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Daily Fantasy: Building a cash game lineup for FanDuel

Daniel Gluskoter/Icon Sportswire

Now that the NFL is back for the 2016 season, it is time to start building some winning FanDuel lineups. In order to finish on the right side of the money line in FanDuel cash games, you will need to score around 150 points. That number will change from week-to-week but the goal for each cash games contest  should be to get 2.5 times the salary of your player.

With a $60,000 cap space to build your daily lineup, this basic formula gets you to the goal of 150 points. This guide will help you find the desired price range as well as what type of players to target for each position when building these lineups.

Quarterback (Spend between $7,000 – $7,900)

There is no denying that the NFL has become a pass-first league. So at first thought, it makes perfect sense to want to pay up for the top signal callers when building your FanDuel lineups.

But for cash games purposes it actually is quite the opposite. Sticking with the idea that you will need 2.5 times FanDuel points per $1,000 spent on salary to reach the cash line, rarely does the quarterbacks priced at $9,000 and above return that value. For example, the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers owns a $9,000 price tag for week one of the 2016 season. To reach value he will need to score 22.5 FanDuel points. In 2015, he reached that fate just one time over his last nine contests. Instead, the price range that returned the best value in 2015 was the $7,000 – $7,900. 52 percent of the quarterbacks priced in this range last season reached the 2.5 times thresholds.

This provides the opportunity to find excellent value at a reduced cost. And more importantly, pay up at the positions that are not so forgiving for bargain shoppers. So as you build your FanDuel lineups this season work your way to the mid-priced quarterbacks first.

Running Backs (Spend between $5,500 – $6,900 per spot)

13 December 2015: Pittsburgh Steelers DeAngelo Williams (34) fights to break free from Cincinnati Bengals' Vontaze Burfict (55) during the first half of play at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by John Sommers II/Icon Sportswire)

13 December 2015: Pittsburgh Steelers DeAngelo Williams (34) fights to break free from Cincinnati Bengals’ Vontaze Burfict (55) during the first half of play at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by John Sommers II/Icon Sportswire)

Similar to the quarterback position there is no need to pay top dollar for a running back when building your FanDuel lineup. Instead of focusing on the expensive backs, search for lower costs options that are going to get to get the bulk of the team’s carries. The biggest indicator of success for running backs is touches.

Not surprisingly the top three FanDuel point getters for this position led ball carriers in touches in 2015. But these top running backs also often carry with them a high price tag. So don’t chase the top season long runners but instead focus on guys that will get a bunch of carries on a given week.

The easiest way to accomplish this is to target backup running backs that are filling in for injured starters. With FanDuel setting their prices a week in advance their algorithm doesn’t get the opportunity to adjust prices for these situations.

This once again creates an opportunity to find tremendous value at a discounted price. A prime example from 2015 would be the Steelers’ DeAngelo Williams. The running back was priced like a backup but produced like an All-Pro in Week 9 following Le’Veon Bell’s knee injury. Williams was available for $6,500 on the DFS site and had received 20-plus carries in his two previous starts in 2015. The backup running back ended up scoring 37.5 FanDuel points while returning almost 5.8X the value. When building your DFS entries this low cost, high volume situation is exactly what you want to target for the running position.

Williams was available for $6,500 on the DFS site and had received 20-plus carries in his two previous starts in 2015. The backup running back ended up scoring 37.5 FanDuel points while returning almost 5.8X the value. When building your DFS entries this low cost, high volume situation is exactly what you want to target for the running position.

Wide Receivers (Spend between $7,000 – $8,500+ per spot)

Up until this point when constructing your cash games lineup you have looked for value. And really, you will continue to do so with the wide receiver position as well. But now you are going to have to pay up to get the value. The savings from the quarterback and running positions should be spent on pass catchers. In DFS, wide receivers have the most upside so this is where you want to spend the bulk of your cap space.

The position’s success is two-fold: opportunity and touchdowns. So when targeting your wide receiver position you are looking for targets but more importantly targets in the red zone. The top four FanDuel scoring wide receivers in 2015 finished in the top-five in targets last season.

