Daily Fantasy

Daily Fantasy Analysis: Breaking Down Winning Lineups


What did we learn from Week 14 Daily Fantasy?

ODB_1_optimizedFor starters, if you didn’t have Odell Beckham Jr. in your lineup, you probably didn’t win. Beckham rewarded those that paid a premium for him once again, scoring 38.6 points (DraftKings), making it six consecutive weeks he has scored 22.5 points or more and three straight weeks of 29.9 or more.

Whoa. If you don’t know by now, Beckham is a must play every week. In fact, not only was OBJ owned by this week’s DraftKings Millionaire Maker, he was also owned by the first, second and third place finisher in FanDuel’s biggest tournament.

To free up cap space for Beckham, you need to cut costs elsewhere. The best place to do so is at tight end and running back. Sure, Rob Gronkowski is a sexy play and he often produces in a big way, but he’s just too big of a cap casualty. In a full point PPR setting, receptions go a long way. Big name wide receivers see a lot greater volume of catches than Gronk. Julio Jones has 48 more receptions. Antonio Brown 39. Gronkowski has only exceeded 5 catches, 4 times this year. To put that into perspective, Odell Beckham did it 9 times. Your cap money is better spent on the top wide outs. That’s not to say you have to go all the way to the bottom of the barrel for a tight end. The value play “prayers” are rarely answered at the tight end spot, so it seems like the mid-range guys are the best option. Jordan Reed (30.0 points) cost $2600 less than Gronkowski (18.7), but scored almost 12 points more. Delanie Walker (14.1), Ben Watson (14.0) and Julius Thomas (16.7) had comparable performances to Gronkowski ($7700), but at a cost of $5600, $4800 and $4200, respectively. The 29.2% of contestants that tried to go for the “bottom of the barrel prayer”, starting Austin Seferian-Jenkins for $2700 (myself included), were heavily disappointed with his 31-yard, zero TD effort.

The running back position seems to offer the best value plays each week, thanks largely in part to all of the injuries and committees we see at the position. DraftKings is forced to price its players early in the week, so they typically undervalue a lot of guys that don’t become notable until midweek reports surface. Case in point, Mark Ingram’s unexpected injury on Wednesday that led to a $3,000 price tag for the starting running back on the league’s top scoring offense for RBs, the Saints. Tim Hightower delivered too with a 16.5 point effort. Eddie Lacy was robbery at $4700 as well. Many were afraid to play him after the Week 13 curfew debacle. But if you paid attention to reports, he was practicing well and the curfew incident was well behind him. DraftKings couldn’t predict that at the time, so Lacy turned into a no-brain play that only wound up in 6.6% of lineups. This week Denard Robinson ($4600) and Brandon Bolden ($3200), headline the category of values in Week 15.

[the_ad id=”58837″]For defense, matchups matter. Jacksonville’s defense hasn’t been formidable by any means, but Indianapolis was giving up the 6th most point fantasy points to opposing defenses this year. The Jaguars were no exception to the Colts woes, taking a punt and a fumble return to the house, en route to a 23-point effort. One point for every hundred dollars it cost to play them ($2300); a top notch return on investment. The teams giving up the 4th and 10th most points to fantasy defenses, San Diego and Atlanta, also rewarded those that played their opponents (Kansas City and Carolina). My advice: find the best value playing a bottom-10 offense (per the DraftKings rankings), and let it roll.

The money saving tactics discussed in the last few paragraphs should give contestants a ton of spending power at wide receiver. There’s no shame in rolling out a combination of Odell Beckham, Antonio Brown, A.J. Green or Julio Jones. And it doesn’t hurt to look at trending receivers either. Often, in daily, we fear we’re going to be prisoners of the moment, avoiding the guys that did great last week, thinking its hard to be consistent in the NFL. Yet for some wide receivers, it seems its not so hard. Over the last 3 weeks, Odell Beckham Jr, Doug Baldwin and Brandon Marshall have all averaged more than 32 points. A.J. Green and Sammy Watkins have averaged more than 26 points over that span as well. It shouldn’t come as a surprise though, as those 5 receivers are far and away the best in their respective offenses. If you can find a way to save enough money for 2 or 3 of these guys and stack them with their quarterback, you’ve got yourself a winning formula in the daily format.

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