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|
|Matt Hasselbeck||< 5%||0.4%||23.3||4.31|
|Mark Ingram||< 5%||4.2%||15.7||2.45|
|Ronnie Hillman||< 5%||1.9%||12.9||3.23|
|Michael Floyd||< 5%||3.0%||2.4||0.63|
|Rueben Randle||< 5%||1.7%||10.6||2.79|
|Jimmy Graham||< 5%||4.3%||11.5||2.40|
|Odell Beckham Jr.||16+%||39.2%||32.2||3.70|
Moving on to this week’s slate...
5% Projected Ownership and Under
Eli Manning - $6,500 vs. NYJ
You’ll be able to roster Manning at around 2% owned this week due primarily to his matchup with the Jets fifth ranked pass defense (per Football Outsiders DVOA metrics). The main reason I’d be willing to chance Manning against the Jets is that the Giants have the fifth-highest scoring offense in the league (26.1 points per game) and are almost entirely reliant on their passing attack. On the season, the Giants rank inside the top 10 in passing play percentage (63%), passing yards percentage (75%), and passing touchdown percentage (74%). They have a shot at scoring three touchdowns this week (21.75 implied team total) and Darrelle Revis sitting out with a concussion helps their chances. It’s worth noting that despite their lofty pass defense ranking, the Jets have allowed at least 333 passing yards and two touchdowns to four of the last six quarterbacks they’ve faced.
Jeremy Hill - $4,800 @ CLE
Trying to pick the right spot to use Jeremy Hill has been an exercise in futility this season, but the game script sets up nicely for him this week. The Bengals are favored by a touchdown at Cleveland and projected to score over 25 points. Their opponent -- the Browns -- have let up the most rushing yards in the league and are starting turnover machine Austin Davis at quarterback. It’s fair to expect more short fields and scoring chances than usual for Hill, who ran a lot more like the 2014 version of himself last week against a tough Rams defensive front.
Anquan Boldin - $4,100 @ CHI
It doesn’t get much more boring than the perennially underappreciated Anquan Boldin, who will go low-owned in tournaments as usual. Boldin hasn’t missed a step in two games since returning from a three week absence due to a hamstring injury. Despite back-to-back tough matchups (Seattle and Arizona), he posted 93 receiving yards in both games. This week Boldin gets the Bears, who rank 25th in pass defense DVOA to opposing WR1s. His reception and yardage projections alone should allow him to reach his 3x multiplier target score for cash games and Boldin has touchdown upside to boot. Despite missing two games, Boldin’s red zone target market share (42.11%) ranks fifth-highest in the league.
DeVante Parker - $3,300 vs. BAL
A rib injury to Rishard Matthews opens up 90% of the Dolphins outside receiver snaps for Parker, the team’s seldom-used first round draft pick. Although most of his stats (including a highlight reel 33-yard touchdown) were accumulated in garbage time, Parker was impressive in relief of Matthews last week (4-80-1 on 10 targets). When you factor in talent, opportunity, and matchup (Parker will run most of his routes against Baltimore cornerback Shareece Wright, who has let up the second-most fantasy points per route defended per Pro Football Focus), Parker is the best near-minimum salary punt play on this week’s slate outside of David Johnson and C.J. Anderson.
Jacob Tamme - $3,700 @ TB
It looks like Leonard Hankerson will miss his second straight game with a hamstring injury, which makes Tamme something close to a plug-and-play option. In six games with Hankerson, Tamme has averaged 3.3 receptions and 41 receiving yards on 4.67 targets. Without Hankerson in the lineup, Tamme has averaged six catches for 67 yards on 8.5 targets. Lovie Smith’s Tampa-2 scheme leaves tight ends to roam free in the seam between the outside linebackers and cornerbacks, as evidenced by Tamme’s monster 10-103-1 receiving line in the previous matchup between these teams.
