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|
|Marquess Wilson||< 5%||3.6%||20.5||6.03|
|Mike Evans||< 5%||6.6%||7.1||1.16|
|Eddie Lacy||< 5%||6.1%||4.5||0.67|
|Joe Flacco||< 5%||1.4%||24.6||4.39|
|Dontrelle Inman||< 5%||0.45%||0||0|
|Green Bay Defense||6%-10%||6.3%||23||7.42|
|NY Giants Defense||11%-15%||19.6%||2||0.69|
Moving on to this week’s slate...
5% Projected Ownership and Under
Joe Flacco - $5,900 @ SF
Flacco has returned at least 4x his salary in three out of five games this season, yet he’ll continue to fly under the radar because he’s Joe Flacco. Baltimore’s suspect pass defense has been forcing Flacco into paced-up shootouts. The Ravens’ 67.8 play per game average ranks fifth in the NFL and Flacco is averaging 39 pass attempts per game, which is seventh-highest in the league. San Francisco’s pass defense is ranked 30th in Football Outsiders’ pass defense DVOA metric (adjusted for schedule, down, distance, and situation). They’ve allowed opposing quarterbacks to throw for over 300 yards and multiple touchdowns in the same game three times this season. I’d feel more comfortable using Flacco if this game weren’t in San Francisco where the 49ers have played better defense this season, but the Ravens have a not-so-bad 23.25 point implied team total, and they can’t get there without a solid game from Flacco.
Teddy Bridgewater - $5,300 vs. KC
Bridgewater hasn’t come close to reaching his target GPP value in any game this season. As a result, his price is down $400 since we last saw the Vikings in Week 4. Between the bye week (out of sight, out of mind) and lack of production, Bridgewater won’t appear on many rosters this week. But a home match-up with the Chiefs can’t be ignored. Kansas City has allowed at least 250 passing yards and two touchdowns to every quarterback they’ve faced this season with the exception of Andy Dalton -- and Dalton threw for 321 and one touchdown on only 24 attempts in Cincinnati's Week 4 blowout win over the Chiefs. Minnesota’s league-worst 22% passing touchdown percentage is difficult to look past, but Kansas City has given up only 3.7 yards per attempt on the ground this season. The way to beat them is through the air, and a low-owned Bridgewater-Mike Wallace stack takes up less than 20% of your cap.
C.J. Anderson - $4,500 @ CLE
Sometimes when a player’s price drops it signifies a bargain, and sometimes it just means they’re playing terribly. In Anderson’s case, the $800 reduction in last week’s cap number is unquestionably the latter, but I’m willing to have some limited exposure to Anderson in GPPs for three reasons -- match-up, game script, and no else will dare to roster him. Cleveland has allowed more fantasy points per game to opposing running backs than any team in the league. They’re yielding 147 rushing yards per game and 5.0 yards per attempt -- both league-worst averages. Denver is favored by 4.5 points on the road, and they’re matched up with an opponent their defense should dominate. The obvious problem is the Broncos have been distributing carries so evenly between Anderson and Ronnie Hillman, it's difficult to decide which one to chosse. I’ll break the tie by picking the one who’s on the field (slightly) more. Anderson has led the Broncos backfield in snaps every game this season. Last week, his 57% snap-share was the highest it had been since Week 1. If you want a piece of the Denver ground game this week but aren’t convinced Anderson is the guy, you can always hedge by cloning your lineup and swapping in Hillman at practically the same price ($4,600).
Mike Wallace - $4,500 vs. KC
If you believe Minnesota gets their passing game on track against Kansas City’s league-worst secondary, the receiver to roster is Wallace, who leads the team in targets, receptions, receiving yards, and catch-rate. The major concern with Wallace (besides Minnesota’s run-oriented offense) is that he was still missing practice with a sore knee coming out of the Vikings’ bye week. Keep an eye on the injury (and rookie Steffon Diggs) if Wallace isn’t practicing by Friday, but it seems like he should suit up and get behind the Chiefs cornerbacks for a big play or two at home.
Dwayne Harris - $3,300 @ PHI
The Giants rank sixth on the season with 39.4 passing attempts per game, and over the last two weeks Harris is their second-most targeted wide receiver. Harris has parlayed the increased target volume into consecutive games with at least 13.2 fantasy points, yet his price dropped $100 headed into a plus match-up with Philadelphia’s secondary. The Eagles have allowed 34% more fantasy points to opposing wide receivers over the league average this season. Victor Cruz doesn’t appear close to a return, while both Beckham and Rueben Randle emerged from Week 5 banged up. Even if both Beckham and Randle play Monday night (Randle seems the more likely of the two), Harris will play regular snaps out of the slot and soak up somewhere between 6-9 targets. At just $3,300 and playing in a potential shootout, Harris represents one of the better point per dollar values on the slate at any position.
