Each week this column will focus on projecting ownership percentage in DraftKings’ large field GPPs, and identifying players to target in each ownership tier. If you’re unsure how you should be factoring projected ownership percentage into your tournament roster construction, go back and read the introduction to this series, or this blog post on the topic.
The projected ownership ranges that appear in this space were derived in part from Footballguys’ proprietary algorithms, which take into account historical data, projected scoring, and player salary. Projected ownership percentages for every player, on every slate, can be found each week on our FREE Daily Crusher Mobile App. As always, I’ll be supplementing the algorithms with industry research to create the projections. Please be warned that the projection ranges shown below are by no means infallible and are only meant to be used as guidelines. Ownership percentages in your actual contests will vary.
LAST WEEK’S RESULTS
In the spirit of full disclosure, here are last week’s hits and misses. Actual ownership percentages were taken from the Millionaire Maker.
|Player||Projected % Owned||Actual % Owned||Fantasy Points||Value|
|Alex Smith||< 5%||0.97%||13.42||2.68|
|Mark Sanchez||< 5%||4.18%||16.84||3.37|
|Frank Gore||< 5%||5.13%||12||2.55|
|Jordan Matthews||< 5%||7.1%||5.3||0.88|
|Jeremy Maclin||< 5%||3.43%||5.9||1.18|
|Golden Tate||< 5%||4.39%||15.1||3.28|
|Jimmy Graham||< 5%||4.2%||6.9||1.41|
|Clive Walford||< 5%||0.1%||4.5||1.80|
Moving on to this week’s slate...
5% Projected Ownership and Under
Matt Hasselbeck - $5,400 vs. TAM
It’s a pretty safe assumption no one will want to roster boring old Matt Hasselbeck, making him a decent pivot off more popular low priced quarterbacks like Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston. Hasselbeck has been good for between 15 and 16 fantasy points in each of his three starts this season, so we can be fairly confident in a high floor. He also possesses a bit more upside than usual this week thanks to a matchup with Tampa Bay’s bottom-third pass defense. With the exception of Matt Cassel in Week 10, the last five quarterbacks to face the Bucs have thrown for at least two touchdowns and of those five quarterbacks only Eli Manning threw for less than 260 yards.
Mark Ingram - $6,400 @ HOU
When we last saw Ingram he was mysteriously limited to five carries in a fantastic matchup with Washington (to his credit, he still managed 77 yards). According to Sean Payton, Ingram was nicked up which explains Tim Hightower’s 11 carries. Assuming the bye week has cured whatever was ailing Ingram, he’s all but assured one of the heaviest running back workloads. In the Saints only other game without the injured Khiry Robinson, Ingram handled 25 of the team’s 28 backfield touches, including all the goal line work. The matchup with Houston is not very enticing, but any time you can get a low-owned back due for 20+ carries who plays in an offense that can move the ball, it’s a risk worth taking in GPPs.
Ronnie Hillman - $4,000 vs. NE
With several inexpensive backup running backs being thrust into starting roles, most entrants will overlook Hillman, who ran as the clear 1A option in Denver’s revitalized rushing attack last week (21-102-0). The Broncos’ rushing play percentage sits at 37.83% on the season, but in their first game without Peyton Manning, they ran the ball on 52.94% of their plays. New England has allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing running backs, but that’s primarily because their offense usually forces teams to abandon the run (they allow 22.8 carries per game -- second-fewest in the league). The Patriots offense struggled in their first game without both Dion Lewis and Julian Edelman, which allowed Buffalo to run the ball 30 times against them (a season high for New England). The Denver defense should be up to the task of slowing down Tom Brady and company at home, which should lead to similar rushing opportunity for Hillman and (to a lesser extent) C.J Anderson.
