Week 1 DFS Cheat Sheet: FanDuel and DraftKings UPDATED
September 11, 2016 | Ian Goldsmith
Welcome to Week 1 of the 2016 The Fake Football FanDuel and DraftKings DFS Cheat Sheet!
With the help of our resident DFS Gurus Ian Goldsmith and Jason Bales, we have put together a comprehensive NFL DFS Cheat Sheet with matchup stats, analysis, picks, sample lineups and lineup configuration advice. We have picks for FanDuel and Draftkings, and with their differing settings, the picks, stats and analysis will help you on even more sites than just those two. And with a week between games we will update our picks and analysis as the week progresses. You will receive your Cheat Sheet on Wednesday, in time for the Thursday night games and then we will update the sheet on Sunday Mornings to make sure you don’t miss any breaking news.
And even though we will have more info, more stats, more picks and just more everything in our NFL sheets, we will not be raising the price. Each sheet will remain $1.99 each just like our baseball and basketball sheets. And as a subscriber you will receive an email as soon as the new Cheat Sheet is posted on Wednesday of each week and then an update on Sunday mornings.
PLUS! Ian Goldsmith’s DFS Optimizer will be added to the sheets this season! It will go LIVE on Friday!
Check out our a sheet from last season to see what you get.
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Kenneth Dixon and Javorius Allen are OUT. Forsett and West will be the main backs and Forsett gets a nice boost in PPR.
Chris Ivory is now OUT. Bump Yeldon up.
Justin Forsett will start, but the Ravens will go with the hot hand, so this is a situation to avoid.
Jimmy Graham will be on a snap count. He remains unusable.
Michael Thomas will play. THis helps Drew Brees, but clouds the WR situation in New Orleans.
Dennis Pitta will start for the Ravens. It’s interesting news, but we’ll need to wait to see how much he is used.
Devante Parker is expected to be out.
Kevin White will play. Alshon Jeffery should still be a target hog in this game though.
Martellus Bennett will start for the Patriots and should see a lot of targets.
The Colts are hurting on defense, especially in the secondary. Vontae Davis is out, along with starting SS Clayton Geathers and nickel CB Darius Butler. That leaves four cornerbacks, two of which were signed just within the last week. The Lions are one of the most pass heavy teams in the league and did well in the second half of last season. I expect this game to be a shootout with a lot of fantasy points on both sides, but Matthew Stafford, Marvin Jones and Golden Tate all make great options in DFS and of course redraft.
Jamaal Charles is out, but. Andy Reid has me choking on my own rage over here. Toward the end last season and this preseason we saw Spencer Ware take control of the No. 2 job by outplaying Charcandrick West. But somehow West jumped Ware on the depth chart and Reid says they both will play. I believe in Ware’s ability and will be starting him in most leagues and in DFS, but it is much riskier than before.
There is now a little more clarity in Seattle with Christine Michael getting the start, but Thomas Rawls is still supposed to play. I believe the Seahawks are intrigued with what Michael could do as the lead back, so they might give him a sort of tryout Week 1 while they ease Rawls back. Add in the fact that the Dolphins are not good against the run and you have potential for “The Awakening” to go off.
Rob Gronkowski is out this week as well as lineman Nate Solder and Jonathan Cooper, and of course Tom Brady is suspended and Dion Lewis is on the PUP list. This all puts some players in the spotlight, but also gives the Patriots a chance of falling apart completely against a good Cardinals defense. Martellus Bennett, Julian Edelman and James White should be the main targets this week and if Jimmy Garoppolo can get into some rhythm, they could have good PPR games at least, but I’m going to take a wait and see approach for the most part. If you have Gronk as your starter you should be able to scrounge a decent alternative this week. Clive Walford and Jesse James are at the top of my tight end streaming and cheap DFS list.
Chris Ivory is questionable, but who knows, maybe that’s a ”probable” from last season? Beat writers say Ivory will play after getting in limited practices, so we will get a look at how they will split touches between T.J. Yeldon and Ivory. I expect Yeldon will be used more in passing downs while Ivory is used in short yardage. This week I expect the Packers to get a lead and put the Jaguars in more passing downs as the game goes on.
Jay Ajayi didn’t travel to Seattle due to a coach’s decision. Who know what that’s all about, but for now Arian Foster gets a boost, despite the incredibly tough matchup. I’d rather be able to put Foster in at flex, but can understand using him as a RB2 if needed.
Matt Jones practiced in full this week after his shoulder injury this preseason. The Steelers run defense was stout last season while their secondary was the opposite. I expect Washington to do most of their damage through the air and could see Chris Thompson leading the way in PPR and maybe even standard.
