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As part of that experience, we at DLF felt it might be of particular interest to our readers to provide them with an optimized lineup that they should be able to plug into a Head to Head or 50/50 game and fully expect to win some money.
Anyone who thought that knowing a decent amount about fantasy football, dynasty specifically, would be more than enough to sail you through to money in the daily format clearly hasn’t been paying attention. I consider myself very well versed in dynasty and even redraft, I’ve written full articles on and developed strategies for auction drafting and I know a lot of the players very well from my scouting exploits, but none of this prepares you from the daily format. Now, I never thought it would but I’ve seen many people lose their minds at their inability to get over on this format. I’ve been playing daily for somewhere between three and four years now. The format has grown immensely and the strategies to gain an advantage in the format have grown just as fast. However, more often than not it all comes down to dumb luck.
How else can you explain having players like Julio Jones and Delanie Walker in a lineup, or in last week’s piece in this example, and those players being the ones you had to worry about. Bear in mind this is while a player like Mohamed Sanu levels the competition with an incredible performance and a career day. Hopefully you all took Sanu, like I suggested, but lets be honest here, Julio Jones was the one who we could all set it and forget it, Sanu was supposed to be the wildcard with upside. It’s a funny and frustrating game but we have to put each week behind us and move on to the next:
Quarterback – Ben Roethlisberger – $7,500
[inlinead]?Last time we featured Ren Roethlisberger in this column, he had a prime matchup versus Jacksonville and didn’t even approach the production many expected of him. This week he has a little tougher matchup than before but he should do quite well versus the Houston Texans. The Texans are giving up the seventh most completions in the NFL while the Steelers are completing the eight most passes in the NFL. Technically speaking, this matchup is the most pass advantageous of the week so look for Pittsburgh to take advantage of it with a heavily dose of offense through the air. In the red zone, the matchup gets even more favorable for Roethlisberger as over the last three games the Steelers red zone scoring has been 100% via the pass. On the other side of the ball, the red zone scores against the Texans have come 88% via the pass. When you mix all of this together with a Vegas line that has the Steelers scoring 25 points and you’ve a few indicators pointing to Roethelisberger being able to not only stack up some yardage against the Texans but some touchdowns, too.
Projected Stat Line – 28 completions for 328 yards and three touchdowns
Follow-Up – Kirk Cousins ($7,600) – Well, this call I’m going to mark up as successful. Kirk Cousins has 19.16 fantasy points using FanDuel’s scoring system, throwing for 354 passing yards and finding the end zone twice. The performance itself certainly wasn’t going to hurt your team but it wasn’t exactly a “Flacco-like” performance either. One thing is for sure, his three interceptions hurt a lot but coming in at a price tag of 397 dollars per point he pretty much stayed in the realm of his price tag for the week.
Running Back – DeMarco Murray – $9,400
Given the kind of season DeMarco Murray has had this year, I could make this entry really short by simply saying something like, “Hey, it’s DeMarco Murray, why wouldn’t you play him?” However, I wouldn’t do that to our fine readers, I’ll actually give you some reason for going with him, needed or not. First, the Giants are giving up the sixth most points in the NFL to running backs this season. Second, the Giants are seventh most rushing yards in the NFL with a nasty 126 yards surrendered per game. Third, the Giants see the sixth most rushing plays in the red zone over the past three games with 43% of all plays going on the ground. The simple fact of the matter in daily fantasy is that touchdowns win you games. You can compile all of the stats you want but simply put, if you ain’t scoring, you’re boring. Luckily, I don’t expect Murray to be boring anyone as he should see a couple scores on the day with any luck.
Projected Stat Line – 23 rushes for 140 yards and two touchdown, four receptions for 40 receiving yards.
Follow-Up – Matt Forte ($9,000) – Sure, Matt Forte was expensive last week, but when all was said and done he was worth it. Forte threw down 32.7 points on FanDuel, his best total of the season and best performance in recent memory on the site. He accomplished this by gaining 80 yards on the ground and two touchdowns with an additional ten receptions for 77 receiving yards – not too shabby, really. His price per point of 275 dollars per point is excellent by any definition of the word and is one of the better values identified in this column this season.
Running Back – Justin Forsett – $6,200
Wow, talk about no respect, Justin Forsett even has Rodney Dangerfield beat. Forsett’s $6,200 dollar price tag is lower than no less than four players who are either out or currently on injured reserve (Rashad Jennings, Montee Ball, Knowshon Moreno and Ryan Mathews). Nonetheless, Forsett just keeps on plugging away and putting up impressive statistics for an affordable price. Over the past three weeks, he has never produced under 90 all-purpose yards in a game and scored touchdowns in two of those three games as well. Last week he put up his first 100+ yard rushing effort of the season as well so things are looking pretty good for him so far.
