DFS Projected Ownership Analysis: Week 1
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Leveraging ownership percentages is a crucial aspect of creating tournament lineups. In this article, I will be using the 4for4 metric GPP Leverage Scores to highlight players whose projected ownership is either too high or too low. You can get a complete explanation on how the metric works here, but in short, the leverage score takes projected ownership and compares it to an implied ownership. The projected ownership is the prediction of what percentage of lineups a particular player will be owned in. A player’s implied ownership is 4for4’s recommended ownership based on salary, point projection and positional scarcity, among other factors. Comparing the two ownership percentages can highlight players who 4for4 projections are higher or lower on relative to the field. The players that are underweight or fade recommendations are for tournaments only—in fact, often times my cash game players will make it into that section as I often hedge by being underweight on those plays.
Player to Be Overweight On
QB Case Keenum ($6,300 FD/$5,100 DK)
Keenum had some buzz during the offseason due to a stellar finish in Minnesota. That buzz has cooled for Week 1 of the regular season, mainly due to a shaky preseason. Keenum actually lands in a good spot against a Seahawks defense that is not as vaunted as it once was. Within the fantasy community, however, the matchup against the Seahawks still elicits a negative response that we can take advantage of. According to the Week 1 DraftKings GPP Leverage Scores, Keenum has an 8 percent chance of hitting GPP value, but only a projected ownership of 0.5 percent. The Broncos are home favorites with an implied team total of 22.25 points, all of which are positive boxes checked for the quarterback position. Keenum grades out as an excellent leverage play on both sites, but this play is more specifically for DraftKings.
QB Cam Newton ($8,100 FD/$6,900 DK)
Newton checks in with similar boxes checked to Case Keenum. Cam is a home favorite with a 23.25 implied team total. His team total sits right in the middle range that I like to target. Along with providing the obvious rushing yardage and touchdown upside, Cam has Greg Olsen returning, the addition of D.J. Moore and a chain-moving check-down back in Christian McCaffrey at his disposal this year. Newton gets a matchup with the Cowboys’ secondary who played well last year but is still young across the board. Cam’s projected ownership on FanDuel is only at 7.5 percent currently, despite having a 24 percent chance of surpassing GPP value FanDuel where he projects as a better play.
RB David Johnson ($8,600 FD/$8,800 DK)
David Johnson is fully healed from his 2017 wrist injury and ready to take the league by storm. Johnson looked great in the preseason, taking his first two carries for 14-yard gains while also scoring at the goal line. The reassuring aspect of Johnson’s injury remains that it wasn’t to his lower half so we shouldn’t be worried about a slow start. Johnson boasts a 21 percent chance to meet GPP value while earning a 1.59 leverage score on DraftKings and a 2.12 leverage score on FanDuel. This translates to a recommendation of being somewhere in the neighborhood of 28 percent ownership on DraftKings and 26 percent on FanDuel. With much of the running back ownership being soaked up by Melvin Gordon, Alvin Kamara and Christian McCaffrey, Johnson makes a nice pivot to be slightly overweight on.
RB Saquon Barkley ($7,600 FD/$6,700 DK)
The last time many fantasy footballers had a glimpse of Saquon Barkley, he was pulling up lame with a tweaked hamstring. He only recently started practicing in full, but beat writers are reporting he has been participating fully in practice and “all systems are a go” for a full workload. The matchup looks brutal on paper as the Giants host the Jaguars, but pass-catching running backs was one of the weaker spots for the Jaguars in 2017 relative to other positions. Barkley is a game-script independent type of running back who will certainly be peppered with dump offs if the Giants are in catch-up mode. At his current projected ownership of between 5–10 percent, you’ll only need 15–20 percent exposure to him to have more than the field.
WR DeAndre Hopkins ($8,800 FD/$8,300 DK)
Hopkins is in a unique situation, but that’s a good thing for us. He is in a fine spot, however many players, around his price tag will soak up ownership. The high-priced running backs and Antonio Brown in a perceived plus matchup with LeVeon Bell potentially out all shift Hopkins’ ownership down a bit. Couple that with the Patriots defense getting some buzz and you have yourself a nice leverage play. Hopkins implied ownership percentage is currently at 21 percent on DraftKings, several percentage points higher than projected ownership.
