DFS Running Back Strategy: FanDuel 2015 Year in Review

DFS Running Back Strategy: FanDuel 2015 Year in Review

By Chris Raybon (Senior Daily Fantasy Expert), last updated Aug 17, 2016

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Chris Raybon is the Senior Daily Fantasy Editor at 4for4 Fantasy Football.

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisRaybon.

It's important to be price sensitive at running back in DFS. High-priced studs with reliable workloads might make you comfortable, but the key to the RB position is finding inexpensive RBs slated to get major volume.

In 2015, there were 257 instances when 4for4 had an RB projected for at least 18 touches. Of those 257, 106 cost $7,500 or more and 149 cost less than $7,500. The cheaper group averaged 13.8 FanDuel points per game -- just 0.3 less than the more expensive group

I compiled data on the performance of RBs on FanDuel relative to their salary in 2015 to see what we takeaways we can apply to 2016.

I broke salaries down into $500 increments and looked at points scored per $1,000 of salary, percentage of time hitting cash game value, and percentage of time hitting tournament value. I also took a look at how each individual RB performed.

My sample consists of 611 RB games from 2015 (every game where a starting RB had a salary and was projected for 8.0 FanDuel points or more by 4for4). The RB data will be compared across salary ranges and across positions.  

I'll lay out the data below and follow it up with key points, and then I'll sum up the actionable takeaways at the end of the article.

Note: The sample sizes for each salary tier can be found in the appendix at the end of the article.

 

Salary vs. Performance

Average FanDuel Value Per Game Returned by Salary Range & Position, 2015
Salary QB RB WR TE  D/ST
$9,000+ 2.37 1.59 1.94      
$8,500-$8,900 2.24 1.82 1.87 1.21    
$8,000-$8,400 2.25 1.51 1.72 1.86    
$7,500-$7,900 2.46 1.69 1.82 0.55    
$7,000-$7,400 2.67 1.79 1.61 0.55    
$6,500-$6,900 2.48 1.69 1.65 1.42    
$6,000-$6,400 2.31 1.78 1.62 1.80    
$5,500-$5,900 2.00 1.59 1.67 1.57    
$5,000-$5,400 2.27 1.64 1.65 1.50 1.77 1.84
$4,500-$4,900 2.59 1.90 2.16 1.44 1.71 1.71
$4,000-$4.400           1.55
  • Usually, lineup construction comes down to whether you're going to pay up more at RB or WR. The data clearly shows that at salaries of $7,500 and above, RBs are inferior to WRs in terms of value. The trend reverses in the $6,000-$7,400 price range.

 

Cash Game Value

Percentage of Time Reaching 2x Value on FanDuel by Salary & Position, 2015
Salary QB 2x % RB 2x % WR 2x % TE 2x % K 2x % D/ST 2x %
$9,000+ 61% 29% 47%      
$8,500-$8,900 59% 41% 38% 0%    
$8,000-$8,400 65% 22% 28%      
$7,500-$7,900 66% 33% 38% 46%    
$7,000-$7,400 71% 39% 34% 0%    
$6,500-$6,900 67% 29% 29% 29%    
$6,000-$6,400 58% 35% 35% 33%    
$5,500-$5,900 50% 28% 35% 29%    
$5,000-$5,400 57% 33% 34% 28% 41% 35%
$4,500-$4,900 50% 50% 48% 29% 34% 36%
$4,000-$4.400   33% 35%     32%
  • There were 199 RBs who hit 2x value on FanDuel in 2015, or 11.7 per week.

Of the 199 RBs to hit 2x value:

  • the average spread was -1.05, the average over/under was 45.2, and the average team total was 23.2.
  • 55.8 percent were favorites, 52.8 percent were at home, and 40.0 percent had a team total of 24 or higher.
  • the average amount of touches was 19.9, and 62.3 percent had 18 or more touches.
  • 81.9 percent scored at least one TD. With no full-point PPR or yardage bonuses on FanDuel, TDs take on added importance. 

 

Tournament Value

Percentage of Time Reaching 3x Value on FanDuel by Salary & Position, 2015
Salary QB 3x% RB 3x% WR 3x% TE 3x% K 3x% D/ST 3x%
$9,000+ 25% 7% 21%      
$8,500-$8,900 19% 9% 16% 0%    
$8,000-$8,400 18% 3% 12% 8%    
$7,500-$7,900 28% 6% 11%      
$7,000-$7,400 34% 12% 9% 0%    
$6,500-$6,900 30% 12% 14% 6%    
$6,000-$6,400 24% 15% 14% 10%    
$5,500-$5,900 17% 10% 15% 12%    
$5,000-$5,400 43% 15% 13% 11% 13% 22%
$4,500-$4,900 50% 17% 33% 13% 8% 17%
$4,000-$4.400   11% 14%     14%
  • RBs do not have as much upside as WRs at the higher end of the salary spectrum, namely at salaries of $7,500 and above.
  • Only 20.6 percent of RBs in the winning Sunday Million lineups in 2015 were priced $7,500 or higher.
  • There were 70 RBs who hit 3x value on FanDuel in 2015, or 4.1 per week.