Guess what, things are about to get even better.
This week, Forsett and the Ravens face an Atlanta team that has surrendered the second most rushing yards in the NFL over the past three weeks. Atlanta has given next to no resistence against the rush giving up an average over of 150 yards per game during that span and show no signs of turning that streak around. Forsett should have quite a day and at his $6200 price tag he has deal written all over him this weekend.
Projected Stat Line – 12 rushes for 60 yards and two touchdowns, five receptions for 30 yards
Follow-Up – Fred Jackson ($6,800) – Coming in at 561 dollars per point, Fred Jackson didn’t perform up to his price tag. His stat line of 26 rushing yards and four receptions for 17 yards was frankly pathetic and was only saved by a rushing touchdown which contributed a majority of his points for the day. Despite his poor performance last week, his price actually increased this week to $6,900 dollars. It may be time to jump off the FJax train for the next couple stops until his price comes down or his production increases to make him a value once again.
Wide Receiver – Antonio Brown – $9,000
Antonio Brown is the second half to the equation I laid out above with Ben Roethlisberger. Simply put, if Roethelisberger is throwing touchdowns in the game on Monday night, then there is an excellent chance many of those touchdowns will go to Brown. Brown has been absolutely dominating thus far this season coming in at second in receiving yards, tied for first in touchdowns and in the top ten in yards after the catch. As I mentioned above with Roethlisberger, Houston’s defense is susceptible to the pass and can be exploited by this duo. So why Brown and not another Steelers receiver? Well, glad you asked. First, Brown accounts for 40% of all of Pittsburgh’s receiving yards. Second, he accounts for nearly two-thirds of all of the Steelers receiving touchdowns. Third, Houston gives up the eighth most fantasy points to wide receivers. I’m looking for Brown to capitalize on the matchup and to have a great day. When you factor in the double points per play on the Roethlisberger-Brown stack then you can really see your point total jump leaps and bounds at a time.
Projected Stat Line – Eight receptions for 135 yards and two touchdowns
Follow-Up – Julio Jones ($9,000) – Julio, Julio, Julio my friend, what happened? Jones posted his worst game of the season with just four receptions for 68 yards. His performance yielded him 8.9 fantasy points, which absolutely crushed any lineups he was in. His price per point of $1,011 dollars is crippling and automatically killed those owners unfortunate enough to start him last week, myself included. When your high dollar stud players don’t show up there just isn’t much you can do other than start planning for next week. This was probably the worst game he’ll have all season but he chose a horrible time to have it for me.
Wide Receiver – Andre Holmes – $6,000
Sure, it feels a little bit like chasing the rabbit here given Andre Holmes’ production last week, but there is a lot of upside to be had here. It’s fairly evident that Derek Carr and Holmes have quite a relationship on the field and that Holmes has earned Carr’s trust. Now, in this matchup Oakland faces an Arizona defense that ranks #31 in fantasy points given up to wide receivers. On the other side of the ball, Oakland is about as pass heavy of an offense as they come with 65% of all offensive plays over the past three games being a pass, a percentage which leads the NFL. So what happens when a pass happy offense meets a defense that is extremely weak against the pass? We’re about to find out. I like Holmes more in this matchup than James Jones due to the fact that Patrick Peterson in all likelihood will be matched up on Jones, clearing the way for Holmes to have a nice game.
Projected Stat Line – Four receptions for 90 yards and one touchdown
Follow-Up – Golden Tate ($6400) – Golden Tate is playing quite the dangerous game with the daily fantasy community. He remained chronically undervalued for much of the season and then proceeded to have a grand coming out party against Buffalo two weeks ago. After that his price still remained low and he went into a classic trap game against Minnesota. FanDuel provided the gasoline to this disaster sticking him with a $6,400 dollar price tag, all owners had to do was light the match. When many of us did we expected a huge explosion, instead it seems like we were soaked in gasoline and lit the fuse on our own demise as we watched our lineup so up in smoke with Tate’s performance. Tate managed seven reception but only went for 44 receiving yards on the day – this garnered him 7.9 fantasy points, which ended up costing owners $810 dollars per point and put a lot of lineups to bed early last weekend.