Kendall Wright - $5,200 vs. MIA
Wright’s price is down $200 coming off a quiet Week 5 game against Buffalo, but his role as the Titans primary receiver hasn’t changed. He already leads the team in targets and receiving yards by a wide margin and he gets this week’s “squeaky wheel” narrative award after publicly complaining about his lack of involvement in the offense. Even if Wright only sees his usual 6-7 targets, chances are he’ll put them to good use against the Dolphins. Miami has struggled to contain the opposition’s top receiver this season, and have given up touchdowns to slot receivers Chris Hogan and Eric Decker in each of their last two games. It remains to be seen what difference a head coaching change will mean for the Dolphins, but you’ve got to like Marcus Mariota’s chances for a big game against a defense that’s allowed a combined 68 points to the Bills and Jets in their last two games. The opportunities should be there for Wright to post his third 20+ point game this season.
Zach Ertz - $2,900 vs. NYG
Ertz has been on the field more regularly this season (64% of snaps), but hadn’t made much of a dent in the box score until last week’s five catches for 60 yards against the Saints awful pass defense. He has a great chance to keep it going in a potential shootout with the Giants (50 point over/under). New York hasn’t stopped a tight end all season. Even Garrett Celek found the end zone against them last week. With Bradford and the Eagles offense seemingly rounding into form, Ertz has major reception, yardage, and touchdown upside in this match-up. He’s a sleeper pick to lead all (non-Gronk) tight ends in fantasy scoring.
6%-10% Projected Ownership
Carson Palmer - $6,600 @ PIT
Palmer has scored between 18 and 22.5 fantasy points in each of the last four games, which suggests he’s settled in as a great cash game play, but may not possess the ceiling you’re looking for in GPPs. Hopefully his recent good-not-great performances will keep Palmer low-owned in a match-up with Pittsburgh that should unlock his 350 yard, three touchdown upside. The Steelers have allowed the fourth-highest completion percentage (70.37%) and sixth-most passing touchdowns per game (1.8) this season. Arizona’s implied team total is bordering on 25 points, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see them go over 30 for the fifth time this season.
LeGarrette Blount - $4,400 @ IND
The merit of player vs. team stats in DFS is debatable for any sport. In the NFL, they are inarguably close to worthless due to the frequency of personnel turnover from year-to-year. That being said, LeGarrette Blount has played the Indianapolis Colts twice as a member of the Patriots. In those two games, he has combined for 54 carries, 314 rushing yards, and seven (!) touchdowns. Is playing Blount based on those two performances narrative driven? Yes. Is it bad process? Probably. But it’s also entirely possible Bill Belichick has established a game plan for beating the snot out of the Colts, and he will to stick to said plan until Indianapolis proves they can stop it. The emergence of Dion Lewis all but guarantees Blount won’t receive upwards of 25 carries this time around, but with New England favored by 7.5 points in the Deflategate revenge game (more narratives...sorry), the game script points to heavier usage for Blount, who has combined for 31 carries, 152 rushing yards and three touchdowns in the Patriots last two blowout wins.
Duke Johnson Jr - $4,500 vs. DEN
Speaking of game script, a home match-up with Denver sets the table nicely for Duke Johnson Jr this week. The Broncos are a 4.5 point road favorite at Cleveland in a game their league-best defense should dominate from whistle to whistle. When the Browns are inevitably forced into catch-up mode, it will be Johnson on the field over Isaiah Crowell. The only running back with more targets and receptions than Johnson over the last three games is Theo Riddick. Johnson’s receiving prowess plays nicely against a Broncos defense allowing the second-most receptions per game to running backs this season, due in large part to Denver's +6.8 point scoring differential.
Kamar Aiken - $4,300 @ SF
Assuming Steve Smith Sr. sits out again, Aiken offers a nice combination of high-floor, high-ceiling, and low price. With Smith out last week, Aiken received a team-high 25% of the Ravens targets. He wound up finishing with four catches for 78 yards -- a solid, but unspectacular 3.10x return on his $3,800 salary. His price is up $500, so he’ll need to be significantly better than he was last week to warrant GPP consideration. Fortunately, he gets a match-up with the 49ers, who rank 29th at defending opposing WR1s per Football Outsiders. While Aiken may not be a traditional WR1, he’s all the Ravens have and he’s shown a strong deep connection with Joe Flacco this year. Aiken has caught three receptions of 25 yards or more, including a 48 yard bomb last week. His big-play ability should shine through against a San Francisco defense allowing 8.4 yards per pass attempt (third-worst in the league).
