Thursday Night DFS Single-Game Breakdown: Packers at Bears

Thursday Night DFS Single-Game Breakdown: Packers at Bears

NFL is back boys and girls and we get things kicked off with NFC North division rivals squaring off. The Green Bay Packers and a new coaching staff make the short trip to face their long-time rivals the Chicago Bears. There are some huge single-game GPP's taking place with FanDuel and DraftKings, both having million-dollar first-place prizes in their marquee contests.

Let's break down the game and how we can find the edge that might get us at the top of the leaderboards.

Injuries

  • Trey Burton, CHI, TE - Game-time decision per Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy
  • Darrius Shepard, GB, WR - Questionable

Burton is the key injury to watch here as if he sits, he opens up a ton of value through Adam Shaheen. I actually would prefer Burton to be deemed "in" as I think it'll drive down Shaheen's ownership substantially. If Burton sits, Shaheen will be over-owned (and rightfully so given his dirt-cheap price).

Evaluation of Vegas Spread and Total

Chicago -3 Over/Under 46.5

If there is a time Vegas lines are inefficient, it's at the beginning of the season. Most will see this game as being lower scoring as the Bears have an elite defense and are at home. Let's look at the likely game flow given this spread and total and assign some probabilities to each potential outcome.

  • Close, low-scoring game (<40 points) - 30%
  • Close, average-scoring game (40-49 points) - 30%
  • Close, high-scoring game (50+ points) - 15%
  • Blowout for the home team, low-scoring game - 10%
  • Blowout for the home team, average-scoring game - 5%
  • Blowout for the home team, high-scoring game - 2%
  • Blowout for the away team, low-scoring game - 2%
  • Blowout for the away team, average-scoring game - 2%
  • Blowout for the away team, high-scoring game - 4%

What Players Benefit Most From Potential Gameflow

Close, low-scoring game (<40 points)

Close, average-scoring game (40-49 points) 

Close, high-scoring game (50+ points)

Blowout for the home team, low-scoring game 

Blowout for the home team, average-scoring game

Blowout for the home team, high-scoring game

Blowout for the away team, low-scoring game

Blowout for the away team, average-scoring game

Blowout for the away team, high-scoring game

Pricing and Projections

These projections are taken from the industry-leading 4for4 DFS projections at the time this article was written. The prices listed are the default single-game prices on both sites. For the Captain spot on DraftKings, the price (and subsequent fantasy points awarded) are multiplied by 1.5. On FanDuel, the prices are the same throughout, but the MVP slot receives 1.5 times the fantasy point value of the other roster positions. 

Thursday Night Single-Game Salaries and Projections
Name Team Pos FD Sal FD Proj Pts/$ DK Sal DK Proj Pts/$
Aaron Rodgers GB QB $15,000 18.8 1.25 $12,400 19.7 1.59
Mitch Trubisky CHI QB $13,500 17.1 1.27 $11,600 17.9 1.54
David Montgomery CHI RB $12,500 11.9 0.95 $8,200 13.4 1.63
Tarik Cohen CHI RB $12,000 9.8 0.82 $8,400 12.1 1.44
Mike Davis CHI RB $7,500 5.1 0.68 $4,200 5.8 1.38
Aaron Jones GB RB $13,000 11.3 0.87 $9,200 13.1 1.42
Jamaal Williams GB RB $8,000 4.4 0.55 $5,400 5.3 0.98
Dexter Williams GB RB $5,000 1.1 0.22 $800 1.4 1.75
Allen Robinson CHI WR $12,500 10.8 0.86 $8,600 13.6 1.58
Anthony Miller CHI WR $9,000 6.6 0.73 $6,600 8.1 1.23
Taylor Gabriel CHI WR $8,000 5.5 0.69 $6,200 6.9 1.11
Javon Wims CHI WR $5,000 0.6 0.12 $200 0.9 4.50
Davante Adams GB WR $14,500 16.3 1.12 $12,600 19.9 1.58
Geronimo Allison GB WR $9,500 7.6 0.80 $7,400 9.8 1.32
Marquez Valdes-Scantling GB WR $10,000 7.8 0.78 $6,800 9.8 1.44
Jake Kumerow GB WR $5,000 1.5 0.30 $600 2.0 3.33
Adam Shaheen CHI TE $5,000 3.6 0.72 $400 4.5 11.25
Trey Burton CHI TE $9,000 5.2 0.58 $6,000 6.5 1.08
Ben Braunecker CHI TE $5,000 1.1 0.22 $200 1.5 7.50
Jimmy Graham GB TE $8,000 6.2 0.78 $4,600 8.1 1.76
Marcedes Lewis GB TE $5,000 0.5 0.10 $200 0.6 3.00
Robert Tonyan GB TE $5,000 0.0 0.00 $200 0.3 1.50
Chicago Bears CHI DST N/A 6.9 N/A $5,000 6.9 1.38
Green Bay Packers GB DST N/A 6.0 N/A $2,600 6.0 2.31
Eddy Pineiro CHI K $8,500 8.0 0.94 $3,400 8.0 2.35
Mason Crosby GB K $9,500 7.5 0.79 $3,200 7.5 2.34
Cordarrelle Patterson CHI WR $6,000 0.0 0.00 $1,000 0.0 0.00

Roster Construction

The Captain/MVP/All-Star Slots

If we go by the above likely outcomes, 75% of them lead to a close game of some sort. The obvious Captain/MVP's and ones that will show up in the majority of winning lineups in these likely outcomes are the two starting QB's, the two WR1's (Adams and Robinson) for both teams, and David Montgomery (Aaron Jones is a contrarian play in this matchup). The way to be contrarian this week is to look at the 25% of the outcomes that are improbable and the players that benefit most from those situations. Getting cute with the likes of kickers or Adam Shaheen generally isn't going to win you a GPP. Those plays are valid ones, but not in the multiplier where we want the player who scores the most fantasy points. The likelihood of kickers or Shaheen doing that are slim and none. I'd even say that for the defenses, but there are a few scenarios (just look at what the Bears defense did last year in the first game against the Packers) where a DST can put up big points.

