The Rundown: FantasyScore Week 11

A weekly guide to FantasyScore's Salary Cap and Draft-and-Go contests.

The past few weeks, I've been presenting the highest and lowest probabilities of achieving value given three parameters:

  1. A player's FantasyScore salary.
  2. A player's projected FantasyScore points according to Footballguys.
  3. The variance in weekly FantasyScore points among players at a given position.
In a system like this, where the predicted probability of a player achieving value can be mapped to whether or not he actually did so, it's of utmost importance -- from an "Is this trustworthy?" perspective -- to see whether predicted results and actual results agree. In other words, if I'm telling you that Quarterback X has a 40 percent chance of achieving value, then such quarterbacks should actually achieve value 40 percent of the time.
 
Before we get to the Week 11 probabilities, what follows is a brief analysis of how cash game value probabilites for quarterbacks in Weeks 1-10 have meshed (or not) with actual results.
 

In total, there have been 297 games played by quarterbacks so far in 2015. For each quarterback game, I (a) calculated the in-advance probability of achieving value in a DFS cash game, and (b) determined whether or not the the actual performance achieved value. Next, I formed 10 groups of predicted probabilites. Why? Think about it. If I predicted a 4.9% chance of a specific quarterback achieving value in a cash game, how many quarterbacks could possibly have that exact predicted value on a scale of 0-to-100 percent? Not many; hence grouping.

Once I grouped these quarterback performance in 10 percent intervals (i.e., 0-to-9 percent, 10-to-19 percent, and so on), I made the following graph of predicted results vis-a-vis actual results:

In this chart, the x-axis (i.e., the bottom) represents the predicted probability intervals (i.e., 0-to-9 percent, 10-to-19 percent, and so on), while the y-axis (i.e., the left) represents actual results for quarterback performances in 2015. If we plot one against the other for the 297 weekly FantasyScore performances by quarterbacks this season, we get the blue line with blue diamond almonds -- sorry, markers. The red line represents a 1-to-1 correspondence between predicted and actual results, and so it's the ideal associated with what the blue line should be.

As you can see, the blue (actual) line adheres closely to the red (what we want it to be) line. The only large discrepancy is when my system predicts a value probability of 10-to-19 percent. But guess what: That group only has 8 cases, and so its "off-ness" can be attributed (for now) to small sample size. Truth be told, so can the "0-9," "80-89," and "90-99" groups.

And so what's the lesson here? When you see a quarterback in one of my tables with a probability of achieving cash game value between 20 percent and 69 percent, believe it. Otherwise, lean towards believing it, but remain skeptical: More data is required. 

quarterbacks

Below are the quarterbacks with the highest (and lowest) probabilities of achieving value in cash games and GPPs:

MOST LIKELY TO ACHIEVE VALUE
NAME TM SALARY AVG P(CASH) NAME TM SALARY MAX P(GPP)
Matt Hasselbeck IND 4500 18.7 80.1% Matt Hasselbeck IND 4500 20.6 66.5%
Teddy Bridgewater MIN 4800 17.6 69.7% Teddy Bridgewater MIN 4800 18.5 45.4%
Alex Smith KAN 5700 19.2 63.4% Alex Smith KAN 5700 21.6 42.2%
LEAST LIKELY TO ACHIEVE VALUE
NAME TM SALARY AVG P(CASH) NAME TM SALARY MAX P(GPP)
Aaron Rodgers GNB 8800 21.4 20.7% Aaron Rodgers GNB 8800 21.9 1.5%
Andy Dalton CIN 8300 20.3 22.4% Andy Dalton CIN 8300 20.8 2.1%
Derek Carr OAK 8300 22.0 31.4% Tom Brady NWE 8900 24.5 3.4%

Is this table telling you to stake your Week 11 DFS hopes on Matt Hasselbeck? No. It's simply saying that, if you wish to go for value at quarterback this week, Hasselbeck is far and away the best option. Truth be told, the matchup differences between high-value quarterbacks suggest that Alex Smith (at San Diego) is your best value bet in cash games, while Hasselbeck (at Atlanta) is your best value bet in tournaments. San Diego has the worst pass defense, but Atlanta's isn't all that better, and the game script may very well dictate a higher-than-normal pass-run ratio for Indianapolis. Or, given the dropoff from Andrew Luck, the Colts might actually run the ball more often than normal. But hey, that kind of uncertainty means variance, which is (another reason) why I'm saying Hasselbeck's best use is as a value play in GPPs.

