FanDuel Short Slate Strategy
Greetings Gamers! In Week 4, I wrote an article for FanDuel Insider that was well received, so I thought I would introduce my “one-off strategy” for attacking smaller DFS slates. (In Week 4, using my chosen pool of players for the short slate, I created four lineups and actually ended up getting second in a 250-man league for a tidy sum that will be bankrolling this continued adventure.)
My “one-off” strategy has been something I have been utilizing since the MLB All-Star Break when I began success in playing the 100-player leagues on the “express” and “late” slates on FanDuel.
While the majority of the action and giant prizes are on the robust full game sets, with the proliferation and popularity of the various sub-slates (early, express, late, prime time, etc.) there is a thriving mini-world that has yet to be thoroughly explored.
Essentially, the goal is to focus on the later game sets because there are 1) fewer teams to break down and analyze, and 2) often times we will have a great deal of information available to us that is revealed during the early games (popularity of players, trends of game stacks, QB/WR combos, etc.).
The strategy that is most effective for these sub-slates is to focus on breaking down each of the positions by determining the likely order of production and popularity, then choose one or two spots where you can differentiate from The Masses.
You don’t have to be different at every position, however, by changing things up a bit at the QB or RB position, the pricing differences will organically influence your choices at a couple of other roster slots and…voila a unique, yet solidly constructed entry via a “one-off” approach.
By targeting the $2 and $5 price points, you can play a couple different lineups and remain in the “entertainment expense” range. As a bonus, with close to 10% of the field winning, you can increase your chances of pulling down enough of the prize pool to fund an afternoon’s worth of excitement.
Below are my picks and strategy for the following late games this weekend: 4:05pm CAR at SEA; 4:25pm BAL at SF, SD at GD, 8:30pm NE at IND; 8:30pm DAL at NO and Monday Night Football with NYG at PHI.
The two most popular plays in this game set are going to be Aaron Rodgers – GB vs SD – $9,300 and Tom Brady – NE at IND – $9,000 and while I think both are fine plays, for my strategy to work I will be looking elsewhere. My hope is that Rodgers and Brady gets their scores in quick so that the Packers and Patriots can both move to a ground and pound strategy in their respective games and both of these signal callers end up with around 250 yards and two scores. Nice games for sure, but production that we can find elsewhere.
Eli Manning – NYG at PHI – $7,800 each of the last five seasons, Eli has had a game with 400+ passing yards. With the Giants lacking much of a rushing attack, he will be the focal point once again in a fast paced game with a high projected total. So many gamers have been burned by Eli over the years that I would be surprised to see him on more than 20% of all tournament rosters, even on this abbreviated slate. I think he has a better shot this week at 300/3 than either Rodgers or Brady and in this format, I am willing to take on the risk that he goes kaput.
Colin Kaepernick – SF vs BAL – $7,300 similar to the Curse of Eli, most gamers have had their share of disappointing results at the hands of Kaepernick and it would be a complete shock if he is on more than 10% of all tournament rosters in the late game set. The Ravens are allowing the second most FanDuel points to opposing quarterbacks this season at just over 22 fantasy points per game. That seems like a reasonable target, with a little upside left over for Kaepernick who is coming off a solid performance on Sunday Night Football.
With Marshawn Lynch – SEA vs CAR – $8,300 and Justin Forsett BAL at SF – $7,600 dealing with injuries, there is no real clear cut top back. My assessment is that most gamers will look to Eddie Lacy – GB vs SD – $7,300 or DeMarco Murray – PHI vs NYG – $7,600 to pair with Dion Lewis – NE at IND – $7,200 and call it good. That is just fine with me, look at the game logs for Lacy and Murray…just one, I repeat ONE game this season between them where one of them has put up 100 combined yards (and it was Murray last week against New Orleans).
Dion Lewis – NE at IND – $7,200 is a fine option and I have no issues with recommending him this week.
Shane Vereen – NYG at PHI – $5,600 regardless of the health status for wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. or Rueben Randle, Vereen should see a lot of work out of the backfield as the Giants are going to need to air it out to keep up with the Eagles who should be marching up and down the field against the New York defense. Last week against the 49ers, Vereen tallied eight receptions and 86 yards with a touchdown and he could have a game like that again on Monday Night Football at a very low usage rate.
Ryan Mathews – PHI vs NYG – $5,600 in this matchup, I actually prefer Mathews over teammate DeMarco Murray and would love to use the extra cap space to roll with a Tom Brady/Rob Gronkowski pairing.
It will be interesting to see where everyone lands at the wide receiver position. I am planting my flag and avoiding the risk associated with Odell Beckham Jr. – NYG at PHI – $9,100 and his balky hamstring. My preferred core plays will be Julian Edelman – NE at IND – $7,900, Keenan Allen – SD at GB – $7,700 and T.Y. Hilton – IND vs NE – $7,400 who will hopefully have QB Andrew Luck throwing the ball this week.
Lastly, if you like a good story, both Anquan Boldin – $6,500 and Torrey Smith – $6,200 are facing their former team this week as the Baltimore Ravens are coming to San Francisco and if I am rolling with Kaepernick, then I want to have one of his receivers on my roster too.
There are two distinct choices on this slate and I do not thing you can go wrong with either…well at least until the games are played. Rob Gronkowski – NE at IND – $8,200 is a fantastic option most weeks and this is no different. Also in play is Antonio Gates – SD at GB – $5,500 who will be quite popular at his low price, particularly after his nine reception, 92 yard, two touchdown performance on Monday Night Football.
Defenses and Kickers
For this particular slate I would look to the Carolina Panthers – $4,700 as a sneaky option on the road in Seattle who have allowed a league leading 22 sacks this season or the Green Bay Packers – $4,700 who will be a more popular option, but they are facing Philip Rivers and the decimated Chargers offensive line and while Rivers has only five interceptions on the season, three have been returned for touchdowns.
For kickers, I would start at the bottom of the pricing list and work up as your cap space allows. There are a lot of high scoring games in this late set so nobody is truly a horrible play.
Alrighty Gamers, there you have it, one way to target the smaller slate specific contests. While the prize pools in the 100 and 250 entry leagues are not going to make you rich, just a couple good showings can fund your NFL entertainment for the next month or two.