TJ's Take: Week 3 NFL DFS Recap

Sep 25, 2018
TJ's Take: Week 3 NFL DFS Recap

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Reviewing your own hits and misses each week is imperative if you want to be a profitable DFS player but examining winning lineups is also a useful exercise in cultivating a winning approach. Here I will analyze winning lineups from the biggest contests on FanDuel and DraftKings, teasing out lineup-building strategies and giving my analysis on how you could have landed on a similar team.

DraftKings Week 3 Millionaire Winning Lineup

With just three entries in the Week 3 Millionaire, TheHodgesFactor paired one the most popular quarterbacks of the week with his secondary receiver. Julio Jones drew ownership nearly three times that of Calvin Ridley but the QB/WR2 correlation is the second-strongest player combo. To leverage both offenses in a game with a massive over/under, TheHodgesFactor added Alvin Kamara for a classic game stack.

Unlike the first two weeks, Week 3’s Millionaire winner stopped at a 3-man game stack, instead of going with a full onslaught, and focused on a trio of low-owned players that had underperformed relative to their volume.

What Were the Indicators for the Low-Owned Plays?

Week 3 was a great reminder that, even in short time periods, fantasy scoring usually reverts to volume-based expectation. Going into the week, Ezekiel Elliott and Saquon Barkley ranked one and two respectively, in percentage of team touches among active players. While their fantasy output had been good, their production was also overshadowed by monster starts by players like Alvin Kamara and Todd Gurley. Volume gives any running back tournament-winning upside, even when their teams don’t have massive scoring projections. Elliott and Barkley popped in last week’s leverage scores and were highlighted as running backs to target in my weekly slate breakdown.

Along with volume, air yards have proven to be a reliable predictor of production for receivers. Each week, Josh Hermsmeyer writes a free column highlighting players that are due for big weeks based on their air yards and usage. Robert Woods showed up in Josh’s model in consecutive weeks and Woods’ volume finally turned into a massive game. If you missed Josh’s article last week, the Rams passing game was one that I was targeting in tournaments.

FanDuel Week 3 Sunday Million Winning Lineup

dacoltz was slightly more aggressive with his ATL/NO game stack compared to DraftKings’ million dollar winner, adding Julio Jones to the mix. While Julio put up mediocre results, this lineup is a reminder that zeroing in on the right game can take down a major tournament even if one of those players underperforms. Having some exposure to the high-powered Chiefs offense remained a must and with heavy ownership on Eric Ebron and similar price points for Travis Kelce and Zach Ertz, Kelce’s ownership stayed in check.

What Were the Indicators for the Low-Owned Plays?

Alex Collins hasn’t been the workhorse that most fantasy owners expected, but we’ve seen players win DFS tournaments before with decent performances from a running back in a timeshare—Phillip Lindsay was a great example in Week 2. Baltimore was a significant home favorite and game script allowed enough volume for both Collins and Buck Allen to turn in respectable performances.

The only argument for the Bills defense is that they were opposite a defense that was going to push 20 percent ownership, a massive number for any team defense. Though there were no indicators that this was the spot to go contrarian, this is a nod to the fact that defensive scoring is the highest variance of all roster spots and there should be differentiation in any lineup portfolio.

TJ’s Final Take

Seeing players like Zeke and Robert Woods pop in winning lineups is a warning against ignoring volume and a reminder to keep player performance in context. One way to do that—besides looking at raw volume—is to consider touch shares. Specifically, I look at percentage of team targets for pass catchers and percentage of backfield, and total team touches for running backs.

A running back who accounts for a huge portion of his team’s touches but is stuck in a mediocre offense, for example, could go overlooked in a week where his team might suddenly find themselves in a favorable game script.

