DFS Tight End Strategy: DraftKings 2015 Year in Review

DFS Tight End Strategy: DraftKings 2015 Year in Review

By Chris Raybon (Senior Daily Fantasy Expert), on Aug 18, 2016

Chris Raybon's picture

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

Follow Chris Raybon on Twitter: @ChrisRaybon.

There aren't many expensive TEs to choose from each week, but that doesn't mean you should pay up for the security of an expensive one (read: Gronk). I will explain why in a few moments, but first I will break down the methodology I used to reach that conclusion.

I compiled some data on the performance of TEs relative to their DraftKings salary in 2015 to see what lessons we can learn going forward.

Salaries were broken down into $500 increments, then I calculated points scored per $1,000 of salary, percentage of time hitting cash game value, and percentage of time hitting tournament value. I also took a look at how each individual TE performed.

I ended up with a sample of 370 TE games from 2015 (every game where a TE had a salary and was projected for 7.0 DraftKings points or more by 4for4). The TE data will be compared across salary ranges and across positions.  

The data will be laid out below and followed with some key points, and then I'll sum up the actionable takeaways at the end of the article.

Note: The sample sizes for each salary tier can be found in the appendix at the end of the article.

 

Salary vs. Performance

Average DraftKings Value Per Game Returned by Salary Range & Position, 2015
Salary QB RB WR TE D/ST
$9,000+     2.28    
$8,500-$8,900 2.64 2.03 2.69    
$8,000-$8,400 2.86 1.93 2.28 2.83  
$7,500-$7,900 2.86 2.45 2.28 1.84  
$7,000-$7,400 2.73 2.11 2.37 2.47  
$6,500-$6,900 3.04 2.28 2.46 2.46  
$6,000-$6,400 3.09 2.16 2.55 2.05  
$5,500-$5,900 3.43 2.62 2.40 2.89  
$5,000-$5,400 3.22 2.61 2.49 2.16  
$4,500-$4,900   2.73 2.73 2.61  
$4,000-$4,400   2.86 2.50 2.93 2.04
$3,500-$3,900   2.75 3.46 2.75 2.82
$3,000-$3,400   3.28 3.40 3.05 2.62
$2,500-$2,900       2.95 2.66
$2,000-$2,400         2.86
  • The sample size for TEs $5,500 and above was small (just 44 total), but the sweet spot for TE value relative to other positions was in the $4,000-$4,900 salary range.

 

Cash Game Value

Scores needed to cash will vary weekly, but generally, if your lineup scores three points per $1,000, you'll score 150 points, which is usually good enough to place in a 50/50 league or win just over half of your head-to-heads.

Percentage of Time Reaching 3x Value on DraftKings by Salary & Position, 2015
Salary QB 3x % RB 3x % WR 3x % TE 3x % D/ST 3x %
$9,000+     30.4%    
$8,500-$8,900 20.0% 50.0% 43.3%    
$8,000-$8,400 40.0% 0.0% 27.8% 75.0%  
$7,500-$7,900 40.0% 36.4% 30.2% 0.0%  
$7,000-$7,400 37.0% 24.2% 29.2% 40.0%  
$6,500-$6,900 50.0% 22.2% 29.9% 28.6%  
$6,000-$6,400 52.8% 22.6% 35.2% 14.3%  
$5,500-$5,900 55.7% 30.4% 30.1% 50.0%  
$5,000-$5,400 53.0% 31.7% 29.5% 21.4%  
$4,500-$4,900   37.5% 40.8% 32.2%  
$4,000-$4,400   45.5% 31.4% 44.4% 25.0%
$3,500-$3,900   36.4% 50.6% 36.4% 41.2%
$3,000-$3,400   46.7% 48.1% 45.4% 35.3%
$2,500-$2,900       41.9% 37.6%
$2,000-$2,400         40.6%

Of the 142 TEs who hit 3x value:

  • the average spread was -0.50, the average over/under was 45.7, and the average team total was 23.1.
  • 57.0 percent were at home, 55.6 percent were favorites, and 38.7 percent had team totals of 24 and above.
  • the average receiving line was 5.9 receptions, 68.7 yards, and 0.8 TDs. 
  • 73.2 percent had at least five catches, 18.3 percent reached 100 yards (and the three-point bonus), and 64.7 percent scored at least one TD. While over half of WRs needed 100 yards to reach 3x value, TEs needed 100 yards to do so at less than a one-in-five clip.

