Week 11 FanDuel Optimal Plays
I’m in the midst of adding a fourth book to the Fantasy Football for Smart People series—a daily fantasy football book that I’m hoping to release within a month—and I just began writing the chapter on creating values.
In my first daily fantasy book, I discussed the value of $/point—the system we use in the 4for4 Value Reports. It’s definitely a valuable foundation for creating lineups—it would be senseless to not understand how much each player costs relative to his expected production—but I also think that it would be a mistake to blindly follow $/point.
One reason is that it’s a somewhat fragile system. If you look at our FanDuel quarterback values, for example, you’ll see that the second-ranked quarterback, Case Keenum ($356 per point) costs only $56 less per point than the 17th-ranked quarterback, Russell Wilson ($412 per point).
A lot of daily fantasy players might never use Wilson, which is fine, but he costs just over 15 percent more than Keenum on a per-point basis. But don’t forget that the values are based completely on (relatively) subjective projections, so they’re far from flawless.
To be sure that Keenum offers better value than Wilson, we’d need to be confident in our ability to consistently differentiate between 15 percent changes in expected production. Can you do that? I can’t.
So in addition to other issues I’ve had with $/point as a standalone value tool, the biggest is just that it’s a fragile system; small changes in projections, which could result just from studying X data instead of Y, can create big deviations in value.
Again, I don’t think that $/point is worthless—I use it to create my own lineups—but be careful not to follow it so closely that you miss out on a truly optimized lineup.
Week 11 Value Plays
QB Josh McCown vs. BAL $5400
McCown is by far the top quarterback value on FanDuel this week. I’ve been going with some higher-priced passers lately and I’ve warned about the dangers of overvaluing cheap players, but I think McCown has a great chance to return lots of value in Week 11.
The most important aspect of McCown’s play thus far is that he’s been efficient. He’s averaged 7.7 YPA on 70 throws this year—not a massive sample but good enough that we know he’s at least capable of putting up numbers. He’s also got four touchdowns and no picks.
If McCown can get into the 40-attempt area, he’s basically a guarantee to provide a good ROI. He’ll also give you a couple points on the ground.
RB Marshawn Lynch vs. MIN $9000
I normally prefer pass-catching running backs because they’re safer from week to week; Lynch is admittedly a little situation-dependent. But it’s unlikely that Seattle will get down big to Minnesota, so Lynch makes for a safe play. He’s a better option on FanDuel (0.5 PPR) than the other full PPR sites out there.
WR Antonio Brown vs. DET $6900
I absolutely love Brown this year. I’ve had more exposure to him than any other wide receiver, regardless of the format, because he possesses both safety and upside.
We’ve seen Brown’s high floor in action—he has at least five catches and 50 yards in every single game—so he’s a must-play in head-to-head formats. He’s probably the safest receiver in the league right now.
But Brown also has a high ceiling, as evidenced by his 9/196/2 outing in Week 3. The problem is that he’s scored only one other time all year. Even though Brown isn’t necessarily a dominant red zone receiver, we should still expect more than three total touchdowns on 67 catches.
Play Brown for the safety, but throw him into some tournaments because there’s definitely upside yet to be realized here.
TE Rob Gronkowski @CAR $8200
Gronk is the top-projected tight end by a mile this week. With the lack of bargain bin tight ends right now and Jimmy Graham facing the Niners with a higher price tag, it’s time to jump on the Pats’ tight end.
Week 11 Optimal Lineups