Use the following touch shares as a guide to possibly uncover some of Week 4’s hidden gems:

RB Touch Shares, Week 1–3 (Click headers to sort)
Player W1 W2 W3 % Team Touches W1 W2 W3 % RB Touches
Ezekiel Elliott 43.9% 53.7% 50.0% 49.2% 94.7% 100.0% 100.0% 98.3%
James Conner 62.1% 25.0% 38.5% 42.6% 100.0% 81.3% 87.0% 92.0%
Christian McCaffrey 32.7% 44.0% 53.6% 43.9% 66.7% 84.6% 88.2% 81.0%
Saquon Barkley 43.5% 50.0% 42.3% 45.3% 80.0% 86.2% 73.3% 79.8%
Kareem Hunt 38.1% 39.6% 34.6% 37.3% 72.7% 90.5% 75.0% 79.1%
Todd Gurley 52.3% 38.6% 43.8% 44.2% 88.5% 64.7% 84.8% 78.5%
Alvin Kamara 34.0% 37.3% 47.0% 40.1% 81.0% 65.5% 81.6% 76.1%
Carlos Hyde 43.4% 34.7% 46.3% 41.7% 71.9% 70.8% 80.6% 74.7%
Lamar Miller 41.2% 33.3% 34.9% 36.6% 77.8% 69.6% 75.0% 74.3%
Jordan Howard 40.0% 32.7% 47.3% 40.1% 69.0% 77.3% 74.3% 73.3%
Peyton Barber 34.5% 34.0% 17.4% 29.1% 82.6% 65.4% 57.1% 69.8%
David Johnson 40.0% 43.8% 45.7% 43.1% 63.6% 66.7% 72.7% 67.7%
Tevin Coleman 25.6% 36.4% 35.4% 33.1% 52.6% 66.7% 77.3% 66.2%
Melvin Gordon 42.9% 30.6% 44.7% 39.2% 68.6% 50.0% 70.8% 62.9%
Kenyan Drake 34.7% 31.3% 21.9% 30.2% 65.4% 60.0% 53.8% 60.9%
Jamaal Williams 35.7% 35.2% 15.9% 29.3% 78.9% 76.0% 29.2% 60.3%
Joe Mixon 53.7% 42.3% - 32.6% 91.7% 68.8% - 60.3%
Adrian Peterson 44.4% 25.5% 40.4% 37.0% 66.7% 43.8% 67.9% 59.8%
Chris Carson 28.6% 13.6% 61.8% 37.3% 45.5% 26.1% 87.2% 59.5%
T.J. Yeldon 37.0% 22.6% 32.5% 30.2% 56.7% 48.0% 59.1% 54.5%
Dalvin Cook 42.3% 24.5% - 23.2% 66.7% 72.2% - 53.0%
Marshawn Lynch 25.0% 35.7% 37.3% 32.9% 39.4% 62.5% 56.4% 52.9%
Dion Lewis 42.9% 31.3% 25.0% 33.1% 65.6% 45.5% 40.0% 50.5%
Derrick Henry 22.4% 37.5% 37.5% 32.4% 34.4% 54.5% 60.0% 49.5%
Alex Collins 13.3% 22.2% 39.6% 24.6% 26.7% 52.2% 70.0% 49.4%
Isaiah Crowell 19.2% 31.8% 40.0% 29.8% 33.3% 58.3% 56.3% 48.8%
Jordan Wilkins 27.9% 24.5% 21.6% 25.2% 54.8% 42.9% 44.4% 48.1%
Alfred Morris 30.0% 34.8% 28.6% 31.1% 48.0% 48.5% 45.2% 47.2%
Matt Breida 30.0% 30.4% 26.5% 28.9% 48.0% 42.4% 41.9% 43.8%
Bilal Powell 25.0% 22.7% 31.1% 26.2% 43.3% 41.7% 43.8% 43.0%
Kerryon Johnson 18.2% 25.0% 30.0% 25.0% 38.1% 41.9% 45.0% 42.4%
Chris Ivory 9.4% 7.3% 43.4% 23.0% 17.6% 14.3% 71.9% 41.4%
