Saturday, October 31, 2015

Trust or Fade: Sunday Injury Expectations

There's a long list of players who are dealing with minor injuries or in the later stages of recovery from injuries that have recently limited them. The vast majority are listed probable and should be near full strength this week. The list includes Marshawn Lynch, Odell Beckham, Adrian Peterson, Randall Cobb, Jeremy Maclin, Emmanuel Sanders, Chris Ivory, and Steve Smith. Though an in-game aggravation can never be entirely ruled out, all of the above players can be expected to see their usual workload today.

Though none have been ruled out, I expect Antonio Gates, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, and Vincent Jackson to be inactive today.

DEZ BRYANT | 8000 | Foot | Questionable
Cash: FADE

Bryant will return to action today, but there are two big reasons not to roster him. First, he's told us he's willing to play before he's fully recovered and it's very unlikely one week of limited practices has him in football condition. It's very likely his snap count will be limited in some fashion. Second, Matt Cassel <<<<< Tony Romo. Bryant will be more target than decoy today, but it's difficult to bet on him making good on his limited opportunity.

BEN ROETHLISBERGER | 8200 | Knee | Probable

Roethlisberger will also return today. I'm more optimistic about his prospects than Bryant. Roethlisberger has taken two weeks to recondition and grow comfortable with the brace he'll wear today. While there will likely be some rust and inaccuracy early as he transitions back to game speed, I think the Steelers will fully open the playbook for Roethlisberger today.

JOHN BROWN | 6700 | Hamstring | Questionable
Cash: FADE

Though Bruce Arians bristled at a suggestion the Cardinals might hold a close-but-not-quite-ready Brown out with a bye week next week, I still think Brown is slightly to the doubtful side of questionable today. With two hamstring strains and a tough turnaround to an early afternoon East Coast game after last week's Monday night game, returning to strength is a tough ask for Brown today. You might consider Brown in GPPs if active, as he's played effectively through strain(s) for two consecutive weeks. But Arians' early week tone suggests there's more risk here today than in Week 6 or 7.

ERIC DECKER | 6400 | Knee | Questionable

I'm not confident in a projection for Decker today. His comments suggest the injury is bothering him more now than it did last week, but Decker has played effectively through pain in the past. I won't stand on the table to talk you out of using him today, especially with the favorable matchup, but I have some concerns about his floor.

Hope variance shines on you today in your FanDuel contests. Footballguys Insiders can read my full breakdown of today's injury expectations.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Staff Friday Cash Plays

Welcome to the midpoint of the NFL season! Time certainly has flown...

It's a new week with a new crop of injuries impacting NFL teams - serious DFS players should investigate the takes of Criag Zumsteg (collected HERE) and Jene Bramel (collected HERE) on the current injury issues impacting well-known and less-well-known NFL players heading into the weekend.

Looking at the trends among staffers for Week Eight, I note that

PK Chris Boswell is gaining momentum - Boswell ($4,500) is rostered by three experts heading into the Sunday slate of games - I wrote a brief blog post about why he's a good PK for Week Eight earlier in the week. Matt Bryant ($4,800) is the most popular place kicker showing up on five expert rosters, and Josh Lambo ($4,500)  ties Boswell with three appearances.

As Deion Sanders likes to sing "CAM!" Newton ($8,000) is a popular choice against the sinking Indianapolis' D - he's found his way onto five expert rosters thanks to an attractive matchup.  Andy Dalton ($8,100) is a pick for two other rosters - Philip Rivers ($8,500), Carson Palmer ($8,100), Eli Manning ($7,300) and surprisingly Nick Foles ($6,200) and Jameis Winston ($6,600) are all appearing on one roster apiece. Winston may be the biggest surprise given that Vincent Jackson is out this week and Austin Seferian-Jenkins is returning from a long layoff due to a shoulder injury.

Gurl-Crush Continues for the weekend lineups with five staffers including Todd Gurley ($8,100) on their DFS rosters this time around, while Justin Forsett ($6,900) is getting the MOST love with 10 appearances out of 12 rosters submitted by press time - Forsett is paired with Gurley four times; he is matched with Devonta Freeman ($9,100) three times.

