Football Perspective is teaming up again with the fine folks at FanDuel to provide another promotion for our readers. As you know, Football Perspective turns down just about advertising requests. But this is different, and frankly, this isn’t even advertising. Because we’ve got a great community here, FanDuel is happy to bring a fun promotion to those readers who may be interested in playing.
For the uninitiated, FanDuel is fantasy football with a twist: you compete for real money by selecting any player you want each week under a salary cap format. Each player has a price, so the goal is to figure out who are the undervalued players and fit nine starters under a salary cap. Instead of drafting a team for a season, you draft a team for a week, as frequently or infrequently as you like (i.e., you can enter every week, or play in week 1, week 3, and then every week the rest of the year starting in week 10 — and not be behind the curve). You can compete in games for as little as $1 or as much as $535 per game. Once you play around with the site, you’ll see all the different options: head-to-head games, 50/50 games, 3-man, 5-man, 10-man, 20-man, or big tournament games.
That’s cool, but what’s really cool is that because FanDuel is a fan of Football Perspective, the site is offering a great promotion. If you haven’t deposited money with FanDuel before, a 100% deposit bonus (for up to $200) will be provided to Football Perspective readers. Click here to sign up by clicking the orange “Play Now” button, and the promo code PERSPECTIVE will be entered for you. If you put down $100, you’ll now have $200 to play with. Deposit $200, and you’ll get $400. That’s a pretty sweet deal. If you have experience any problems, please post a note here in the comments or email support[at]fanduel[dot]com.
Another cool feature: if there’s enough interest, FanDuel has offered to set up some a weekly tournament among Football Perspective readers. In any event, I plan on competing most weeks this year — and, of course, blogging about it — as I think the daily game space is one of the most exciting parts of fantasy football. I’ll be competing as ChasePerspective.
So how do you play? You pick 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 PK, and 1 DT each week. There’s a salary cap of $60K. And that’s pretty much all you need to know. Of course, here are some of my thoughts on strategy:
Some quick math would tell you that with 9 players, you have $6,666 to spend on each player. I don’t think that’s the right way to think about it, though. The cheapest starting quarterback is Matt Schaub at $5,500. At all other positions, the cheapest player is $4,500. So instead of thinking that you have $60,000 to spend on your team, it’s more instructive to think that you have 18,500 marginal dollars to spend on your nine players, or just over 2,000 marginal dollars to spend per player.
That means Peyton Manning isn’t worth $10,200, but really $4,700 marginal dollars. And Calvin Johnson isn’t $9,200, but $4,700 marginal dollars. Why does that matter? Well, based on raw numbers, you would think Manning costs 17% or your cap; in my view, it’s better to think of him as costing 25.4% of your cap. Megatron, instead of taking up 15.3% of your cap, really takes up 25.4% of your cap, too. Not only are Johnson and Manning worth the same price in terms of marginal dollars (which you might not initially realize), but both take up over a quarter of your cap. That’s a high price to play when you still need eight other starters.
I decided to play around with the Footballguys.com projections to try to come up with a possible lineup for week one. Here are some thoughts:
RB 1: Jamaal Charles – $9,800 (28.6% of marginal cap dollars)
RB 2: LeSean McCoy – $9,400 (26.5% of marginal cap dollars)
As a general rule, the dropoff at running back is more severe than at other positions, but I don’t think the FanDuel values quite reflect this. As a result, I was happy to pay a premium to get the top two backs.
WR 1: A.J. Green – $8,300 (20.5%)
Not much explanation required here. Green is a stud, and some “deals” later around allows us to pick up an expensive WR1.
WR 2: Pierre Garcon – $7,100 (14.1%)
Garcon was a fantasy stud last year; the addition of DeSean Jackson may be a negative, but I think a healthy RG3 is a pretty big plus, too. Garcon isn’t cheap, but he represents value as “only” the 14th most expensive wideout.
Defense: Seattle Seahawks – $5,700 (6.5%)
Going with the best defense isn’t nearly as expensive as going with the best player at other positions. The Seahawks are a great value: a simple average would suggest that each position should take up 11.1% of your marginal dollars, and the Seattle defense costs barely more than half of that number.
One can draw the bright line here: the approach I’ve taken was 5 studs and 3 values. Of course, before we get to the values, we need to grab a kicker.
Kicker: Matt Bryant – $5,000 (2.7%)
Bryant doesn’t cost much, and the Falcons kicker is a better-than-average fantasy option. Sure, you could go super cheap at kicker, but the extra $500 is probably worth it to get a reliable kicker on a strong offense.
WR 3: Rod Streater – $4,700 (1.1%)
The Raiders will likely have a lot of three-receiver sets this year, with Streater joining Andre Holmes and James Jones. FanDuel has Holmes and Jones at $4,900 each,1 but I think Streater is likely to be the best of the bunch. He costs almost nothing, but put up 60/884/4 last year with terrible quarterback play. He’s a value this cheap, which allowed me to spend money elsewhere.
TE: Zach Ertz – $4,500 (0.0%)
Ertz does not cost you anything, which is how I was able to grab the top two running backs in fantasy football. He’s a borderline top 12 fantasy tight end, which makes him a great value for this cheap.
QB: Matt Schaub – $5,500 (0.0%)
Why yes, it’s dumpster diving at quarterback. No, I’m not going to try to tell you that Schaub is a steal. But the cheapest quarterback option is a strategy that allows you to let quarterback volatility work for you. Schaub costs zero marginal dollars, so anything he produces above replacement is a bonus. Of course, it’s always possible that Schaub produces something below replacement, but you have go go cheap somewhere. And while the Jets may not sound like a great matchup, the team looks to be very thin at cornerback, particularly in week one.