Cost Efficiency Breakdown: DraftKings Week 9

A look into the smart DraftKings Week 9 plays in terms of cost efficiency. Who provides the most bang for your buck?

My Week 8 cash games panned out fairly well, though my ideal cash lineup was somewhat hit-or-miss:

 

 

Sal

DK Pts

Pts/$1K

QB

Philip Rivers

6600

27.000

4.091

RB

Darren McFadden

3800

17.300

4.553

RB

Todd Gurley

6300

26.600

4.222

WR

Antonio Brown

7800

16.700

2.141

WR

Brandon Marshall

7600

22.800

3.000

WR

Nate Washington

3600

17.400

4.833

Flex

Devonta Freeman

8000

19.100

2.388

TE

Ladarius Green

3000

2.000

0.667

D/ST

Rams

3200

12.000

3.750

   

49900

160.900

3.224

It was able to cash in most contests, thanks to The Todd Gurley Show and two low-salary punts panning out nicely. But those pieces should have pushed me over the top everywhere. I was hurt by two high-dollar underperformances (Brown and Freeman) who failed to make their expected dents. It’s helpful to remind myself that those flops are more exception than rule, and that the process has been working nicely in identifying the small chunks of uniqueness that turn a lineup. So I feel great about Week 9, which presents a handful of outstanding values up and down the pricing spectrum. Our ideal Week 9 lineup projects to 180.64 points, well beyond the scoring baseline we’re targeting in cash contests.

QUARTERBACK

QBs projected to 20+ pts

 

DK Pts

Pts/$1K

H-Value

Tyrod Taylor

22.80

4.303

41.092

Blake Bortles

21.39

3.962

36.649

Philip Rivers

21.82

3.162

29.538

Eli Manning

21.64

3.136

29.179

Drew Brees

21.03

2.921

26.784

Andrew Luck

20.11

2.872

25.758

Tom Brady

22.05

2.594

24.364

THE CASH PLAY: PHILIP RIVERS ($6,900)

For the umpteenth straight week, Rivers makes the most cash-game sense. His price tag is creeping up very slowly with each passing 3x-value week, but he remains dirt-cheap for these projections. He’s simply throwing more than anyone at the moment, projecting here to lead the week’s passers with 44.7 attempts. And despite the loss of Keenan Allen, he still throws to a boatload of dependable intermediate and red zone targets. The talent gap from Allen to Stevie Johnson isn’t very wide at all, and a healthy Antonio Gates always makes him a threat for red zone touchdowns.

…and cash considerations

Ben Roethlisberger ($6,600) didn’t quite make the 20-point cut. The numbers don’t like his relative lack of touchdowns – just five through his three full games – nor the fact that he contributes no rushing production whatsoever. But I’m inclined to disagree and roll him out in half my cash lineups anyway. It’s easy to see that his small sample size is skewing his TD outlook negatively, and I don’t see a true narrative anywhere that limits his potential for finding the end zone. If anything, his red zone passing should actually uptick with Le’Veon Bell out and Martavis Bryant available… Tom Brady ($8,500) has an enormous salary and not much gap in projection down to the next few guys, so there’s little value there this week. But he’s always at the crest of the elite when you’re not spending much elsewhere, so he fits well into a Week 9 lineup… I wouldn’t be opposed to slipping Derek Carr ($5,500) into a cash lineup. He costs virtually nothing and is fresh off of eviscerating the Jets’ dominant secondary. Oakland is building leads through the air, opening his value to multiple game scripts, and the leaky Steelers secondary looks like pretty fertile land.

GPP Plays

Blake Bortles ($5,400) tangles with the league’s most daunting cornerback duo, but I still like his volume and red zone outlook. Garbage time alone should ride him near 4x territory, so any early touchdown strikes should be gravy… Tyrod Taylor ($5,300) comes out of my projections as the No. 1 scorer and value play. I don’t buy it – that’s rooted in his first few games, in which he connected on nearly everything downfield and skewed our expectations. But while I don’t think he reaches the 4x projection, he’s an interesting play for next-to-nothing against a pass defense that coughs up touchdowns.

