NOTE: The pro projections below are first posted on Thursday, then updated on Saturday afternoon. On Thursday, commentary will be limited to early impressions. A more-detailed discussion of specific players will be added on Saturday afternoon.
Welcome back for Week 8 of Footballguys' new feature that uses a statistical model to project the roster percentages of "professional" tournament players on Draftkings. If you're curious about the full methodological details of the model, click here. The most important detail to keep in mind, however, is that the "professionals" in question were identified using a clustering algorithm and can be characterized by the following statement: Compared to the rest of the population, these 205 pros play more, they win more, and they do both consistently.
Below is the table for quarterbacks. In this and all subsequent tables, "Overall" is Steve Buzzard's projection of roster percentage. "Pros" is the model's projection of roster percentage for Draftkings pros only.
|Patrick Mahomes II||KC||7000||14.2%||13.5%|
Another week, another recommendation to roster Jared Goff heavily. Presumably because of having a slightly tougher matchup, his salary decreased from Week 7 decreased by $600; which is great because said matchup isn't that much worse. With respect to factors that go into the projection model, Goff benefits from having what is likely to be the most highly rostered wide receiver corps on the Sunday Main slate. If they do well, then he has to do well by definition.
SATURDAY UPDATE: Goff remains the pick of the pro litter. And everything that's changed statistically since Thursday has moved in Goff's favor. His 4x value probability has increased from 28.6% to 29.4%. His wide receiver corps has seen their aggregate projected roster percentage increase from 39.2% to 41.4%. And the projected roster percentage for his opponent defense has decreased from 2.3% to less than 1.0%.
Eli Manning ($4,900, 1.3% Overall Roster Percentage, 2.6% Pro Roster Percentage)
It continues to amaze how a quarterback having his best statistical season since at least 2015 -- while playing behind an awful offensive line, mind you -- continues to get guff on the feed. At $4,900, Manning's one of the lowest-priced quarterbacks on the Sunday Main slate, yet with the seventh-highest 4x value probability. Washington cornerback upstart Quinton Dunbar is on the wrong side of questionable, which should open things up for Odell Beckham. Also, referring back to that Giants offensive line, Washington ranks 21st in Adjusted Sack Rate per Football Outsiders, so there's less of a threat than usual.
Below is the table for running backs:
|Duke Johnson Jr||CLE||3900||3.8%||4.3%|
It looks like a significant portion of pro GPP lineups will pair high-cost Todd Gurley with one of three low-cost options, Isaiah Crowell, Jalen Richard, or Raheem Mostert, all of whom figure to see increased usage due to an injury to one of their backfield mates.
SATURDAY UPDATE: Things have changed. Instead of pairing Gurley with one of Crowell, Richard, or Mostert, the pro projection model now suggests pairing James Conner with Crowell or Mostert. The shift towards Conner is odd given that, while his 4x value probability has increased from 20.1% to 20.8%, a negative indicator, Pittsburgh's wide receiver roster percentage, has gone in the wrong direction.
Isaiah Crowell ($3,700, 14.9%, 17.6%)
First and foremost, Crowell has the No. 1 likelihood of achieving 4x value probability among running backs (39.1%). Yes, Chicago surrenders the fifth-fewest points to opposing running backs, but Khalil Mack is on the wrong side of questionable in a game where resting him makes perfect sense, as the Bears are heavy home favorites. Elsewhere on the non-model side of the spectrum, rostering Crowell more than the overall public also makes sense based on the strategic knowledge handed down to us from Ryan Zamichieli's Sharp Report: Exploit situations in which a running back will see increased usage due to injury.
Raheem Mostert ($3,800, 6.0%, 7.6%)
Obviously, this is only a pro play if Matt Breida is inactive. Per current expectations, Mostert has the second-highest 4x value probability at the position (34.4%). Albeit on the road, he's facing a Cardinals defense allowing the most Draftkings points per game to opposing running backs. And then there's the completely subjective point this author should make in his role as 49ers recap writer for the site: Reviewing the coaches film suggests Mostert's performance the past two weeks is no fluke.