Anquan Boldin - $4,300 vs. BAL
Yes, there’s the revenge game factor. And yes, Boldin does seem like the type of competitor who would enjoy sticking it to his former team. But the real reasons to love Boldin this week are not narrative driven. The Ravens have allowed the second-most fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers this season. More specifically, Baltimore is allowing 3.6 red zone scoring attempts per game, which ranks in the bottom third of the league. Surprisingly enough, the 49ers have run the second-most offensive plays that began in the red zone this season. Boldin’s 11 red zone targets not only represent a team-high 41% market share, they rank third in the entire NFL, behind only DeAndre Hopkins and Jarvis Landry. Colin Kaepernick got back on on track in a plus road match-up with the Giants last week and should be able to keep the ball rolling downhill at home, in an equally enticing spot. A second straight 25+ point performance for Boldin would not come as a shock.
Larry Donnell - $2,800 @ PHI
Donnell is seeing consistent targets for the Giants (six per game), most importantly in the red zone where his 31% target market share leads New York, and ranks fifth in the NFL among tight ends. When targeting a tight end in GPPs, I’m usually looking for the cheapest guy with the highest probability of getting me a touchdown. Given Donnell’s sub-$3,000 price tag, prominent red zone role, and involvement in a potential shootout with Philadelphia (50 point over/under), he certainly fits the bill this week. And if Odell Beckham Jr. can't play, Donnell will be leaned on even more.
Green Bay Packers D/ST - $3,100 vs. SD
The Packers haven’t exactly faced a who’s who of elite NFL passers this season, but their defense is playing as well as any in the league. Green Bay’s defense currently ranks top-3 in sack percentage, sacks per game, completion percentage against, yards per pass attempt against, and opponent interception percentage. Vegas has the Packers as this week’s biggest favorite (10.5 points), which suggests they'll be able to pin their ears back late in the game and force Philip Rivers into a few mistakes at Lambeau.
11% to 15% Projected Ownership
Eddie Lacy - $6,300 vs. SD
Lacy disappointed last week in a similar spot, but playing the starting running back on a heavily favored home team projected to score 30 points will be the correct decision more often than not. Lacy was 6% owned in the Millionaire Maker last week and that number should creep upwards despite four consecutive disappointing games. The crowd is well aware of how bad the Chargers have been against the run this year. San Diego has let up a league-worst 5.1 yards per rush attempt, to go along with 132.4 yards (fourth-worst) and a full touchdown per game on the ground. If Lacy can’t produce with this set-up, it’s officially time to recalibrate expectations going forward.
Chris Ivory - $5,100 vs. WAS
The Jets defense was already playing at a high level, and now they’ll get stud defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson back from suspension. To say Kirk Cousins is in trouble on the road against this well rested unit is a severe understatement. It adds up to good news for Ivory, who was last seen breaking tackles at will on his way to a 29-166-1 stat line against the Dolphins. Washington’s rush defense is worlds better than Miami’s. But if this game unfolds the only way I can imagine it, Cousins’ turnovers are going to force Washington’s defense to remain on the field for long stretches. It’s a recipe for disaster in a match-up against Ivory, whose punishing running style is capable of wearing any defense down. I like Ivory more for cash games than tournaments, but he’s simply too cheap for a running back averaging 21 carries per game. A 4x return on investment is very much in play.
A.J. Green - $7,600 @ BUF
If Andy Dalton hadn’t been so good to open the season and so badly mispriced this week ($5,700), Green might have flown completely under the radar in what the public perceives as a tough match-up at Buffalo. But with Dalton (the cumulative top ranked quarterback on DraftKings) available in the same price tier as Alex Smith, you’re going to see a lot of Dalton-Green stacks -- perhaps enough to bump Green’s ownership towards the top of this tier. I’ve got my eye on Green any time he’s on the road. Since 2011, Green’s average fantasy points per game increase by a staggering 57% when he plays away from Paul Brown Stadium. Bills stud cornerback Stephon Gilmore is a concern, but Green is an all-world wide receiver capable of winning one-on-one against any corner in the league. At the very least, he’ll come in lower-owned than DeAndre Hopkins and Julian Edelman, who are both priced in the same neighborhood.