High-priced Stud Receivers are back IN this week - Julio Jones ($9,200) and Antonio Brown ($8,400) appear on five and three rosters, respectively, with favorable matchups and in Brown's case the return of Ben Roethlisberger to the field of play fueling interest in their services. However, the lack of either Roethlisberger ($8,200) or Matt Ryan ($8,000 on rosters is an interesting omission on the part of the staff.

 Good luck All Y'all!

FanDuel Week 8 Starting Stacks

I just posted my FanDuel stacks of the week, covering less common stacks, defensive stacks, and twists on highly-owned stacks. Here's one stack idea. Be sure to check out the full article for tons of other stacks.

Andy Dalton ($8,100) + Tyler Eifert ($6,000) = $14,100

The Bengals are one point underdogs in Pittsburgh. Cincinnati was favored earlier in the week, but the return of Ben Roethlisberger breathes life into the entire Steelers offense and gives this game shootout potential. Both Dalton and Eifert will be top-three owned at their positions. The Steelers have given up six touchdowns and five fifty-yard games to tight ends this season.

Twist: A.J. Green ($8,200) won't be as highly owned as Eifert, but he'll still form a fairly common Bengals stack. The price is steep, but Dalton-to-Green packs a ton of upside.

Week 8 FanDuel Show on The Audible

Check out the Week 8 FanDuel show on The Audible. Every Friday morning Cecil Lammy, Alex Miglio, and Austin Lee dig into the Vegas lines, cover the key WR/CB matchups, dissect some unique tournament stacks, and make their out-on-a-limb picks of the week.

Listen here or subscribe to The Audible on iTunes and never miss an episode.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Staff Thursday Cash Plays - Week 8

The great thing about Daily Fantasy (well, one of the great things) is that we’re here at Week 8 and we don’t have to say ‘halfway through the season’ because you can play through the playoffs.

Of course, we still have to deal with the same things season-long fantasy does—bye weeks, injuries, game-time-decisions—but we can recover more quickly from our mistakes and course correct more easily week to week.

As always, we’ve got a selection of staff who have put up their FanDuel lineups (which you can see here) and I’m going to cherry pick some selections and trends to help you have make sure your Thursday lineup is ready to go.

Staff Trends

Bunch of Gurley-Men
I think it’s safe to say that the simple majority of the staff (6 out of 11) like Todd Gurley. The matchup against the 49ers makes even an $8100 price reasonable. And as Jason Wood pointed out in our FanDuel Value Article he’s really somewhat cheaper than he should be still. He should be a great start today and while some of us went cheaper in at least one selection at running back, I think we’d all be confident starting him this week.

More Freeman
Even at $9100 and coming off one of his lower point games (‘just’ 14), Freeman is still in most of the staff’s lineups. Which makes sense, considering the opponent is the lowly Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Even if the Falcons run out to an early lead, Freeman should get touches.

Ram Tough
A lot of people have the St. Louis Rams as their starting defenses, and considering how unimpressive the San Francisco 49ers have been offensively, it’s a good start. They produced last week against Cleveland and it should be more of the same this week.

Glaring Omissions

Thursday night players were almost unheard of in these lineups, even Tom Brady. Normally the gang fades the top quarterbacks, and this week we see more of the same. Still, Brady has been very solid so far and Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski have all been reliable. Their prices have just gotten out of hand, though this could also be a sign that we expect the Miami Dolphins to be a tough defense this week.

Of them, only Edelman got any love this week.

Diamonds in the Rough

With John Brown hurt, Michael Floyd becomes a solid option and $4900 will allow you to spend more money elsewhere.

Nate Washington ($5400) got some love as well, and should be a solid option against the Tennessee Titans. It’s a tough matchup, but he should see targets with attention going to DeAndre Hopkins (who we won’t fade for the matchup because, well, the Titans aren’t that good).

Musings on a Value Place Kicker for FanDuel - Chris Boswell

Since joining the Steelers, this is what Chris Boswell ($4,500) has accomplished:

Year    Team    G    0-29    30-39   40-49    50+    FGM    FGA    %     XPM    XPA    %      TBs
2015    PIT       3    2 - 2     1 - 1     3 - 3      1 - 1       7         7    100.0      5          5    100.0    5

Boswell has hit 100% of his seven field goal attempts since joining the Steelers - including three from 40-49 and one from 50+ - and also 100% of extra point attempts. He's the minimum $4,500 this week on FanDuel, playing at home in Heinz Field with temperatures forecast for the low 60's and wind forecast to be under 10 MPH. The Steelers face a so-so Bengals D in this divisional showdown. 

