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|
|Russell Wilson||< 5%||3.1%||17.48||2.46|
|Andrew Luck||< 5%||0.28%||N/A||N/A|
|Melvin Gordon||< 5%||10.8%||6.6||1.35|
|Carlos Hyde||< 5%||6.6%||3.2||0.63|
|Ted Ginn||< 5%||4.4%||15.8||4.65|
|Eric Ebron||< 5%||2.65%||4.2||1.20|
|Coby Fleener||< 5%||1.1%||23.3||7.28|
|San Diego Defense||6%-10%||3.3%||6||2.14|
Moving on to this week’s slate...
5% and Under Projected Ownership
Alshon Jeffery - $6,500 @ KC
Health permitting, Jeffery offers a rare combination of screaming value and low ownership. Nothing about his role as Chicago’s unquestioned WR1 has changed, yet Jeffery’s price has dropped $1,800 since Week 1. A buy low opportunity like this doesn’t come along very often for a top-tier receiver, and as an added bonus, he’ll be matched up with Kansas City’s pass defense. The Chiefs lead the league in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns allowed to opposing wide receivers by a mile. With Jay Cutler back and not looking limited, Jeffery’s upside is right there with any receiver not named Julio Jones or Odell Beckham Jr.
Note: It's looking like Jeffery is going to miss a third straight game with a hamstring injury. Given the Chiefs problems covering outside receivers, I'm most interested in rostering Marquess Wilson ($3,400) who played starter's snaps last week and parlayed nine targets into six catches for 80 yards. Martellus Bennett also gets a bump if Jeffery sits.
Mike Evans - $6,100 vs. JAC
Evans is another stud receiver who experienced an unwarranted price drop (-$300) as he heads into a plus match-up. There’s no denying Evans put up a dud last week against the Panthers (3-21-0), but Carolina holding wide receivers in check has become the norm since the second half of last season. Since returning to a full complement of snaps two weeks ago, Evans has accounted for 33% of Tampa Bay’s targets. Given such heavy target volume, a receiver as talented as Evans is going to fill box scores, especially in the right match-ups. Jacksonville certainly qualifies as a “right” match-up -- the Jaguars rank 25th in Football Outsiders’ pass defense DVOA metric (adjusted for schedule, down, distance, and situation). I’m expecting Evans to begin progressing towards the norm in the touchdown department beginning this week. Vincent Jackson has the third-most red zone targets in the NFL this season, but Evans and Jackson have each seen a total of three red zone looks since Week 3.
Eddie Lacy - $6,700 vs. STL
Lacy checks off every box I look for in a GPP running back. He’s playing at home (where he performed significantly better last season) on a heavily favored team with a high implied point total, and the crowd has every reason to fade him. Since putting up 17.9 fantasy points in Week 1, Lacy has been injured, splitting snaps and held out of the end zone -- yet he’s still the sixth-most expensive running back on the slate. With fantasy football superhero Devonta Freeman available for $400 less, it’s a safe bet Lacy will be overlooked. Lacy played on 77% of Green Bay's snaps in Week 1, before spraining his ankle early in Week 2. He played hurt on 41% of the team's snaps in Week 3, and that number bumped up to 56% last week. With the injury now squarely in the rear-view, I’d expect his snap count to return to pre-injury levels, affording Lacy the opportunity to pound the Rams into submission once Green Bay opens up a big lead. The match-up with St. Louis’ defensive front isn’t as bad as it sounds -- the Rams have allowed 38.6% more fantasy points to running backs than the league average over the last three games.
Joe Flacco - $5,600 vs. CLE
No one wants a piece of Joe Flacco coming off a nationally televised 9.56 fantasy point performance, especially with Steve Smith likely to sit out. But we can forgive an ugly Thursday night stat line, especially with the Browns traveling to Baltimore this week. The Ravens will be well rested and Vegas has them projected for a solid 25 points. Cleveland has allowed multiple passing touchdowns to every quarterback they’ve faced this season -- a list that includes Ryan Fitzpatrick, Marcus Mariota, and Derek Carr. In the last two games Carr and Philip Rivers combined to throw for 672 yards and five touchdowns against the Browns. I’m not sure I’ll end up with much exposure to Flacco because quarterback pricing is soft this week, but he’s returned 4x his salary twice already this season and is in a nice spot with Baltimore favored by nearly a touchdown at home.