Ownership

Mitch Trubisky, Aaron Rodgers, and Davante Adams will be the highest-owned players and I expect their ownership to top 50-60%. If Trey Burton sits, Adam Shaheen's ownership will go from the 10-20% range to upwards of 40%.

Others that should approach that 40% mark are Allen Robinson, Tarik Cohen, and David Montgomery.

The next tier after those three will be Aaron Jones, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Geronimo Allison, Anthony Miller, and the kickers and defenses. I expect all those to come in the 20-30% range.

Potential Low-Owned Difference Makers

I love Shaheen IF Burton is active for game-time. One overlooked potential difference-maker (so overlooked that as of the time I am writing this he doesn't even have a projection on 4for4) is Cordarrelle Patterson. He's the kind of player Nagy is going to look to get involved and he has the upside to break a long one.

In a blowout game script for the home team, Mike Davis is sneaky. I like Jimmy Graham this season. He always has multi-TD potential if the Packers score 25+ points so if you think Green Bay can put up that kind of production in the opener, he's got GPP-winning upside at low ownership.

Optimal Lineup Construction

Using the 4for4 projections (but assigning a 4-5 fantasy point projection to Patterson), these are the optimal ownership numbers when running the numbers through a 300-lineup model.

Optimal Single-Game Ownership, If Trey Burton Plays
Name Team Pos DK Captain DK Flex FD MVP FD AnyFlex
Aaron Jones GB RB   10%   18%
Aaron Rodgers GB QB 28% 55% 91%  
Adam Shaheen CHI TE 6% 42%   11%
Allen Robinson CHI WR 7% 33%   16%
Anthony Miller CHI WR       13%
Cordarrelle Patterson CHI WR   24%    
Davante Adams GB WR 18% 68%   53%
David Montgomery CHI RB 10% 40%   28%
Eddy Pineiro CHI K 7% 43%   29%
Geronimo Allison GB WR       18%
Green Bay Packers GB DST   31%    
Jimmy Graham GB TE   17%   16%
Marquez Valdes-Scantling GB WR   10%   16%
Mason Crosby GB K 6% 43%   16%
Mike Davis CHI RB       12%
Mitch Trubisky CHI QB 8% 56% 7% 77%
Tarik Cohen CHI RB   11%   14%
Taylor Gabriel CHI WR       11%
Optimal Single-Game Ownership, If Trey Burton Sits
Name Team Pos DK Captain DK Flex FD MVP FD AnyFlex
Aaron Jones GB RB   14%   19%
Aaron Rodgers GB QB 18% 66% 85% 15%
Adam Shaheen CHI TE 13% 66%   18%
Allen Robinson CHI WR 7% 33%   13%
Anthony Miller CHI WR       15%
Cordarrelle Patterson CHI WR   18%    
Davante Adams GB WR 20% 64%   56%
David Montgomery CHI RB 8% 44%   29%
Eddy Pineiro CHI K   37%   28%
Geronimo Allison GB WR       18%
Green Bay Packers GB DST   19%    
Jimmy Graham GB TE   13%   15%
Marquez Valdes-Scantling GB WR   13%   15%
Mason Crosby GB K   32%   16%
Mike Davis CHI RB       12%
Mitch Trubisky CHI QB 15% 49% 12% 70%
Tarik Cohen CHI RB   11%   15%
Taylor Gabriel CHI WR       13%

Where’s the Edge?

There were some interesting takeaways from the optimal lineup roster construction. Most notably was the lack of Bears DST showing up. That's a function of their price, especially when compared to the Packers DST that is much more affordable with a projection of about one fantasy point less. Obviously, if the Bears DST can force some turnovers and get a defensive score they are a difference-maker, but the numbers say it's a fade while the Packers DST is a stronger play.

On FanDuel where pricing isn't an issue, two QBs show up in nearly every optimal with Aaron Rodgers almost always in the MVP spot. That, of course, makes fading Rodgers in the MVP spot a logical play.

On DraftKings, if Burton sits, there's not much logic to fading Shaheen at his price point, especially in a cash game type lineup. In GPP's there's a huge argument for it as you'll have massive leverage on the field if he busts (but remember again a bust from him at just $400 doesn't have near the impact a bust from a $5K plus priced player does).

I love Aaron Jones but he's a fade for me this week.

As is usually the case, finding the winning lineup in these single-game slates is finding that one low-owned player who puts up 10+ fantasy points. For me this week that's going to be either Cordarrelle Patterson, Mike Davis, Jimmy Graham, or one of the Packer WR's not named Davante Adams (MVS or Allison).

Here's to crushing this first contest of the season. Any questions, hit me up on Twitter @aaronhendrix!

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