Staking Bales: Taking My Shots in Week 5

Staking Bales: Taking My Shots in Week 5

By Jonathan Bales (Daily Fantasy Expert), last updated Sep 12, 2016

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Jonathan Bales is a DraftKings Pro and the author of the Fantasy Football for Smart People book series. His latest book, How to Win at Daily Fantasy Sports, is a data-driven guide to winning on DraftKings. He is also (unofficially) sponsored by GrubHub.

Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @BalesFootball.

I think I’m going to lose money in Week 5. No really, if I could get even money on whether or not I’ll be profitable in Week 5, I think I’d take the ‘no’ side of that bet.

But that doesn’t mean I have a negative expectation for the week. Instead, based on how I’m planning to structure my leagues, I think there’s a decent chance that I’ll have a big week. I feel really good about my values this week, but a lot of them are high-ceiling/low-floor players. On top of that, there are a handful of QB-WR pairs I really like.

That makes for a lot of high-variance lineups, which are of course best utilized in tournaments. So I’m going to take some shots this week, playing an even higher percentage of tournaments than normal. Most of those will be at DraftKings since they’re paying out the top quarter of entrants in most tournaments, reducing some volatility.

So ultimately, I think my expectation for the week might look something like this:

  • 60% chance of -$100
  • 20% chance of breaking even
  • 20% chance of +$600

The potential outcomes are of course more diversified, but if that’s the general structure, my expectation would be +$60. I’d be profitable over the long run, but I’d lose money most weeks. If you’re the type of person who can’t 1) psychologically deal with losing money most weeks or 2) properly manage your bankroll to absorb consistent losses, then playing a lot of tournaments isn’t the right move for you.

So sorry Josh Moore, but it’s going to be a rough week! Can’t wait to lose your money.


Value Plays

As usual, there are a handful of players I like on every site. That doesn’t mean that their value comes independently of their salary—the price is a fundamental aspect of assessing value—but just that I think they’re underpriced across the board this week.


QB Terrelle Pryor vs. SD

I have a horrible addiction to running quarterbacks. You can have Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning (actually, give me Manning, too), but I’ll take Pryor and his average of 66 rushing yards per game all day. To put that in perspective, it’s the equivalent of throwing for 132 yards on most sites.

If there were a quarterback who threw for 340 yards per game in his first three contests but didn’t run, how highly would he be priced? Much higher than Pryor, for sure, yet the youngster is producing at that same level.

This week, Pryor faces a San Diego defense that, although decent last week against Dallas, has still allowed the fifth-most passing yards in the NFL while hauling in just one pick.


RB David Wilson vs. PHI

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I will have Wilson in lineups this week. I won’t have a huge amount of exposure to him just because there’s always a chance he gets, like, three carries or something ridiculous, but he keeps showing up atop my best values, regardless of the site.

Wilson’s carries have increased in each of the past three games. With Da’Rel Scott cut, Wilson really just needs to worry about Brandon Jacobs stealing touches. Is Wilson a risk? Yes, but I like to live dangerously.



WR Hakeem Nicks vs. PHI

I’m sure you’ve noticed that I’m pretty contrarian in my approach to daily fantasy football whether playing in head-to-head leagues or tournaments. Football players have good and bad runs, but they don’t get “hot” in the same was as baseball or basketball players. There just aren’t enough games for that to happen, so the majority of what we perceive as a “hot streak” is just noise.

That means there’s typically a lot of value in buying low on underachieving players. In most cases, their lack of production is due to random factors just as much as their own play.

I’ll have a good amount of exposure to lots of Giants players this week, actually. One of the most underutilized pieces of information in daily fantasy is the game total, and the O/U on the NYG-PHI matchup is right around 55. There’s a decent chance that this game turns into a shootout, in which case that Eli Manning-Hakeem Nicks-Victor Cruz stack will probably pay off.


TE Charles Clay vs. BAL

The tight end position is the only one that doesn’t have a player who stands out on every site. Jimmy Graham is still underpriced on FanDuel to the point that he’s basically a must-start. On other sites, he’s become such an outlier in terms of salary that I think his value has probably been sucked out so much that even his ridiculously high ceiling doesn’t justify his price.

Clay has been surprisingly consistent this year, catching between four and six passes in every game. He’s on pace for 80 receptions, 980 yards, and four touchdowns. That would place him in the second tier of tight ends, yet he’s still priced near the minimum on most sites.

Filed Under: w5, 2013

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