WKF Bankroll Building Challenge (Week 7)
Welcome to the WeKnowFantasy Bankroll Building Challenge! This article series will chronicle the journey for one of the WeKnowFantasy Contributors, Will (@williamurion on Twitter), as he strives to turn initial deposits of $100 onto FanDuel and DraftKings into $1,000 by the end of the NFL season.
Rules I will only play up to 50% of my bankroll on each site in a given week. Additionally, as this is a bankroll building challenge, I will limit myself to only entering 2% of my bankroll on tournaments (I’ll be playing a few GPPs – Guaranteed Prize Pool tournaments with huge fields, along the way); as hitting one score could end the challenge. As this is a bankroll challenge, I’m going to be diversifying my lineups in cash games (approximately 50-percent of the contestants win, usually doubling or nearly doubling their entry fee) across the sites such that I am only risking a maximum of 10-percent of my bankroll on a particular lineup. This limitation will insulate me from the potential of going bust due to poor injury luck, as I’ll have stakes in multiple players and lineups. Each week, I’ll provide a breakdown of the player pool that I am considering, and in the following week’s article, I will provide a review of the weekly action (as well as a progress update toward my goal.)
Welcome to the WKF Bankroll Building Challenge! I’m excited to write this series, as I’ve only started getting into DFS this NFL season. I’m hoping this article can provide some insight into the analysis I go through on a weekly basis to help form my opinions of the slate and the player options to consider. I’ll be splitting the analysis between the sites, as the scoring structures and salary cap restrictions will push me in different directions on each site.
I will admit that I prefer the setup on DraftKings. The full PPR scoring, along with bonuses for big yardage games provide some nice options on a weekly basis, while the $50,000 salary cap in their standard games provides serious pressure to save where possible.
While Russell Wilson is my highest projected quaterback on the week, his $8,000 price tag is not something I’m interested in paying, as several other quaterbacks project similarly at lower prices. Kyler Murray ($7,100), Patrick Mahomes ($7,400), and Deshaun Watson ($6,800) all project for within one point of Russ, so I’ll be focusing my builds with these QBs to take advantage of the savings. I also look at projected ‘value’ (cost-per-fantasy-point) and think that Joe Burrow ($5,500) is a very appealing cheaper option, if there are expensive ‘must haves’ at the skill positions.
Alvin Kamara ($7,900) is the clear RB1 on this slate; however, he and Ezekiel Elliott ($7,800) are prices significantly above most of the other options I’m considering. I view Aaron Jones ($7,200) as about 90% of Kamara this week, and the $700 savings is important on DK [Aaron Jones has been reported to be doubtful to play and/or limited.] I also really like the value presented by both Mike Davis ($6,600) and Kareem Hunt ($6,800) who both project for over 18.5 points. As I’ve studied the slate, one runningback has jumped out as the key to unlock a lot of options: Antonio Gibson ($5,000). At his price tag, Gibson appears to be the best value on the slate, being significantly cheaper than anyone else in his price range. I’ll likely be using him in all of my lineups this week for that reason. As the rest of the roster comes together, I’ll also be looking at some mid-priced RBs that offer decent value, even if they aren’t projecting for quite as much as some other options: Joe Mixon ($6,300) [Mixon was ruled out, leaving Giovani Bernard as chalk for the week], Todd Gurley ($6,000), and David Johnson ($5,300). Notice, all of these options are pass catching backs, as the full PPR format of DraftKings strongly favors these types of players. If I get into a real salary crunch, I’ll also consider Kenyan Drake ($4,800) coming off of his strong game in Week 6 and finding himself in another decent matchup with a high game total, or J.D. McKissic ($4,600). I’d prefer not to have to play McKissic, but if I really need the savings, he’s been involved in the Washington pass game, and is the cheapest option I’m considering.
With the larger variability found with wide receiver production, and more options (two-to-three per team as opposed to usually only one runningback per team worth considering); I find myself much more price conscious while reviewing wide receivers options. Davante Adams ($7,900) projects as my WR1, but isn’t quite priced there (Hopkins comes in at $8,200). I also like the value that Julio Jones ($7,100) offers, still finding himself priced below teammate Calvin Ridley ($7,300) despite proving last week that he is healthy again. Given the salary constraints, and the shallow player pools I’m considering for runningback; I quickly found myself heading down the wide receiver list to players like Keenan Allen ($6,200) or Terry McLaurin ($5,900.) I’ll be watching Allen’s injury status this week, hoping to hear that he is past the back ailment, as his short ADoT usage makes him a PPR machine perfectly suited for the DrafKings scoring system. McLaurin feels underpriced at $5,900, as he’s had tough matchups for a few weeks now. Dallas will struggle to contain him, and I expect a big game out of him. I also like Tyler Boyd ($5,400) up against a Cleveland defense that has been getting shredded by slot weapons (especially if Joe Mixon misses this game – monitor his practice activity.) Just like with runningback, there is one screaming wide receiver value – Diontae Johnson ($4,200.) Everyone is clamoring for Chase Claypool, and Juju Smith-Schuster is a household name, but Diontae has been the WR1 for the Steelers while healthy. He’s garnered a very healthy target share, and Claypool’s breakout happened while he was sidelined with injury. I’m willing to take the chance on him at that price against an average Tennessee secondary.