Michael Floyd - $3,800 @ SF
Concerns about Floyd's injured hamstring and the likelihood most entrants will be spending up at wide receiver should tank his ownership percentage. But Floyd’s return to practice on Wednesday has to be taken as a positive sign and he had been absolutely crushing value prior to the injury (four straight games with at least 15 fantasy points), most recently dropping a 7-113-2 line on the Seahawks vaunted pass defense on the road. If he’s able to suit up this week, Floyd gets a dream matchup against the 49ers 31st ranked pass defense (DVOA). He figures to run the majority of his routes against San Francisco cornerback Marcus Cromartie, who belongs on the practice squad. If Floyd is declared out, J.J. Nelson ($3,000) is in play coming off a monster game, or you can make an even swap for the next player on this list.
Rueben Randle - $3,800 @ WAS
Randle hasn’t eclipsed five receptions or 68 receiving yards since he posted a 7-116-1 line in Week 3 against this same Washington team. Maybe it’s long past time to throw in the towel on Randle for fantasy purposes, but the matchup is impossible to ignore. Washington has allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season, and over 35% more fantasy points per game to the position than the league average over the last five weeks. In particular they’ve struggled to defend secondary receivers, ranking 29th in pass defense DVOA vs. WR2s. Randle was due to draw cornerback Chris Culliver on most of his routes, but Culliver (who has been awful this season) blew out his knee in Thursday’s practice, leaving 5’10’’ rookie Kyshoen Jarrett to start in his place.
Jimmy Graham - $4,800 vs. PIT
It’s getting harder and harder to continue recommending Graham, but I’m taking one more shot in hopes a potential home shootout with Pittsburgh can help him reach his ceiling. The Steelers have had trouble defending tight ends this season (fifth-most fantasy points allowed), and prior to last week’s three target outlier against San Francisco, Graham had been a big part of Seattle’s game plan (28.75% target market share from Weeks 8-11). Vegas has Seattle projected for over 24 points this week, so there should be enough touchdown production from their passing game to go around for Graham, who leads the team with a 41% red zone target market share.
Other recommended GPP plays in this ownership tier: Ryan Fitzpatrick ($5,000 vs. MIA), Tyler Lockett ($3,000 vs. PIT), Nate Washington ($3,800 vs. NO), Alfred Blue ($4,500 vs. NO), Sammy Watkins ($5,200 @ KC), T.Y. Hilton ($5,700 vs. TAM)
6%-10% Projected Ownership
Marcus Mariota - $5,500 vs OAK
Mariota has flashed upside this season, posting over 20 fantasy points in three out of eight starts. Each of his three high-end performances came against pass defenses ranked in or around the bottom-third of the league in pass defense (DVOA), which is exactly where the Raiders check in (23rd). Oakland allows 290 passing yards per game (third-most in the league) and also ranks near the bottom-third in opponent yards per pass attempt (7.0) and opponent completion percentage (64%). Since Mike Mularkey took over as head coach, Mariota is averaging five rush attempts per game (compared to 1.8 per game previously) which pads his fantasy floor. Mariota should have no problem reaching his cash game target score (16.5 points) and has upside for more given the matchup and Mularkey’s commitment to put him in position to run more.
Blake Bortles - $5,900 vs. SD
The crowd should be lukewarm on on Bortles after back-to-back subpar performances in attractive matchups with Baltimore and Tennessee, but both of those spots may not have been as great as they looked on the surface. Despite their struggles this season, the Ravens have not been a team that lays down at home under Jim Harbaugh, and Jacksonville played the Titans on Thursday night (a situation that typically depresses passing fantasy points). Bortles returns home this week to face a San Diego defense ranked 28th in pass defense DVOA by Football Outsiders. Before facing off with Alex Smith last week, the last three quarterbacks to face the Chargers (Jay Cutler, Joe Flacco, and Derek Carr) all scored between 22 and 26 fantasy points.
Chris Ivory - $5,800 vs. MIA
Ivory’s price is down $300 from last week after he posted a season-low 5.5 fantasy points in the Jets’ road loss to Houston. New York returns home this week, where Ivory is averaging nearly twice as many fantasy points per game as he does on the road. The Dolphins enter this game hemorrhaging fantasy points to opposing running backs. Over the last five weeks they’ve let up over 48% more fantasy points per game to the position than the league average. Vegas has the Jets favored by 3.5 points, which is another split in Ivory’s favor. In the three games New York has been a favorite of at least 3.5 points, Ivory’s fantasy points per game increase by more than 102%.