Julio Jones – 203 targets (1st)

DeAndre Hopkins – 192 targets (2nd)

Antonio Brown – 193 targets (3rd)

Brandon Marshall – 173 targets (5th)

But these four also all finished with at least 21 targets in the red zone, which was good enough to be in the top nine in the league.

Because you have saved at the other positions, all of your FanDuel lineups needs to be built around at least one of the NFL’s top pass catchers that will demand the ball throughout the game but also down around the end zone.

Your other two wide receiver positions need to still receive a larger bulk of passes thrown their way but need to come at a lower cost. It will be unlikely that you will be able to pay up for two of the top wide receiver studs each week. So to pick these guys, you need to look across the field and look for matchups to exploit.

For example, when a team is facing the Indianapolis Colts, you would want to check out their wide receivers. And in particular their second wide receiver. The Colts are known for allowing Vontae Davis to shadow the opposing team’s top pass catcher. So that will leave newly signed Antonio Cromartie on the team’s second wide receiver. According to Pro Football Focus, the defensive back wasn’t very good. He allowed 42 catches for 790 yards and seven touchdowns last season.  And was ranked 70th of 81 corners. In this case, because the team’s number one target will be locked up, look for the second wide receiver to see a spike in targets.

Regardless of whether it is an elite talent or a stellar situation, pay up for the wide receiver group when putting together your weekly FanDuel lineups.

Tight End (Spend between $5,500 – $6,500)

DEC 13 2015: New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) waves to fans as he is leaving the field after an NFL game at NRG Stadium in Houston, TX. New England Patriots defeated Houston Texans 27-6. (Photo by: Juan DeLeon/Icon Sportswire)

DEC 13 2015: New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) waves to fans as he is leaving the field after an NFL game at NRG Stadium in Houston, TX. New England Patriots defeated Houston Texans 27-6. (Photo by: Juan DeLeon/Icon Sportswire)

Tight ends are very similar to wide receivers in terms of FanDuel production. The players that thrive at this position need targets but also touchdowns. But unlike the wide receiver position, there aren’t many high scoring tight ends. Just six tight ends finished inside the top-100 of FanDuel scorers last season.

So you are left with two options: pay up for the likes of a New England’s Rob Gronkowski or fade the position.

Which is the best option? In 2015 the Patriots’ tight end finished 2015 with 219.6 FanDuel points, which was good for 34th overall. On the other hand, 10 wide receivers finished with more points than him. Despite being outscored by those wide outs, the tight end’s price is very similar. And in some cases higher than that of the wide receivers. Therefore, you should spend on the wide outs because we know they have a higher ceiling.

Instead of chasing the high-priced tight ends, target cheap ones with excellent matchups. These matchups should allow plenty of targets to the position with an eye on the red zone. For example, last season you would’ve wanted to target the New Orleans Saints’ defense. They allowed 96 catches for 1,290 yards to tight ends. Also they allowed 11 touchdowns to the position in the red zone.

Defense (Spend between $4,500 – $5,000)

When deciding on a defense for your FanDuel cash games lineup, you want to target a defense that is expected to win big that particular week. The reason for this is the DFS scoring system for defenses.

The way defenses score for your lineup is based on points allowed as well as turnovers and sacks. So if the team is expected to win, it means your defense isn’t likely to give up a ton of points. But also the fact that the defense’s team is winning means the opposition is going to have to pass.

Obviously your defense can’t get sacks if the opposing team is just rushing the ball. So you will need a lot of drop backs. But also turnovers are much more likely to happen on passing downs. There were 214 lost fumbles last season. While some of them surely came during a passing attempt but mostly on rushes. But in 2015, there was 436 interceptions thrown. The more a team has to throw against your defense the better the chances are that they score points on FanDuel.

Kicker (Spend between $4,500 – $5,000)

Choosing a kicker for your FanDuel team should be the last decision to make. The position is very volatile. You will need to make a decision based on how much cap space you have left after paying for the positions that demonstrate more consistency.

When deciding on your kicker you will want to target one that is on a team that is a favorite. And preferably one with a high team total. Basically this will give your kicker the best chance at attempting as many field goals as possible. Attempts is the number one indicator of a top fantasy kicker. When your kicker’s team is in the lead, they will take the three points when in range every time. You will not have to worry about the team going for it on fourth down

Daily Fantasy: Building a cash game lineup for FanDuel

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