DFS Wide Receiver Strategy: DraftKings 2015 Year in Review

DFS Wide Receiver Strategy: DraftKings 2015 Year in Review

By Chris Raybon (Senior Daily Fantasy Expert), on Aug 17, 2016

Chris Raybon's picture

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

Follow Chris Raybon on Twitter: @ChrisRaybon.

Given that you have the internet (or are stealing Wi-Fi at Starbucks; I'm not judging, we've all done it) and are reading a fantasy football article, you've probably heard of the new Zero RB phenomenon. Guess what? Zero RB applies to DraftKings too: you should be paying up for WRs, not RBs. (When you're writing a WR article, it sucks that Zero RB is called "Zero RB". Some readers are bound to think I copy-pasted the wrong intro, or titled the article wrong, or that I just plain stink at writing intros like Leonard Hankerson does at football. Can I start calling it "Infinite WR" instead? Nah? Alright.)

The subsequent data will reveal why you should be spending the big bucks at WR, but first I'll quickly go through my methodology. 

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

I broke salaries down into $500 increments and looked at 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 WR performed.

I looked at 827 WR games from 2015 (every game where a WR had a salary and was projected for 9.0 DraftKings points or more by 4for4). The WR 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
  • QBs tend to score more points per dollar than other positions, so the real comparison here is between WRs and RBs. At the higher salary tiers, WRs are much more plentiful than RBs -- there were 124 instances of a WR priced at $7,500 or above, compared to just 30 RBs. Aside from a strong showing from the 22 RBs in the $7,500-$7,900 tier, WRs provided a greater ROI at every single salary tier of $6,000 and above. 
  • WRs provided less of an ROI than RBs in the $4,000-$5,900 range. WRs in this tier are generally inconsistent No. 2 and No. 3 WRs, while RBs in this tier can often be pass-catchers or backups stepping in for injured or benched starters.
  • WRs provided a greater ROI than RBs below $4,000. Targets and receptions are relatively predictable stats, and since DraftKings is a full-PPR site, finding WRs in this range slated to get a good amount of targets generally leads to good value.
  • Other positions had extremely minimal sample sizes in the $8,500-$8,900 tier, but there were 30 WRs in this range in 2015, or 1.76 per week. These WRs delivered, posting one of the best value scores of any position in any salary range above $5,000.

 

Cash Game Value

Scores needed to finish in the money will vary weekly, but generally, if your lineup scores three points per $1,000, you'll reach 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%
  • It's hard to compare the higher salary ranges since WRs have a larger sample size than the other positions, but once we get into the "meat" of the salary ranges ($6,000-$7,400), we can see that WRs are superior options to RBs in terms of returning at least three points per $1,000.
  • There were 294 WRs who hit 3x value in 2015, or 17.3 per week.

Of the 294 WRs who hit 3x value:

  • the average spread was 0.80 (in contrast to QBs and RBs, who are favorites on average), the average over/under was 45.2, and the average team total was 22.2.
  • 47.6 percent were favorites, 43.1 percent were at home, and 30.3 percent had team totals of 24 and above. WRs also contrasted from QBs in RBs in that more than half of their 3x games came as underdogs and on the road.
  • the average receiving line was 6.8 receptions, 101.8 yards, and 0.9 TDs. 
  • 81.2 percent had at least five catches, 51.3 percent reached 100 yards (and the three-point bonus), and 69.0 percent scored at least one TD.

 

Tournament Value

You're generally looking to score 200 points or more to place highly in a tournament, and you'll usually need around 250 points to win the grand 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 here shows why it's important to pay up for WRs in tournaments. Despite it theoretically being tougher for a high-priced player to post as many points per dollar as a cheaper player, WRs above $8,500 scored four or more points per $1,000 at a higher rate than nearly all positions and salary tiers $5,000 and above.
  • There were 177 WRs who hit 4x value in 2015, or 10.4 per week.

Of the 177 WRs who hit 4x value:

  • the average spread was 0.48, the average over/under was 45.3, and the average team total was 22.4.
  • 48.0 percent were at home, 45.3 percent were favorites, and 30.5 percent had a team total of 24 or more.
  • the average receiving line was 7.1 receptions, 111.0 yards, and 1.1 TDs.
  • 85.3 percent had at least five catches, 61.0 percent reached 100 yards (and the three-point bonus), 78.5 percent had at least one TD, and 27.7 percent had multiple TDs.

