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. Until we have a few weeks worth of reliable data, 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 $10 Million Millionaire Maker.
|Player||Projected % Owned||Actual % Owned||Fantasy Points||Value|
|DeAndre Hopkins||< 5%||3.4%||32.8||4.43|
|Matt Forte||< 5%||5.3%||30.6||3.92|
|Jordan Cameron||< 5%||7.3%||11.3||2.97|
|Larry Fitzgerald||< 5%||6.8%||14.7||2.67|
|Leonard Hankerson||< 5%||1.1%||3.6||1.20|
|Tampa Bay Defense||6%-10%||3.4%||0||0|
|Odell Beckham Jr.||16+%||9.3%||9.4||1.02|
Moving on to this week’s slate...
5% Ownership and Under
Ryan Fitzpatrick - $5,500 @ IND
The Jets are seven point underdogs at Indianapolis and Fitzpatrick is coming off a 179 yard passing day. It’s a safe bet the crowd will be off him in what could be a nice spot. Indy’s defense failed to record a single sack last week and generally succeeded in making Tyrod Taylor look like a world beater in his first NFL start. The Jets’ offensive line is better than the Bills’ and should have no problem giving Fitzpatrick a clean pocket to work from. Vegas is expecting Andrew Luck and company to rebound at home in Week 2 (27 point team total), which means Fitzpatrick will have to throw to keep up in a fast paced game. He’s got the receiving weapons to help him to a 20+ point performance in this matchup.
Eric Decker - $5,100 @ IND
A sneaky Fitzpatrick-Decker stack only takes up 21% of your salary cap and offers significant upside. I’m not sure if the Colts plan on shadowing Brandon Marshall with Vontae Davis (who was responsible for erasing Sammy Watkins last week), but we can assume Davis won’t spend much time on Decker. Decker ran over 80% of his routes from the slot last week, which is primarily Darius Butler’s responsibility In Indianapolis. Here’s Rotoworld’s Nick Mensio on how Butler faired in coverage last week:
This isn’t a one week trend either. According to Pro Football Focus, opposing quarterbacks had a 104.2 passer rating when throwing into Butler's slot coverage last year. Decker’s knack for finding the end zone is also more than just a trend. He’s got a 33% market share of the Jets’ receiving touchdowns since joining the team last season.
Mike Wallace - $5,400 vs. DET
Wallace was one long touchdown catch away from being in a much higher ownership tier this week. But even though he couldn't come down with a tough catch on a beautifully thrown deep ball by Teddy Bridgewater, Wallace led the Vikings in targets, receptions, and receiving yards in his first game with the team. Norv Turner's vertical scheme and Bridgewater's accurate deep ball will eventually result in long touchdowns for Wallace. If the high target volume continues, it's icing on the cake. Philip Rivers proved last week the way to beat the Lions is through the air. Much of San Diego’s damage was done over the middle against Detroit, which would suggest Charles Johnson, or even Jarius Wright might be the better plays, but the Vikings schemed to get Wallace open by running him underneath and across the field on Sunday (in addition to his normal deep routes). If this game were played 100 times, I’m confident Wallace would hit the 21.6 points he needs for GPP value more than 5% of the time.
Jonathan Stewart - $5,500 vs. HOU
Stewart is a great play this week for the same reasons Chris Ivory was last week. Carolina is a home favorite matched up with an opponent their defense should dominate. The game script points to heavy dose of the run, and the crowd should be off Stewart after a ho-hum Week 1 performance (12.1 fantasy points). While Stewart’s stat-line on the road against the Jags left something to be desired, there were also positive signs. He was on the field for 73% of Carolina’s offensive snaps and handled 86% of the team’s carries. Stewart also caught all four of his targets, which is always welcome on DraftKings (full PPR scoring). You’re not going to find many unquestioned feature backs in a better spot this week, and Stewart has flashed immense upside in much tougher matchups as recently as last year’s playoffs.
Washington Defense - $2,700 vs. STL
I’m putting zero stock into Nick Foles’ big game against Seattle last week. The Seahawks seem to throw up all over themselves every time they visit St. Louis. Foles is still not accurate, still has a bad offensive line, still struggles under pressure, and still makes bad decisions. The Washington defense showed up at home against the Dolphins last week, and as long as their offense doesn’t put them in bad field position (which is admittedly a very strong possibility), I expect them to rattle Foles in this one.