Of the 70 RBs who hit 3x value,

  • the average spread was -1.93 (almost double that of the RBs who hit 2x), the average over/under was 45.0, and the average team total was 23.5.
  • 62.9 percent were favorites, 57.1 percent were at home, and 47.1 percent had a team total of 24 or higher.
  • only one did not score at least one TD, and exactly half scored multiple TDs.
  • the average amount of touches was 21.1, and 64.3 percent had 18 or more touches.

 

Individual Salary vs. Performance

FanDuel RB Stats, 2015
Rk RB Avg. FD Val. Avg. FD Pts Avg. Sal. 2x% 3x% G
1 Tim Hightower 3.18 18.9 $6,025 75.0% 50.0% 4
2 Thomas Rawls 2.88 17.6 $6,383 66.7% 33.3% 6
3 David Johnson 2.79 18.3 $6,650 66.7% 33.3% 6
4 DeAngelo Williams 2.73 19.6 $7,330 70.0% 40.0% 10
5 Devonta Freeman 2.57 20.3 $8,346 46.2% 30.8% 13
6 Benny Cunningham 2.36 11.5 $4,800 50.0% 0.0% 2
7 Dion Lewis 2.35 15.0 $6,733 66.7% 16.7% 6
8 Donald Brown 2.31 11.3 $4,900 100.0% 0.0% 2
9 Javorius Allen 2.24 14.2 $6,417 50.0% 33.3% 6
10 Bilal Powell 2.23 11.7 $5,340 60.0% 40.0% 5
11 Danny Woodhead 2.17 12.7 $5,956 43.8% 25.0% 16
12 Jamaal Charles 2.15 18.9 $8,840 80.0% 20.0% 5
13 Jeremy Langford 2.03 12.3 $5,844 22.2% 22.2% 9
14 Todd Gurley 2.03 16.5 $8,355 45.5% 18.2% 11
15 Arian Foster 2.02 17.0 $8,325 50.0% 25.0% 4
16 Spencer Ware 2.01 12.1 $5,950 50.0% 50.0% 2
17 Lamar Miller 1.93 13.2 $6,863 37.5% 18.8% 16
18 Mike Gillislee 1.93 10.4 $5,550 50.0% 50.0% 2
19 Mark Ingram 1.92 14.9 $7,750 41.7% 0.0% 12
20 Doug Martin 1.90 13.5 $7,247 26.7% 13.3% 15
21 Charcandrick West 1.87 11.8 $6,410 40.0% 30.0% 10
22 LeVeon Bell 1.86 16.5 $8,917 50.0% 0.0% 6
23 Karlos Williams 1.85 10.8 $5,860 40.0% 20.0% 5
24 Chris Ivory 1.81 12.8 $7,100 40.0% 20.0% 15
25 Matt Forte 1.81 14.8 $8,185 46.2% 0.0% 13
26 Adrian Peterson 1.80 15.7 $8,756 37.5% 12.5% 16
27 Charles Sims 1.80 9.2 $5,190 30.0% 10.0% 10
28 LeSean McCoy 1.79 13.7 $7,717 41.7% 0.0% 12
29 T.J. Yeldon 1.78 11.5 $6,492 25.0% 8.3% 12
30 Latavius Murray 1.74 11.6 $6,713 31.3% 12.5% 16
31 Cameron Artis-Payne 1.74 9.6 $5,550 50.0% 0.0% 2
32 Frank Gore 1.72 11.4 $6,700 31.3% 12.5% 16
33 LeGarrette Blount 1.69 10.8 $6,609 36.4% 18.2% 11
34 Joseph Randle 1.69 11.5 $6,950 16.7% 16.7% 6
35 DeMarco Murray 1.69 13.0 $7,730 30.0% 10.0% 10
36 Darren McFadden 1.69 11.5 $6,867 33.3% 0.0% 12
37 Jonathan Stewart 1.67 11.5 $6,808 41.7% 0.0% 12
38 Theo Riddick 1.66 8.8 $5,364 36.4% 9.1% 11
39 Denard Robinson 1.65 10.5 $6,350 0.0% 0.0% 2
40 Shaun Draughn 1.65 9.8 $6,025 25.0% 0.0% 4
41 Ronnie Hillman 1.64 10.2 $6,250 33.3% 8.3% 12
42 Bishop Sankey 1.63 10.3 $6,367 33.3% 33.3% 3
43 Chris Johnson 1.58 10.5 $6,740 20.0% 10.0% 10
44 Jeremy Hill 1.56 10.4 $6,794 43.8% 6.3% 16
45 Rashad Jennings 1.53 9.1 $5,991 18.2% 9.1% 11
46 Giovani Bernard 1.53 9.8 $6,356 18.8% 0.0% 16
47 James Starks 1.51 8.8 $5,888 25.0% 12.5% 8
48 Carlos Hyde 1.51 10.8 $7,186 28.6% 14.3% 7
49 Duke Johnson 1.49 8.5 $5,757 14.3% 7.1% 14
