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DFS Football 101: FanDuel Lineup Review

Michael Rathburn

Known as “Rath” in the Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) community, he has helped run operations for two prominent daily fantasy sports startups. Michael has taken his insider knowledge and expertise in daily fantasy sports to the content side. Rath won the 2016 FSWA "Baseball Article of the Year, Online" award and was a finalist for the FSWA Best Baseball Series in 2011.

Last week, I wrote about the RotoWire weekly contest and my lineup construction analysis. Well, I'm still on the heater and I took down the contest again but also did very well in other contests with this lineup. So, I wanted to give you my thoughts about how I built this lineup. In DFS, each week is different. Matchups, player pool, salaries and Vegas all dictate how I approach things, it is never the same.

The contest link is HERE.

Here is my week 11 lineup that came in first place:

POSPLAYERSALARY%OWNEDPOINTS
QBTom Brady$8,60042.925.56
RBChris Thompson$6,8007.19.80
RBAlvin Kamara$7,50021.422.60
WRLarry Fitzgerald$6,90012.519.60
WRJarvis Landry$6,80012.516.50
WRBrandin Cooks$7,70050.023.90
TETyler Kroft$5,3001.88.20
KNick Novak$4,50010.718.00
DJaguars$5,60017.925.00

Total Score – 169.16
Total salary - $59,700

Notable Player Ownership:

Quarterback

Drew Brees – 14.3 percent
Alex Smith – 12.5 percent
Derek Carr – 8.9 percent

Running Back

Kareem Hunt – 44.6 percent
Melvin Gordon – 19.6 percent
Mark Ingram – 14.3 percent

Wide Receiver

DeVante Parker – 26.8 percent
Michael Thomas – 17.9 percent
Tyreek Hill – 17.9 percent
Mike Evans – 16.1 percent
Jamison Crowder – 16.1 percent
Amari Cooper – 14.3 percent
Jeremy Maclin – 12.5 percent

Tight End

Travis Kelce – 26.8 percent
Vernon Davis – 23.2 percent
Rob Gronkowski – 14.3 percent
Jared Cook – 8.9 percent

Kicker

Justin Tucker – 12.5 percent
Wil Lutz – 10.7 percent
Kai Forbath – 8.9 percent

Defense

Chargers – 23.2 percent
Ravens – 10.7 percent
Eagles – 8.9 percent
Broncos – 7.1 percent

Vegas Outlook

Several low-scoring games and bad matchups led me to gravitate to the higher total games and the games in which teams faced bad defenses. Another layer on top of this was the weather situation that started to develop later in the week. I wanted no part of the bad-weather games with the exception of the Jaguars D because they were facing Kizer.

I focused on the Pats, Saints/Redskins, Dolphins/Bucs, Texans/Cardinals and Chargers/Bills. The only other option was taking Tyler Kroft against the Broncos because of the huge discrepancy of how many yards/TDs they allow vs. other positions and other teams. You can't pass to the WRs against Denver, so Kroft was a no-brainer for me. Especially knowing that Kelce, Davis, Gronk and possibly Ertz would be higher owned. I was already taking a lot of chalk with Brady/Cooks, so I needed to differentiate in other areas.

Positional Outlook

When I start my QB research, I look at who is in the player pool and who is not. One of things I realized is no Russell Wilson. That combined with the bad weather and huge matchup for the Patriots led me to even say on the RotoWire show on SiriusXM – "Brady in every lineup." I did not see any QBs who had the potential of getting 25 points. There were a couple of cheaper guys I liked – Ryan Fitzpatrick and Blaine Gabbert – but when I looked at the RB/WR positions, paying up wasn't an optimal strategy.

One of the factors in my lineup construction this week was no Steelers – Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown are two of the most expensive players at their respective positions. Also, no Russell Wilson and I was not in love with the Eagles on the road Sunday night. My player pool was shrinking quickly. Then we had all the weather issues. Because of the projected 15-20 mph winds, cold weather, snow, etc., I just crossed off everyone from those games. Friday evening we got word about Sterling Shepard and Leonard Fournette.

Knowing I was locked on Brady, I wanted to pair him with either Brandin Cooks or Rob Gronkowski. With word that David Amerson was out for the Raiders, their secondary was already getting torched by the deep ball and Cooks fit the salary I needed. Also, there were no real cheap WRs I liked except Bruce Ellington, but I loved Kroft, so that made sense.

Because there was no one I loved to pay up for ($8,000 and up on any RB/WR), I took the balanced approach with both positions. I was not worried about ownership as much because the player pool had been shrunk so much with weather, bad matchups, injuries and players not on the slate.

I looked at Saints/Redskins game as one that would have a lot of rushing attempts based on the way the Saints have played. With the Rob Kelley and Jordan Reed injuries, I thought Chris Thompson was in line for more touches, especially if they were playing from behind. Also, the Saints' secondary has shut down most WRs, so even more reason to like Thompson. His salary had fallen under $7k and a 20-point game was certainly within reach. Unfortunately, he got hurt and only had 9.8 points.

The other side of the game was getting Alvin Kamara in, and he was on every lineup I played in Week 11. I still felt like he was under priced at $7,500 and would continue to get enough production to pay off his salary in a tournament.
The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Michael Rathburn plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: burnnotice, DraftKings: burnnotice, Yahoo: burnnotice, Fantasy Aces: burnnotice, FantasyDraft: burnnotice.