The Effect of the DraftKings Bonus

The Effect of the DraftKings Bonus

By TJ Hernandez (Associate Editor), last update Aug 23, 2017

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TJ is a former full-time poker player who has been playing fantasy football for more than a decade. After online poker was outlawed, TJ ended his poker career and dedicated himself to fantasy football. His background in poker statistics and analytics translates to success in both daily and season-long fantasy football.

Follow TJ Hernandez on Twitter: @TJHernandez.

No matter which type of fantasy football league that you play in, having a thorough understanding of your league’s scoring system is a crucial aspect of being a successful player, and this holds true for DFS, too. One of the most notable differences between scoring on FanDuel versus DraftKings is points per reception—FanDuel awards 0.5 points per reception, while DraftKings gives a full point. The implications of this contrast in scoring are probably somewhat obvious, but one difference in scoring that is often overlooked is the fact that DraftKings awards yardage bonuses, while FanDuel does not:

  • Passing: +3 for 300 yards
  • Rushing: +3 for 100 yards
  • Receiving: +3 for 100 yards

The purpose of this study is to determine the effect that the DraftKings bonus has on scoring and decide how we should be changing our approach to player selection between the two major DFS sites. In order to isolate situations where the DraftKings bonus impacted scoring, I gathered salaries and scoring data for every player that reached a yardage bonus threshold in 2016 and compared how often those players reached cash value and tournament value1 on both FanDuel and DraftKings.

For each position, I will present the data along with some key points. At the end of the article, I will summarize these points along with any actionable takeaways.

Quarterbacks

300-Yard Quarterbacks, 2016
  % to Hit Cash Value % to Hit Tourney Value Average Salary
FanDuel 77.1% 28.8% $7,743
DraftKings 79.7% 38.1% $6,436
  • Virtually the same number of 300-yard quarterbacks on FanDuel hit cash value as those on DraftKings, but a 300-yard game meant a 10 percent higher chance to reach tournament value on DraftKings.
  • Quarterbacks that threw two or fewer touchdowns hit tournament value 17 percent of the time on DraftKings if they hit the 300-yard mark—on FanDuel that number was just 9 percent.
  • The average salary for a 300-yard quarterback on FanDuel was 29 percent over the pricing minimum and 28 percent over the minimum on DraftKings2.

Running Backs

100-Yard Running Backs, 2016
  % to Hit Cash Value % to Hit Tourney Value Average Salary
FanDuel 89.4% 59.6% $6,973
DraftKings 90.4% 70.2% $5,786
  • Running backs without a multi-touchdown game still hit tournament value 56 percent of the time on DraftKings if they amassed 100 yards rushing or receiving. Only 40 percent of 100-yard backs hit tournament value with fewer than two touchdowns on FanDuel.
  • The average 100-yard back was priced 55 percent over the salary minimum on FanDuel, but 93 percent over the minimum on DraftKings.

Wide Receivers

100-Yard Wide Receivers, 2016
  % to Hit Cash Value % to Hit Tourney Value Average Salary
FanDuel 92.9% 55.5% $6,646
DraftKings 91.0% 69.0% $5,921
  • Almost all 100-yard receivers hit cash value on both sites, but a 100-yard game meant a 14 percent higher chance of hitting tournament value on DraftKings.
  • Wide receivers who gained 100 yards, but scored fewer than two touchdowns hit tournament value 65 percent of the time on DraftKings. Only 49 percent of 100-yard receivers hit tournament value without a multi-touchdown game on FanDuel.
  • The average 100-yard receiver was priced 48 percent over the salary minimum on FanDuel, but 97 percent over the minimum on DraftKings.

Tight Ends

100-Yard Tight Ends, 2016
  % to Hit Cash Value % to Hit Tourney Value Average Salary
FanDuel 92.6%

55.6%

$6,144
DraftKings 96.3% 88.9% $4,563
  • Of all the positions to hit a yardage milestone, a 100-yard tight end on DraftKings was the most likely to hit tournament value.
  • The average 100-yard tight end hit 6.1x value on DraftKings.
  • The average 100-yard tight end was priced 37 percent over the minimum on FanDuel, but 52 percent over the minimum on DraftKings.

Final Takeaways

  • The DraftKings bonus diminishes the value of touchdowns across the site, even in GPPs. Outside of quarterbacks, players can often hit GPP value on DraftKings without a multi-touchdown game.
  • When building lineups on FanDuel, especially for GPPs, targeting touchdown upside, i.e. red zone opportunities, is a must.
  • DraftKings seemingly accounts for the likelihood of a bonus in their pricing, especially at running back and wide receiver. 
  • 48 percent of the 100-yard tight ends on DraftKings last year were priced under $4,500. Landing one of these plays may be one of the best, and most underrated, values in DFS.

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Footnotes

1.  Cash game value is two points per $1,000 (2x) on FanDuel and three points per $1,000 (3x) on DraftKings. Tournament value is three points per $1,000 on FanDuel and four points per $1,000 (4x) on DraftKings. For quarterbacks, we raise these thresholds to 2.5x and 3.5x on FanDuel and 3.5x and 4.5x on DraftKings.

2. In 2016, the quarterback pricing minimum was $5,000. The minimum in 2017 has been lowered to $4,000.


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