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|
|Nick Foles||< 5%||4.92%||7.88||1.52|
|Frank Gore||< 5%||4.37%||22.40||4.98|
|Ted Ginn Jr||< 5%||3.00%||13.30||4.03|
|DeAndre Hopkins||< 5%||3.72%||27.10||3.66|
|Jared Cook||< 5%||10.94%||1.70||0.61|
|Atlanta Defense||< 5%||2.20%||3.00||1.03|
Moving on to this week’s slate...
5% Ownership and Under
Russell Wilson - $7,100 vs. DET
Wilson was barely over 5% owned in last week’s Millionaire Maker -- a number that should drop after he posted only 16.2 fantasy points in a juicy match-up with the Bears. There was nothing wrong with Wilson’s play against Chicago, he just didn’t have to do a whole lot to guide Seattle to a convincing win over a weak opponent. He could be faced with a similar game script this week (Detroit is a 10 point road underdog), but Wilson should be instrumental in contributing to Seattle’s 26 point team total. The Lions are allowing only 3.55 yards per carry to opposing running backs, but they’ve been roasted through the air. Quarterbacks have completed over 78% of their pass attempts vs. Detroit and averaged 8.4 yards per attempt. Thanks to his rushing ability, Wilson is a threat for a 30+ point explosion in any game he projects to post quality passing numbers. It’s worth noting Teddy Bridgewater is the only (remotely) mobile quarterback the Lions have faced this season, and he produced 8.1 fantasy points with his legs against them in Week 2.
Note: The following blurb was written before Adam Schefter tweeted Luck is legitimately questionable with a shoulder injury. I decided to leave it in the article because if he plays, Luck’s ownership percentage will plummet even further, making him a more attractive tournament option. If Luck sits with the injury, abandon ship on all Colts. Matt Hasselbeck was so bad in the preseason, I’d consider using the Jaguars defense against him.
Andrew Luck - $7,800 vs. JAC
Luck hasn’t come close to paying off his price tag in any game this season and is reportedly dealing with a shoulder injury. Casual players won’t be eager to pay up for him as the QB2, which should leave him less than 5% owned for a second consecutive week. The table is set for one of Luck’s trademark 30+ point performances. Vegas has Indianapolis as a nine point home favorite, with a 28 point team total. When Luck played the Jaguars in Week 15 last season, he lit them up for 370 yards and four touchdowns. This year's version of the Jacksonville pass defense hasn't fared much better than last year's through three games. The Jaguars rank in the bottom third (or worse) in just about every pertinent pass defense category -- most notably opponent completion percentage, passing yards per game, yards per pass attempt and red zone scoring attempts allowed. This game should be a lay-up for Luck. If he doesn’t deliver, it’s officially time to recalibrate expectations for the Colts offense.
Melvin Gordon III - $4,900 vs. CLE
Truth be told, I’m not completely in love with this recommendation. San Diego’s offensive line is down three starters and has a fourth banged up. Gordon has seen exactly zero looks in the red zone compared to nine for Danny Woodhead, which means his GPP hopes are tied to either a significant increase in volume, or a long touchdown run. I feel obligated to mention him in this space because if San Diego can patch their line together, one or both of those things can happen in this match-up. No team has let up more rushing yards than the Browns, and Vegas is pointing to a run-heavy Chargers attack (San Diego is a 7.5 point favorite with a 26 point team total). While it hasn’t shown up in the box scores, Gordon has flashed the big-play ability we saw from him in college. A respectable five of his 44 rushing attempts have gone for 10 or more yards. Cleveland has let up 11 runs of 10 yards or more, which ranks 25th in the league. Danny Woodhead remains a strong value at $4,600 as well. He could see a bump in targets if the offensive line struggles and Philip Rivers is forced to dump the ball off quickly.
