DFS Tight End Strategy: FanDuel 2015 Year in Review

DFS Tight End Strategy: FanDuel 2015 Year in Review

By Chris Raybon (Senior Daily Fantasy Expert), last update Aug 22, 2016

Chris Raybon's picture

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

Follow Chris Raybon on Twitter: @ChrisRaybon.

If you like playing Gronk, you're better off playing on FanDuel than on DraftKings, where top TEs tend to be overvalued. However, there is also a cheaper sweet spot for TE production on FanDuel. I'll reveal what that is in a few moments, but first, I will briefly detail the methodology involved in this analysis.

I compiled some data on the performance of TEs relative to their FanDuel 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 6.0 FanDuel 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 FanDuel Value Per Game Returned by Salary Range & Position, 2015
Salary QB RB WR TE  D/ST
$9,000+ 2.37 1.59 1.94      
$8,500-$8,900 2.24 1.82 1.87 1.21    
$8,000-$8,400 2.25 1.51 1.72 1.86    
$7,500-$7,900 2.46 1.69 1.82 0.55    
$7,000-$7,400 2.67 1.79 1.61 0.55    
$6,500-$6,900 2.48 1.69 1.65 1.42    
$6,000-$6,400 2.31 1.78 1.62 1.80    
$5,500-$5,900 2.00 1.59 1.67 1.57    
$5,000-$5,400 2.27 1.64 1.65 1.50 1.77 1.84
$4,500-$4,900 2.59 1.90 2.16 1.44 1.71 1.71
$4,000-$4.400           1.55
  • There were only 34 instances where a TE was priced $6,500 or higher. Gronk provided good value during the 13 times he was in the $8,000-$8,400 tier (and less during the two times he was priced $8,500 and above), but the other expensive TEs generally weren't worth it.
  • TEs provided the best value relative to other positions in the $5,500-$6,400 range, which is usually where you should be looking at select a TE from.

 

Cash Game Value

The exact score you need to cash will vary by week, but generally, if your lineup posts two points per $1,000, you'll reach 120 points, which is usually enough to place in a 50/50 league or win just over half of your head-to-heads.

Percentage of Time Reaching 2x Value on FanDuel by Salary & Position, 2015
Salary QB 2x % RB 2x % WR 2x % TE 2x % K 2x % D/ST 2x %
$9,000+ 61% 29% 47%      
$8,500-$8,900 59% 41% 38% 0%    
$8,000-$8,400 65% 22% 28%      
$7,500-$7,900 66% 33% 38% 46%    
$7,000-$7,400 71% 39% 34% 0%    
$6,500-$6,900 67% 29% 29% 29%    
$6,000-$6,400 58% 35% 35% 33%    
$5,500-$5,900 50% 28% 35% 29%    
$5,000-$5,400 57% 33% 34% 28% 41% 35%
$4,500-$4,900 50% 50% 48% 29% 34% 36%
$4,000-$4.400   33% 35%     32%
  • As I just mentioned, Gronkowski fared well in the $8,000-$8,400 tier, but besides him, TEs provided the best cash game ROI in the $6,000-$6,400 range, and were also solid relative to the other positions in the $5,500-$5,900 range, although the actual rate of hitting 2X for TEs was pretty much the same at all salaries below $6,000.
  • There were 109 TEs who hit 2x value in 2015, or 6.4 per week.

Of the 109 TEs who hit 2x value:

  • the average spread was -1.20, the average over/under was 45.8, and the average team total was 23.5.
  • 63.3 percent were at home, 62.4 percent were favorites, and 42.2 percent had team totals of 24 and above. In terms of being home and a favorite, TE had a significantly higher percentage than the other skill positions, even RB.
  • the average receiving line was 6.2 receptions, 75.6 yards, and 1.0 TDs. 
  • 78.0 percent had at least five catches, 23.9 percent reached 100 yards, and 80.7 percent scored at least one TD. While over half of WRs needed 100 yards to reach 2x value, TEs needed 100 yards to do so less than a quarter of the time.

