FanDuel Tournament Plays Week 1
In daily fantasy football, it’s essential to find value for your lineups. If we want to be able to afford the top dollar names like Aaron Rodgers and Julio Jones, we’ll inevitably need to balance our lineup with less expensive players who provide upside. There are certain value thresholds that we need from these players in order to cash in, and more importantly, win tournaments and larger leagues.
For FanDuel tournaments, we need our guys to reach 3x their salary (for example, Spencer Ware is $5,400 this week and would need to score 16.2 FanDuel points to justify his usage).
If these high-upside plays are also low-owned, we now have an elite tournament play. Each week, we’ll look at who the most popular plays will be and how we can pivot away from them without losing upside.
Here are the top tournament plays for week 1.
Instead of Andrew Luck ($8700) use:
$8700 | NO -1, 50.5
Given the high Vegas total (51) and his season-long ADP, Andrew Luck will be a popular QB in GPPs on Sunday. However, you can get just as much upside at the same price and a lower ownership with Drew Brees. Not only does Brees have a plethora of receiving options – Brandin Cooks, Willie Snead, Michael Thomas, and Coby Fleener – but his Saints will be hosting the Raiders traveling from the west coast, meaning a 1:00 p.m. EST start time will feel like 10 a.m. for the Raiders’ defenders.
$8500 | SEA -10.5, 44
In Russell Wilson, we have the opposite of Drew Brees where the Seahawks will be hosting an east coast team that will travel nearly 3,300 miles for this game. Seattle owns the highest implied team total in Vegas this weekend (27.5) but you’ll likely get Wilson at lower ownership than both Brees and Luck. He won’t amass the sheer volume of other elite passers, but his rushing totals provide the opportunity for major upside in GPPs — he’s rushed for 50-plus yards 10 times in the last two seasons.
Instead of Spencer Ware ($5400) … actually, use him:
$5400 | KC -7, 44.5
Spencer Ware may be 40 percent owned in most FanDuel GPPs this weekend, but for good reason — Jamaal Charles is unlikely to suit up, meaning Ware will be a three-down back who gets red zone work at just $5400. As a touchdown favorite at home, he’s one of our Gridiron 3X studs for Draft Kings and his outlook is just as good on FanDuel. Ware needs just 16.2 points to reach tournament value, an easily attainable number if San Diego’s porous rush defense from a year ago (and this preseason) is any indication. Start with Ware, then find other ways to differentiate your GPP lineups.
- Check out Jody Smith’s 20 bold Predictions for Week 1
But if you do pivot from Ware:
$4800 | SEA -10.5, 44
The resurgence of Christine Michael has been truly special to watch this preseason, as he’s now listed as the number one running back on the Seahawks’ depth chart and will likely command a majority of the backfield touches in week one after head coach Pete Carroll revealed Thomas Rawls won’t be a full-go against the Dolphins. Any player at this price point who may get 15 touches is worth consideration in GPPs, but Michael’s talent makes him an excellent pivot while the crowd uses Ware.
Instead of Amari Cooper ($7200) against the Saints, use:
$6900 | DET +3.5, 50.5
Everyone and their mother is going to be using Amari Cooper against the Saints’ porous defense this weekend (seriously, my mom is going to play DFS and roster Amari Cooper). Why not target a player in a similar situation with a similar Vegas total? Not to mention, there has been some reverse line movement in favor of the Lions, something that can’t be said for the Raiders. The matchup couldn’t get any better, either — Golden Tate will face a Colts’ defense without Vontae Davis and a slew of other starters. The icing on the cake? Tate will be super under-owned this weekend for two reasons: 1) everyone will use Amari Cooper in this price range and 2) Tate’s teammate, Marvin Jones, will be way more popular with his preseason buzz and a meager salary of just $5500. Tate is the ideal GPP pivot.[wlm_nonmember]
Become a Member at Gridiron Experts and Read More!
Get Expert Advice, Insider Tips and the Best Fantasy Football Projections to Dominate Your League!
Just a few of our features: Gameday Live chat, direct email Q&A, fantasy rankings and premium articles, you’ll have an insiders edge to trading and making the best moves this season!
$6100 | OAK +1, 50.5
Here’s another way to pivot away from Cooper: roster his teammate! Sure, Cooper is the more exciting player and will likely improve in his second season, but Crabtree outscored him on FanDuel 56 percent of the time last year. With no third option in the Raiders’ passing game, Cooper and Crabtree will both see a healthy amount of targets in a game expected to score 50-plus total points. Save $1100 of salary and use Crabtree for a fraction of the ownership percentage.