 

Tournament Value

You're generally looking to score 200-plus points to place highly in a tournament, and you'll usually need around 250 points to take home the top prize. If your lineup scores four points per $1,000, you'll have a score of 200, which is the value point I will use to examine tournament performance:

Percentage of Time Reaching 4x Value on DraftKings by Salary & Position, 2015
Salary QB 4x % RB 4x % WR 4x % TE 4x % D/ST 4x %
$9,000+     21.7%    
$8,500-$8,900 0.0% 0.0% 16.7%    
$8,000-$8,400 30.0% 0.0% 11.1% 0.0%  
$7,500-$7,900 16.0% 4.5% 9.4% 0.0%  
$7,000-$7,400 9.3% 12.1% 13.8% 20.0%  
$6,500-$6,900 26.5% 7.4% 14.9% 14.3%  
$6,000-$6,400 26.4% 11.3% 22.5% 0.0%  
$5,500-$5,900 30.0% 16.1% 17.8% 21.4%  
$5,000-$5,400 28.3% 19.0% 15.9% 10.7%  
$4,500-$4,900   20.3% 22.4% 13.6%  
$4,000-$4,400   26.3% 19.6% 19.4% 12.5%
$3,500-$3,900   18.2% 41.4% 22.7% 23.5%
$3,000-$3,400   33.3% 38.5% 27.8% 23.5%
$2,500-$2,900       24.2% 26.6%
$2,000-$2,400         27.8%
  • The data above shows that TEs generally have less upside than the other skill positions. It makes sense to be more flexible when it comes spending on TEs in GPPs versus in cash games, but there wasn't any particular advantage to doing so in 2015.
  • There were 75 TEs who hit 4x value in 2015, or 4.4 per week.

Of the 75 TEs who hit 4x value:

  • the average spread was -1.16, the average over/under was 45.8, and the average team total was 23.5.
  • 62.7 percent were at home, 62.7 percent were favorites, and 41.3 percent had a team total of 24 or more.
  • the average receiving line was 6.5 receptions, 77.7 yards, and 1.0 TDs.
  • 84.0 percent had at least five catches, 26.7 percent reached 100 yards (and the three-point bonus), 77.3 percent had at least one TD, and 21.3 percent had multiple TDs.

 