Royce Freeman 26.3% 17.0% 30.4% 24.7% 41.7% 29.6% 48.3% 40.2%
Giovani Bernard 4.9% 19.2% 40.5% 21.5% 8.3% 31.3% 100.0% 39.7%
Phillip Lindsay 29.8% 31.9% 8.7% 24.0% 47.2% 55.6% 13.8% 39.1%
Frank Gore 18.4% 20.8% 18.8% 19.4% 34.6% 40.0% 46.2% 39.1%
Corey Clement 10.6% 18.6% 31.7% 21.1% 17.2% 40.7% 50.0% 37.2%
Nyheim Hines 19.7% 10.2% 27.0% 18.4% 38.7% 17.9% 55.6% 35.1%
Javorius Allen 15.0% 20.4% 17.0% 17.4% 30.0% 47.8% 30.0% 34.9%
Austin Ekeler 17.9% 28.6% 18.4% 21.7% 28.6% 46.7% 29.2% 34.8%
Chris Thompson 17.5% 30.9% 14.9% 21.2% 26.2% 53.1% 25.0% 34.3%
LeGarrette Blount 9.1% 17.3% 30.0% 19.9% 19.0% 29.0% 45.0% 33.7%
Latavius Murray 21.2% 7.5% 15.2% 14.6% 33.3% 22.2% 46.7% 33.3%
Rex Burkhead 33.3% 12.5% 6.1% 19.6% 51.4% 21.4% 8.3% 30.3%
James White 15.8% 22.9% 21.2% 19.6% 24.3% 39.3% 29.2% 30.3%
LeSean McCoy 25.0% 31.7% - 16.7% 47.1% 61.9% - 30.0%
Ty Montgomery 9.5% 11.1% 22.7% 14.3% 21.1% 24.0% 41.7% 29.4%
Chase Edmonds 22.9% 18.8% 14.3% 18.6% 36.4% 28.6% 22.7% 29.2%
Sony Michel - 22.9% 45.5% 18.8% - 39.3% 62.5% 29.2%
Rashaad Penny 31.4% 22.7% 5.5% 17.9% 50.0% 43.5% 7.7% 28.6%
Marcus Murphy 18.8% 9.8% 17.0% 15.1% 35.3% 19.0% 28.1% 27.1%
Jay Ajayi 31.9% 13.6% - 13.9% 51.7% 29.6% - 24.5%
Tarik Cohen 16.0% 9.6% 14.5% 13.4% 27.6% 22.7% 22.9% 24.4%
Alfred Blue 9.8% 14.6% 11.6% 12.0% 18.5% 30.4% 25.0% 24.3%
Jacquizz Rodgers 5.5% 16.0% 8.7% 9.9% 13.0% 30.8% 28.6% 23.8%
Corey Grant 2.2% 18.9% 17.5% 12.9% 3.3% 40.0% 31.8% 23.4%
Theo Riddick 20.5% 17.3% 5.0% 13.5% 42.9% 29.0% 7.5% 22.8%
Wendell Smallwood 0.0% 13.6% 21.7% 12.7% 0.0% 29.6% 34.2% 22.3%
Doug Martin 11.5% 14.3% 15.3% 13.8% 18.2% 25.0% 23.1% 22.1%
Malcolm Brown 6.8% 21.1% 7.8% 12.1% 11.5% 35.3% 15.2% 21.5%
Jalen Richard 26.9% 3.6% 10.2% 13.2% 42.4% 6.3% 15.4% 21.2%
Ito Smith - 18.2% 10.4% 10.6% - 33.3% 22.7% 21.1%
Devontae Booker 7.0% 6.4% 21.7% 11.3% 11.1% 11.1% 34.5% 18.5%
Duke Johnson 11.3% 10.2% 7.4% 9.6% 18.8% 20.8% 12.9% 17.2%
Mike Gillislee 6.0% 15.7% 4.5% 8.4% 14.3% 27.6% 7.9% 15.9%
Kenneth Dixon 21.7% - - 7.8% 43.3% - - 15.7%
Leonard Fournette 26.1% - - 8.6% 40.0% - - 15.6%
C.J. Anderson 14.3% 6.0% 5.4% 8.4% 29.2% 11.5% 8.8% 15.5%