Jerick McKinnon was limited in practice this week and is “questionable.” Reports seem fairly negative about his status, but it is still up in the air. If he can’t go I’d expect to see Adrian Peterson get more work in the receiving game, which would boost him up a bit.
Bears wide receiver Kevin White is questionable due to a hamstring injury, but did get limited work in Wednesday and Thursday and then he practiced in full on Sunday. I expect him to play, but he has yet to show us his potential and gets a tough matchup. I’m sitting him until I see something.
Markus Wheaton will not play on Monday night, which gives Jesse James, Eli Rogers and Sammie Coates a boost. Darrius Heyward-Bey could cut into Coates workload though, so I’d only use him in daily fantasy tournaments.
The Texans rookie receiver Will Fuller is listed as questionable, but had the same week as Kevin White, getting work in Wednesday and Thursday and then a full day in on Friday. He should be ready to go as a boom or bust candidate against a weak Bears pass defense.
DeVante Parker was finally able to get a limited practice in on Friday, but it’s probably too little too late for this week. My hope for the Dolphins is for them to come out of Seattle alive to fight another day.
Tyler Kroft will get the start at tight end for the Bengals while Tyler Eifert is still out. He could be useful in 2TE leagues, but that’s about it.
Jimmy Graham looks like he will be active on Sunday, but we should take a wait and see approach for now to see how much he plays and where he is in the pecking order this season.
Eric Ebron practiced all week and should play on Sunday, but like Graham, we don’t know where his conditioning is after missing much of preseason. I’d hold off on starting him this week if you have other options.
Sample FanDuel Lineups
First off, you will notice the lack of Thursday players. I don’t like any of them, at least not enough to use them in my GPP lineups. If you want a cash play from the Thursday game, then either Carolina or Denver’s DST fit the bill. Virgil Green could be an interesting play at TE for Denver. He is only $4,600, so a few catches and a score would easily hit value. I actually think Trevor Siemian will be a very stable QB and not offer opposing teams a lot of turnovers. That being said, I’m not sure he brings enough to the table to make guys like Demaryius Thomas relevant at their current prices. Cam Newton can always go off, but I am avoiding him this week in favor of QBs with much better matchups. Still, if you want to use him, I can’t make too many arguments as to why you shouldn’t. He’s the MVP, and his legs alone give him a decent floor.
Anyways….This Thursday tournament lineup starts with my top QB of the week: Derek Carr. The matchup is the juiciest of the week, and I would honestly be shocked if we see anything less than a 300 yard, 2 TD+ performance from him. I’m stacking him in this lineup with Amari Cooper. With Jamaal Charles likely sitting, the top GPP RB play of the week is Spencer Ware, who will be the lead back for the Chiefs. Last year he torched the Chargers for 148 yards an 2TDs on 19 carries (across two games). Lamar Miller is my #1 overall RB for the week. The game script should play out beautifully for a big game from the new Texan. I foresee the Texans getting up early, their defense holding down the fort, and Miller running the clock out. Miami will regret what they let go. At TE, I’m going cheaper with new Packer Jared Cook, who has formed an excellent rapport with Rodgers early this season. The only TE I’d like that is cheaper is Steeler Jesse James, who is worth a look.
Because of saving money at TE and RB, I’m able to fit in both Antonio Brown and Julio Jones. Brown will have to contend with Josh Norman, but he’s too good to forget about. Plus, the Steelers are great at moving him around, getting him away from isolation with Norman. At kicker, I plugged in Nick Folk. The Jets can move the ball, but the Bengals know how to stop teams in the red zone. Cue the kicker. The game sets up well for him to have several opportunities. Also, never spend a ton of money on kickers. Use it for other positions. Finally, I am using the Cleveland Browns DST. Why? Carson Wentz, that’s why. With Bradford being traded away to Minnesota, the banged-up rookie will get the start. Streaming against rookie QBs=Muy Bueno. Especially in their first starts. Especially when they are coming back from injury. Oh, and not a ton of people will be using the Browns either, so you will get some good differential. They are a risky play, but they are my top GPP DST play this week because of the upside they bring to the table.