Wide Receiver – Odell Beckham Jr. – $6,200
The unfortunate injury to Victor Cruz presents Odell Beckham Jr. with an extraordinary opportunity. Due to the prices for the being posted before the Monday night game occurred, Beckham’s price is artificially low versus his upside this week. Obviously, this is a great opportunity to take advantage of as Beckham was already starting to be worked in to the Giants offensive plans and now should see a very nice boost in opportunities to score. It’s tough to extrapolate stats for Beckham given his limited usage, but even if he gets a third of Cruz’ statistics in addition to the small role he’s carved out for himself then he should significantly outperform his price tag for the week. This pick is more about potential upside as opposed to definitive production but these are the kind of selections that will ultimately win games for those who make them.
Projected Stat Line – Five receptions for 55 yards and one touchdown
Follow-Up – Mohamed Sanu ($6,000) – Finally, a receiver who came to play last week! Sanu scared me for a good part of his game with a pretty paltry stat line but then turned it one at the end of the game to finish the day with ten receptions for 120 receiving yards and a touchdown. Sanu was able to put his team on his back with the absence of AJ Green and kept them in the game, ultimately waking away with a tie against Carolina. Sanu’s 23 fantasy point was refreshing given the performance of his two higher priced counterparts on last week’s roster and came out to a great value of 261 dollars per point, definitely nothing to sneeze at.
Tight End – Antonio Gates – $6400
Antonio Gates, also known as “Old Man” Gates in many fantasy circles, is the second Antonio on our roster and boy would be nice if they both performed well. Gates’ quarterback, Phillip Rivers is having quite the season for himself and one of the biggest beneficiaries has been none other than Gates. This week against the Kansas City defense the Chargers have a great opportunity to do some damage in the red zone through the air. San Diego has scored 100% of their touchdowns through the air over the past three games while the Chiefs have surrendered 82% of all touchdowns via the pass over the past three weeks. Meanwhile, Gates has accounted for 40% of all passing touchdowns in San Diego this season and looks to be in line for at least another one come Sunday as Las Vegas has pegged the Chargers with scoring 25 points. Gates should also benefit from Rivers’ ability to spread the ball around with a solid amount of receptions and receiving yards.
Follow-Up – Delanie Walker ($6,000) – Delanie Walker’s receptions continued to slide week over week despite a prime matchup with the Jaguars. In the past three weeks Walker’s receptions have dropped from five to four and now three last week. Granted, with those three receptions he did put up a decent 57 yards in receiving but that did little to help his fantasy point total. Walker only scored 7.2 points last week, which put his price per point at 833 dollars per point. There may be more to his shoulder issue then fans have been clued in to.
Kicker – Shaun Suisham – $4,700
So we need to pick a kicker and Shaun Suisham is a kicker. I originally had reservations about having so many Pittsburgh players in the lineup and went with Alex Henery. Yep, Alex Henery who hasn’t been on a team for over weeks. I got a couple of well deserved ribs for that one but it just goes to show you, kickers simply do not matter in this format. I beg you FanDuel, please get rid of them after this season! Oh yeah, So Suisham should get quite a few opportunities with the stack we already have in place so get your Steelers gear on for Monday night!
Projected Stat Line – Two field goals, three extra points
Follow-Up – Robbie Gould ($4,600) – Here’s a big reason I hate even talking about kickers, Gould had four opportunities to put points on the board for the Bears last weekend but only converted on three of those opportunities. That means he was 75% successful, which just kills you since these points are supposed to be automatic, or at the very least the easiest to earn. With a $4,600 price tag, his seven point cost owners 657 dollars per point. I sincerely hope FanDuel drops this position all together next season as it’s just so ridiculous.
Defense – Pittsburgh Steelers – $4800
The Pittsburgh Steelers haven’t really been rewriting the history books with their performance thus far this season, but they’ve proven to at the very least to be competent and ultimately that’s what you’re looking for in a low price option. This selection also depends on the production of the other two Steelers on this roster to a degree. The reason for that is if Roethlisberger and Brown are doing as good as we hope, the Texans will need to modify their offensive attack to a more pass oriented approach. Once that occurs, the Steelers defense should be able to drop into more zone coverages at which point the sacks and interceptions should begin to trickle in. I think I may become a Steelers fan for at least the Monday night game.
Projected Stat Line – 17 points against, three sacks and two interceptions
Follow-Up – Washington Redskins ($4500) – Well, you live by the sword and you die by the sword. This pick was predicated on the belief that Logan Thomas may be given his first opportunity to start, or at the very least Drew Stanton would be slotted in. Instead, Carson palmer trotted out and threw the ball around for 354 yards and two touchdowns. That’s pretty tough to recover from. What’s worse is Washington only scored one point making their price per point, a very easy to calculate, $4,500 dollars per point. Ouch indeed!
