James Gagnon continues with our weekly winners roundup for DraftKings and FanDuel. NFL week 8 recap and look forward to week 9
Well, I’m never reading a fantasy article again. But you, you should totally keep reading them. Especially this one. Anyway, I’m sitting there finalizing my thoughts and notes to begin forming my lineups and I read an article from one of my favorite sites, a site that’s been instrumental in my success in yearlong leagues and has been at the forefront of DFS advice.
As I start building my lineups, I think Eli and Brees are no-brainers.
Both QB’s were playing soft defenses and neither quarterback gets much help from their running game. Then I read about how their expected ownership should be high. I like to differentiate. I also believe in saving at QB to spend elsewhere. But I do also believe in building the best lineup possible and not shying away from a player just because they might be highly owned. Needless to say, I used Eli and Brees in far fewer lineups than I initially intended and it cost me some very expensive pride.
Follow the rules, but sometimes you have to let your gut overrule them.
Brees and Eli
It should come as no surprise that Drew Brees was owned by the winner of FanDuel’s largest tourney and by the top-25 winners in DraftKings’ highest paying tournament.
Yet, unlike what the article I let sway me projected, they were both owned by less than 4% on each site. Drew Brees is the only player to score over 50 points so far this year on DK and over 40 on FD. And Eli wasn’t far off. That type of output, with players owned by so few others, I’m sure made a lot of people very happy this weekend. No matter what site you prefer, or what type of games you enter, 150-200 points should be what you’re shooting for to win your money back. When 1 of 9 players gets you a quarter of that desired output, the rest of your team can be completely mediocre or get injured halfway through their games, and you should still be able to place.
Speaking of Injuries… And Their Replacements
We lost some good dudes this weekend. LeVeon Bell is officially done for the year. Matt Forte should be out for a few weeks. Carlos Hyde lost his entire supporting cast, and has been dealing with a nagging injury himself. Keenan Allen’s injury began described as back spasms and ended up being a lacerated kidney, so he’s also done for the year.
RB (salaries are based on DraftKings’ current valuations)
LeVeon Bell will be replaced with DeAngelo Williams($5,500), who played very well at the beginning of the season during Bell’s suspension. He’s a no-brainer right now and his price will sky-rocket as long as the Steelers play well.
Next in line to Matt Forte is Jeremy Langford($4,000), who had 12 rush attempts for 46 yards after Forte went out. As close as the game was, in that type of pressure situation, this is a good enough performance to make me a believer in him as a possible value moving forward.
With the loss of Reggie Bush(torn ACL) and ineffectiveness of Carlos Hyde(stress fracture in his foot), Kendall Gaskins($3,000) was brought into the game in a horrible situation against a very good defense and gained 6 yards on 5 carries, to go along with 2 receptions. Pierre Thomas(no salary yet) was signed to a contract, and will most likely take on third-down duties. Though, with the loss of Vernon Davis due to trade and the benching of Colin Kaepernick in the favor of Blaine Gabbert, I might give all 49’ers a wait and see approach before rostering any of them.
Joseph Randle has officially been dropped by the Cowboys and Darren McFadden($4,300) has officially been named the starter. Run-DMc has been playing very well lately and looks healthy for the first time in a long time. He also has the benefit of having a great O-Line in front of him and weapons like Jason Witten and Dez Bryant forcing defenses to stay honest. Depending on the matchup, McFadden will be a value for at least a couple weeks, and if he stays healthy until Tony Romo returns, he’ll be one of the most expensive RB’s on both sites. Use him while you can get him cheap, and once he becomes expensive, still use him.
Brandon Oliver’s turf toe has forced him to the IR. It might not seem like a big deal, but he’s had 32 total receptions and rush attempts over the last three weeks. The Chargers might turn to Donald Brown to replace him, or those touches could go to Melvin Gordon($4,000) and Danny Woodhead. But with Gordon getting his highest amount of rush attempts on the season after the Oliver injury, it could indicate that he’ll be getting most of the opportunity…as long as doesn’t fumble it away. Gordon has worked very hard on catching the ball out of the backfield since his days at Wisconsin, and could see more balls through the air with Keenan Allen’s injury. At $4,000, Gordon’s a great “Monday Night Bullet” play against a Bears team that is ranked 29th against the run.
Keenan Allen’s very serious kidney issue will take away a player who’s been on a lot of winning teams this year. It might affect Rivers to an extent, but I doubt it; He’s always done plenty with little. Malcolm Floyd($3,900) and Stevie Johnson($3,200) aren’t Keenan Allen, but they’ve both proven to be competent and professional NFL WR’s and will be cheap, with high ceilings. Antonio Gates($4,700) will obviously benefit as long as he stays healthy, which is a scary thought with his track record over the last few years, so keep an eye on his health and plug and play Ladarius Green($3,300), especially if Gates is a late scratch.