That sounds like a recipe for a solid day from a bargain-basement kicker price point.

I'm rostering Boswell all over the place on FanDuel this week. So far Boswell has averaged 10.3 fantasy points per game for his owners, only .4 points per game less than top-priced Steven Hauschka's  ($5,100) average of 10.7.

Week 8 Footballguys + Rotogrinders Show

Be sure to check out the Week 8 episode of The Footballguys Daily Fantasy Hour presented by Rotogrinders. Dan Back, John Lee, and Austin Lee air live every Wednesday at 9:30pm ET. They cover key injuries, discuss matchups, and make their bold picks of the week. Don't miss John Lee's lip sync video paying off last week's DubSmash bet. She blinded him with SCIENCE!

You can watch this week's episode on-demand or download the audio version to listen on the go.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Trust or Fade: Sunday Injury Expectations

Here's the Sunday morning update on which game time decisions are safe to roster on the FanDuel Sunday slate and which situations you should fade.

I'm not concerned with Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, Allen Robinson, or Jordan Reed today. If Jeremy Maclin is cleared to play after last week's concussion, he will also be safe to roster. You can consider Brandon LaFell a contrarian play in ultra-deep GPPs, but I'd stay away from both LaFell and T.J. Yeldon in most situations today.

ANTONIO GATES | 5800 | Knee | Questionable
Cash: FADE

Gates has played through painful injuries effectively in the past, but MCL sprains involve more than pain. Instability is also an issue. Gates didn't sound very comfortable on Friday after missing practice all week. I think he's closer to doubtful. If he is active, expect to see him in high leverage third down and red zone situations only.

ADRIAN PETERSON | 8900 | Illness | Questionable

Local beat writers had no concerns with Peterson's downgrade on Saturday evening. Barring a surprise in the hours leading up to the game on Sunday morning, neither should you.

ODELL BECKHAM | 9000 | Hamstring | Questionable

Beckham may not be fully recovered, but he did not look limited last Monday night. He participated in a limited Friday practice, which was more than he was able to do at any point last week. He's safe to roster today.

DION LEWIS | 7000 | Abdomen | Questionable

There were positive reports leading into last week's Sunday night game. By Monday morning, those same observers openly wondered whether the abdomen injury was more limiting than had been expected. No one has been willing to speculate on Lewis' health this week and the injury report has been of little help. I'd consider Lewis only if you're confident the game script will play out in his favor.

800 AM: Ian Rapoport tweeted Lewis is unlikely to play today. Once a New England beat writer, Rapoport is plugged in here.

KEENAN ALLEN | 8100 | Hip | Questionable

Allen was confident in the locker room on Friday despite not finishing last week's game and barely practicing this week. It was a reassuring interview, but there are no guarantees Allen can get through this week's game without limitation. His floor is lower than his price would suggest.

JOHN BROWN | 6700 | Hamstring | Questionable
Cash: FADE

Yes, Brown was limited in practice last week and still caught ten passes for nearly 200 yards. But tightness in the hamstring again this week, along with a Saturday report that the other hamstring was also bothering Brown, should have you more worried this week. Brown was optimistic in a radio interview and Bruce Arians told reporters he expected Brown to play if he looked good in warmups. But this level of uncertainty in a Monday night matchup all but takes him off the board this week.

Hope variance shines on you today in your FanDuel contests. Footballguys Insiders can read my full breakdown of today's injury expectations.

Medical Check

This week there are some key injuries to watch including to Antonio Gates, John Brown, and Jordan Reed. Should you be plugging these guys into your lineups or are their some great pivots due to these injuries? Find out here.

FanDuel Contrarian Plays: Week 7

Matthew Stafford ruined everything. For the first six weeks of the season, FanDuel was awarding $1 million to first place in their featured GPP. Then, someone went and won that million dollars with Stafford as their quarterback. Now the first place prize has been cut in half. This is why we can't have nice things, Stafford. Thanks.

In seriousness, we were all over Calvin Johnson last week as a contrarian play. So it's not surprising that Stafford would also have a solid game. Having the best game by quarterback, from a fantasy points perspective, wasn't necessarily expected, but his $6,900 salary last week was the lowest it has been since 2010--long before any of you played DFS. In short, he was the perfect contrarian play: a veteran quarterback that sometimes has huge games, with one of the best receivers of this generation, against one of the worst passing defenses. Those are the situations we need to find every week (even it only wins us $500k).

