Category: Extra Content

Each week, we’ll dive into Fanduel’s main slate to highlight some of the juiciest matchups and situations to exploit. Whether it’s finding the low(er)-owned gems in a popular upcoming shootout or identifying an overlooked clash that DFSers can use to gain leverage over a tournament field, our aim is to provide you the individual plays and overall strategy to consider as you chase profitability in your DFS portfolio. Let’s jump in.

Dolphins at Vikings (-7.5, 44.5)
Through Week 14, the Vikings have been a very pass-heavy team, gaining 75.9 percent of their yardage through the air. However, they’ll introduce a new offensive coordinator and play-caller in Week 15 after canning John DeFilippo. We don’t know how the offensive balance will change under the guidance of Kevin Stefanski, but the uncertainty could favor those who play the odds that the Vikings will trend to a more run-heavy attack. Dalvin Cook ($6,200) has retaken hold of the lead backfield role and dominated snaps as he moves further away from the hamstring injury that hampered him earlier in the year, averaging 16 touches and 15.5 FanDuel points over his last three games. This week he takes aim at one of the game’s most porous run defenses in the Dolphins, who have given up the fourth most total yardage on the ground. Cook has the potential to be one of the most explosive value plays this week and maybe even at a reasonable ownership level.

Buccaneers at Ravens (-7.5, 46)
This Sunday pairing looks like a fantasy mismatch: The Bucs’ offensive strength is the strong suit of the Ravens and the Ravens’ offensive strength is the Bucs’ defensive forte, at least relative to their (in)ability to slow down the pass. What you’ll get by playing Jameis Winston ($7,000) is plenty of risk, but also plenty of potential reward if he’s able to elevate his game against a stout defense. Neither was on the road or against a unit as stingy as the Ravens, but he’s crossed the 20-point plateau in each of his last three contests. He’ll be underowned on Sunday, providing a chance to apply leverage over a large tournament field. If you want to stack him, Adam Humphries ($6,200) and Cameron Brate ($5,400) are intriguing options. Chris Godwin ($5,400) isn’t a terrible gamble either as he’s coming off a 10-target game in the absence of DeSean Jackson, who’s been ruled out for this contest, but the Ravens’ have funneled the limited amount of passing production gained against them to No. 3 receivers and tight ends.

On the other sideline, it’s all about the rushing yards and touchdowns we could see from Lamar Jackson ($7,700) and Kenneth Dixon ($5,700). The Bucs’ poor run defense has been overshadowed by their atrocious results against the pass, but it’ll be tested against a Ravens offense that has adopted an extreme ground-heavy attack, rushing the ball 1.93 times per pass attempt. Jackson has scored at least 16.5 FD points since taking over as starter and averaged 83 rushing yards over that four-game span. He won’t be the only one dashing through running lanes though. Dixon has seen his snap percentage climb from 21 percent to 32 percent since rejoining the backfield and could be in line for an uptick on the nine touches he’s seen in each of his last two contests. Considering the modest volume he’s seen thus far, consider him a promising “punt play”.

Raiders at Bengals (-3, 45.5)
Welcome to Week 15’s “Charmin Bowl”, where both teams aim to play the softest defense. Both the Bengals and Raiders rank in the top five in yards allowed, setting the stage for gobs of fantasy points. Players on both sides warrant looks as underowned value plays. From Derek Carr ($6,800) and Jeff Driskel ($6,400) to Joe Mixon ($7,800), Doug Martin ($6,300), Tyler Boyd ($6,700) and Jared Cook ($6,300), there is a lot of value — and upside — to be sought in this matchup. In terms of the way the Raiders and Bengals attack and get attacked, both teams are reasonably balanced relative to one another, so this looks like a matchup where any and everything could be on the menu.

In this space, we will look each week at players who have strong potential to outperform their price on FanDuel so we can invite them to come on down into our lineups. This is not a play all these picks column, but rather a place to uncover value to allow us to unlock massive upside in our lineups.

I can’t say that I have ever taken down a massive tournament. I have won some small, $100-$200 first place prizes, but never anything that’s significant or life-changing money. I am primarily a cash-game player, usually allocating about 90% of my weekly spend on 50/50 contests or double-ups.

That doesn’t stop me from wondering what winning a huge contest would be like. The way it is romanticized, publicized, and scrutinized across various platforms in this industry, it seems almost surreal and something where your life instantly becomes more glamorous and your DFS fortunes change forever. For example, at the FanDuel Football Fantasy Championship this weekend – some lucky guy or gal is going to take home a large cardboard check for $500,000 and get the football experience of a lifetime.

