DraftKings Wide Receiver Pricing & Performance Review

DraftKings Wide Receiver Pricing & Performance Review

By Chris Raybon (Senior Daily Fantasy Expert), last update Sep 3, 2015

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Chris Raybon is the Senior Daily Fantasy Editor at 4for4 Fantasy Football.

Follow Chris Raybon on Twitter: @ChrisRaybon.

The salary cap influences every decision you make in daily fantasy, yet there hasn't been much big-picture research done that analyzes player performance relative to the cap. For every cap dollar you spend, what is the return on investment? Do returns vary based on position, price point or even individual player?

I compiled data on how every player performed relative to their FanDuel and DraftKings salaries in 2014. In the coming weeks, I will be taking a position-by-position look at player performance relative to the FanDuel and DraftKings salary caps. Links to each report can be found below as they become available.

FanDuel Pricing & Performance Reviews: QBRBWRTE, K, D/ST

DraftKings Pricing & Performance Reviews: QBRBWR, TE, D/ST

Editors Note: If you open a new account with DraftKings with a minimum $10 deposit, you’ll receive a free one-year subscription to 4for4! Details here.

 

DraftKings Wide Receiver Value vs. Other Positions

Table 1 below shows the average value1 returned in 2014 by wide receivers compared to other positions2:

Table 1: Average DraftKings Value Per Game Returned by Salary Range & Position, 2014
Salary QB Avg RB Avg WR Avg TE Avg D/ST Avg
$10,000 + 2.65 1.87      
$9,500-$9,900 2.46 2.26 3.16    
$9,000-$9,400 2.67 2.21 2.93    
$8,500-$8,900 2.20 2.65 2.26    
$8,000-$8,400 2.38 2.77 2.39 2.13  
$7,500-$7,900 2.47 2.44 2.53 2.25  
$7,000-$7,400 2.49 2.55 2.60 2.24  
$6,500-$6,900 2.64 2.77 2.24 2.06  
$6,000-$6,400 2.80 2.24 2.25 1.48  
$5,500-$5,900 2.56 2.03 2.44 2.25  
$5,000-$5,400 2.85 2.41 2.34 2.40  
$4,500-$4,900   2.43 2.61 2.43  
$4,000-$4,400   2.10 2.40 1.98 1.64
$3,500-$3,900   2.04 2.37 2.41 2.00
$3,000-$3,400   1.61 1.98 1.84 2.87
$2,500-$2,900         2.48
$2,000-$2,400         3.05
<= $1,900         2.43

Unlike FanDuel,the most expensive wide receivers on DraftKings returned great value -- albeit in a small sample size (only nine times was a receiver priced $9,000 or higher all season).

Under $5,000, wide receivers returned more value than any other position, especially running backs. There's value to be had in cheap wide receivers because they tend to play more snaps than running backs in the lower tiers of pricing (barring injury to starter). The full point-per-reception format of DraftKings causes receiving targets to be worth over three times more than running back carries3.

 

DraftKings Wide Receivers Cash Game Value

The percentage of time a player "hit value" is a good way to measure player consistency versus the salary cap. Since you generally need to score around 150 points on DraftKings to win cash games, I calculated the percentage of time players hit 3x value. The results are shown in Table 2 below.  

Table 2: % of Time Reaching 3x Value on DraftKings by Salary & Position, 2014
  QB 3x % RB 3x % WR 3x % TE 3x % D/ST 3x %
$10,000 33% 0%      
$9,500-$9,900 25% 14% 67%    
$9,000-$9,400 45% 25% 50%    
$8,500-$8,900 13% 28% 19%    
$8,000-$8,400 29% 36% 33% 0%  
$7,500-$7,900 29% 42% 36% 14%  
$7,000-$7,400 34% 31% 39% 29%  
$6,500-$6,900 39% 41% 24% 36%  
$6,000-$6,400 39% 25% 29% 9%  
$5,500-$5,900 37% 21% 33% 24%  
$5,000-$5,400 44% 26% 28% 31%  
$4,500-$4,900   35% 35% 39%  
$4,000-$4,400   22% 31% 19% 25%
$3,500-$3,900   26% 32% 32% 23%
$3,000-$3,400   16% 23% 19% 44%
$2,500-$2,900         36%
$2,000-$2,400         49%
<= $1,900         33%

Table 2 highlights another distinction between DraftKings and FanDuel. On FanDuel, quarterbacks have a clear edge over wide receivers in cash game value at the higher pricing tiers, but the opposite is true on DraftKings. Wide receivers $7,000 and above hit 3x value a higher percentage of the time than quarterbacks at each and every $5,000 increment. 

 

DraftKings Wide Receiver Tournament Value

Table 3 below displays how often players hit 4x value on DraftKings in 2014. 