RUNNING BACK


RBs projected to 18+ pts

 

DK Pts

Pts/$1K

H-Value

Darren McFadden

22.91

5.328

51.003

Devonta Freeman

31.47

3.934

44.139

Doug Martin

22.77

3.994

38.120

Lamar Miller

20.74

4.147

37.770

Danny Woodhead

19.28

4.016

35.262

Dion Lewis

20.90

3.266

29.687

Chris Ivory

19.54

3.312

29.277

DeAngelo Williams

18.42

3.348

28.738

Todd Gurley

19.19

2.781

24.362 

THE CASH PLAYS: TODD GURLEY ($6,900), DOUG MARTIN ($5,700), DARREN MCFADDEN ($4,300)

McFadden is the week’s top value play regardless of position, absurdly underpriced as a three-down feature back. That 51.003 H-value is based on a small sample size, but very doable as a ceiling. With no real competition for touches, elite line play, an offense hiding its quarterback… the narratives are just too many to count. All told, he carries such a high floor – 20 touches is a fair minimum, after 28.5 a game over the last two – that this price point makes him a must-play. In fact, he’s probably the most important heavy-chalk play to work into your lineup… Martin is on fire, exceeding 4x value in three of his last four games and 6x value in two of them. Perhaps most importantly, he’s re-seized just enough of a passing-down role to qualify as a laughably underpriced workhorse. Pair that volume with a projected 4.93 yards per carry against the barely-there Giants defense, and Martin is arguably the second-best value play among RBs… This isn’t Gurley’s best prognosis – he’s on the road against a defense that’s allowed just 77 yards per game over its last three. But those were three running games that were poor and/or in transition; the phenomenal Gurley is a whole new monster. He’ll only need 20-21 points to return value, and he’s notched that or considerably more in three of his four starts. Besides, his typically high ownership will allow you to sink or swim alongside much of your contest’s field.

…and cash considerations

I’ll roster Devonta Freeman ($8,000) in a healthy chunk of my cash lineups; just not as enthusiastically as I usually do. He just loses the value battle by a hair for the first time in over a month to McFadden and arguably Martin. He’s again an elite bet to reach 100 yards and find the end zone, but represents a much higher investment than the similarly-projected options above… As everything Shane Vereen used to flash for a quarter at a time, Dion Lewis ($6,400) has carved out a prominent pass-game role, and with it a solid weekly floor. He’s not used much on the ground (31 projected rushing yards), but has provided elite receiving numbers in multiple types of games. LeGarrette Blount may be the de facto closer, but Lewis sees nearly the same usage when the Patriots hold a lead, so I’m not overly scared of this point spread… Chris Ivory ($5,900) faces tough sledding against the underrated Jaguars run defense, but he’s an inexpensive workhorse seeing a ridiculous amount of red zone opportunity. He’s been given nine combined rushes and targets inside the 10 over his last four games, bringing a solid touchdown outlook to the table.

GPP Plays

C.J. Anderson ($4,100) makes some GPP sense as the cheapest half of a high-impact backfield. His Week 8 may not have been a full-on breakout, but it suggested he’s finally healthy and ready to contribute, if only sporadically. Ronnie Hillman, the more voluminous but expensive option, has a shaky history that could open the door for Anderson to lead the backfield on any given week… As a 14-point underdog, Washington looks poised to more or less stay in passing sets all day. That should afford third down specialist Chris Thompson ($3,300) one of his healthiest snap totals of the year. He’s caught 6+ balls in three of his six games, a mark that can be fairly projected onto this matchup as a floor… Antonio Andrews ($3,600) will be a strong focal point for the foreseeable future. Andrews is no great talent, and the fledgling Titans offense doesn’t project to much red zone run. But any workhorse is worth more salary than this, and Andrews has been relatively effective when he has seen the goal line.

WIDE RECEIVER


WRs projected to 18+ pts

 

DK Pts

Pts/$1K

H-Value

Antonio Brown

31.94

3.944

44.579

Alshon Jeffery

26.26

3.919

40.171

Martavis Bryant

21.89

3.981

37.251

Stefon Diggs

19.32

3.646

32.049

Demaryius Thomas

24.33

3.244

32.005

Allen Hurns

18.74

3.536

30.609

Allen Robinson

18.84

2.943

25.549

Odell Beckham, Jr.