Kyle Rudolph - $3,700 vs. SEA
The Seahawks rank 29th in pass DVOA to opposing tight ends and have given up the fourth-most fantasy points to the position. Rudolph followed up his season best 6-106-1 receiving line in Week 11 against the Packers with a solid 7-53-0 performance last week. His 19 targets over the last two games are very encouraging and he’s assured some action when Minnesota visits the red zone. Rudolph’s 38.46% red zone target market share is the seventh-highest in the league. He’s got clear top five upside in this matchup and remains affordably priced as the TE14. Rudolph’s 1.4% ownership in Thursday tournaments on Fanduel (where he was the TE19) is a strong sign he’ll be overlooked on DraftKings as well.
Titans Defense - $2,600 vs. JAX
The Titans have quietly done a fantastic job of pressuring the quarterback this year, leading the league in sack percentage and tallying the fourth-most sacks per game (2.9). This week they host Blake Bortles, who has been sacked 3.1 times per game. Bortles’ struggles with accuracy (57% completion rate) have led him to throw more interceptions than anyone besides Peyton Manning. Even if this game becomes a shootout (Vegas doesn’t think so -- 43 point over/under), the Titans sack and turnover potential gives them one of the highest floors of any D/ST.
Other recommended GPP plays in this ownership tier: Matt Ryan ($6,700 @ TB), Kirk Cousins ($5,200 vs. DAL), Frank Gore ($4,300 @ PIT), Brandin Cooks ($6,300 vs. CAR)
6%-10% Projected Ownership
Jay Cutler - $5,100 vs. SF
Cutler stands out to me as the most-glaringly mispriced player on this week’s slate. Prior to tough matchups in his last two games (Denver and at Green Bay on Thanksgiving), Cutler had scored between 18 and 25 fantasy points in six straight contests. The matchup couldn’t be any better for Cutler with San Francisco visiting Soldier Field.. If you don’t count their game against Nick Foles (and why would you?), the 49ers have allowed averages of 345 passing yards and 2.75 touchdowns in away games this year. Cutler-Alshon Jeffery is my priority stack of the week.
LeSean McCoy - $5,700 vs. HOU
McCoy was 10% owned in the Millionaire Maker last week, a number I’d expect to remain relatively static despite his fourth consecutive game with at least 18 fantasy points. The matchup with Houston is less than ideal. Since allowing Lamar Miller to trample them for 236 total yards and two touchdowns back in Week 7, the Texans haven’t allowed a rusher to top 64 yards or score a touchdown. Still, McCoy is playing at home, the Bills are projected to score about three touchdowns, and Karlos Williams is likely to miss this game with a shoulder injury. There aren’t many backs who have a better projected dollar per touch value.
Darren McFadden - $5,300 @ WAS
McFadden’s ownership level will be suppressed by his nationally televised Thanksgiving day clunker, but he’s guaranteed a massive workload against the struggling Washington rush defense. Prior to facing the non-existent Giants running game last week, Washington had been getting mauled by the run. Five of the last six running backs they faced cleared 100 rushing yards against them, with four going for at least 129. The only non-Giants starting running back who failed to rush for 100 yards against Washington since Week 5 was Mark Ingram, who had 77 rushing yards on only five carries. With Matt Cassel back behind center for Dallas, McFadden gives the Cowboys’ their only chance of moving the ball. In five games played with Cassel, McFadden’s targets per game have increased by 63%.
Charcandrick West - $5,200 @ OAK
The hamstring injury that kept West out last week (and the subsequent emergence of Spencer Ware) should suppress West’s ownership, making him a relatively sneaky play. There’s been speculation Ware’s impressive showing will result in a committee backfield going forward, but I see this as West’s job as long as he’s healthy. It’s pretty obvious that Andy Reid prefers quick, shifty backs who can contribute in the passing game, and as good as Ware might be (this read on Ware by our Matt Waldman demands your attention), he doesn’t bring the versatility Reid traditionally covets in running backs. Given his usual 20+ total touches, West should excel against the Raiders, who now rank as a bottom-third rush defense (DVOA) despite opening the season strong. Oakland allowed huge fantasy totals to Adrian Peterson (32.6 points) and DeAngelo Williams (41.5 points) before facing the toothless running games of the Lions and Titans in their last two games.
