FanDuel Wide Receiver Pricing & Performance Review
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 salary 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.
Editors Note: If you open a new account with FanDuel with a minimum $10 deposit, you’ll receive a free one-year subscription to 4for4! Details here.
FanDuel Wide Receiver Value vs. Other Positions
|Salary||QB Avg||RB Avg||WR Avg||TE Avg||K Avg||D/ST Avg|
Wide receivers returned less value per dollar than quarterbacks at every single price point on FanDuel, which highlights the relative inconsistency of wide receivers compared to quarterbacks.
Wide receivers also offered less of a return on investment than running backs at price points above $8,500. Throughout the middle tiers ($6,000-$8,400), however, returns on wide receivers closely mirrored that of running backs. Once salaries dipped under $6,000, wide receivers started to return more value than running backs because many receivers in these tiers are starters, while backs in these tiers tend to not see a full compliment of snaps.
FanDuel Wide Receiver Cash Game Value
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's helpful to know what percentage of the time a player "hit value". First, lets take a look at what percentage of the time wide receivers returned at least 2x (cash game) value:
|QB 2x %||RB 2x %||WR 2x %||TE 2x %||K 2x %||D/ST 2x %|
Wide receivers were the riskiest position to spend $9,000 or more on in FanDuel cash games last season. As I've discussed here, FanDuel's 0.5 point-per-reception format causes wide receivers to be more inconsistent than they would be on full point-per-reception formats. Receptions are the most consistent fantasy stat3 for wide receivers
Below $6,500, it can again be seen that a larger percentage of wide receivers hit 2x value than running backs, because the receivers tend to be starters who play more snaps than RBs, who are often part of a committee if they are in that price range. In the $5,000-$6,400 price range, 26 percent (178 of 695) of wide receivers hit 2x value, compared to only 17 percent (93 of 525) of running backs.
FanDuel Wide Receiver Tournament Value
Table 3 below shows how often wide receivers hit 3x (tournament) value compared to the other positions:
|QB 3x%||RB 3x%||WR 3x%||TE 3x%||K 3x%||D/ST 3x%|
Because most of the cheap value plays get drowned out by the large overall sample, let's focus on the top tiers of pricing. When comparing wide receivers to running backs in the $8,500-plus pricing tiers, the data is consistent with previous research4 I've done which shows that stud wide receivers tend to have more upside than stud running backs. When priced $8,500 and above, 16 percent (18 of 112) of wide receivers hit 3x value, but only 11 percent (11 of 97) of running backs hit 3x value.
Individual Wide Receiver Performance vs. FanDuel Salary Cap
Finally, here is a list of the average value returned of all wide receivers in 2014 (minimum six games played, 6 FDP/Game):
|Rk||WR||Avg. Value||Avg. FDP||Avg. Salary||Games|
|1||Beckham Jr., Odell||2.72||20.79||$7,442||12|
The first thing that jumps out is that strong quarterback play doesn't discriminate; there are four pairs of teammates in the top-16 in average value per game: Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant (Steelers), Brandon LaFell and Julian Edelman (Patriots), Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders (Broncos), and Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb (Packers).
Fifty percent of the top-16 wide receiver values came from only four teams, which is why I don't recommend avoiding stacks in cash games if the players involved independently fit the framework of good value plays. There's going to be a limited supply of good passing days by teams each week, and by avoiding one player just because you rostered another, you'll be unnecessarily limiting your exposure to those good passing days.
The correlation coefficient between average value and average salary was 0.33, indicating a a relationship exists: as salary increases, average value per game increases. All wide receivers who had an average salary of $8,000 or more finished in the top-16 in average value, except A.J. Green and Calvin Johnson, who, due to injury, were both used as decoys in multiple games.
It's also noteworthy that three rookies were in the top-six, and six rookies were in the top-22. FanDuel's pricing was relatively tight last season, but they still weren't able to adjust many rookie wide receiver prices up fast enough, allowing users to ride the same rookies for multiple weeks before prices caught up. Keep an eye out for similar opportunities in 2015.
1. Value = Fantasy points per one thousand salary dollars, or [fantasy points/ [salary / 1,000].
2. The 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.
3. Out of receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns, receptions are the most consistent stat on a weekly basis (consistency measured by coefficient of variation).
4. "Daily Fantasy Playbook 2015: Wide Receiver Strategy." Figure 2: Who Has a Higher Ceiling; WRs or RBs?