The Definitive FanDuel NFL Strategy Guide

The Definitive FanDuel NFL Strategy Guide

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]FanDuel NFL Strategy for 2018 Season

2018 FanDuel NFL Strategy Guide

Putting in the research needed to build and manage winning lineups on FanDuel takes a lot of work. It can’t be just looking at data, because that has proven time and time again to not work. You have to watch the games, understand matchups, understand the way the flow and pace that a team plays at changes based on their opponent.

Many of us know what to watch for when we are watching a game, but even with NFL coaches tape watching every play of every game is a lot to ask of the casual FanDuel player.

I will only pitch one product in this article, but I think it’s one that both season long and daily fantasy players can get a lot of value from, and it isn’t that expensive. A PFF Edge membership is only $9.99 per month and will eliminate all of the tedious research from your DFS routine.

Rankings and projections are useless, even the best rankings and algorithms are wildly inaccurate and overused by the majority of fantasy players. Give me actual research I can use, like the WR-CB matchup chart that PFF creates each week. Knowing which receivers have the biggest mismatch with the corner that will be covering them that week is way more useful than telling you that our computer thinks Taylor Gabriel will score 7.9 points this week.

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Managing Your Bankroll

When it comes to finding consistent success on FanDuel, bankroll management is one of the most overlooked factors. If you want to win more consistently, and make your initial deposit last an entire season, it starts with properly managing your bankroll. Make sure you use the best available promo code when you make your initial deposit and lock in the best available new player offer when you register.

At the top of this page, we linked to an article that takes an in-depth look into how you should manage your bankroll, but wanted to mention a few points worth keeping in mind if you are new to DFS.

FanDuel offers beginner only contests, take advantage of these. We all want to take down a Sunday Million contest, but that is just not a realistic place to begin your DFS career. For your first few weeks on FanDuel try to make the most out of beginner and free contests. If you find you are having success here, maybe your ready to bump it up a notch, if not then continue to play here until you have your strategy fully ironed out.

Know your odds. We aren’t here to tell you what to do with your paycheck, but understand that your odds are extremely poor to even cash in a big GPP like a Sunday Million. Often times 80% of the money goes to the top 50 of 100,000+ players. Your odds of even winning 2x your entry are less than 15% and that drops dramatically more when you talk about winning anything of significance.

50/50 Contests and Head-to-Heads can be just as exciting. The thing we hear from players that go bankrupt on FanDuel in their first week is either they weren’t aware of how hard it was, or they viewed the big GPP’s as a hobby and fun lottery ticket. Don’t underestimate the thrill of opening the FanDuel app and seeing that your research paid off and that you are winning all of your contests and doubling up your entry fees.


Understanding Value in FanDuel NFL Contests

We will take you through understanding the value of each position later in this article, but it’s important to understand how the DFS community calculates value for FanDuel.

You will often hear community members refer to a player’s ceiling or floor as 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x, etc… This number is calculated by dividing their points scored or projected points scored by their salary.

The easiest way to calculate value is to take a players projected points scored, and divide it by their salary as a decimal value with the thousands as the whole number. So, if you have a player projected to score 18 points with a salary of $4,800, his value would be 18/4.8 or 3.913x. Another example, a $10,200 player projected to score 24 points would have a value of 24/10.2 or 2.35.

As you can see, value is easier to find in cheaper players that greatly outplay their salary. However, the key to winning consistently is locking in value for high priced players. If you can consistently identify three players priced over $8,000 that reach 3x value, you are guaranteeing you hit value for $24,000 or 40% of your salary. Fill in a tight end, defense, kicker that reach value and you are 2/3’s of the way to winning every week on FanDuel.

We will discuss what your target value should be later in this article, but a good rule of thumb is to target 4x-5x players in your GPP contests, and safer 3x players in your cash games.

Know When to Play it Safe and When to Take Risks

Anyone that has ever traded currencies will tell you it’s always safer to trade the long term trend than to try and pick a reversal. The same holds true in DFS. You never want to be overexposed to risk, but correctly identifying breakout players is the key to consistently winning on FanDuel.

fanduel-risk-rewardFor example, let’s look again at the Sunday Million winning lineup to the right. Jeremy Langford was making his second career start and was facing a fairly stingy Rams defense, both factors kept his price down at $6,200. However, Forte was hurt and he was all but guaranteed to get 25 touches and be heavily involved in both the run and pass game. This made him a solid risk/reward pay. In the end, this guy won $500,00 because of this pick as Langford wen on to reach 5.43x value and more than make up for slow games from his Newton/Olsen stack and Mark Ingram.

Depth chart changes, injuries and suspensions are the easiest way to find value on FanDuel. Players that see an increased role as a result of a move up the depth chart are often a safe bet to reach value because their price doesn’t account for their new role.

Another example of a different type of risk is a player like Martavis Bryant. Bryant had scored 28 points in his first game of 2015, then averaged just 10 per in the next 3 prior to this week 10 contest. Clearly he wasn’t consistent enough to be a safe cash game play, or to be considered a lock to hit value at $6,500 but makes a perfect GPP play as he had flash 4.5x upside. He ended up going for 6/178/1 and paid off, but boom or bust plays are the riskiest plays on FanDuel and should be limited to just one per lineup.

Looking for a safe haven? PPR players are the Swiss Franc of FanDuel. When in doubt, target high target receivers, and PPR running backs. We have all done it… chasing a multi-touchdown performance out of a player like Latavius Murray rarely pans out. However,¬†targeting¬†a PPR monster like Christian McCaffrey or Duke Johnson Jr may not have the TD upside, but consistently getting 5/60 receiving from an RB is way easier to predict and way more consistent.


