FanDuel GPP Breakdown Week 4
The winner of last week's Sunday Million had six players with multiple TDs and six players under nine-percent owned. Below, I'll focus on players I believe to be strong tournament plays based on multi-touchdown upside and low projected ownership. I won't blurb chalk plays (Aaron Rodgers, David Carr, Karlos Williams, Latavius Murray, Randall Cobb, Amari Cooper, James Jones, Greg Olsen, and the Cardinals) -- they're all justifiable GPP options but you won't take home big money by stuffing your entire lineup with them. Use chalk plays selectively, a few at a time, filling out the rest of your lineup with players likely to be low-owned who have that multi-touchdown upside. As usual, I draw heavily from my Ownership Outlook column, and all the players I highlight below are players I believe you should have more exposure to than the field will. Since who you fade can be just as important as who you play in a GPP, I've also added a "Fades" section at the end where I briefly highlight any highly-owned players that I believe you should have less exposure to than the field, or no exposure to at all.
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Matt Ryan ($8,400) was only the seventh-highest owned (3.7%) QB on Thursday slates, but his Falcons have the third-highest Vegas team total (26.5), behind only the Colts (28.5) and Packers (28.25). With Devonta Freeman scoring three times inside the 7-yard line last week, Ryan has only accounted for 50 percent of his team's ten offensive TDs, a figure sure to regress -- the league average ratio for passing-to-rushing TDs is 2:1. Ryan's averaging 315 passing yards per game, so the yardage upside is there. Speaking of upside, Julio Jones ($9,400, 17.4%) is averaging over 15 targets and 11 catches per game this season, a trend likely to continue with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan moving him around the formation. With big games from A.J. Green and Randall Cobb last week, combined with many owners paying up for Aaron Rodgers, Julio's ownership may be a bit more muted this week than it probably should be. The Texans on-paper numbers against the pass are decent, but they've faced three below-average passing teams in the Chiefs, Panthers, and Bucs. Our schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed (aFPA) ranks the Texans 28th against QBs and 23rd against WRs.
While Tyrod Taylor started the season at minimum price, his salary shot up to $6,300 after Week 1, $7,000 after Week 2, and $7,600 after last week. Playing without his top two offensive weapons, LeSean McCoy and Sammy Watkins, in a game with an over/under that's fallen 1.5 points from its open of 47, Taylor isn't as nearly as good of a play as his TE, Charles Clay ($5,200), is. Watkins and McCoy accounted for 25 percent of the Bills passing yardage, and Clay -- who's scored TDs in back-to-back weeks -- is most likely to fill the void. The Giants (30th in TE aFPA) have strong outside cornerbacks but linebackers and safeties who struggle in coverage, which has predictably led to them having allowed the second-most receptions and third-most yardage in the league to TEs. The Bills paid Clay a lot of money ($13 million guaranteed), and is likely to be the focal point of the Bills' passing game this weekend.
I love Travis Kelce ($6,400, 5.7%) this week at what will likely be a fourth of Olsen's ($6,300, 20.3%) ownership. The Bengals allowed Ravens TEs to draw 12 targets and catch eight passes for 103 yards last week, and gave up five catches to Ladarius Green the week before. Kelce is averaging 5.3 catches for 81.3 yards and 0.67 TDs this season.
Opposing offenses are barely attempting to run on the Bills, instead passing 76 percent of the time. This has led to the Bills allowing the fourth-most receptions and second-most yards to WRs, and even though they've faced the Patriots and Colts, they still rank 30th in WR aFPA. While going pass-heavy doesn't seem to be the Giants' MO, it's worth noting that they are 5.5-point underdogs and Odell Beckham Jr. ($9,100, 6.1 percent) was absent from over 90 percent of lineups Thursday night. I'm not sure you'll get Beckham at lower ownership against a team hemorrhaging WR production again this season.