22.53

2.561

24.310

Brandon Marshall

20.21

2.659

23.909

Julio Jones

21.02

2.260

20.726

THE CASH PLAYS: ANTONIO BROWN ($8,100), ALSHON JEFFERY ($6,700), STEVIE JOHNSON ($3,200)

Keenan Allen’s injury leaves a gaping 26.5% of the target market available to Chargers receivers, and Stevie Johnson looks poised to cut the furthest into it. His skillset matches up nicely with Allen’s, as he’s seen relevant attention in the short and intermediate zones for most of the year and showed great rapport with Philip Rivers throughout the offseason. Anything below 8-10 targets would be an upset, so 4x value shouldn’t be a problem at this price point with or without a touchdown… Jeffery brings ridiculous gobs of value to the table, though this will likely be his last week firmly below the WR1 threshold. With 37 targets through his three games, he’s seeing the elite usage of the top handful of wideouts. Most importantly, he’s converting them to monstrous production, bringing 5x and 4.8x value over the last two. And it looks like sustainable production, with much of it coming in the red zone and Martellus Bennett fading noticeably. Dominant and badly underpriced, Jeffery needs to be a cash-game staple… Brown looks like the best play among the top salary tier. His cost has yet to catch up with Ben Roethlisberger’s return, which should vault him into the top three WR scores for the week. His blend of target domination (30% in Roethlisberger’s starts) and otherworldly efficiency (a 73% catch rate and 15.63 yards per grab) is as strong as anyone’s.

…and cash considerations

Even in the midst of a relatively up-and-down 2015, Odell Beckham, Jr. ($8,800) shines in the week’s scoring projection. The value numbers don’t love his too-high price tag, considering the Giants’ odd tendency to shift the gameplan away from him for large chunks of games. After all, he’s only returned 3x value in three of eight weeks. But his red zone dominance – he’s drawn eight of the team’s 20 such targets over the last four weeks, scoring on half of them – has boosted his floor back into the low-end WR1 spectrum. And his ceiling is as absurdly great as anyone’s… Amari Cooper has been the big-play phenom, but Michael Crabtree ($4,900) has easily bested him in target share and red zone production for the surging Raiders. In a potential shootout with the Steelers’ talent-starved defense, Crabtree projects to the upper ranges of his possibilities – something like 6 for 70 looks like a fair floor, and he needs just 14.7 points to return cash value… Stefon Diggs’ ($5,300) emergence as the league’s best rookie wideout has been eye-opening, but not particularly surprising. He was a consensus five-star recruit to Maryland and was an all-purpose dynamo for three years before landing with the Vikings. With 28.5% of the team’s target share since ascending to the No. 1 role, Diggs is a weekly 3x-value lock until his salary catches up.

GPP Plays

We know that, on any given week, Martavis Bryant ($5,500) carries as strong a touchdown outlook as anyone. But he’s rapidly ascending the totem pole of his offense, boosting his snap rate from under 40% as a rookie to 71% in 2015. His 4x-value prospects just skyrocket with the increased usage, and he’s as solid a bet to eclipse it as any mid-salaried option on any given week. His Week 9 projections suggest a strong run at 100 yards and nearly guarantee a touchdown… Demaryius Thomas ($7,500) has seen both his salary and ownership slip noticeably throughout a semi-frustrating season. But he’s only disappointed in the TD column; he’s caught 7+ balls in all but one game and registered 93+ yards in all but two. Take advantage of the discount and relative uniqueness in his highly-projected matchup with the Colts’ shaky secondary. Snaps across from shutdown man Vontae Davis are daunting, but Thomas will be moved around plenty onto Davis’ fully burnable teammates… Randall Cobb ($6,800) comes out horribly in H-value, but is a fine candidate to snap out of his production slump. The Panthers’ pass-game dominance is enough to keep owners away, but much of that dominance should be mitigated as Cobb spends all of his time in the slot. All-world shutdown man Josh Norman doesn’t go there often, so Cobb could easily expect 10+ targets if the script stays as close as Vegas expects.