 

Tournament Value

You're generally aiming to score at least 180 points to place highly in a tournament, and you are likely to need 200 or more points to win. If your lineup scores three points per $1,000, you'll have a score of 180, which is the value point I will use to examine tournament performance:

Percentage of Time Reaching 3x Value on FanDuel by Salary & Position, 2015
Salary QB 3x% RB 3x% WR 3x% TE 3x% K 3x% D/ST 3x%
$9,000+ 25% 7% 21%      
$8,500-$8,900 19% 9% 16% 0%    
$8,000-$8,400 18% 3% 12% 8%    
$7,500-$7,900 28% 6% 11%      
$7,000-$7,400 34% 12% 9% 0%    
$6,500-$6,900 30% 12% 14% 6%    
$6,000-$6,400 24% 15% 14% 10%    
$5,500-$5,900 17% 10% 15% 12%    
$5,000-$5,400 43% 15% 13% 11% 13% 22%
$4,500-$4,900 50% 17% 33% 13% 8% 17%
$4,000-$4.400   11% 14%     14%
  • Because TEs don't break off as many long gains, they generally have less upside than the other skill positions. It makes sense to be more flexible when it comes to spending on TEs in GPPs versus in cash games, but there wasn't any particular advantage to doing so in 2015. GPP spending at WR should be prioritized before you consider paying up at TE.
  • There were 40 TEs who hit 3x value in 2015, or 2.4 per week.

Of the 40 TEs who hit 3x value:

  • the average spread was -0.60, the average over/under was 45.4, and the average team total was 23.0.
  • 65.0 percent were at home, 57.5 percent were favorites, and 40.0 percent had a team total of 24 or more.
  • the average receiving line was 7.4 receptions, 94.1 yards, and 1.4 TDs. This is much higher than the average line of the average DraftKings TE line for hitting tournament value (6.5 receptions, 77.7 yards, and 1.0 TDs).
  • 92.5 percent had at least five catches, 42.5 percent reached 100 yards, 90.0 percent had at least one TD, and 42.5 percent had multiple TDs (double the multiple TD rate for tournament value on DraftKings). 

 