Update: With both Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders out, T. Smith at the minimum $4,000 becomes a great cost saving option.
Like quarterback, I’ll be narrowing my list of tight ends pretty tightly. Both Travis Kelce ($6,300) and George Kittle ($6,500) provide elite projections and offer a nice cost per point, but if you can’t afford them in your builds, you can drop down to Hunter Henry ($4,500) or Austin Hooper ($4,000) [With Hooper ruled out, Njoku becomes playable at $3,000] as discount options. Finally, while his production has been very up-and-down, Logan Thomas ($3,500) is an appealing punt at the position, which can provide some nice cost savings that can be allocated to other positions. He’s got some risk, but he could also put up a nice game at a very low cost.
While defense seems predictable (target good defenses against bad offenses – duh!), DST scoring is highly variable, as low probability plays result in big scoring swings. The defensive touchdowns that can turn an average week into a week winning performance are not predictable, so I’m likely to be stingy with my salary dollars if push comes to shove. However, if I’ve built a lineup with lower cost options at other positions, I do like the safety that playing one of the top few options provides. This week, those top options include the Bills ($4,700) vs. the Jets and the Chiefs ($4,300) vs. the Broncos. Both provide solid floors, with some nice upside if the big defensive plays do come through. However, I like the value provided by both the Browns ($2,800) and the Washington Football Team ($2,500.) Both are likely to put up some points, but they have solid defensive fronts to put pressure on the opposing offenses and create turnovers, and the price tags provide a lot of flexibility at other positions. If you’re desperate for savings, Atlanta ($2,400) has done a nice job forcing turnovers.
DK Player Pool QB – Patrick Mahomes ($7,400), Kyler Murray ($7,100), Deshaun Watson ($6,800), Joe Burrow ($5,500) RB – Alvin Kamara ($7,900), Aaron Jones ($7,200), Kareem Hunt ($6,800), Mike Davis ($6,600), Joe Mixon ($6,300), Todd Gurley ($6,000), David Johnson ($5,300), Antonio Gibson ($5,000), Giovani Bernard ($4,500) WR – Davante Adams ($7,900), Julio Jones ($7,100), Keenan Allen ($6,200), Terry McLaurin ($5,900), Jamison Crowder ($5,900), Tyler Boyd ($5,400), Mike Williams ($4,700), Laviska Shenault ($4,500), Diontae Johnson ($4,200) TE – George Kittle ($6,500), Travis Kelce ($6,300), Hunter Henry ($4,500), Austin Hooper ($4,000), Logan Thomas ($3,500) DST – Bills ($4,700), Chiefs ($4,300), Browns ($2,800), WAS Football Team ($2,500), Falcons ($2,400)
FanDuel offers a salary cap of $60,000; which typically provides you plenty of room to include a few of your favorite expensive players in each lineup. However, they do price their players up compared to DraftKings, and the minimum price is $4,000; which doesn’t allow you to completely punt positions. FanDuel is also going to be more touchdown dependent, as it is only half-ppr. This is going to likely limit the number of playable options in my opinion, and increases the value of goal line backs and big play receivers.
With my tier of five QBs projected to score right around 23 fantasy points (Russ, Kyler, Mahomes, Deshaun, Allen), quarterback selection becomes much more a game of value within the tier. Mahomes ($9,000) is the most expensive, so I likely will be passing on him and instead opting for one of Russell Wilson ($8,700), Kyler Murray ($8,400), or Deshaun Watson ($8,000.) As with DraftKings, Watson appears to be the best value of the bunch if we get into a cash crunch with other positions. There are also a few lower priced options that stick out to me with Matthew Stafford ($7,300) in a good matchup and Joe Burrow ($7,100) offering some salary savings if necessary while still projecting a solid game.