I mean don’t you want to be that guy? The reality, I imagine, is strikingly different.

Earlier this week I was captivated by this article, which interviews a contestant who won big money and prizes on The Price is Right (have to stay on brand) and what the days and months were like for her after this big win. As you can probably guess, you aren’t driving off that lot with your new car piled up with cash and a bunch of prizes. There are all sorts of legal hurdles to jump over and you have to pay taxes on your prizes as determined by the IRS before they will even release them to you.

It turns out a lot of Price is Right winners end up selling their prizes just so they can recoup what they had to pay out of pocket for what they won. I guess if you win a trip, you are stuck with it, even though not everything in that prize is paid for either.

Here is a short video about Andrea Schwartz’s experience.

I bet winning a six-figure prize is a bit like this for the every-man grinding through DFS each week. You could theoretically withdraw all your winnings the next day, wire it to your bank, and live like a king, but sometime in the next year the tax man will come calling and you will owe a cool 30% on that prize. Then there is the expectation to play larger amounts that inherently come with sharper players and professionals that are more skilled. I wonder how many people reinvest a significant portion back into DFS and try to grow their bankroll exponentially? So many questions and I’m sure there are so many headaches.

Ah, who am I kidding…I am going to keep trying to win it all.

Quarterback

Derek Carr ($6,800) – Alright, hear me out on this one. Carr is actually playing some of the best football of his career with arguably the worst collection of offensive weapons we have seen in quite some time. When the Raiders lost Marshawn Lynch and shipped Amari Cooper out of town, it was assumed that the Raiders offense – with Carr leading the way – would be a dumpster fire. Carr, however, has not thrown an interception since October 7 and has eight passing touchdowns in the last four games, for an average of 17.1 FD points – which includes a 9.8 game against the Ravens.

So far this season, the Bengals have given up the second-most FD points to opposing QBs, just a fraction of a point behind the Falcons. Cincinnati has given up nine passing touchdowns in their last five games and has just one interception since week 8. This game has the fourth-highest total on the main slate, despite the eye-gouging matchup between two teams that have given up on the season (and FYI you can get into this game for $15 a ticket if you are into torturing yourself). This might be one of those check the box score, not the game tape situations, but Carr couldn’t be in a better position to continue his recent successful run.

Running Back

Dalvin Cook ($6,200) – Marlon Mack, Doug Martin, Gus Edwards, and James White are all priced ahead of Dalvin Cook this week, and I would not take any of them ahead of Cook and his premier match-up at home against the Dolphins. He was able to salvage his putrid fantasy day last week with a late touchdown against the Seahawks, but that just sets up the Vikings for a get-right spot against the Dolphins with a new offensive coordinator and a playoff-motivated game script.

Over the past two weeks, there have been some extremely encouraging signs from Cook’s opportunity. In weeks 8-12, Cook saw between 10-15 rush attempts + targets per game. In the past two weeks, he has seen 19 and 20 rushes + targets as the team looks to feature the fully-healthy Cook more. He couldn’t ask more a much better spot than Miami, who have given up the 7th most FD points to running backs this year, and who rank 17th in rushing DVOA and 24th against pass-catching running backs.

As seven-point home favorites on Sunday, the Vikings are set up to grab a lead and then feature Cook throughout the second half. If you are looking to be contrarian in the mid-range of RBs this week, Dalvin looks like he is about to cook.

I will show myself out.

Wide Receiver

Sterling Shepard ($5,200) – With news that Odell Beckham will officially sit out, it’s time to fire up Sterling Shepard this week. He has seen at least six targets in 10 of 13 games this season including six targets with a touchdown in just three quarters of work with OBJ out last week against the Redskins.

Back at home and facing a fading Titans defense, Shepard is set up to have all the volume that doesn’t go to Saquon Barkley. The Titans are the 22nd ranked pass defense DVOA, but drop all the way to 30th when considering just #1 wide receivers – according to Football Outsiders, Tennessee gives up 9 pass attempts and 81.3 yards per game to their opponent’s top wideout. With Beckham out, the potential is there for this to also be a game where Evan Engram is featured, but the Titans are extremely tough against the tight end position, ranking fifth in DVOA on the season.

Have confidence in Shepard this week, likely matched up with Malcolm Butler, who has allowed seven touchdowns this year as well as 13.4 fantasy points per game to his assignments.

Good morning everyone and welcome to the NBA Morning Review article.

