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NFL FanDuel Week 4: What The Lineup Optimizer Is Telling Us To Do in GPPs

Large Field Guaranteed Prize Pools (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 that 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 bank a large GPP prize.

Week 4 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 FanDuel 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 Saquon Barkley and Damien Williams.

Buy the Danny Dimes Hype

Even if you side with #AnaltyticsTwitter and believe Daniel Jones wasn’t a good NFL prospect, that doesn’t mean you can’t capitalize on his fantasy football friendly skillset. Jones had an impressive stat line in his first career start against the Buccaneers. Using the RotoViz Screener, we find that Jones finished second in both expected fantasy points and actual fantasy points among QBs in Week 3.

Jones’ rushing ability jumps off the page with 9.8 expected fantasy points coming on the ground. He scored two rushing TDs, both coming on carries in the red zone.

We forced the DFS Lineup Optimizer to stack a QB with only one WR, but the optimizer is begging us to roster a Giants onslaught by stacking Jones with both Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram. On a team that already lacks skill position depth, the subtraction of Saquon Barkley will only further condense the opportunity share.

Through three weeks, Engram has been the best tight end in fantasy football.

The NFL Stat Explorer Game Log tab shows us that Shepard has 16 targets in his two games. What also sticks out is the spike in air yards from Week 1 to Week 3, with the obvious change being Danny Dimes’ spark in the offense. Shepard has topped 110 air yards in only five other games in his 45-game career.

Play Marquise Brown Every Week

Marquise Brown has posted back-to-back WR3 performances following his Week 1 eruption. His FanDuel price has subsequently fallen to just $5,700. He is a value at that price-point, because his peripheral opportunity stats have remained strong despite his disappointing fantasy totals the past two weeks. Brown is still third in air yards and sixth in weighted opportunity rating.1 Brown’s 217 air yards in Week 3 were second only to Mike Evans — who scored 41 FanDuel points — and more than Keenan Allen, who ranked third in air yards and scored 37.1 FanDuel points.

Brown is someone I will have exposure to every week in FanDuel GPPs. Given his sub-$6K price, he is one of the best upside values on the slate.

Who is the WR1 in Tampa Bay?

Chris Godwin was the top Buccaneers fantasy WR in Weeks 1 and 2, then Mike Evans broke the slate in Week 3 as a screaming buy-low target. In Week 4, the Game Level Similarity Projections want you to roster…. either of them.

GLSP has Evans as the top overall projected WR but Godwin as the top value. The $600 savings with Godwin may be useful, but if you’re playing multiple teams then you should probably just have exposure to both.

Running Back: One RotoViz Favorite, Two Anti-RotoViz Options

It may feel expensive to pay $8,100 for Austin Ekeler, but he’s now finally priced in the tier he deserves to be in.

He is third in expected fantasy points per game and now draws a matchup against the Miami Dolphins defense that we will be attacking all year. The Dolphins have allowed opposing RBs to average 179 rushing yards and two TDs per game this season.

Many RotoViz contributors and subscribers will be disgusted to see Derrick Henry appear in the optimal lineup. Ryan Collinsworth has shown that modern day RB1s have scored fantasy points through a 50-50 split between rushing and receiving statistics. Henry ranks seventh in rush attempts but just 32nd in targets this year. His RB6 rank has been buoyed by his four TDs. In Week 4, the Titans are also four-point road underdogs.

Yet, the DFS Lineup Optimizer still likes Henry — probably due to his manageable $7,000 salary. He should be force-fed 18 touches with a goal-line role.

Todd Gurley cracks the optimal lineup for another week. I was selling Gurley all offseason, and nothing has changed to improve my confidence in him moving forward. Nonetheless, FanDuel has also correspondingly dropped his price to $6,800. Gurley ranks 30th in expected fantasy points per game, but he possesses scoring upside in a high-total matchup. The Rams boast an implied team total just shy of 30 points, and the Buccaneers are bleeding points to RBs.

WR Exposure

Given the volatility of the position, WR is almost always the position you should use to differentiate your lineup from the field. As a general rule of thumb, I’m willing to eat the chalk at RB and fade chalky WRS in FanDuel GPPs. If I set the Randomness to 50% on the DFS Lineup Optimizer and generate 50 lineups, the optimizer builds lineups with the following WR exposures:

Sterling ShepardWR42%
Tyler LockettWR36%
Chris GodwinWR36%
Sammy WatkinsWR34%
Marquise BrownWR26%
Mike EvansWR24%
Keenan AllenWR20%
Calvin RidleyWR18%
Julio JonesWR14%
Curtis SamuelWR14%
Larry FitzgeraldWR10%
Chris HoganWR8%
Terry McLaurinWR8%
Emmanuel SandersWR4%
Cooper KuppWR4%
Chris ConleyWR2%

Some quick notes:

  • Sterling Shepard, Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, Marquise Brown: see above.
  • Tyler Lockett ranks seventh in receiving yards and draws an up-tempo cake matchup against the Cardinals.
  • Sammy Watkins is fourth in Expected Fantasy Points.
  • Julio Jones has scored in seven straight weeks.

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

Image Credit: Tom Walko/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Austin Ekeler.

  1. Weighted opportunity rating — or WOPR — looks at target share and air yards share.  (back)

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