Projecting Ownership Percentage: FanDuel Week 4

Examining early ownership rates to construct tournament and cash game lineups

Knowing the expected ownership rates heading into a weekend of FanDuel contests is a powerful tool. Knowledge is power. There will be heavily-used players and underrated options from which to pick and choose quality lineups. Cash games are the perfect place for using a bevy of highly-owned options and playing it safe. The cash line is simply finishing above the average score (typically in 110-120 point range). In a tournament field (GPP), finishing in the money takes more risk and variance to achieve a high mark worthy of cashing. There is no prize difference between finishing middle of the pack or dead last in GPP contests. Here are the strategies centered around player ownership for FanDuel this week:

*Collected ownership data from Thursday Night locking contests, representing expected weekend data*

CONSENSUS PLAYS OF WEEK

Aaron Rodgers' ownership of nearly 20% laps the rest of the quarterbacks for Week 4. The Packers are red-hot and face San Francisco coming off a road drubbing in Arizona. All signs point to the Green Bay offense being a high-floor play yet again this week.

With LeSean McCoy out, Karlos Williams gets the start against the Giants. At only $6,300 Williams is an auto-play at 25-30% ownership. He has performed well through three games and now, like Devonta Freeman in Week 3, gets an unchallenged dose of touches with the starting role.

Latavius Murray and Oakland gets a likely positive game script against the struggling Bears. Murray is one of the few running backs with a 15-touch floor and nearly zero competition for work. 

James Jones still enjoys a minimal salary at $6,000 and has as much upside as any receiver in the NFL. Randall Cobb costs $2,200 more as a point of reference. Jones slots perfectly as a low-cost WR3 and the Packers are highly-likely to be without Davante Adams in San Francisco this week.

Larry Fitzgerald has been reborn in 2015 with strong WR1 numbers and a hot Carson Palmer under center. At more than 25% ownership, Fitzgerald is one of the highest owned receivers for the second straight week.

With Julio Jones' historic usage and production through three games, even a $9,400 salary does not dissuade a high ownership number in Week 4. Jones sits at 23% at the Thursday Night lock. Houston is not a matchup to avoid, making Jones full-speed ahead once again.

At 23% Greg Olsen is the dominant leader at tight end for the week. Cam Newton has little reason not to pepper Olsen with targets as Tampa Bay is average against tight ends, but stingy versus wide receivers early in the season.

Brandon McManus is once-again a top owned kicker. Denver is at home and McManus has a strong leg, the upside is there for multiple 50+ yard field goals in this one.

The Arizona dominated the 49ers last week and get another questionable offense (St.Louis) at home this week. While Denver is also intriguing for $300 less, Arizona is near 20% in early ownership.

AGAINST THE GRAIN

Tyrod Taylor has rushing upside, is playing at home, and gets a top matchup for opposing quarterbacks in the Giants. With less than 9% early ownership, Taylor is an attractive option against the grain of Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton.

Danny Woodhead: Cleveland is an above-average matchup for running backs and Woodhead is regularly used in high-leverage situations on third down and in the red zone. At only 3% ownership, Woodhead creates a unique roster even with a few chalk options.

Percy Harvin: With Sammy Watkins on the mend, Harvin creates a low-cost stack with Tyrod Taylor. In addition to manufactured short-range touches, Harvin offers long speed and perhaps more deep routes in place of Watkins. At $5,700 and 4% ownership, Harvin is a quality combination of value, upside, and low-ownership.

Allen Hurns: Vontae Davis is likely to see plenty of Allen Robinson, giving Hurns free run of the Colts secondary. Hurns had less than 1% ownership on Thursday witha $5,300 salary.

Jason Witten makes this list for a second straight week at 6% ownership. The Dallas receivers offer little appeal, making Witten and the run game quality bets. Witten emerged from Week 3 without aggravation of his previous knee and ankle ailments.

The Colts get a division opponent in Indianapolis, a good historical recipe. While not as liberal with opposition points as 2014, the Jacksonville offense is still one to target on the road. By many measures the Colts have the best matchup of the week and were only 3% owned through Thursday.

EXAMPLE GPP ROSTER 1

Position Player Salary Own%
QB Aaron Rodgers 9200 19.0
RB Karlos Williams 6300 26.0
RB Danny Woodhead 6100 3.1
WR Randall Cobb 8200 19.7
WR James Jones 6000 28.0
WR Julio Jones 9400 22.9
TE Martellus Bennett 5500 8.5
K Matt Bryant 4800 9.8
DST Indianapolis Colts 4400 3.3
    59900 15.6

While popular, this Packers triple stack of Rodgers-Cobb-Jones makes for a high-floor and ceiling lineup base. With Davante Adams likely out (or at a minimum limited), the Green Bay offense will run through these two receivers. The odds of at least two receiving touchdowns between them is high. Danny Woodhead creates uniqueness at RB2, plus allows for the salary of Julio Jones. Going contrarian with the Colts defense makes salary and deviates from the herd.

EXAMPLE GPP ROSTER 2

Position Player Salary Own%
QB Tyrod Taylor 7600 8.8
RB Latavius Murray 7500 23.6
RB Devonta Freeman 7200 15.5
WR Julio Jones 9400 22.9
WR Amari Cooper 7200 20.3
WR Percy Harvin 5700 4.3
TE Charles Clay 5200 11.8
K Brandon McManus 4900 10.6
DST Seattle Seahawks 5300 8.4
    60000 14.0

This lineup is more against the grain with the Bills passing game. Harvin and Clay have less competition for targets with Sammy Watkins out and if the Bills are caught in more of a shootout (top-25% in terms of team and total points over/under by Vegas), this is an underowned stack which can hit.


CASH GAMES: GO WITH THE HERD

Position Player Salary Own%
QB Aaron Rodgers 9200 19.0
RB Karlos Williams 6300 26.0
RB Latavius Murray 7500 23.6
WR Amari Cooper 7200 20.3
WR Larry Fitzgerald 7400 27.1
WR James Jones 6000 28.0
TE Greg Olsen 6300 23.2
K Brandon McManus 4900 10.6
DST Arizona Cardinals 5000 19.6
    59800 21.9

This represents the most-owned combination for Week 4. Denver is also highly-owned and a substitute for Arizona if using multiple lineups. Another option is substituting Charles Clay for Olsen, then using Randall Cobb or A.J. Green over Amari Cooper. All are quality plays this week.


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