 

Individual WR Value

DraftKings WR Stats, 2015
Rk. WR Avg. Val. DK Pts/G Avg. Sal. 3x% 4x% G
1 Brian Hartline 5.06 17.8 $3,500 100.0% 100.0% 3
2 Josh Bellamy 4.63 13.9 $3,000 100.0% 100.0% 1
3 Jermaine Kearse 4.59 15.4 $3,333 100.0% 66.7% 3
4 Michael Floyd 4.07 15.6 $3,940 60.0% 60.0% 10
5 Doug Baldwin 3.90 17.3 $4,586 57.1% 35.7% 14
6 Marquess Wilson 3.84 13.2 $3,433 66.7% 66.7% 3
7 Tyler Lockett 3.60 13.5 $3,920 40.0% 20.0% 5
8 DeVante Parker 3.55 13.9 $3,960 60.0% 40.0% 5
9 Ted Ginn 3.45 12.7 $3,700 50.0% 50.0% 12
10 Allen Hurns 3.38 16.1 $4,993 40.0% 40.0% 15
11 Brice Butler 3.33 10.0 $3,000 100.0% 0.0% 1
12 Brandon Coleman 3.30 10.2 $3,150 50.0% 50.0% 2
13 Brandon Marshall 3.28 23.3 $7,194 62.5% 31.3% 16
14 Steve L Smith 3.24 20.0 $6,186 42.9% 42.9% 7
15 Willie Snead 3.23 13.2 $4,291 45.5% 27.3% 11
16 Dontrelle Inman 3.20 9.8 $3,160 40.0% 20.0% 5
17 Sammy Watkins 3.15 18.0 $5,846 46.2% 38.5% 13
18 Allen Robinson 3.15 20.1 $6,525 43.8% 25.0% 16
19 Nate Washington 3.09 10.3 $3,678 33.3% 33.3% 9
20 Terrance Williams 3.06 11.7 $4,067 44.4% 22.2% 9
21 Eric Decker 3.05 17.2 $5,707 53.3% 6.7% 15
22 Kamar Aiken 3.04 14.2 $4,682 54.5% 18.2% 11
23 Devin Funchess 2.99 10.5 $3,700 25.0% 25.0% 4
24 Jeremy Maclin 2.99 16.9 $5,847 33.3% 26.7% 15
25 Keenan Allen 2.99 21.6 $7,275 37.5% 37.5% 8
26 Antonio Brown 2.95 25.6 $8,681 43.8% 37.5% 16
27 Anquan Boldin 2.94 12.6 $4,500 46.2% 38.5% 13
28 Stevie Johnson 2.91 11.3 $3,960 50.0% 30.0% 10
29 Cecil Shorts 2.83 9.8 $3,450 62.5% 25.0% 8
30 Alshon Jeffery 2.81 19.0 $6,956 44.4% 33.3% 9
31 Larry Fitzgerald 2.79 18.3 $6,869 25.0% 12.5% 16
32 Michael Crabtree 2.78 14.5 $5,400 21.4% 21.4% 14
33 Kenny Britt 2.78 10.9 $4,033 66.7% 33.3% 3
34 Julio Jones 2.78 24.9 $9,025 50.0% 25.0% 16
35 Robert Woods 2.76 9.3 $3,420 20.0% 20.0% 5
36 Tavon Austin 2.76 11.9 $4,375 25.0% 25.0% 12
37 Brandin Cooks 2.75 16.6 $6,169 37.5% 37.5% 16
38 Jarvis Landry 2.74 17.3 $6,350 37.5% 12.5% 16
39 Jordan Matthews 2.74 15.3 $5,994 31.3% 25.0% 16
40 Rishard Matthews 2.72 11.4 $4,388 50.0% 12.5% 8
41 Stefon Diggs 2.71 11.7 $4,567 33.3% 33.3% 12
42 DeAndre Hopkins 2.71 21.7 $8,181 43.8% 18.8% 16
43 Julian Edelman 2.70 19.7 $7,511 44.4% 11.1% 9
44 Rueben Randle 2.70 10.7 $4,162 30.8% 23.1% 13
45 Danny Amendola 2.69 11.8 $4,660 40.0% 40.0% 5
46 John Brown 2.69 13.5 $5,106 43.8% 12.5% 16
47 Martavis Bryant 2.68 14.6 $5,430 50.0% 20.0% 10
48 Marvin Jones 2.68 10.5 $3,992 30.8% 15.4% 13
49 Corey Brown 2.59 8.8 $3,400 0.0% 0.0% 1
50 Golden Tate 2.59 13.2 $5,275 43.8% 12.5% 16
51 Odell Beckham 2.58 22.9 $8,913 40.0% 13.3% 15
52 James Jones 2.51 11.9 $4,921 28.6% 28.6% 14
53 Pierre Garcon 2.49 11.7 $4,740 26.7% 6.7% 15
54 Markus Wheaton 2.48 9.8 $3,925 25.0% 0.0% 4
55 A.J. Green 2.39 18.0 $7,581 31.3% 12.5% 16
56 Emmanuel Sanders 2.38 16.0 $6,940 26.7% 6.7% 15
57 Demaryius Thomas 2.36 17.7 $7,575 31.3% 0.0% 16
58 Leonard Hankerson 2.31 8.8 $4,025 25.0% 25.0% 4
59 Eddie Royal 2.31 8.3 $3,600 40.0% 20.0% 5
60 Calvin Johnson 2.26 16.8 $7,531 18.8% 18.8% 16
61 Travis Benjamin 2.25 11.0 $4,885 38.5% 15.4% 13
62 DeSean Jackson 2.23 11.0 $5,220 30.0% 10.0% 10
63 Amari Cooper 2.23 14.4 $6,475 37.5% 18.8% 16
64 Mike Evans 2.20 15.2 $6,967 33.3% 6.7% 15
65 Donte Moncrief 2.20 10.5 $4,821 21.4% 14.3% 14
66 Jamison Crowder 2.18 7.8 $3,650 25.0% 25.0% 4
67 Brandon LaFell 2.17 8.8 $4,267 11.1% 11.1% 9
