DraftKings Defense/Special Teams Pricing & Performance Review

Sep 07, 2015
DraftKings Defense/Special Teams Pricing & Performance Review

The salary cap influences every decision you make in daily fantasy, yet there hasn't been much big-picture research done analyzing player performance relative to the cap. For every cap dollar you spend, what is the return on investment? Do returns vary based on position, price point or even individual player?

I compiled data on how every player performed relative to their FanDuel salary in 2014. In the coming weeks, I will be taking a position-by-position look at player performance relative to the FanDuel and DraftKings salary caps. Links to each report can be found below as they become available.

FanDuel Pricing & Performance Reviews: QB, RB, WR, TE, K, D/ST

DraftKings Pricing & Performance Reviews: QB, RB, WR, TE, D/ST

Editor's Note: If you open a new account on DraftKings with a minimum $10 deposit, you’ll receive a free one-year subscription to 4for4! Details here.

DraftKings Special Teams/Defense Value vs. Other Positions

Table 1 below shows the average value1 returned in 2014 by defense/special teams compared to other positions.2

Table 1: Average DraftKings Value Per Game Returned by Salary Range & Position, 2014
Salary QB Avg RB Avg WR Avg TE Avg D/ST Avg
$10,000 + 2.65 1.87
$9,500-$9,900 2.46 2.26 3.16
$9,000-$9,400 2.67 2.21 2.93
$8,500-$8,900 2.20 2.65 2.26
$8,000-$8,400 2.38 2.77 2.39 2.13
$7,500-$7,900 2.47 2.44 2.53 2.25
$7,000-$7,400 2.49 2.55 2.60 2.24
$6,500-$6,900 2.64 2.77 2.24 2.06
$6,000-$6,400 2.80 2.24 2.25 1.48
$5,500-$5,900 2.56 2.03 2.44 2.25
$5,000-$5,400 2.85 2.41 2.34 2.4
$4,500-$4,900 2.43 2.61 2.43
$4,000-$4,400 2.10 2.40 1.98 1.64
$3,500-$3,900 2.04 2.37 2.41 2.00
$3,000-$3,400 1.61 1.98 1.84 2.87
$2,500-$2,900 2.48
$2,000-$2,400 3.05
<= $1,900 2.43

It was worthwhile to pay up for a defense/special teams in the $3,000-$3,400 range. They made up 41 percent of the sample, and their average value (2.87) was much higher than defense/special teams in the $2,500-$2,900 range, who also made up a large chunk of the sample (42 percent).

The performance of defense/special teams in the $2,000-$2,400 was also attention-grabbing. In a sample size of 47, defense special teams in that price range had the second highest average value of any position and price range combination, but the group they trailed (wide receivers priced $9,000-$9,500) only had a sample size of three.

DraftKings Defense/Special Teams Cash Game Value

The percentage of time a player "hit value" is a good way to measure player consistency versus the salary cap. Since you generally need to score around 150 points on DraftKings to win cash games, I calculated the percentage of time players hit 3x value. The results are shown in Table 2 below.

Table 2: % of Time Reaching 3x Value on DraftKings by Salary & Position, 2014
QB 3x % RB 3x % WR 3x % TE 3x % D/ST 3x %
$10,000 33% 0%
$9,500-$9,900 25% 14% 67%
$9,000-$9,400 45% 25% 50%
$8,500-$8,900 13% 28% 19%
$8,000-$8,400 29% 36% 33% 0%
$7,500-$7,900 29% 42% 36% 14%
$7,000-$7,400 34% 31% 39% 29%
$6,500-$6,900 39% 41% 24% 36%
$6,000-$6,400 39% 25% 29% 9%
$5,500-$5,900 37% 21% 33% 24%
$5,000-$5,400 44% 26% 28% 31%
$4,500-$4,900 35% 35% 39%
$4,000-$4,400 22% 31% 19% 25%
$3,500-$3,900 26% 32% 32% 23%
$3,000-$3,400 16% 23% 19% 44%
$2,500-$2,900 36%
$2,000-$2,400 49%
<= $1,900 33%

Paying up for defense/special teams didn't return good cash game value last season. Making up eight percent of the total sample, defense/special teams at $3,500 and above hit 3x value 23 percent of the time, while defense/special teams below $2,500 made 10 percent of the sample and hit 3x value 48 percent of the time.

DraftKings Defense/Special Teams Tournament Value

Table 3 below displays how often players hit 4x value on DraftKings in 2014.

Table 3: % of Time Reaching 4x Value on DraftKings by Salary & Position, 2014
QB 4x % RB 4x % WR 4x % TE 4x % D/ST 4x %
$10,000 + 0% 0%
$9,500-$9,900 0% 0% 33%
$9,000-$9,400 5% 13% 17%
$8,500-$8,900 0% 17% 14%
$8,000-$8,400 0% 9% 17% 0%
$7,500-$7,900 10% 4% 14% 0%
$7,000-$7,400 11% 19% 24% 14%
$6,500-$6,900 7% 26% 11% 0%
$6,000-$6,400 17% 8% 17% 0%
$5,500-$5,900 11% 10% 16% 14%
$5,000-$5,400 18% 12% 14% 27%
$4,500-$4,900 18% 20% 22%
$4,000-$4,400 12% 19% 9% 0%
$3,500-$3,900 12% 14% 21% 16%
$3,000-$3,400 8% 13% 9% 25%
$2,500-$2,900 24%
$2,000-$2,400 30%
<= $1,900 33%

It is not surprising because defense/special teams are very sensitive to matchup, but 83 percent of the sample -- everyone in the $2,500-$3,400 range -- showed almost no discernable difference in likelihood of hitting 4x value. If you didn't opt to make a selection in that price range, you were again better off going with one on the low-end of pricing.