DeAndre Hopkins - $8,800 @ BUF
I’m not exactly enamored with Hopkins’ potential this week, but there’s something to be said for rostering him at what’s likely to be his lowest ownership percentage in months. After letting down over 50% of the field in last week’s Millionaire Maker, entrants looking to spend up at receiver are much more likely to target Julio Jones, Odell Beckham Jr., and Antonio Brown. The recent stellar play of Houston’s defense has slowed down their league-leading offensive pace, which has resulted in less targets (and less garbage time) for Hopkins. But it was only two weeks ago Hopkins ate Darrelle Revis’ lunch en route to a 31.8 fantasy point performance. A receiver as talented as Hopkins (who’s still seeing over 33% of Houston’s targets over the last three games) is a strong GPP option any time he qualifies as a contrarian play.
Brandon LaFell - $4,800 vs. PHI
This will be the fourth time I’ve recommended LaFell in the last five weeks. While it hasn’t worked out very well for you (or me) since Week 9, the spot doesn’t get any better for LaFell this week. The Eagles have been annihilated by outside receivers all season long, and it should only get worse with cornerback Nolan Carroll out for the season. Over their last four games, Philadelphia has surrendered 11 wide receiver touchdowns and over 57% more fantasy points to the position than the league average. LaFell leads the Patriots in overall target market share (20.25%) and red zone target market share (23.53%) in their last four games, and those numbers figure to tick up with Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman out for New England.
Kamar Aiken - $4,800 @ MIA
Aiken proved last week (6-80-1 on 10 targets) he can weather the storm with Matt Schaub as his quarterback, as long as the matchup is right. He draws another favorable opponent this week in the Dolphins, who rank dead last in pass defense DVOA against opposing WR1s. Like Philadelphia, Miami’s pass defense has been a mess recently. They’ve allowed 10 wide receiver touchdowns in their last five games, and over 25% more fantasy points to the position than the league average over that span. Aiken is dominating targets for Baltimore (26.45% market share) and is also their top red zone receiver, with two red zone touchdowns on four targets in the last three games.
Washington Defense - $2,300 vs. DAL
The Washington defense dominated the high powered Saints and Giants offenses in their last two home games and will face a much friendlier home matchup against Matt Cassel this week. The last two defenses Cassel faced as a starter (Tampa Bay and Philadelphia -- not exactly world beating units) each scored 12 fantasy points. Cassel has absorbed 10 sacks in his five starts this season, and Washington has done a much better job getting after the quarterback at home (2.5 sacks per game) than on the road (1.0 sack per game). Throw in Cassel’s subpar completion percentage (63%) and yards per attempt average (6.5) and it’s easy to see why Dallas is projected for Vegas’ third-lowest point total this week (19 points).
Other recommended GPP plays in this ownership tier: Andy Dalton ($6,400 vs. CLE), Ryan Tannehill ($5,300 vs. BAL), Thomas Rawls ($5,400 @ MIN), Antonio Gates ($4,900 @ DEN)
11% to 15% Projected Ownership
C.J. Anderson - $3,500 @ SD
Anderson’s current situation reminds me a lot of when he took over lead back duties for the Broncos last year. He’s once again way too cheap for how well he’s running, and there’s still enough uncertainty about his role in the Broncos offense for the crowd to go all in on him. I built my bankroll capitalizing on the same uncertainty last year, and I’m ready to do it again. The Anderson we saw last season (the one who finished as a top 10 fantasy running back despite starting only seven games) was back against the Patriots, and he’s matched up against the worst rush defense in football (DVOA). Ronnie Hillman may not fade completely into the background, but Anderson will get enough work to easily exceed a 4x salary multiplier regardless. The Broncos rush play percentage hovered around 35% with Peyton Manning behind center. Since Brock Osweiler took over, it’s closer to 45%. And take a look at how the quality of Anderson’s runs have improved with Osweiler at quarterback:
CJ Anderson with Osweiler (majority of snaps under center): 6.37 YPC CJ Anderson with Manning (majority of snaps out of shotgun): 3.60 YPC— RotoUnderworld (@rotounderworld) December 1, 2015
Amari Cooper - $6,900 @ KC
Whereas Michael Crabtree was the more heavily targeted Oakland receiver in the first half of the season, the scales have tipped to the more talented Cooper recently. In the last four games, Cooper leads the Raiders in target market share (25.68%) and holds a distinct edge over Crabtree in red zone targets (five to two). It seemed as though the Chiefs had plugged the holes in their leaky secondary, but Sammy Watkins (6-158-2) quickly dispelled that notion last week. The Chiefs have struggled to defend outside receivers all season and rank 30th in pass defense DVOA against opposing WR1s.