TIGHT END


TEs projected to 13+ pts

 

DK Pts

Pts/$1K

H-Value

Jacob Tamme

13.70

4.568

33.821

Jordan Reed

17.59

3.909

32.793

Ben Watson

15.92

3.979

31.754

Gary Barnidge

17.30

3.604

29.983

Antonio Gates

16.66

3.545

28.935

Greg Olsen

16.22

2.495

20.096

Rob Gronkowski

16.45

2.056

16.676

THE CASH PLAY: JORDAN REED ($4,500)

Reed is one of several of Week 9’s 3x-value locks. When free from his maddening web of recurring injuries, he rivals the league’s best in terms of dynamism and mismatch dominance. He’s topped six catches and 63 yards in four of his five games, and his solid 28% red zone target share makes him a coin flip to find the end zone in any game. Those expectations magnify as 14-point underdogs, so it’s safe to project Reed to his 18 to 20-point ceiling.

…and cash considerations

Antonio Gates ($4,700) will see his already-prominent role grow with Keenan Allen out, and this isn’t just any passing game. It’s one of heavy, predictable volume that throws the ball consistently in the red zone, right in Gates’ wheelhouse. His weekly ceiling, already as high as just about anyone’s, is now joined by a floor that belies this relatively affordable price tag… The sizeable boost in his floor Ben Watson’s ($4,000) manageable salary and near-universal ownership should make him one of Week 9’s most valuable plays. But I do question where his actual floor lies. Watson saw 10 targets in Week 6 and 12 in Week 8, and he indeed spun both into serious fantasy gold. But they represented his only two games all season in which he topped five looks, so it’s hard to tell how ingrained he truly is into the offense. Still, this is such a nice salary to sink or swim on.

GPP Plays

For some reason, Jacob Tamme ($3,000) isn’t garnering any real ownership love just yet. He’s no special talent, but with Leonard Hankerson likely to sit again, Tamme projects to maintain a target share around 20%. That should be easily enough to provide 4x value on this tiny salary – he’s tallied a 7x and a 10.9 over the last month. He'd also fit nicely into a cash lineup that wants an extra $1K-$3K to allocate elsewhere… Heath Miller’s ($2,700) usage has been impossible to project under Todd Haley, and it’s now consistently been on the lower fringes. But the Raiders still look overmatched by tight ends; they’ve allowed TE1 performances to every offense that features the position at all. Investing next-to-nothing in Miller posting 11 points in his best matchup of the year looks like a solid tournament stab… Richard Rodgers ($3,000) is another strong punt play. He projects to a 4-40 line, so a touchdown would skyrocket him to 4x or 5x value. And a TD projection is never a stretch for a Packers TE, given the greatness of the offense and Aaron Rodgers’ love of the position near the goal line.

DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS


D/ST projected to 7+ pts

 

DK Pts

Pts/$1K

H-Value

Saints

9.33

4.240

25.897

Eagles

7.85

2.906

16.276

Broncos

8.34

2.778

16.042

Rams

8.17

2.335

13.350

Dolphins

7.18

2.474

13.255

THE CASH PLAY: PATRIOTS ($3,300)

They’re not the cream of the crop in a highly-projected matchup, but the 3x potential here is solid. The Patriots are garnering sacks in bunches, though neither them nor Washington project to generate many turnovers based upon recent numbers. Still, the massive point spread suggests plenty of garbage-time offense for the shaky Kirk Cousins, opening the door for reality to trump those projections.

…and cash considerations

The Rams ($3,500) and Vikings ($3,100) square off in a matchup largely expected to be ground out with the running games. Vegas (a 39.5 total) agrees, making both intriguing options. I prefer the Rams, as their ferocious front line is a major strength over the Vikings’ shaky blocking. Sacks and turnovers could flow… It’s easy to like the Broncos ($3,000) in a matchup with a struggling Colts offense breaking in a new coordinator. I’m wary due to the quality of the opposing QB and the strong garbage-time potential, but it makes sense.

GPP Plays

The beleaguered Saints ($2,200) actually snag the scoring and value crowns in this week’s projections. I don’t quite buy that, but I see the appeal. Marcus Mariota will be adapting to a new coordinator while planted firmly into the rookie wall he’s met. The Titans have given up 18 sacks and 10 turnovers over his last four starts, and New Orleans is creating as many splash plays as anyone right now… The Eagles ($2,700) draw Matt Cassel, so they’re a sensible GPP play even on the road. They’ve forced 11 turnovers over four games and could harass Cassel into a new low.