FanDuel NFL Draft Challenge Helper

Are you craving some daily fantasy sports? If you are, I have some good news for you -- NFL DFS IS BACK!!

Well...not exactly. But FanDuel is offering an NFL Draft Challenge that starts at 8 PM on Thursday. The best news is that it's free!

The scoring is as straightforward as it gets: you have a $100 salary, and you have to fit 10 positions -- QB, RB, WR, TE, OL, DL, LB, S, K, and TEAM -- within that budget. You choose a player at a given salary, and that player gets 6 points if he's drafted first at his position, 3 points for second, 2 points for third, 1.2 points for fourth, and 0.7 points for fifth. A player also gets an additional 0.9 points if he's drafted with a traded pick that occurred after the draft began. Teams only get points per trade -- 0.9 to be exact.

Now that you're all caught up, let's take a look at each position.


Joe Burrow ($25) is going to be the first player taken at his position. That's essentially the only certainty in this draft. Should you pay a premium for that certainty? I'd say the answer to that question is a hard no.

Players Price Ceiling PPD Floor PPD
Joe Burrow $25 6 0.24 6 0.24
Tua Tagovailoa $10 3.9 0.39 2 0.20
Justin Herbert $8 3.9 0.49 1.2 0.15
Jordan Love $5 2.9 0.58 1.2 0.24

The 2019 Heisman Trophy winner is going to get you 0.24 points per dollar (PPD). That's quite a safe floor, but not much of a ceiling. Considering the opportunity cost that comes with it -- i.e., having $15 less to spend on your nine other positions -- it's just not worth it.

FanDuel Sportsbook's implied odds give Tua Tagovailoa ($10) a 59.2 percent chance of being a top-five pick, quite a bit higher than the 47.6 percent odds of Justin Herbert ($8). There's also a good chance that if Tua does go in the top five, a team is trading up for his services -- resulting in an additional 0.9 points. Given the rumors of the Miami Dolphins not being all that interested in Herbert, the chances of him being a trade-up target are likely much lower.

However, given the risk that either of those signal-callers could be third (or, unlikelier, fourth) off the board in a non-trade scenario, plus the certainty that neither of them will be first at their position, I'm going with Jordan Love ($5). Love not only has the highest ceiling (0.58 PPD), but he's also tied for the most palatable floor (0.24 PPD). Going with Love allows you to save some valuable dollars for a player who with actual potential to be first at his position.

My Pick: Jordan Love ($5).

Running Back

I'd like to share two charts with you in order to illustrate why I'm going with a certain back here (who doesn't love suspense?!).

Player Touches Yards Y/T Touchdowns
Jonathan Taylor 661 4,509 6.8 42
J.K. Dobbins 580 3,566 6.1 35
D'Andre Swift 415 2,780 6.7 21
Clyde Edwards-Helaire 427 2,621 6.1 24


Player 40-time Speed score Burst Score BMI Average
Saquon Barkley 97th 99th 96th 79th 92.8
Jonathan Taylor 98th 99th 71st 89th 89.3
Leonard Fournette 74th 96th n/a 90th 86.7
D'Andre Swift 83rd 80th 62nd 87th 78.0
Todd Gurley 77th 92nd n/a 44th 71.0
Rashaad Penny 88th 92nd 31st 60th 67.8
Ezekiel Elliott 86th 94th 27th 56th 65.8
Clyde Edwards-Helaire 47th 36th 89th 89th 65.3
Christian McCaffrey 83rd 66th 79th 11th 59.8
Sony Michel 67th 67th n/a 44th 59.3
Melvin Gordon 72nd 73rd 71st 15th 57.8
Josh Jacobs 22nd 28th 34th 78th 40.5

As you can see, Jonathan Taylor ($8) is a pretty damn good player. He was insanely productive in college, and his measurables speak for themselves. He has a ceiling of 0.86 points per dollar, if he's the first back off the board via trade. In fact, the difference between his ceiling and that of D'Andre Swift ($12) -- 0.86 and 0.57 -- is bigger than the PPD value you'd get from going with Burrow at the quarterback spot.

Swift does have much higher implied odds of being the first back off the board -- 66.1 percent to Taylor's 27 percent --, but I still prefer Taylor at his price.

My pick: Jonathan Taylor ($8).