Below is an excerpt from this week's contrarian write up. You can read the rest here.




Own %




Own %

Carson Palmer $8200 BAL@ARI 17.2 Andrew Luck $8900 NO@IND 4.1
Philip Rivers $8000 OAK@SD 16.7 Landry Jones $6000 PIT@KC 3.9
Cam Newton $8100 PHI@CAR 6.7 Drew Brees $8400 NO@IND 2.7
Matthew Stafford $7400 MIN@DET 6 Ryan Fitzpatrick $7100 NYJ@NE 2.1
Tom Brady $9000 NYJ@NE 5.2 Eli Manning $7800 DAL@NYG 1.7
Brian Hoyer $6900 HOU@MIA 4.7 Ryan Tannehill $7700 HOU@MIA 1.4
Matt Ryan $8100 ATL@TEN 4.4 Matt Cassel $6400 DAL@NYG 1

With the majority of the crowd gathering around Carson Palmer and Philip Rivers, we can move to Matt Ryan for the same price and less exposure. Ryan is hardly a model for consistency but still ranks 11th overall among quarterbacks. This week he travels to Nashville to face a defense that looks better in the stat column than they do on the field. They’ve allowed an average of 17.9 points to quarterbacks, which ranks 16th, but are allowing the most fantasy points per attempt. Even if you remove rushing points, the Titans still rank third in points per attempt. For the first time in weeks, Julio Jones isn’t listed on the injury report. We like that the over/under in this contest is a healthy 47 points, third highest of the week, and we’ll take a Ryan/Jones stack.

Only four teams have allowed more passing yards than the Colts, who rank sixth in fantasy points surrendered to quarterbacks. Drew Brees is showing his age but still capable of putting up big numbers when the game script calls for it. He has now thrown for over 300 yards in three consecutive games. We’d like to see a few more touchdowns to go along with those yards. The Colts have allowed 11 on the season, sixth most, and are favored in our highest over/under of the week at 58 points. Even though he’ll set us back $8,400, Brees looks like a nice tournament play.

As does his opponent Andrew Luck. It’s sort of confusing that the crowd is still shy with only 4.1 percent of Thursday rosters acquiring his services. His price tag of $8,900 is a discount, relatively speaking. Last week, in his first game back from injury, he dumped 312 yards and three touchdowns on the Patriots, threw the ball 50 times and rushed four times for 35 yards. It’s possible that Frank Gore sneaks in a touchdown, but we’ll fire up Luck with confidence against a Saints team that is allowing the third most fantasy points per attempt to quarterbacks.

In the bargain bin, we have a high-risk play with Landry Jones. He was excellent in relief of Michael Vick last week, in which he completed 67 percent of his passes for 168 yards and two scores. Be warned, however, that 88 of those yards and one of those touchdowns came on one big play. That aside, he couldn’t have a better defense to face in his first NFL start. The Chiefs’ secondary is awful, having allowed 14 touchdowns to four interceptions, and the third most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. Of course, there is a reason the Steelers acquired Vick and pushed Jones down the depth chart. So there's a lot of implied risk here. But $6,000 gives us a world of roster flexibility. Asking Jones for 18 points isn’t exactly a longshot, considering he scored 16.3 last week in 1.5 quarters of football.

FanDuel Fades and Loss Leaders: Week 7

The danger in fading a crowd favorite is missing out on someone like Devonta Freeman while he posts another multi-touchdown day. What an incredible seven weeks he has put together. I wanted to know how incredible so I dug into the Data Dominator over at and asked it to show me the best running back seasons through seven weeks (since 2002). Here are the results:

Sorted by PPR points, since that's the world we now live in, Freeman ranks eighth all time. That's a pretty damn good showing and some rare company. The top five can't be messed with. Priest Holmes opened the 2002 season with four touchdowns. He missed two games that year and still put together the fourth best fantasy performance by a running back in history.

What's interesting is Freeman is barely beating out what DeMarco Murray and Matt Forte did last year, and not as good as Jamaal Charles in 2013. So this isn't uncharted territory. It's just completely unexpected from a guy whose workout metrics are pretty gross. If he keeps up his impossible pace, there will be thousands of articles next year about why he shouldn't be the No. 1 overall pick (he is only 23).

