DraftKings Week 1 GPP Breakdown
It's time to go get this tournament shmoney.
I have created a set of DraftKings GPP guidelines for you to check out as you build your lineups. I also have been studying grand prize winning lineups since last season. As a refresher, here were some important trends from last year's grand prize winning lineups:
- Go contrarian at QB: QBs in winning lineups had a median ownership of 7%, the lowest of any position group by far.
- Pay up at WR: On average, the most expensive WR in a winning lineup costs $8,700 and the second most expensive WR costs $7,200. No other lineup slot has an average of over $6,200.
- One chalk play at RB, WR is OK: The median ownership for the highest owned RB in a winning lineup was roughly 20%. The median ownership for the highest owned WR was over 30%.
- TEs have not been good FLEX options: RBs and WRs were in the flex roughly equally, but TE did not appear at all.
- Salary Allocation: The average salary allocation per lineup slot, from highest to lowest is WR1, WR2, QB, RB1, WR3, RB2, TE, FLEX, DST.
- Make the chalk work for you; also know where to go contrarian: Median ownership for TE and D/ST was roughly 10%, while the lowest owned RB/WR had a median ownership of under 3%.
Russell Wilson $7,900 vs. MIA
QB value is positively correlated with being a home favorite with a high team total, and Wilson’s Seahawks are currently -10.5 with a team total over 27. Wilson owns our second highest ceiling projection among QBs. Both Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett have plus-matchups. We’re looking for efficiency out of our QBs, and Wilson was the best QB in the NFL over the second half of last season, averaging 311 total yards and 3.25 total yards per game over his last eight, not to mention a 25-2 TD-to-interception ratio.
Continue reading for 15 more of Chris Raybon's tournament plays.
Drew Brees $8,100 vs. OAK
Brees fits the mold of many of the criteria for QBs in TJ Hernandez’s Big Game Profiles: he’s a home favorite, has an implied total of at least 24, and an over/under of at least 46. In eight games across the last three seasons when the Saints have been favorites with an over/under of at least 50, Brees averages 350 yards and 2.5 TDs passing per game. The Raiders should field an improved defense with the additions of Bruce Irvin, Sean Smith, and Reggie Nelson, but it takes an elite defense to keep Brees from posting strong passing numbers at home.
Others I’d consider: Brock Osweiler (Home favorite with a 25-point team total.)
Saturday Update: Matthew Stafford, Andrew Luck (I wanted to lay off the Lions-Colts game due to high projected ownership, but with injuries piling up in the Colts secondary, it is hard to imagine this game not being a shootout. Luck is the sneakier play, because if Stafford succeeds in picking apart the Colts secondary, Luck will have to air it out as well, and will almost certainly be lower owned than Stafford due to cost.), Blake Bortles (The Jaguars will face what should be a strong Packers offense, and Bortles' numbers spike while trailing: He posted a 6.73% TD rate and 8.0 yards/attempt on 431 attempts while trailing in 2015, rates which would have ranked third and fifth, respectively, among QBs.)
Devonta Freeman $6,900 vs. TB
In two games against the Bucs last season, Freeman averaged 25.5 touches,117 total yards, and 8 receptions per game. The Falcons are three-point favorites, and Freeman averaged 23.6 touches, 131 total yards, 4.8 receptions and 1.33 TDs per game in nine games as a favorite in 2015. Buzz about Tevin Coleman should keep Freeman's ownership down, but Freeman is the back of choice in the receiving game and in the red zone, the two most crucial areas for a fantasy RB.
Others I’d consider: David Johnson (Averaged 21.7 touches, 123.4 total yards, and 0.85 total TDs in seven starts, 6-point home favorite with team total of above 24.)
DeMarco Murray $5,300 vs. MIN
Rather than fill your lineup with exclusively low-owned plays or a bunch of dart throws, it’s best to pick your spots when going contrarian. DeMarco Murray is where I'll be planting my contrarian flag in Week 1. Murray’s under-center/shotgun career yards per carry splits are 4.8/4.2, and he won’t have to run out of the shotgun as much as a Titan after doing so almost exclusively as an Eagle. Both teams in this game would like to run 35 times and have their QB drop back 25 rather than the other way around, which should keep the game close and provide Murray with 20-touch upside that four out of every five “big game RBs” needs. The release of scatback Dexter McCluster raises Murray’s reception outlook, and should give him a good shot at the four-plus receptions every big game RB needs. Also working in Murray’s favor is home field; 65% of RB big games took place at home. The Vikings defense is a solid unit overall, but struggled to stop opponents from being efficient on the ground on first and second down last season, allowing 4.36 yards per carry (7h-highest among defenses).