Dontrelle Inman - $3,000 vs. PIT
Inman has received significant playing time in exactly three NFL games. His reception and yardage totals in each game are as follows: 5-79, 7-79, 3-88. Malcom Floyd may be recovered from his concussion, but Stevie Johnson seems unlikely to play through a hamstring injury, which opens up at least six targets per game in San Diego. Inman is likely to soak up most of those opportunities in a terrific match-up, placing his range of outcomes somewhere in the neighborhood of 9-17 fantasy points. At the very least, Inman is a lower-owned flex pivot from more popular minimum salary players, Boobie Dixon and Willie Snead.
6%-10% Projected Ownership
Carson Palmer - $6,600 @ DET
Palmer is coming off a season-worst 19.98 fantasy point performance, which speaks volumes about how great he’s been this season. He’s practically an auto-play against a Detroit defense allowing 8.5 yards per pass attempt and a league-high 78.12% completion rate. The Cardinals are three point road favorites at Detroit, and I don’t imagine the recipe for a road win involves pounding Chris Johnson into a defensive front allowing only 3.6 rushing yards per attempt this season. Last week’s output seems like a baseline projection for Palmer in this match-up.
Sam Bradford - $6,000 vs. PHI
I’m not sure Bradford is back in the DFS circle of trust, but his low price, 24.2 point performance at Washington last week, and home match-up against the Saints pass defense should be enough to bump him into the 5% ownership range. The Eagles finally made it a point to get the ball downfield last week. Bradford averaged 8.3 yards per pass attempt against Washington’s lousy secondary compared to only 5.79 yards per attempt over his first three games. The Eagles are back at home and projected to score about 27 points against an equally bad Saints pass defense. Football Outsiders ranks New Orleans dead last in both pass defense DVOA and defense on passes that travel 16 or more yards through the air. Expect Bradford to remain aggressive and build on last week's breakthrough statistical performance.
Leonard Hankerson - $4,000 vs. WAS
Over the last three games, Hankerson is the cumulative WR22 on DraftKings, but he’s priced as the WR36. He’s popular enough on season-long waiver wires this week that I’d expect to him check in near the high-end of this ownership tier, but he’s still in play as one of the best point per dollar values on the slate. Washington’s banged up secondary has allowed four wide receiver touchdowns in their previous two games, and Vegas has Atlanta pegged to score 28 points at home. Hankerson sports a solid 20.57% share of the Falcons’ targets this season, second on the team to Julio Jones. He’s also the only Atlanta receiver besides Julio to score a touchdown, or receive a red zone target. Oh, and in case you forgot…
Guys. GUYS. It's Leonard Hankerson revenge game week.— JJ Zachariason (@LateRoundQB) October 6, 2015
Emmanuel Sanders - $7,400 @OAK
You’re going to see entrants flock to Owen Daniels this week due to Oakland's well-publicized struggles defending tight ends. Playing Daniels certainly has its merits, but as friend of Footballguys Rumford Johnny pointed out on Twitter, Sanders runs similar routes to Daniels and has exponentially more talent. Sanders has been relatively quiet over the past two weeks, but he’s still priced above guys like Keenan Allen and Larry Fitzgerald who have been extremely productive. You should be able to sneak Sanders’ multi-touchdown upside into your lineups at less than 10% owned.
Allen Robinson - $5,500 @ TB
Since exploding for 36.5 fantasy points in Week 2, Robinson has been able to keep his head slightly above water in tough individual match-ups with the Patriots and Colts. He should welcome an encounter with Tampa Bay, whose defense is rated second-to-last at defending opposing WR1s per Football Outsiders. Teammate Allen Hurns ($4,500) is coming off a big game and will be a fairly popular play given his low price, but Robinson remains Blake Bortles’ favorite target. He’s seen about 26% of the Jaguars’ targets this season compared to 19% for Hurns, and Robinson’s four red zone targets lead the way for Jacksonville. Scoring opportunities are always a problem for Jaguars skill players, but Tampa ranks in the bottom-third of the league with 3.5 red zone scoring opportunities allowed per game. I don’t hate the idea of a low-owned, low-priced Bortles-Robinson stack.