I’ve started this cash lineup with my favorite stack of the week: Kirk Cousins and Jordan Reed. Cousins is my #2 QB for the week, just behind Carr. Reed is my #1 TE for the week, and a top-10 position player overall. If you watched Washington at the end of last year (and this preseason), you’d see that their passing game is going to shred opposing defenses. This game has a high over-under, and should be a shootout. Both sides will rack up the fake points. Reed will be in a majority of my lineups this week, on every site I play. At RB, I’ve put in two of my favorite plays of the week: Eddie Lacy and Mark Ingram. Ingram was as consistent as they come last year before injury, scoring double digits in all but one contest. He’s always an excellent cash play. Lacy is my #3 RB for the week, behind Miller and Todd Gurley. The game script lines up well for him in Jacksonville. Besides that, he was the best RB on the field for any team this preseason, in my eyes at least. He has slimmed down and looks ready to be back to his dominant self. Brown makes an appearance here again at WR. With him are Marvin Jones and Donte Moncrief. Jones is, by far, the best WR value on the entire slate, on basically any site you play. The Detroit-Indy game will be a shootout, and I’d be shocked to see him with fewer than 10+ targets. Moncrief should have plenty of room to operate while Hilton is fighting for position with Darius Slay. He and Luck work very well together, which showed early last season before Luck’s luck turned. At DST, Houston should have a lot of fun against Cutler and Co. JJ Watt will play, and Clowney finally looks ready to destroy opposing QBs.
Everyone else is doing it, so here is your Dak Prescott lineup for the week. I’ve stacked him with Dez Bryant. Dak’s price is so low, that you should feel free to use him in cash lineups as well. If he plays even half as well as he did in preseason, then he should easily hit value. Of course, since 20-30% of players or more will be using him, there is a ton of opportunity for differential should you decide to look elsewhere (Cousins, Carr….even Griffin III). Lacy and Miller make appearances again here. At WR, I’ve moved away from AB and plugged in Julio. Joining him and Bryant is Sammy Watkins, who is simply a joy to watch. I never use him in cash lineups, but he, more than almost any WR in the league, always has a great chance for a deep score. He and Taylor were on the same page last year, which I expect to continue. Reed, Folk, and the Browns round out the lineup.
I’m going back into the Cousins/Reed well for this GPP lineup. At RB, I’ve switched out the usual suspects for DeAngelo Williams and the super-rookie Ezekiel Elliott. Yes, Elliott looked good against the Seahawks in the preseason, but I personally need to see more before using him in cash lineups. For tournaments, however, I have no problem using him as he should touch the ball early and often. Giants/Cowboys games tend to be shootouts, so there should be plenty of opportunity for Elliott in this game. Williams is in what is, perhaps, the best offense in the NFL. As long as Ben is healthy, I will be using a lot of Steelers players. He finished as the RB6 last season, which is quite the accomplishment. He’ll be a very comfortable pick for me until Bell is back in uniform. The only other change in this lineup is the inclusion of Doug Baldwin. He and Wilson work very well together, but I tend to use him only in tournaments for a couple of reasons. One, I believe the Seahawks will get out to a big lead, and Baldwin won’t be needed as much as usual. Secondly, a lot of his value last year was due to his 15 TDs. I do not see him repeating that success. Still, his price is very low for his potential upside, which makes him an excellent tournament play.
Sunday Cash UPDATE
I’ve made an alternate cash lineup here given much of the recent news over the past few days. To me, the biggest news for cash lineups is the confirmation that Christine Michael is starting for Seattle against Miami. At $4,800 on FanDuel, he is absolutely excellent value. At this point, I’d expect at least a 60/40 split in favor of Michael over Rawls. If Seattle gets up big early, I can see their gum-addicted coach to rest Rawls and let Michael run out the clock. The other cheap player here is Marvin Jones Jr., who will continue to be on a ton of my lineups. I stacked Jones with Matt Stafford as the Indy/Detroit game should be a barn burner. I was able to fit in both Antonio Brown and Julio Jones, and kept Eddie Lacy at RB, as the game script in Jacksonville should be fantastic. One other small move is using Nick Novak instead of Nick Folk. Personally, I like both of them this week, and it really comes down to personal preference.
Sunday GPP UPDATE
With a ton of people on Dak Prescott and Derek Carr, there is some differential to be had to paying up big for a QB. In this lineup, I’m rolling with Andrew Luck. Christine Michael makes another appearance to save some cash. The other place I saved cash was with the addition of Martellus Bennett. With Gronk out, it will be Bennett who takes over the TE1 reps for New England. I’d honestly rather have some other cheap options at TE in cash games, but Bennett’s upside in that TE happy offense is very intriguing. Arizona was only middle of the road against TEs last year, s there should be an opportunity for Bennett to impress. This is a very WR happy lineup, with Julio Jones, Allen Robinson, and Sammy Watkins. If Jacksonville has any chance of winning tomorrow, ARob is going to need to have a big game. I will not be using him in cash games at his price, however. Watkins is always a moment away from a deep TD. I kept Houston’s DST in here. They are a safer pick than the Browns, who I’ve used in previous GPP lineups above. Their floor is high, and their upside is as well.