Table 3: % of Time Reaching 4x Value on DraftKings by Salary & Position, 2014
  QB 4x % RB 4x % WR 4x % TE 4x % D/ST 4x %
$10,000 + 0% 0%      
$9,500-$9,900 0% 0% 33%    
$9,000-$9,400 5% 13% 17%    
$8,500-$8,900 0% 17% 14%    
$8,000-$8,400 0% 9% 17% 0%  
$7,500-$7,900 10% 4% 14% 0%  
$7,000-$7,400 11% 19% 24% 14%  
$6,500-$6,900 7% 26% 11% 0%  
$6,000-$6,400 17% 8% 17% 0%  
$5,500-$5,900 11% 10% 16% 14%  
$5,000-$5,400 18% 12% 14% 27%  
$4,500-$4,900   18% 20% 22%  
$4,000-$4,400   12% 19% 9% 0%
$3,500-$3,900   12% 14% 21% 16%
$3,000-$3,400   8% 13% 9% 25%
$2,500-$2,900         24%
$2,000-$2,400         30%
<= $1,900         33%

Similarly to FanDuel, wide receivers at the higher price points outpace their peers at other positions in the percentage of time they hit tournament value. Wide receivers $7,000 and above hit 4x value 27 of 154 times (18 percent), compared to 12 of 102 times for running backs (12 percent), and 12 of 203 times for quarterbacks (six percent).

The fact that wide receivers in the upper pricing tiers returned the best value in both cash games and tournaments relative to other positions suggests DraftKings tended to undervalue the top wide receivers in 2014. It's not a guarantee this trend continues -- they've had all offseason to modify their salary algorithm -- but it's something to keep in mind for 2015.

While 4x value will usually leave you in the money in a tournament, it took an average score of around 250 to take down a Millionaire Maker. Table 4 below shows how often players hit 5x value.

Table 4: % of Time Reaching 5x Value on DraftKings by Salary & Position, 2014
  QB 5x % RB 5x % WR 5x % TE 5x % D/ST 5x %
$10,000 + 0% 0%      
$9,500-$9,900 0% 0% 0%    
$9,000-$9,400 0% 13% 0%    
$8,500-$8,900 0% 0% 0%    
$8,000-$8,400 0% 9% 10% 0%  
$7,500-$7,900 2% 0% 2% 0%  
$7,000-$7,400 6% 0% 8% 14%  
$6,500-$6,900 6% 9% 4% 0%  
$6,000-$6,400 6% 6% 7% 0%  
$5,500-$5,900 2% 3% 7% 7%  
$5,000-$5,400 7% 6% 7% 8%  
$4,500-$4,900   6% 11% 7%  
$4,000-$4,400   8% 10% 4% 0%
$3,500-$3,900   8% 8% 10% 6%
$3,000-$3,400   5% 7% 6% 15%
$2,500-$2,900         13%
$2,000-$2,400         19%
<= $1,900         33%

Hitting 5x value is a very rare feat regardless of the position, so not too much can be gleaned from the table above. The one thing that jumps out is wide receivers in the $4,000-$4,900 tier returned 5x value 37 of 344 times (11 percent), significantly higher than running backs (16 of 224, 7 percent) and tight ends (5 of 95, 5 percent). The data suggests wide receivers have the edge when deciding on your flex slot.

It's also worth noting that wide receiver is the best position to go contrarian. There were 139 different wide receivers that hit 5x value in 2014, far outpacing the 75 running backs, 52 tight ends, and 20 quarterbacks. Cat-skinners will tell you there is more than one way to do so, and the same is true at finding 5x value at wide receiver in a given week: 8.1 wide receivers per week hit 5x value, compared to 4.4 running backs, 3.1 tight ends, and 1.2 quarterbacks.

 

Individual Wide Receiver Performance vs. DraftKings Salary Cap

A list of the average value returned of all wide receivers in 2014 (minimum six games played, 10 DKP/Game) is shown below in Table 5.

