WEEK 11 NFL DFS: Charknado heading West (Saturday Update)
Welcome to the 11th weekly edition of the Daily Fantasy Rundown with “leonem” and “dinkpiece”. Each week throughout the NFL season our weekly NFL analysis will highlight the best top, value and cheap plays of the week based on the Daily Fantasy Industry’s pricing for salary cap games. Our analysis will help you consistently build winning rosters over the long run.
Devonta Freeman (ATL) – Freeman’s stock rises though it has less to do with him and more to do with lineup construction philosophy as the week has worn on. Darren McFadden’s questionable health removes him from a primary target and weakens the depth at the RB pool. It’s still strong but one less option moves Freeman up the cash game totem pole. His matchup is stronger than teammate Julio Jones and his price tag is often friendlier as well. We have a slight lean towards prioritizing Freeman over Julio now.
Dez Bryant (DAL) – Dez went through his normal practice routine this week. We had some concerns coming into the week about how Dallas would prioritize moving the ball and if Romo’s rust would impact the efficiency. With McFadden banged up, we’re more confident that the volume will be there for Dez and the price tag mitigates some of the concerns over a dip in efficiency.
Larry Fitzgerald (ARZ) – Fitzgerald has a tough matchup inside against Leon Hall but the other Arizona wide receivers are all banged up (Floyd and Brown both questionable) and we think that will force volume Fitzgerald’s way. He saw 15 targets last week and we think he can approach that again this week.
Devin Funchess (CAR) – This is tournament only but Corey “Philly” Brown’s injury (doubtful) will push Funchess into the starting lineup. He’s a big receiver in the mold of Kelvin Benjamin and should serve as a secondary red zone passing target behind Greg Olsen. He’s very cheap because he hasn’t played much and the Washington secondary will likely leave him in a lot of favorable coverages with the emphasis on Greg Olsen.
Michael Floyd (ARZ) – Floyd didn’t practice all week with a hamstring issue. He’s listed as questionable but no practice all week makes him impossible to use in DFS. Jaron Brown (ARZ) would get a bump if either Floyd or John Brown (also questionable) sit, but with an evening start it’s difficult to even speculate on this.
Darren McFadden (DAL) – McFadden showed up on the injury report mid-week with a groin issue that now has him listed as questionable. McFadden says he’ll play but his rather long injury history plus the depth at the running back position has us shifting emphasis away from the Dallas running game and to the Dallas passing game.
Julio Jones (ATL) – This is a really slight downgrade on Julio. The shift in confidence in Dallas’ offense has a ripple effect on pricing and positional scarcity that makes us less likely to utilize Julio in cash games and more likely to utilize his teammate: Devonta Freeman.
Alshon Jeffery (CHI) – Jeffery didn’t practice on Thursday or Friday. The tough matchup with Denver made him a very questionable play to start the week and even if he is active it’s likely in a decoy role.
FanDuel Thursday Ownership notes:
DFSReport.com is doing a nice job with an article covering Thursday Ownership Rates (tournament). The link will take you to a pretty comprehensive list. Below are our thoughts:
Quarterback: Derek Carr (OAK) is the heaviest owned quarterback followed by Cam Newton (CAR) and Tom Brady (NE). Carr’s price tag is far more favorable on DraftKings than FanDuel, but so are other quarterbacks that should keep ownership spread out among a thin group. Mark Sanchez (PHI) was surprisingly low owned. We view him as the best cash viable pure salary relief option. The low ownership on Tyrod Taylor (BUF) makes him a nice tournament target.
Running back: For the most part, the percentages align with our recommendations at running back. Charcandrick West (KC) is going to be the most heavily owned player on every site this week. In tournaments, he’s a strong fade just based on ownership levels. Our opinion is getting a bit more in line with consensus on Freeman as he was the second heaviest owned RB on FanDuel’s Thursday slate. He was followed by Lamar Miller (MIA), who we like, and then Todd Gurley (STL), Adrian Peterson (MIN), and Jeremy Langford (CHI). Langford’s ownership suggests it’s going to be tough to get a big advantage using him in tournaments. We were hoping for a lower mark. Todd Gurley is an easy tournament fade for us. DeMarco Murray (PHI) is a bit under-owned in our opinion and Latavius Murray (OAK) makes for a great leverage play against Derek Carr and the heavy ownership on the Raiders’ offense. We like both as options in cash games but the lower ownership also makes them strong tournament targets. Ronnie Hillman’s (DEN) really low ownership (1.2 percent) despite a nice price tag on FanDuel, makes him a very interesting tournament target as well. He’s practiced in full all week and seems behind the quad issue. Giovani Bernard (CIN) is another low owned tournament option with an affordable price tag.
Wide receiver: Danny Amendola (NE), Julio Jones (ATL), Amari Cooper (OAK), and Michael Crabtree (OAK) were all owned by essentially 20 percent or more of the field. This is insane ownership that makes them all fade-worthy in tournaments. Amendola isn’t historically a good red zone player so his upside theoretically should be a bit capped, especially on FanDuel with 0.5 PPR. We strongly recommend fading him in tournaments. The Oakland WRs high ownership screams leverage play with Latavius Murray (OAK) in tournaments. Crabtree’s price point makes him the hardest to fade of this group. Dez Bryant (DAL), Calvin Johnson (DET), and Demaryius Thomas (DEN) all stand out at good ownership levels to target in tournaments. Marvin Jones (CIN), our favorite cheap tournament target was just 1.3 percent owned on Thursday. We’d much rather play a deep threat like Jones in tournaments than Amendola at their price points and ownership levels. James Jones (GB) and Dontrelle Inman (SD) are also barely owned.
Tight End: Greg Olsen (CAR) and Rob Gronkowski (NE) represent the chalk at the TE position and we generally agree. Tyler Eifert (CIN) with a five percent ownership looks really compelling. He represents our favorite tournament target.
Defenses: All the ownership on the D/ST units is as expected as well. If you’re looking for differentiating tournament defenses this week, we think the Ravens are interesting on FanDuel and the Vikings on DraftKings. In general though, Seattle’s defense is so safe this week that the pricing on FanDuel makes it hard to argue utilizing them, even in tournaments. You’re going to need at least one defensive or special teams’ touchdown to challenge them.
Quarterbacks – The featured site for the quarterback position is DraftKings
Top 5 Quarterbacks
1) Tom Brady (NE)
2) Cam Newton (CAR)
3) Aaron Rodgers (GB)
4) Carson Palmer (ARZ)
5) Derek Carr (OAK)
Tom Brady (NE) – Brady’s volume coupled with above average efficiency has kept him atop the quarterback rankings for much of the season. He ranks fourth in the league in drop backs and tied for third in pass attempts while ranking third in yards per attempt. The Bills defense is a neutral matchup for efficiency, ranking 13th in pass defense DVOA, but the way teams attack them (39.6 pass attempts per game) helps neutralize some of the challenges with efficiency. The loss of Dion Lewis and Julian Edelman should have some impact on efficiency for Brady but we expect it will be minimal. Since 2012, Brady’s targeted passes towards Edelman have averaged eight yards per attempt while his targets towards Amendola have averaged 7.7 yards per attempt. The lone concern is volume and whether the Patriots transition to a less severe pass happy team without Lewis in the mix but this was not the case in their win over the Giants (last week 66 percent of pass plays were called and on the season they’re at 64.6 percent). The real issue with investing in Brady this week is simply a plethora of competitive values at cheaper entry points. While salary relief is widely available this week, the least efficient path to roster creation is going up at a position where outcomes happen in a tighter range.