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NFL FanDuel Week 5: What The Lineup Optimizer Is Telling Us To Do in GPPs

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

Groupthink can run rampant through the fantasy football grapevines and cause DFSers to home 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 5 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 all Bills skill position players with the uncertain status of Josh Allen.

Buy Low on Falcons Passing Attack

Matt Ryan is coming off a season low 15.68 FanDuel points. It was his first time not passing for a touchdown in 20 games. That dud performance at home will keep his ownership low now that he’s going on the road. However, Ryan’s ceiling remains intact for GPPS. He’s thrown for 300-plus passing yards in every game this season and is 5th among QBS in Expected Fantasy Points per game.

Shootout Possibility: The Falcons @ Texans has a 49 point total, which is the highest on the main slate. In one score situations, Atlanta is seventh in the NFL in seconds-per-snap and both Atlanta’s and Houston’s defenses are facing the fifth most pass attempts. These factors can lead to a shootout scenario if one team is able to score quickly.

Rather than stacking Ryan with Julio Jones or Austin Hooper, the optimizer went with the contrarian stack and is buying low on Calvin Ridley. Coming into the season, RotoViz was higher on Ridley than consensus as we were expecting Ridley to have a breakout season. After starting the season with 14.4 and 20.5 FanDuel points, Ridley has scored fewer than 5 FanDuel points in back-to-back weeks.

Now that public perception is down on Calvin Ridley, it may come to a surprise that he is still Matt Ryan’s most efficient receiver this season.

Ridley’s price has dropped considerably from mid-$6,000s at the start of the season to just $5,400, making this is a good time to jump back on Ridley in FanDuel GPPS given the salary relief, lower ownership, and possible shoot out scenario.

Bonus: Bring It Back with The Texans

While the DFS Lineup Optimizer doesn’t force the Texans into this roster, I generally like to bring back my stacks with a pass-catcher on the opposing team since opposing offenses have a high correlation. Like Calvin Ridley, Will Fuller is another buy-low, cheap WR ($5,700). Fuller is 11th among WRs in air yards, and has slate-breaking potential in FanDuel GPPs when he and Deshaun Watson finally connect on a deep ball.

I will also run it back with DeAndre Hopkins on some lineups, who may be low owned after three sub-par performances. The peripheral stats are still there for Hopkins though, as he’s sixth in weighted opportunity rating (which combines target share and air yards share).

Don’t forget to make game stacks with Deshaun Watson at QB as well. Watson and Ryan have the same GLSP-per-dollar Value, with Watson have the higher overall projection and Ryan having the cheaper price.

Ultimately, this Falcons vs. Texans game has a lot GPP-winning potential.

Chargers’ Concentrated Opportunity Share

Austin Ekeler and Keenan Allen have combined for nearly half of the Chargers’ opportunity market share so far in 2019. Melvin Gordon’s return certainly will throw a wrench into that equation.

I expect Ekeler to be very low owned, given that he’s priced above $7K despite not being the lead back on his own team. But Ekeler has still averaged about 2.5 receptions and 65 yards per game when Melvin Gordon has played (per the Game Splits App). Ekeler’s explosive start to the season and the LAC WR injuries may also convince the Chargers to give him more volume than he’s previously seen when Gordon is active. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ekeler still gets 15 touches.

Keenan Allen will be the top projected WR1 every week until otherwise stated.

I also hope you don’t need me wasting space arguing why Christian McCaffrey is the every week RB1.

Derrick Henry as a Home Favorite

Derrick Henry doesn’t fit the typical model of a modern day RB1, as he is barely involved in the passing game. Relying on rushing production will make him volatile. But as a home favorite against a Bills offense that will struggle to sustain drives with Matt Barkley under center, the Titans will be able to do what they want to do — feed Derrick Henry the rock. Henry’s production skyrockets as a home favorite.

What to Do at Tight End?

Tight end is a disaster in Week 5. No TE on the main slate has a GLSP projection above 12 FanDuel points, and only three TEs make it into the double digits.

The DFS Lineup Optimizer has Mark Andrews in the optimal lineup, as he’s the top value and highest projected TE. Everyone talks about the “Big-Three TEs”, but an argument can be made for Andrews belonging in that group.

Interestingly, GLSP hates Zach Ertz this week, giving him a measly 3.65 FanDuel points projection. This is a stark contrast to the majority of other fantasy football sites projecting him as the top TE play of the week. Quite frankly, I’ve never seen such a disparity without a plausible explanation. Ertz leads all TEs in expected fantasy points per game and the Eagles have an implied team total just under 30 points. I’m not sure why the GLSP hates Ertz this week, and I may still own a lot of him, but it’s at least making me think twice about it.

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%
Larry FitzgeraldWR34%
Keenan AllenWR26%
Nelson AgholorWR26%
Courtland SuttonWR24%
Calvin RidleyWR24%
Chris GodwinWR24%
Julio JonesWR20%
Marquise BrownWR18%
Tyler BoydWR14%
Mike EvansWR12%
Keke CouteeWR6%
Curtis SamuelWR4%
Michael ThomasWR4%
Stefon DiggsWR4%
Amari CooperWR2%
Alshon JefferyWR2%
Randall CobbWR2%
Chris ConleyWR2%
Cole BeasleyWR2%
Tyrell WilliamsWR2%
DeAndre HopkinsWR2%
Miles BoykinWR2%
Devin SmithWR2%

Some quick notes:

  • Sterling Shepard is averaging 8.3 targets per game, but it’s not accounting for Golden Tate being active. Tread with caution.
  • Larry Fitzgerald is seventh among WRs in expected fantasy points per game and Christian Kirk is dealing with an injury.
  • Courtland Sutton leads all WRs in red-zone targets (8).
  • Julio Jones can obviously be used in the Falcons-Texans game stacks mentioned earlier.
  • I’m just going to have exposure to Marquise Brown every week. He’s third among WRs in air yards and his declining price makes him that much more enticing. Monitoring the ownership of volatile players like Brown and Fuller is always important.
  • Tyler Boyd is fourth among WRs in targets, and will see an increase in expected volume against the fast-paced Arizona Cardinals and with John Ross placed on I.R.

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.

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