While 4x value will usually leave you in the money in a tournament, it took an average score of around 250 to take down a Millionaire Maker. Table 4 below shows how often players hit 5x value.

Table 4: % of Time Reaching 5x Value on DraftKings by Salary & Position, 2014
QB 5x % RB 5x % WR 5x % TE 5x % D/ST 5x %
$10,000 + 0% 0%
$9,500-$9,900 0% 0% 0%
$9,000-$9,400 0% 13% 0%
$8,500-$8,900 0% 0% 0%
$8,000-$8,400 0% 9% 10% 0%
$7,500-$7,900 2% 0% 2% 0%
$7,000-$7,400 6% 0% 8% 14%
$6,500-$6,900 6% 9% 4% 0%
$6,000-$6,400 6% 6% 7% 0%
$5,500-$5,900 2% 3% 7% 7%
$5,000-$5,400 7% 6% 7% 8%
$4,500-$4,900 6% 11% 7%
$4,000-$4,400 8% 10% 4% 0%
$3,500-$3,900 8% 8% 10% 6%
$3,000-$3,400 5% 7% 6% 15%
$2,500-$2,900 13%
$2,000-$2,400 19%
<= $1,900 33%

Defense/special teams hit 5x value at a higher rate than any other position and shouldn't be overlooked if you're trying to take down the grand prize. For more pointers on how to make the optimal defense/special teams selections, be sure to check out Daily Fantasy Playbook 2015: Defense/Special Teams Strategy.

Individual Performance vs. DraftKings Salary Cap

A list of the average value returned of all defense/special teams in 2014 is shown below in Table 5.

Table 5: DraftKings D/ST Stats, 2014
Rk D/ST Avg Value Avg DKP Avg Salary
1 Philadelphia Defense 3.80 12.00 $3,175
2 Buffalo Defense 3.51 10.81 $3,138
3 Houston Defense 3.40 10.81 $3,244
4 St. Louis Defense 3.38 10.19 $3,025
5 Green Bay Defense 3.35 9.56 $3,031
6 Jacksonville Defense 3.23 7.44 $2,431
7 Baltimore Defense 2.99 9.25 $3,138
8 New England Defense 2.98 9.38 $3,281
9 Minnesota Defense 2.88 8.13 $2,831
10 Cleveland Defense 2.86 8.19 $2,925
11 Arizona Defense 2.77 8.94 $3,181
12 Dallas Defense 2.76 7.63 $2,788
13 Carolina Defense 2.73 7.63 $2,800
14 Seattle Defense 2.71 9.19 $3,469
15 Miami Defense 2.71 8.38 $3,025
16 Indianapolis Defense 2.69 8.19 $3,013
17 San Francisco Defense 2.69 8.50 $3,169
18 Pittsburgh Defense 2.60 7.50 $2,981
19 Detroit Defense 2.60 8.31 $3,213
20 Tampa Bay Defense 2.53 6.56 $2,656
21 Kansas City Defense 2.50 7.38 $2,988
22 New York Giants Defense 2.48 7.13 $2,825
23 Denver Defense 2.47 7.44 $2,994
24 Atlanta Defense 2.45 6.63 $2,694
25 Cincinnati Defense 2.45 6.81 $3,013
26 Chicago Defense 2.23 6.63 $3,006
27 San Diego Defense 2.16 6.25 $2,875
28 New York Jets Defense 1.87 4.88 $2,681
29 Tennessee Defense 1.85 5.00 $2,625
30 Washington Defense 1.80 4.69 $2,588
31 New Orleans Defense 1.70 4.38 $2,719
32 Oakland Defense 1.59 3.88 $2,538

It may come as a surprise, but the Seahawks D/ST finished only 14th in average value per game. The middling finish from one of the league's elite defenses serves as a reminder daily fantasy isn't always about selecting the best players, but the best values. The Seahawks finished sixth in DraftKings points per game, but couldn't overcome owning the highest average salary at the position.

Editors Note: Liked this article? You can also check out the Daily Fantasy Playbook 2015 series here (Links will be updated as they become available): QB, RB, WR, TE, K, D/ST


Footnotes

1. Value = Fantasy points per one thousand salary dollars, or [fantasy points/ [salary / 1,000].

2. The sample size is in Appendix 1 below. For quarterbacks, only starts were used. For running backs, wide receivers and tight ends, the challenge was eliminating minimum-priced players from the sample who wouldn't have been considered as fantasy starters, such as fullbacks or wide receivers who played only on special teams. Ultimately, I settled on removing all players at the minimum price who registered zero points. This method isn't perfect, as some players who wouldn't have been considered viable at minimum price remain if they registered any stats, but it was the most consistent way to eliminate many of the irrelevant data points at minimum salary while keeping the research process sane.

Appendix 1: Sample Size
QB RB WR TE D/ST
$10,000 + 3 2
$9,500-$9,900 12 7 3
$9,000-$9,400 20 8 6
$8,500-$8,900 24 18 21
$8,000-$8,400 42 11 42 2
$7,500-$7,900 49 24 44 7
$7,000-$7,400 53 32 38 7
$6,500-$6,900 69 34 45 11
$6,000-$6,400 69 48 84 11
$5,500-$5,900 82 63 117 29
$5,000-$5,400 89 84 127 126
$4,500-$4,900 113 172 41
$4,000-$4,400 111 172 54 8
$3,500-$3,900 98 170 77 31
$3,000-$3,400 764 799 606 209
$2,500-$2,900 214
$2,000-$2,400 47
<= $1,900 3
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