Staking Bales: Previewing Week 2 in Daily Fantasy Land

Staking Bales: Previewing Week 2 in Daily Fantasy Land

By Jonathan Bales (Daily Fantasy Expert), last update Sep 13, 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.

If you’re unfamiliar with this “Staking Bales” series, check out the opener right here. In a nutshell, Josh foolishly gave me $2,000 to use at four daily fantasy sites. I got lucky in Week 1 and increased that amount by 16.7 percent. Let’s see if I can get lucky again.

As was the case last week, the majority of my money will go into heads-up leagues. I’ve explained my heads-up strategy in the past, and the reason I love them is that they’re extremely safe. I can put 20 percent of my bankroll on my optimal lineups in a given week and, unless I have a historically poor week, I’m not really at risk of losing all that money.

And the more leagues I enter, the safer the lineups become. If I put a lineup into a single heads-up league, there’s a whole lot of variance there; hopefully I’m the favorite, but I might still lose 35 percent of the time. But if I enter that same lineup into 1,000 leagues, I’ll basically get what I deserve. If it’s a top 20 percent lineup, I’ll get paid in around 80 percent of leagues. If it’s a bottom 25 percent lineup, I’ll still get paid in around one-quarter of leagues.

And because I’m playing on four sites, I have four different optimal lineups each week. That means I’ll have 20 percent of the bankroll—currently around $460—on four different player combinations. Now what are the odds that I have a bottom 20 percent week on all four sites? Even if I’m a completely average player, it’s right around one-in-five on each site. So, carry the two, subtract the six, get out my calculator, and…there’s just a one-in-625 chance of me finishing in the bottom 20 percent on all four sites—once every 37 seasons, on average.

Because heads-up leagues are so safe, I can play a handful of 50/50s and other league types (three and five-man), as well as tournaments. The tournaments are the best long-term money-making opportunity because there’s so much bad money in them, but you have to be careful since you’ll typically cash infrequently. I won’t ever place more than 10 percent of my bankroll into tournaments in a given week, unless there’s insane overlay. With any tournament, I'll be looking for as much overlay as possible (which is why I typically enter the tournies listed on the 4for4 daily fantasy promos page).

So, that’s my thinking with this. And here’s my thinking on a few players I like this week. Remember, no one is necessarily valuable in and of themselves, but there are a handful of guys I find myself targeting on every site.


Top Values

QB Chad Henne

I talked about Henne in my FanDuel Optimal Plays, but he’s priced low across the board. I played high school football with Chad, so I think I know what I’m talking about when it comes to predicting his fantasy output. He was really good in high school, guys, so I just can’t see how he doesn’t dominate the Raiders this week.

In all seriousness, Henne is an awesome value on every site. You can’t always target the best values because sometimes they just won’t give you the production you need, but I think Henne can do it. He should have Cecil Shorts in the lineup (make sure that’s the case on Sunday), and he’s shown he can produce big numbers at times.

More important, Henne represents flexibility. You can go big at every other spot with him in your lineup, so he’s great on sites that allow for a high-low strategy (FanDuel being one of them).


RB DeMarco Murray

I cover the Cowboys for a living, so I like to think I have a pretty strong idea of how they’ll perform each week—stronger than with other teams, at least. And I also like to think I can observe them in an unbiased manner. I’m fading Tony Romo and Dez Bryant hard this week, for example.

Coming off of a mediocre Week 1, Murray is still underpriced. Let’s think about what we have here: a 220-pound back with 4.41 speed who catches the ball and will see a heavy workload. Is he injury prone? Maybe, maybe not, but that doesn’t really matter in daily fantasy football. We’d never predict an injury in a single game, yet Murray is priced as if that matters.

And you can bet the Chiefs are going to mimic what the Giants did to Dallas in Week 1—take away Bryant by playing with two deep safeties. I say the Cowboys give the ball to Murray early and often in this one, and I think he’s a decent bet for 100 yards. Plus, we got a glimpse of what Bill Callahan can do for Murray’s value with eight receptions last week. He’s got some extra value on sites with full PPR scoring (DraftDay, DraftKings, and StarStreet).


WR Andre Johnson

In addition to Johnson, I love quarterback Matt Schaub this week playing against the Titans. That means the duo is in a lot of my tournament lineups. Johnson is a second-tier wide receiver in terms of price, but Schaub is so cheap that you can stack the pair and still have plenty of money left elsewhere—something you can’t really do with a Peyton Manning/Demaryius Thomas or Drew Brees/Jimmy Graham type of stack.

I’m not really sure why Johnson is priced below his expected production, but it’s probably because of his age. I’ll take the value, knowing that even if Father Time is going to catch up with Johnson, it probably won’t be this early in the year.


TE Julius Thomas

I’m not usually high on players who come out of nowhere in Week 1, but I really like Thomas for three reasons. First, he’s extremely athletic; he has the tools to be a dominant tight end. Second, Manning is throwing him passes and showed a willingness to go to him against the Ravens. Enough said. And finally, Thomas is still really cheap on most sites. He’s priced as if he’s Fred Davis, but even if he is that quality of tight end, he’s Fred Davis with Peyton Manning feeding him the ball.

Want to get your money in good this week? Check out the 4for4 daily fantasy promos page.

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