In terms of unlikely value, I would avoid the trios on both sides of the table, especially Rodgers and Dalton, the latter for his bad matchup (on national television no less, if you believe in that sort of thing) and the former for his combination of high salary and injured throwing shoulder.

running backs

Below are the running backs with the highest (and lowest) probabilities of achieving value in cash games and GPPs:

MOST LIKELY TO ACHIEVE VALUE
NAME TM SALARY AVG P(CASH) NAME TM SALARY MAX P(GPP)
Shaun Draughn SFO 3300 10.5 53.2% Chris Thompson WAS 2100 10.2 59.7%
Chris Thompson WAS 2100 6.8 52.9% Jonathan Grimes HOU 2000 8.7 53.8%
Jonathan Grimes HOU 2000 6.2 51.1% Thomas Rawls SEA 2000 7.6 47.8%
Kyle Juszczyk BAL 2000 6.1 50.3% Kyle Juszczyk BAL 2000 7.3 46.2%
Melvin Gordon III SDG 3500 10.4 49.4% Javorius Allen BAL 2000 6.8 43.5%
LEAST LIKELY TO ACHIEVE VALUE
NAME TM SALARY AVG P(CASH) NAME TM SALARY MAX P(GPP)
Eddie Lacy GNB 6500 6.7 4.0% Adrian Peterson MIN 8600 17.8 1.1%
Chris Johnson ARI 7300 12.3 9.3% Eddie Lacy GNB 6500 9.6 1.2%
Alfred Morris WAS 4900 5.1 9.4% Chris Johnson ARI 7300 13.1 1.4%
Adrian Peterson MIN 8600 17.4 12.4% LeSean McCoy BUF 7300 15.1 2.7%
Jeremy Hill CIN 5500 8.3 13.0% Giovani Bernard CIN 6700 13.3 3.2%

OK. Here's one of those rare situations wherein almost all of the high-value targets in the table aren't worth rostering. Carlos Hyde could only muster 4.0 points against the Seahawks in San Francisco, so Draughn -- who is no Carlos Hyde -- at Seattle seems like fool's gold. Thompson at Carolina? No thanks. Baltimore running backs? No thanks. Gordon? Wake me up when he does something of note. The only option I'd consider is Rawls, but (obviously) only if we get advance warning that Marshawn Lynch either isn't playing because of his abdominal injury or will be on a snap count of some sort.

Just as much pessimism lies on the low-value side. Of the seven running backs listed, the only one worth taking a chance on is Adrian Peterson because a) Green Bay's rush defense ranks 28th according to Football Outsiders, and b) he's Adrian F***ing Peterson.

wide receivers

Below are the wide receivers with the highest (and lowest) probabilities of achieving value in cash games and GPPs:

MOST LIKELY TO ACHIEVE VALUE
NAME TM SALARY AVG P(CASH) NAME TM SALARY MAX P(GPP)
Dontrelle Inman SDG 2500 11.4 69.4% Griff Whalen IND 2000 11.8 69.1%
Chris Givens BAL 2000 9.7 68.5% Chris Givens BAL 2000 11.0 65.3%
John Brown ARI 2400 10.2 65.3% Brian Quick STL 2000 10.9 64.9%
Brian Quick STL 2000 8.2 61.5% John Brown ARI 2400 11.9 61.9%
Doug Baldwin SEA 3000 10.8 59.5% Jaron Brown ARI 2000 10.1 60.9%
Mike Wallace MIN 2100 7.9 58.5% Dontrelle Inman SDG 2500 11.9 59.9%
Robert Woods BUF 2800 10.0 58.1% Mike Wallace MIN 2100 10.3 59.9%
Tyler Lockett SEA 2000 7.4 57.3% Tyler Lockett SEA 2000 9.1 55.8%
Jaron Brown ARI 2000 7.3 56.8% Terrance Williams DAL 2700 11.8 55.2%
Terrance Williams DAL 2700 8.9 54.1% Robert Woods BUF 2800 11.9 53.7%
LEAST LIKELY TO ACHIEVE VALUE
NAME TM SALARY AVG P(CASH) NAME TM SALARY MAX P(GPP)
Michael Floyd ARI 6600 8.4 6.6% Emmanuel Sanders DEN 7500 13.6 1.5%
Emmanuel Sanders DEN 7500 12.8 10.0% Dez Bryant DAL 8300 18.2 2.4%
Alshon Jeffery CHI 7600 14.0 12.2% Alshon Jeffery CHI 7600 15.8 2.7%
Tavon Austin STL 6400 10.7 13.0% A.J. Green CIN 7900 17.6 3.3%
T.Y. Hilton IND 7500 14.1 13.3% Tavon Austin STL 6400 11.6 3.3%
Pierre Garcon WAS 5600 8.6 14.1% Michael Floyd ARI 6600 12.6 3.5%
Dez Bryant DAL 8300 16.9 14.7% DeAndre Hopkins HOU 8800 21.6 3.7%
Donte Moncrief IND 5700 9.7 16.5% T.Y. Hilton IND 7500 16.4 3.7%
A.J. Green CIN 7900 16.7 17.9% Demaryius Thomas DEN 8100 19.3 4.2%
Jeremy Maclin KAN 6800 13.7 18.8% Pierre Garcon WAS 5600 9.7 4.7%

All hands on deck for Inman, and, as a contrarian value play, one of the two Seahawks wide receivers. San Diego has a pass-happy offense and they're facing the 28th-ranked pass defense. Meanwhile, Seattle has the antithesis of a pass-happy offense, but they're facing the the 31st-ranked pass defense...at home...in a one-side rivalry game dominated by their side.