Giovani Bernard - $4,500 vs. STL
While the Rams have been a tough team to run on this season (3.68 yards per attempt against), they’ve allowed the fourth-most receiving yards to opposing running backs. It’s a trend that clearly favors Bernard, who ranks fourth in the NFL in target market share among running backs (13.72%). Jeremy Hill’s two touchdown performance last week masks the fact Bernard is also being given the ball in position to score. On the season, Bernard has 10 carries from inside the opponent’s 10-yard line to Hill’s 11. The game script (Bengals -9) points to a little more usage from Hill than we’ve seen in the past two weeks when Cincinnati was forced into catch-up mode, but if the Bengals are able to get out to a big lead, expect Bernard to be one of the primary reasons.
Amari Cooper - $6,800 @ TEN
Cooper’s ownership should plummet after he was held to one catch for four yards by Darius Slay and the Lions last week. The matchup against the Titans is not as strong on paper as it was last season, but Cooper has the talent to win against Tennessee cornerback Perrish Cox. As per Pro Football Focus, Cox has allowed the sixth-most fantasy points per route defended this season. The Raiders are projected for a solid 23 points on the road, and 82% of their touchdowns have come via the pass this season. It’s a safe bet there will be multiple passing touchdowns to go around for Oakland and Cooper has twice as many red zone targets over the last four weeks as teammate Michael Crabtree.
Brandon LaFell - $4,300 @ DEN
LaFell hasn’t been setting the world on fire, but he’s New England’s most heavily targeted pass catcher over the last four weeks (19.35% market share) and he’s available for the same price as guys like Tavon Austin and Pierre Garcon. With the recent losses of Julian Edelman and Dion Lewis, there were already plenty of targets up for grabs in New England. Now that Danny Amendola will be out or limited this week, LaFell is the only viable , healthy wide receiver left on the most prolific passing offense in the league. A road contest against Denver’s elite cornerbacks is obviously less than ideal, but this is a situation where opportunity ought to trump matchup.
Heath Miller - $3,100 @ SEA
After allowing touchdowns to fantasy afterthoughts Jermaine Gresham and Vance McDonald in back to back weeks, Seattle has now let up the third-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season. The crowd should be off Miller, who hasn't done much lately and is coming off a bye week. Since Ben Roethlisberger returned from injury in Week 8, Miller has seen between six and 13 targets in every game, including 18% of Pittsburgh's red zone targets. Something in the neighborhood of a 5-50-1 receiving line is closer to Miller’s baseline than his ceiling in this matchup.
Other recommended GPP plays in this ownership tier: Jameis Winston ($5,500 @ IND), Eli Manning ($6,500 @ WAS)
11% to 15% Projected Ownership
Brian Hoyer - $5,000 vs. NO
The only things keeping Hoyer out of the top ownership tier are his name and slight injury concern as he makes his way back from a concussion suffered in Week 10. Hoyer has been practicing in full this week and he’s given you no reason to question starting him this season. He’s priced at the QB minimum and has exceeded at least 3x value at that price in five out of the six games he’s finished (including three games at over 4x value). The Saints have allowed 63% more fantasy points per game to the quarterback position than the league average over the last five weeks, and have no chance at containing DeAndre Hopkins. Anything short of 18-20 fantasy points from Hoyer would qualify as a mild surprise.
Adrian Peterson - $7,300 @ ATL
Peterson’s price is up $500 from last week, coming off a disappointing 13-45-1 line at home against Green Bay. He may still end up over 16% owned, but between the down game and the abundance of running back value this week, he may be available at a reasonable ownership level. Peterson has handled 47.6% of the Vikings' offensive touches this season, easily the highest workload share in the league. Atlanta has given up the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season, and only Detroit allows a higher opponent rushing touchdown percentage than the Falcons. With Devonta Freeman out due to a concussion, Peterson projects as this week’s overall running back points leader.
