Seth’s Week 8 Daily Fantasy Analysis and FanDuel Lineup

Week 7 didn’t go so well. Okay, it was a disaster.

My popular Cardinals stack of Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald didn’t do much on Monday night, and I was already playing from behind with poor showings from Willie Snead, Jason Witten, and the Redskins defense.

My FanDuel results so far this season:

Week# Contests EnteredTotal Entry FeesTotal Prize WinningsNet Gain/Loss for WeekFinals Tickets WonCumulative ProfitCumulative Finals Tickets Won
15$32$327$2954$2954
29$82$0($82)0$2134
35$45$29($16)1$1975
45$45$0($45)0$1525
54$40$0($40)0$1125
64$35$70$350$1475
74$35$0($35)0$1125

Ranking the Elite

This week Pro-Football-Reference.com released their new fantasy football stats section. It’s an exciting time for fantasy stats nerds, and to celebrate, I used their stats to compile the top 10 FanDuel points seasons since 2006 at the skill positions.

Granted, FanDuel launched in 2009, but it’s still good to look at this year’s best players in full context.

Here’s the top 10 at each position by FanDuel points per game:

Quarterback

RkPlayerYearTmAgeGFDPtFDpt/Game
1Aaron Rodgers2011GNB2815403.426.9
2Tom Brady2015NWE387187.426.8
3Michael Vick2010PHI3012320.326.7
4Peyton Manning2013DEN3716420.026.3
5Tom Brady2007NWE3016406.025.4
6Drew Brees2011NOR3216403.625.2
7Cam Newton2011CAR2216386.824.2
8Tom Brady2011NWE3416382.323.9
9Andy Dalton2015CIN286139.723.3
10Drew Brees2013NOR3416369.723.1

The fact two quarterbacks from this season make the list says quite a bit about quarterback scoring. That’s especially the case when we consider the record-breaking seasons on the list, including Tom Brady 2007, Drew Brees 2011, and Peyton Manning 2013. Brady is on pace to break the single-season passing yardage record following Thursday’s game, and he’s also on an impressive 46/2 TD/INT pace. And who would have thought Andy Dalton would be on a list like this one entering the season?

Running Backs

RkPlayerYearTmAgeGFDPtFDpt/Game
1LaDainian Tomlinson2006SDG2716455.128.4
2Devonta Freeman2015ATL237170.124.3
3Steven Jackson2006STL2316374.423.4
4Chris Johnson2009TEN2416373.923.4
5Jamaal Charles2013KAN2715343.022.9
6Arian Foster2010HOU2416363.022.7
7Larry Johnson2006KAN2716354.422.2
8Brian Westbrook2007PHI2815327.421.8
9Arian Foster2011HOU2513282.621.7
10Ray Rice2011BAL2416338.821.2

The golden age of the fantasy running backs has long since past, but Devonta Freeman is setting back the clock thus far. The surprise sleeper still stands well behind LT’s 28.4 points per game from 2006, and he also stands six points ahead of this year’s second best back, Chris Ivory. He’s scored 10 touchdowns, but failed to find the end zone last week.

Wide Receivers

RkPlayerYearTmAgeGFDPtFDpt/Game
1Randy Moss2007NWE3016336.321.0
2Odell Beckham Jr.2014NYG2212249.520.8
3Antonio Brown2014PIT2616322.420.2
4DeAndre Hopkins2015HOU237138.619.8
5Julio Jones2015ATL267138.019.7
6Calvin Johnson2011DET2616313.219.6
7Josh Gordon2013CLE2214270.919.4
8Calvin Johnson2013DET2814261.218.7
9Anquan Boldin2008ARI2812221.018.4
10Demaryius Thomas2014DEN2716285.417.8

It’s not shocking to see DeAndre Hopkins and Julio Jones make this list with their early performances. Hopkins has seen at least 11 targets in every game this season, and he’s on pace for a staggering 233 targets. That means he’s been targeted on more than 71% of Houston’s pass attempts. As for Jones, he’s slowed considerably after the first three games of the season. He’s failed to produce a 100 yard performance over his last four contests, and only has one receiving touchdown over that time. For what it’s worth, Julian Edelman’s 2015 season ranks 13th on the list, while Larry Fitzgerald ranks 18th.

