Staking Bales: Player Exposure and My Week 11 Strategy

Staking Bales: Player Exposure and My Week 11 Strategy

By Jonathan Bales (Daily Fantasy Expert), last update Nov 16, 2013

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Jonathan Bales is a DraftKings Pro and the author of the Fantasy Football for Smart People book series. His latest book, How to Win at Daily Fantasy Sports, is a data-driven guide to winning on DraftKings. He is also (unofficially) sponsored by GrubHub.

Follow Jonathan Bales on Twitter: @BalesFootball.

On yesterday’s 4for4 Daily Fantasy Live Hangout with Josh Moore, I briefly discussed a topic that I want to write about in more detail here: player prototypes. You can click on that link to see the main traits I value at each position, but the overarching idea was that we should have the most daily fantasy exposure to the types of players we also value in season-long leagues.

I prefer big, physical receivers, for example, and I almost never draft a rookie wide receiver in a redraft fantasy league. Yet I’ve found myself starting players who don’t come close to matching that prototype this year because the matchup called for it.

Certainly there are differences between daily fantasy and season-long, but the latter is still the accumulation of points in the former. At the end of the day, it’s still the same types of players who lead the league in fantasy points—big receivers, fast running backs, and so on—so if you continually find yourself with the most exposure to them on a weekly basis, things will work out.

Matchups of course play a role in daily fantasy, and a big one. But make sure not to go overboard valuing guys who we know aren’t necessarily elite talents because of quality matchups, a new role in the offense, or whatever. Sometimes we can place too much emphasis on these factors, which are already factored into the rankings and weekly point projections.

It makes sense to consider matchups, but make sure we always have the most exposure to the right sorts of players.


Week 11 Not-So-Obvious Sits

Below, I’ve listed a handful of players who I think will be popular this week, yet I won’t start for reasons related to those above.


QB Case Keenum

Here’s perhaps the most overlooked trait in quarterbacks—a trait that will make you laugh but one that I value greatly: hand size. You know what they say about quarterbacks with big hands, right?

Nothing! No one talks about it, and that’s the problem. But if you start to analyze hand size in quarterbacks, there’s a really strong correlation with NFL success. The short quarterbacks who’ve found success—Drew Brees and Russell Wilson come to mind first—have absolutely massive hands for their height.

With hands that are just 9 1/8 inches (over a full inch shorter than Brees’s hands), Case Keenum’s hands are tiiiiinnnnyyyyy. I wouldn’t downgrade a quarterback solely because of his hand size, but it’s a red flag to me that he won’t be able to sustain his early success.


RB Rashad Jennings

Those of you who follow my writing know I covet two things in running backs: a heavy workload and outstanding straight-line speed. Jennings certainly doesn’t have the latter, having run a 4.67 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine. And even though the Raiders play the Texans this weekend, it’s not like he’s ever guaranteed 20 carries (or an abundance of red zone touches) in Oakland. So despite the price tag, I’ll likely fade him.


WR DeSean Jackson

I’ve actually faded Jackson pretty much all year, placing him in a handful of tournament lineups. I think he has a place there with Nick Foles this week, but it’s difficult to justify him in heads-up leagues because he’s small, inefficient in the red zone, and doesn’t catch a lot of passes. That creates inconsistency.

The smaller receivers I’m willing to start are those like Antonio Brown who catch a lot of passes. Jackson of course has big-play ability, but he also has only eight career red zone touchdowns (eight!) on 64 targets. That’s 12.5 percent. Compare that to Dez Bryant’s 41.7 percent career red zone touchdown rate.


TE Jordan Reed

Okay, so I might still start Reed because of his price and anticipated workload, but my point is that he’s the sort of guy I wouldn’t trust long-term. At just 6-2, 243 pounds, Reed doesn’t have the size of other elite tight ends. Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski, and even Antonio Gates are all much taller than Reed, allowing them to be highly efficient in the red zone. I don’t think Reed will ever be an outstanding long-term red zone option, and that of course limits his chances of scoring in any given week.

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