Marlon Mack - 22.4% 0.0% 7.5% - 39.3% 0.0% 14.3%
Wayne Gallman 6.5% 4.0% 11.5% 7.4% 12.0% 6.9% 20.0% 13.1%
Devonta Freeman 23.1% - - 6.3% 47.4% - - 12.7%
Spencer Ware 9.5% 2.1% 5.8% 5.6% 18.2% 4.8% 12.5% 11.9%
Aaron Jones - - 15.9% 5.0% - - 29.2% 10.3%
Target Shares, Week 1–3 (Click headers to sort)
Player Pos Team W1 W2 W3 % Team Targets
Jarvis Landry WR CLE 38.5% 23.3% 41.7% 35.2%
Julio Jones WR ATL 52.8% 32.1% 17.6% 34.7%
DeAndre Hopkins WR HOU 34.4% 39.3% 26.3% 32.7%
Adam Thielen WR MIN 34.3% 27.1% 34.5% 31.9%
Quincy Enunwa WR NYJ 47.6% 26.8% 26.7% 31.5%
Michael Thomas WR NO 39.5% 37.1% 20.4% 31.5%
Odell Beckham WR NYG 41.7% 20.9% 34.5% 31.5%
Corey Davis WR TEN 35.1% 35.0% 19.0% 30.8%
Antonio Brown WR PIT 39.0% 28.3% 23.7% 30.2%
Alvin Kamara RB NO 27.9% 17.1% 40.8% 29.9%
Travis Kelce TE KC 24.0% 35.7% 27.0% 28.9%
Robert Woods WR LAR 27.3% 28.1% 30.6% 28.7%
Zach Ertz TE PHI 31.3% 27.7% 27.0% 28.4%
Christian McCaffrey RB CAR 36.0% 33.3% 8.3% 27.7%
JuJu Smith-Schuster WR PIT 19.5% 31.7% 28.9% 27.3%
Allen Robinson WR CHI 20.6% 41.2% 20.0% 27.2%
Mike Evans WR TB 25.0% 36.4% 22.0% 27.0%
T.Y. Hilton WR IND 21.2% 35.5% 25.6% 26.2%
Golden Tate WR DET 29.4% 25.0% 22.9% 26.1%
Saquon Barkley RB NYG 16.7% 37.2% 17.2% 25.0%
Demaryius Thomas WR DEN 27.0% 31.4% 15.2% 24.8%
Brandin Cooks WR LAR 24.2% 28.1% 22.2% 24.8%
Chris Thompson RB WAS 24.1% 31.8% 10.0% 24.7%
Davante Adams WR GB 22.2% 30.0% 20.9% 24.4%
Keenan Allen WR LAC 22.0% 29.6% 23.3% 24.3%
George Kittle TE SF 28.1% 17.4% 23.3% 23.5%
Nelson Agholor WR PHI 31.3% 25.5% 13.5% 23.3%
Randall Cobb WR GB 27.8% 15.0% 25.6% 22.7%
Melvin Gordon RB LAC 26.0% 25.9% 13.3% 22.4%
Devin Funchess WR CAR 20.0% 20.0% 29.2% 22.3%
Sammy Watkins WR KC 20.0% 25.0% 21.6% 22.2%
A.J. Green WR CIN 28.6% 22.5% 17.8% 22.1%
Emmanuel Sanders WR DEN 29.7% 11.4% 24.2% 21.9%
Larry Fitzgerald WR ARI 32.3% 21.7% 8.3% 21.8%
Jordan Reed TE WAS 17.2% 18.2% 35.0% 21.5%
Taylor Gabriel WR CHI 14.7% 20.6% 28.6% 21.4%
Tyreek Hill WR KC 32.0% 21.4% 13.5% 21.1%
Stefon Diggs WR MIN 17.1% 27.1% 18.2% 21.0%
Ezekiel Elliott RB DAL 13.8% 26.1% 23.5% 20.9%
Cooper Kupp WR LAR 27.3% 18.8% 16.7% 20.8%