On the other side of the ledger, if there was one wide receiver that I'd roster despite low value, it would be Dez Bryant, especially in GPPs. When a wide receiver and his quarterback are both coming off injuries (and perhaps prematurely so), it's complete reasonable to avoid both. That said, Bryant's been back for 3 weeks, and the one thing missing from his fantasy scoring potential has been a competent quarterback. Enter Romo. If anywhere near fully healthy, there's a better-than-in-the-above-table chance that Bryant achieves value at Miami, who -- oh by the way -- ranks 26th in pass defense. 

tight ends

Below are the tight ends with the highest (and lowest) probabilities of achieving value in cash games and GPPs:

MOST LIKELY TO ACHIEVE VALUE
NAME TM SALARY AVG P(CASH) NAME TM SALARY MAX P(GPP)
Garrett Celek SFO 1700 6.4 58.3% Zach Ertz PHI 3300 13.8 54.0%
Zach Ertz PHI 3300 10.9 56.8% Jared Cook STL 2300 7.3 37.6%
Jared Cook STL 2300 6.6 47.7% Vernon Davis DEN 2700 8.7 36.3%
LEAST LIKELY TO ACHIEVE VALUE
NAME TM SALARY AVG P(CASH) NAME TM SALARY MAX P(GPP)
Jordan Reed WAS 7600 12.0 3.6% Jordan Reed WAS 7600 12.4 0.1%
Jordan Cameron MIA 5200 6.4 6.3% Tyler Eifert CIN 7300 14.0 0.6%
Martellus Bennett CHI 6200 9.7 6.9% Martellus Bennett CHI 6200 11.1 1.1%

I'm all-in on Ertz with respect to lineups including a high-value tight end. You should be too. Here's an article wherein a massive Buccaneers fan explains why.

In contrast, I'm bearish on taking a chance on any of the tight ends that are unlikely to achieve value. According to Football Outsiders, Carolina is the 4th-most efficient pass defense against the position, so Reed is a no-go. Similarly, Denver's ranked 9th, so Bennett's a no-go; Philadelphia ranks 3rd, so Cameron's a no-go; and Arizona ranks 1st, so Eifert's a no go.

If I all-of-a-sudden found myself in the same predicament as Christopjer Walken in The Deer Hunter, I'd go with Bennett as the contrarian play, simply because of the disparity between the trajectories of these two teams.

defenses

Below are the defenses with the highest (and lowest) probabilities of achieving value in cash games and GPPs:

MOST LIKELY TO ACHIEVE VALUE
NAME TM SALARY AVG P(CASH) NAME TM SALARY MAX P(GPP)
Chicago Bears CHI 1400 11.0 92.2% Chicago Bears CHI 1400 11.0 87.0%
Oakland Raiders OAK 1700 10.2 85.3% Dallas Cowboys DAL 1400 9.3 78.0%
Dallas Cowboys DAL 1400 9.1 84.4% Oakland Raiders OAK 1700 10.2 76.1%
LEAST LIKELY TO ACHIEVE VALUE
NAME TM SALARY AVG P(CASH) NAME TM SALARY MAX P(GPP)
Arizona Cardinals ARI 3000 9.3 52.0% Arizona Cardinals ARI 3000 9.5 30.1%
Denver Broncos DEN 3200 10.3 55.7% Denver Broncos DEN 3200 10.7 33.1%
Green Bay Packers GNB 2600 8.8 57.8% Green Bay Packers GNB 2600 8.8 36.9%

From the table, we can see that whether you're playing a cash game or a GPP is of no consequence: The Top 3 values are the same in both formats, as are the Bottom 3. But which to use, you ask? On the high-value side, the defense worth rostering is Chicago: The Broncos rank dead-last in offensive efficiency and are starting their backup quarterback on the road in a game on their schedule between a division rival and the undefeated New England Patriots.

On the low-value side, none of the three matchups seem to provide a benefit above and beyond the expense.

