Daily Fantasy: Week 1 FanDuel Optimal Plays

Daily Fantasy: Week 1 FanDuel Optimal Plays

By Jonathan Bales (Daily Fantasy Expert), last update Sep 5, 2013

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Jonathan Bales is a DraftKings Pro and the author of the Fantasy Football for Smart People book series. His latest book, How to Win at Daily Fantasy Sports, is a data-driven guide to winning on DraftKings. He is also (unofficially) sponsored by GrubHub.

Follow Jonathan Bales on Twitter: @BalesFootball.

The daily fantasy industry has exploded, with numerous sites offering a vast selection of games with reliable payouts. But the cream of the daily fantasy crop is still FanDuel. With a $1 million prize for whoever takes down the FFFC and a plethora of other huge tournaments, every lineup you submit could be a big winner.

Every daily site has salary inefficiencies we can exploit for a profit, and FanDuel is no different. They posted their Week 1 salaries before anyone, so there are some prices that don’t match up with expected production. Using 4for4’s sortable FanDuel Value Report, let’s examine some of those values.


Value Plays


QB Carson Palmer - $6300

Palmer is our sixth-highest value on FanDuel, priced at only $6300. Heading to St. Louis, he has a favorable matchup and we’re projecting him at 16.1 points. That’s just $392 per point, making Palmer a foundational piece in your FanDuel lineups. His presence allows you to go top-heavy at pretty much every other spot.


RB Jamaal Charles - $8800

Typically, the best values are low-priced players who might not be truly startable. At quarterback, for example, the players ranked ahead of Palmer are Pryor, Manuel, Weeden, Ponder, and Gabbert. There are questions surrounding all of those players.

When we see an elite player also ranked as an elite value, it’s a sign that we should have a lot of exposure to him in a given week. To start the season, one of the best running back values on FanDuel is Jamaal Charles.

Charles will run you $8800—only $400 more than Alfred Morris—but he’s projected at 20.5 points. The Chiefs won’t be favorites in many games this year, but going up against the Jags, they could very well come out of Week 1 at 1-0. That means that Charles, who is already set to see a heavier workload with Andy Reid feeding him the ball, could easily see 20 touches with some late caries. The most efficient back in NFL history has the ultimate upside this week, and he’s a great play in heads-up leagues or tournaments.


WR Calvin Johnson - $8800

This is really a week to go light at quarterback, allowing you to fill up on some elite options with great matchups. Megatron is obviously the priciest receiver at $8800, but at 18.5 projected points, he costs just $475 per point—our fourth-best receiver value.

You can also pair Johnson with Kenbrell Thompkins—our top value at wide receiver. I’m not normally bullish on rookie receivers, particularly undrafted ones in their first NFL game, but Thompkins really doesn’t need many points to give you a return on his $4500 salary. He’s another foundational piece to help you implement a high-low strategy this week.


TE Jordan Cameron - $4900

If you’re looking for cheap points at the tight end position, Cameron is your man this week. He’s priced so low—$4900—that even a seven or eight-point week will give you the return you need. He’s probably got more upside than you think against the Dolphins, and again, his presence gives you flexibility at other spots.

If you want to secure a safer option, Jason Witten, Tony Gonzalez, and Vernon Davis are all high in our FanDuel Value Report.

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Optimal Lineups

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