Wait, thought we were done? Well, we’re not! We’ve decided to double down and modify the article a bit. Going forward we are going to add a bonus lineup from George Kritikos which may provide you with another option for the week. Below are George’s picks:
Quarterback – Brian Hoyer – $6,400
This week, I decided to play the matchup as Cleveland goes up against the mesh-like (re: full of holes) secondary of Jacksonville. Brian Hoyer is finally getting back his weapons as Jordan Cameron and Ben Tate have returned to full health. Add in a defense that has given up 12 touchdowns and only one interception and we have a recipe for a great value play.
Projected Stat Line – 22 completions for 275 yards and two touchdowns
Running Back – Matt Forte – $9,300
Why wouldn’t I invest in a player who is averaging four yards a carry and leads the NFL in receptions? Matt Forte has at least five catches in every game this season and has had 150 total yards in each of the last three games (with three total touchdowns). Against Miami, an average run defense, I expect Matt Forte to continue these trends and deliver another stellar game in a well-rounded effort.
Projected Stat Line – 18 rushes for 80 yards, eight receptions for 70 receiving yards, one touchdown
Running Back – Justin Forsett – $6,200
A great value facing the ideal situation this week, Justin Forsett should be like the Jamaicans and have Cool Runnings all day. Forsett’s versatility is evident in the pace he is setting; nearly 1,400 yards including 60 catches and eight touchdowns. Now, putting him against an Atlanta defense that has allowed the most rushing yards, receiving yards, and touchdowns to running backs is only going to accelerate that production. It is not hard to envision at least 90 total yards and a touchdown (something he has done in the last three games).
Projected Stat Line – 13 rushes for 65 yards, four receptions for 35 yards, one touchdown
Wide Receiver – Randall Cobb – $8,200
Randall Cobb has scored a touchdown in all but one game this year. That’s the type of consistency you like to see when you pay this kind of money on a receiver. Now combine that with a defense that is second in touchdowns allowed to wide receivers (and top ten in receptions and yards allowed) and we have ourselves a great matchup. It doesn’t matter which cornerback covers Cobb because each of their starters have given up a catch rate greater than 66% and account for seven of the nine touchdowns allowed to receivers. Cobb will get attention from Aaron Rodgers though so he won’t get too lonely.
Projected Stat Line – six receptions for 70 yards and two touchdowns
Wide Receiver – Alshon Jeffery – $7,900
Adding a second Bears player is never a bad strategy. Enter Alshon Jeffery, who is leading the team in reception yards but is surprisingly third in receiving touchdowns with just two. Miami has average cornerback play but they are short (both starters are 5’10” to Jeffery’s 6’4”) so he is likely to go sky high in this one in the back of the endzone. With a minimum of six targets in every game this season, the added consistency in this offense makes the price just right. My expectations include a few deep targets for Jeffery with at least one touchdown.
Projected Stat Line – Six receptions for 95 yards and one touchdown
Wide Receiver – Roddy White – $6,700
Call this a bit of a speculation play, but I see things looking up for Roddy White. With Julio Jones clearly in the prime wide receiver spot, White is not getting the premium attention anymore. That may be a good thing as Jimmy Smith will likely be occupied with Jones while White sees more of Asa Jackson, a cornerback who has a near 80% catch against rate. This defense also leads the league in yards allowed to wide receivers, another checkmark on the pro side of the Roddy White debate. I expect Matt Ryan to look to White often in this one with strong results.
Projected Stat Line – Five receptions for 70 yards and one touchdown
Tight End – Jordan Reed – $5,400
I do love a good comeback story in daily fantasy as they tend to be underpriced for a few weeks. This is the case here as Jordan Reed’s return resulted in eight catches and 92 yards last week. Sunday, he plays a Titans defense that’s third in touchdowns allowed to tight ends and among the worst in receptions and yards allowed. My suspicion is that if Kirk Cousins throws a touchdown, it will be to Reed as the Titans have actually allowed less to wide receivers (four) than tight ends (five) – that will supplement the yardage that is sure to develop here.
Projected Stat Line – Six receptions for 75 yards, one touchdown
Kicker – Caleb Sturgis – $4,900
I don’t like trying to project kickers because they are so dependent on other players for fantasy relevance. The Bears do allow a lot of points to kickers ,though (second in the NFL) and Caleb Sturgis has failed to score at least seven points only once so far this year. That’s enough for me to invest and see what happens.
Projected Stat Line – Two field goals, two extra points
Defense – Buffalo Bills – $4,900
Watching Teddy Bridgewater get pummeled to the tune of eight sacks last week makes me bullish on the Bills defense. They are third in sacks and eighth ranking in points against so they are doing well. When the matchup looks good, the defense performs well, and the price is cheap…count me in!
Projected Stat Line – 17 points against, two interception, four sacks[ad5]?