Julius Thomas - $4,000 @ TEN
What if I told you Julius Thomas was the most heavily targeted tight end in football over the last four weeks? And then what if I told you the receiver (Allen Hurns) who has accounted for nearly 19% of the Jaguars targets this season was going to sit out? Thomas returned to fantasy relevance in a big way against San Diego last week (9-116-1) and will continue to be a major part of the game plan in the absence of Hurns. The Titans have given up eight touchdowns to tight ends this season, which is tied for the fourth-most and are ranked 24th against the position (DVOA). After thoroughly disappointing redraft owners who took him as a top 10 tight end, Thomas hasn’t built up enough trust to exceed 15% ownership, even at such an affordable price.
Bengals Defense - $3,400 @ CLE
The Browns have allowed the most schedule adjusted fantasy points to opposing defenses -- a problem Austin Davis is not likely to solve. Davis has shown glimpses of competence at times, but also brings a career 63% completion rate and 1.2 interception per game average to the table. He was sacked an absurd 3.63 times per game in his run as St. Louis’ starter last year, which was due in part to the Rams abysmal offensive line, but also doesn’t speak well of Davis’ pocket awareness. Cleveland’s 18.5 point implied team total is the lowest on this week’s slate. I don’t love trusting a defense on the road in a division game, but the Bengals probably have both the highest fantasy floor and ceiling of any D/ST this week.
Other recommended GPP plays in this ownership tier: T.Y. Hilton ($5,700 @ PIT), Allen Robinson ($7,300 @ TEN), Travis Kelce ($4,700 @ OAK)
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.
Ben Roethlisberger - $6,600 vs. IND
Roethlisberger has reached or exceeded a 4x multiplier at this salary in each of his last three starts. The middling Colts pass defense doesn’t stand much of a chance at holding the Steelers to less than four total touchdowns, especially at Heinz Field where Roethlisberger’s fantasy points per game have increased by over 61% since the start of last season. Roethlisberger and Cam Newton have the best chances to finish as this week’s top scoring quarterback and the rest of the field knows it.
Julio Jones - $9,000 @ TB
Odell Beckham Jr. and Antonio Brown are both elite options in all formats this week, but if I’m paying up at wide receiver it will be to get Jones, who is a certified Tampa Bay Bucs killer. Jones’ three receiving lines against the Buccaneers since Lovie Smith took over as head coach -- 11-161-2, 11-119-0, and 13-162-1. Enjoy the $400 discount thanks to last week’s off game.
Alshon Jeffery - $6,900 vs. SF
It’s going to be fun watching the 49ers street free agent cornerbacks try to defend Jeffery this week. Jeffery is finally off the injury report, and will resume his massive target share against the 49ers 31st ranked pass defense (DVOA). Jeffery might have the highest upside of any wide receiver on this week’s slate, yet he’s grossly mispriced as the WR14.
Martavis Bryant ($5,600 vs. IND)
Bryant drips upside regardless of matchup, but with Antonio Brown likely to run most of his routes against Vontae Davis, Bryant is going to see plenty of Greg Toler in coverage. Pro Football Focus grades Toler as the sixth-worst cornerback in the league. This is the last week you’ll be able to get Bryant for less than $6,500.
