Week 1 DFS Cheat Sheet: FantasyDraft and Yahoo! UPDATED
September 11, 2016 | Ian Goldsmith
Welcome to Week 1 of the 2016 The Fake Football FantasyDraft and Yahoo! DFS Cheat Sheet!
With the help of our resident DFS Gurus Doug Shain and Justin 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 FantasyDraft and Yahoo!, 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. One Month ($6.99) 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.
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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 FantasyDraft Lineups
Sunday GPP 2
FantasyDraft Lineup Configurations
I always like to throw the disclaimer out that we have to remember in a cash game we are not looking to finish in first place. We merely want to finish in the top half of our game. That means that we are looking for safety before upside. Consistent production based on a steady volume is the name of the game. You won’t find any DeSean Jackson types in my cash game lineups. Tyrod Taylor would seem like an odd choice for a cash game QB but his legs give him so much added value that raises his floor so much. He’s not going to put up a monster game the way Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees can but he also shouldn’t skunk you. That’s why you’ll see guys like him and Alex Smith in a lot of my cash game lineups despite their lack of upside (yes, I have no problem using Alex Smith here instead of Tyrod). For my RB I’m looking for a guy with at least two of these three attributes: he isn’t going to split carries, he can catch passes, and he will get touches inside the 5 yard line. Few RB cover all three of the criteria: David Johnson, Devonta Freeman, Ryan Mathews, Lamar Miller, and LeSean McCoy. DJ is a little too pricey for what I want to do with this lineup so I instead went to the next guy down the list in Devonta Freeman. Pairing him with Ryan Mathews gives me two solid guys that I can count on for a ton of touches in good matchups. Spencer Ware looks to be getting the start for KC and he’s going against the worst run D in the NFL. At his insanely low price I’m more than happy to use him as he’ll get a ton of touches and isn’t getting pulled at the goal line. We all know that Gio Bernard holds a lot of value for his pass catching skills but CIN actually keeps him in at the goal line more than you’d realize. He’s a pretty safe option that won’t kill your GPP. Another guy in that boat is Eric Decker. He’s the ultimate cash game WR. He is never going to blow up for a 10-170-3 type of game but he’s a lock for 6-80 and possibly a TD every time out. I love that consistency for a reasonable price. Allen Robinson thrives when Jacksonville is in catchup mode. Against a rejuvenated Packers offense that’s exactly what I expect from the Jags offense. Jordan Reed, when healthy, is Gronk-like. He’s got a great matchup against a terrible Pittsburgh secondary. Arizona is a steady defense that will get you sacks and faces a NE offense that doesn’t have Tom Brady. That feels pretty safe.
As each day passes I am becoming more and more obsessed with using Matthew Stafford. He’s getting no love right now and I have no idea why. DET is going to have to throw to keep up with Indy in this one and the Colts secondary is in shambles. I really think he can throw for 400 yards this week. If he’s doing that, then I have to also love his WR. Golden Tate is the guy people are going to run to but I believe in what I saw out of Marvin Jones this preseason. He looked great and Stafford loves him. I’m expecting big things from the duo in Week 1. I’m kind of playing it safe at RB with a couple of cheap guys that I know will be getting touches. Neither should go off big but at their low prices they should be able to hit value easily. Doing this will allow me to grab some big boys at WR. Mike Evans, OBJ, and ARob are three of my top 5 WR picks for the week. It’s not crazy to think that they could combine for 20-400-5. I love the matchup for all three and I think all 3 QB’s are going to throw their way often. In order to afford those guys I had to go cheap at TE and DEF. Jared Cook is one of the few TE I’d even consider using this week because of his low price. He’s been productive in the past with terrible QB and now he’s got Aaron Rodgers throwing to him. ARod uses his TE quite well and Cook might be the most athletic TE he’s ever thrown to. As for my DEF I’m going all in on the Giants. I think their front seven is being overlooked and I’m not buying the Dak Prescott hype. He looked great in the preseason but everything was so vanilla. I’m expecting New York to give him a rude awakening to the NFL with a ton of pressure which can lead to sacks and turnovers.
