How to Take Down a FanDuel NFL GPP Tournament

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Guaranteed Prize Pool (GPP)

Guaranteed Prize Pool tournaments also known as GPP’s are the most popular contest played in the Daily Fantasy Sports today. This is when FanDuel guarantees prizes, even if the contest isn’t completely full. These are usually large field tournaments where 10-30% of people cash, so you will need an extremely high score in order to take down these tournaments. The goal of this article is to show you how to be contrarian and hopefully help you take down a large field tournament!

In order to win these tournaments you have to be contrarian, which means being different than the other entries. There are multiple ways to be contrarian. You can pivot off highly owned players to roster lower owned players and I will show you how to identify between the two. Another way to be contrarian is by stacking a team on your roster and this is crucial in order to take down large field GPP’s.


fish contrarianIn a previous article I wrote about howVegas can help you optimize your lineup. Now that we want to be contrarian we want to pivot away from some of the obvious players in games people will be looking at. A pivot is taking a player (usually who is lower owned) in a relative price range to another player because he has a better game environment. A game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Rams with a 55 point game total will get plenty of ownership. As we all know “more points equals more fantasy points.” These are the games we want to fade or avoid players because they will be the more highly owned.

Most entries will be rostering players in great matchups, for example Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes vs an awful defense. He will be 30-40% owned. If he performs how we expect when we roster him, that is awesome, but because he is so highly owned it doesn’t put us at the top of the GPP. Now we have to hope the rest of our lineup does great in order to win.

We can pivot off Mahomes to lower priced Andrew Luck vs a solid defense where he comes in at half of the ownership but he gives us tremendous leverage on the field if he too performs to expectation and even more so if he outscores Mahomes. Now our less than 10% owned Andrew Luck would sky rocket us up the leaderboards and helps us take down that tournament.

Another simple way to be contrarian is by taking players who are in tougher matchups. An example of this is taking arguably the best running back in the game Saquon Barkley vs an elite defense. He will be lower owned but he can have a terrific game in any matchup. Even if Barkley is facing an elite defense he can still shred them because of how versatile he is. They can stifle the run game and hold him to 50 yards rushing, but he is one of the best pass catching running backs in the game. He could end the game with 8 receptions for 100 yards and 2 touchdowns. Now your lineup has one of the best players in the league who out performed every other running back at lower ownership.

Good Chalk

chalkThere are times where we have to “swallow the chalk” which means rostering the high owned players regardless of their ownership. When there are key injuries or can’t miss spots, we want to take advantage of them because players become better values, and their fantasy point projections go up due to the increase in volume and playing time.

There was no better example than when Todd Gurley was injured towards the end of the year and close to minimum priced CJ Anderson became the best value in DFS for three weeks. Rostering Anderson was a no brainer; Anderson was in line for 20 touches a game in the Rams high flying offense.

There are also chalky spots every week when it comes down to matchups. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers at points last year were the worst defense in the history of the NFL and stacking the opposing offenses was one of the more profitable strategies. When the Bucs hosted their in-division rivals, the New Orleans Saints, I had close to 100 percent of Alvin Kamara and 60 percent of Drew Brees. The Brees-Kamara stack was easily the highest owned but they also scored the most. Yes, there are times to be contrarian, but sometimes the chalk is chalk for a good reason.

Building Lineups

blocksHigh ceiling, low floor players usually are the key to winning large field tournaments. Players like Desean Jackson are the epitome of high ceiling low floor. He can get you no catches one week and the next week he can get you 6 catches for 185 yards and two touchdowns. When multi entering, you should always have shares of these types of players. They usually come in at 1% ownership. These players also are lower priced so they help you roster some of the high priced studs.

Stacking on your rosters helps you climb the leaderboards. Stacking is rostering two or more player from one team in one lineup. The ideal stack in football is taking a team’s quarterback and his number one receiver. Stacking is crucial because when the receiver gets a reception, you get the yards for both the receiver and the quarterback. For example, rostering the low owned Andrew Luck with his number one receiver T.Y. Hilton is extremely beneficial when being contrarian. If Luck throws a 25 yard pass to Hilton, you get one point per 25 yards for Luck, .5 points for Hilton’s reception, and 2.5 points for Hilton’s receiving yards. Then if Luck throws for 300 yards and two touchdowns with Hilton getting 5 catches for 100 yards and both receiving touchdowns, your stack and your lineup are looking fantastic.

The most used stack is the quarterback and the number one receiver. One stack that is just as efficient and goes drastically underutilized is the quarterback with his pass catching running back. When rostering this stack, you will be benefitting in most, if not all, the offensive plays. Every passing play gives the quarterback fantasy points, including passes to his running back, but you will also get the fantasy points for every rushing attempt for the running back. Having that much equity in an offense that scores 24+ points will have you at the top of the leaderboards.

Running Back at Flex

alvin kamaraIn my process I usually roster a running back at my flex, meaning my roster would have three running backs. I love rostering running backs because of their volume. An average day in terms of touches for a running back is 15 carries and 3 receptions. That would be a total of 18 touches. An average day for a wide receiver would be 7 touches. So in terms of volume, it is better to roster running backs at the flex position and that gives running backs higher ceilings and floors.

A reception is much more efficient than a rushing attempt so other people’s process would have them roster a wide receiver as their flex. When I roster the running back in the flex, I make sure they are a versatile pass catching running back. These types of players have higher floors and ceilings because they produce both on the ground and through the air.

Another reason you should roster a versatile running back at the flex is that no matter the game script (their team being up/down by 21+ points), they will always be featured in the offense. If his team is losing and need to pass the ball, the running back will get the receptions. If his team is winning, he will get the carries when his team is attempting to bleed out the clock. Wide receivers and tight ends do not get that luxury. If their teams take a bigger lead they will be phased out of the offense.

The ideal running back to roster in the flex position would be a versatile running back such as Alvin Kamara. FanDuel, being a half point per reception site, lowers the reward for pass catching running backs, but again their volume as a whole makes them top plays week in and week out.

Defensive Approach

footballMany people would tell you to pay down at the defense position and pay up at other positions. Everyone will be paying down and building their rosters this way, but again this is a how to be contrarian article. I am not telling you to pay for the top defense just because they are at the top, but I am telling you to roster a defense that has the ability to create turnovers and get sacks, no matter the price. You want to roster offenses going against backup quarterbacks or offenses that are banged up and missing their top players. Another thing that could help would be the Vegas odds. You want to see what teams are large favorites because once they take that big lead in the game, the other team becomes one dimensional. This is when defenses create havoc for opposing offenses.

Now you know why being contrarian helps you take down large field GPP’s. The most important thing you want to remember is that rostering low owned players gives you leverage on the field. To keep it simple, be different when building your lineups! If you have any questions or need help you can find me on Twitter @Coach_EddieP. I am here to help. Now let’s go win big…together!

I am a former highly ranked baseball player and football player/coach turned daily fantasy grinder. If there was one word I had to use to describe myself it would be passionate! I am here to help, now let’s win big...together!

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