T.J. Yeldon - $4,800 vs. SD
Consider this your weekly reminder that the running back playing San Diego should be on your radar in all DFS formats. As you’re surely aware by now, the Chargers surrender the most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs and they’ve been especially bad over the last three weeks, with 45% more fantasy points per game allowed to the position than the league average. Yeldon has handled 38.4% of his team’s total touches in his starts, which is quietly the seventh-highest workload share in the league. The Jaguars are four point home favorites, making it likely Yeldon will enjoy favorable game script.
Allen Robinson - $7,300 vs. SD
As bad as San Diego is against the run, they’re also plenty bad against the pass, ranking 28th in overall pass defense DVOA and 26th against opposing WR1s. Robinson has developed into one of the highest-floor fantasy receivers in the league (no games under double digit fantasy points since Week 1 against Carolina) and has flashed 25+ point upside on several occasions. Chargers cornerback Jason Verrett has earned a reputation as a shutdown corner, but Alshon Jeffery and Amari Cooper both posted over 130 receiving yards on Verrett’s watch in recent weeks. Jacksonville has the highest passing touchdown percentage in the league and Robinson sees nearly 28% of their red zone targets, making it likely he finds paydirt to go along with something close to a six catch, 100 yard receiving day.
Eric Decker - $5,800 vs. MIA
Red zone weapons don’t get much more efficient than Decker, who has converted a higher percentage of his targets from inside the 10-yard line into touchdowns than any wide receiver besides Larry Fitzgerald. Miami’s pass defense ranks 29th at defending WR2s (DVOA) and Decker has been getting more attention from Ryan Fitzpatrick lately. Decker’s target market share sits at about 21% for the season, but has risen to nearly 25% over the past four weeks. Both Jets wide receivers make for solid plays against Miami, but Decker remains $1,000 cheaper than Brandon Marshall despite producing 10% more fantasy points over the past four weeks.
Gary Barnidge - $4,800 vs. BAL
As soon as it was announced Josh McCown would get the start for the Browns, Barnidge became one of the top tight end plays on the board. In seven games with McCown, Barnidge has averaged 5.6 receptions, 78.6 receiving yards, and 0.86 touchdowns per game compared to three receptions, 39 receiving yards, and 0.33 touchdowns per game in three games without McCown. When these teams met in Week 5, Barnidge dropped an 8-139-1 line (30.9 fantasy points) on the Ravens. While it’s doubtful this game turns into a similar shootout (Matt Schaub is behind center for Ravens after all), a top five weekly finish at the position is well within Barndige's range of outcomes, regardless of game script.
Kansas City Chiefs Defense vs. BUF - $2,800
The Chiefs are far and away the top scoring defense over the last four weeks and they should keep it going at home against Buffalo. Tyrod Taylor is banged up and while he says he’ll play, his quarterback rating has been below 40 in each of his past two games. The Chiefs are getting excellent pressure on the quarterback (their 14 sacks in the last four weeks are second to only the Titans) and Taylor hasn’t been as mobile recently (13 yards on 10 rush attempts over his last two games). Kansas City also seems to have fixed the problem with their leaky secondary, which had been their biggest problem all season.
Arizona Cardinals Defense - $3,900 @ SF
Blaine Gabbert has been surprisingly passable in his first two games as a starting quarterback, but it hasn’t helped San Francisco score more than 17 points in either of his two starts. The only reason the 49ers don’t have the lowest projected team total this week is because Nick Foles is starting for St. Louis. Arizona gives up the fourth-fewest yards per pass attempt and averages the second-most interceptions per game. The Cardinals are a double digit favorite, making it likely Gabbert will be forced into desperation comeback mode, which cannot possibly end well for the 49ers.