If the Packers passing game does as well as their ownership suggests, you could do well with Colin Kaepernick ($7,500) as a contrarian play. Recency bias will keep his ownership extremely low (it was under one percent Thursday), but Kaep' has a few things going for him. His salary has dropped $400 since the season began, he put up 26.5 FanDuel points (335 passing yards, 2 TDs, 51 rushing yards) just two weeks ago in negative game script against the Steelers, and he has a history of success against Dom Capers' defenses (101.3 passer rating in three career meetings). Kaepernick's floor is low, but with rushing ability, the best passing down back (Reggie Bush) and deep threat (Torrey Smith) he's ever had, Kaep' also has huge upside in the game with this week's highest over/under.
Jamaal Charles $8,700 @ CIN - Since Andy Reid became the Chiefs' head coach, Charles has averaged 1.15 TDs per game, easily the best mark of any RB over that span. He's seen 56 percent of his team's nine opportunities inside the 10-yard line. He poses a mismatch against against a Bengals defensive unit that has allowed the second-most receptions in the league to RBs.
Matt Forte $8,300 vs. OAK - Forte's price hasn't been lower than Week 2 of 2013, and even though Jimmy Clausen limits the Bears' offense as a whole, Forte has huge upside based on volume alone. With Clausen at QB, Forte's number was called on 46 percent of the Bears' plays last week -- the problem was they ran only 50 plays. The Raiders, however, are allowing opponents 67.7 plays per game, giving Forte legitimate 30-touch upside. The Raiders defense has struggled to contain RBs, ranking 30th in RB aFPA.
Devonta Freeman $7,200 vs. HOU - I was interested to see the split between Joseph Randle's and Freeman's ownership, and it appears the field is going with Randle (13.6%) over Freeman (6.7%). Freeman is a large (-6.5) home favorite this week who ripped off five-yard gains on nearly half (14 of 30) of his runs en route to 141 rushing yards against a previously-stout Cowboys defense last week. Randle is a road underdog this week who took advantage of defensive lapses last week for gains of 37, 28, and 20, while his other his 11 carries tallied a laughable two yards. I'll be playing Freeman and fading Randle this week.
Eddie Lacy $7,800 @ SF - The Packers' passing game will have the highest ownership of all this weekend, but it's very possible that Green Bay's potent passing attack leads to multiple layup goal-line scores for Lacy. That's exactly what happened against the 49ers the last two weeks, with DeAngelo Williams (3 TDs) and Chris Johnson (2 TDs), respectively.
Mason Crosby $5,000 @ SF - When a passing game is highly owned, I always like to roster the team's kicker. Playing on a team that's a huge favorite and has a high point total, Crosby is a good play regardless. But what I really like about selecting him is that if the Packers have trouble finishing drives, Crosby benefits at the expense of all the highly-owned members of the Packers' passing attack.
Josh Lambo $4,500 vs. CLE - Sometimes you need a minimum kicker to build the roster you want elsewhere, and Lambo is in a good spot with his team as a large home favorite (-7.5) with a 26-point team total.
Seahawks $5,300 @ DET - The Lions currently have poor offensive line play, a banged-up QB, and no running game, leading to a putrid 16.5 Vegas team total. An added bonus of rostering the Seahawks is return man Tyler Lockett, who has already returned two kicks for TDs in his first three career games, adding another in the preseason.
Chargers $4,400 vs. CLE - The Chargers check all the boxes this week. They will be barely owned (2.3 percent on Thursday), are big home favorites (-7.5), and face a QB in Josh McCown who owns below-average career marks in completion rate (58.7), interception rate (3.5), and sack rate (8.2) -- all of which correlate to defensive fantasy production.
I already mentioned I'm off Joseph Randle completely. Martellus Bennett is another guy who I'll have little of -- the similarly-owned Charles Clay is $300 cheaper with an equally-juicy matchup, a higher Vegas total, and a better QB. As the second and third highest-owned WRs, I see no reason to have much of Larry Fitzgerald or A.J. Green this week after having them all over last week. Fitzgerald and Green are owned just as much as Amari Cooper and Randall Cobb, respectively, and both Cooper and Cobb have better matchups. Plus, in a 62-game career sample, Green is averaging 11.2 FanDuel points at home, compared to 18.2 on the road -- I can't explain it, but it's gone on long enough for me to take it seriously unless the matchup is an absolute slam-dunk.