two seasons.

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The Buccaneers are one of the league’s premier pass-first offenses — ranking seventh in passing but 23rd in rushing — so there’s a large pie of production that needs to be distributed.  For fantasy purposes, the Bucs’ passing strengths and rushing deficiencies align perfectly with the Saints pass-funnel defense — ranking third in FootballOutsiders‘ rush defense DVOA and 22nd in pass defense DVOA.

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The Saints are allowing the most fantasy points to WRs this season, and Godwin is Jameis Winston’s most efficient pass-catcher.1

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Godwin also already leads the Bucs in red-zone targets (12), on just 67 total targets.

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There are weather concerns in Tampa Bay, but I don’t really care about those reports until closer to game time, and only if 20-plus mph winds are expected. Coutland Sutton ($5,600) is a good pivot if you get spooked by the weather. However, even with Emmanuel Sanders out, I still think Sutton has a low floor as he’s tied to Case Keenum.

DFS LINEUP OPTIMIZER

A good way to discover under-the-radar players you previously weren’t considering is by seeing who pops in the DFS Lineup Optimizer. Below is the optimal FanDuel lineup for Week 14.

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Elliot is a core play. Josh Allen has 234 rushing yards the past two weeks. Lamar Miller is a home favorite coming off back-to-back 100-yard games. JuJu Smith-Schuster is good way to get exposure to the Steelers who will light up the scoreboard versus the Raiders. While I prefer Godwin, Adam Humphries is averaging 7.1 targets over his last seven games.

On a strategy note, the optimizer liking George Kittle suggests that paying $6,000-plus at TE is probably the optimal decision this week — whether it’s going with the Optimizer’s choice of Kittle, all the way up to matchup-proof Travis Kelce or Zach Ertz, my core play of Ebron, or a $6,200 Rob Gronkowksi (the cheapest I ever remember him being on FanDuel).

FINAL THOUGHTS

  • It feels like we’ve had a lot of weeks this year where there have been some “must plays” and obvious roster constructions, which leads to a lot of overlap with your opponents rosters. However, Week 14 presents a lot of viable roster constructions, which will lead to fewer overlap with opponents.
  • Although there are viable cheap RBs in Samuels and Wilson, I don’t think they are true free squares, as we don’t have certainty in their roles. I could easily see playing both, playing just one, or fading both working out. Realistically, I won’t play both on my main roster, as that exposes you to a really low floor.
  • How I handle weather: Don’t overreact to weather until Sunday, and only if the winds are 20-plus mph and the total is bet down.

HELPFUL LINKS

Below are links to the tools I use for my DFS research every week. Hopefully I am helping you learn how to use these tools so that you can gain an edge and become a winning FanDuel player.

You can follow me @Michael_Dubner, where I’ll provide any updates to my FanDuel core throughout the weekend. Good luck everyone. I hope to see you all at the top of the leaderboards.

  1. Minimum 50 targets; 2017-2018.  (back)

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