Others I’d consider: Ryan Mathews (4-point home favorite; Cleveland allowed 4.59 yards per carry in 2015 and may have gotten worse.)
RB2/FLEX (Under $4,500)
Spencer Ware $4,400 vs. SD
With Jamaal Charles unlikely to play, Ware is slated to carry the load for the Chiefs as a large home favorite. The Chargers defense allowed 4.82 yards per carry in 2015, and nose tackle Brandon Mebane may not necessarily be an upgrade after he graded out 131st among interior defenders in 2015 PFF run defense. Ware’s eight preseason catches in three games seemingly bolsters his touch upside after he didn't show much in the receiving game a year ago. My research has shown that one chalk play is not going to hurt you at RB, and Ware is a chalk play I’m on board with given his upside and price.
Others I'd consider: Christine Michael (10-point home favorite and the price is right to take the risk on a guy who has looked like a monster in the preseason.)
Saturday Update: James White (White has two 13+ target games in his last seven and should be counted on heavily in Patriots' quick passing game with an inexperienced QB who struggles under pressure, no Gronk, and Julian Edelman likely to see a lot of Patrick Peterson.)
DeAndre Hopkins $8,800 vs. CHI
Hopkins has a great matchup against a Bears defense that ranked 31st in DVOA allowed to WR1s last season and made no significant changes at cornerback or free safety. Hopkins is always a good bet to score a TD at home, with an average of 0.69 TDs per game at home from 2014-15. His TD potential is further bolstered by a Texans team total that currently sits at 25 -- nearly four points higher than Houston’s points per game average from 2015 (21.2).
Others I’d consider: Julio Jones (Ankle is only concern but he looks good to go and has a size mismatch against Brent Grimes, Vernon Hargreaves, and Alterraun Verner.), Odell Beckham (Dallas’ clock-killing caused OBJ to go 9-79-0 combined in two games last season, but he still has an enormous weekly ceiling due to his generational talent.)
Allen Robinson $8,300 vs. GB
We’re probably undervaluing consistency in GPPs, and Robinson was one of 2015’s finest models of consistency: he notched 100 yards and/or a TD in each of his final 12 games of the season. Because DC Dom Capers he frequently sends an extra blitzer, the Packers defense has seen an above-average percentage of deep balls five years in a row and counting. Jacksonville was third in deep attempt percentage (24.1%) in 2015, and Robinson led the NFL in deep targets (67).
Brandin Cooks $7,700 vs. OAK
In six career games at home with an over/under of 50 or more, Cooks averages a 6.0-89-.67 receiving line, compared to 5.1-58-.40 in all other games. Raiders corners Sean Smith and David Amerson are good on paper, but their physical stature leaves them ill-equipped to handle Cooks’ blazing speed in the dome.
Sammy Watkins $6,900 @ BAL
The Ravens frequently play single-high safety, which should give Watkins chances deep against Jimmy Smith, who struggled last season. The Ravens defense under DC Pees also tends to keep QBs in the pocket, and has not allowed opponents to rank higher than 25th in QB rushing yards in any of his four years at the helm. Less rushing for Tyrod Taylor should translate into more targets directed at Watkins in the passing game. WR is the one position where we don’t have to worry about road underdogs with moderate team totals. Watkins is not an ideal play in cash games because the Bills’ run-first approach gives him a lower floor than most WRs of his talent level. But Watkins finished last season with 100 yards and/or a TD in six of his final nine games.
Others I’d consider: Doug Baldwin (He was second in red zone targets over last eight weeks and the Dolphins slot corners Bobby McCain and Michael Thomas are not imposing, plus Baldwin has arguably the most efficient QB in football throwing to him.)