50 Justin Forsett 1.48 10.7 $7,230 20.0% 10.0% 10
51 Ryan Mathews 1.47 8.0 $5,443 14.3% 14.3% 7
52 James White 1.47 9.1 $5,967 16.7% 0.0% 6
53 Tevin Coleman 1.46 9.4 $6,467 0.0% 0.0% 3
54 Alfred Blue 1.46 8.5 $5,863 37.5% 0.0% 8
55 Darren Sproles 1.43 7.7 $5,460 40.0% 0.0% 10
56 Matt Jones 1.37 7.7 $5,740 10.0% 10.0% 10
57 Andre Ellington 1.36 9.2 $6,400 33.3% 0.0% 3
58 Chris Thompson 1.33 6.8 $5,100 0.0% 0.0% 1
59 Isaiah Crowell 1.31 8.0 $6,086 42.9% 0.0% 7
60 Eddie Lacy 1.28 8.8 $7,079 21.4% 14.3% 14
61 Marshawn Lynch 1.28 10.6 $8,371 14.3% 0.0% 7
62 Anthony Dixon 1.20 5.4 $4,500 0.0% 0.0% 1
63 Ameer Abdullah 1.17 6.9 $5,913 12.5% 0.0% 8
64 Melvin Gordon 1.14 7.1 $6,236 0.0% 0.0% 11
65 Tre Mason 1.12 6.0 $6,100 33.3% 0.0% 3
66 Shane Vereen 1.12 6.5 $5,758 25.0% 0.0% 12
67 Antonio Andrews 1.12 6.2 $5,571 28.6% 0.0% 7
68 C.J. Spiller 1.00 5.5 $5,450 16.7% 16.7% 6
69 Brandon Bolden 1.00 5.5 $5,500 0.0% 0.0% 2
70 C.J. Anderson 0.89 5.8 $6,718 9.1% 0.0% 11
71 Alfred Morris 0.85 5.4 $6,288 0.0% 0.0% 8
72 Joique Bell 0.78 5.1 $6,500 0.0% 0.0% 1
73 Fred Jackson 0.59 3.2 $5,400 0.0% 0.0% 1
74 Christine Michael 0.55 3.0 $5,500 0.0% 0.0% 1
75 Lorenzo Taliaferro 0.20 1.1 $5,600 0.0% 0.0% 1
76 Chris Polk 0.09 0.5 $5,300 0.0% 0.0% 1
77 Reggie Bush 0.00 0.0 $5,000 0.0% 0.0% 1
  • Most of the RBs were guys who did not start in Week 1, but rather came on later in the year to replace injured starters. As I've stressed throughout this article, these tend to be the most valuable type of RBs in DFS due to their cheap volume.
  • Yes, the 0.5-PPR system makes pass-catching RBs who aren't involved as much in the running game less valuable on FanDuel than on a full-PPR site like DraftKings. Whereas on DraftKings, RBs like Theo RiddickCharles Sims, and Chris Thompson were all top-18 in terms of DraftKings value, they all find themselves as middling or worse values on FanDuel.
  • Preseason ADP has a large influence on Week 1 salaries. When an RB with a high preseason ADP underperforms, his salary may take longer than it would otherwise to come down to a reasonable level, which is why you see Eddie Lacy and C.J. Anderson near the bottom of the list.

 

Final Takeaways

It's extremely important to be a bargain hunter at RB on FanDuel so you can pay up for consistency at WR. Every week, there will be inexpensive options at RB slated to see enough volume to match the output of the most expensive options. And while RBs skew toward better performances with favorable Vegas odds, those odds aren't predictive enough to just blindly use Vegas odds to pick RBs without looking at projected workload, which is the best predictor of RB value.


Appendix

RB Sample Size
Salary Count
9000+ 14
8500-8900 32
8000-8400 37
7500-7900 48
7000-7400 83
6500-6900 114
6000-6400 117
5500-5900 99
5000-5400 55
4500-4900 12
Total 611

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Filed Under: Preseason, 2016

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