WR Danny Amendola ($5,100 FD/$4,200 DK)
Danny Amendola has primarily worked the short-to-intermediate part of the field out of the slot. Conveniently, the Dolphins just lost one of the most productive slot receivers to the Browns in Jarvis Landry. I won’t say that Amendola will duplicate the stats of Landry, but he will have the opportunity to put up some gaudy reception totals. I really love him on DraftKings due to the obvious PPR scoring. Tannehill targeted Amendola eight times during the preseason, second to only Albert Wilson. Amendola’s projected ownership is around three percent on both sites so it won't take many shares to be overweight like 4for4 suggests.
TE Rob Gronkowski ($7,900 FD/$6.900 DK)
Gronkowski checks in as the top tight end in terms of odds to hit GPP value. With a projected ownership over 20 percent on both sites, being overweight on Gronk is going to require a heavy dose of him in our lineups. On DraftKings, his leverage score of 1.6 translates to an implied ownership projection of around 35 percent. On FanDuel, his implied ownership percentage is sitting at 29 percent. With the Patriots only carrying three wide receivers, a suspended Julian Edelman and nicked up pass-catching backs, Gronk has a great opportunity to dominate in the red zone. We like tight ends on favorites with big totals because we rely on touchdowns at this position—the Pats have the highest on the board at 29.75. With nearly every box checked in his favor, I’ll be overweight on Gronk this week.
Players to Be Underweight On
QB Ben Roethlisberger ($8,000 FD/$6,600 DK)
Current leverage scores are recommending being underweight on Roethlisberger by about half relative to the field on both sites. His top-end ownership projection is 10 percent, which indicates a recommendation of owning him at five percent or less. Everyone knows the Steelers’ splits on the road. An improved Browns team in the Dawg Pound is not going to be an easy task. With LeVeon Bell’s status up in the air, Ben doesn’t have the check-down chain mover to keep the offense on the field, either. There are a slew of options in the same price range that offer the same ceiling at a lower ownership.
RB Rex Burkhead ($6,300 FD/$4,200 DK)
This recommendation is more so for FanDuel, but I wouldn’t fault anyone for being underweight on Burkhead on any platform. Burkhead generated a ton of buzz when salaries dropped on DraftKings because of his low price point. He is fine in cash games, especially on DraftKings, because he is severely underpriced. It’s conceivable that the Patriots meet their implied team total of 29 points and Burkhead isn’t a big factor. Jeremy Hill, James White and potentially even Sony Michel (health pending) could be involved on offense in Week 1. By the same token, variance can rear its ugly head in the form of Brady, Hogan and Gronk scooping up all the fantasy points. There are just too many options for me to trust being overweight on Burkhead. Leverage scores recommended ownership currently sits at 6–8 percent which is significantly lower than he will be rostered.
WR Keelan Cole ($4,500 FD/$3,800 DK)
Keelan Cole makes for a fine cash game play, however, he isn’t the lock that his ownership suggests for several reasons. First of all, it’s not as if Cole is the far and away top option on the Jaguars. He could be the leading fantasy receiver in Week 1, but Dede Westbrook, Donte Moncrief and Austin Seferian-Jenkins could also be the top scorer as well. The Jaguars may want to pound Leonard Fournette and T.J. Yeldon all day to not have Blake Bortles shoulder the entire load. There are numerous paths to Cole not having a GPP worthy fantasy day. Wide receiver is the most volatile position after tight end, meaning it’s the easiest to fade the chalk. Cole currently has a leverage score of 0.32 on DraftKings and 0.30 on FanDuel, indicating you should be severely underweight on him. He’s currently projected to have a median ownership of 17.5 percent on DraftKings and 22.5 percent on Fanduel, which translates to only owning him in about 5 percent of lineups, if at all.
WR Keenan Allen ($8,000 FD/$7,500 DK)
I really like Allen as a cash game play if you have the salary to spend up for him on DraftKings, however, he’s a sharp underweight play according to our leverage scores, especially on FanDuel. Allen has upwards of 25 percent projected ownership on both sites, but only an implied ownership of around 10 percent. As I’ve said, the wide receiver position is extremely volatile. With such massive ownership, it gives us a chance to pivot to players equally lor more likely to hit value such as Stefon Diggs or DeAndre Hopkins. Much like all the underweight recommendations, the Chargers have multiple ways to hit their team total that don’t involve Keenan Allen having a monster game. Allen has a very good shot of meeting cash game value, as he has a high floor projection, but his ceiling is a bit capped evidenced by his relatively low ceiling projection.
Photo by Christian Peterson/Getty Images.