DFS: FanDuel Week 8, to Todd Gurley, or No to Gurley?

Once again this season, it has been advantageous to pack you lineups with high-performing RBs, especially if they are in good matchups. Rams RB Todd Gurley has been a constant stud and a mainstay in our lineups. Gurley has averaged 27.7 FanDuel points a game and has 14 total TDs (11 rushing, three receiving) on the season. His price has now risen, to $11,000. We spent a lot of time debating and doing research to determine if we should still use him at this price. Can we still build a solid lineup while spending up for Gurley? Is it wiser to pay considerably down for other RBs in great matchups who have also been producing large fantasy scores on a constant basis?  We reluctantly determined that it is likely more prudent to pay down on most lineup builds, but to still have some exposure to Gurley.

At the end of this article, there will be three lineups built on the players discussed: Main Slate, Sunday Million Main Slate, and 1:00 EDT only slate (early). The alternative players will be used for Sunday Million and early slate to give us more diversity in the players we are exposed to. The Sunday Million lineup will feature lower projected owned players to greatly increase the likelihood of a unique lineup in a large field.

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We were also going to build a fourth lineup for the 4:00 EDT slate (late). With only three games to choose from that slate, we struggled to determine a good strategy for dealing with the RBs. At least three of the teams have RBs that we would like to use, but their role for Sunday still appears to be somewhat undefined. Gurley is also on this slate. That’s problematic because there are several high-priced WRs that are desirable. It’s difficult to not play Gurley in a three-game slate, but playing him meant a dramatically weaker WR corps. No matter how we put the pieces together to build a late slate lineup there were several question marks. After much frustration, it was decided to save the money and skip the slate completely.

Last week, we also played three lineups in GPPs. Our early lineup cashed, the late slate was 2-points short of the green, and the Main Slate lineup was one of the worst ones we have built this year scoring only 112.5 points. The biggest mistake we made was using Dallas RB Ezekiel Elliott (5.2 points) in both lineups that didn’t cash. Elliott was in a tough matchup against Washington, but we outthought it and felt he would still have a quality day because of his workload.

Clearly, Elliott did not. The most frustrating thing was watching the Cowboys next to last drive. Elliott had a chance to turn our ticket and day green on three consecutive plays that saw the ball bounce off his hands in the end zone, a poorly thrown slant pass inside the five-yard line, and a fake handoff that turned into a QB keeper for a TD. The Cowboys ended the game by missing a field goal that would have sent the game to overtime and likely given Elliott more opportunities.

Scenarios like Elliott had on Sunday is what makes fantasy football both fun and at times maddening.

Despite the loss, our bankroll is still up about 15% on the season. We will look to build it higher with these players.

QB

QB Aaron Rodgers (GB, $8,600 on FanDuel, 23.5% projected ownership on FantasyPros) and the Packers are a nine-point road underdog to the Rams in a game that that has the highest projected over/under at 57 points. While Gurley is the engine to the Rams offense, the Packers offense is almost entirely reliant on the performance of Rodgers. We believe the spread is way too high and this will be a close game. The likely game script is a high scoring affair with the Rodgers and Packers keeping pace through the air.

Alternative QBs

QB Andy Dalton (CIN, $7,800, 5.3%) has the best possible matchup against Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers last at defending the pass, WRs, and TEs. The game has the second-highest projected over/under at 54.5 points. The Bengals are 4.5 point favorites and have the second highest projected score of 30 points. Due to his relatively low projected ownership, Dalton is in the Sunday Million tournament.

QB Jameis Winston (TB, $7,800, 14.5%) provides more exposure to the highest projected game in the 1:00 EDT Only slate. Winston has been in our lineups the last two weeks and has not disappointed with scores of (32.7 @ ATL and 22.1 vs. CLE). Despite not throwing a TD last week, a rushing TD helped led our early slate into the green. The Bengals have the fourth-worst passing defense. They have allowed on average 300.7 passing yards, and surrendered 15 passing TDs in seven games. Winston will again appear in the early slate.

