Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Down for the Count - Health Issue

No easy way to say this, but I am going to need to suspend the blog for the rest of the season.

The posts this season have been sporadic at best as I have been fighting seemingly one illness after another. It started as a cold, then turned into the flu, then a breakout of cold sores, then something that resembled food poisoning, then back to the flu. I finally wisened up and went to the doctor and they sent me for a battery of tests.

The bad news is it seems I am struggling with Epstein-Barr virus. In simple terms, I have some extreme case of mono. The doctor wants me sleeping a lot (like 12-14 hours a day). I told him that's not possible during football season, but he was pretty serious that I needed tons of rest to kick this thing. Unfortunately, this blog was one of the things I had to cut out.

I am still going to write my Cracking FanDuel article each week and I wish everyone luck the rest of the way with their DFS lineups.

Down, but not out...


Saturday, September 29, 2018

My FanDuel Million Rostered Percentages

I have 50 lineups in this week's FanDuel Million using my super complicated process that creates adjusted fantasy points (skewed to lower ownership and upside).

  • All lineups have a stack + opponent
  • All lineups use a RB as a flex

QBs: Deshaun Watson (10%), Derek Carr (8%), Ryan Tannehill (8%), Baker Mayfield (8%), Andrew Luck (8%), Carson Wentz (6%), Eli Manning (6%), Mitchell Trubisky (4%), Tom Brady (4%), Ryan Fitzpatrick (4%), Matthew Stafford (4%), Blake Bortles (4%), Matt Ryan (4%), Andy Dalton (4%), Drew Brees (4%), Russell Wilson (2%), C.J. Beathard (2%), Philip Rivers (2%)

RBs: Alvin Kamara (38%), Saquon Barkley (36%), Ezekiel Elliott (34%), Giovani Bernard (30%), Melvin Gordon (26%), Jordan Howard (24%), Lamar Miller (18%), Marshawn Lynch (18%), David Johnson (16%), Kerryon Johnson (14%), Sony Michel (14%), Dion Lewis (10%), Carlos Hyde (6%), Kenyan Drake (6%), Leonard Fournette (2%), Matt Breida (2%), Bilal Powell (2%), Austin Ekeler (2%), Isaiah Crowell (2%)

WRs: Antonio Callaway (26%), Michael Thomas (24%), Kenny Golladay (24%), Corey Davis (24%), Odell Beckham (24%), Allen Robinson (24%), Taywan Taylor (20%), T.Y. Hilton (18%), Davante Adams (18%), Julio Jones (14%), Nelson Agholor (14%), Will Fuller (12%), Mike Evans (12%), Kenny Stills (12%), DeAndre Hopkins (8%), Jarvis Landry (6%), Mike Williams (4%), Geronimo Allison (4%), Keelan Cole (4%), Amari Cooper (2%), DeSean Jackson (2%), Golden Tate (2%), Tyler Lockett (2%)

TEs: Jared Cook (22%), Tyler Eifert (18%), Trey Burton (16%), Rob Gronkowski (16%), Jimmy Graham (10%), Eric Ebron (10%), Zach Ertz (4%), O.J. Howard (2%), George Kittle (2%)

Defs: Colts (16%), Cowboys (16%), Packers (14%), Chargers (14%), Seahawks (12%), Jaguars (8%), Bears (8%), Lions (4%), Browns (4%), Eagles (2%), Cardinals (2%)

Been a while...Footballguys to develop LineUp Tool

With Steve Buzzard winning the FanDuel million this week, we spent some time this week brainstorming a multi-lineup tool. 2018 will mostly be development time, but we hope to debut this as a beta product in the DFS subscription by week 15-16.

As part of this, I have been messing around with a complex mathematical formula that calculates a player's chance to hit GPP value weighed against his estimated rostered percentage. All of this math boils down to an adjusted fantasy points number that skews toward upside probability and rostered percentage mistakes.

I have entered 50 lineups into the FanDuel Million this week and will probably also put them in play on some flatter structured GPPs.