Michael Crabtree $5,500 @ NO
After averaging a team-leading 9.1 targets per game in 2015, Crabtree gets an inviting matchup against some combination of rookie cornerbacks in P.J.Williams (a fourth-rounder) and De’Vante Harris (undrafted) while Delvin Breaux presumably shadows Amari Cooper. Safety Jairus Byrd hinted that the inexperienced corners will aim to “stay on top of everything” and “keep it short”, which benefits Crabtree, who often works underneath. Crabtree has sneaky 10-catch upside. With a team total of 25 despite being a road underdog, Crabtree’s TD outlook is strong after he led the Raiders in red zone target market share in 2105 (23.2%).
Others I’d consider: Larry Fitzgerald (Should face rookie Cyrus Jones in the slot; Fitzgerald’s price is the lowest it’s been since Week 3 of 2015)
Marvin Jones $4,600 @ IND
The Colts will start an off-the-street Antonio Cromartie at one outside cornerback spot in place of top corner Vontae Davis (ankle), and Patrick Robinson (groin) may not be 100% on the other side. Either way, the matchup sets up well for Jones, who has shown excellent chemistry with Matthew Stafford all offseason and into the preseason. Jones is the only WR with a projected ceiling of 23 or more that is priced under $5,000.
Others I’d consider: Tajae Sharpe (Good dollar-for-dollar value but ceiling may be limited by two teams that want to run.)
Julius Thomas $3,800 vs. GB
Dom Capers' defense was targeted over the middle 29.6% of the time in 2015, second most in NFL. They didn’t face many TEs on Thomas’s level, but when they did, they gave up production: 16-9-95 to Antonio Gates, 7-4-66-1 to Greg Olsen, 7-5-55-1 to Martellus Bennett, 10-6-80-0 to Travis Kelce, and 9-6-106-1 to Kyle Rudolph. After a slow start to last season upon returning from injury, Thomas notched five catches and/or a TD in five of his last seven games.
Dwayne Allen $3,200 vs. DET
At TE, we’re looking for home favorites with high team totals, and Allen fits the bill (the Colts are currently -3.5 with a total of 27). Forty-six percent of “big game TEs” score multiple TDs, and that's how Allen will likely have to hit value, as his pass blocking prowess caps his volume upside and renders him a poor bet to reach 100 yards. However, 30 of Andrew Luck’s 101 career TD passes, or 30%, have gone to TEs. Defense vs. position stats aren’t always sticky from year to year, but Detroit has the same DC, Teryl Austin, so it’s worth noting that Detroit finished as a bottom-five team vs. TEs and gave up a league-leading 12 TDs to the position. Detroit also allowed an outrageous 11 double-digit PPR games to TEs, including Justin Perillo, Darren Fells, Kyle Rudolph, and Richard Rodgers.
Jared Cook $2,900 @ JAC
Due to an affinity for drops and disappearing from games, Cook is not someone I particularly trust. However, the Packers are currently 5-point favorites with a team total over 25. Jordy Nelson will likely be on a snap count, which should open up opportunities for Cook, who may be used to vertically threaten the seam and (finally) has a QB that can deliver him the ball downfield if he gains separation. At under $3,000, the price is right.
Others I’d consider: Coby Fleener (The public is down on him and he’s one of the highest priced TEs, but $4,900 is a fair price for his ceiling.), Clive Walford (Opponents targeted the Saints defense 26.1% of the time once current DC Dennis Allen took over, which would have led the league.), Jason Witten (Giants are still weakest in coverage at linebacker and safety; Witten makes sense stacked with Dak Prescott if you’re going roll out Dak.)
Cardinals $3,500 vs. NE
This preseason, Jimmy Garoppolo has struggled with pressure. The Cardinals, on the other hand, love to send pressure. Arizona can match up to Julian Edelman with Patrick Peterson or Tyrann Mathieu, and Rob Gronkowski is not 100%. The Cardinals are six-point favorites and New England’s team total is below 21.
Seahawks $3,900 vs. MIA
The Seahawks are double-digit favorites and the Dolphins have a team total under 17. In his last three meetings with the Seahawks as head coach or offensive coordinator, Adam Gase’s teams have averaged nine points against the Seahawks. Hopefully, the expensive salary will keep ownership in check.