WEEK 11 DRAFT LISTS

Finally, to supplement the statistics-based strategies I recommended earlier in the season, here are the VBD draft lists you should use for FantasyScore's Draft-N-Go (DNG) games:

2-Person DNGs5-Person DNGs8-Person DNGs
NAMEPOSTmNAMEPOSTmNAMEPOSTm
Julio Jones WR ATL Julio Jones WR ATL Julio Jones WR ATL
Devonta Freeman RB ATL Devonta Freeman RB ATL Devonta Freeman RB ATL
Rob Gronkowski TE NWE Larry Fitzgerald WR ARI Larry Fitzgerald WR ARI
Larry Fitzgerald WR ARI Rob Gronkowski TE NWE DeAndre Hopkins WR HOU
DeAndre Hopkins WR HOU DeAndre Hopkins WR HOU Mike Evans WR TAM
Mike Evans WR TAM Mike Evans WR TAM Calvin Johnson WR DET
Seattle Seahawks DEF SEA Calvin Johnson WR DET Demaryius Thomas WR DEN
Calvin Johnson WR DET DeMarco Murray RB PHI Rob Gronkowski TE NWE
Demaryius Thomas WR DEN Demaryius Thomas WR DEN Dez Bryant WR DAL
DeMarco Murray RB PHI Todd Gurley RB STL Amari Cooper WR OAK
Todd Gurley RB STL Seattle Seahawks DEF SEA Allen Robinson WR JAC
Tom Brady QB NWE Tom Brady QB NWE A.J. Green WR CIN
Cam Newton QB CAR Cam Newton QB CAR Jarvis Landry WR MIA
Charcandrick West RB KAN Charcandrick West RB KAN Michael Crabtree WR OAK
Dez Bryant WR DAL Dez Bryant WR DAL Brandon Marshall WR NYJ
Amari Cooper WR OAK Amari Cooper WR OAK DeMarco Murray RB PHI
Greg Olsen TE CAR Allen Robinson WR JAC Eric Decker WR NYJ
NY Jets DEF NYJ Darren McFadden RB DAL Todd Gurley RB STL
      A.J. Green WR CIN Steve Johnson WR SDG
      Jarvis Landry WR MIA Stefon Diggs WR MIN
      Michael Crabtree WR OAK Charcandrick West RB KAN
      Brandon Marshall WR NYJ Sammy Watkins WR BUF
      Adrian Peterson RB MIN Tom Brady QB NWE
      Eric Decker WR NYJ Randall Cobb WR GNB
      Danny Woodhead RB SDG Darren McFadden RB DAL
      Steve Johnson WR SDG Seattle Seahawks DEF SEA
      Lamar Miller RB MIA Cam Newton QB CAR
      Carson Palmer QB ARI Danny Amendola WR NWE
      Stefon Diggs WR MIN Brandon LaFell WR NWE
      Greg Olsen TE CAR Allen Hurns WR JAC
      Antonio Gates TE SDG Adrian Peterson RB MIN
      Jeremy Langford RB CHI T.Y. Hilton WR IND
      NY Jets DEF NYJ Danny Woodhead RB SDG
      Sammy Watkins WR BUF Lamar Miller RB MIA
      Carolina Panthers DEF CAR Alshon Jeffery WR CHI
      Randall Cobb WR GNB Jeremy Maclin WR KAN
      Derek Carr QB OAK Greg Olsen TE CAR
      Chicago Bears DEF CHI Antonio Gates TE SDG
      Delanie Walker TE TEN Jeremy Langford RB CHI
      Danny Amendola WR NWE Rishard Matthews WR MIA
      Aaron Rodgers QB GNB Carson Palmer QB ARI
      Chris Ivory RB NYJ Kamar Aiken WR BAL
      Brandon LaFell WR NWE Emmanuel Sanders WR DEN
      Travis Kelce TE KAN Delanie Walker TE TEN
      Philadelphia Eagles DEF PHI Jordan Matthews WR PHI
            Derek Carr QB OAK
            NY Jets DEF NYJ
            Chris Ivory RB NYJ
            Golden Tate WR DET
            Doug Martin RB TAM
            Travis Kelce TE KAN
            Latavius Murray RB OAK
            Marshawn Lynch RB SEA
            Carolina Panthers DEF CAR
            Davante Adams WR GNB
            Tyler Eifert TE CIN
            Marvin Jones Jr WR CIN
            Chicago Bears DEF CHI
            Aaron Rodgers QB GNB
            Matthew Stafford QB DET
            Jimmy Graham TE SEA
            Russell Wilson QB SEA
            Justin Forsett RB BAL
            T.J. Yeldon RB JAC
            Philadelphia Eagles DEF PHI
            Jacksonville Jaguars DEF JAC
            St. Louis Rams DEF STL
            Blake Bortles QB JAC
            LeSean McCoy RB BUF
            Jason Witten TE DAL
            Dontrelle Inman WR SDG
            Denver Broncos DEF DEN


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