Green Bay Defense - $3,100 vs. STL
Unless the Rams plan on running Todd Gurley 40 times on the road in Green Bay, they’ll have to throw to keep pace with Aaron Rodgers. The projected game-script (Packers -9.5) points to comeback mode for Nick Foles, which should give the Packers defense a chance to pin their ears back and force some turnovers.
11% to 15% Projected Ownership
Philip Rivers - $6,200 vs. PIT
I’m not about to stop picking on the Pittsburgh pass defense just because they’ve held Nick Foles and Joe Flacco in check in consecutive weeks. Rivers leads the NFL in passing yards and should feast on a secondary allowing opponents to complete roughly 70% of their passes. It’s worth noting San Diego is at home this week, and Rivers has totaled 762 passing yards and five touchdowns in his two starts at Qualcomm Stadium this year. Priced at only $6,200 after a 29 fantasy point explosion in Week 4, Rivers will be the chalk play for those looking to save at quarterback, but his upside in this match-up can’t be ignored.
Justin Forsett - $5,800 vs. CLE
Welcome to the 2015 fantasy season Justin Forsett. Despite dropping 150 rushing yards on Pittsburgh last week, Forsett has been one of the bigger disappointments of the young season. Fortunately for us, it’s reflected in his price (down $400 from Week 1) and he’s in a juicy spot this week. As I mentioned in the Joe Flacco blurb, Baltimore is coming off 10 days rest, they’re a 6.5 point home favorite, and have a solid 25 point implied team total. It’s a recipe for running back goodness made better by Cleveland’s rush defense. No team has allowed more rushing yards than the Browns this year, and Baltimore’s offense will get a boost from the return of left tackle Eugene Monroe. As an added bonus on DraftKings (full PPR scoring), Forsett had caught exactly four passes in every game this season prior to last week. It’s just a shame Forsett’s big Week 4 cast a spotlight on him heading into such a great situation.
Dion Lewis - $4,800 @ DAL
Apparently DraftKings’ pricing algorithms are having a difficult time figuring out Lewis is the lead running back on the best offense in the league. He’s returned over 3x this salary in every game this season, and the set-up is there for a huge Week 5. Vegas has New England pegged for a league-best 28.5 points, and their opponent has allowed the third-most fantasy points to running backs this season. In particular, Dallas has struggled to stop running backs who catch passes out of the backfield, which just so happens to be Lewis’ specialty (five receptions, 6.3 targets per game). Embedding your own tweet into an article should be punishable by being forced to sit on an uncovered gas station toilet seat, but I couldn’t resist.
The Cowboys have allowed six RBs to have at least four catches and 46 receiving yards this year. Six. In four games. Dion Lewis up next.— Phil Alexander (@PhilTWR) October 6, 2015
Randall Cobb - $7,500 vs. STL
Cobb let down 34% of entrants in last week’s Millionaire Maker and reaggravated his preseason shoulder injury in the process. His ownership percentage should dip down near the low-end of this tier (and possibly lower), which helps make him a strong tournament play. Vegas projects the Packers to score 28 points this week. There’s going to be a lot of offensive production to spread around for Green Bay, and it’s typically Cobb who enjoys the largest share. Cobb leads the Packers in both targets and receptions by a wide margin, and has received three times as many red zone looks as any other receiver on the team. Considering 11 of Green Bay’s 13 touchdowns have come via the pass this season, Cobb has a strong probability of finding the end zone at least once.
Charles Clay - $4,100 @ TEN
As of this writing, Sammy Watkins is uncertain to play Sunday against the Titans. If Watkins sits, the only tight end besides Gronk I’d prefer to have in cash or GPP lineups is Clay. Watkins left during the first quarter of Week 3, and since that time Clay has been their unquestioned number one receiver. In the last two weeks Clay has caught 14 of 20 targets for 193 yards and one touchdown. He also had another long touchdown called back last week due to penalty. Should Watkins suit up, some of the shine comes off this play, but I’d still want some exposure to Clay against the Titans in what could turn into a high scoring game.