Sample DraftKings Lineups
DraftKings Lineup Configurations
As with the FanDuel lineups, you will not be seeing any Thursday players in this week’s lineups. Outside of the defenses, there are simply too many question marks for me to feel comfortable using any of the players….even in GPPs. With any cash lineup, I look for three main things. One, which games does Vegas peg to be the highest scoring. Two, how often will a player be touching the ball on offense. Three, consistency. The third is the hardest of the three to gauge this early in the season, but we know that #1 will be answered, and we have a good idea of #2. This lineup starts with a stack of Derek Carr and Michael Crabtree. Crabtree’s teammate is arguably the better play in tournaments due to his deep threat capability, but it is Crabs whom Carr looks for when the Raiders are in the Red Zone. He had 146 targets last season, which translates to over 9 per game. Cooper only had 130. This game is going to be high scoring, and the duo should be trying to form a rapport early on the field.
Jordan Reed is the top TE play of the week, and is featured on all three lineups here. While I’m perfectly happy to throw Jared Cook, Jesse James, or Clive Walford into a tournament lineup, I’m going to do so at a much smaller rate than the Washington standout. He is way too good, and the Steelers have nobody that can match up with him. At least, not the Steelers I watched last season. Spencer Ware is nearly a must play at this price in cash games, though you can veer away in tournaments if you want. Lamar Miller and Rashad Jennings. Jennings is in line for more goal line work with Andre Williams gone. He was the #3 RB over the past three weeks of last season, and the #5 RB over the past 5 weeks. He is quietly going way undervalued. Donte Moncrief should be targeted at least 10 times this week in a shootout against the Lions. He has WR1 upside in that lineup if Luck is healthy all season. The Texans are an excellent cash play now that we know JJ Watt is back.
As yes, the specDAKular lineup. I had to give at least one, right? Minimum salary QBs are always worth a look in DFS. Just don’t go overboard and use him in every lineup. With the drop in price at QB, I’ve spent more money at RB. Todd Gurley and Eddie Lacy make appearances here. Gurley tore the 49ers D apart last season in his one game against them. He should easily get the ball 20-25 times or more, and flirt with 25+ FP. Lacy has looked incredible this preseason. I think that last year is forgotten for him…nothing more than a blip. He is slimmed down, and should have plenty of opportunities near the goal line this week in a high scoring game. He’s a good receiver, too, which helps on DraftKings. Ware makes another appearance in the FLEX spot. Like Ware, and Jordan Reed, I’m having a hard time moving away from Marvin Jones at his price. He is a steller cash and tournament play at only $4,600. An absolute steal.
Sterling Shepard takes up one of the other WR slots. The rookie has looked great this preseason, and should have plenty of room to operate as the Cowboys do their best to limit Odell Beckham. He is starting, and in that offense, he should be getting a very healthy number of targets. Jordy Nelson rounds out the WR corps. DO NOT play him in cash games. We simply don’t know enough about his conditioning. However, his big play potential is huge in this matchup. If you want a safer, high-upside play for the same price, slot in Brandin Cooks. The Browns fill out the lineup at DST. They have a low floor, but high upside going against the rookie Wentz.
The all-Washington lineup. Kirk Cousins is my #2 QB of the week, and is stacked here with Reed and DeSean Jackson. I love the potential for Jackson to take one deep against Pittsburgh this week. He is going under the radar, but he has big upside in this matchup. The two RBs combined only cost $8,100. Christine Michael isn’t a safe pick, but he should get at least 10-12 touches this week as Rawls works his way back into game shape. Last, but not least, Julio Jones makes an appearance. As with Antonio Brown, he can turn any week into a 35+ FP monster performance.
SUNDAY Cash UPDATE
In this Sunday-Monday lineup, I’ve stacked three players from the Detroit/Indy game. Like everyone, I’m expecting a shootout, and there is a lot of value to be had in this game. Stafford, Marvin Jones, and Donte Moncrief all have 25 FP upside (Stafford actually has 30+ FP upside), but are all quite reasonably priced. Jones is obviously a steal, but Moncrief could well have a massive gave and is only $6,000 in his own right. Going with Ware and Michael at RB will be popular, but I think it will pay off given their incredibly low salaries. I actually think Antonio Brown is slightly riskier than Julio this week, but it is really splitting hairs. With Wheaton out, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Brown get 20+ targets. Seriously. I don’t care who’s guarding him; it would be pretty shocking to see him score fewer than 20 FP on a full PPR site like DraftKings. Reed is a near must in cash lineups, in my opinion. With the leftover $4,500, I slotted in Mariotta’s favorite target, Delanie Walker, who, at this price, is hard to avoid. He averaged 16.5 FP last year on DK, which is roughly a 3.7 multiple at his current pricing. He hit cash value at this price in each of the past seven weeks of 2015. He’s a solid option.
