FanDuel Defense/Special Teams & Kicker Pricing & Performance Review

FanDuel Defense/Special Teams & Kicker Pricing & Performance Review

By Chris Raybon (Senior Daily Fantasy Expert), last update Sep 6, 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 analyzing 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 daily fantasy salary in 2014. Over the past few weeks, I have been 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: QBRBWRTE, D/ST

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

 

FanDuel D/ST & Kicker Value vs. Other Positions

Defense/special teams and kickers will conclude the FanDuel pricing and performance reviews. I've combined these two positions because they fall in the same salary range and you'll usually be choosing between paying up for either one or the other. Table 1 below shows the average value1 returned in 2014 by defense/special teams and kickers compared to other positions2:

Table 1: Average FanDuel Value Per Game Returned by Salary Range & Position, 2014
Salary QB Avg RB Avg WR Avg TE Avg K Avg D/ST Avg
$10,000 + 2.13          
$9,500-$9,900 2.08 1.73        
$9,000-$9,400 2.28 2.00 1.83      
$8,500-$8,900 1.89 1.90 1.80 0.93    
$8,000-$8,400 2.17 1.75 1.82 1.91    
$7,500-$7,900 2.31 1.61 1.64 1.41    
$7,000-$7,400 1.99 1.40 1.34 2.03    
$6,500-$6,900 2.02 1.45 1.45 1.38    
$6,000-$6,400 2.27 1.50 1.53 1.26    
$5,500-$5,900 2.80 1.21 1.44 1.42 1.42 1.29
$5,000-$5,400 2.61 1.19 1.23 1.05 1.66 1.66
$4,500-$4,900   0.82 1.02 0.77 1.63 1.46

Kickers provided a better value multiplier than defense/special teams overall, which was heavily influenced by the fact kickers can't score negative points, but defenses can (which brings their average value multiplier down). Kickers tend to provide consistent value overall because their floors aren't in the negatives, but defense/special teams actually hit value more in many spots, as you'll see in the next section.

 

FanDuel D/ST & Kicker Cash Game Value

As I alluded to above, looking at average value per game is a solid starting point, but doesn't necessarily paint a clear picture of the risk/reward involved with a roster selection. Instead, it is helpful to know what percentage of the time selections "hit value". The  percentage of the time defense/special teams and kickers returned at least 2x (cash game) value is shown below (Table 2).

Table 2: % of Time Reaching 2x Value on FanDuel by Salary & Position, 2014
  QB 2x % RB 2x % WR 2x % TE 2x % K 2x % D/ST 2x %
$10,000 + 67%          
$9,500-$9,900 55% 43%        
$9,000-$9,400 67% 53% 32%      
$8,500-$8,900 38% 44% 40% 0%    
$8,000-$8,400 58% 35% 37% 40%    
$7,500-$7,900 57% 29% 30% 29%    
$7,000-$7,400 51% 24% 22% 54%    
$6,500-$6,900 58% 29% 30% 29%    
$6,000-$6,400 63% 25% 30% 26%    
$5,500-$5,900 76% 17% 28% 23% 9% 28%
$5,000-$5,400 63% 19% 20% 17% 32% 37%
$4,500-$4,900   10% 15% 9% 32% 29%

The fact D/ST bested kicker in the $5,000-$5,400 range was surprising. Volatility metrics would lead one to believe kickers -- who are much more consistent than defense/special teams in terms of CV -- would have the edge here, while defense/special teams would have the edge on kickers in tournaments (they do, which I'll discuss in the next section). However, kickers were consistent in a slightly different way than I originally thought: their likelihood of hitting 2x value was the same regardless of pricing tier (excluding the $5,500-$5,900 tier, where the sample size was only 11). 

