Exploiting FBG Tools for DFS Success: eVALUEator

Calculating true exposure and using Austin Lee and Maurile Tremblay's eVALUEator to identify outlier player pricing across the DFS industry.

The concept of player exposure when multi-entering GPPs can be difficult for many DFS players to wrap their heads around. Most players intuitively understand the more diversified their lineups are, the less risky their player “portfolio” becomes, and the flatter the swings in their bankroll will be. By the same token, it’s also fairly obvious to most that a highly concentrated player pool spread across multiple lineups increases both risk and potential reward.

These premises are easy enough to understand, but here’s where the disconnect sometimes lies:

  • Incorrectly calculating exposure by dividing how many lineups a particular player appears in by total number of lineups entered, without factoring in buy-ins.

  • Entering contests on multiple sites without getting the majority of exposure to a particular player on the site where he is the better value.

I can offer some advice to help with the first problem. For the second, Footballguys provides subscribers with something even more valuable.

Calculating True Exposure

Calculating exposure by dividing the number of lineups a player appears in by their total number of entries is what most casual players do (if they’re even thinking about exposure at all) because it’s easy math. Raw percentages might be better than nothing, but it will always be dollars that matter most. I’ll borrow Austin Lee’s example from our Cracking FanDuel eBook to illustrate why:

Your weekly bankroll allotment is $250. You have Running Back A in one $100 lineup, Running Back B in five $20 contests, and Running Back C in ten $5 lineups. It would be easy to say you have five times as much exposure to Running Back B as opposed to Running Back A and twice as much exposure to Running Back C as opposed to Running Back B, based on the number of lineups each player appears in.

But if you think about how each of those players impacts your profit (and loss) potential, it’s clear raw percentages aren’t the ideal way to calculate exposure. Use this formula instead:

Number of Entries * Entry Fee ÷Total Weekly Bankroll

In our example, exposure to each running back would be calculated as follows:

  • Running Back A: (1 * $100) ÷ $250 = 0.4 (40%)

  • Running Back B: (5 * $20) ÷ $250 = 0.4 (40%)

  • Running Back C: (10 * 5) ÷ $250 = 0.2 (20%)

Even though Running Back B appeared in five times as many lineups as Running Back A, their true exposures are exactly the same when you factor in how much money you have riding on each player. And despite Running Back C appearing in twice as many lineups as Running Back B, you still have twice as much exposure to Running Back B when buy-ins are accounted for.

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to how heavily you should expose yourself to a particular player in any given week. Ultimately, it comes down to your risk tolerance, individual goals as a DFS player, and how confident you are the player in question will exceed value. But you’ll never get it right without thinking of exposure in terms of how it impacts your bottom line.

Always remember -- exposure is all about the money.

eVALUEator

If you play DFS on multiple sites, your weekly bankroll, buy-ins, and player exposure must be totaled across all the sites you’re playing on. This is easy enough to do, but playing on more than one site introduces a new set of variables to the exposure equation -- differences in player pricing relative to each site’s scoring system, roster size, salary cap, and minimum pricing at each position all impact how much of a player it’s best to own on each site.

So how can you quickly determine which site a player is priced best on, and by extension where you should get the majority of your exposure to that player?

Maurile Tremblay and Austin Lee’s eVALUEator is a cross-site price comparison tool that identifies outlier player price valuation across the industry. It doesn’t project player performance (use our Interactive Value Charts for that), but it will help you choose the best site(s) to start your  favorite players. If you’ve never used the eVALUEator before, check out this quick instructional video:

Here are a few of my recommended plays for Week 8, with suggestions on where to allocate the majority of your player exposure across the two major DFS sites, based on the data shown on the eVALUEator:

Priced Well on Both Major Sites

Drew Brees

Brees’ price dropped $500 from last week on Fanduel and DraftKings due to a tough matchup with Seattle’s pass defense. Considering he finished as the QB2 on both sites in last week’s road loss to the Chiefs, the steep discounts feel like an overreaction. Since 2013, Brees has played nine games at home against top-10 pass defenses. His average fantasy points per game in those contests was 11.3% higher than in his 44 other games over the same span. New Orleans’ implied 22.5 point team total is a bit of a concern, but the Saints have averaged 35.7 points per game in their three home contests and the over has hit in four out of their six games this year. Significant price drops are usually indicative of low ownership, making Brees (this season’s overall QB3) a top GPP option.

