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Creating Your FanDuel Core – Week 7

Michael Dubner highlights the players he’s considering for his core FanDuel lineup in Week 7.


  • Link to Week 6 FanDuel Core
  • Identify the shoot out game: With the offensive explosion leading to inflated cash lines on FanDuel this year, it is essential to roster players in the highest scoring games in order to capture upside, even in cash games.
  • D/ST is not a priority: Of course the Bears D/ST was expected to be a great play last week, but we know D/ST is such a volatile position on FanDuel. Sure, it was good process to roster the Bears if you had the salary, but you shouldn’t base roster construction around a D/ST.
  • Refocusing this article: After reviewing my recent articles,1 I realized that I started to simply write up cash viable plays, rather than solely focusing on my core plays. It is good to admit and learn from mistakes, so moving forward, I will be sure to only write up the players I plan to build my entire roster around. Quality over quantity.


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 7.



Let’s not bury the lede and just start out with the player who has the highest floor and ceiling every week. Gurley’s usage is unparalleled, leading RBs with a massive 24 expected points per game.2 No other player is remotely close to matching his 48 red-zone opportunities, which he’s converted into 11 touchdowns through six games. As seen in the Weekly Explorer, Gurley leads pretty much every major stat category:

Screen Shot 2018-10-18 at 2.51.11 PM

Obviously FanDuel is a salary cap puzzle, and Gurley’s price has now hit five digits. I’m never going to tell you to not play Gurley simply because of an arbitrary price, so long as the rest of your roster doesn’t severely suffer. It’s important to remember that we have to analyze players within the context of a given slate. Because RB is so gross this week, I am inclined to jam Gurley into my lineup and figure out how to make the rest of my roster work.


As I’ve mentioned the past few weeks, I like the idea of rostering both the QB and RB from a team expected to score a lot of points in order to capture all of the touchdowns. The Rams clearly have the highest implied team total, currently at 31 — the second highest is 27. Sure there’s the risk of a blowout or Gurley scoring all of the touchdowns, but that’s the point in rostering Gurley and Goff together – their combined touchdown floor is so high.

It will be tough to fit Goff and Gurley together considering their combined prices of $18,500, so it comes down to how you feel about the cheap value on this slate.3 Other QBs on my cash game list include Kirk Cousins, Jameis Winston, Joe Flacco, and Blake Bortles, but Goff is the preferred play.


Cooper Kupp was ruled out early in the week, giving us confidence that Woods is a safe floor play in cash, but it also increases the probability of achieving a ceiling game, which is necessary if cash lines remain elevated on FanDuel. Even with Kupp in the lineup, Woods is averaging nine targets and 87 yards per game. I prefer Woods over Brandin Cooks ($7,500) in cash,4 but certainly think Cooks is an awesome GPP play.


Possibly the biggest decision of the week is if you pair Gurley with Thielen or Elliot. Typically I lean towards the guarantee volume of RB in these situations, but Thielen’s record setting target pace (14 per game) is really enticing in this juicy matchup against the Jets who have struggled against slot WRs.

Screen Shot 2018-10-18 at 8.15.47 PM

Thielen has double-digit targets and 100 receiving yards in every game this year. He’s also top-10 in Weighted Opportunity Rated (0.78), air yards per game (120), and red zone targets (nine).

On the other hand, Elliot is averaging 23 touches per game. With expected neutral game script as 1.5 point road underdogs in Washington, Dallas will likely feed Elliot and try to establish the run. The concerns for Elliot are Washington’s slow neutral pace (28th) potentially limiting Elliot to volume below expectation as well as the Redskins limiting opposing offenses to the second fewest rushing attempts (16.4) and seventh fewest rushing yards (69.4) per game. Still, Elliot is ninth in expected points per game (17.6), second in rushing attempts (117), second in rushing yards (586), and sixth in red-zone opportunities (19).


We’ve attacked the Tampa Bay secondary every week, and we’re not stopping now, as they continue to get roasted by WRs. Landry’s fantasy stats have been down with Baker Mayfield at QB, but the opportunity has still been there.

Screen Shot 2018-10-18 at 8.22.38 PM

Landry has a shockingly low catch rate (47 percent), but still ranks sixth in targets (11 per game), 11th in air yards, and 12th in Weighted Opportunity Rating. This matchup suggests it’s the week for him to “get right.” There is also a massive site pricing discrepancy, where Landry is the eighth most expensive WR on DraftKings but just 26th priced WR on FanDuel.

Screen Shot 2018-10-18 at 8.25.23 PM

Jermaine Kearse ($5,000), Taylor Gabriel ($5,900), and Baltimore WRs are all in cash consideration for me, and I’ll likely end up rostering at least one of them, but none of them are true core plays for me.


We had to painfully watch Seth Devalve steal targets from Njoku last year, but with seven-plus targets in five of six games, we can confidently rely on Njoku’s volume moving forward. The biggest obstacle for Njoku is the lack of scoring opportunities, as he has just two red zone targets on the year. But given the state of the TE position, I’m just going to lock in Njoku’s target volume and matchup against the Buccaneers pass defense.

It feels weird that two Cleveland Browns (Njoku and Landry) are part of my FanDuel core, but I’m sticking with my process, and the 50-point Vegas total provides reassurance.


A good way to discover under-the-radar players you previously weren’t considering is by seeing who pops in the DFS Lineup Optimizer. After locking in Gurley, here’s what the optimizer spits out:

Screen Shot 2018-10-18 at 8.46.41 PM

With Ted Ginn landing on the I.R., Anthony Amico would be happy Tre’Quan Smith finds his way onto the optimal roster. I’ll likely be staying away from Smith this week given the difficult matchup on the road, but will certainly hope to roster him in future weeks. Alshon Jeffrey and Zach Ertz stand out the most to me, as stacking them with Carson Wentz will likely be low-owned this week.


  • Because I don’t like RB this week and have several value WRs I’m fine with, this is one of the few weeks where I’m considering a WR in the flex spot on FanDuel.
  • I can’t thank Dave Caban enough for his Weekly Stat Explorer, which is where all of the awesome visuals come from.

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. Reviewing your process is one of the best things you can do for long term success.  (back)
  2. Alvin Kamara is tied with Gurley, but Mark Ingram is now back; James Conner is in third place and is still a full 2.6 expected points per game lower  (back)
  3. After toying around with a few lineups, I was able to make it work if I decide to go that route  (back)
  4. But I don’t have an issue with Cooks in cash, especially if you need that $200 savings  (back)

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