FanDuel Week 12 Values & Top Plays
It's important to remember that in order to be profitable long-term in DFS, you need an edge. As the availability, accessibility, and affordability of in-depth information and analysis of NFL players and teams continues to grow, the edge to be gained from player and matchup analysis will shrink. An understanding of players and matchups is invaluable to staying truly ahead of DFS competition, but many other aspects are also involved in becoming profitable over the long-term. Past a certain point, consuming endless player and matchup information will exhibit the property of diminishing returns, which means that each additional piece of information yields less and less of an advantage.
To remain a step ahead, I believe we should look to gain a greater understanding of other aspects of DFS outside of just players and matchups, before the masses catch on.
How Do WRs Perform Relative to Their Salary on Fanduel?
The particular aspect I want to focus on is site pricing. The current content of the DFS industry remains largely focused on current or recent salary trends of players in a vacuum, but there hasn't been enough big picture analysis of how site pricing is determined, how different statistics and levels of performance affect pricing, which players sites tend to overprice/underprice and why, and what salary ranges tend to return the greatest value.
To that end, I compiled a list of salary data on WRs. Why WRs first? Because you need three of them per lineup, and they exhibit a high rate of variance compared to other positions, so I wanted to gain more insight into Fanduel's WR pricing from more of a big picture perspective.
After the tables below, I list some observations and findings of note, but in no way am I claiming this data is definitive, or that it should be used as the end-all way to choose players. As I mentioned earlier, knowledge of the players as individuals, and not simply as a salary figure, remains crucial.
Also keep in mind that the data is from a very small sample: only 11 weeks of NFL games and 985 total player games. Finally, remember that correlation doesn't imply causation: in no way should you say, for example, "X player had/will have a bad game because he was in Y salary range". This data is simply to gain some additional understanding and perspective on how WRs have performed to date on Fanduel relative to their salary, and how the site tends to price players in different situations.
Reading this piece so far, you're probably feeling like Drake on his song Tuscan Leather: "how much time is this ***** spending on the intro?" So without further ado, here's the data.
*Note: I removed minimum priced ($4,500) WRs from the sample because there are so many, most of which wouldn't even be considered as playable options, so there would be even more noise than usual in their data.
|Salary||#||Avg Val||Median Val||Under 1x||1-1.5x||1.5-2x||2x-3x||3x+||Cash (2x+)|
The sweet spot for WR value has been the $8,000-$8,400 range. This makes sense, as these WRs will go on to have great games and then be priced up to $8,500-plus, and vice-versa. Remember, the majority of WRs don't score TDs in even half of their games, so a stud coming off a big game where he scored a TD can be enough to vault him up a pricing tier, at which point he will tend to become slightly overvalued since TDs are very volatile and difficult to truly predict, but are crucial for FanDuel points because the site has de-emphasized receptions (0.5 PPR) and yardage (no yardage bonuses).
The great games that vault WRs into the high $8,000's and the $9,000 price range are usually (but not always) outliers, which by definition are markedly different in value from others in the sample. You don't want to pay "outlier" price but receive an "others in the sample" result, so be extra careful when paying for the most expensive WRs, especially in cash games.
Sometimes other users will hesitate to play studs coming off one or multiple bad games (recency bias), making playing studs that have dropped in price even more valuable. To find unrealized TD potential, look for WRs who receive a high market share of their team's red zone targets.
There hasn't been a marked difference between WRs in the $6,000-$6,400 range and those up to $1,000 higher. WRs in this range have hit 2x value and have a higher average and median value than WRs up to $1,000 more expensive.
Even with discounted prices, WRs in the lower pricing tiers have trouble reaching 3x value (the multiplier necessary to reach a total score of 180+ and take down a large tournament). This reinforces the notion that I discussed this preseason: it is better to pay up for WRs in tournaments. Aside from the $7,000-$7,400 salary range (more on them below), there has not been a huge dropoff in the rate at which WRs in different pricing tiers hit 2x cash game value.
|Salary||#||Avg Score||Median Score||0-5||5-10||10-15||15-20||20-25||25-30||30+||15+|
Here again, we see that WRs in the $6,000-$6,400 range have been outscoring their counterparts priced up to $1,000 higher. We can also see that WRs priced at $7,500 and above had had significantly more scoring upside.
Two-thirds of WRs $7,000-$7,400 range have produced single digit fantasy points. Players priced in this price range tend to "bust" more than average because the tier largely consists of more volatile players who are usually priced in the $6,000s, but were priced up after a good game or games. In fact, of 24 different WRs that made up this category, only one--Brandon Marshall--had his price fall from the $8,000s. DeSean Jackson is the only other WR in the group that has gone on to perform well enough after reaching the $7,000-$7,400 tier to hit the $8,000s. Everyone else has spent the majority of weeks hovering below this tier rather than above it.
In the future, I will compile data for all the positions, so that the findings above can be put into context. For example, we'll be able to compare how often WRs at a certain pricing tier hit cash game value as opposed to RBs in that same tier, and much more.
Editor's Note: You can get a free year of 4for4 by opening a new account and depositing at DraftKings, DraftDay or FanDuel. Details here.
Values & Top Plays
QB Andrew Luck vs. JAC $10,300
In late November, weather can start to become a concern for passing games, but Luck gets to play one of the league’s worst teams indoors. He’s thrown for 300 yards in nine of ten games so far, and had three passing TDs in the one game he didn’t. The Jaguars defense has allowed the fifth-most total yardage per game, and Andrew Luck has accounted for 80 percent of the Colts’ league-leading total yardage in 2014. He’s projected to score three more points than any other player on the slate.
QB Colin Kaepernick vs. WAS $7,300
Kaep’ has been underwhelmingly consistent: between 192 and 248 passing yards in nine out of ten games, with at least one passing TD in each game, but more than two just once. We should embrace these numbers with him, because they have brought his price down to QB19, making him the top QB on our FanDuel Value Reports. Washington ranks dead last in QB aFPA, with a 20:3 TD:Interception ratio allowed.
The Redskins defense has been vulnerable to the exact things that give Kaepernick his upside: deep passes and rushing. Over the last two games, opposing passers have thrown 15 deep (20+ yard) passes against Washington, resulting in 240 yards and three TDs. The Skins also had trouble containing the only other mobile QB they faced this season, allowing Russell Wilson to romp for 122 rushing yards on 11 carries in Week 5.