Exploiting FBG Tools for DFS Success: Interactive Value Charts

Using Footballguys Interactive Value Charts to build optimal DFS lineups.

Footballguys OG Jason Wood summed up my motivation for writing the “Exploiting Footballguys Tools” series pretty neatly with this tweet last weekend (forgive the typo):

Yes, it’s a humble brag, but Footballguys produces over 150 pieces of unique fantasy football content each week during the season. With such an overload of information coming at you from all directions, it’s impossible to keep up with everything we have to offer (even for me, and I work here). My goal in this space each week is to put you onto a Footballguys DFS tool you may not have even realized existed, show you how to use it, and give you actionable takeaways to help you create winning lineups.

This week we’re covering Maurile Tremblay’s Interactive Value Charts (IVCs), which are probably the most important DFS tools Footballguys has to offer. The accuracy of our weekly projections is the foundation upon which Footballguys was built. The same way season long players have been using them for years to dominate their leagues, the site projections can be leveraged for DFS. That’s where the IVCs come in. Maurile has done a great job building help and strategy sections into the IVCs, but for the more visual learners out there, here’s a snappy instructional video to help you begin using these tools to build winning lineups:

NOTE YOU CAN CLICK THE YOUTUBE LINK ON THE PLAYER BELOW TO OPEN A FULL SCREEN VERSION OF THE VIDEO.

Hopefully if you weren’t already making the IVCs part of your weekly process, the video equipped you with the know-how to begin doing so. But since I’m sure many of you already use them to help build lineups, I want to include some of my insights from working with the site projections, so users of all experience and skill levels can take something away from this week’s article.

Specifically, I want to talk about what can be gleaned from the H-Values shown on the IVCs. H-Value is a measure of how much value a player will contribute to your roster based on his salary and projected points. It is a more accurate measure of a player’s true value than traditional points per dollar, which inherently skews towards inexpensive players who won’t necessarily maximize points scored in your lineup. If you want to learn more about H-Value and how it’s calculated (which is done automatically for you on the IVCs), check out Dan Hindery’s chapter on the topic from our Cracking FanDuel eBook.

Here are a few things that jumped out to me as I was reviewing the H-Values shown on the IVC:

AJ Green is This Week’s Top Wide Receiver Play

It’s no secret A.J. Green is primed for a monster season after decimating Darrelle Revis to the tune of 12-180-1 in Week 1, but I wasn’t expecting to see him as the top H-Value of the week at wide receiver...until I took a look at the Game Log Dominator (another great Footballguys tool for DFS research but not the star of today’s show). Green’s home-road splits on the Game Log Dominator showed his career fantasy point per game average increases by 45% in road contests. He travels to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers this week in a matchup the Dominator shows us he has enjoyed thoroughly over the last two seasons:

PlayerYrWkTm OppTargRecRecYdYd/RecTDFantPtRank
A.J. Green 2015 8 CIN @ PIT 17 11 118 10.7 1 17.8 8
A.J. Green 2015 14 CIN   PIT 9 6 132 22 1 19.2 6
A.J. Green 2014 14 CIN   PIT 15 11 224 20.4 1 28.4 2
A.J. Green 2014 17 CIN @ PIT 13 8 82 10.3 0 8.2 29

Pittsburgh’s offense looked lethal last week, and they averaged nearly 10 points per game more at home in 2015 than they did on the road. Andy Dalton should have to air it out to keep up with Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown, which puts Green in line for another massive target share. There’s no Darrelle Revis matchup to shade Green from tournament entrants this week, so expect him to be one of the highest owned wide receivers (along with Brown and Odell Beckham Jr.) but this is not a good spot to fade Green based on ownership.

