Week 2 Observations

It’s interesting spending NFL Sunday on Central European Time. This week we were in Lake Balaton, Hungary at Heather’s friend’s house. It became clear around 4:30 pm (10:30 am ET) as we were hitting tennis balls in a light drizzle on some old clay courts we wouldn’t make it back to the house, feed everyone, pack up and herd all the kids into the two cars in time to make it back to their apartment in Budapest by kickoff (7:00 pm). So the husband, Jolt Zsolt (that’s how you say it, guessed on the spelling) and I bolted early in his 2000 Saab which he drove at 170 km/hour (105 mph), using the oncoming traffic lane on straightaways to pass, while I set my lineups, using my cellphone as a wifi hotspot. We arrived at the apartment around 7:10, and I holed myself up at an antique table in their office and watched on my laptop until two in the morning. (I probably should have taken a photo of the office, but I didn’t, so this is the best I can do to set the scene):


RotoWire & FanDuel Fantasy Football Championship – Week 2

This is an exciting time for football fans across the nation world (edit by Roger Goodell). All teams across the NFL have a game under their belts and fans now have something material to make irrational judgments off of. With the start of the regular season came the first week of the RotoWire & FanDuel Fantasy Football Championship. If you are unfamiliar with the competition, here are the basics:

  • 10-week competition hosted on FanDuel
  • $10 entry (max five entries each week)
  • Compete against other users and three FanDuel experts (Jeff Erickson, Derek VanRiper, Kevin Payne)
  • Finish above the experts, win an entry in the Week 11 Freeroll with over $5,000 in prizes and RotoWire subscriptions up for grabs
  • Each qualifying week acts as a double-up with the top 250 doubling up their cash
  • This is not a continuous competition, so you can enter every week, and you don’t have to have participated in Week 1 to enter this week’s competition
  • There is no limit on the amount of entries you can win for the championship round, so start racking them up this week if you haven’t already
  • You can sign up for this week’s competition here

Week 1 Recap

Chris Benzine already went over last week’s exciting action. You can check that out here. Don’t be discouraged by going against the greatness that is Jeff Erickson, Derek VanRiper and Kevin Payne as 84 FanDuel users finished above the ‘perts and already earned entries in championship round, proving that they are indeed human after all.

Week 2 Value Picks

QB Marcus Mariota @ Detroit Lions

FanDuel price: $7,500

With most of the premium quarterbacks facing tough defenses this week, going with a mid-range signal-caller could prove beneficial. Mariota didn’t have a stellar performance in his 2016 debut against Minnesota, but he draws a much friendlier matchup against the Lions in a dome this Sunday. Last week’s Lions/Colts matchup produced a fantasy-friendly shootout and we could see that again between two teams who are vulnerable through the air. Mariota’s soft matchup and running ability make him a high-floor, high-ceiling option at an affordable price.

RB Jeremy Langford vs. Philadelphia Eagles

FanDuel Price: $6,500

Langford turned in a useful 13.3 point game against a stout Houston defense last week. More importantly, he put any timeshare fears to rest, receiving all but one of the Bears’ running back carries. The Eagles’ defense is a bit underrated in my opinion, but the matchup still has to be considered an upgrade over Week 1. Whether you like the matchup or not, $6,500 is far too cheap for a running back who will dominate his team’s touches Sunday.

RB T.J. Yeldon @ San Diego Chargers

FanDuel Price: $6,500

I will be the first to admit that I am not a fan of Yeldon. He doesn’t have exceptional quickness and isn’t enough of a bruising back to churn out extra yards. What he does have going for him this week will be a soft matchup and a boatload of touches. His running mate Chris Ivory was released from the hospital this week with an undisclosed health issue, but as of Thursday he had yet to practice and looks doubtful for Sunday’s game. Even though this game is on the road, San Diego’s defense doesn’t instill fear in anyone and Yeldon has a strong chance to find the endzone at least once.

WR Kelvin Benjamin vs. San Francisco 49ers

FanDuel Price: $7,500

Benjamin returned to the field after missing the entire 2015 season and didn’t skip a beat, reclaiming his role as Cam Newton’s favorite target and converting 12 targets into six catches for 91 yards and a touchdown. While San Francisco’s defense looks improved over last year’s rendition, last week may have simply been a case of the unit taking advantage of one of the worst passing attacks in the league (Los Angeles Rams). Both of the 49ers’ starting corners (Tramaine Brock and Jimmie Ward) stand under six feet tall and can’t matchup with Benjamin’s 6-5 frame. $7,500 is far too cheap for a WR1 with a strong matchup.

WR Will Fuller vs. Kansas City Chiefs

FanDuel Price: $6,200

Fuller is a value pick for the same reason Benjamin is, FanDuel hasn’t properly adjusted either of their salaries in accordance to their usage. The rookie saw 11 targets last week and apparently developed a strong rapport with new quarterback Brock Osweiler during the preseason. DeAndre Hopkins’ presence will ensure Fuller rarely sees double teams in coverage. The matchup against Kansas City isn’t as favorable as last week’s against the Bears, but I am still rolling him out with such a low salary.

