Projecting the Pros on DraftKings: Week 12

A guide to playing roster percentages like the pros.

Welcome back for Week 12 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.

Quarterbacks

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.

Jameis Winston ($6,000, 18.0% Overall Roster Percentage, 20.9% Pro Roster Percentage)

The pro projection model for quarterbacks loves Winston so much because he has the second-highest probability of achieving 4x value (36.9%), and his wide receiver corps has the highest aggregate roster percentage (35.8%).

Andrew Luck ($6,400, 13.9%, 13.3%)

Even though Luck's pro projection is slightly lower than his overall projection, which is mostly a byproduct of scaling the percentages so that they total 100%, he's still a fine play that's favored by the model. Luck himself has the seventh-highest probability of achieving 4x value (30.6%), but where he really excels according to the model is in terms of factors related to correlations with other players. Namely, at 28.4%, his wide receiver corps has the third-highest aggregate roster percentage on the Sunday Main slate, and Miami's defense is projected for less than 0.5% overall rostership. If the Colts wide receivers perform up to their rostership and the Dolphins defense performs down to theirs, Luck should be in more of your lineups than the public thinks.

Running Backs

Below is the table for running backs:

Nick Chubb ($6,300, 26.4%, 35.0%)

Among the three running backs in the $6,000 to $7,000 price range, Chubb has by far the highest probability of achieving 4x value:

  1. Nick Chubb = 25.2% (ranked 5th)
  2. Joe Mixon ($6,800) = 14.7% (14th)
  3. Leonard Fournette ($6,700) = 10.1% (22nd)

Perhaps this comparison is why he's so popular among the overall public. Or perhaps it's because he's facing a Bengals defense that's allowed the third-most Draftkings points per game to opposing running backs over the course of the season, as well as a league-worst 42% fantasy production above average over their last 5 games.

Austin Ekeler ($3,700, 6.4%, 10.2%)

Ekeler's probability of achieving 4x value is 52.5%, which both a) ranks first among running backs on the slate, and b) dwarfs the previous season-high of 41.2% for Corey Clement way back in Week 3. With Melvin Gordon III looking less and less likely to play as the weekend progresses, having far more exposure to Ekeler than the public is a must, especially given he's at home as a large favorite facing a Cardinals defense that's allowed the seventh-most Draftkings points per game to opposing running backs.

LeSean McCoy ($4,200, 7.6%, 9.2%)

At a mere 32.1%, McCoy has the next-highest 4x value probability behind Ekeler, mainly because $4,200 is far too inexpensive for a running back of McCoy's talent, skill, and built-in usage. McCoy also benefits from Buffalo's wide receiver corps having the lowest aggregate roster percentage on the slate (2.1%). In short, most of whatever the Bills offense is able to accomplish against the Jaguars defense will likely flow through McCoy.

Wide Receivers

Below is the table for wide receivers:

T.Y. Hilton ($6,500, 24.9%, 33.0%)

Hilton has the fourth-highest 4x value probability among wide receivers on the slate (26.3%). And as was the case with his quarterback, Hilton's at home facing a Dolphins defense projected to appear in fewer than 0.5% of entries. He figures to see most of his routes covered by the above-average duo of Xavien Howard and Minkah Fitzpatrick, but Pro Football Focus still has that matchup as favorable to Hilton. Indeed, although Miami has allowed the ninth-fewest Draftkings points to opposing wide receivers, they've been seventh-worst over their last five games.

D.J. Moore ($4,600, 18.1%, 19.8%)

This one's kind of a no-brainer. Moore ranks second among wide receivers on the slate in 4x value probability (27.1%). And with Devin Funchess out, Moore figures to get more targets than usual in an individual matchup that was already among the most favorable of the week (per Pro Football Focus) even before Funchess' game status was known.

Julian Edelman ($7,000, 8.3%, 5.5%)

aND Jarvis Landry ($5,900, 9.2%, 5.3%)

These two are grouped together because they're both slot receivers playing on the road that the model highly disfavors. The main culprit here is 4x value probability, ranking 41st and 43rd among Sunday Main slate wide receivers, respectively. As has been stated in this article all season, pros don't "fade" players, per se. They do however, have considerably less exposure to certain players than the overall public. The main situation in which this occurs is when a player has a higher projected roster percentage than his salary and points projection suggest in terms of value. Edelman and Landry both qualify. Edelman's 4x value probability of 7.1% is lower than his overall roster percentage projection of 8.3%. Similarly, Landry's 6.2% 4x value probability is lower than his 9.2% expected roster percentage.

Tight Ends

Below is the table for tight ends:

Jack Doyle ($4,100, 9.4%, 9.1%)

As was the case with his quarterback, don't put too much weight on the fact that Doyle's pro projection is slightly lower than his overall projection. To wit, Doyle ranks at or near the top of the two main tight end factors. At 27.2%, he ranks second in 4x value probability. Also, Miami's defense is the only one on the slate with a projected roster percentage of less than 0.5%. Factors outside the model further support Doyle as a pro play: With Mo Alie-Cox out, he's likely to see more targets against a Dolphins defense that's allowed a fourth-worst 48% more fantasy production than league average to opposing tight ends over their last 5 games.

Defenses

Below is the table for defenses:

Baltimore Ravens ($3,300, 16.0%, 18.7%)

Despite their exorbitant price tag, Baltimore has the third-highest 4x value probability among defenses in the Sunday Main slate (45.6%). Their opposing quarterback, Derek Carr, is projected to be the fifth-lowest rostered according to the table above. One statistical nugget that makes Baltimore a better high-priced play than, say, the Chargers, is that their front seven has the seventh-best adjusted sack rate according to Football Outsiders, whereas Oakland's offensive line has the eighth-worst.


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