Antonio Brown: The NFL’s Top Wide Receiver Right Now

Starting Lineups on FanDuel

My first daily fantasy football contest on FanDuel is the “Rookie Contest Starting Lineup“, which is offered to incoming team owners. This is going to be my inaugural foray into daily fantasy football (since the old Fantasy Sports Live days), so I want to highlight the competition.

I’ll play against 19 other opponents. Each of us bet $10–or in the parlance of daily fantasy sports, paid a $10 entry fee. If I place among the Top 10 teams, I win $18. The prize pool is $180 apiece, but this is essentially the same basic dynamic as a heads-up contest. It’s like 10 different heads-up contests, if you want to look at it like that.

Choosing a Starting Lineup

Each owner receives $60,000 in FanDuel fake money for their salary cap. Top players tend to cost the most, though smart owners can find good deals on players with quality matchups. Build up at one position and you’re likely to have to skimp somewhere else.

Picking a lineup can be tricky in the salary cap format. You have the option of fielding a team of the top 2-3 players at their positions, along with a few cheaper players at all the other positions, or trying to split the difference and get solid players with good match-ups at all the positions. I opted for the second option, especially since QB pays 4 for a touchdown, instead of 6.

My Starting Lineup on FanDuel

I nearly took Andrew Luck over Tom Brady, because Luck is more likely to score a rushing TD. Also, he’s at home and coming off a bye week. Brady is nearly $1,000 less than Luck, and it’s hard to assume a QB is going to get a running touchdown. Also, that’s a tossup in my mind, since the Patriots are also coming off a bye week.

My starting lineup in the rookie contest is:

  • Tom Brady, QB, Patriots vs Colts
  • CJ Anderson, RB, Broncos vs Rams
  • Jeremy Hill, RB, Bengals vs Saints
  • Antonio Brown, WR, Steelers vs Titans
  • Jordan Matthews, WR, Eagles vs Packers
  • Roddy White, WR, Falcons vs Panthers
  • Travis Kelce, TE, Chiefs vs Seahawks
  • Blair Walsh, K, Vikings vs Bears
  • Detroit Lions Defense, DEF, Lions vs Cardinals

Quarterback and Running Backs

The Patriots/Colts game should be an absolute shootout, so Brady will need to be scoring all day. CJ Anderson had a breakout game and is playing a team that is good against the pass and bad against the run. Think of what Ronnie Hillman (OUT) has been doing these past few weeks. The site has Gio Bernard as a top option versus the Saints, but Bernard is out this week, so Jeremy Hill should get all the carries. Also, the Bengals need to prove themselves after a humiliating defeat, as well as milk the clock versus Drew Brees. I expect Hill to get many carries.

Fantasy Football Wide Receivers

Antonio Brown is a beast, so I splurged on the top wide receiver. Jordan Matthews should be in another shootout (Eagles/Packers), and he’s caught a TD in both games Mark Sanchez has played this year. Remember, they got their timing down on the 2nd squad. Roddy White is playing the 5th-worst defense for fantasy scoring this year. Blair Walsh is cheap and against a defense that gave up 50+ points the last two weeks. Travis Kelce is having a breakout year, and the Seahawks have given up 10 touchdowns to opposing TEs this year.

The Detroit Lions Defense is a top unit and it gets to go against the Cardinals offense, who are missing Carson Palmer for the seasons and could see a drop-off. I could also go back in and choose the Browns Defense against Ryan Mallett in his first start, or the Broncos Defense versus the Rams lowly-offense and its new starter. I might make this change later.

Later Lineup Changes

I have $600 left over, so I could fiddle with the lineup later on in the week (51 hours remaining to make changes). If I learn that Montee Ball is getting the start over Anderson and Reggie Bush is declared Out, I might go with Theo Riddick, who has been golden in the two recent games Bush missed.

Updates: Winners and Losers

After the game is over, I’ll update to show how I did. As always in fantasy football, luck plays a factor. Wish me luck.

Sunday Night Update

At present, I stand 4th out of 20 players in the Rookie Contest. I sit at 107.72 with Antonio Brown left to play. The three ahead of me sit at 122.74 (finished), 120.06 (finished), and 116.04 (1 left to play). It looks to me like I’ll finish in second place, if Antonio Brown has his standard 2014 week. I might finish in 1st place, if the current 3rd place finisher didn’t start Antonio Brown. That opponent has 1 receiver left, so I figure that’s his guy.

It hardly matters. I easily finished in the Top 10 of the 20-player contest. I’ll win back my $10 stake and the $8 in winnings. I’ll take that. I like these big group contests. You might not finish first, but if you’re smart and a little lucky, you should beat most of the field.