Instead of Dak Prescott ($5000), pay a little more for:
Robert Griffin III
$6900 | CLE +4, 41
Dak Prescott will be an extremely popular selection on FanDuel due to his preseason success and minimum price. But a non-first round rookie quarterback with a strong running game playing in his first regular season game probably doesn’t have the upside to justify his ownership. Instead, you can roster Robert Griffin III, one of the cheaper starting QBs available. Griffin has a plethora of weapons around him and he can rack up points on the ground, too — he’s averaged five or more rushing attempts per game in each of his three seasons as a starter. Also, the Eagles will be a popular DST on FanDuel because of Griffin’s history, so this gives you a chance to differentiate your lineup in multiple ways with one player.
Coby Fleener ($5400) is relatively cheap. Instead of him, try these three guys:
$5500 | IND -3.5, 50.5
In most season-long fantasy drafts, Coby Fleener was the fifth or sixth tight end off the board after his move to New Orleans in the off season. Playing in a high-powered offense at home will attract a lot of buyers at $5400, but preseason reports of Fleener’s drops and lack of integration into the offense are worrisome. Instead, pay $100 more for Fleener’s old teammate, who will get all of the tight end targets in Indy now. Allen has massive touchdown upside — he caught eight touchdowns on just 50 targets in 2014.
$5300 | GB -5.5, 48
Can’t spare the extra $100 for Dwayne Allen? Drop down to Jared Cook, Aaron Rodgers’ newest weapon. The Packers are getting a lot of love in the betting markets, as they are receiving 83 percent of the spread wagers at Sportsbook.ag and the line has moved from -4.5 to -5.5. Clearly there’s a lot of confidence in the Packers’ offense, but that may show up in the FanDuel ownership of Aaron Rodgers, Randall Cobb, and Jordy Nelson. Don’t forget about Cook.
$5300 | MIN -2.5, 41
Here’s your “one percent owned” special for the week. Kyle Rudolph will be disregarded by nearly every DFS player this weekend as he had an uninspiring 2015 season — he recorded just five games with 50 or more receiving yards. But despite only five touchdowns a year ago, Rudolph led the Vikings with 18.6 percent of the team’s targets in the red zone. Whether it’s weak-armed Shaun Hill or new-to-the-offense Sam Bradford, Rudolph will be a comfort blanket for the quarterback on Sunday. Rudolph is my top tight end GPP play this week.
The following two players were written by Mike Rigz
Bang for Buck, add the big boy at ($5400)
$54oo | MIN -2.5, 40.5
Usually, you want wide receivers on bad teams and running backs on teams that you expect to win. A team with the lead late in the game will lean on their running backs to drain the clock, whereas a team trailing needs to make up ground and take to the air.
Expect, what if Vegas got this one wrong. As 2.5 point underdogs at home against a team that is in panic mode without QB Teddy Bridgewater, the Titans arguably look like they’re the favorite in this contest. If that’s the case, then the Titans have the firepower to drain a week’s worth of clock.
So far, Derrick Henry has looked the part. He has the size and speed to cause nightmares for opposing defenders and surprisingly shifty moves that has made him difficult to tackle. Yes, this is a two-headed monster with Demarco Murray as the lead dog, but the Titans offense has looked impressive, and if they can get the lead late in the fourth quarter you can expect Tennessee to pound the ball all day on the Vikings.
- I’ve even gone on record in our latest podcast saying he’s guaranteeing a Henry TD.
This won’t last for long…
$4700 | ARZ -6.5, 46.5
Chris Hogan’s daily fantasy value might not come into full effect until Tom Brady is allowed to step back onto the field (week 5), but nevertheless, he’s a bargain for the time being. With Gronk a little banged up, rookie Malcolm Mitchell rumored to be doubtful and Chris Hogan looks like the one of the only healthy pass catchers for the Pats opposite of Julian Edelman in the opening week. Fanduel is only a 0.5 PPR scoring format, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the new Patriot addition had eight catches in this matchup. If the betting lines stay true to their form, the Cards are suppose to run away with this game, making a gravy-time 2nd half opportunity in daily and fantasy.[/wlm_ismember]
Thanks for Reading!
Brian has been playing fantasy football for 16 years and commissioned his first fantasy league at age 12. When he’s not writing about sports, you can find him playing every daily fantasy sport and participating in high stakes fantasy football contests. Brian won more than 1,000 NFL contests on FanDuel last season and has won multiple league championships in the Footballguys Player Championship contest. A graduate of the University of Maryland, Brian usually spends his winters agonizing over Terrapins basketball. When the weather is warmer, Brian is known for his receiving prowess in flag football leagues on the National Mall in Washington, DC.