Steve Smith Sr. was playing better than his age would suggest, during what was supposed to be his final year, when his Achilles tendon exploded. There are a few specific NFL injuries that stand out in my mind, but whenever I hear “torn Achilles tendon,” all I can think about is the little boy from Pet Cemetery and it makes me shudder. But the shuddering was followed by great news; that we get see Steve Smith Sr. strap up the laces again next year. Until then, WR-Kamar Aiken and TE-Crockett Gilmore will see the biggest bump in targets. With Marlon Brown moving up to WR2 and tight end Maxx Williams being rumored to have more opportunities in the slot. Joe Flacco has been above-average and will continue to be the same. Baltimore is on BYE this week, so no salaries are available but I can guarantee they will all be very cheap, and potentially great plays in week 10 against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Ryan Fitzpatrick($5,200) tore ligaments in the thumb of his non-dominant hand, and is currently forgoing surgery and will attempt to play. Geno Smith($5,100) was atrocious in relief of Fitzpatrick, and is actually banged up himself and questionable to play in week 9. The worry here, fantasy-wise, is obviously Brandon Marshall($7,200), also injured and questionable, and Eric Decker($5,300), who will either have a one-handed QB, a talented but still not NFL ready QB, or Bryce Petty(who?) throwing to them. They might need to lean far more heavily on Chris Ivory($5,900), who’s priced as the 11th most expensive RB and has a great matchup this week against Jax. It could very well be the Ivory and Decker show.
Josh McCown had an amazing 3 game stretch where he was a super GPP play, and then he met Denver, St Louis, and Arizona and came back to earth a little bit. He was still playing well in real life, and will still be rosterable during favorable matchups. As of right now, it doesn’t look like he’ll be able to play at least for this week, which gives way to Johnny Manziel($5,000), who plays against the Bengals(22nd-ranked defense) on Thursday night. This could also benefit Travis Benjamin($5,200), who caught 3 of his 4 TD’s on the year during the first two weeks when Johnny was running the team. Gary Barnidge($4,800) should continue to be Gary Barnidge, which is a pretty good TE.
Vernon Davis – even though you can roster him in DraftKings, he won’t accrue any points for you so stay away from Vernon on DK until week 10. He’s good to go on FanDuel, though.
How The Millionaire Winners Won
gvalstyle took DraftKings’ $6M Millionaire Maker by scoring 266.54 points, which was over 5 points more than the 2nd place team. gvalstyle was one of only two of the top-10 teams who had a player in the Monday night game, with both having Jonathon Stewart. J-Stew earned both players significant pay bumps.
As you can see, Drew Brees is right at the top of that lineup. Gval stacked Brees with Benjamin Watson, both the highest scoring players at their position, for a cost of $10,200, or 20.4% of their budget on 22.2% of their roster, for 31%(83.24 points) of their team’s scoring. That’s huge, as Brees was the best value at QB, costing only $92.15 per point and Watson was the 3rd best value at TE at $107.30 per point.
Brees and Watson were both owned by all 10 of the top 10 teams.
Another other player owned by all 10 teams was Todd Gurley. Gurley($6,300) was owned by nearly 2/3rds of the teams in this contest and outscored more expensive RB’s like Adrian Peterson($7,400) and Devonta Freeman($8,000). This is also the last week you had a chance to get Gurley somewhat cheap as he’s now the 3rd most expensive RB.
The last thing gvalstyle did was make sure that they hit big on their three expensive players; Beckham Jr., Julio Jones, and Houston Defense, while getting great production out of cheap guys like Darren McFadden($3,800 – 12.7%) and Tavon Austin($4,600 – 6%).
4 players were owned on all top-10 teams; Brees, Gurley, Watson, and ODB Jr.
Julio Jones was also popular, as he’s been all year, and was on 6 of 10 teams
Brandin Cooks(6 of 10) and Willie Snead(5 of 10) rounded out the rest of the most owned players
The ultra stack of Brees, Watson, Snead, and Cooks was used on 3 of the top-10 teams,
A 4th top-10 team added Mark Ingram as the 5th Saints player on the team, though had he gone with the cheaper Gurley(something I’m sure was considered), we would’ve had a different millionaire this week. Would you be happy winning the $250K or would you be absolutely miserable that you lost $750K by going with Mark effing Ingram over Todd Gurley? I’d probably get over it. Maybe.
The Winning Roster
westcoast4 won with 215.54 points and had a Monday night sweat going on. jenkcfoote was leading going into Monday Night with 207.10 and no players left to play. Westcoast4 had 198.64 going into the night and Olsen’s 16.90 points leapfrogged him over all above him for a sweet $500,000 paycheck.
In FanDuel, you can’t understate the importance of getting the most out of your D and K. Houston was expensive, but paid off as the highest scoring defense by at least 5 points on each site. Bailey also wasn’t cheap, but no one expected much out of him with an ownership of 1.6%, so his 14 points were very helpful.
No surprise here as a Brees-Cooks stack was involved. While Gurley was owned by a ton of people, westcoast4 still got those points and was able to differentiate with Hillman at $6,100 and 4% ownership. Round it out with Diggs and Olsen who were highly owned, and Odell Beckham Jr as an expensive stud who performed up to his valuation, and there you have it.
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