Start With a Stack

A stack in fantasy sports is using players from the same team, who’s scoring will often overlap one-another. For instance, if you think Russell Wilson is going to have a big week, odds are as his top target, Doug Baldwin will as well. Successfully identifying top stacks every week is the most important factor for consistently building winning FanDuel lineups.

The first place we start when identifying our stacks each week is with game breakdowns. This includes looking at Vegas totals, team scoring and statistical trends, matchup history, etc to identify what teams we think will score the most points this week.

We will generally start with a Vegas total for each team on the slate. From here, we use a points system to grade each of the top projected scoring teams for the week. We prefer home teams, out of conference matchups, and obviously high-power, fast-paced offenses facing a weak defense.

That being said, not all favorable matchups are created equal. We prefer targeting defenses that were strong in one area, but weak in another. Take, for example the Pittsburgh Steelers. Last season the Steelers run defense was phenomenal (3.6 YPC, 90 YPG, 6 TD on the season) but their pass defense was awful (270+ YPG).

Get them in an out of conference game (no familiarity with opposing system) and it was the perfect recipe for a shootout. In week 9 against the Raiders, Derek Carr threw for 300 yards and 4 touchdowns on them, and in week 12 against the Seahawks Wilson threw for 345 yards and 5 touchdowns.

Once you have identified the best possible matchups, we stack the QB and at least one WR from that team. So the Raiders would have been Carr/Cooper/Crabtree and the Seahawks would have been Wilson/Baldwin. If you can consistently hit your stacks every week, you will undoubtedly start winning every week.

Analyzing RB Matchups and Value

When analyzing running back matchups on FanDuel, it’s important to keep in mind that they use a half point per reception scoring system. You shouldn’t be targeting only running backs that catch the ball, but it certainly should be a factor you look at.

Let’s start by identifying what basic stats you should be looking at: while arguments can be made for FPPG, rushing YPG, or rushing touchdowns, I prefer to start my FanDuel RB research with opponent yards per carry. I am looking for a volume runner in a good YPC matchup, and I guarantee you at least have a safe FanDuel cash play every time.

Here is a specific example from the 2017 season: The Redskins were a run defense we targeted throughout the 2017 fantasy season, and they matched up with a high volume run offense in a week 13 game against the Cowboys. Even with Zeke out, you knew the Cowboys would run, run, run against this Washington defense. A way undervalued Alfred Morris had 27 carries for 127 rushing yards and a touchdown.

We will talk receivers next, and this strategy will hold up just as well there. Look for volume in a plus matchup (Targets per Game/ Yards per Target) and you are on the right path.

Analyzing WR Matchups and Value

When looking at matchups for wide receivers, player role really comes into the forefront. The absolute first thing we do with wide receivers is compare their role with the opponents ‘defense vs type of receiver’. You can Google that exact phrase and find plenty of data to help you analyze how well a team defends opposing number one receivers, number two receivers, slot receivers, tight ends, and running backs. We use Football Outsiders numbers, which can be found here.

So what are we looking for? We want an offense with a high projected point total for the week. We then want a player facing a team in the bottom third for fantasy points allowed to the position over the season. Then we are looking for a player that fits a role that the opposing team struggles with.

As an example, the Ravens pass defense struggled last season, but were especially week against opposing team’s #2 and #3 receivers. They ranked top 10 against opposing #1’s and actually held Anotonio Brown to two of his worst games of the year, but were dead last or bottom 5 against #2 and #3 WR’s. Looking at what receivers burned them and you will see this held true: John Brown, Tyler Lockett, Marvin Jones, Michael Crabtree, Torrey Smith, Malcolm Floyd, and Allen Hurns all led their team in receiving and as a group, averaged over 20 PPG against the Ravens.

So, once again, we are looking for high Vegas team totals, plus defense vs. position matchups, and are then looking to validate our choice with player role numbers. If you have a handful of player that you are trying to decide between, player role is a great tiebreaker.

What to do at Kicker and Defense?

We keep our strategy at kicker and defense pretty straight forward. You want your highest projected players, but aren’t sacrificing at another position to get them. A simple cross analysis of opponent’s fantasy points allowed to the position, and that player (or team’s) average over the previous four weeks is enough to identify a handful of targets.

We are generally trying to squeeze in the best available combination at kicker and defense, without giving up our main targets at QB/RB/WR/TE. So we are willing to pay up, will never punt, but aren’t changing the composition of our roster for our kicker and defense. Generally speaking we pick the best available at each position under $4,900. You should be able to roster a top 5 kicker and defense for a combined salary of $9,600.

fanduel strategy fading

Try Fading Popular Picks

We always recommend building your lineups in a bubble. Read as many articles as you can, gather as much data as you can, but don’t make your picks based solely off of someone else’s opinion. However, one thing we would recommend considering is fading popular picks with your GPP lineups, or at least one of your weekly GPP lineups.

Looking back to one of our favorite plays from the 2015-2016 NFL season, Matt Stafford in week 12. Every article written was selling Brian Hoyer as a value play against the Saints, or Carson Palmer against the weak 49ers pass defense. Neither pick was on our radar. Palmer’s matchup was a road conference game, too much familiarity. Hoyer didn’t pass the eyeball test. I don’t want a player that limited on my GPP lineups, especially if he’s going to be one of the two highest owned players that week.

We target Matt Stafford who was playing his best football of the season, and really clicking with then newly appointed OC Jim Bob Cooter. The Lions were at home, on Thanksgiving day, in an out of conference game against the fast-paced Eagles. We rolled with the Stafford/Megatron stack, Stafford doubled-up both Hoyer and Palmer, and his ownership rates were under 1%. We cashed out every lineup.

Build the best lineup possible, but keep in mind what player ownership percentages are going to be. Having a QB/WR stack the 25% of the field has gives you zero advantage. Take calculated risks with your GPP lineups, they will pay off.

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