Carlos Hyde - $5,100 vs. GB
Hyde is an interesting high-risk/high-reward play this week. The reasons to remove him completely from your player pool are obvious. San Francisco's defense has been terrible in their last two games, we’ve seen Hyde adversely affected by the resulting negative game scripts, and the 49ers play host to a Green Bay Packers team averaging over 32 points per game. So why play Hyde in GPPs -- besides the fact he’s unlikely to appear on more than 3% of your opponent’s rosters? The Packers could come out flat for this game after traveling on a short week. San Francisco played with intensity on both sides of the ball in their only other home game this year. Their plan will be to keep the ball out of Aaron Rodgers’ hands, which can only be accomplished by sustaining drives with large doses of Hyde. It’s worth noting the Packers rank dead last in Football Outsiders’ rush defense DVOA metric, which accounts for down, distance, and situation. It will get ugly for Hyde quickly if Rodgers remains white-hot and the Niners defense lays down again, but his ceiling is a 5x return on his salary if San Francisco can stay competitive at home.
Ted Ginn Jr - $3,400 vs. TAM
Ginn’s cap number only increased by $100 after he paid off his price in tournaments for a second consecutive week. His match-up with Tampa Bay doesn’t get much better for deep threat wide receivers. Football Outsiders ranks the Bucs 26th at defending passes that travel 16 or more yards through the air. Ginn is averaging an adequate seven targets per game and ranks fourth in the league with 18.8 yards per reception (minimum 8 receptions). As long as the solid target volume persists in this game (what other wide receiver is Cam Newton going to throw to?), Ginn will snag a long ball or two and cover his low salary. There’s also the possibility he returns a kick for a touchdown on top of a strong receiving day, which puts his ceiling around 7x his cap number.
Eric Ebron - $3,500 @ SEA
Our algorithms like Ebron for 6% ownership in large field tournaments, but I’m willing to bet it ends up a tad lower in a perceived tough match-up with Seattle. Detroit has played catch-up in all three of their games this season. As a result, Matthew Stafford has the second-most pass attempts in the league and Ebron is seeing seven targets per game. Detroit is a double digit underdog in Seattle, so the opportunity to accumulate garbage time stats should once again be there for Ebron. The Seahawks haven’t been great at defending tight ends this season. They let up a combined 7-142-1 line to Lance Kendricks and Jared Cook in Week 1. Richard Rodgers caught a touchdown against them in Week 2. And we can throw away Martellus Bennett’s sub-par Week 3 stat line against Seattle on account of Jimmy Clausen torpedoing the Bears offense. Ebron has a high floor (no less than 10.1 fantasy points in any game this season), and a high enough ceiling for tournament use at this price. He has exceeded his 14 point GPP target score in two out of three games.
Coby Fleener - $3,200 vs. JAC
Fleener met cash game value last week with Dwayne Allen sidelined, but wasn’t productive enough to land on the radar of casual players. Let this blurb serve as a reminder that Fleener averaged 17.12 fantasy points per game in the four games Dwayne Allen missed last year, compared to 6.87 fantasy points per game in the 12 games Allen played. Jacksonville has allowed the fourth-most yards to tight ends this season, and Fleener scored a touchdown against them last season. There’s no cheaper or more unique way to stack Andrew Luck. Just keep an eye on Luck’s status Sunday morning.
Andy Dalton - $5,900 vs. KC
Dalton is the third highest-scoring quarterback this season, trailing only Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers in cumulative quarterback fantasy points. Considering he’s priced in the same range as fantasy non-entities Matthew Stafford and Teddy Bridgewater, we can expect him to top out near the high-end of this ownership tier. Everyone just saw Aaron Rodgers light up the Kansas City defense on Monday night, but the Chiefs were allowing 295 yards and 2.5 touchdowns per game to opposing quarterbacks before Rodgers skewered them on national television. Kansas City will get cornerback Sean Smith back from suspension this week, but he’ll have his hands full with A.J. Green. Slot corner Phillip Gaines was lost for the season in the Packers game. His replacements -- Jamell Fleming and Marcus Cooper -- have been abused when given playing time this season. I like Dalton’s chances of throwing three touchdown passes for the third consecutive week. The Bengals are averaging the second-most red-zone scoring attempts per game, and 73% of their touchdowns from inside the 20-yard line have come via the pass.