There are 10 games tonight, 5 of which I would consider a close and competitive match up.  Tonight should be a great day for Basketball!

Currently the game with the biggest spread features the Atlanta Hawk @ Boston Celtics with the Vegas line at BOS -12.0.  Boston is expected to score a total of 117.8 points tonight which is the second highest Vegas prediction for tonight’s main slate. The main value play for this game is Terry Rozier (4,200 FD) who will likely get 25 minutes if there is a blowout. Another game that interests me is Oklahoma City Thunder @ Denver Nuggets. The spread is OKC 1.5 along with the over/under at 217.5.  This should be a great game to pick your high salary players but pick with caution as Jamal Murray is a game-time-decision. The final game that caught my eye is Golden State Warriors @ Sacramento Kings. The over/under is set at a giant 235.0! I think if the warriors can bounce back from their loss against Toronto, this will be the night. Sacramento is 29th in Shooting Guard DEFF (defensive efficiency), 24th in Power Forward DEFF and 24th in Center DEFF. So I strongly believe Steve Kerr will be driving home delighted after tonights game in Sacramento ;).

Below is a list of players with a favorable match up tonight
*Match-up Rank is adjusted to previous 5 games
– C. Osman: Milwaukee = 30th vs PF
– E. Kanter: Charlotte = 30th vs C
– E. Bledsoe: Cleveland = 29th vs PG
– J. Tatum: Atlanta = 28th vs SF
– W. Cauley-Stein: Golden State = 27th vs C

Hopefully, tonight’s NBA main slate will be entertaining!
If you want to purchase lineups for today, you can click on the NBA Season button and purchase what
you desire

Good Luck everyone!

 

Using Pace as a leading indicator, what players in prime match-ups can we look to for value and a higher than usual DFS points floor.

Is it just me or does there seem to be a lot of blowouts in the NBA this year? I guess it started happening last year in the playoffs and you started to see pieces popping up like “With all these blowouts in the NBA playoffs, will fans stop paying attention?” Moving past the hyperbole of that nonsense, I wanted to look at some numbers to determine if there are more blowouts this year compared to the NBA’s recent past.

Heading to Pro Basketball Reference, I was able to research the past 20 years of Margin of Victory, or the aggregation of each team’s point differential. Going back in that time-frame, I discovered that the teams with the worst margin of victory – the teams that lose by the most – are as follows:

  1. 2012 Charlotte Bobcats: -13.91 Margin of Victory (so their average game was a 14-point loss)
  2. 2019 Phoenix Suns: -11.86
  3. 2000 LA Clippers: -11.52
  4. 2019 Chicago Bulls: -11.04
  5. 2014 Philadelphia 76ers: -10.45
  6. 2016 Philadelphia 76ers: -10.23
  7. 2019 Atlanta Hawks: -10.19

It strikes me as quite odd (although not surprising) that three of the seven worst margins of victory in the last 20 years come from this season. Granted, there is still a lot of basketball left to be played so these could change over the last 2/3 of this season, but it’s clear there are a number of teams this year that are taking the concept of losing big to new levels.

This can likely be attributed to a number of things, but number one on that list has to be intentional tanking. The team that shows up twice on this list, the 2014-2016 76ers truly redefined losing and its importance in the NBA, so more teams are taking up the mantle of doing whatever they can to avoid the mediocre middle. Being the worst secures the best chances at a top lottery pick. Being the best assures you the best chance at a championship, so there is no incentive to finishing 8th in your conference, and there REALLY is no incentive to finishing 9th.

So how do we handle situations with all these bad teams (the Cavs and Knicks also have large negative margins of victory)? Should we be afraid of more blowouts and their minutes impact on our DFS lineups? There isn’t too much data specific to DFS, but based on what I can find, the answer is “maybe.”

Based on this research from games a decade ago by Hoop-ball.com, unless a spread reaches 12 or more points in a given game, there really is no indication that a blowout is likely. In the chart that compares game outcome to point spread, you will see that the highest likelihood for any finish is within 5-8 points. That rule stands firm for all games with spreads at 12 or below. Past 12 is when you start seeing game finishes that frequently creep past 13 points.

Games with 12-point spreads are rare and typically match up the absolute best in the association with the absolute worst, so it makes logical sense that this would be the case. In the end, you shouldn’t worry too much about spreads unless the number starts creeping up into the teens.

