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NFL FanDuel Week 2: What The Lineup Optimizer Is Telling Us To Do in GPPs

GPPs are primarily won in three key areas: 1) player projections, 2) roster construction, and 3) ownership.

Groupthink can run rampant through the fantasy football grapevines and cause DFSers to hone in on just one scenario in a player’s possible range of outcomes. What was once a good play in a vacuum can become sub-optimal as chalk. And what may feel thin at first may actually be plus-EV at low ownership.

One of the benefits to using the RotoViz Lineup Optimizer is it provides information that is unbiased from public touting. Our goal here is to uncover players and roster constructions that are going overlooked by the public and can help vault us to the top of the leaderboards and bink a large GPP prize.

Week 2 DFS FanDuel Lineup Optimizer

Below is the optimal lineup using the RotoViz Lineup Optimizer.

I forced the optimizer to include a stack since it is basically mandatory to stack your quarterback with at least one pass-catcher in order to take down a GPP. I also configured the flex to fill with a running back, since RBs tend to provide more upside in FanDuel’s half-PPR scoring format.

Defenses Don’t Matter: Stack Kyler Murray – Larry Fitzgerald

RotoViz contributor Josh Hermseyer has used evidence-based analysis to debunk beliefs ingrained in common football rhetoric. At the forefront of his Twitter feuds is evidence that suggests defenses don’t matter. Essentially, there is high variance in defensive performance with little predictability in projecting future defensive success. Not to mention, just one lapse in coverage can lead to fantasy points scored in bulk for the offense.

The Cardinals @ Ravens game total opened at 42.5, but was quickly steamed up to 46.5, suggesting a good scoring environment.

Pace-of-Play: The faster the pace (plays/second), the more plays there will be in a game. More plays leads to more opportunities to score fantasy points. Going on the road to Baltimore after an overtime game for rookie QB Kyler Murray is not ideal. However, the Cardinals predictably played at the fasted pace in Week 1, snapping the ball every 21.36 seconds.

Cluster injuries: The Ravens defensive group suffered a series of cluster injuries at cornerback with Jimmy Smith and Tavon Young out for Week 2 in addition to Brandon Carr and Marlon Humphrey being limited in practice.

Larry Fitzgerald’s $5,500 price tag on FanDuel was clearly adjusted down for the perceived poor matchup. But he should be able to take advantage of this banged-up secondary, and he ranked third in expected fantasy points in Week 1, per the RotoViz Weekly Stats Explorer.

Ownership: The Ravens offense will carry high ownership, yet the Cardinals are likely going to be low owned given their slow Week 1 start and the public perception of the Ravens defense. However, we know that opposing offenses have a high correlation, so stacking the Cardinals is a way to get unique exposure to this game where everyone will be playing the opposing offense.

Evan Engram Volume Overload

FanDuel failed to adjust Engram’s salary after his monstrous Week 1.

Engram has finished as a TE1 in 67% of games since the start of last year.

Engram is not only the best TE value on the slate, but the Game Level Similarity Projections (GLSP) also project him to be the highest raw scorer among TEs.

Teammate Saquon Barkley also cracks the optimal lineup, as GLSP gives him the highest RB projection. Already expected to see a lot of volume, the Giants are extremely banged up at WR, so Engram and Barkley will have one of the highest floor and ceiling touch projections.

Don’t Sleep On Terry McLaurin

Many will want to see it at least once more strong outing before buying into McLaurin as a legitimate fantasy option. However, if McLaurin plays well again, then it will be too late to buy, as his price will adjust upwards.

McLaurin’s GLSP projection is no joke, where he has the ninth highest 50th-percentile outcome and 11th highest 75th-percentile outcome. As a result, the lineup optimizer easily has him as the best WR value.

Patriots Onslaught

New England has an enormous 33-point implied team total. Given Antonio Brown’s historical production, it’s not surprising he’s the Patriot that makes the optimal lineup. Even if you are concerned the Patriots rest starters when the game is out of hand, pretty much every Patriot is in play given the number of expected touchdowns scored. This is the highest implied team total in Tom Brady’s last 50 games. Per the wise words of Al Zeidenfeld, play all the dudes.

Be sure to monitor news regarding Brown’s availability and expected playing time.

Will Ezekiel Elliot Assume a Full Workload?

After returning from holdout just before Week 1, Elliot earned just 13 carries and two targets with Tony Pollard seeing 13 rush attempts. We can expect Elliot to see more work in Week 2 now that he’s had more time with the team, but will it be his usual amount? Hopefully we get more clarity on the situation over the weekend because if we are confident in his volume, then GLSP loves his Week 2 outlook as both a top-three raw scorer and value at RB.

RBs facing Washington over the last five regular-season games have averaged the third most expected fantasy points.

Todd Gurley’s Price Adjustment

Gurley’s Week 1 performance was very concerning from a usage perspective. While he carried the rock 14 times, he recorded just one target and had zero touches in the red zone, forfeiting five red-zone touches to Malcolm Brown. Before looking at salaries, I thought Gurley would be an easy price-adjusted fade for me, but it was good to see that FanDuel appropriately plummeted Gurley’s salary to $7,000.

Even as a committee back, Gurley should see 12-15 touches per game, which is at least now in the same ballpark as other RBS in his salary range. Gurley has the benefit of also playing for the Rams whose 27.5 implied team total is one of the highest of the week.

If you want to look beyond Gurley, the GLSP also thinks Alvin Kamara, Chris Carson, and Kerryon Johnson are set up well in Week 2.

Bonus: Pittsburgh Steelers Onslaught

We already knew Ben Roethlisberger is much more effective at home. We already knew the Patriots will be one of the most difficult matchups in the league. So I’m not going to overreact to the Steelers’ goose egg in Week 1.

I have a simple rule: any time the Steelers are coming off an embarrassing road loss and return home, I’m just going build GPP onslaughts.

Ben Roethlisberger Game Splits: Home Favorite vs All Other Games (2017-2019)

Continue the conversation by letting @RotoViz and @Michael_Dubner know who your favorite Week 1 NFL FanDuel GPP plays are!

Image Credit: George Walker/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Ezekiel Elliott.

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