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Creating Your FanDuel Core – Week 13

Michael Dubner highlights the players he’s considering for his core FanDuel lineup in Week 13.


  • Link to FanDuel Thanksgiving Day Special
  • For Week 12, we only discussed the Thanksgiving Slate, as it is annually one of the best slates of the year.
  • Alvin Kamara was not gravy, but Ekeliel Elliot did eat.  Theo Riddick didn’t kill your rosters and we identified the Lions would have a slate-breaking RB, but unfortunately that was LeGarrette Blount and not Riddick. Calvin Ridley paid off in a big way.


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 13.


Jones was a player many in the fantasy community were high on this offseason. And the question for Jones was never really talent, but whether Mike McCarthy would make this a frustrating backfield committee. Using the RotoViz Player Usage App, we see that Jones has completely dominated the backfield touches for the last month or so. The usage increase is fueled by the trading Ty Montgomery, Jamaal Williams’ ineffectiveness, and Jones’ talent finally being realized.

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Using the RotoViz Weekly Stats Explorer, we see that the Jones’ opportunity is more than just a random spike, but is now a sustained trend. In addition to the rushing volume, Jones has four-plus targets in each of his past four games, which elevates his floor and suggests he’s game script independent.

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Game script won’t be a concern this week as the Packers are 14-point home favorite versus the Cardinals. The Cardinals are allowing the third-most fantasy points per game to RBs, which is catalyzed by opposing teams force-feeding their RBs with 28.45 carries per game (most), so this game sets up well for a heavy dosage of Jones. Additionally, the Packers’ implied team total of 29 points suggests plenty of scoring opportunity. Jones has 15 red zone opportunities in his past 4 games. For comparisons sake, Ezekiel Elliot’s 41 red zone opportunities – or 3.75 per game – is fifth among RBs.

What also stands out are the black bars in the above figure, which are expected fantasy points per game. Using the RotoViz Screener, I found that since Week 9, Jones’ 15.6 expected per game is 10th (and six of the other top 15 RBs are not on the Week 13 Main Slate).

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One exercise I like to do every week is to compare the salaries of players on FanDuel versus DraftKings. Hill’s price as the WR6, where he takes up 14 percent of the salary cap, is a big discount compared to DraftKings where he’s the WR1 and takes up 18.2 percent of the cap.

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Hill ranks towards the top of the league in many of the important stats we care about, including his 9 targets per game and eighth most air yards.

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Hill has a lower floor than we’d like for a player who costs $8,400, considering he has six-or-fewer targets in four games. However, he clearly has week-winning upside – which is more and more necessary for cash games this year – as we’ve also seen him have five games with double-digit targets. Sammy Watkins has officially been ruled out for Week 13. Watkins was inactive for the two games prior to the bye, which increases our confidence in Hill seeing targets on his upper range of outcomes. Two weeks ago, Hill was the must-own player in DFS when he dropped a 39-point hammer in the Game of the Century versus the Rams. He also exploded for 29 FanDuel points the week before against Cardinals.

Andy Reid teams have historically played well coming off a bye. They have a matchup against the hopeless Raiders where Patrick Mahomes has a chance to bolster his MVP odds. Rostering Hill is a great way to get (relatively) cheaper exposure to Mahomes and the Chiefs’ implied 35 team total


The Rams rank top-five in both passing yards and touchdowns per game, so there’s a lot of production to be split up in this receiving group.

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With Cooper Kupp out for the year, there is condensed target share. He leaves behind 54 targets and a pretty decent chunk of red zone work. Brandin Cooks ($7,800) has 8-plus targets in four straight games and Robert Woods ($7,300) has had 70-plus reYDS in every game since Week 1. The math is simple: Kupp’s injury increases our certainty in Cooks and Woods – elevating their floor and increasing their odds of hitting their upside. I prefer Woods in cash for the savings, but Cooks is also cash viable and an awesome GPP play – he’s historically smashed in dome stadiums.