RBs/Flex

RB Kareem Hunt (KC, $8,100, 53.5%) has re-emerged as a dominant fantasy RB. He has three of his last four performance producing scored of 25 points or higher (25 @ DEN, 15.9 vs. JAX, 27 @NE, and 34.6 vs. CIN). For the exception of the 15.9 points scored against the Jaguars, those are Gurley like numbers at a price tag that is $2.900 cheaper. Even his low performance over the last four week was still near a 2 X based on Hunt’s current price. Hunt faces the Broncos who have given up a second-worst 148.1 yards a game and tied for worst 5.3 yards per attempt.

RB James Conner (PIT, $8,000, 34.5%) has produced similar fantasy numbers two Hunt over the last two weeks against bad rush defenses (32.5 vs. ATL, 26.9 @ CIN). Conner faces the Browns that have the 5th worst 134.7 rushing yards a game and second-worst 10 rushing TDs in seven games.

Conner and Hunt will both are used in all three lineups.

RB Raheem Mostert (SF, $5,600, 1.4%) has the best possible match-up against the Cardinals that have allowed 148.3 rushing yards a game and 12 rushing TDs, both league-worst. The porous Arizona run defense has resulted in 29.2 fantasy points a game to RBs. While Mostert is in a timeshare with Matt Breida ($5,900) and Alfred Morris ($5,400), it appears Mostert is in-line for the bulk of the RB touches against the Cardinals. Breida (ankle) only practice was on Friday, he was limited and listed as questionable. Mostert has significantly out touched Morris for the last two weeks. It’s reasonable to project that Mostert will have at least half the workload which still makes him a value play against the Cardinals defense.

Alternative RBs

RB Philip Lindsay (DEN, $6,500, 7.9%) had a great performance against the Cardinals on Monday when he carried the ball 14 times for 90 yards and TD. He also had one catch for six yards. The prior hesitation with playing Lindsay is that he is in a timeshare with RB Royce Freeman.  Freeman (ankle) is already listed as out for Sunday’s game against the Chiefs. This makes Lindsay the featured back against Kansas City that is ranked 10th against the run with 118.9 yards a game average and allowed a hefty nine rushing TDs. Lindsay will be used in the early slate.

RB Todd Gurley II (LAR, $11,000, $27%) has been a staple main slate play for us. He is an alternative this week. We believe Hunt and Conner can offer similar production at a much lower price. Gurley does have a somewhat tough match-up against the Packers who have been decent against the run with only having allowed six rushing TDs on the season, but they haven’t faced Gurley. Our exposure to Gurley will be in the Sunday Million tournament where we can afford to play him because we found a minimum priced ($4,500) WR who has no projected ownership and just two weeks ago scored 15.6 points against the same opponent he is facing this week.

WRs

WRs Davante Adams (GB, $8,600,  20.7%) and Geronimo Allison (GB, $5,700, 0.5%) are listed together because they will share coverage with Rams CBs Troy Hill and Marcus Peters. The duo will be stacked with Rodgers in our Main Slate lineup.

Mike Woellert of 4 for 4 weighed in on Adams and Allison in his weekly WR vs. CB column. “The Rams secondary hasn’t been good this season, which puts both of Green Bay’s outside receivers in play this week. Adams should find himself on Hill most of his routes. He runs 56 percent of his routes as the left wide receiver. If he does move, it won’t matter—the match-up will be just as favorable. Hill continues to get burned deep, allowing over 26 yards per reception and 13.1 yards per target. Peters has been responsible for five touchdowns and is allowing 2.6 fantasy points per target.”

Mike Tagliere of FantasyPros also was high on Adams and Allison in his weekly column The Primer.  “Despite already getting his bye week out of the way, Adams currently sits as the No. 5 receiver on the season. From a points per game standpoint, only Adam Thielen has been better than Adams to this point.”

Tagliere also stressed the value of Allison at his price vs. production. “Here’s a few players who Allison has scored more PPR points per game than: Jarvis Landry, Brandin Cooks, Keenan Allen, Will Fuller, and Demaryius Thomas. In fact, there’s just 23 players who’ve averaged more points per game than Allison.”

WR Tyler Boyd (CIN, $6,800, 12.5%) provides exposure to the Bucs horrid pass defense. Boyd appears to have a great match-up against CB MJ Stewart. “Stewart is being targeted on 16 percent of the opposing QB’s throws and is allowing a 76 percent catch rate,” wrote Woellert. “He’s been burned for three touchdowns and is allowing 2.4 fantasy points per target.” Boyd is used in all three lineups.

