This article is part of our FanDuel Fantasy Football series.
Over the season, we will cover a variety of topics - from tournament strategy to player ownership, and of course, matchups to exploit each week. The goal will be to prepare you with an array of tools to help build optimal lineups. This week we will look at strategies for both tournaments and cash games, breaking down the differences between the two formats and what players to target for each. Let's start with a general overview of the two formats, focusing on strategies for building lineups specific to each type of game. We will break down players at each position in upcoming weeks, analyzing what type of player to target for each format.
Cash GamesThese games generally consist of double-ups, 50/50s and heads-up contests where the goal is to build a safe and solid lineup which has a high floor. A floor is referred to a player's minimum scoring output, or what he will contribute even if he has a poor game. The higher a player's floor, the more trustworthy he is for cash games. Since the goal in cash games is to simply finish in the top half of the field, or to beat your opponent heads-to-head, the optimal lineup will consist of players that will contribute even if they have a bad game rather than players that have big-time upside but carry considerable risk.
A general target for winning a cash game on FanDuel is about 120 points. Assuming you can get 20 points from your kicker and defense combined, that leaves you needing 100 points from your skill position players. Since there are seven skill-position players in a FanDuel lineup, each player needs to account for approximately 14 points. Look for players that consistently score double-digit fantasy points every week, and target performers that are heavily involved in their team's offenses.
Mobile quarterbacks are very valuable for cash games because they can pick up a few extra points each week on the ground. Cam Newton, Russell Wilson and Tyrod Taylor all fit this criteria, and thus have high floors based on their rushing ability. Running backs that catch passes also have higher floors, as they can score points both on the ground and through the air. They are also less affected by game flow because they can accumulate fantasy points even if their team falls behind and abandons the running game. Matt Forte, Justin Forsett and Devonta Freeman are prime examples of running backs that catch a high number of passes out of the backfield and can score fantasy points in a multitude of ways. Wide receivers that catch a large number of high-percentage passes are strong cash game options. These types of wide receivers do not rely on big plays to score fantasy points, and are usually targeted often by their respective quarterbacks. Brandon Marshall, Randall Cobb and Julian Edelman are prime examples of wide receivers that catch a high number of short passes, and thus are consistent fantasy performers based on their high number of targets each week.
Tournaments or GPPsA guaranteed prize pool (GPP) tournament is a different type of league, where only the top 15 to 20 percent of teams cash, with prizes being top-heavy for the top finishers. A general target for cashing in a tournament on FanDuel is about 150 points, but to win a tournament on FanDuel, about 180 to 200 points is likely needed, depending on the size of the tournament. These types of leagues typically have a large field, along with a high number of multi-entries from a single player. They require a different strategy than a cash game, as the goal in a tournament is to build a team that has tremendous upside, and has the ability to outscore a large number of entries. Rather than targeting players that are consistent and have high floors, the strategy in a tournament is to seek players that have high "ceilings" (upside). These types of players are typically inconsistent, as they either rely on big plays to score fantasy points, or their level of play varies greatly from week to week. Injury replacements are another example, as they are typically players who are unproven but are expected to have an increased role.
Pairing a quarterback with a wide receiver or tight end (or both) on the same NFL team is a strong strategy in tournaments because both players accumulate fantasy points when they connect on a touchdown, in essence earning "double points" for your fantasy team. This is a nice way to create upside for your lineup, if you can select the right player(s) to pair with your quarterback on that given week. Another tournament strategy that is commonly employed is to "fade" (not select) popular players that a high percentage of other teams will select for their lineups, in hopes that they have an average or sub-par week. This is a great way to gain an edge on the competition but is very risky due to that player's high ownership level. Deciding which popular players to select each week, and which ones to fade, is critical for success in tournaments.
Cash Game "Play of the Week"
DeAngelo Williams ($6,500): Williams will be a very popular choice this week, and for good reason, as he is replacing the injured Le'Veon Bell in the high-powered Steelers offense. Williams has shown that he can produce as the starter, as he scored 42.9 fantasy points combined in the first two weeks of the season while Bell was suspended. He can catch passes as well, which is a big part of the Steelers' offense, giving him a high floor. His opponent, the Raiders, have allowed the 17th most points to opposing running backs, and the game has a high total of 48 points.
Tournament "Play of the Week"
Dez Bryant ($7,900): Bryant had a very quiet game against the Seahawks in his first game back from injury, and will thus be overlooked for this week's matchup with the Eagles. Bryant was held to just 12 yards on two catches by Richard Sherman, but he did have six targets and played 50 out of 61 snaps. Matt Cassel was not asked to do too much against the strong Seahawks secondary, but that could change this week against the fast-paced Eagles. The Eagles have allowed the seventh most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers, and Bryant will have another week of practice to get back in game shape. Bryant has had some big games in the past against the Eagles, and he has big time upside in the Sunday night showdown.
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.