I will report back on the progress.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Late adjustments to my projections (that matter for DFS)

  • RB Fournette to 0 - TJ Yeldon getting most of those carries 
  • RB Jordan Howard up
  • RB Latavius Murray up
  • RB Alvin Kamar up, Todd Gurley down slightly
  • WR Julio Jones
  • QB Marcus Mariota to start
  • Def Minnesota up
Locking into these guys in my Cash+ lineups on FanDuel:

RBs: Latavius Murray, Jordan Howard and Alvin Kamara
Defs: Minnesota and Dallas
TEs: George Kittle, Zach Ertz

and using a lot of these WRs: Keelan Cole, Nelson Agholor, Tyreek Hill, T.Y Hilton, Julio Jones while stacking my quarterbacks.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

News is going to dominate roster builds

  • TE Rob Gronkowski - Limited in practice on Thursday.
  • RB Dalvin Cook - Yet to practice and is likely to scratch. Against the woeful Bills, Latavius Murray could have a huge role if Cook were to scratch.
  • RB Jay Ajayi - Yet to practice and likely to scratch. With Darren Sproles also injured, the Eagles could lean hard on RB Corey Clement against a soft Colts defense.
  • Does Marquise Goodwin scratch? He got in a limited practice on Thursday, but is it enough? If he is out, TE George Kittle should have an expanded role.
  • WRs DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller were limited at practice on Thursday, but are both expected to play.  Should one scratch though, the other would vault up in value.
  • RB Derrick Henry was limited today. If he scratches, Dion Lewis would be a low-cost dart for GPPs.
  • RB Devonta Freeman is expected to scratch making RB Tevin Coleman valuable in most DFS formats.
  • WR Julio Jones was limited on Thursday.  Everyone expects him to play, but weirder things have happened.
  • TE Jack Doyle is looking iffy.  If he scratches, Eric Ebron sees an increase in targets and value.

Thursday Only Plays

From the Thursday game:

I am only considering these guys in my Thursday rosters:

FanDuel: QB Tyrod Taylor ($6,600), WR Jarvis Landry ($6,900), CLE Defense ($3,500)
DraftKings: TE David Njoku ($3,300), and Def Jets ($2,500)
Fantasy Draft: TE David Njoku ($6,200)

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Final Thoughts

  • Fournette likely to scratch - Get your T.J. Yelson shares in. So many quality running backs to use this week, but T.J. Yeldon will see enough volume that he needs to be in your GPP mix as well.
  • My gut tells me that QB Tyrod Taylor, WR Jarvis Landry, and TE David Njoku have a big game this week against the Saints (perhaps a bit in garbage time).
  • I also would not be surprised to see QB Blake Bortles have a lot better day than expected. His low-ownership makes him intriguing in GPPs.

Friday, September 14, 2018

All-In on Tevin Coleman

It's official.

RB Devonta Freeman is OUT.

It's a must-win game for Atlanta after losing to Philadelphia in week 1.

Last season, Tevin Coleman started two games for the Falcons (with Freeman out). He rushed for 140 yards and 3 touchdowns in those two games and caught one pass for 15 yards.

Carolina is not an easy team to run against, but I still think Atlanta will feature Coleman a lot. I offer these points as backup material:

  • The Falcons are 6 point favorites at home. They are expected to score 25.25 points
  • Veteran RB Terron Ward is no longer with the team. Rookie Ito Smith is the backup and he saw ZERO snaps in the opener. Ito does not yet appear ready for a big offensive role.
  • This is a division game that the Falcons can ill afford to lose.

Your Best Play on Sunday

TE George Kittle ($5,600) + WR Dante Pettis ($4,500)

The San Francisco 49ers host the Detroit Lions and are expected to score 27.25 points. They are without WR Marquise Goodwin who injured his quad last week. These two relative unknowns will have expanded roles this week and the combination should easily hit value.

My prediction:

12 catches for 150 yards and 1 TD.

That's 27 fantasy points for just over 1/6th of your salary cap. And these bargains will help you load up on the difference makers that will win your contest.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Pivots...Early Look at Possible Scratches

Around this time of the week, I like to consider what would happen if certain questionable people did not play.

RB Devonta Freeman (25% chance of scratching) - If he scratches, it vaults Tevin Coleman significantly on all DFS sites. Atlanta plays in the early game so we will have time to react. I don't want to fade Kamara, Gurley, or Conner, but Coleman will be VERY TEMPTING if Freeman scratches.