Mark Ingram II - $6,000 vs. DAL
Even in a match-up with a Dallas team that just allowed Devonta Freeman to go Chernobyl, I wouldn’t expect Ingram to check in any higher than 7% owned. The Saints’ dismal start and the uncertainty surrounding Drew Brees mask the fact Ingram has been a workhorse. He’s handled 35.3% of New Orleans’ offensive touches, and very importantly on DraftKings (full PPR scoring) he trails only Lance Dunbar for the league lead in running back receptions. Football Outsiders ranks Dallas 31st in pass defense DVOA to running backs, and it’s shown up in the box scores. Four separate backs have caught at least four passes in Dallas’ three games this season, and three have exceeded 45 receiving yards. His involvement in the passing game gives Ingram a high floor, and his role as New Orleans’ primary goal line back gives him the ability to crash through his ceiling in any given week. The Saints will lean on Ingram in this match-up, especially if Brees isn’t close to 100%.
Lance Dunbar - $3,600 @ NO
Last week I wondered how Dallas was going to sustain drives with Brandon Weeden as their quarterback. It turns out a big part of the answer was to pepper Lance Dunbar with high percentage targets. Dunbar leads all running backs in targets, receptions, and receiving yards this season. It’s a trend the Cowboys can’t afford to move away from with Weeden as their quarterback, which means Dunbar will continue to exceed value in tournaments until DraftKings adjusts their pricing algorithms. Dunbar’s baseline projection suggests he’ll return at least 3x his salary, and there’s nothing scary about a match-up with the Saints that indicates he can’t exceed 4x for the second straight week.
T.Y. Hilton - $6,700 vs. JAC
If you believe Andrew Luck is going to rack up fantasy points against the Jaguars, then you’ll want to pair him with his favorite target in your GPP lineups -- and make no mistake about it, that’s still T.Y. Hilton. Donte Moncrief is cheap ($5,000) and has been making touchdowns happen. Most entrants will put him in their Luck stacks over Hilton, which will drive down Hilton’s ownership rate. Despite Moncrief’s success, Hilton still leads the team in targets, receiving yards and red zone targets. Since he hasn’t found the end zone yet, Hilton’s price is down $900 from the start of the season. He’s a relative bargain in a match-up where he has a 30 point ceiling. Again, if Luck sits scrap this idea and don’t look back.
Kyle Rudolph - $3,200 @ DEN
Targets and touchdowns are the two stats I look to first when selecting tight ends, and Rudolph checks off both boxes. Through three games Rudolph has seen 26% of the Vikings targets, which would be a strong share for a WR1. And when Minnesota gets in the red zone, 67% of Teddy Bridgewater’s passes have been thrown his way. Even last week when Rudolph was held to 3.4 fantasy points, he led the team in targets and received a red zone look. Minnesota should have to throw to hang with Denver on the road (they’re a 6.5 point underdog), and the way to beat the Broncos through the air is not by attacking stud cornerbacks Chris Harris and Aqib Talib. Denver has allowed 211 receiving yards to tight ends this season, fifth-worst in the league.
San Diego Defense - $2,800 vs. CLE
The Charges defense has allowed 0.56 points per play through three games -- the third-worst mark in the NFL. But any defense favored by a touchdown at home against Josh McCown is very much in play. Don’t let McCown’s volume induced 341-2-1 line against the Raiders last week rope you in. A league-leading 25.56% of the passes he’s thrown this season have been deemed uncatchable, and he’s been sacked five times in two starts.
11% to 15% Ownership
Derek Carr - $5,300 @ CHI
Carr will be a chalk play in a great match-up with the Bears thanks to his recent production and near minimum salary. Part of me worries he’s no good for GPPs because his two big performances came in an off-script shoot-out with Baltimore, and against the lowly Cleveland Browns pass defense. But I’ll be slotting Carr into a few tournament lineups despite my concerns (and what’s sure to be an inflated ownership percentage). Carr is tied to a budding superstar wide receiver with massive upside. His low salary allows for the construction of drool-worthy lineups. And while Carr hasn’t exactly proven himself against quality opponents, the Bears are even worse than Cleveland at defending the pass. Chicago has allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete over 71% of their attempts this season, to go along with eight passing touchdowns and a league-worst 123.8 passer rating.