Antonio Gates - $4,200 vs. PIT
Gates is another Chargers pass catcher who stands to benefit from injuries to San Diego's receivers and a plus match-up with Pittsburgh. Those close to the team don’t expect Gates to be eased back in coming off a four game suspension, and no one can question his chemistry with Philip Rivers. Last season, Gates received a team leading 26% of the Chargers red zone looks and converted nine touchdowns from inside the 20-yard line (second-most in the league). Gates is as strong a bet as any non-Gronk tight end to find the end zone this week.
New York Giants Defense - $2,900 vs. SF
The wheels have fallen off Colin Kaepernick, and the defense playing against him is an auto-start until further notice. In the last two weeks, Kaepernick has completed only 50% of his passes, been sacked eight times, and thrown five interceptions. The 49ers’ only hope is to limit what Kaepernick is asked to do by establishing the run with Carlos Hyde, but the Giants are letting up just 3.1 yards per rushing attempt. The projected game script points to a big day from the Giants defense. New York is playing at home and favored by more than a touchdown.
16%+ Projected Ownership
Jamaal Charles - $7,800 vs. CHI
Match-ups and game flow hardly matter to Charles, but both should be working in his favor against the Bears. Kansas City is a 9.5 point home favorite with a 27.5 point implied team total, and the Chiefs offense will run through Charles as usual. He’s seen 40.5% of Kansas City’s total offensive touches this season -- the fourth highest workload share in the league. Charles hasn’t dipped below 20 fantasy points on DraftKings this season and it’s tough to envision Chicago’s 27th ranked rush defense (per Football Outsiders) bucking that trend.
Le'Veon Bell - $8,500 @ SD
We got a glimpse of what Pittsburgh’s offense will look like without Ben Roethlisberger last Thursday, and not surprisingly it featured Bell touching the ball 29 times. Bell is the best running back in the league and he’ll enjoy another huge workload against a San Diego defense that has allowed the second most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season. Fading him is the best way to make sure you’ll fall behind 25% of the field in GPPs.
Julian Edelman - $7,000 @ DAL
Like Randall Cobb, Edelman is a slot receiver who sponges up high percentage targets in a dominant offense. I was hoping he’d fly under the radar coming off a bye week (out of sight, out of mind) but the public appears thirsty to get their Patriots back in play -- and I can’t blame them. New England is averaging a league-leading (and rather ridiculous) 39.7 points per game. You're going to want some exposure to the receiver leading the Patriots in targets, receptions, and red zone targets, especially at Edelman’s reasonable cap number.
Julio Jones - $9,200 vs. WAS
Given his price and disappointing Week 4, I’d expect Jones to check in closer to the low-end of this ownership tier (as opposed to last week’s 30%). Before you let last week’s dud scare you off, keep in mind the Falcons blew the doors off Houston and pulled most of their starters in the third quarter. Jones will be back to his usual complement of snaps this week against a pass defense that’s given up a combined 432 yards and four touchdowns to opposing wide receivers in the last two games. The Washington secondary is decimated by injuries and doesn’t have a prayer at containing Jones, who hadn’t been held below nine catches or 135 receiving yards in any game this season, prior to last week’s anomaly.
Larry Fitzgerald - $6,800 @ DET
Fitzgerald has been the best receiver in the NFL this season not named Julio Jones, yet he remains priced outside the top-12 at the position. I’ll continue to take the discount for as long as DraftKings is willing to offer it, especially this week against Detroit. Want to know what won’t end well for a defense allowing 4.2 red zone scoring attempts per game (second worst in the league)?
Larry Fitzgerald is the only WR averaging > 1 RZ target per game with a red zone TD conversion rate over 50%— TJ Hernandez (@TJHernandez) October 7, 2015
Denver Defense - $3,600 @ OAK
The Broncos are the D/ST chalk play of the week for good reason. Denver is second in the league in take-aways per game with 2.8 and their 18 sacks lead the league. Oakland may no longer be a punching bag for opposing defenses, but they’re overmatched this week. Denver always shows up for division games.