Michael Dubner uses the DFS Lineup Optimizer and other RotoViz tools to prepare for Week 9 GPPs on FanDuel.
Large-field 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 concentrate on just one scenario in a player’s possible range of outcomes. What was once a good play in a vacuum can become suboptimal as chalk. And what may feel thin at first may actually be plus-EV at low ownership.
One of the benefits of using the RotoViz Lineup Optimizer is that it provides information that is unbiased and unaware of 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 to bink a large GPP prize.
First, we’ll look at the top values and overall plays at each position, then at the end walk through the optimal lineup.
Player pricing and projections do not exist within a vacuum, but must take into the consideration of the context of the slate. To do this, I will use the DFS Lineup Optimizer to generate 100 lineups and we’ll look at the players who appear most frequently. Before generating the lineups:
- Excluded players I don’t want in my player pool.
- Forced QB-WR stack, since it is basically mandatory to stack your quarterback with at least one pass-catcher to take down a FanDuel GPP.
- RB in the Flex, since RBs tend to provide more upside in FanDuel’s half-PPR scoring format.
- Set the randomness to 50% in order to enhance player diversity.
As you’ll see in the wide receiver section, Russell Wilson, Matthew Stafford, and Jameis Winston all have WRs appearing in over 20% of lineups, so it’s not a surprise that the QBs are popping as well. We’re just going to move right on to the WR section now, and touch on the QBs there since building our QB and WR player pools are highly correlated with one another.
Buccaneers vs. Seahawks Shootout
Russell Wilson and Jameis Winston go head-to-head this week with Tampa Bay traveling to Seattle. This game will certainly not go overlooked for DFS purposes, as it has the highest over/under on the slate at over 50 points. Wilson is top three among QBs in fantasy points per game, and Winston will certainly draw ownership coming off a 300-yard, two-TD game.
The WRs will also be very popular with Chris Godwin (WR3), Mike Evans (WR5), and Tyler Lockett (WR11) all WR1s through eight weeks, per the Fantasy Points Summary App.1 Even D.K. Metcalf will draw a fair amount of ownership as well after scoring two touchdowns last week.
This will be the most popular game stack of the week, and it’s well deserved. The game projects to have the most points scored, both defenses are pass-funnels where they are hemorrhaging points through the air and are fairly stout against the run, and the offenses are very concentrated so we know exactly who to play in this game.
However, ownership will be the biggest obstacle here from a tournament perspective. Generally speaking, we are able to project RBs with a higher degree of certainty, while pass-catchers are more volatile. As a result, I like to play the RBs with the highest projections, and not worry as much about ownership. But I am very sensitive when it comes to WR ownership, especially when it comes with a high FanDuel salary. Godwin (first), Evans (second), and Lockett (seventh) are some of the most expensive WRs this week. And with the offenses being so concentrated, we can’t really use the ancillary pieces in this game to at least be a bit contrarian when stacking this game.
I’m not saying to fade this game, as there will be a lot of fantasy goodness in it. Evans, Godwin, and Lockett are projected for the second-, third-, and fourth-most fantasy points among WRs this week. However, if you do game stack it, then you must be very cognizant of the projected ownership of the other players in your lineup.
Leverage: I think it’s completely in the range of outcomes for Winston to have a classic melt-down game, throwing an early pick-6 and allowing the Seahawks to get an early lead where they are then totally willing to feed Chris Carson the rock. Playing Carson as your only piece in this game will provide massive leverage over the field if Seattle just goes with a ball-control approach.
Lions vs. Raiders Shootout
I am confident the TB@SEA game will be highly owned this week, but the Lions versus Raiders is the other game this week coming in with a total over 50 points. I think this game will also be popular, but I’m not sure how popular yet. Matthew Stafford stacked with Kenny Golladay and/or Marvin Jones comes with similar upside, but at a cheaper combined cost. While Godwin and Evans are priced as the WR1 and WR2 on FanDuel, Golladay has the highest 75th-percentile Game Level Similarity Projection (23.9 points).
After dropping 38.3 FanDuel points in Week 7, Marvin Jones came crashing back to Earth with just 4.2 points in Week 9 despite the easy matchup against the Giants. Last week was proof that the DFS field is getting sharper, as Golladay was still higher owned than Jones despite the prior week’s box score and salary differences. Jones carries the lower floor, but maintains a high ceiling in this juicy matchup.
Allen Robinson vs. the Eagles
It’s gone slightly under the radar that Robinson has been balling this year. He’s the Half-PPR WR16 despite already having a bye and having to catch passes from Mitchell Trubisky and Chase Daniel. Robinson might honestly miss Blake Bortles. Robinson is fifth among WRs in weighted opportunity rating (WOPR) and draws an Eagles secondary that is getting roasted by alpha WRs. Robinson is moderately priced at $7,200.
Christian McCaffrey remains very expensive at $9,700, which will also suppress his ownership a bit. He’s always a good play if you can make it work. Dalvin Cook is finally priced over $9K as well. The Vikings are road underdogs with an implied team total of just 19 points.
Aaron Jones is a negative touchdown regression candidate, but still feels underpriced in the high $7000s. Over the last three weeks, Jones has averaged 12 rushing attempts and 6.3 targets per game. He’s sixth in expected points per game.
Nick Chubb will likely be one of my favorite tournament RBs this week. This feels like a “get right” spot for the Browns, who are three-point favorites against the Broncos who will be trotting out Brandon Allen at QB. Denver is allowing the sixth most expected points per game to opposing RBs. Chubb is fourth in FanDuel points per game and has 20-plus opportunities in six of seven games.
Jordan Howard is pretty expensive ($6,300) for his touchdown-dependent role. However, Miles Sanders did pop up on the injury report after last week. It seems like Sanders will suit up, which will knock Howard out of my player pool But if Sanders can’t give it a go, then Howard becomes an interesting tournament play as a home favorite against an overrated Bears defense allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing RBs. Howard has six red-zone touchdowns this year (tied fourth).
Hunter Henry and Darren Waller are the only two TEs projected for double-digit GLSP points. The other big-name TEs are Travis Kelce and Zach Ertz who have a projection just over 9 points. Kelce leads all TEs in red-zone targets and is priced under $7K for the first time in a while, but doesn’t have Patrick Mahomes. Henry has the highest GLSP projection. Waller has the highest reception projection. Ertz has the lowest median projection of the group, but is the cheapest and is third in red-zone targets.
As it has been all year, tight end is a dumpster fire. Either pay up for one of those four, or just hope you find a touchdown. I played a lot of T.J. Hockenson last week in Stafford stacks, and don’t know if I can go back again after just one target. Dallas Goedert’s usage has been going up the last three weeks and he is just $5,000. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Week 9 DFS FanDuel Lineup Optimizer
We’ve already discussed the Seahawks – Buccaneers Game Stack above — scroll up to see my thoughts on that.
Image Credit: Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Nick Chubb.
- Chris Godwin and Mike Evans are WR1 and WR3 on a points per game basis (back)