Tight End

RkPlayerYearTmAgeGFDPtFDpt/Game
1Rob Gronkowski2015NWE267126.618.1
2Rob Gronkowski2011NWE2216285.917.9
3Jimmy Graham2013NOR2716260.516.3
4Jimmy Graham2011NOR2516246.515.4
5Rob Gronkowski2014NWE2515225.415.0
6Tyler Eifert2015CIN25684.214.0
7Gary Barnidge2015CLE30797.914.0
8Dallas Clark2009IND3016221.713.9
9Tony Gonzalez2008KAN3216213.813.4
10Vernon Davis2009SFO2516213.513.3

This is Gronk’s third season on the list, and his best so far. New England’s tight end is on pace for 91 catches, 1,477 yards, and 16 touchdowns. The receptions and yardage would edge out what he produced in 2011, but he scored 17 times in that breakout season. Currently, Tyler Eifert and Gary Barnidge also rank in the top six, with Eifert on pace for 16 touchdowns and Barnidge on pace for 1,175 receiving yards and 11 scores. Drafted in 2008, the 30-year-old Barnidge had a total of 603 receiving yards and three scores over his entire career coming into this season. The early strength at tight end has given fantasy owners plenty of weekly options.

My Week 8 Strategy

I apparently didn’t go safe enough last week, and failed to predict the Rams’ 25 point performance. Not splurging on defense really did me in, so I’m hoping not to make that mistake again this week.

(OK, “splurging” may be a bit of an exaggeration, given the Rams only cost $100 more than the defense I ended up using. But I did set myself a hard spending cap, rather than being open to using any defense.)

To review my normal strategy:

  1. Start with Vegas over/under lines
  2. Evaluate each team’s recent fantasy points allowed vs. each position
  3. Evaluate salaries and contest format

The highest Vegas-implied point totals this week include:

TeamVegas-Implied Points
Atlanta28.0
Carolina27.0
Baltimore26.8
New Orleans26.2
Arizona25.8

The lowest Vegas-implied point totals include:

TeamVegas-Implied Points
San Francisco15.8
Dallas18.0
Tennessee19.8
Indianapolis20.0
Cleveland20.2

The Result: My Lineup for Week 8

Here’s my lineup for Week 8:

Seth's FanDuel Week 8 Lineup

  • Ryan Fitzpatrick remains at an affordable salary, as the Jets take on the league’s seventh worst fantasy defense vs. QBs. Fitz Magic has been a reliable fantasy quarterback this season, scoring at least 14 points in every game, and his two best games have come over the last two weeks.
  • I’m going slightly cheaper at running back, but still two solid plays. Chris Johnson is coming off his second best game of the year, and faces Cleveland’s horrible rush defense. The Browns are second worst in running back fantasy points allowed, and last in rushing yards allowed by a large margin. In addition, Arizona ranks fifth this week in Vegas-implied points. Justin Forsett faces the only fantasy defense that’s been worse vs. the rush than Cleveland. San Diego has allowed the second most rushing yards in the NFL, and have also allowed 10 scores to running backs.
  • Brandon Marshall is coming off his worst game of the year, but before facing New England, he was one of football’s most consistent players this season. Marshall scored at least 15 fantasy points in his first five games, and he could be in for another big game with Eric Decker questionable to play. Mike Evans should be a very popular pick this week after his  best game of the season, and with Vincent Jackson doubtful for Sunday. Atlanta has done well vs. wideouts this season, allowing the third fewest points, but that shouldn’t stop Evans from hogging targets. Steve Smith remains a value for the amount of attention he’s seen in Baltimore’s offense, averaging 11 targets per game.
  • Antonio Gates is highly questionable again with a sprained MCL, making Ladarius Green a value play. Green saw a season-high nine targets last week, and has scored in three of his four starts this season. The Ravens have fared very well vs. tight ends this season, tied for second best, but the potential for the price is too good to pass up.
  • The Rams defense is a no-brainer if you’re looking to spend. The 49ers are coming off a 3-point performance in their last game (vs. Seattle), have the lowest Vegas-implied points total, and will be without starting running back Carlos Hyde.
  • With my leftover salary, I felt Brandon McManus was the best I could do at kicker. He’s second in fantasy points per game, and has scored double-digit fantasy points in three consecutive games.

That’s my lineup for Week 8. Don’t forget to compete against me in this week’s TRFC contest!