 

FanDuel D/ST and Kicker Tournament Value

Table 3 below shows how often defense/special teams and kickers hit 3x (tournament) value compared to the other positions:

Table 3: % of Time Reaching 3x Value on FanDuel by Salary & Position, 2014
  QB 3x% RB 3x% WR 3x% TE 3x% K 3x% D/ST 3x%
$10,000 + 13%          
$9,500-$9,900 17% 0%        
$9,000-$9,400 25% 13% 18%      
$8,500-$8,900 11% 12% 15% 0%    
$8,000-$8,400 30% 16% 16% 10%    
$7,500-$7,900 19% 14% 11% 5%    
$7,000-$7,400 16% 7% 6% 15%    
$6,500-$6,900 14% 6% 9% 7%    
$6,000-$6,400 22% 12% 11% 7%    
$5,500-$5,900 53% 5% 8% 9% 0% 10%
$5,000-$5,400 32% 8% 6% 6% 9% 15%
$4,500-$4,900   4% 6% 4% 10% 12%

During previous research3, I came across the fact the top 10 FanDuel scores for D/ST were 46 percent higher than the top ten FanDuel scores for kickers in 2014, so it is no surprise D/ST had a strong likelihood to hit value. It is important not to overlook your D/ST in tournaments; for pointers on how to make optimal selections, check out this article.

 

Individual Defense/Special Teams Performance vs. FanDuel Salary Cap

Below is a list of the average value returned of all defense/special teams in 2014 (Table 5).

Table 5: FanDuel D/ST Stats, 2014
Rk D/ST Avg. Value Avg. FDP Avg. Salary
1 Philadelphia Defense 2.11 10.88 $5,163
2 Buffalo Defense 2.08 10.44 $5,044
3 St. Louis Defense 2.07 10.19 $4,913
4 Houston Defense 2.06 10.44 $5,100
5 Green Bay Defense 1.97 9.56 $4,931
6 Baltimore Defense 1.76 8.88 $5,063
7 Cleveland Defense 1.71 8.19 $4,831
8 Arizona Defense 1.70 8.94 $5,244
9 Detroit Defense 1.67 8.31 $5,000
10 New England Defense 1.66 8.63 $5,250
11 Seattle Defense 1.64 8.81 $5,381
12 Jacksonville Defense 1.63 7.44 $4,550
13 Miami Defense 1.63 8.38 $5,031
14 San Francisco Defense 1.62 8.50 $5,294
15 Dallas Defense 1.60 7.63 $4,744
16 Carolina Defense 1.54 7.63 $5,056
17 Minnesota Defense 1.54 7.38 $4,856
18 Indianapolis Defense 1.54 8.19 $5,244
19 Pittsburgh Defense 1.52 7.50 $4,925
20 Denver Defense 1.49 7.44 $5,031
21 Kansas City Defense 1.49 7.38 $5,019
22 Atlanta Defense 1.44 6.63 $4,625
23 New York Giants Defense 1.44 7.13 $4,894
24 Tampa Bay Defense 1.41 6.56 $4,706
25 Chicago Defense 1.38 6.63 $4,825
26 Cincinnati Defense 1.37 6.81 $5,050
27 San Diego Defense 1.24 6.25 $5,019
28 New York Jets Defense 1.04 4.88 $4,681
29 Tennessee Defense 1.03 5.00 $4,775
30 Washington Defense 1.00 4.69 $4,663
31 New Orleans Defense 0.96 4.38 $4,644
32 Oakland Defense 0.77 3.50 $4,531

Similarly to DraftKings, the Seahawks couldn't quite overcome their league-high average FanDuel salary to finish in the top 10. All the of the top six teams had an average salary between $4,900 and $5,200. Teams with an average salary of above $5,200 had a higher floor of outcomes (none finished below 18th), but had a lower ceiling of outcomes (none finished higher than eighth). 

 

Individual Kicker Performance vs. FanDuel Salary Cap

Below is a list of the average value returned of all kickers in 2014 (Table 6).

