How to Analyze NFL Matchups on FanDuel and DraftKings

How to Analyze NFL Matchups on FanDuel and DraftKings

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Check in with Vegas Odds Makers

vegas-lines-fanduel-draftkings-valueWhen analyzing NFL matchups for FanDuel and DraftKings, the foundation of all successful daily fantasy research comes at the beginning of each week, when Las Vegas odds makers release for each game 1) the likely winner, 2) the winning team’s margin of victory (the spread), and 3) the over/under on the combined point total.

It’s important to note that, while far from an exact science, because there’s so much money riding on these predictions the odds makers put a great deal of time and effort into researching their lines for each game, so they can ensure their picks come as close as possible to the actual results of each contest. So, while the information may seem to have very little to do with setting a fantasy football lineup, you can actually learn a great deal about the nature of each game by paying careful attention to the projected winners, the spread, and over/under predictions. If you aren’t familiar with a solid sportsbook to use, we recommend and use Sportsbook.ag. They have an easy to navigate website, and their lines are as good as any sportsbook on the web.

For example, the spread can yield insights into projective offensive production. High-scoring games may yield a productive passer-receiver combination or suggest that a running back is bound to gain a ton when the team keeps handing him the ball to control the clock. On the other hand, low scoring games may yield a particularly hearty defensive performance. Consider the odds makers’ figures alongside some of careful statistical research can help you catch a potentially valuable performance you might otherwise have missed.

Consult Player Injury Reports

In Daily Fantasy Sports, much moreso than any traditional fantasy game, we are looking for value. Your personal opinion of a player, his skill-set, potential, or season-long projections do not matter. All that matters is his value this week, and nothing creates value like injury.

injury-report-matchupsLet’s take a look at a made up scenario in which it’s announced on Sunday morning that Eddie Lacy is out for today’s game against the Vikings. While James Starks is no Eddie Lacey, he is serviceable, and now appears in line to get 15 carries and 2-3 receptions. You adjust his projection to 11 points, with a ceiling of 17+ if he scores. The key here, however, is his salary it’s probably still the minimum of $4,500, compared to Lacy’s $8,700. Meaning Starks could score half as many points as Lacy would and still provide the same value: 11 points for Stark is 2.44x value, whereas 17 points for Lacy would be 1.95x value.

Injury reports can let you know well before it’s time to set your lineup whether a player will play during a game. While it may seem a no-brainer—don’t roster an injured player!—occasionally, players will play through injury; while you still may not want to roster that particular player, you could pick up the player who will benefit from the most from the injured player’s role as decoy (think of the number two or three receiver who’ll catch more passes while the injured number one receiver draws the attention of the defense’s lockdown corner).

And if the player is to sit out a game, the injury report will tell you who’s playing for him. While this isn’t necessarily reason enough to run out and roster the backup, you’ll be able to better research factors that will influence the backup’s performance.

Lastly, the opposing team’s injury report can be just as revealing as an injury report related to one of your current rostered players. A team that has lost its starting cornerback might not have a second option to put in the way of the elite receiver you’ve picked up. In another scenario, teams starting a weaker offensive line might not be able to stop the pass rush of one of your team defenses.

Check Stats to Determine When, How, and How Often Players Are Used

This particular strategy can help settle debates when two players put up similar numbers week to week. Given the unpredictable nature of each contest, any slight upside is worth taking advantage of. When two receivers produce equally, you may want to favor the receiver who gets thrown to more often. Ditto with running backs and the number of carries each gets a game. You might also consider starting players who are used frequently near the goal line. And consider checking into trends in playing time, as these trends can reveal potential slumps that might be obscured by high productivity at earlier points in the season. Players who are getting into the game more frequently in recent weeks may stand a better chance of producing for your team than a player who may have put up higher numbers but is getting played less frequently.

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Several other factors can influence the value of a particular player, and so are worth considering when analyzing NFL matchups for FanDuel and DraftKings. Weather conditions might impact the performance of key players. Certain quarterbacks have historically struggled when playing outdoors in colder weather. Windy conditions can sometimes limit kickers’ accuracies, and in some cases can force teams to favor the ground games over their passing attack. There are also advantages to researching player ownership. When two players at any given position appear equal in terms of their stats, rostering the lesser-owned of the two might make be just the ticket to ensuring a winning lineup.

The key to analyzing NFL matchups for FanDuel and DraftKings, no matter which of the above strategies you employ, is to trust what you learn. Keep in mind that even the most elite players have their off-days. So too will your lineup. Resist the temptation to change things up on a whim when your research seems to point you to what might at first seem riskier picks. Instead, stick to your particular rostering system. In time, you’ll find yourself playing more consistent, and consistently winning more on FanDuel and DraftKings.

Chris is the lead researcher and writer for The Daily Audible. He has a decade of experience in sports gambling, handicapping, daily fantasy sports, scouting, and analysis.

Chris has a background in the development side of After spending almost a decade working on the development end of the fantasy industry, Chris made the move to the content side of the industry in fall of 2011. He covers the NFL, PGA, NBA, and NHL for The Daily Audible.

1 Reply to “How to Analyze NFL Matchups on FanDuel and DraftKings”

  1. great information and easy to understand. please email me with any updates need all the help i can get my main problem has been trying to select the right player with low ownership. where will i find the ownership information thanks

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