Devonta Freeman - $5,200 vs. HOU
My opinion on Freeman being a lousy running back was pretty strong coming into last week. As a result, I ignored the fact he was a screaming DFS value, which buried me in GPPs. I still don’t like Freeman as a player, and I hate his match-up with Houston. The Texans defense hasn’t allowed over 62 rushing yards, or a touchdown to a running back this season. But Freeman is seeing a ton of work, and it would be crazy to ignore him again at such an affordable price. Freeman has accounted for 38.6% of Atlanta’s touches this season -- the seventh highest workload share in the league. His four reception per game average boosts his floor and his league-leading 10 rushes from inside the opponent’s 10-yard-line provide the ceiling we saw him reach last week. Over the long haul, unquestioned feature backs on heavily favored home teams pay the bills in DFS and Freeman fits the profile this week.
James Jones - $5,300 @ SF
I’ve been slow to accept Jones’ return to fantasy relevance, but with Davante Adams likely out, Jones is as close to a sure thing as it gets. Adams was only on the field for three snaps last week, allowing Jones to double his previous season-high of four targets. Jones parlayed those eight looks into 29.9 fantasy points -- the ninth-best wide receiver performance in Week 3. Football Outsiders ranks San Francisco dead last at defending opposing team’s WR2s and fourth-worst overall against the pass. Another game in which Jones returns at least 5x his salary is very much in play. He’ll top out on the high side of this ownership tier, and perhaps even higher.
Arizona Defense - $3,400 vs. STL
This pick is less about Arizona’s 28 point explosion last week, and more about Nick Foles’ failure to capitalize on a home match-up with Pittsburgh’s awful pass defense. Arizona has one of the best home field advantages in football. They’re favored by a touchdown against a Rams team Vegas projects to score less than 18 points. Foles should be good for a couple turnovers against a Cardinals defense forcing 2.3 takeaways per game.
Karlos Williams - $3,400 vs. NYG
Williams should land somewhere in the neighborhood of 35% owned in the Millionaire Maker, making him the chalk play of the week. His ownership percentage is reason enough to fade him, but even if LeSean McCoy were playing you could argue Williams was underpriced. Williams has been a revelation for Buffalo, racking up a hyper-efficient 186 yards and three touchdowns on just 24 attempts (7.8 yards per attempt). By contrast, McCoy has run for less yards (146) on nearly twice as many carries (43). Game script should be on Williams' side this week. The Bills play host to the Giants as six point favorites, and Vegas has their team total projected at a healthy 26.5 points. New York hasn't exactly been easy to run on (3.4 YPA), but they have let up the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.
Randall Cobb - $7,400 @ SF
As I touched on in the James Jones blurb, the 49ers pass defense is terrible. They’ve been torched in their last two games by Antonio Brown and Larry Fitzgerald, who like Cobb are WR1s in explosive offenses. Cobb will check in around 20% owned after catching three touchdowns on national television Monday night, but any receiver seeing over 30% of Aaron Rodgers' targets (in an out of the red zone) is one you want in as many lineups as possible.
Julio Jones - $9,300 vs. HOU
If you played NBA DFS last year, you’ll remember Russell Westbrook was a must-play regardless of match-up, or percent owned in any game Kevin Durant missed. His upside was just so much higher than any other player’s and he reached his ceiling with absurd consistency. Jones’ first three games have me wondering if he’s the NFL’s version of Westbrook. He’s posted at least nine receptions and 135 receiving yards in every game this season, to go along with two multi-touchdown performances. His 45% target market share is unsustainable, but it’s working for the 3-0 Falcons. Until someone proves they can stop Jones, look for a way to play him in all formats.