DraftKings Week 9 Values and Top Plays

DraftKings Week 9 Values and Top Plays

By Jonathan Bales (Daily Fantasy Expert), last update Oct 30, 2014

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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.

I played my first couple nights of daily fantasy basketball on DraftKings on Tuesday and Wednesday. I lost almost everything I played on Tuesday and then gained it back on Wednesday. It’s been pretty awesome, but I’m so –EV right now it isn’t even funny. Absolutely no idea what I’m doing, but I’m just playing relatively low stakes as a test to see where I immediately stand and how much work I’d need to put in to maybe get to a point to take it more seriously.

But the first two nights have been really awesome because they’ve forced me to repeat the initial process of jumping into a daily fantasy sport when I don’t know very much about what the hell I’m doing. The basis of my NBA research routine is similar to what I do for NFL (I’d tell you what that is, but then I’d have to have Josh Moore kill you, and I honestly don’t think he’d be a great murderer).

The difference, though, is that I don’t really know much about the players in the NBA. I’m a casual fan and I know who most of them are, but the names don’t really mean anything to me in the same way that “Odell Beckham” translates to “Won’t Ever Score Two Touchdowns in a Game Again.”

Because I don’t know the players or schemes, the game has been purely mathematical for me at this point. I run the numbers that I have and then I pick players based on those numbers. I don’t think that’s the best way to do things, but it’s the only path that I can take right now until I have a more nuanced understanding of the game.

The opposite of this completely analytical approach is of course more of an instinctual, gut-based strategy. Sometimes these two methods are separated into a distinct dichotomy and labeled as opposites. “Are you data-driven or a feel player?” is a question we hear a lot, and by ‘we’ I mean ‘me’ because I don’t have a real job.

However, I think the instinct/analytics contrast inhabits more of a range, and some people might be located on one end more than others. Some pros who come to mind as examples are headchopper (mostly instinct), CSURAM88 (combination), and dinkpiece (mostly analytical).

I don’t think there’s one “right” approach to playing daily fantasy sports because different people have different strengths. However, we all have a pretty advanced understanding of the NFL (if not daily fantasy football), and I think it’s important to sometimes step back and try to remove ourselves from all of the narratives that we run into each week. We all have biases—that’s just inevitable—but that’s why we use the DraftKings Value Report or any type of analytics to find value.

As much as we think we know about the game, sometimes it’s best to go back to the basics, forget about the players’ names and what we think we know about them, and just look at the math. We don’t need to blindly follow the data by any means—there’s always room for subjectivity—but if there’s anything an advanced daily fantasy player can learn from a novice, it’s to remember that we were all once beginners searching for the best way to do things, and we should always be open to finding alternate paths that we can take to success. Most of us have gone done one path or another, but getting back to the basics allows you to determine if you want to continue down that same path in the future.

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DraftKings Week 9 Value Plays

High QB: Tom Brady, New England vs Denver, $8400

Brady is the third-most expensive quarterback in Week 9 and he’s still $1600 behind Andrew Luck. The difference between Brady and Luck is the same as that between Brady and the next eight quarterbacks.

The Broncos have allowed the 10th-most points to opposing quarterbacks, mainly because of game script, but I expect the Patriots to come out swinging in this one. Brady has between 35 and 37 attempts in the past four games and has averaged four touchdowns per game over the past three. This just seems like a really safe choice for cash games.


Low QB: Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco vs St. Louis, $7000

Kaepernick is a pretty obvious value at $7000, and I think he has a chance to be the most popular quarterback this week on DraftKings. The Rams have been horrible against the pass this year; they actually allowed 343 yards and three touchdowns to Kaepernick in Week 6.

I think Kaepernick is a decent tournament fade, for a couple reasons. The first is expected high usage with the matchup and how Kaepernick burned the Rams a few weeks ago. Another reason is that I don’t believe Kaepernick has elite upside, even with his rushing ability. Other than that Rams game, he doesn’t have more than 22 fantasy points in a game this season.


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