On the other side of the ball, Kenny Golladay ($7,300) has been a target monster the past few weeks, as the Lions are without Kerryon Johnson, Marvin Jones, and traded Golden Tate.

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Over the past two weeks, Golladay has 23 targets, is fifth in air yards, and has an off-the-charts 0.91 Weighted Opportunity Rating (first). There’s no reason to think Golladay’s target share will change, as the Lions will be forced to pass against the Rams. The Rams are allowing the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing WRs, including the most TDs per game (1.64) to wideouts.


Other than Aaron Jones, it’s hard to really select a “core” of running backs because there are so many I want to play. Christian McCaffrey ($8,800) jumps off the page. We know he’s been an every down RB, and his massive receiving role provides such a high floor, even on FanDuel. The issue earlier in the year was his TD upside, but McCaffrey has put those concerns behind him as he’s now fourth in red zone opportunities. The Panthers are going to put up a lot of points against the Buccaneers.

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Kareem Hunt ($8,900) has a massive ceiling against the hopeless Raiders, as the Chiefs have a 35 point team total and the Raiders are allowing the eighth most points to RBs. There is a small concern that Spencer Ware continues to get more involved, especially in a blowout, but that also probably means Hunt has already smashed by that point. *With the disgusting video surfacing of Hunt, he’s been removed from my player pool. For a football perspective only, this makes Spencer Ware ($5,200) a really intriguing option if we have certainty that Hunt won’t play. This also increases confidence in Hill.

Todd Gurley ($9,800) is finally below 10K. He’s an awesome play every week, it’s just a matter of if you have the salary to afford him.

I think the floor of Carlos Hyde ($5,000) is really scary in cash: The Jaguars could get down early, which would give more playing time to T.J. Yeldon. The Jaguars might just not be able to move the ball into scoring position (Cody Kessler at QB), or Hyde might just not get as much of the rushing share as people anticipate. However, the savings at 5K allows you to do so much with the rest of your roster. If he finds the end zone, you’re lineups will be looking really good on Sunday. But he certainly comes with a lot of risk.


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 13.

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  • I’ve already discussed other players on the Chiefs that I love, so naturally in makes sense for Mahomes to be popping in the optimizer. What I didn’t expect was Chris Conley appearing in the optimizer. Conley makes for a really interesting FanDuel Sunday Million dart throw, as a pass-catcher tied to Mahomes and, as previously noted, the Chiefs will be without Watkins.
  • Saquon Barkley may go under-owned with all of the other RBs in play this weekend, and people will notice his difficult matchup against the Bears. But Barkley has such a high floor and ceiling with his receiving usage and TD share. I likely won’t be on Barkley in single-entry contests, but he does make sense in GPPs.
  • See above for Aaron Jones as a core player.
  • Stefon Diggs should project for double-digit targets against the Patriots. Adam Humphries has increased opportunity with DeSean Jackson inactive, I just wish it was Chris Godwin who popped in the model instead. Gerald Everett is tied to the high scoring Rams offense that lost Cooper Kupp (as noted above with the Rams pass-catchers).


  • There’s a ton to like at the high end RBs and WRs this week. I think the most popular approach will be to pay down for Carlos Hyde,  pay up at the other two RB spots, and then pay up for one WR while grabbing two mid-priced WRs. There’s certainly merit to fading Hyde as a way to not only differentiate your lineups, but it might also just be the better approach overall considering the low floor.
  • In order to fit those expensive skill position players, Jameis Winston makes a lot of sense at $7,500, but there are other QBs to consider as well. Eric Ebron ($5,600) will be the chalk TE with Jack Doyle on IR, but you can also pay all the way down to Matt LaCosse or Cameron Brate if you need the savings. As always, I don’t have an issue with you paying up for the stud TEs, but I probably just won’t go there myself based on roster construction.


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.

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