NFL preseason checklist: 12 things to do before Week 1 on FanDuel

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Editor's Note: We're hosting a one-day $50,000 fantasy baseball league on FanDuel tonight. It's only $2 to join and first place wins $5,000. Enter by 7:05pm ET (today, July 21st). Here's the link.

By DAVID GONOS
FanDuel

Just behind Draft Day and just ahead of watching Day 3 of the NFL Draft is "FanDuel NFL Pricing Day!" You got to see a breakdown of the FanDuel prices for each position for Week 1 of the NFL season, and now you want to start making some plans during this DFS offseason.

You can still prepare for your traditional drafts by doing some daily fantasy research, so don't think of them as completely exclusive. As a matter of fact, researching either one is almost guaranteed to help your research for the other.

My task here is to get you to work on a dozen offseason exercises between now and the first week of the NFL season.

12 Things To Do Before Week 1 on FanDuel

The prices are now officially out, and FanDuel contests are open for business so soon! There's plenty to do, so don't put it off until that first week gets here!

1. Play More Money in Week 1 Than Any Other Week

This sounds like a plug to make FanDuel more money, but it's actually a tip to help you make more money. (That's the old switcheroo!) With the growth of daily fantasy games, and the popularity of both traditional fantasy and the NFL, I fully expect this to be the biggest year ever for one-week fantasy football, which means it will be FanDuel's biggest year ever. Week 1 will have the longest ramp-up in recruiting (games are open from now until Sunday of Week 1 – that's 54 days for new players to join in and old players to return!) That means, in my view, Week 1 of the NFL season will probably be the biggest day in daily fantasy history – until Week 1 of 2016, of course.

You want to make sure you get into the games early and often in order to beat up on as many new players as possible. As you know, it takes a small learning curve coming over from traditional fantasy play, and you want to be there to take advantage.

Don't blow your entire bankroll, but you'll want to take these next 54 days to figure out ways to play in more games. (Maybe it's a week of bringing your lunch to work? Then you can buy plenty of weeks of lunches with your winnings!)

2. Break Down the Position Prices Each Week

The prices aren't going to change, but your opinions of players between now and the start of the regular season will change dozens of times. Choose pairs of positions to look at each week, and make note of the values you're liking or disliking at each position. This will help you track popular value trends, and you can get a better idea of which types of games you'd like to play different players in. Then, rotate which positions you're looking at, so you can get different perspectives on some stacks you might try. Also, as the preseason ends, start looking at the early games on Sunday and then the next week, break down the late games.

– From July 21-26: Examine QBs and TEs closely.
– From July 27-Aug. 2: Examine RBs and Ks closely.
– From Aug. 3-9: Examine WRs and DSTs closely.
– From Aug. 10-16: Examine RBs and DSTs closely.
– From Aug. 17-23: Examine QBs and WRs closely.
– From Aug. 24-30: Examine early Sunday games closely.
– From Aug. 31-Sept. 6: Examine late Sunday games closely.

3. Track Position Battles Closely

You already have an idea of which position battles you'll be watching closely, mostly on the running backs front, because two quarterbacks fighting for a job means these two QBs are usually ones you'd disregard in most DFS games anyway.

– Bills QB: E.J. Manuel vs. Matt Cassel vs. Tyrod Taylor
– Browns QB: Josh McCown vs. Johnny Manziel
– Texans QB: Brian Hoyer vs. Ryan Mallett vs. Tom Savage
– Buccaneers RB: Doug Martin vs. Charles Sim
– Cowboys RB: Joseph Randle vs. Darren McFadden
– Falcons RB: Tevin Coleman vs. Devonta Freeman
– Browns RB: Isaiah Crowell vs. Duke Johnson vs. Terrance West
– Lions RB: Joique Bell vs. Ameer Abdullah
– Titans RB: Bishop Sankey vs. David Cobb
– Eagles No. 2 WR: Nelson Agholor vs. Riley Cooper vs. Josh Huff
– Dolphins No. 2 WR: Devante Parker vs. Kenny Stills
– Jaguars No. 2 WRs: Marqise Lee vs. Allen Hurns
– Ravens No. 2 WRs: Breshad Perriman vs. Kamar Aiken vs. Marlon Brown
– Broncos TE: Owen Daniels vs. Virgil Green