Hey folks, Ian here. There are a ton of websites out there that offer their own version of DFS optimizers. Most of them are really well done. Of course, most of them cost an arm and a leg too. The thing is, for all the good an optimizer does, at the end of the day it still only gives you a starting point on which to base your lineup. You need to still come up with projections. I’m not a programmer, but I use Excel extensively in my day job as an economist. So, I thought I’d try and figure out a way to create a basic optimizer and share it with you all. It’s not fancy. This doesn’t have some kind of eye-candy GUI. However, it works. And, at the end of the day, that’s what matters.
As for projections, I’m a big believer in the wisdom of crowds. This basic optimizer uses a mixture of projections from a number of different sites. If you want to do this yourself in the future and don’t want to do any kind of tedious regression analysis, I’d recommend using the FantasyPros Consensus Projections as a starting point. After getting averages of what many different experts think will happen on Sunday, you can then make tweaks of your own. To make this, I watched a lot of Youtube videos and used much of my previous Excel knowledge, much I learned through my local library (Libraries are awesome!). That is to say, this is relatively easy to make on your own given a little patience.
To use this optimizer, you’ll need Excel 2010 or later. If you have that, then click on one of the two links below (or both!), depending on which site you are playing. There are instructions on the first sheet. If you have any questions whatsoever about how to use the optimizer, or if it’s not working for you, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll do my best to get back to you right away. If you don’t have Excel 2010 or later, then shoot me an e-mail with constraints you want, and I’ll run it for you. Also, if you have any ideas for things you’d want to see included in future iterations of this, then I’d also love to hear about them! Thanks, and have fun!!
These two lineups were spit out of the optimizer without using any filters. One for DraftKings and one for FanDuel.
A very simple, but good start to DFS research is to look at the over/unders and odds. Obviously you want your players in games where Vegas believes the game will be high scoring and on winning teams, while your defenses should come from games they believe will be low scoring.
Excel: DK_FD Matchup Machine
Sortable Matchup Machine Quarterbacks
Here you will find the matchup stats for each Quarterback for the week.
Sortable Matchup Machine Running Backs
Here you will find the matchup stats for each running back for the week.
Sortable Matchup Machine Wide Receivers
Here you will find the matchup stats for each Wide Receiver for the week.
|DEP||Wide Receivers||Tm||Opp||DK||FD||Rec/G||ReYd/G||ReYd/Tar||TD/G||T/G||Com. %||FPPG||FO|
|WR1||Odell Beckham Jr.||NYG||NO||$9,500||$9,400||12.1||168.5||8.7||1.8||19.3||62.8%||26.05||32|
|WR3||Ted Ginn Jr.||CAR||SF||$3,900||$5,700||13.3||191.4||9||0.87||21.3||62.5%||23.66||30|
Sortable Matchup Machine Tight Ends
Here you will find the matchup stats for each Tight End for the week.
Sortable Matchup Machine Defenses
Here you will find the matchup stats for each Defense for the week.
|Defense||Opp||DK||FD||Off Points||Sack||Int||Fum Rec||DefTD||RetTD||FPPG|
|New England Patriots||MIA||$3,000||$4,500||$18||2.8||0.8||0.4||0.1||0||7.5|
|Kansas City Chiefs||@HOU||$3,200||$4,700||$20||2.3||0.8||0.5||0.2||0||6.9|
|Los Angeles Rams||SEA||$3,300||$4,300||$25||2.9||0.5||0.5||0.1||0.1||6.1|
|New York Jets||@BUF||$3,300||$4,700||$23||2.6||0.6||0.6||0.1||0||6|
|Green Bay Packers||@MIN||$3,200||$4,400||$22||2.8||0.6||0.5||0||0||5.7|
|New Orleans Saints||@NYG||$2,300||$4,200||$25||1.7||0.9||0.4||0.2||0.1||5.6|
|New York Giants||NO||$2,600||$4,300||$25||2||0.8||0.5||0.1||0||5.3|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||@ARI||$2,200||$4,300||$28||1.7||0.8||0.7||0.1||0||4.8|
|San Francisco 49ers||@CAR||$2,400||$4,000||$29||2.1||0.6||0.6||0.1||0.1||4.4|
Sortable Matchup Machine Kickers
Here you will find the matchup stats for each Kicker for the week.