The question for this week is should you fade him? He'll be nearly 50% owned in large tournaments--an unprecedented number. GPP logic tells us we absolutely must fade him. He is now priced as an elite running back and exposed as such. Maybe I'll be mad at myself when the dust settles and he has three touchdowns against the Titans, but I'm fading his $8,700 salary while the crowd chases historical performances.

To read who else we're fading and whose ownership percentages we're ignoring click here. Below is a short excerpt.




Own %




Own %

Martavis Bryant $6900 PIT@KC 28.8 Tavon Austin $5800 CLE@STL 3.3
Larry Fitzgerald $7800 BAL@ARI 28.2 Danny Amendola $5400 NYJ@NE 3.1
DeAndre Hopkins $9200 HOU@MIA 24.8 Odell Beckham Jr. $9000 DAL@NYG 3
John Brown $6700 BAL@ARI 17.9 Rishard Matthews $6400 HOU@MIA 2.9
Stefon Diggs $5800 MIN@DET 14.5 Vincent Jackson $6800 TB@WAS 2.8
Donte Moncrief $6500 NO@IND 11.7 Mike Evans $7500 TB@WAS 2.7
Travis Benjamin $6600 CLE@STL 11.2 Michael Crabtree $5900 OAK@SD 2.7
Julio Jones $9100 ATL@TEN 9.7 Brandin Cooks $6700 NO@IND 2.6
Julian Edelman $8000 NYJ@NE 9.4 Ted Ginn Jr. $5300 PHI@CAR 2.5
Calvin Johnson $8400 MIN@DET 9 Michael Floyd $4900 BAL@ARI 2.2
T.Y. Hilton $7700 NO@IND 8.8 Golden Tate $6700 MIN@DET 1.8
Jarvis Landry $7100 HOU@MIA 8.6 Terrance Williams $5900 DAL@NYG 1.5
Amari Cooper $7300 OAK@SD 8.3 Kendall Wright $5700 ATL@TEN 1.4
Steve Smith $6900 BAL@ARI 8.2 Jordan Matthews $6600 PHI@CAR 1.1
Brandon Marshall $8200 NYJ@NE 8 Mike Wallace $5400 MIN@DET 1
Eric Decker $6200 NYJ@NE 7.6 Leonard Hankerson $5700 ATL@TEN 0.8
Antonio Brown $8300 PIT@KC 5.5 Jamison Crowder $5800 TB@WAS 0.6
Willie Snead $6500 NO@IND 4.7 Jeremy Maclin $6900 PIT@KC 0.5
Pierre Garcon $6100 TB@WAS 4.2 Rueben Randle $5700 DAL@NYG 0.5
Keenan Allen $8100 OAK@SD 3.9 Kamar Aiken $5600 BAL@ARI 0.5

DeAndre Hopkins is the most expensive player on the board in Week 7, and our sixth most popular overall. No receiver has scored more fantasy points this season, with Julio Jones a distant second. Hopkins ranks high in about every category we treasure: targets, receptions, yards, touchdowns. All this despite inferior quarterback play. The Texans’ offensive line has done a good job in pass protection, which allows Hopkins to complete his routes or improvise where necessary. Those familiar with “Madden NFL” know his spectacular catch rating is one of the best; he has made some amazing grabs this season. He travels to Miami this week, who haven’t allowed a lot of touchdowns, but have struggled against No. 1 receivers, ranking 30th in that category with 85.4 yards per game allowed according to FootballOutsiders. Despite his salary and exposure, fading Hopkins is not advised (though, if you’re looking for a pivot play, Jones should have a similar box score).

Don’t. Get. Cute. We get it. Recency bias and all. Stefon Diggs, for $5,800 doesn’t need to do much to hit tournament value. But with the crowd all over him, he’s just not worth it. His salary increase of $1,300 is more than any other player. Yes, he has worked his way into a WR2 role in the Vikings offense, who matchup well against the Lions as road favorites. But we think Adrian Peterson does all the damage with Teddy Bridgewater and Co. serving as complements. For better or for worse, Diggs is this week’s Julian Edelman: he may rack up a fair number of receptions and yards, but touchdowns win tournaments, and his chances of scoring are low.