Adrian Peterson - $6,600 vs. SEA
Peterson racked up 35.7 fantasy points against Atlanta last week and his price dropped by $700. Um, what? I get the matchup with Seattle is tough, but the Vikings are at home, expected to be in a close game (the spread is a pick ‘em) and projected to score nearly 21 points. That’s not a high total, but Peterson is Minnesota’s entire offense. He’s handled 48% of the Vikings total touches (rushes plus receptions) this season, by far the largest workload share in the league. At this point, it’s foolish to go into a weekend with no exposure to Peterson in tournaments.
Jonathan Stewart - $5,300 @ NO
Since coming out of the Panthers Week 5 bye, Stewart has averaged 15.2 fantasy points per game and only finished with single digit fantasy points once. His price has risen in recent weeks, but it’s still low enough to make Stewart a virtual lock to reach his 3x cash game multiplier. In tournaments you’re looking for more, and Stewart is in a great spot to reach his 20+ point ceiling. The Panthers have the second-highest implied team total (28.25 points) on the slate and are projected to win by a touchdown. We know Stewart is getting 20 carries -- he’s now received at least that many in seven consecutive games. The Saints defense is terrible all over, but they’ve been especially bad against the run recently, allowing nearly twice as many fantasy points to opposing running backs than the league average over the past three weeks. Stewart’s ownership will be higher than usual in this matchup, but he should remain slightly underappreciated due to his lack of involvement as a receiver and the fallacy he doesn’t have multi-touchdown upside (Stewart’s seven carries from inside the opponent’s five yard line are the fourth-most of any running back since Week 6).
David Johnson - $3,400 @ STL
Footballguy staffer Ryan Hester asked me in this week’s DraftKings Roundtable if there was any reason to fade Johnson, who will undoubtedly be the heaviest-owned player in tournaments this week. At the risk of not expressing myself as clearly the second time, I’ll just copy and paste my answer here:
The only merit to fading Johnson as Arizona's starting running back would be the leverage you gain on about 50% of the field in GPPs if he somehow has a bad (or even average) game. While fading the chalk in large field tournaments is typically my standard operating procedure, Johnson is just too great a value to pass up at only $3,400.
The road matchup with St. Louis doesn't concern me for six reasons.
David Johnson is a bulldozer with a Porsche engine.
Johnson is an elite touchdown maker. No running back with at least 20 total touches has scored on a higher percentage of his opportunities than Johnson's 12.96%.
The Cardinals are the highest scoring road team in the NFL on a per game basis (32.5 points per game).
When we last saw the Rams defense at home, they allowed Jeremy Langford to go berserk (40.2 fantasy points).
Johnson's strong suit is catching passes out of the backfield, which plays nicely in this matchup (and on DraftKings full PPR scoring). Langford, Buck Allen, and Giovani Bernard all managed at least 48 receiving yards against the Rams in the last three weeks. On the season, St.Louis has allowed the third-most receiving yards to opposing running backs.
Have you seen Nick Foles play recently? The Arizona defense should dominate this matchup and set up Johnson with plenty of short fields and scoring opportunities.
Greg Olsen - $6,400 @ NO
We have no Gronk, no Graham, and probably no Eifert this week. Those looking to pay up at tight end can only look to Olsen, who would have been highly owned regardless in a matchup with the Saints. New Orleans has allowed more fantasy points to opposing tight ends than any other team. Olsen burned them for a season-best 8-134-2 line back in Week 3, and would appear primed for another 20+ fantasy point effort in the divisional rematch.
Other recommended GPP/cash game plays in this ownership tier: Cam Newton ($7,400 @ NO), Chris Ivory ($5,900 “@” NYG), DeAngelo Williams ($5,600 vs. IND), A.J. Green ($7,600 vs. CLE), Antonio Brown ($8,600 vs. IND)