Table 5: DraftKings WR Stats, 2014 (Min. 6 Games, 10 DKP/Game)
Rk WR Avg. Value Avg. DKP Avg. Salary Games
1 Beckham Jr., Odell 4.24 26.42 $6,200 12
2 LaFell, Brandon 3.22 14.51 $4,740 15
3 Brown, Antonio 3.15 25.81 $8,238 16
4 Bryant, Martavis 3.14 13.79 $4,744 9
5 Evans, Mike 3.10 16.94 $5,613 15
6 Sanders, Emmanuel 3.08 20.18 $6,850 16
7 Royal, Eddie 3.05 11.58 $3,931 16
8 Landry, Jarvis 3.02 12.36 $4,213 15
9 Matthews, Jordan 3.01 13.20 $4,531 16
10 Robinson, Allen 3.01 11.68 $3,900 10
11 Woods, Robert 2.95 10.56 $3,769 16
12 Smith, Steve 2.94 14.53 $5,156 16
13 Hopkins, DeAndre 2.94 15.25 $5,381 16
14 Cooks, Brandin 2.92 13.93 $4,960 10
15 Tate, Golden 2.91 17.13 $6,094 16
16 Hurns, Allen 2.91 10.04 $3,788 16
17 Edelman, Julian 2.90 16.54 $5,829 14
18 Stills, Kenny 2.89 11.99 $4,387 15
19 Nelson, Jordy 2.86 21.81 $7,788 16
20 White, Roddy 2.86 15.65 $5,657 14
21 Douglas, Harry 2.85 10.55 $3,850 12
22 Thomas, Demaryius 2.84 23.18 $8,213 16
23 Benjamin, Kelvin 2.82 14.74 $5,606 16
24 Hilton, T.Y. 2.82 18.50 $6,773 15
25 Jones, Julio 2.81 21.29 $7,607 15
26 Maclin, Jeremy 2.79 18.05 $6,669 16
27 Jackson, DeSean 2.79 15.17 $5,733 15
28 Floyd, Malcom 2.79 11.04 $4,044 16
29 Decker, Eric 2.78 13.75 $5,013 15
30 Randle, Rueben 2.77 11.99 $4,513 16
31 Cobb, Randall 2.76 19.40 $7,131 16
32 Boldin, Anquan 2.75 13.91 $5,138 16
33 Baldwin, Doug 2.72 10.83 $4,113 16
34 Bryant, Dez 2.72 20.50 $7,625 16
35 Watkins, Sammy 2.66 13.19 $5,294 16
36 Jones, James 2.65 11.10 $4,294 16
37 Jennings, Greg 2.63 10.58 $4,169 16
38 Smith, Torrey 2.62 11.98 $4,775 16
39 Floyd, Michael 2.61 10.96 $4,475 16
40 Jeffery, Alshon 2.55 16.91 $6,763 16
41 Allen, Keenan 2.53 13.31 $5,586 14
42 Wallace, Mike 2.52 13.55 $5,431 16
43 Wright, Kendall 2.52 12.28 $5,000 14
44 Hawkins, Andrew 2.50 10.80 $4,320 15
45 Johnson, Andre 2.45 13.11 $5,513 15
46 Colston, Marques 2.44 11.51 $4,806 16
47 Quick, Brian 2.40 11.50 $5,100 7
48 Sanu, Mohamed 2.36 11.58 $5,025 16
49 Green, A.J. 2.34 17.10 $7,454 13
50 Johnson, Calvin 2.26 18.59 $8,431 13
51 Jackson, Vincent 2.23 11.89 $5,388 16
52 Fitzgerald, Larry 2.23 11.31 $5,321 14
53 Marshall, Brandon 2.18 14.32 $6,869 13
54 Harvin, Percy 2.10 10.50 $5,177 13
55 Wayne, Reggie 2.08 10.39 $5,013 15
56 Crabtree, Michael 2.05 10.14 $5,031 16
57 Garcon, Pierre 1.99 10.26 $5,244 16
58 Cruz, Victor 1.95 11.45 $5,983 6

Sixty percent of the top-10 wide receivers in terms of average value returned were rookies. Two more were players that changed teams before 2014 (Brandon LaFell, Emmanuel Sanders). Two more team-changers (Steve Smith, Golden Tate) and another rookie (Brandin Cooks) help round out the top 15. This suggests that DraftKings had trouble adjusting pricing for wide receivers in new situations, another thing to keep an eye on and take advantage of in 2015.


Footnotes

1Value = Fantasy points per one thousand salary dollars, or [fantasy points/ [salary / 1,000].

2The sample size is in Appendix 1 below. For quarterbacks, only starts were used. For running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends, the challenge was eliminating minimum-priced players from the sample who wouldn't have been considered as fantasy starters, such as fullbacks or wide receivers who played only on special teams. Ultimately, I settled on removing all players at the minimum price who registered zero points. This method isn't perfect, as some players who wouldn't have been considered viable at minimum price remain if they registered any stats, but it was the most consistent way to eliminate many of the irrelevant data points at minimum salary while keeping the research process sane.

Appendix 1: Sample Size
  QB  RB  WR  TE  D/ST 
$10,000 + 3 2      
$9,500-$9,900 12 7 3    
$9,000-$9,400 20 8 6    
$8,500-$8,900 24 18 21    
$8,000-$8,400 42 11 42 2  
$7,500-$7,900 49 24 44 7  
$7,000-$7,400 53 32 38 7  
$6,500-$6,900 69 34 45 11  
$6,000-$6,400 69 48 84 11  
$5,500-$5,900 82 63 117 29  
$5,000-$5,400 89 84 127 126  
$4,500-$4,900   113 172 41  
$4,000-$4,400   111 172 54 8
$3,500-$3,900   98 170 77 31
$3,000-$3,400   764 799 606 209
$2,500-$2,900         214
$2,000-$2,400         47
<= $1,900         3

3. Calculated using league-wide stats during 2014. Receiving targets included all targets, not just those by wide receivers. Since running backs and tight ends tend to see shorter targets, the discrepancy between how much a wide receivers target and a running back carry may be even greater than stated.

Filed Under:
Preseason
,
2015

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