Aaron Rodgers - $8,300 vs. SEA
Rodgers was lower owned in tournaments than I thought he’d be in a plus matchup with Chicago last week (13.5% in the $1 Million Play Action), so I don’t see him topping out higher than 10% owned with Seattle as his opponent. I mentioned it when recommending Jimmy Graham last week - any time you can roster a player with the highest upside at his position at low ownership in a tournament, it’s a play you have to consider. Rodgers’ splits in two games against Seattle the last two years are discouraging (12.65 fantasy points per game), but we just saw the Seahawks make Nick Foles and the Rams’ receivers look like world beaters away from CenturyLink field.
Lamar Miller - $5,500 @ JAX
There’s a chance projecting Miller this low owned is optimistic considering his price (RB19), but I’m betting folks won’t be too excited to use him after a disappointing Week 1 (8.5 fantasy points). For some reason, it took Miami until after halftime to realize Miller gave them the best chance of moving the offense. After receiving only three first half touches, Miller looked great in the second half, racking up 73 total yards on 11 touches. I expect Miami to get Miller involved from the outset this week against an opponent who can be beaten on the ground. Jacksonville let up the second most rushing attempts and fifth most fantasy points to running backs last season. Game flow should be on Miller’s side in this one too. Miami’s defense figures to manhandle Blake Bortles, and the Dolphins are heavy favorites on the road.
Ladarius Green - $3,500 @ CIN
With all the huge tight end performances in Week 1, Ladarius Green’s 5-74-1 line vs. Detroit flew a bit under the radar. Green has been a hyper-efficient big-play threat in limited opportunities throughout his career. Now that he’s seeing the field on 75% of San Diego’s offensive snaps, he’s exactly the type of explosive player I want in my tournament lineups. Jordan Reed, Tyler Eifert, Jason Witten, and Austin Seferian-Jenkins will all be more popular plays after their strong starts, but Green is cheaper than all of them and represents the better point per dollar value. What we saw last week doesn’t represent Green’s ceiling.
Carolina Defense - $3,100 vs. HOU
It doesn’t matter who starts at quarterback for the Texans. Both Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett are inaccurate passers, who struggle when faced with pressure in the pocket. Houston has one legitimate offensive weapon -- DeAndre Hopkins -- and the Carolina secondary is capable of taking him away. The Panthers have only allowed one 100 yard game and three total touchdowns to wide receivers since Week 10 last year. How are the Texans going to score in this game?
11% to 15% Ownership
Ben Roethlisberger - $7,200 vs. SF
Over the last three seasons Ben Roethlisberger has averaged 2.1 touchdowns per game at home vs. 1.39 on the road. Last year, his home/road splits were even more extreme. Buoyed by a pair of six touchdown games (which are admittedly unlikely to be repeated), Roethlisberger averaged 30.34 fantasy points per game at home against 17.78 on the road. The Big Ben-Antonio Brown stack should be in play any time the Steelers are at home. That’s especially the case this week with the depleted 49ers defense visiting Heinz Field on a short week.
DeMarco Murray - $7,000 vs. DAL
I’m listing Murray in this ownership tier with the hope his struggles running the ball in Week 1 (1.1 YPA) combined with the platoon that seems to have taken root in Philadelphia, will scare people away. Even with less carries, Murray’s touchdown upside will go unmatched at running back most weeks (as evidenced by his two red zone scores on Monday night). This week should be no different with Philadelphia projected by Vegas to score 30 points at home. And if revenge narratives are your thing, it doesn’t get much better than Murray playing his first division rivalry game against the team who let him walk in free agency.
Jeremy Hill - $7,400 vs. SD
Hill should check in on the high side of this ownership tier after opening the season with a multi-touchdown performance against Oakland. If you’ve read this far, you’ve probably guessed “running back whose team is a home favorite” is a dynamic I like to exploit. Cincinnati is favored by more than a field goal against the Chargers, and projected to score about 25 points by Vegas. This should be a moderately high scoring game with a neutral or better game script for the Bengals, which puts Hill in a nice spot. No running back had more red zone carries than Hill last week - a trend I’d expect to continue in games the Bengals have a chance to win. Ameer Adbullah proved last week the Chargers can be beaten on the ground.