David Johnson

It’s not too often the most expensive running back on both major sites can be considered priced well, but that’s where we are with Johnson in comparison to his cost on several other sites around the industry. Johnson has combined for over 54 fantasy points (FanDuel scoring) in his last two games against the stout rush defenses of the Jets and Seahawks. He gets another tough test on the road this week against a Carolina defense allowing only 3.4 yards per carry to opposing running backs, but Johnson -- fantasy football’s RB1 by a significant margin -- has a proven 15 point floor and 30+ point ceiling. As long as he’s only marginally more expensive than the other backs in the top tier on FanDuel and DraftKings, he’s worth paying up for in both cash games and GPPs.

Jermaine Kearse

Kearse is minimum price on Fanduel and only $100 above the minimum on DraftKings, which isn’t surprising since he’s done absolutely nothing this year to even warrant GPP flier consideration. But Kearse is continuing to see about 80% of the Seahawks wide receiver snaps each week, making him the clear WR2 in Seattle behind Doug Baldwin. Football Outsiders ranks the Saints 29th at defending the opposition’s secondary wide receiver -- a ranking supported by the Game Log Dominator. Kearse should only need his usual 4-6 targets to return 3x value on full PPR sites, running the majority of his routes against undrafted free agent rookie cornerback Ken Crawley. And if he manages to find the end zone (Kearse is tied with Jimmy Graham for second on the team in red zone targets, and tied with Doug Baldwin for first in targets from inside the 10-yard line), he’ll smash value on ½ PPR sites as well. Just don’t sprinkle Kearse into more than 10% of your GPPs.

Kyle Rudolph

Rudolph has developed into one of the most consistent options at tight end -- a position where reliability has been especially hard to come by this year. With the exception of Week 5 against Houston (who has shut down nearly every tight end they’ve faced), Rudolph has either caught a touchdown, reached at least 55 receiving yards, or both, in every game. Chicago ranks middle of the pack in fantasy points allowed to tight ends, but Minnesota’s implied team total checks in at 23.25 points, which is nearly two points higher than their season average. If the game stays on script, there’s room for three touchdowns from the Vikings offense, and Rudolph owns a 43% share of the team’s receiving touchdowns (10th highest in the league).

Better Pricing on Fanduel

Devonta Freeman

No backfield has combined for more fantasy points than Atlanta’s this season. Assuming Freeman’s hip injury check out OK, he’ll finally have all the Falcons running back touches to himself again. Freeman was the cumulative RB1 in fantasy football as Atlanta’s bell cow last year, and he’s got a shot to lead all running backs in fantasy points this week, despite a seemingly tough matchup with Green Bay. The Packers have allowed the fewest fantasy points to running backs this season, but a look at their opponents make you wonder how long that will last. It was only two weeks ago, Ezekiel Elliott piled us 157 yards on 28 carries against Green Bay. Freeman is priced as the RB10 on FanDuel and the RB7 on DraftKings. He’s a strong play on both sites, and probably represents the better point per dollar value on DraftKings (full PPR) due to his receiving upside, but at $600 less than his Week 7 price, Freeman is too strong a value to pass up on FanDuel.

Spencer Ware

Ware is priced as the RB5 on both major sites, but his cost is more palatable on FanDuel relative to the other upper echelon plays at the position. On FanDuel, Ware costs 17% less than the highest priced running back (the aforementioned Johnson), while on DraftKings, he’s only 13% less. Ware is in a dream matchup with the Colts, who allow the second-most normalized fantasy points per game to running backs, and he’s taken control of the Chiefs backfield with Jamaal Charles struggling to come back from knee surgery. He’s a recommended play on both sites, but get more exposure to Ware on Fanduel.