Individual TE Value 

DraftKings TE Stats, 2015
Rk. TE Avg. Val. DK Pts/G Avg. Sal. 3x% 4x% G
1 Zachary Miller 4.26 13.5 $3,300 100.0% 25.0% 4
2 Will Tye 4.00 13.2 $3,350 75.0% 75.0% 4
3 Zach Ertz 3.93 12.2 $3,121 57.1% 35.7% 14
4 Jordan Reed 3.83 18.2 $4,850 64.3% 42.9% 14
5 Derek Carrier 3.72 9.3 $2,500 100.0% 50.0% 2
6 Gary Barnidge 3.69 16.3 $4,615 69.2% 23.1% 13
7 Delanie Walker 3.54 16.1 $4,627 60.0% 33.3% 15
8 Austin Seferian-Jenkins 3.44 11.7 $3,443 42.9% 14.3% 7
9 Richard Rodgers 3.39 10.3 $3,187 46.7% 40.0% 15
10 Cooper Helfet 3.28 8.2 $2,500 100.0% 0.0% 1
11 Ben Watson 3.26 13.2 $4,260 60.0% 10.0% 10
12 Scott Chandler 3.22 8.1 $3,150 50.0% 50.0% 2
13 Tyler Eifert 3.20 15.0 $5,008 38.5% 23.1% 13
14 Crockett Gillmore 3.05 8.9 $3,050 50.0% 37.5% 8
15 Heath Miller 2.97 9.3 $3,233 41.7% 25.0% 12
16 Antonio Gates 2.95 13.5 $4,700 36.4% 27.3% 11
17 Ladarius Green 2.90 9.2 $3,111 44.4% 33.3% 9
18 Eric Ebron 2.85 8.9 $3,185 46.2% 23.1% 13
19 Brent Celek 2.81 9.0 $3,200 0.0% 0.0% 1
20 Jacob Tamme 2.77 8.3 $3,142 33.3% 16.7% 12
21 Charles Clay 2.73 9.7 $3,775 41.7% 25.0% 12
22 Julius Thomas 2.65 10.4 $4,225 33.3% 16.7% 12
23 Larry Donnell 2.62 7.9 $3,075 37.5% 25.0% 8
24 Kyle Rudolph 2.54 8.2 $3,281 31.3% 18.8% 16
25 Greg Olsen 2.53 14.9 $6,106 25.0% 12.5% 16
26 Travis Kelce 2.51 12.0 $4,831 31.3% 6.3% 16
27 Coby Fleener 2.44 7.5 $3,040 20.0% 10.0% 10
28 Jesse James 2.40 6.0 $2,500 0.0% 0.0% 1
29 Jason Witten 2.38 10.4 $4,544 12.5% 12.5% 16
30 Rob Gronkowski 2.36 18.0 $7,660 33.3% 6.7% 15
31 Martellus Bennett 2.29 10.4 $4,545 27.3% 18.2% 11
32 Jimmy Graham 2.08 11.2 $5,436 27.3% 9.1% 11
33 Owen Daniels 1.96 5.5 $2,840 40.0% 20.0% 5
34 Clive Walford 1.94 4.9 $2,567 33.3% 0.0% 3
35 Jared Cook 1.82 5.0 $2,744 11.1% 0.0% 9
36 Jordan Cameron 1.73 6.0 $3,400 11.1% 11.1% 9
37 Vernon Davis 1.67 5.1 $3,150 25.0% 0.0% 4
38 Ryan Griffin 1.60 4.0 $2,500 0.0% 0.0% 4
39 Dwayne Allen 1.57 5.4 $3,350 50.0% 0.0% 2
40 Vance McDonald 1.43 4.2 $2,833 0.0% 0.0% 3
41 Maxx Williams 0.89 2.4 $2,667 0.0% 0.0% 3
42 Darren Fells 0.67 1.7 $2,500 0.0% 0.0% 3
43 Josh Hill 0.00 0.0 $3,400 0.0% 0.0% 1
  • Value at TE came from surprise breakouts who had low preseason ADPs. TEs who had success the previous year (and thus high ADPs) such as Rob Gronkowski, Martellus Bennett, Jimmy Graham, and Travis Kelce, to name a few, all find themselves on the bottom half of the list. Meanwhile, new entrants into the top-12 TE mix such as Jordan Reed, Delanie Walker, Gary Barnidge, and Zach Ertz al find themselves in the top-seven.

 

Final Takeaways

TE is a volatile fantasy position. There aren't many expensive TEs each week, and most of the time it doesn't make sense to risk paying up for one, especially in cash games. Vegas odds and home field also played a huge role in TE production, especially compared to WR production, so both of those factors should be strong guiding forces when making selections at TE. Beyond that, look to the staples such as targets and red zone involvement to identify the the top plays at the position each week.


Appendix



TE Sample Size
Salary Count
8000-8400 4
7500-7900 7
7000-7400 5
6500-6900 7
6000-6400 7
5500-5900 14
5000-5400 28
4500-4900 59
4000-4400 36
3500-3900 44
3000-3400 97
2500-2900 62
Total 370

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