Other recommended GPP plays in this ownership tier: Jordan Reed ($5,100 @ NYG), Martavis Bryant ($5,600 @ SEA), Rob Gronkowski ($7,900 vs. DEN)
16%+ Projected Ownership
The following players are this week’s chalk. They’re all highly recommended for cash games, but can be used as foundation pieces in tournament lineups because they’re likely to finish among the week’s top scorers. Just be aware you’re not sneaking any of them past your opponents and if you use them in GPPs, you’ll need to differentiate your line-ups with lower-owned players at other positions.
Carson Palmer - $7,100 @SF
Palmer has destroyed difficult on-paper matchups in consecutive nationally televised games against the Seahawks (26.32 fantasy points) and Bengals (29.58 fantasy points). It’s a safe bet the public has taken note and will be tripping over themselves to roster Palmer in a matchup with San Francisco’s 31st ranked pass defense (DVOA). Despite what’s sure to be high ownership, fading Palmer in tournaments is not recommended. There’s no safer bet for 300 yards and three touchdowns on the slate and there’s room for more given the soft matchup.
Javorius Allen - $4,600 @ CLE
Allen hasn’t been especially impressive as a rookie, averaging 3.9 yards per carry in his limited opportunities. It also remains to be seen whether Matt Schaub has enough left in the tank to keep the Baltimore offense moving the chains, even in a plus matchup with Cleveland (hint: he doesn’t). Still, Allen is enticing for both tournaments and cash games due to his low price, what’s sure to be a massive workload (he saw 27 touches in relief of Justin Forsett last week) and his ability as a receiver (five catches for 48 yards last week). In terms of dollars per projected touch, Allen narrowly edges Thomas Rawls as the best running back value of the week. Cleveland’s generous rush defense (fifth-most fantasy points per game allowed) is another feather in Allen’s cap.
Thomas Rawls - $4,500 vs. PIT
In the four games in which Rawls has seen at least 16 carries, he’s averaged 132.5 rushing yards per game. Pittsburgh has been stiff against the run and leaky against the pass, but we can safely forecast 20-25 touches for Rawls in a game Vegas projects the Seahawks to win by more than a field goal. Rawls will be this week’s highest owned running back, so there’s certainly merit to fading him in tournaments, but the value might be too strong to ignore this week. I'll be treating Rawls as a plug and play option and differentiating my lineups at other positions.
DeAndre Hopkins - $9,100 vs. NO
Hopkins is your no-brainer stud play of the week and will likely appear on over 40% of your opponents’ rosters. He proved last week by roasting Darrelle Revis that we shouldn’t have any concerns about using him against up and coming cornerback Delvin Breaux. As I mentioned above when discussing Brian Hoyer, the New Orleans pass defense is a huge problem that couldn't be fixed by simply firing defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. The question we have to ask ourselves about Hopkins is, ‘Would he score 27 or more fantasy points at least 40% of the time if these two teams played 100 times?” It’s close, but I’m confident the answer is yes.
Odell Beckham Jr. - $8,700 @ WAS
Beckham should still check in above 16% owned, but he’s a great lower-owned (and less expensive) pivot off Hopkins and Julio Jones. As previously mentioned, the Washington secondary is horrendous and they’ll be playing without Chris Culliver. Washington simply has no one on their roster capable of covering Beckham, who went for 7-79-1 when these teams last met in Week 3. It wouldn’t be shocking if he doubled each of those totals in the rematch.
Delanie Walker - $5,400 vs. OAK
Walker loses a little bit of luster with Kendall Wright due back for the Titans, but he still has 20+ point upside against an Oakland team that has had their share of struggles defending tight ends. Looking back on the Raiders’ track record against the position this year, it’s clear they struggle against athletic tight ends who are a big part of their team’s offensive game plan. Walker (6’1’’, 240 lbs., 4.49 forty yard dash - albeit in 2006) certainly qualifies.
Cleveland Browns Defense - $2,000 vs. BAL
A picture is worth a thousand words.
Start the Browns D this week? pic.twitter.com/SxSEudtZbX— Phil Alexander (@PhilTWR) November 26, 2015
Other recommended GPP/cash game plays in this ownership tier: Julio Jones ($9,400 vs. MIN)