Alternative WRs

WR Mike Evans (TB, $7,800, 10.9%) is the clear number one WR in the Bucs offense. Last week against the Browns, Evans caught seven of 11 targets for 107 yards. He has a similar match-up this week against the Bengals which should provide him a solid high floor. Evans will be stacked with Winston in the early slate.

WR Doug Baldwin (SEA, $6,400, 3%) is projected for extremely low ownership based on his low price vs. ability. Part of that is his relatively blah year so far and the Seahawks are coming off of their bye week, so he has been off the radar of many fantasy players. That’s a scenario that could pay dividends this week. Baldwin has a favorable match-up vs. Lions CB Teez Tabor.  “I really like Doug Baldwin‘s matchup against Tabor,” wrote Woellert. “If Russell Wilson is forced to throw quick, he could look Baldwin’s way more times than not. Tabor has been targeted on nearly 16 percent of opposing QB’s throws and is allowing a 69 percent catch rate and 2.25 fantasy points per target.” Baldwin is in the early slate.

WR Jordy Nelson (OAK, $5,300, 11.4%) became the number one WR in Oakland earlier in the week when WR Amari Cooper was traded to the Cowboys. The Raiders lost another key component of their offense this week when RB Marshawn Lynch (groin) was placed on IR. Based on his price this week, Nelson was already performing a 2 X value (10.5 FanDuel point average). Nelson should see more opportunities with Cooper and Lynch missing from the offense and will likely face Colts CB Nate Hairston. “Hairston is allowing a 72 percent catch rate and over 11 yards per reception,” Woellert wrote. “He’s also been responsible for two scores, resulting in just over two fantasy points per target allowed.” Nelson is in the Sunday Million lineup.

WR Trent Taylor (SF, $4,500, no projected ownership) is our dart-throw in the Sunday Million tournament. With literally no projected ownership, Taylor is the type of player that could help you win a big tournament if he has a good day. Just two weeks ago, Taylor hauled in seven of eight targets for 61 yards and a TD against the same Cardinals team he faces this week. Taylor will likely face CB Budda Baker who has allowed over the last three weeks a top 15, 5, and 2 WR score, according to Tagliere.

TE

TE C.J. Uzomah (CIN, $5,400, 8.9%) is playing the Buccaneers, therefore he must be played. The Bucs have allowed an astonishing league-worst average of 16.3 FanDuel points a game to TEs.

Tagliere stressed how good the setup is for Uzomah. “There’s been just two targets that have been directed Uzomah’s way that have hit the ground this year, as he’s boasting an 89.5 percent catch rate. The Bucs have officially allowed a top-12 tight end in every game they’ve played, including five 15-plus PPR point performances. That’s hard to do, even on purpose. The Bucs are starting rookie Jordan Whitehead at safety after Chris Conte was sent to injured reserve, which only adds to the appeal. The combination of Whitehead and Justin Evans has allowed 20-of-23 passing for 226 yards and two touchdowns in their direct coverage. Uzomah has been the No. 10 tight end in PPR leagues since Tyler Eifert got hurt, so there’s little reason to doubt him as a TE1 this week.

Uzomah is in all three lineups

Defense

The Browns Defense ($3,100, 3.3%) is admittedly a bit of a punt play, but one that can easily make value despite playing the Stellars. They lead the league INTs (11) and fumble recoveries (9)  Based on this week’s price, the Browns D has made at least a 2 X value in five of seven games. Including a high score of 16 points in Week 1 against Pittsburgh. That game, however, the defense was aided by poor weather. To save cash, the Browns D is in all three lineups.

 

Dan McLellan’s Main Slate Lineup:

Sunday Million:

1 PM EDT Only:

 

Listen In: Every Sunday at 12:30 eastern, I join an experienced group of NFL DFS players at wblzmedia.com. Together we build our own Sunday Million lineup. It’s a great example of hearing how the thought process that went into this article plays out in real-time.

Play on FanDuel: If you want to give DFS a shot on FanDuel, use the link to signup. Once you deposit and pay $10 in the paid contest, you will get an extra $25 and I get $20.

Dan’s Ranking:

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