Individual TE Value

FanDuel TE Stats, 2015
Rk. TE Avg. Val. Fd Pts/G Avg. Sal. 2x% 3x% G
1 Jordan Reed 2.51 14.6 $5,843 64.3% 35.7% 14
2 Gary Barnidge 2.22 13.1 $6,069 53.8% 23.1% 13
3 Tyler Eifert 2.21 12.7 $5,923 46.2% 23.1% 13
4 Delanie Walker 2.21 12.8 $5,800 46.7% 20.0% 15
5 Will Tye 2.18 11.0 $5,025 75.0% 0.0% 4
6 Zachary Miller 1.94 10.1 $5,220 20.0% 20.0% 5
7 Ben Watson 1.93 10.4 $5,440 40.0% 10.0% 10
8 Austin Seferian-Jenkins 1.92 9.8 $5,171 28.6% 14.3% 7
9 Antonio Gates 1.92 11.0 $5,827 36.4% 18.2% 11
10 Greg Olsen 1.88 11.9 $6,381 43.8% 12.5% 16
11 Zach Ertz 1.80 9.2 $5,107 35.7% 21.4% 14
12 Rob Gronkowski 1.77 14.6 $8,293 40.0% 6.7% 15
13 Derek Carrier 1.68 7.8 $4,700 50.0% 0.0% 2
14 Richard Rodgers 1.63 8.3 $5,140 40.0% 20.0% 15
15 Travis Kelce 1.58 9.6 $6,113 25.0% 6.3% 16
16 Julius Thomas 1.48 8.2 $5,700 33.3% 16.7% 12
17 Eric Ebron 1.46 7.2 $5,046 30.8% 7.7% 13
18 Charles Clay 1.45 7.5 $5,300 25.0% 16.7% 12
19 Ladarius Green 1.44 7.7 $5,267 44.4% 0.0% 9
20 Martellus Bennett 1.42 8.0 $5,636 27.3% 9.1% 11
21 Jason Witten 1.42 8.0 $5,638 12.5% 6.3% 16
22 Jimmy Graham 1.40 8.8 $6,318 27.3% 0.0% 11
23 Brent Celek 1.38 8.0 $5,800 0.0% 0.0% 1
24 Crockett Gillmore 1.34 6.9 $5,225 25.0% 0.0% 8
25 Scott Chandler 1.33 7.1 $5,550 50.0% 0.0% 2
26 Kyle Rudolph 1.31 6.5 $4,994 18.8% 6.3% 16
27 Heath Miller 1.29 6.9 $5,408 25.0% 8.3% 12
28 Jacob Tamme 1.24 6.2 $5,075 8.3% 8.3% 12
29 Larry Donnell 1.16 6.1 $5,250 25.0% 0.0% 8
30 Coby Fleener 1.15 5.7 $5,010 10.0% 10.0% 10
31 Jesse James 0.98 4.5 $4,600 0.0% 0.0% 1
32 Owen Daniels 0.96 4.5 $4,940 20.0% 0.0% 5
33 Jordan Cameron 0.89 4.8 $5,356 0.0% 0.0% 9
34 Dwayne Allen 0.85 4.6 $5,300 0.0% 0.0% 2
35 Clive Walford 0.79 3.8 $4,767 0.0% 0.0% 3
36 Vernon Davis 0.77 4.0 $5,250 0.0% 0.0% 4
37 Jared Cook 0.75 3.8 $5,111 0.0% 0.0% 9
38 Vance McDonald 0.68 3.2 $4,700 0.0% 0.0% 3
39 Ryan Griffin 0.64 3.1 $4,850 0.0% 0.0% 4
40 Maxx Williams 0.37 1.8 $4,667 0.0% 0.0% 3
41 Darren Fells 0.28 1.3 $4,800 0.0% 0.0% 3
42 Josh Hill 0.00 0.0 $5,200 0.0% 0.0% 1
  • The top of the list contains TEs that performed well but started the season with low preseason ADPs are the ones that provided the most value, as salaries were slow to adjust to these players' level of performance.
  • Because TEs on FanDuel needed better receiving lines to hit value than on DraftKings, we see more of the top TEs with high preseason ADPs higher on the list, including Gronk, who was more valuable on FanDuel than DraftKings. Top TEs are priced more fairly on FanDuel than on DraftKings, where it's easier to find cheap, volume-based value given the full-PPR scoring system.
  • You can see that, compared to WR and especially RB, there aren't many TEs with low game counts that show up on here. If a TE is replacing a starter due to injury, the TE usually takes a backseat in the receiving game as the team schemes around more established players.

 

Final Takeaways

TE is a volatile fantasy position. There aren't many expensive TEs each week and, outside of Gronk, it doesn't make sense to risk paying up for one, especially in cash games. Even in cash games, the sweet spot is in the $6,000 range and paying for Gronk is never really absolutely necessary -- I would prioritize spending up for consistency at WR instead.

The average TE line to hit cash game or tournament value was pretty high, so even though paying top prices isn't recommended, you should still be selective with your choices, sticking with proven options.

Vegas odds and home field played a huge role in TE production, especially compared to WRs, so both of those factors should be strongly considered when making selections at TE. Beyond that, targets and red zone involvement serve as strong indicators when identifying the the top plays at the position each week.


Appendix

TE Sample Size
Salary Count
8500-8900 2
8000-8400 13
7500-7900  
7000-7400 2
6500-6900 17
6000-6400 52
5500-5900 89
5000-5400 140
4500-4900 55
Total 370

Related Articles

Filed Under:
Preseason
,
2016

We are your friend's secret weapon.

  • Get 4 FREE downloads
  • Receive breaking news alerts & analysis
  • BONUS: Learn how to play DFS.
  • Battle-Tested by 40,000+ fantasy football diehards since 1999.