David’s Week 9 FanDuel Lineups: Back To Basics

Last week I scaled back my play volume a bit, selected a lot of chalk plays in my head-to-head lineups, and used a simple model I put together to inform my defensive picks. The end result was a mildly negative week for my head-to-head and 50/50 entries, but that’s actually an improvement over what had been happening in the previous weeks. My defensive picks for my head-to-head lineups turned out well:

  • St. Louis — 12 points on $5,100
  • Houston — 20 points on $4,700

On the other hand, my tournament stacks somehow managed to include neither Eli Manning nor Drew Brees, which in retrospect seems kind of silly, given that the game had one of the highest over/under lines of the week. I’m going to try to stick to more obvious stacks this week, and not get too cute.

Week 8 Results Recap

  • Initial 2015 NFL Bankroll: $1,000.00
  • Bankroll Entering Week 8: $726.40 (-27.4%)
  • Head to Head & 50/50 Entry Fees: $50 (6.9% of bankroll)
  • Head to Head & 50/50 Net Winnings: -$15.60 (-31% ROI)
  • Tournament Entry Fees: $88 (12.1% of bankroll)
  • Tournament Net Winnings: -$78 (-89% ROI)
  • Total Entry Fees: $138 (19.0% of bankroll)
  • Total Net Winnings: -$93.60 (-68% ROI / -12.9% of bankroll)
  • Bankroll Entering Week 8: $632.80 (-36.7% for the season)

Week 9 Lineups

Head-to-Head & 50/50s

I’m sticking with the same strategy I used last week:

  • Make “chalk” picks at a lot of positions, if I don’t have a good reason to deviate.  In order to project pick%, I’ll mainly be relying on this Reddit thread, where people share pick% info from their Thursday tournaments.
  • At wide receiver, try to find some bargains with a lot of targets over the past few weeks, or with an obvious reason to expect targets to increase this week, in the hopes those targets will turn into points.
  • Rely on my simple model to help me pick a defense.

As a quick reminder, the original strategy here was to be willing to pay for volume points at QB & RB, even at the expense of a little bit of value. I’m still going to do a bit of that; the increased attention to pick% is just an addition to my already existing strategy guidelines.

Here’s my primary lineup for Week 9:


Some notes on this lineup:

  • Brady’s about the closest thing there is to a guaranteed 20 points.
  • DeAngelo Williams was a chalk pick. Lamar Miller is a consensus best value between RotoWire and numberFire.
  • Jarvis Landry is the least chalky of my three WR picks. He was projected as a good value by both RW and NF.
  • The Saints were tied with the Jets as the projected best values by my simple defensive model. I used the cheaper Saints here with the expensive Brady at QB.

Here’s my secondary lineup:


Notes on this lineup:

  • The was no obvious second chalk pick at QB, so I went with the relative bargain Taylor.
  • Freeman is a chalk RB pick. Martin is in a good spot against NYG.
  • Steve Johnson is a chalk pick at WR. With Keenan Allen out, he’s one obvious candidate to reap the benefits with extra targets and playing time.
  • Using min-salary Boswell at kicker helped me move up from Emmanuel Sanders to Demaryius Thomas at WR.
  • The Jets are my model’s projected highest scoring defense this week (though that’s only a projection of 10.5 points).

Tournament Lineups

As is the case most weeks, my first step this week was to come up with some single-team stacks that seem to have the potential for a big day.


This week I focused a bit more on something pretty basic — picking teams that are projected to score a lot of points. Sounds obvious, right? Well, I didn’t do that last week, and missed out on both sides of the 52-49 Saints-Giants game.

Here’s what I ended up with:

  • Pittsburgh (vs. OAK) — Ben Roethlisberger (QB), Antonio Brown (WR), Heath Miller (TE). Pittsburgh currently has the 4th highest projected points. Oakland has been historically terrible against tight ends. And Brown is back to his old high-scoring ways now that Big Ben is back.
  • New York Giants (@ TB) — Eli Manning (QB), Odell Beckham Jr (WR). The Giants have the 4th highest projected points. And Manning-to-Beckham is always a threat to explode.
  • New England (vs. WAS) — Tom Brady (QB), Brandon LaFell (WR), Rob Gronkowski (TE). The Patriots are projected with the highest point total of the week. Washington has actually defended primary receivers well, but hasn’t done so well against others, so I skipped Edelman and grabbed LaFell.
  • Chicago (@ SD) — Jay Cutler (QB), Alshon Jeffery (WR), Robbie Gould (K). Chicago is only in the middle of the pack in projected points, but the total for the game is high, and I’m hoping for a shootout. With Matt Forte’s injury, Chicago will need to rely on the passing game more. And I’m hoping they’ll have a bit more trouble in the red zone than usual without him as a checkdown option, and end up settling for some field goals.
  • Atlanta (@ SF) — Matt Ryan (QB), Devonta Freeman (RB), Julio Jones (WR). Atlanta has the 6th highest projected point total. San Francisco has allowed an average of 100 yards receiving to #1 receivers, and Jones is better than your average #1 receiver. And with Atlanta as a moderately high favorite, I’m hoping Freeman gets a lot of clock killing touches or is the one that scores to create a big lead in the first place.
  • San Diego (vs. CHI) — Philip Rivers (QB), Danny Woodhead (RB), Michael Floyd (TE). San Diego has the 3rd highest projected point total of the weekend. With Keenan Allen out, there figures to be more pass targets available for Woodhead, Floyd, Steve Johnson, and Antonio Gates. I may enter another variation or two on this lineup, with different Chargers complementing Rivers.

That’s 5 of the 6 highest projected point totals for this weekend. The only top-6 projected team I didn’t use was New Orleans. That’s partly because I think Brees will be more popular than justified after last week’s amazing performance, and partly because I couldn’t figure out who to stack on. I may revisit this idea on Sunday morning, and enter a Saints stack in a cheap tournament.

Filling in around the stacks with solid consensus values, with some emphasis on trying to find players with high upside, here’s the result (click to enlarge):



As usual, I’ll be entering these lineups in a FanDuel Sunday Million tournament, as well as a smaller 100-person or 250-person tournament. The idea is that if they do astronomically well, I’ll be rewarded for that in the Sunday Million, but if they just score in the top 1% or so, I’ll get a better return in the 100-person tournament.

The most likely outcome for any specific tournament lineup is that I win nothing, but with multiple stacks, hopefully at least one will still do well enough to recoup my buy-ins, and let me tread water while I wait for a big payout.