Wide Receiver

At wideout, I'm going with either CeeDee Lamb ($12) or Jerry Jeudy ($12). Very few mocks have either player involved in a trade, so their likely ceiling is six points -- or 0.5 PPD. I much prefer that to the most likely outcome for Henry Ruggs III ($10), which is either 0.20 or 0.29 PPD.

FanDuel gives Lamb 50 percent implied odds of being the first receiver off the board, compared to 44.4 percent for Jeudy. For that reason -- and for the fact that I have Lamb higher on my board -- I'm going with Lamb.

My pick: CeeDee Lamb ($12).

Tight End

Throughout the entire draft process, Cole Kmet ($12) has been the favorite to be the first tight end off the board. There are 76.8 percent implied odds of that happening, per the sportsbook. Additionally, with prospects in his range (late first to late second), there's an increased possibility of him being landed via a traded pick. That puts him at either 0.5 or 0.58 PPD.

He's my lock of the day.

My pick: Cole Kmet ($12).

Offensive Line

Here it is -- the most difficult position to project. The order of the top four tackles has been widely reported as "unknown," not very helpful.

FanDuel has Jedrick Wills Jr. ($10) as the favorite to be the first hog molly off the board, giving him a line of -165 -- or 62.3 percent implied odds. That, coupled with the fact that he's just the third-priciest tackle in the contest, is going to make him a very popular play.

I like the idea of swinging for the fences with Andrew Thomas ($7). There have been rumors that the Miami Dolphins like Thomas and one report suggested that they could even trade up to the third pick to acquire him. That gives him a potential ceiling of 0.99 PPD -- higher than any other offensive lineman. Why would the Dolphins need to trade up for him? Because there have been rumors that he's the New York Giants' preferred choice.

And there's also this:

The only way Thomas goes higher than "expected" is if he's the first or second tackle off the board.

My pick: Andrew Thomas ($7).

Defensive Line

You can choose to dish out for Chase Young ($25), but I'm not going to. His floor is 0.24 PPD, which is great, but his ceiling is just 0.28...not so great.

Instead, I'll go with Derrick Brown ($10). Barring a huge surprise, Brown will be the second defensive lineman/EDGE off the board. That puts him at 0.30 PPD. If he's picked with a trade pick, that jumps to 0.39.

He's the safest bet here.

My pick: Derrick Brown ($10).


This is where I'm going to recommend that you spend the big bucks.

Isaiah Simmons ($20) is all but a lock to be the first 'backer off the board. In fact, per FanDuel, his implied odds are 98.9 percent. As an added benefit, he comes in five dollars cheaper than both Burrow and Young. As an additional added benefit, he has more of a chance of being involved in a trade than those two.

Simmons is my "stud" play for the contest.

My pick: Isaiah Simmons ($20).


According to FanDuel Sportsbook, Xavier McKinney ($10) is the heavy favorite to be the first safety selected -- with implied odds of 75 percent. In the middle of the first, there's always a decent chance of a player getting picked with a traded pick. That puts McKinney at either 0.60 or 0.69 (nice!) PPD.

I'm not even bothering with anyone else.


Admittedly, I know almost nothing about the kickers in this year's class. Luckily, I don't need to.

FanDuel gives Rodrigo Blankenship ($8) 69.7 percent implied odds of being the first kicker drafted. There's always a possibility that a kicker-needy team in the later rounds will trade up for him.

At just eight dollars, that's my preferred play.

My pick: Rodrigo Blankenship ($8).


Over their last three drafts, the Los Angeles Rams ($1) have made six, six, and three trades, respectively. They're the best option if you only have one dollar to spend.

Another team that's notoriously active is the Seattle Seahawks ($2). Seattle has made 13 trades during the last three drafts, including at least three in each. If you're looking to save money but have more than a dollar to spare, go with Seattle.

However, the team I'm targeting is the New England Patriots ($8). Yes, Bill Belichick's squad is the second-priciest at the slot, but the upside is undeniable. New England has made at least seven trades in consecutive drafts. The Pats have also made at least four trades in three straight and three deals in four drafts in a row. That gives them a likely floor of 2.7 points (0.34 PPD) and a ceiling of 6.3 points (0.79 PPD). Considering that Belichick has the second-most picks (12) at his disposal this year, I'd say the ceiling might be even higher.

The Green Bay Packers ($6) have always shown a willingness to trade, and they have 10 picks to wheel and deal with this year. They're a decent choice if you can't afford New England.

My pick: New England Patriots ($8).