Daily Fantasy Playbook: Tight End Strategy
Jimmy Graham is awesome. He’s like a maxed-out created player in Madden who you use to troll the computer for 500 yards per game. His awesomeness is only enhanced because he protests the No-Fun-League by insisting on using his 6-foot 7-inch, 265 pound frame to rattle the goal posts with his signature celebration dunk. But if you want to end up having a reason to celebrate with dunks of your own at the end of each daily fantasy football week, putting Graham in your daily fantasy lineup at all costs might not be the best idea.
Tight End Salary Allocation
For those who haven’t read my previous positional guides, I advocate a salary allocation strategy that varies depending on whether you are entering cash games (50/50s, head to heads, etc.) or large tournaments.
In cash games, your objective should be to maximize your floor, dictating paying up for the least volatile positions (quarterback and running back) who will give you the most consistent points. In tournaments, you need to maximize your ceiling, which means paying up for the more volatile positions (wide receiver, tight end) who can hit big and give you a major advantage over others at the position.
Out of the main four fantasy positions, tight ends are afforded the least opportunity to score fantasy points. As a result they are the most volatile position, scoring above or below their mean fantasy output by 67 percent on average. That 67 percent figure is known as the coefficient of variation (CV), which is found by dividing standard deviation by mean. Wide receivers are in a similar boat in terms of volatility with a 65 percent CV, but quarterbacks and running backs check in at 45 and 55 percent, respectively.
Since tight ends are so volatile, they have the lowest floors of any position. To visualize this, let’s assume we have a tight end projected to score 19 points. How would his floor stack up against players at other positions expected to perform similarly? We can multiply a player’s CV by his mean, and then subtract that result from his mean to arrive at an approximate floor.
- QB: 19 - (19 * 0.45) = 10.45
- RB: 19 - (19 * 0.55) = 8.55
- WR: 19 - (19 * 0.65) = 6.65
- TE: 19 - (19 * 0.67) = 6.27
Players that are expected to post similar production will more often than not be priced at least somewhat similarly, so paying up for a tight end is usually a bad investment in cash games. Spending on a tight end usually exposes your investment to the lowest possible potential floor, which in cash games is the exact opposite of our goal. But the example above was merely a hypothetical projection. How would this strategy look in action?