Week 15 FanDuel Optimal Plays

Week 15 FanDuel Optimal Plays

By Jonathan Bales (Daily Fantasy Expert), last update Dec 12, 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.

Last year, FanDuel’s grand prize—the largest handed out in daily fantasy history—was $150,000. Fast-forward 12 months, and FanDuel, coming off of a week in which they made one user an instant millionaire, is set to run a Week 16 “King of the Gridiron” tournament with a $150,000 grand prize.

That’s a pretty incredible rise for the industry, and it gives hope to all of us non-millionaires that 2013 could still hold a six-figure payday. So with that in mind, I’m going to break down some of FanDuel’s top tournament plays in Week 15.


Week 15 FanDuel Optimal Tournament Plays

QB Kirk Cousins @ATL $5100

I suggested Cousins as an option in my DraftKings Optimal Plays as well. For the price, it’s going to be difficult to match his projection. There’s no way I’m playing a guy like Matt Flynn over him.

Further, I have some pretty good evidence in my book that you can maximize your tournament win probability by going with a low-priced quarterback. I’m not entirely sure if that’s due to seeking volatility at less consistent positions or just because it’s a contrarian approach, but when possible, I try to pair a cheaper quarterback with an elite receiver.


RB Jamaal Charles @OAK 10300

Charles isn’t a great $/point value, but tournament decisions are less about value and more about upside. Charles’ ceiling against the Raiders is higher than any other player this week. With his combination of workload and straight-line speed, there’s no one quite like him in the NFL.

One of the hidden benefits of playing Charles is his incredibly high floor. You should be seeking high ceilings in tourneys, but it’s not like you should be favoring low-floor players just to do it. Not everyone in your lineup will be a total hit—even a winning GPP lineup—but you definitely need every player to at least live up to his projection.

Charles is the most likely elite back to surpass his projection by a mile, but he’s also highly unlikely to be a bust and kill your chances. He’s failed to score a touchdown only three times this year, and he still had at least five receptions in two of those games.


WR Torrey Smith @DET $6000

I love Smith as a tournament play because of his big-play ability. Averaging 17.5 YPC this year, Smith is now finding the end zone with a touchdown in three of the past five games. He has four games with at least 10 targets and three with at least 12. Is he a risk? Yes. Don’t put him into your head-to-head leagues, but Smith is an awesome tournament play with a great matchup, especially at his FanDuel price tag.


TE Jimmy Graham @STL $8200

Sometimes, the best players to use in tournaments are studs with poor matchups. Players like Graham and Charles can go off no matter who they’re playing. But when they have unfavorable matchups, they aren’t as heavily owned as normal.

Graham is facing a Rams defense that 4for4 has rated as the fourth-stingiest against tight ends. Playing indoors, though, the potential for the Brees-Graham connection is other-worldly. Regardless of his cost—which isn’t unreasonable on FanDuel, which traditionally underprices elite players—you aren’t going to come close to matching Graham’s upside, especially with Rob Gronkowski out for the year.


Week 15 FanDuel Optimal Lineups

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