Jeremy Langford is a Workhorse you can Trust

A little manipulation of our Historical Stats (which can filtered for both FanDuel and DraftKings scoring formats) shows no running back in the league handled a higher percentage of his team’s backfield touches in Week 1 than Jeremy Langford:

NameTeamRshRshYdY/RshRshTDRecRecYdRecTDTot TDsFantPtTouchES% Tm Touch
Jeremy Langford CHI 17 57 3.4 1 2 6 0 1 13.3 19 95.0%
DeAngelo Williams PIT 26 143 5.5 2 6 28 0 2 32.1 32 91.4%
T.J. Yeldon JAX 21 39 1.9 1 4 30 0 1 14.9 25 89.3%
Lamar Miller HOU 28 106 3.8 0 4 11 0 0 13.7 32 88.9%
David Johnson ARI 16 89 5.6 1 4 43 0 1 21.2 20 87.0%
Arian Foster MIA 13 38 2.9 0 3 62 0 0 11.5 16 84.2%
LeSean McCoy BUF 16 58 3.6 1 4 12 0 1 15 20 83.3%
C.J. Anderson DEN 20 92 4.6 1 4 47 1 2 27.9 24 82.8%
Matt Forte NYJ 22 96 4.4 0 5 59 0 0 18 27 81.8%
Todd Gurley LA 17 47 2.8 0 1 -5 0 0 4.7 18 81.8%

It certainly appears as though Langford is one of a precious few every down backs in the league (he also had two goal line carries last week), yet he’s still priced as a low-end RB2 across the industry. It comes as no surprise to see him ranked no lower than sixth in running back H-Value depending on your DFS site of choice, which suggests Langford is a great play in all formats this week. Chicago hosts Philadelphia Monday night as three point favorites. The Bears defense will face off with Carson Wentz -- a raw rookie quarterback making his first start on the road. It’s not difficult to imagine a game script where Wentz’s mistakes set Langford and the Bears up with great field position (and resulting scoring opportunities) throughout this game. Langford’s four Week 1 targets were also encouraging for his prospects on full PPR sites. He’s in play for both cash games and tournaments.

Virgil Green is your Tight End for Cash Games

Green checks in with top-5 tight end H-Value regardless of DFS site for good reason -- he’s still priced as a backup despite playing on 71% of Denver’s snaps in Week 1 and everything lines up for him to exceed value in this week’s matchup with the Colts. The Broncos showed in Week 1 they don’t plan to attack opposing defenses vertically. Trevor Siemian finished the Carolina game with a lowly 3.12 air yards per attempt (total passing yards minus yards after catch divided by attempts), which illustrates his unwillingness to take chances downfield. As a result, Green saw 19% of the Broncos Week 1 targets, finishing with four catches for 28 yards and a near miss on a touchdown catch in the end zone. Austin Lee’s final Normalized Strength of Schedule chart of 2015 shows Indianapolis allowed the second most schedule-adjusted fantasy points to opposing tight ends last season, and the back end of their defense is currently a MASH unit. Throw in the fact Demaryius Thomas is dealing with a hip injury and even more opportunity may open up for Green in this game. I expect Green to near a 2x salary multiplier on catches and yards alone, and with Denver’s implied team total currently north of 25 points, there’s upside for a touchdown as well. The matchup is so good for the Broncos, I would even suggest some exposure to Siemian this week as well.

Don’t Be Fooled by Melvin Gordon

I’m betting a fair amount of entrants will look at Melvin Gordon’s two touchdown box score in Week 1, notice he’s playing the Jaguars at home this week, and plug him in as an affordable RB2. H-Value tells us that would be a mistake, as Gordon checks in near the RB37 range across the industry despite being priced as a near top-20 back. The Footballguys’ Chargers team snap count summary shows Gordon only played on 32% of the offensive snaps in Week 1. This was despite San Diego leading the Chiefs 24-3 at one point in the game! Gordon won’t have a better chance at a run-heavy game script all season. The Chargers offense imploded without Keenan Allen on the field and their defense still looks terrible. H-Value shows us that even on non-PPR sites, Danny Woodhead (60% of the Chargers backfield touches in Week 1) is the far better play. Gordon’s price shot up over 15% across the industry due to the multi-touchdown performance, while Woodhead barely moved up in price despite being the more heavily used and far more efficient back. There’s also a chance Allen’s absence opens up even more targets for Woodhead in the passing game, both because there are more to go around and San Diego figures to face more negative game scripts. Gordon is a clear fade regardless of scoring format this week, while Woodhead is on my shortlist, especially for GPPs.