Daily Fantasy Football Basic Strategy: Part 4
This edition of Building Blocks continues our look at running backs. We will take a look at how to pick a running back for a GPP lineup, as well as how weather affects our choices for the position.
As discussed in our running backs in cash games article, a high floor is very important in head-to-head and 50/50 contests. For GPPs, however, we don’t care about floor at all. Instead, our focus shifts to players with a high ceiling. Our goal is to find high upside players. Sometimes these players have a high bust potential, and we’re okay with that. Minimum priced punt plays become options to seriously consider.
We still should want our prospective running backs to have the potential for 20 carries or more in a game. However, we’re now willing to gamble on a player involved in a game with a bad game script as these players have the potential for some very low ownership percentages. As discussed in the quarterback article, finding low owned players with the potential for huge games gives us the chance for an advantage over the rest of the field.
Finding low owned running backs can be even more important than finding low owned quarterbacks. To aid in the process, it is very important to pay attention to the players being heavily mentioned in DFS discussions, such as on social media. If everyone is talking about how that high priced running back with a great game script is a slam dunk pick, chances are he will appear in a very large percentage of lineups come game day. And while a large number of points from any player is welcome, it doesn’t help that much for winning a huge GPP if you own him along with 50% of the rest of the field.
An example of a low owned, high risk, high upside play can be found in Oakland Raider running back Latavius Murray. During the 2014 NFL season, the Raiders were consistently projected to lose by at least a touchdown, creating a bad game script for their running backs. However, Murray was low costing, talented, had a good yards per carry and got a fair number of targets in the passing game. The risk for a player like this comes in the form of the fact that often his team will have to abandon the run, removing potential touches he otherwise may have had. This risk caused many DFS players to avoid Murray, giving him a low ownership percentage in most GPPs. The players that did own him during his big games, however, had a huge advantage over the rest of the field as they separated themselves from the rest of the pack for a very small percentage of their salary cap.
Another way to find high risk but high upside options is to seek players that are completely dependent on touchdowns for their fantasy points. While touchdowns are always important, these types of running backs don’t usually return value with points from catches. Their value comes from the fact that when their team is in the red zone, they are the ones that get the ball a high percentage of the time.
While rainy games contribute to a higher chance of fumbling, teams will tend to move more towards the run due to passing being less viable. Games that are on the windier side will take the ball out of the quarterback’s hand and put it into the running back’s more often, since gusty games can cause difficulty for the passing game. Lastly, the colder it gets, the more difficult it becomes to catch the ball and the more teams tend to favor the run.
Sometimes weather is a big difference maker when trying to decide between a short list of running backs. Checking the weather and choosing running backs from cold, windy, or rainy games have the potential to yield huge rewards.
That is the end of our look at the running back position in daily fantasy football. If you have any questions or comments regarding anything in this post, please post in the Building Blocks: Running Backs in GPPs discussion topic. If you have any comments regarding the series as a whole, please post in the daily fantasy football forum.
In This Series: NFL Building Blocks