Again, Alvin Kamara ($9,300) is expensive – but for good reason. Despite being the second most expensive option, I view him as the fourth best value at the position. If I can’t make it up Kamara, Aaron Jones ($8,500) offers a nice projection with a little cost savings [Aaron Jones has been reported to be doubtful to play and/or limited]; while Mike Davis ($7,700) and Kareem Hunt ($7,100) also offer tremendous value. As I build lineups, I’m much more likely to pair Davis and Hunt trying to combine their high projections with the cost savings from Kamara and Jones. While DraftKings options included a lot of pass catching backs, my secondary options on FanDuel tend to be backs with established goal line roles. Joe Mixon ($7,400), if he plays, James Conner ($7,200), Todd Gurley ($6,600), and David Johnson ($6,300) all fit this mold and seem to be reasonably priced. I will also consider Antonio Gibson ($5,700) and Jerrick McKinnon ($5,500), who is expected to be the lead back for the 49ers after Mostert injured his ankle last week.
Update: With Mixon ruled out, Giovani Bernard becomes chalk at $4,800
As with runningbacks, I’m looking to shift away from volume receivers that rack up points via catches to players who are likely to put up monster yardage games and score touchdowns. Davante Adams ($8,900) and DeAndre Hopkins ($9,000) create a mini-tier as the top projected options with pretty good values. I’m also interested in Julio Jones ($8,300) as despite his historic lack of touchdowns, he has been putting up 1,400 yards per season, which gives him a nice spike week opportunity when he can hit paydirt. DK Metcalf ($7,300) and Keenan Allen ($7,000) are more appetizing to me than Tyler Locket ($7,400); although all three present good value in their situations this week. Moving further down the player list, I’m also intrigued by the prices of Terry McLaurin ($7,100) who finally gets an easier matchup, Will Fuller ($6,900) as the clear number-one in Houston, and A.J. Brown ($6,800) still not priced appropriately following his early season injury. Robby Anderson ($6,400) and Jamison Crowder ($6,300) can be considered as well, although I’d prefer the situation for Anderson more than Crowder, who is a better play on DraftKings where his short yardage catches are worth a full point. If cost savings are necessary, you can look to a few other options: Tyler Boyd ($6,000) has a good matchup against the Browns, Diontae Johnson ($5,800) is likely mis-priced as people react to the fact that he’s missed two games while Claypool broke out. Tee Higgins ($5,700) has emerged as seemingly the top receiver in Cincinnati, and Deebo Samuel ($5,400) should be a focal point on offense for San Francisco, especially with Mostert out this week.
Update: With both Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders out, T. Smith at $5,300 becomes a great cost saving option.
George Kittle is a clear top option at $7,100; saving money from Travis Kelce at $7,900. I would also consider Hunter Henry ($5,800), or David Njoku ($4,500) now that Austin Hooper has been ruled out.
I find myself converging on the Dallas defense ($3,700) as a great value where I can save some money for the rest of my lineup. The Bills are obviously a safer play at $5,000; if you’d prefer to spend your money on volatile defensive scoring; which is just not my preference.
FanDuel Player Pool
QB: Patrick Mahomes ($9,000), Russell Wilson ($8,700), Kyler Murray ($8,400), Deshaun Watson ($8,000), Matthew Stafford ($7,300)
RB: Alvin Kamara ($9,300), Mike Davis ($7,700), Kareem Hunt ($7,100), Antonio Gibson ($5,700), Jerick McKinnon ($5,500), Giovani Bernard ($4,800)
WR: Davante Adams ($8,900), Tyler Lockett ($7,400), DK Metcalf ($7,300), Keenan Allen ($7,000), Robby Anderson ($6,400), Tyler Boyd ($6,000), Trequon Smith ($5,300)
TE: Travis Kelce ($7,900), George Kittle ($7,100), Hunter Henry ($5,800), David Njoku ($4,500)
DST: Dallas ($3,700), Bills ($5,000), Chiefs ($4,600)
With my beginning $200 budget ($100 & $100), I’ll be playing four cash lineups, one with each of my quarterback options from each site. I plan to play in $1-2 50/50s or Double Up contests with many entrants. While these contests are generally more volatile as you will likely win all of your entries with a particular lineup or lose all of your entries with that lineup as opposed to winning a chunk of your head-to-head contests, I have found that these larger field games tend to have a lower cash threshold and thus are easier to win.
Due to my restrictions on tournament plays, I am restricting myself to playing for a maximum of $2 in tournaments. I’m going to hold off on playing these contests this week as I want to build my bankroll as steadily as possible at first.
Four FanDuel lineups at $10 exposure ($1-2 entry)
Four DraftKings lineups at $10 exposure ($1-2 entry)
I’ll review these lineups following the games to show everyone how I did and where my process was strong, or where I made mistakes.