Will Fuller WR HOU - 32.1% 28.9% 20.4%
Jared Cook TE OAK 30.8% 12.5% 16.2% 20.4%
Michael Crabtree WR BAL 16.2% 18.9% 26.3% 20.3%
Kenny Golladay WR DET 23.5% 17.3% 20.0% 20.3%
James White RB NE 23.1% 22.9% 12.0% 20.2%
Brandon Marshall WR SEA 18.2% 18.2% 23.1% 19.6%
David Johnson RB ARI 29.0% 8.7% 16.7% 19.2%
Christian Kirk WR ARI 6.5% 21.7% 33.3% 19.2%
Ricky Seals-Jones TE ARI 19.4% 26.1% 12.5% 19.2%
Phillip Dorsett WR NE 17.9% 20.0% 20.0% 19.2%
Keelan Cole WR JAX 12.5% 17.8% 27.3% 19.1%
Jakeem Grant WR MIA 25.0% 17.4% 12.5% 18.7%
Cole Beasley WR DAL 27.6% 13.0% 14.7% 18.6%
Tyler Boyd WR CIN 17.9% 22.5% 15.6% 18.6%
Tyler Lockett WR SEA 12.1% 21.2% 23.1% 18.5%
Chris Godwin WR TB 14.3% 18.2% 20.0% 18.0%
John Brown WR BAL 10.8% 18.9% 23.7% 18.0%
Sterling Shepard WR NYG 19.4% 11.6% 24.1% 17.6%
Danny Amendola WR MIA 21.4% 17.4% 12.5% 17.3%
Kenny Stills WR MIA 17.9% 13.0% 20.8% 17.3%
T.J. Yeldon RB JAX 21.9% 11.1% 21.2% 17.3%
Kelvin Benjamin WR BUF 21.9% 9.1% 22.7% 17.2%
Rob Gronkowski TE NE 20.5% 11.4% 20.0% 17.2%
Marvin Jones WR DET 15.7% 17.3% 17.1% 16.7%
Amari Cooper WR OAK 7.7% 31.3% 13.5% 16.7%
Jalen Richard RB OAK 28.2% 0.0% 18.9% 16.7%
Pierre Garcon WR SF 18.8% 17.4% 13.3% 16.5%
Eric Ebron TE IND 9.6% 12.9% 28.2% 16.4%
Kenyan Drake RB MIA 14.3% 17.4% 16.7% 16.0%
Jimmy Graham TE GB 11.1% 20.0% 16.3% 16.0%
Torrey Smith WR CAR 8.0% 15.6% 25.0% 16.0%
Theo Riddick RB DET 13.7% 23.1% 8.6% 15.9%
Donte Moncrief WR JAX 15.6% 20.0% 9.1% 15.5%
Dion Lewis RB TEN 21.6% 5.0% 14.3% 15.4%
Mohamed Sanu WR ATL 16.7% 7.1% 20.6% 15.3%
David Njoku TE CLE 17.9% 23.3% 5.6% 15.2%
Terrelle Pryor WR NYJ 14.3% 19.5% 10.0% 15.2%
Geronimo Allison WR GB 22.2% 15.0% 9.3% 15.1%
Paul Richardson WR WAS 20.7% 13.6% 10.0% 15.1%
Giovani Bernard RB CIN 3.6% 17.5% 20.0% 15.0%
Ted Ginn WR NO 14.0% 20.0% 12.2% 15.0%
Willie Snead WR BAL 16.2% 15.1% 13.2% 14.8%
Jordy Nelson WR OAK 10.3% 12.5% 21.6% 14.8%
Albert Wilson WR MIA 14.3% 21.7% 8.3% 14.7%
Trey Burton TE CHI 17.6% 11.8% 14.3% 14.6%
Antonio Callaway WR CLE 2.6% 13.3% 27.8% 14.3%
Chris Hogan WR NE 12.8% 14.3% 16.0% 14.1%
Will Dissly TE SEA 15.2% 15.2% 11.5% 14.1%
Mike Williams WR LAC 12.0% 7.4% 23.3% 14.0%
