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NFL FanDuel Week 3: 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 3 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.

In the “Player Info” tab, I excluded all players with a Game Level Similarity Projection (GLSP) below 5 points or a value below 0.5. I also manually excluded all injured players or players I did not want to include in lineups but are popping in GLSP, such as Ryan Fitzpatrick, C.J. Anderson, Ian Thomas, and C.J. Uzomah.

Cowboys Onslaught: The Dolphins Are Handing Out Fantasy Points Like Candy

The Cowboys have a massive 34.25 implied team total going against a Dolphins defense that has been bludgeoned by opposing offenses.

In his career, Dak Prescott has crushed as a home favorite.

The Fantasy Points Summary App shows us that while Lamar Jackson leads the league in fantasy points through two weeks, Prescott is just behind him. Surprisingly, the gap between Jackson and Prescott is smaller than the gap between Prescott and Patrick Mahomes.

QB-WR stack: The optimizer decided to not stack Prescott with his WR1 Amari Cooper, but rather take the value in Devin Smith who is expected to become the WR2 with Michael Gallup sidelined. Smith hasn’t done much in the NFL, but his deep play ability makes him an interesting GPP option at an affordable price and a way to differentiate yourself from the more popular Prescott-Cooper stacks.

Cowboys Onslaught: Even though I only forced a QB-WR stack, the optimizer also jams in Ezekiel Elliott. Elliott’s volume was limited to 15 opportunities in Week 1 but was back to his usual 25 touches last week.

Elliot and the Cowboys offense has the highest touchdown expectation on the slate.

Christian McCaffrey’s Elevated Play Volume Against the Cardinals

While McCaffrey gets a QB downgrade from Cam Newton to Kyle Allen, he could still see a boost in opportunity as teams playing the no-huddle Arizona Cardinals have averaged the highest number of plays per game (76), 14.5 more than the league median. McCaffrey has finished as an RB1 in 67% of games the past two seasons.

Marquise Brown Is Breaking the DFS Lineup Optimizer Model

Most optimal lineups will have at least one player coming from the game with the highest total on the week between the two most explosive offenses this year in the Ravens @ Chiefs. Brown has had a blazing start to his career, ranking inside the top 10 in Air Yards and Weighted Opportunity Rating, despite playing just 40.8% of the Ravens snaps.

Brown’s routes run per game are quickly rising — just six routes in Week 1 jumped to 27 in Week 2 — as he gets more confident in his health. Brown has seen an astonishing 18 targets on just 33 routes run.

At $6,100 on FanDuel, the GLSP not only ranks Brown as easily the best points per dollar value of Week 3, but he’s also the No. 1 projected WR on the slate.

Kerryon Johnson’s Expanded Role

Johnson has seen a respectable 15 and 18 opportunities in the first two weeks. While Ty Johnson may see some more playing time this week, the release of C.J. Anderson (8 rush attempts/g) should increase our confidence in Johnson’s volume floor.

Johnson is priced as just the 15th most expensive RB on FanDuel, yet the Weekly Game Level Similarity Projections, give Kerryon the eighth highest 75th-percentile score on the week, despite it not being able to factor in the absence of Anderson.

Buy Evan Engram After a Down Week

Engram went ballistic in Week 1, racking up 14 targets, which he converted into 23.1 FanDuel points. Engram then flopped in Week 2 (7.8 points) at relatively high ownership. I expect his ownership to be somewhat depressed after a down week.

Removing Eli Manning’s woeful 5.7 Adjusted Yards/Attempt and injecting Daniel Jones’ uncertainty into the offense can only be a positive. The lack of surrounding pass-catchers creates a narrow target distribution, which increases confidence in weekly volume.

There seems to be a top-five group at TE with Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz, George Kittle, Mark Andrews, and Engram; Engram is the cheapest of the group on FanDuel. While GLSP gives Andrews the highest projection, the savings with Engram makes him the slightly better points/dollar value.

Plenty of Affordable Options at WR3

The Lineup Optimizer likes Emmanuel Sanders the most to fill the WR3 slot on this specific team. Given the volatility of the position, WR is almost always the position you should use to differentiate your lineup from the field.

If I set the Randomness to 50% on the lineup optimizer and generate 50 lineups, the optimizer built lineups with the following WR exposures:

NamePosFrequency
Marquise BrownWR48%
Sammy WatkinsWR46%
Emmanuel SandersWR38%
Devin SmithWR30%
Nelson AgholorWR24%
Antonio BrownWR20%
JuJu Smith-SchusterWR12%
Larry FitzgeraldWR10%
Mohamed SanuWR8%
Tyler LockettWR8%
Will Fuller VWR8%
Chris GodwinWR8%
Tyler BoydWR8%
Randall CobbWR6%
DeAndre HopkinsWR4%
Robert FosterWR4%
Zay JonesWR4%
Julio JonesWR4%
Michael ThomasWR2%
Courtland SuttonWR2%
Cole BeasleyWR2%
Calvin RidleyWR2%
Robby AndersonWR2%

Some quick notes:

  • Marquise Brown is a player you should have exposure to every week in GPPS if you are creating multiple lineups.
  • Sammy Watkins is an amazing GPP option after failing at high ownership last week despite seeing 13 targets as Patrick Mahomes’ WR1.
  • Nelson Agholor is one of the best points/dollar values on the slate if DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery are inactive.
  • Antonio Brown has slate-breaking upside at $7,700 against the Jets, but also a low floor if the Patriots try to milk the clock with a heavy lead.
  • Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk are can be stacked with Kyler Murray at a really affordable combined cost.
  • It is the ultimate buy-low week for Jameis Winston against the Giants, and you can easily double-stack him with two of Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, and O.J. Howard.

Continue the conversation by letting @RotoViz and @Michael_Dubner know who your favorite Week 3 NFL FanDuel GPP plays are!

Image Credit: Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Dak Prescott.

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