Mark Ingram II - $5,900 vs. TB
Surprise, surprise. Another starting running back playing on a heavy home favorite (10.5 points) projected to score a lot of points (29). Ingram checks off all the boxes this week and as an added bonus he gets a matchup with the same Tampa Bay defense who made Bishop Sankey look like a world beater in Week 1. I initially had him slotted in the 16+% owned tier (and he may very well end up there), but I’m confident some will see the near-even share of carries between Ingram and Khiry Robinson last week, and the possible return of C.J. Spiller this week as red flags. I suppose those are valid concerns, but Ingram is dripping with multi-touchdown potential in this matchup. He was the only Saints running back to see a red zone carry last week (he had two), and Ingram led the entire league in goal line carries in 2014.
Sam Bradford - $6,900 vs. Dallas
I almost listed Drew Brees in this space, but Bradford should approximate (or perhaps exceed) his production at a $900 discount. After the entire country watched Bradford settle in during the second half on Monday Night Football, he’s going to be high-owned in what’s projected as the weekend’s highest scoring game. But stacking Bradford with the next guy on this list won’t cost as much as the rest of the high-end stacks, and carries every bit as much upside. He can be played in both cash games and tournaments.
Jordan Matthews - $7,100 vs. Dallas
Thanks to the Eagles’ playing in the Monday night game, Matthews’ price actually decreased by $100 after a 10 catch, 102 yard game. Had DraftKings had time to recalculate Matthews’ cap figure before Week 2 salaries were released, it’s fair to say he’d cost at least $300-$500 more, making him a better-than-usual value this week. Based on the sheer volume of high percentage targets he received Monday night (13), his yards-after-catch ability (66 YAC - behind only Keenan Allen and Stevie Johnson last week), and the potentially high scoring match-up with Dallas, Matthews’ ceiling is just as high as any receiver’s on the slate. If Bradford keys in on Matthews the way he did in the second half last week, it won’t be long before he’s priced in the same tier as the Calvin Johnson’s of the world. Just know the rest of the crowd sees the value too - he’ll likely end up in the neighborhood of 25% owned.
Terrance Williams - $4,200 @ PHI
Let’s make sure we have one thing straight - Williams is not going to assume Dez Bryant’s role in the Dallas offense. But that doesn’t mean Williams doesn’t have plenty going in his favor. Bryant was hurt in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s win against the Giants - the same quarter in which Williams racked up 45 of his 60 receiving yards. He may not run the same routes as Bryant, or be leaned on as heavily by Tony Romo, but he will see a few more targets by default. Williams is in a great spot, playing in the game with the highest over/under of the week (55), against a pass defense that just got annihilated (albeit primarily by Julio Jones). What I love most about Williams is that he makes touchdowns happen. Last year, no receiver caught a touchdown on a higher percentage of his targets than Williams’ 12.31% (minimum 65 targets). At just $4,200, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him as one of the top-3 owned players on the slate.
Antonio Brown - $8,800 vs. SF
I’ve already covered my affinity for Ben Roethlisberger, so you knew this was coming. Brown is cash game royalty at Heinz Field, where his fantasy points per game increased by 41.6% last year. He’s a worthy play in tournaments despite the high ownership because he’s a solid bet to lead all receivers in scoring this week. With the 49ers playing on a short week and the Steelers coming off extended rest, I’m expecting a trademark Roethlisberger-Brown game.
Tyler Eifert - $4,200 vs. SD
With Gronk facing a tough matchup (if such a thing even exists), I expect Eifert to be the most widely owned tight end on the slate. He only needs to score about half as many fantasy points as he did last week to reach 4x value at this salary, making him entirely too easy to fit into lineups. While last week’s game may end up his best of the season, I expect Eifert to remain Cincinnati's number two target and a heavily used option for Andy Dalton in the red zone. He’s in play for cash games and GPPs.
Miami Defense - $3,300 @ JAX
The Dolphins were 19% owned in last week’s Millionaire Maker vs. Washington, and I’d peg them closer to 25%-30% in a road matchup with Jacksonville. Blake Bortles and the Jaguars were the gift that kept on giving to opposing defenses last season. Not surprisingly, the trend carried into Week 1, as the Panthers posted 21 fantasy points at Jacksonville. The Dolphins have a lot of talent on the defensive side of the ball. Bortles - who was sacked more than any quarterback last year and threw the second most interceptions - stands no chance against Ndamukong Suh and company.