Table 6: FanDuel K Stats, 2014
Rk K Team Avg. Value Avg. FDP Avg. Salary
1 Barth, Connor den 2.48 12.00 $4,850
2 Parkey, Cody phi 2.00 10.13 $5,100
3 Gostkowski, Stephen nwe 1.97 10.63 $5,400
4 Carpenter, Dan buf 1.93 9.50 $4,975
5 Bryant, Matt atl 1.90 9.31 $4,988
6 Bullock, Randy hou 1.86 9.06 $4,906
7 Crosby, Mason gnb 1.86 9.19 $4,975
8 Suisham, Shaun pit 1.84 9.00 $4,888
9 Vinatieri, Adam ind 1.84 9.56 $5,225
10 Bailey, Dan dal 1.77 9.31 $5,256
11 Prater, Matt det 1.77 8.90 $5,060
12 Sturgis, Caleb mia 1.77 8.75 $4,975
13 Folk, Nick nyj 1.76 8.38 $4,763
14 Hauschka, Steven sea 1.76 9.19 $5,225
15 Tucker, Justin bal 1.72 8.81 $5,138
16 Cundiff, Billy cle 1.67 7.77 $4,654
17 Brown, Josh nyg 1.66 8.00 $4,856
18 Gano, Graham car 1.64 8.25 $5,044
19 Catanzaro, Chandler ari 1.63 8.00 $4,900
20 Santos, Cairo kan 1.63 7.63 $4,713
21 Nugent, Mike cin 1.61 7.94 $4,981
22 Walsh, Blair min 1.57 7.75 $4,938
23 Zuerlein, Greg stl 1.57 7.38 $4,775
24 Dawson, Phil sfo 1.55 7.81 $5,050
25 Novak, Nick sdg 1.46 7.25 $4,950
26 Graham, Shayne nor 1.45 6.75 $4,656
27 Forbath, Kai was 1.44 6.88 $4,769
28 Murray, Patrick tam 1.44 6.69 $4,638
29 Hartley, Garrett cle 1.33 6.00 $4,500
30 Janikowski, Sebastian oak 1.32 6.25 $4,756
31 McManus, Brandon den 1.31 6.36 $4,855
32 Scobee, Josh jac 1.31 6.00 $4,606
33 Succop, Ryan ten 1.24 5.81 $4,713
34 Freese, Nate det 1.11 5.00 $4,500
35 Gould, Robbie chi 1.05 4.83 $4,617
36 Feely, Jay chi 0.96 4.33 $4,500
37 Henery, Alex det 0.42 2.00 $4,800

Table 6 does a great job of illustrating just how important game script is to a kicker's success. The top 10 kickers in terms of average value contains only one losing team (the 6-10 Falcons), and the average amount of losses for top 10 kickers was 5.6. Kickers benefit when their teams are in positive game script; if a team is leading, it is scoring (and kickers take part in nearly every scoring play). Also, if a team is in negative game script, a coach may be forced to leave his kick on the sideline when a field goal opportunity presents itself, opting instead to try to cut into the deficit with a touchdown.

Editors Note: Liked this article? You can also check out the Daily Fantasy Playbook 2015 series here (Links will be updated as they become available): QBRBWRTE, K, D/ST  


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 defense/special teams, 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
Salary QB  RB  WR  TE  D/ST 
$10,000 + 24          
$9,500-$9,900 29 7        
$9,000-$9,400 24 40 34      
$8,500-$8,900 47 50 78 2    
$8,000-$8,400 79 37 73 10    
$7,500-$7,900 81 49 61 21    
$7,000-$7,400 67 71 97 13    
$6,500-$6,900 80 121 175 14    
$6,000-$6,400 46 130 236 43    
$5,500-$5,900 17 133 172 79 11 29
$5,000-$5,400 19 162 287 223 205 207
$4,500-$4,900   532 623 575 291 276
 

3. http://www.4for4.com/fantasy-football/2015/preseason/daily-fantasy-playbook-2015-kicker-strategy   

Filed Under:
Preseason
,
2015

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