RB Leonard Fournette (50+% chance of scratching) - If he scratches, T.J. Yeldon vaults up a bunch, but it's still a situation I am not in love with. I doubt he cracks any of my cash game lineups but will be a decent play in GPPs due to the late game start.

WR Will Fuller (75% chance of scratching) - I already have Fuller at zero in my projections. It makes WR Bruce Ellington very playable in all formats. We should know the outcome of this based on whether makes the plane flight since this is an away game.

TE Vance McDonald (15% chance of scratching) - TE Jesse James is in play if McDonald scratches, but it's looking unlikely after McDonald practiced today.

WR Michael Thomas (5% chance of scratching) - All hell would break loose if this happens, but it's probably not going to happen. He did not practice on Wednesday, but the missed practice was credited to an illness. If this were to happen, Kamara vaults (if this is possible) and Ginn becomes a free square because of his low price across DFS sites. QB Brees drops and is off the DFS radar.

RB Rex Burkhead (15% chance of scratching) - Rex is in the concussion protocol so he has just 4 days to get cleared to play. If this were to happen, James White is going to see massive action as the team has very few healthy options at the position available. But when your opponent is the Jaguars (in Jacksonville), it's hard to like this situation even if Rex Burkhead scratches.

Early FanDuel Cash Roster

All kinds of goodness in this lineup. Listed in no particular order:

  • QB Tyrod Taylor - New Orleans was involved in a shootout last week and Vegas is expecting more of the same with the under/over established at 49.5 points. Cleveland is an 8.5 point underdog, but that just likely means more passing and a few more quarterback runs. At just $6,600 Tyrod will be a hard player for me to fade in cash games this week.
  • RBs Alvin Kamara, Todd Gurley, and James Conner.  All are strong criteria plays playing at home in games their teams are expected to win. In GPPs, you may need to take a stand against one of these players. In cash games, you need to look at other positions to find deviation.
  • WR Nelson Agholor and TE Zach Ertz - This seems like a given that these two players combined will achieve cash-game value.  QB Nick Foles did not look sharp against a tough Atlanta defense, but will find the task much easier against Tampa Bay's weak secondary. 
  • WR Bruce Ellington - This is forecasting Will Fuller to miss another week. He is way under-priced to his current role.
Preferred place for the lineup: Beat the Score 125. 

Sunday, September 9, 2018

FanDuel Cash Game Roster

I am rolling with this at FanDuel in cash games. I generally like to stack my quarterback, but Andy Dalton should do well on his own hitting a variety of targets against a soft Indianapolis secondary.

QBAndy Dalton6800
RBAlex Collins6700
RBJames Conner5000
WRDeAndre Hopkins8800
WRChris Hogan6700
WRKeelan Cole4500
TERob Gronkowski7900
FDavid Johnson8600
DBaltimore Ravens4800

Cleveland weather calmer now

We are looking at light rain, but there could be gusts of wind towards the end of the contest. It's less than ideal for the passing game, but won't be a non-factor.

The BUF/BAL game also will have rain and some wind bursts. It solidifies my love for RB Alex Collins and the Baltimore defense even more

WR Will Fuller Likely to Scratch

and the first domino falls to mess with everyone's lineups.

This obviously vaults DeAndre Hopkins up a bit, but TE Ryan Griffin is a player some sharps could slide to for salary relief.

FanDuel kills the Kicker...and adds a flex

PK Chris Boswell and why we hate the position in DFS
This has been overdue, but I applaud them finally eliminating this position. Yes, there was an edge to be gained at the position, but it ruined so many GPPs that it just got annoying for virtually everyone.

They added a flex spot (RB/WR/TE) and if their pricing holds to what it looked like in week 1, you should auto-lock that spot down to another RB in cash games and mostly use another RB in GPPs.

DraftKings $1M Freeroll

Week 1 Awesomeness is here.

Play FREE for a share of $1 MILLION

Essentially, DraftKings is going to give a portion of $1M to virtually everyone that clicks on the link above.

Get more right, get a larger share. 