Brandon Marshall

The Browns have allowed a 100 yard receiver in all games but one, and Marshall has accounted for team high market shares in targets (26.9%), receiving yards (27.3%), and touchdowns (25%). It doesn’t take a crystal ball to guess who the next wide receiver to blow up on Cleveland will be, but it might not be as easy to figure out which is the better site to play him on. The eVALUEator tells us Marshall’s price is more favorable on FanDuel, and judging by the surrounding receivers in his price tier, it’s tough to disagree. Marshall’s price is within $100 of Marvin Jones, Kelvin Benjamin, and Dez Bryant on FanDuel, while on DraftKings he’s priced in the same tier as top plays like Mike Evans and T.Y. Hilton. It probably means Marshall’s tournament ownership will be higher on FanDuel, but he’s an excellent play regardless. Just keep an eye on the foot injury that kept Marshall out of Wednesday’s practice.

Travis Kelce

Kelce experienced a huge $600 price drop on FanDuel, after recording his second consecutive two target outing. As I mentioned, steep week-to-week discounts such as these are usually indicators of low ownership, which makes Kelce an ideal GPP option on FanDuel. Andrew Luck and the Colts are a tough out at home. Alex Smith should have to pass more than he has in recent weeks to keep pace. The last three tight ends to face the Colts were Zach Miller (7-73-0), C.J. Fiedorowicz (6-85-1), and Delanie Walker (7-84-1). Look for Kelce to get back to his usual seven or eight targets, and be a big reason the Chiefs meet or exceed their 26 point implied team total.

Better Pricing on DraftKings

Jameis Winston

Winston is coming off a three touchdown performance on the road in San Francisco, and returns home to face the Raiders, who were by far the best matchup for opposing quarterbacks before running into Alex Smith and Blake Bortles in their last two games. 87% of the 15 total touchdowns Tampa Bay has scored this season have come via Winston, so the Bucs 25.25 point implied team total suggests a second-straight three touchdown game is on the way. Considering he takes up 9.5% of your cap on DraftKings, and 12.3% of your cap on FanDuel, this is a clear case where you should get most of your exposure to Winston on DraftKings. 

Derek Carr

The quarterback opposing Winston this week checks in at 13% of the salary cap on FanDuel, and 11.8% on DraftKings. Carr is the seventh ranked QB on DraftKings this year, but he’s priced as the QB17, which screams value in a matchup with Tampa Bay that Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree should be able to dominate. The 49.5 point over/under in Raiders at Bucs is the third highest total on the main slate. You can stack this game by using either Carr or Winston with all three of Cooper, Crabtree, and Mike Evans. The discounted pricing on Carr and Winston, along with this week’s extra-loose pricing, makes it possible to play pretty much whoever else you want to around that core.

Cordarrelle Patterson

Patterson hasn’t done enough to shed his draft bust label yet, but he’s finally achieved fantasy relevance. He’s played at least 49% of the wide receiver snaps in each of the his last three games, displacing Charles Johnson as the Vikings WR3. Over the three game span, Patterson leads the team in receptions and touchdown catches, and is second in both targets and receiving yards. While he hasn’t flashed an especially high ceiling to this point, we know he’s capable of big plays, and a $3,300 salary on DraftKings doesn’t require a nuclear performance to return value. Patterson has finished at salary multiples of 3x, 4.9x, and 6.2x in each of his last three games, respectively, despite topping 40 receiving yards in just one of those games. Expect him to keep it going against a Bears team that has allowed the most raw fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers. Give Patterson an extra bump if Jerick McKinnon (still in a walking boot as of Thursday) can’t suit up. The Vikings will be nearly devoid of playmakers at that point, and could look to manufacture more touches for Patterson.

Patterson missed Thursday’s practice with a concussion, putting his availability for Monday night in doubt. If you roster Patterson and he scratches, make sure you leave yourself with late swap options.

Antonio Gates

Gates represents one of the bigger pricing discrepancies between the two sites in Week 8. He’s priced as the TE11 on FanDuel, but you have to scroll all the way down to TE26 to find his name sandwiched between Richard Rodgers and Virgil Green on DraftKings. Gates becomes much more interesting if Hunter Henry is forced to sit with a concussion (not looking likely as Henry got in a full practice Thursday), but at only $200 above minimum price, he’s a worthy play regardless of Henry’s availability. Despite missing two games, Gates is only one red zone target behind Tyrell Williams for the team lead. Three catches, 30 receiving yards, and a touchdown returns 4.4x Gates’ salary -- attainable numbers with or without Henry in the lineup.