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 16 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 II||KC||7100||21.7%||24.4%|
Despite the largest Sunday Main slate of the season offering over 20 viable options at quarterback, Patrick Mahomes II is far-and-away the chalk this week -- and for good reason. As of Thursday, he has the second-highest probability of achieving 4x value (37.8%) and the fifth-highest aggregate projected rostership for his wide receiver corps (22.9%). He also will be facing a Raiders defense that's projected to appear in less than one percent of tournament lineups.
SATURDAY UPDATE: He's still at 37.8%, but Mahomes has now leapfrogged Lamar Jackson for first place among quarterbacks with respect to 4x value probability. The gap between his overall and pro projections has only increased by 0.1%, however, because aggregate projected rostership for Chiefs wide receivers has dropped to 21.7%.
Aaron Rodgers ($6,300, 10.4% Overall Roster Percentage, 8.9% Pro Roster Percentage)
Other than the effect of scaling these projections to add up to 100 percent, it's a mystery as to why Rodgers' pro projection is below his overall projection since everything seems to point in a positive direction. At 33.5%, he ranks third behind Mahomes and Jackson in 4x value probability. At 28.1%, his wide receiver corps has the highest aggregate rostership projection. Detroit's defense is expected to appear in less than one percent of lineups. And finally, Rodgers' offensive line has the best pass protection matchup on the Sunday Main slate according to Pro Football Focus.
It's also worth noting that, despite Green Bay having the sixth-highest implied team total of Week 17, Rodgers' salary on Draftkings didn't budge from Week 16.
Below is the table for running backs:
|Melvin Gordon III||LAC||8400||6.9%||4.6%|
Given that he's playing at home with an uncontested workload, it's not surprising to see Jamaal Williams atop the table. What is a bit surprising is that the pro projection model views him favorably despite ranking second-worst at the position in terms of aggregate wide receiver rostership (31.0%). Remember, for running backs, this is a negative indicator because it suggests they won't get a high market share of targets, which is crucial on a full-PPR site like Draftkings. One other concern outside of model factors is that the Lions rush defense has been a much-improved unit since acquiring Damon Harrison.
SATURDAY UPDATE: Williams has fallen to second place in the table despite Green Bay's aggregate wide receiver rostership actually decreasing to 28.1% (which should be a positive development for a running back in the model). Saquon Barkley was able to eke out No. 1 because the same stat also decreased for him, from 7.3% to 5.1%. In other words, Barkley gained the upper hand because his decrease went from an already low level to an even lower one, whereas Williams still has pretty much the same target market share problem he had previously.
Royce Freeman ($3,500, 15.8% Overall Roster Percentage, 16.6% Pro Roster Percentage)
Or Devontae Booker ($3,200, 3.1% Overall Roster Percentage, 4.2% Pro Roster Percentage)
Within the pro projection model, Freeman ranks No. 1 among running backs this week in terms of 4x value probability (38.5%). Outside the model, he'll be playing at home against a Chargers defense that a) is limited in its motivation, and b) has allowed the fourth-most fantasy production to opposing running backs over its past five games. The only problem with being heavily overweight on Freeman is that he's persona non grata in Denver's (admittedly shabby) pass offense. With Phillip Lindsay sidelined, that role belongs to Booker, who has a salary that's $300 lower and whose expected rostership is projected to be a quarter (or less) of Freeman's. Indeed, Booker doesn't rank all that far behind Freeman in 4x value probability (20.7%, 10th).
Below is the table for wide receivers:
|Ted Ginn Jr||NO||3600||2.6%||3.0%|
Davante Adams is the early-week chalk because, despite being one of only five wide receivers priced at $8,000 or more, he still ranks seventh in 4x value probability (23.9%). To put that in perspective, the next-highest probability for a wideout in this quintet is DeAndre Hopkins at 18.0%, which ranks 20th. Adams also benefits in the pro projection model from facing a Lions defense expected to appear in less than one percent of tournament lineups.
SATURDAY UPDATE: Adams has dropped to No. 2 in the table because he's dropped from 7th to 13th in terms of 4x value probability (21.1%). Adams hasn't fallen too far down the table, however, because the Lions are still projected to appear in less than one percent of lineups.
Robby Anderson ($5,600, 21.7% Overall Roster Percentage, 29.2% Pro Roster Percentage)
This may feel like the dreaded "chasing points," but at 38.1%, Anderson ranks No. 1 in 4x value probability. And one supposes that this is a statement against interest because of citing Pro Football Focus' WR/CB matchup stats all season, but Anderson's abysmal projected showing there this week belies the fact that New England's secondary is middle of the road as a unit despite being elite as individuals.
Below is the table for tight ends:
As has been mentioned previously in this space, the tight end projections are typically ruled by either Travis Kelce or Eric Ebron depending on which one is in the slate. Well, with Ebron (maybe) playing in the only game not on the slate, it's Kelce's turn one final time. And as per usual, he's at the top of the table because of his 4x value probability ranks highly despite an exorbitant salary. Namely, it's 19.1%, which ranks seventh among tight ends.
SATURDAY UPDATE: In terms of pro projection model factors (other than Buzzard's overall projection), nothing has changed for Kelce since Thursday. His 4x value probability remains the same, and Oakland's defense remains below one percent projected rostership. One thing that went unmentioned on Thursday, however, is that Oakland's defense ranks sixth-worst against tight ends over their past five games per Austin Lee's normalized strength of schedule.
Below is the table for defenses:
|New York Giants||NYG||2100||8.6%||10.5%|
|Kansas City Chiefs||KC||2600||8.9%||8.4%|
|New England Patriots||NE||3100||5.8%||5.3%|
|New Orleans Saints||NO||2700||5.7%||5.0%|
|Los Angeles Chargers||LAC||3200||5.6%||4.4%|
|Green Bay Packers||GB||2400||3.1%||4.1%|
|Los Angeles Rams||LAR||3900||4.1%||2.8%|
Philadelphia has the early-week advantage mainly due to their fifth-ranked probability of achieving 4x value (51.3%). And although they're not one of the seven defenses facing a quarterback projected to appear in less than one percent of GPP lineups, they're as close as it gets, what with Josh Johnson's projected rostership sitting at 1.1% right now.
SATURDAY UPDATE: Nothing has changed for the Eagles defense since Thursday. Their 4x value probability remains the same, and the projected rostership of their opposing quarterback, Josh Johnson remains 1.1%.
New York Giants ($2,100, 8.6% Overall Roster Percentage, 10.5% Pro Roster Percentage)
Although 4x value probabilities for defenses tend to be a tad absurd insofar as almost all end up being "values," the Giants nevertheless rank first at a nice, double take-worthy 69.0%. In addition, although the pro projection model does incorporate the fact that Dak Prescott is expected to appear in less than one percent of GPP lineups, it doesn't know that Cowboys backup Cooper Rush is likely to play most of this game . And betting against thrown-into-the-fire, backup quarterbacks has shown itself to be a smart strategy when picking defenses on Draftkings.
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