Tarik Cohen ($5,800, 9.1%, 6.6%)
This one may seem a bit contrarian, but Cohen only ranks in the middle of the pack at running back in terms of 4x value probability (14.7%, 18th). The Bears' wide receiver corps also ranks in the middle of the pack in terms of aggregate roster percentage (9.7%, 14th). As a heavy home favorite, this sure seems like a Jordan Howard game, who has a similar stat profile according to the model and is $1,000 cheaper in terms of salary.
Below is the table for wide receivers:
|Odell Beckham Jr||NYG||7500||9.7%||8.2%|
|Marvin Jones Jr||DET||4800||4.2%||4.7%|
|Willie Snead IV||BAL||4200||2.3%||4.1%|
With a third-ranked probability of achieving 4x value (22.6%) and the best matchup among Rams' wide receivers according to Pro Football Focus, Robert Woods is projected to appear in significantly more pro lineups than those of the overall public. The same could be said for Robby Anderson, but it's looking increasingly unlikely that he's going to play on Sunday. Stay tuned.
SATURDAY UPDATE: Anderson is doubtful, so scratch him off the list. Woods is still the bee's knees, though.
Robert Woods ($6,800, 23.6%, 32.5%)
Woods' 4x value probability is now up to 25.5%. And, as was mentioned earlier with respect to Jared Goff, Green Bay's defense is now projected for a roster percentage of less than one percent. It's also noteworthy that Pro Football Focus has Woods enjoying the most favorable individual matchup among Rams wide receivers in Week 8.
A.J. Green ($8,000, 19.3%, 19.2%)
With Woods taking up so much of the oxygen at the position, almost all of the other wide receivers projected for high overall rostering show up technically as "fades" according to the pro projection model -- except Green. His 4x value probability isn't anything to write home about (16.4%, 21st), but of course said correspondence is unnecessary as he's already at home against a Buccaneers defense with a 16th-ranked 2.3% projected roster percentage. And according to Pro Football Focus, he has the most favorable individual matchup on the Sunday Main slate.
Below is the table for tight ends:
Travis Kelce (15.7%) and Jared Cook (16.4%) have nearly identical 4x value probabilities, so it's interesting to see the model projecting a roster percentage that diverges even more for the pros than for the overall public. The culprit here is roster percentage for opposing defense, as the Colts' (4.5%) is double that of the Broncos (2.3%).
SATURDAY UPDATE: Thursday's situation holds. Kelce's and Cook's value probabilities are still nearly identical, and the latter's opponent defense is still projected to appear on double the proportion of rosters than the former's.
C.J. Uzomah ($3,500, 11.1%, 13.1%)
A multitude of indicators, both inside and outside the pro projection model point toward Uzomah this week. Among model factors, Uzomah has the No. 1 likelihood of achieving 4x value among tight ends (27.1%), and his opponent defense, Tampa Bay, has the fourth-lowest overall roster percentage projection at the position. Outside the model, the aforementioned Buccaneers rank dead last in Draftkings points allowed to tight ends. In addition, the Bengals-Buccaneers game has the second-highest over-under on the Sunday Main slate.
Below is the table for defenses:
|Kansas City Chiefs||KC||2600||7.5%||5.1%|
|San Francisco 49ers||SF||2500||5.0%||4.6%|
|New York Jets||NYJ||2200||3.4%||3.8%|
|Los Angeles Rams||LAR||2600||4.4%||3.7%|
|New York Giants||NYG||2400||1.5%||3.5%|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||TB||2100||2.3%||3.3%|
With a whopping 53.9% chance of achieving 4x value and facing one of the lowest-rostered quarterbacks of the week, it will be hard for pros to pass up heavily rostering the Steelers, who -- oh by the way -- are playing at home coming off a bye.
SATURDAY UPDATE: Pittsburgh has further cemented its position as the bona fide chalk thanks to Baker Mayfield's projected roster percentage decreasing from 3.3% to 2.1% since Thursday.
Carolina Panthers ($2,500, 2.8%, 3.9%)
The Panthers may be on the road this week, but they're playing in a game that Vegas projects to be one of the lowest-scoring of the week. Based on their points projection and salary, Carolina has the fourth-highest likelihood of achieving 4x value, at 41.7%. They may not have as much upside as desired, but they have a high floor at low cost, which allows you to increase salary allocation at other, more valuable, positions.
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