FanDuel Hindsight Week 16: Start Your Defense Against Aaron Rodgers
Welcome to FanDuel Hindsight, where we'll recap the previous week on FanDuel, focusing on the Sunday Million tournament. We'll use the benefit of hindsight to see what lessons can be learned about the Sunday Million winner's low-owned, difference-making plays, then check in on how the most popular plays of the week fared.
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FanDuel user onefifty9n2 capitalized on some great contrarian selections to win the Week 16 Sunday Million.
Onefifty9n2 combined two chalk plays (Williams and Robinson) with five players under 6% owned. There were a number of pairings from the same game, including Palmer-Cardinals, Hightower-Robinson, Marshall-Martin, and Tye-Walsh. There were five players who had multi-TD games in the lineup: Palmer, Williams, Hightower, Marshall, and the Cardinals.
Onefifty9n2's winning lineup was consistent with my findings that a QBs in winning Sunday Million lineups tend to have low ownership. However, Palmer wasn't a real difference-maker; Blake Bortles, for instance, was cheaper and scored over 30 points. However, no one with a Bortles-Robinson-Hurns stack also used the contrarian plays of Hightower, Marshall, and Cardinals, who finished first, second, and first in Week 16 scoring at their respective positions. Winning a GPP isn't usually about nailing the "perfect" lineup, it's about nailing enough of the week's top plays to create sufficient distance between you and the field. For example, the second place finisher was over four points behind the winning lineup. That is a large discrepancy in a 78,590-entrant GPP.
Let's analyze the difference-making plays in the winning lineup.
Why He Was Low-Owned: Hightower was more popular the previous week, but burned GPP investors with a relatively quiet game.
Hindsight Bias: HIghtower was slated to be the feature and goal line back on a Saints team that was a home favorite with a high team total (27.3).
Why He was Low-Owned: Marshall had struggled in his previous two meetings with defenses coached by Bill Belichick, who tends to have success limiting the opposition's top receiving option, which Marshall is for the Jets.
Hindsight Bias: Marshall has been one of the most heavily targeted WRs in the league in the red zone, so he is a threat to score regardless of matchup. Also, the Patriots were banged up at safety.
Why He Was Low-Owned: Walsh wasn't exactly low owned for a kicker, but he was certainly a difference-maker that wasn't necessarily a consensus top play.
D Arizona Cardinals
Why They Were Low-Owned: Facing Aaron Rodgers looked a lot tougher than facing any of the other QBs that highly owned defenses were going up against: Johnny Manziel (Chiefs), Case Keenum (Seahawks), Ryan Mallett (Steelers), and Zach Mettenberger (Texans).
Hindsight Bias: The Cardinals were a home favorite and Green Bay's offense has been sputtering. The Cardinals tend to force opponents into obvious passing situations because their offense is so potent. It's a bit surprising this defense was not more highly owned simply because it was a correlated play with the second highest owned player on the slate, David Johnson.
How Did the Most Highly Owned Plays of the Week Fare?
QB Blake Bortles 27.7% Owned, 31.22 Points
Bortles continued the trend of QBs putting up big numbers on the Saints' league-worst defense. He tallied 368 passing yards, 4 passing TDs, 5 rushing yards, and a 2-point conversion while throwing 2 interceptions in the process.
RB David Johnson 38.1% Owned, 20.2 Points
Johnson eclipsed 120 total yards for the fourth consecutive game. He posted only 39 rushing yards, but added in 88 receiving yards on 3 catches en route to 127 total yards and a TD.
RB DeAngelo Williams 24.9% Owned, 30.3 Points
Williams continues to put up similar numbers to the man he replaced. He reached the century mark on the ground and scored twice, and also added in 6 receptions for 53 yards through the air.
WR Antonio Brown 46.4% Owned, 9.6 Points
Brown was owned perhaps higher than he should have been due to recency bias from his destruction of the Broncos. Earlier in the week, I tweeted about Brown's home/road splits (both recently, and in his career), which stood out as red flags, especially given his high salary. The Steelers' passing game could not get going, and Brown finished with a disappointing 7-61 line.
WR Allen Robinson 33.9% Owned, 18.5 Points
Robinson continued his stellar season with a 6-151-1 line, capped with a 90-yard torching of Brandon Browner (who else?) for a TD.
WR Martavis Bryant 24.1% Owned, 1.5 Points
Bryant came into the game with nearly identical numbers to the Allen Robinson, but as I mentioned above, the Steelers passing offense could not get anything going. Bryant ended up with a dismal fantasy afternoon, catching one pass for six yards and adding in a four yard run.
TE Julius Thomas 19% Owned, 2.2 Points
In another surprising dud from a chalk play, Thomas was a non-factor against the Saints' 32nd ranked defense in TE aFPA. He saw only two targets -- catching both for 12 scoreless yards -- while Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson combined for 14 catches, 257 yards, and three TDs on 19 targets.
D Kansas City Chiefs 19.9% Owned, 8 Points
The Chiefs continued the trend of chalk defenses turning in average fantasy performances. They were not able to muster even one sack and only got one turnover en route to a close 17-13 victory.
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