Tonight’s slate features four games all within a 7-point spread, so no worries here:

Los Angeles Lakers @ Houston Rockets – 225 Total
’18-’19 Pace:
Los Angeles Lakers – 4th
Houston Rockets – 29th

Josh Hart ($4,500) – With the absence of Rajon Rondo and Brandon Ingram, hart is seeing his minutes per game soar. He has averaged 35 minutes per game over his last three, and assuming he logs around that number tonight, he should feast against a Rockets team ranked 27th in defensive efficiency against shooting guards. Hart’s numbers don’t look great in three of his last four contests, but he faced the spurs in two of those games, who currently rank 6th in defense against shooting guards. On a larger slate, Hart wouldn’t necessarily be on our radar, but if continues to soak up minutes, the opportunity should be there tonight.

Eric Gordon ($5,100) – Recently inserted into the starting lineup, Gordon should see an increase in minutes and usage beyond the solid numbers he was producing off the bench. With Carmelo Anthony a persona non grata and James Ennis on the shelf for a couple week, only Gerald Greed is lurking to steal backup small forward minutes. This is relevant when you consider that among small forwards on the slate, Gordon sees more usage than all players at his position not named LeBron or DeRozan. The Lakers rank 19th against the position defensively, a sign that LeBron is not the defensive force of old or they are rotating over other players to guard that position. With a massive pace bump in this game, Gordon should find plenty of opportunities to get his shot.

Los Angeles Clippers @ San Antonio Spurs – 222 Total
’18-’19 Pace:
Los Angeles Clippers – 9th
San Antonio Spurs – 24th

Rudy Gay ($6,400) – I don’t really think I will full-on recommend anyone from the Clippers in this game as they are playing their third game in four nights and get a massive pace drop facing he Spurs. But San Antonio, on the other hand, sees the second largest pace bump of the night and faces a team ranked only 23rd in defense against the power forward position. Strangely, both Danilo Gallinari and Tobias Harris are listed as small forwards on the NBA’s real plus-minus but Harris ranks 37th and Gallinari ranks 50th among their peers. But promoting Gay might just be more a product of what San Antonio needs out of him. They need someone with Gay’s height and length to guard Harris all night. Ranked 12th in the NBA in minutes per game, Harris should be on the floor for as much as he can handle tonight, meaning San Antonio should be looking to Gay for at least 32 minutes (something he has accomplished in three of his last six games). At his average 1.03 fantasy points per minute, it could be a big night.

Tonight will be the first night that the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets have met since the “fight game” on October 20th where Chris Paul, Rajon Rondo and Brandon Ingram all received suspensions as a result. Since then, the Rockets season has been in a downhill tumble. They are currently 12-15 which makes them the 14th out of 15 teams in the Western Conference, the only team behind them being the 4-24 Suns. Meanwhile, with Rando and Ingram injured and James averaging the most points per game since the 09-10 season while playing on the fewest average minutes of his career, the Lakers have improved to 17-10 after a slow start. Currently they are only 1.0 game behind the Western Conference leading Warriors and Nuggets. In this contest the 5.5 point underdog Lakers will look to stay hot on the road because despite the Rockets inability to pick up wins, James Harden is still averaging 30 points and 8.8 assists per game.

With Clint Capela in an offensive slump with only 12 or 13 points in his last three games and James Harden a very expensive fantasy pick, Chris Paul ($8,200/38.02 FPPG) offers fantasy players an alternative. Even though he only scored 11 points in his last game, his passing and assists helped propel him to his first triple double of the year, finishing with him scoring 50.2 fantasy points. Despite his inconsistency in shooting, his passing and rebounds have certainly stayed steady so he still offers fantasy players the potential for high fantasy points especially if he can get his scoring back on track.

Kyle Kuzma ($7,900/29.91 FPPG) certainly seems to have been on a streak lately. In the Lakers last game against Miami, Kuzma played for 39 minutes and scored 33 points, the second highest points total for his season. Since the beginning of December he has averaged 25.0 points per game and has four games where he has played above 30 minutes. He also has above 39.0 fantasy points in every one of his December matchups, making him a solid choice for players that are looking for a value pick that has lots of potential and a high ceiling for fantasy points. 

The landscape on the court is much different for this game than the last time these two teams faced off. The Lakers have picked up the pace and improved a lot since their 0-2 record at the time and the Rockets season is in a downward slump. In this Western Conference matchup, fantasy players will be looking less for brawls and more to take advantage of Lebron’s average points being the highest in 8 years, Kyle Kuzma’s current streak, James Harden’s 30 point average and Chris Paul’s high assists and rebounds. 

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