WR Tyler Boyd vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

FanDuel Price:$5,500

Boyd is an intriguing play this weekend. He sits behind both A.J. Green (makes sense) and Brandon LaFell (huh?) on the depth chart. Being a third receiver in the Bengals’ offense isn’t exactly a terrible thing as we saw with both Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones holding value in that role last season. While Cincinnati would prefer to grind out games with their powerful running back duo, Pittsburgh may force their hand and make this an aerial showdown. If that becomes the case, then $5,500 is a cheap way to get in on the action while allocating the rest of your funds on premium options at other positions.

High Risk/High Reward

WR Odell Beckham vs. New Orleans Saints

FanDuel Price: $9,400

There is always risk involved when paying for a top flight receiver, because if they don’t produce at an elite level (like Beckham didn’t last week) then your lineup may not stand a chance. With a guy like ODB — who is clearly the top target for his team — you always run the risk of opposing defenses doubling or tripling him and removing him from the gameplan. The Saints are without their top corner, Delvin Breaux, so they may have to deploy that strategy. That being said, the Giants actually have competent options behind Beckham this season in rookie Sterling Shepard and the return of Victor Cruz to keep opposing defenses honest. This game has an O/U of 53.5 so a shootout is to be expected and Beckham should be heavily involved.

Beckham owners when Rueben Randle isn’t the only other receiving option in New York.

Good luck to all the participants in this week’s RotoWire FanDuel Fantasy Football Championship. In case you missed it at the top, here is where you sign up.

Follow Josh Fathollahi on Twitter @JashFath and let him know how bad his picks were.

Radio Haze

Radio Work

With Jeff Erickson on the road this week, I got to fill in for him on many of his regional radio show guest spots. That meant five shows in 24 hours, a whirlwind media blitz for this relative newbie (4 years at RW versus Jeff’s 19). In a fit of shameless self-promotion, let’s begin the tour!  Hopefully you’ll find some nuggets of good advice.

Thursday Night Observations

I woke up in Budapest, Hungary this morning and immediately checked the score from the game – 37-31? How was that even possible? Maybe Sammy Watkins went off after all? I watched the condensed version of the game online to catch up and took notes. Watkins saw only five targets in a game that hit 68 total points and had two catches for 20 yards.

World Cup of Hockey: 2016 Tournament Preview

Twelve years. It’s been that long since the last World Cup of Hockey tournament, with Canada taking down Finland for the rights to the Cup trophy after finishing as the runner up to the United States in the inaugural event of 1996. While the international hockey competition was in hibernation mode, we shed tears over Hurricane Katrina, crazed over the advent of the iPhone, voted in Barack Obama for two Presidential terms, and celebrated the lives of sports legends, including the likes of Muhammad Ali and Gordie Howe. Despite all the change that naturally comes with passed time, six Canadian players from the winning 2004 squad remain active in the NHL, and two of those original cast members — Jay Bouwmeester (STL) and Joe Thornton (SJ) — will be involved in the competition a second time. The action officially begins Sept. 17 and lasts through Oct. 1, 2016 with Toronto playing host. Judging on exhibition play, one can expect a level of intensity that leaves NHL GMs praying for their players to come out unscathed. Here is a breakdown of the eight teams (countries) involved in the best-on-best, round-robin competition:

RotoWire & FanDuel Fantasy Football Championship – Special Week 1 Edition


Welcome to the RotoWire & FanDuel Championship, in a special Week 1 edition that is going live Tuesday. From now on, the posts will surface on Friday with a recap portion and a combination of value picks and high risk/reward plays for the upcoming week. This special Week 1 Tuesday version of the post will solely focus on the recap portion and go a little more in-depth with the DFS action from Week 1.

Week 1 Championship Recaps

Expert Competition

My strategy for the contest was to start by targeting a player I felt was undervalued for Week 1. In this case, that was Spencer Ware given the absence of Jamaal Charles (knee). I prefer to have a connection between my quarterback (Drew Brees topped my board) and a wide receiver and decided to save some money with Willie Snead instead of Brandin Cooks. The strategy worked out and I turned it into a fourth place finish in Week 1.

Led by a strong group of running backs (Spencer Ware and DeAngelo Williams), David Soda (sodes3434) managed to supplement them with the connection of Drew Brees and Brandin Cooks to take Week 1 of the competition by a hefty margin, finishing with 184.52 points on the week. Rounding out the top five were Andrew Fiorentino (akf1986) with 165.56, Joel Bartilotta (joelbartilotta) with 162.10, myself (crispy272001) with 161.32 and James Seltzer (schweppy23) with 156.40.

User Competition

Moving on to the user competition, doublee posted the top score in Week 1. Led by the exact same core group of Brees, Ware, Williams and Cooks, he managed to edge out the top expert score by 0.70 points, finishing with 185.22 in total. The top five was rounded out by bsoutlaw (177.20) sxm_gal (175.58) and bengalbuck (169.50), who utilized his five entries well, putting all five into a tie for fourth.

The highest RotoWire expert in the competition was Jeff Erickson (jefferickson), who finished the week with 141.22 points to place 85th among entrants. All 84 entries that scored above him will receive an entry into the Week 11 Free Play contest.