4. Join a Different Game Each Week

Normally, when you go to join several 50/50 games for an upcoming week, you do it all at once – and you probably end up facing mostly the same opponents who are also filling out multiple 50/50 lineups. Instead of doing that this time, join a game or two each week, whether it's a 50/50 game or a Double-Up, and you'll basically guarantee yourself facing different opponents. And that's good for spreading out your risk – which is muy importante (that's Spanish for "good luck!")

5. Load Up Different Lineups in Most Contests

Speaking of spreading out risk, you need to make sure all your money isn't banked on one lineup in Week 1 on FanDuel. Injuries happen, just like bad days happen – and every one of your players are susceptible. As a matter of fact, you should try your best not to have the same lineup on more than 20 or 25 percent of that day's bankroll. You can have some players overlap, but try not to have any one player on all of your lineups. One tweak of a hamstring and your DFS day is hamstrung.

6. Find New Players to Face in Head-to-Head Games

Now that you have some time before games start, and you know FanDuel is pulling in thousands of new players, work on trying to find some new players to battle in Head-to-Head games. By clicking on their user name, you can see how advanced they are, as far as how many FanDuel wins are on their record.

7. Figure Out the Best Value Plays

Choose your favorite website whose Week 1 projections you trust the most, then divide their FanDuel salaries by those player projections. Now you can compare all players against each other, allowing you to figure out which players at which positions provide the best value. Load those guys up in your lineups, and fill in with good values at the other positions. Then, in keeping with the diversity theme, make sure you create other lineups with other players.

8. Figure Out Which Stacks to Use in Week 1

As you look over all of the upcoming games and have player values figured out, you can devise some really interesting player stacks (small groups of players from the same NFL team) to play in FanDuel tournaments and large leagues.

9. Figure Out Which Run/Pass Defenses Made Big Additions/Subtractions

Look back at the worst run and pass defenses from last season to see which teams improved (Dolphins), or which good defenses lost big players (Ravens). This could affect which running backs and wide receivers you choose to start in Week 1.

10. Which Players ARE Injured or Just Coming Back From Injury?

Plenty of players finished banged up last season, with bad shoulders and sore hamstrings, but here we are several months later, and they're probably fine now. You might see some of them still on some injury reports, though, so be aware of who is injured and who was once injured.

11. Talk Your Buddies Into Playing You

This is kind of devious, but it's very smart. You likely have a couple handfuls of people in your season-long league that have never played fantasy football on FanDuel. Explain to them how much fun it is, and that you'll host a Head-to-Head game for $2 and go up against them for their first taste. First of all, make sure you refer them from the FanDuel "Referral Center," and you'll earn a share of their entry fees every time they play! The more you refer, the more cash you earn each month! Then create a Head-to-Head league and invite them to play you. If you're a nice person, you'll get the referral fee from the first guy you invite from your league, and let him invite someone else from your league and create a referral train! Remember, you're already going to take their money in that $2 Head-to-Head game!

12. Start a DFS League From Your Traditional League

We all talk about side bets between fantasy owners in the same league, and this is the ultimate way to do it. Talk your league into doing a small $1-per-week league, and you can even have the overall best DFS player in your league win a portion of the yearly entry fees to your league. Meanwhile, whoever might lose their first-round player to a knee injury in Week 3 or to suspension in Week 1, or whichever owners start 0-4, will now have a way to win again – every week!

So there are 12 ideas to help you while away the last couple months of the Daily Fantasy Football offseason! Week 1 on FanDuel is closer than you think, though!

Editor's Note: We're hosting a one-day $50,000 fantasy baseball league on FanDuel tonight. It's only $2 to join and first place wins $5,000. Enter by 7:05pm ET (today, July 21st). Here's the link.

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