Josh Doctson WR WAS 10.3% 15.9% 15.0% 14.0%
Deonte Thompson WR DAL 17.2% 21.7% 5.9% 14.0%
Todd Gurley RB LAR 15.2% 9.4% 16.7% 13.9%
Jarius Wright WR CAR 20.0% 15.6% 4.2% 13.8%
Austin Seferian-Jenkins TE JAX 15.6% 11.1% 15.2% 13.6%
Dede Westbrook WR JAX 18.8% 11.1% 12.1% 13.6%
Rashard Higgins WR CLE 10.3% 23.3% 8.3% 13.3%
Courtland Sutton WR DEN 13.5% 17.1% 9.1% 13.3%
Javorius Allen RB BAL 16.2% 13.2% 10.5% 13.3%
Tyler Eifert TE CIN 10.7% 10.0% 17.8% 13.3%
Austin Hooper TE ATL 11.1% 17.9% 11.8% 13.3%
Calvin Ridley WR ATL 0.0% 17.9% 23.5% 13.3%
Nick Vannett TE SEA 6.1% 15.2% 19.2% 13.0%
Jamison Crowder WR WAS 13.8% 9.1% 20.0% 12.9%
Geoff Swaim TE DAL 13.8% 0.0% 20.6% 12.8%
O.J. Howard TE TB 7.1% 12.1% 16.0% 12.6%
DeSean Jackson WR TB 17.9% 12.1% 10.0% 12.6%
Jake Butt TE DEN 10.8% 17.1% 9.1% 12.4%
Jack Doyle TE IND 19.2% 16.1% - 12.3%
Ryan Grant WR IND 17.3% 6.5% 10.3% 12.3%
Nyheim Hines RB IND 17.3% 3.2% 12.8% 12.3%
Bruce Ellington WR HOU 25.0% 10.7% 2.6% 12.2%
James Conner RB PIT 14.6% 8.3% 15.8% 12.2%
Evan Engram TE NYG 13.9% 16.3% 3.4% 12.0%
Ben Watson TE NO 9.3% 14.3% 12.2% 11.8%
Kyle Juszczyk RB SF 6.3% 17.4% 13.3% 11.8%
Trent Taylor WR SF 18.8% 0.0% 13.3% 11.8%
Kyle Rudolph TE MIN 5.7% 16.7% 10.9% 11.6%
Chase Edmonds RB ARI 12.9% 21.7% 0.0% 11.5%
Taywan Taylor WR TEN 0.0% 20.0% 23.8% 11.5%
John Ross WR CIN 7.1% 10.0% 15.6% 11.5%
Zay Jones WR BUF 18.8% 9.1% 4.5% 11.5%
Robby Anderson WR NYJ 4.8% 12.2% 13.3% 10.9%
Adam Humphries WR TB 17.9% 6.1% 10.0% 10.8%
Jordan Howard RB CHI 14.7% 11.8% 5.7% 10.7%
Anthony Miller WR CHI 8.8% 8.8% 14.3% 10.7%
Ian Thomas TE CAR 8.0% 6.7% 20.8% 10.6%
Matt Breida RB SF 6.3% 17.4% 10.0% 10.6%
Allen Hurns WR DAL 10.3% 8.7% 11.8% 10.5%
Andre Holmes WR BUF 3.1% 12.1% 18.2% 10.3%
Austin Ekeler RB LAC 10.0% 11.1% 10.0% 10.3%
Tyrell Williams WR LAC 10.0% 11.1% 10.0% 10.3%
Ryan Griffin TE HOU 15.6% 3.6% 10.5% 10.2%
Lamar Miller RB HOU 6.3% 7.1% 15.8% 10.2%
Laquon Treadwell WR MIN 11.4% 12.5% 7.3% 10.1%
Ty Montgomery RB GB 8.3% 5.0% 16.3% 10.1%

Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images.

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