And best of all, this takes less than a minute to even enter.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Baltimore defense and RB Alex Collins

Live look at QB Nathan Peterman after the game
I don't think I can fade Baltimore defense under any circumstances this week for these reasons:

  • They are an elite defense playing at home and favored by 7.5 points.
  • They are playing against QB Nathan Peterman
  • They are playing against QB Nathan Peterman
  • They are playing against QB Nathan Peterman
Did I mention that they were playing against QB Nathan Peterman whose elite receiver weapons include Kelvin Benjamin, Zay Jones, and Charles Clay? This is going to be a bloodbath. I put all the inputs into my Game Predictor and it's still trying to solve the equation.  

and because I think this game gets silly early, I also LOVE RB Alex Collins this week. I see him amassing a lot of carries in clock-killing football because the NFL does not have a mercy rule.

My Love / Hate for Week 1 DFS contests


  • NFL football is back on TV. This last preseason was dreadful to watch and I am genuinely excited to see the real product again.
  • Huge prize fields. Draftkings has a $5M contest for $20 and a $250K event for a $1 entry fee. The week 1 prize pools are always awesome.
  • Some of these prize pools will overlay. It happens every week 1. Have lineups ready and be looking to pounce if the overlay is significant.
  • Bargains galore. The DFS sites get these values out a month ahead of the games and can't change the pricing once players are entering the contests. This creates a horrible pricing model which allows players to craft super lineups not possible in future weeks.
  • As much as us experts THINK we know how teams will attack defenses, the biggest vulnerabilities will be exposed once the games actually play. It's why prognosticators like myself get better and better as the season progresses because it's easier to predict a slot wide receiver playing well against a defense that has yielded back to back huge games to slot receivers. The NFL is a copycat league and teams will gameplan to attack weaknesses exposed by other teams.
  • As an analyst, I really love studying some of the deeper aspects of the game (offensive/defensive line play, route trees used by receivers, etc). This has me rewatching a lot of these plays for deeper understanding and that's hard to do when I am constantly checking my DFS lineups every few minutes.
But all told...I have more love than hate for this week. NFL football is back and I will be glued to the action like everyone else.

Possible High Scoring Game of the Week - Bengals at Colts

This game's under/over opened at 47 points and is now at 48 points. It has all the earmarks of a high scoring contest due to these factors:

  • Andy Dalton has substantially more weapons this season as both WR John Ross and TE Tyler Eifert are back in the fold after injury-filled seasons.
  • The Colts did nothing to improve their secondary that was one of the worst in the league last year.
  • Andrew Luck is back under center and is a substantial improvement on offense over Jacoby Brissett who played all of 2017.
  • RB Marlon Mack is a game-time decision and could scratch. Without much depth at the running back position, the Colts could be looking to throw the ball a lot in this contest. 
In GPPs, I like the strategy to use the QB stack + the opponent's top weapon.  For instance, start your roster build with one of these situations:
  • QB Andy Dalton / WR A.J. Green / WR T.Y Hilton
  • QB Andy Dalton / WR John Ross / WR T.Y Hilton
  • QB Andy Dalton / TE Tyler Eifert / WR T.Y Hilton
  • QB Andrew Luck / WR T.Y. Hilton / WR A.J. Green
  • QB Andrew Luck / TE Jack Doyle / WR A.J. Green
You get the idea. To finish high in a GPP, one needs to start with the end in mind. In this case, we are projecting a shoot-out between Cincinnati and Indianapolis. So if that happens, who are most likely to benefit in the box score.

Best Contest Going in My Opinion offers what I consider to be one of the best formats ever created for DFS.

It's a hybrid 5-week survivor game.

Each week, 70% of the rosters will advance, before competing for all of the money in a 350-person GPP in week 5. It's not the instant gratification (and money instantly back in your account), but it's an immense amount of fun (and beatable game).

Each week, they will start another 5-week contest so this isn't just a week 1 gimmick either.

If you opt to play in this game, I offer these pointers for Fantasy Draft:
  • Use our optimizer as we are one of just a few sites that cover their games.
  • Load up on RBs in the cut weeks. Fantasy Draft uses two flexes and I ALWAYS use four RBs in these cutdown weeks. This type of roster won't produce the high score of the week, but nearly always has you nicely in front of any cutline.
  • Stay away from banged up players as does not support late-swap.