68 Vincent Jackson 2.16 10.8 $5,070 20.0% 10.0% 10
69 T.Y. Hilton 2.15 13.6 $6,380 20.0% 13.3% 15
70 Kendall Wright 2.09 10.5 $4,967 22.2% 22.2% 9
71 Dorial Green-Beckham 2.07 7.6 $3,617 16.7% 16.7% 6
72 Keshawn Martin 1.93 5.8 $3,000 25.0% 25.0% 4
73 Marques Colston 1.90 8.7 $4,875 25.0% 0.0% 4
74 Randall Cobb 1.86 12.9 $6,869 12.5% 6.3% 16
75 Davante Adams 1.85 8.0 $4,420 20.0% 20.0% 10
76 Mike Wallace 1.83 8.7 $4,771 14.3% 14.3% 7
77 Albert Wilson 1.54 5.4 $3,500 0.0% 0.0% 1
78 Torrey Smith 1.47 6.4 $4,733 16.7% 16.7% 6
79 Cole Beasley 1.44 4.6 $3,200 0.0% 0.0% 4
80 Malcom Floyd 1.42 5.0 $3,625 0.0% 0.0% 4
81 Chris Givens 1.41 4.5 $3,200 0.0% 0.0% 1
82 Dez Bryant 1.37 10.2 $7,556 11.1% 0.0% 9
83 Andre Johnson 1.27 6.1 $5,133 0.0% 0.0% 3
84 Percy Harvin 1.09 5.0 $4,567 0.0% 0.0% 3
85 Ty Montgomery 1.00 3.5 $3,500 0.0% 0.0% 1
86 Charles Johnson 0.76 3.5 $4,567 0.0% 0.0% 3
87 Roddy White 0.72 3.8 $4,960 0.0% 0.0% 5
88 Nelson Agholor 0.69 3.8 $5,600 0.0% 0.0% 2
89 Louis Murphy 0.00 0.0 $3,000 0.0% 0.0% 1
  • Remember, the sample includes only WRs who were projected to score 9.0 or more, which is why we see some random names mixed in at the top -- guys who were undervalued in certain games based on their projected volume alone.
  • The rest of the top of the list consists mainly of No. 1 WRs who were undervalued in preseason ADP and found their salaries unable to catch up to their production for a while (Doug Baldwin, Brandon Marshall, Allen Robinson, Sammy Watkins, Steve L Smith etc.), and No. 2-type WRs on (in some cases surprisingly) efficient passing offenses (Michael Floyd, Tyler Lockett, Allen HurnsTed Ginn, Willie Snead, Eric Decker, etc.).
  • Near the bottom of the list, we see WRs who had high expectations but suffered due to an injury to a key player on offense. Dez Bryant played most of the season with a foot injury, but his bigger issue was the absence of Tony Romo. T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief started hot with Andrew Luck, but cooled off (after their salaries increased) with Matt Hasselback. Randall Cobb and Davante Adams started the season with high expectations, but couldn't function without Jordy Nelson to draw coverage.

 

Final Takeaways

When you're looking to pay up, WRs are generally your best bet, whether in cash games or GPPs. Unlike some of the other positions, you're not going to find WR value by chasing favorable Vegas odds, which appear to be already priced into their salary. Instead, accurately projecting volume is paramount for WRs, and a WR being able to secure at least five receptions is more often than not a prerequisite for a good ROI. Red zone targets are also key, as a WR needed a TD nearly 7-in-10 times just to hit 3x value.

 

4for4's DFS Subscription has all the tools you need to be a profitable cash game or GPP player: Lineup Generator with floor & ceiling projectionsStack Value Reports for all 2-, 3-, and 4-man stacks, site-specific cash game & GPP write-ups, defensive matchups to exploit, downloadable CSVs with salaries & projections, in-depth content, and more. Sign up here!


Appendix



WR Sample Size
Salary Count
9000+ 23
8500-8900 30
8000-8400 18
7500-7900 53
7000-7400 65
6500-6900 67
6000-6400 71
5500-5900 73
5000-5400 88
4500-4900 98
4000-4400 102
3500-3900 87
3000-3400 52
Total 827

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.