Sunday GPP 2
The Chicago Bears looked so bad this preseason. They might be one of the three worst teams in the entire NFL. On the flip side of that, Brock Osweiler looked like a guy who actually deserved the contract he got from the Texans. If Osweiler is playing well then so too will DeAndre Hopkins. I’m not hearing a lot of chatter about him with more people flocking to OBJ, Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, and Allen Robinson. I’m more than happy to pay up for a guy that should easily see double digit targets and is a red zone threat. And to get him at a low ownership? Yes, please! My other WR is Marvin Jones because he’s incredibly cheap considering his matchup and upside. This lineup goes big at RB. As I discussed in my cash game analysis, Freeman, Mathews, and David Johnson are among a handful of RB that get a lot of carries, catch a ton of passes, and are used at the goal line. To get all three into my lineup is awesome. I’m adding in Ezekiel Elliott because he’s going to be the guy Dallas uses to take the pressure off of Dak Prescott. If they can establish the running game then Dak won’t have to do too much. I know it’s unwise to use an offensive player that’s opposing your DFS defense but in this case I think it works because the Giants aren’t going to get a big score by keeping their opponents out of the end zone, they’re going to do it by forcing Prescott into a lot of mistakes. Both Elliott and the Giants D can have big games if things play out the way I expect them to. You can read my GPP #1 analysis to see why I like Jared Cook.
For my updated GPP I decided to use some Thursday ownership percentage to help me put together my team. I’m looking for high upside guys that are going largely unowned (under 10% is ideal). Derek Carr (#3QB) and Matthew Stafford (#2QB) were way more highly owned than I’d anticipated this week. On the other hand, Aaron Rodgers was outside of the top 10 in ownership percentage. Aaron flipping Rodgers! There are few QB’s on this slate that have the upside of ARod so I was quick to grab him. Most people don’t want to pay up for him but as you’ll see, I didn’t have a really hard time fitting in other studs. At RB I was happy to see that Freeman and Mathews, two of my top RB plays this week, were 10th and 11th at the RB position. That may see pretty high to be considered contrarian plays but I don’t need 1% owned guys, I just want guys who aren’t 30% owned. Christine Michael is going to see his ownership creep up but at his price I can live with that. I originally was going to pounce on DeAndre Hopkins, Amari Cooper, Odell Beckham, and Marvin Jones but those four guys were all among the top 7 most highly owned players. I love their upside and matchups but I’d rather use guys that are lower owned with equally high upside. Those player included Jordy Nelson (19th most owned player), TY Hilton (16th most popular WR), and Crabtree (18th highest ownership at his position). I was shocked when I saw that Gary Barnidge was 15th most owned TE this week. I thought for sure he’d be among the top 4 most popular TE plays. I was more than happy to grab him. Another guy I liked at TE was Jared Cook (who was in most of my previous sample lineups) but I don’t want to have three guys on GB. The NYG defense is one of my favorite plays and I like them even more now that I’ve seen Dak Prescott is far and away the most highly owned QB this week. That’s a huge double whammy when the Giants shut him down.
Sample Yahoo! Lineups
Yahoo! Lineup Configurations
I started this lineup with a stack of Carr and Cooper, who have elite upside against a terrible Saints defense. This game also has an extremely high over/under, and is currently set at even, which means both teams should be firing from start to finish. Miller and Gurley are two elite running backs that should benefit from game script this week. The lower portion of the lineup is filled with players that are in games with extremely high over/unders. Jones, Edelman, Allen, and Moncrief are playing in games that should be high scoring, and they have good upside. The Seahawks defense gets a good matchup against the Dolphins, and, as always, they have tremendous upside for a defense. Note: This lineup avoided the Thursday night game, so it can also be used in Sunday’s games.
Prescott and Ware will likely be owned by everyone and their mothers this Sunday, but that’s okay in cash games, as it allows to you grab elite options at other positions. Once again, I used the Seahawks defense, as they get a good matchup and always seem to produce. I stacked Witten with Prescott as he’s a bit of a security blanket for the new QB. Brown has been the most consistent WR in the NFL over the last couple of years, and it would be wise to pay up for him. As I mentioned above, Gurley should see plenty of carries because of the game flow, and he’s always an elite running back. Tate, Evans, and Jeffery round out the lineup, and they should all be peppered with targets this week.
This lineup began with a Winston/Evans stack, as they set out to be a the best QB/WR combo in the NFL; they should make a big statement this week. Rawls has elite upside, although he should only be used in GPPs because of his injury concerns. Miller has the ability to be an elite running back this season, and it should start this week with a plus matchup against Chicago. Jones and Ebron are playing in a game that should feature plenty of points, and they will be two of the top red zone targets for the Lions. Cooper and Edelman are two receivers in games with high over/unders, and they come with elite upside. Again, the Seahawks DST makes an appearance.
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 email@example.com. 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 FantasyDraft and one for Yahoo!
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: Week 1 Matchup Charts YAHOO-FANDRAFT
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||FanDraf||Yahoo||Rec/G||ReYd/G||ReYd/Tar||TD/G||T/G||Com. %||FPPG||FO|
|WR1||Odell Beckham Jr.||NYG||NO||$17,700||$35||12.1||168.5||8.7||1.8||19.3||62.80%||26.05||32|
|WR3||Ted Ginn Jr.||CAR||SF||$6,000||$12||13.3||191.4||9||0.87||21.3||62.50%||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.