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 use 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.
Players to Be Overweight On
QB Josh Allen ($6,900 FD/$5,600 DK) @ Jets
Projected for sub-5% ownership on both sites, it shouldn’t take too many shares to be overweight on the mobile quarterback—4for4 suggests roughly eight shares assuming a 150-max portfolio. With the ability to scramble for over 100 yards in any week and a propensity for the deep ball, Allen has as much boom potential as any quarterback against arguably the worst secondary in the league. In fact, you could argue he is the best bet at his position for a double bonus on DraftKings. Lamar Jackson has 100-yard rushing upside but has yet to prove that 300 yards passing is likely while Cam Newton could scale back his running on an injured foot. With a deep threat burner in John Brown, Allen may have a new No. 1 WR this year.
RB Kerryon Johnson ($7,000 FD/$5,800 DK) @ Cardinals
Detroit's primary running back has a projected ownership floor of just 5% but 4for4 suggests him in up to 15% of your lineups, depending on which site you play on. Detroit is a small favorite against a Cardinals team that was a bit of a run funnel last year—however, that could change in Week 1 as Arizona is starting two backup cornerbacks. The possibility that the Lions may pass more than expected, combined with a looming C.J. Anderson will keep Johnson off my cash-game radar but he could find himself in surprisingly good game script. Arizona has a rookie quarterback making his first career start behind a shoddy offensive line with a first-time NFL head coach orchestrating a new offense.
WR Cooper Kupp ($6,800 FD/$5,700 DK) @ Panthers
This game has premium shootout potential with an over/under currently at 50.5 and a spread of just three. While the Rams are favored, the Panthers project for higher overall ownership—on DraftKings the gap is massive with Carolina tied for the second-highest team ownership and the Rams ranked eighth. With three equally effective pass-catchers, it makes sense the public might be nervous about throwing darts at Rams receivers. Kupp, however, is the best red-zone target and will likely be the lowest-owned Rams receiver since he’s coming off an injury, despite the fact he’s the cheapest of the trio on both sites. His ownership projection has him in as low as 5% of the field but 4for4 favors the high end of 10% in your portfolio.
TE Mark Andrews ($5,400 FD/$3,000 DK) @ Dolphins
Mostly an unknown except to the most hardcore fantasy fanatics, Andrews has been a popular offseason breakout candidate at 4for4 this year. The Ravens tight end is a downfield pass-catcher who could help offensive coordinator Greg Roman create Colin Kaepernick/Vernon Davis 2.0 along with the mobile Lamar Jackson. Baltimore is a big favorite, which bodes well for tight ends and Andrews gets the added bonus of facing one of the worst defenses in football. If the tight end hits his median ownership projection of 3% it will be a surprise—you likely only need about five shares in 100 lineups to be overweight on the field.
Players to Be Underweight On
QB Kyler Murray ($7,300 FD/$3,000 DK) vs. Lions
Arizona’s rookie quarterback pops in 4for4’s value reports but the public is probably too excited about the Cardinals as a whole. While ownership percentages can shift wildly from mid-week to kick-off, it seems absurd Murray is projected for virtually the same ownership as Patrick Mahomes on both sites at any point in the week. Depending on the site, the rookie is projected in as many as 15% of lineups. Behind a bad line with a rookie head coach against a Lions team that played a very slow version of football last year, Murray may not have much of a ceiling, even if you do consider him a viable cash play.
RB Austin Ekeler ($6,400 FD/$5,500 DK) vs. Colts
Like Murray, Ekeler is a great value relative to his price but he may have a capped ceiling in a shared backfield with Justin Jackson. In games with Jackson and without Melvin Gordon last year, Ekeler averaged over 17 touches per game but never exceeded 18. The return of Hunter Henry not only threatens Ekeler’s work in the short passing game but could eliminate potential scoring opportunities as Henry has been one of the best tight ends near the goal line since entering the league. The Chargers back is projected to be in 15%–20% of lineups on both sites but his low GPP odds suggest just about 10% in your GPP lineups.
WR Curtis Samuel ($5,900 FD/$6,200 DK) vs. Rams
From a pure leverage perspective, I prefer to slant my stacks in this game towards the Rams since the public is likely to be so high on the Panthers as a whole. While Samuel outpaced D.J. Moore in terms of volume down the stretch last year, it’s Moore who is expected to be Cam Newton’s primary target. Both receivers run relatively short routes and will take a back seat to Newton and Christian McCaffrey near the goal line. Samuel’s projected ownership projects to approach 20% but his low GPP odds make sub-10% in your portfolio more optimal.
TE David Njoku ($5,800 FD/$3,700 DK) vs. Titans
The Browns will be one of the most popular offenses of the week. Njoku may seem like a good leverage play but he would likely need a multi-touchdown game in a week that could bring relatively low volume. As 5.5-point favorites, the Browns could forego the pass late in the game. To build a lead, the matchup to exploit is on the outside against Tennessee’s vulnerable corners Malcolm Butler and Adoree' Jackson. The Titans finished second in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed to tight ends last year, meaning Njoku isn’t someone to use as leverage just for the sake of a leverage play. Even using the tight end in 5% of your lineups may be pushing it, according to this week's Leverage Scores.