Eric Decker - $4,900 vs. WAS
Decker has caught a touchdown in every game he’s played this season and if you’ve been following his career, you’re aware it’s no fluke. Since 2010, only four wide receivers have caught touchdowns more frequently on a per target basis than Decker (min 350 targets). This week he’ll face off with a Washington secondary that has struggled to contain secondary receiving options, and will be missing three starters. Football Outsiders ranks Washington 27th at defending opposing WR2s.
16%+ Projected Ownership
Tom Brady - $8,100 @ IND
Brady won’t be a core part of my GPP lineups this week, but who can resist having some exposure to Angry Tom in the Deflategate revenge game? It's a near certainty Brady will be the highest-owned quarterback on the slate, which means there’s merit to fading him by default. Throw in the strong possibility Bill Belichick decides to run the ball down the Colts’ throat like usual, and it becomes even more enticing to choose an inexpensive quarterback and pay up elsewhere. Still, there's a strong probability Brady leads all quarterbacks in scoring this week. The Patriots have Vegas’ highest implied point total and 65% of their touchdowns have come via the pass this year. Indianapolis ranks as a middling (or worse) pass defense by just about any metric.
Arian Foster - $7,000 @ JAX
Foster was missing some burst last Thursday, but he looked like his usual smooth, elusive self as the game wore on. As he continues to round into form (the extended rest should help), we'll start seeing some trademark Arian Foster stat lines. This week's match-up with the Jaguars ought to help. While Jacksonville has only allowed 3.5 yards per attempt to opposing running backs, their average scoring margin (-10.4) is fourth-worst in the league, which has led to a bottom-five ranking in fantasy points per game allowed to the position. Foster will be heavily owned as the crowd chases Doug Martin’s three touchdowns against Jacksonville last week. The expected return of stud middle linebacker Paul Posluszny for the Jaguars dampens the match-up a bit, but Foster will still hog touches against a defense allowing the most red zone rushing attempts in the NFL.
DeAndre Hopkins - $7,700 @ JAX
Hopkins is the cumulative WR2 this season, but he’s still priced in the second tier of receivers on DraftKings. It makes him a bargain, but it’s also likely to make him the highest-owned receiver on the slate -- think 30ish percent. If you want to build around him and change things up elsewhere in your line-up, I won’t hold it against you. Hopkins is averaging a league-leading 14.8 targets per game. For context, that's 20% more than Julio Jones -- the second-most heavily targeted receiver. Hopkins also leads the league in red zone targets, so the volume he's seeing is certainly masking the inefficiency of Houston's quarterbacks. The results speak for themselves -- Hopkins has only been held under 27 points once this season, and that was against Carolina's elite secondary. There’s nothing scary about this week’s matchup with Jacksonville.
Larry Fitzgerald - $7,000 @ PIT
I mentioned Pittsburgh is an excellent match-up for passing game efficiency in the Carson Palmer blurb, and Fitzgerald will be the main beneficiary. It’s not like Fitzgerald needs any help in the efficiency department. He sports an 80% catch rate and has converted a monstrous 71.4% of his team-leading seven red zone targets into touchdowns. Pittsburgh should give Arizona more of a game than Detroit did last week, which should get Fitzgerald’s snap and target counts back up to their usual levels.
Rob Gronkowski - $7,600 @ IND
If Brady goes nuclear this week, it will almost certainly involve a multi-touchdown game from Gronkowski, who’s been converting red zone targets into touchdowns at his usual stellar clip (57%). A Brady-Gronk stack counts for over 31% of your cap and will be a commonly owned pairing this week, so if you roll them out in GPPs you’ll need to mine for value and differntiate your lineup at other positions.
Denver Broncos D/ST - $3,700 @ CLE
The Browns are giving up 3.6 sacks per game and the Broncos specialty is getting after the quarterback. Even without the injured DeMarcus Ware, Denver will apply enough pressure to force Josh McCown into bad decisions. If this game goes according to script, McCown will be forced to throw the ball 40+ times for a fourth straight game. That plan may have worked for the Browns against Oakland, San Diego, and Baltimore, but it will not end well versus Denver.
New York Jets D/ST - $3,100 vs. WAS
As I alluded to in the Chris Ivory blurb, the Jets defense will soon be facing manslaughter charges in the Kirk Cousins wrongful death trial. New York leads the league with 3.2 takeaways per game and Cousins has multiple turnovers in three out of five games this season. Chris Ivory and the Jets defense is one of my favorite correlation plays this week. Here’s something else that spells doom for Washington. Hat tip to Sigmund Bloom for the heads up.
Redskins left tackle Trent Williams is not practicing for a second consecutive day. Williams sat out Wednesday as... http://t.co/KSykvrMGfr— John Keim (@john_keim) October 15, 2015