Acing Aces

A weekly guide to finding value in Fantasy Aces contests.

Welcome back to our FantasyAces feature article, wherein we identify value plays in both cash games and tournaments. The process we use starts with the statistical method described here, which results in a percentage that represents the likelihood a given player will achieve value based on his salary, his projection, and historical variation in scoring at his position. From there, we take a look at statistics related to his individual matchup, as well as any other situational factors that might affect his value likelihood (e.g., injuries, coaching tendencies, game scripts, ownership rates, etc.). This combination of stats and context allows us to narrow things down to a select group of players worth fully recommending.

Note: The value probability tables will be published on Thursday. Commentary based on the situational factors described above will be added on Friday.

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)
Russell Wilson SEA 6550 22.2 66.7% Russell Wilson SEA 6550 23.7 33.3%
Andrew Luck IND 6900 22.3 60.8% Tyrod Taylor BUF 6100 20.7 26.1%
Aaron Rodgers GB 7500 23.9 59.2% Andrew Luck IND 6900 23.5 23.9%
Colin Kaepernick SF 6450 20.7 59.1% Colin Kaepernick SF 6450 21.7 23.9%
Tyrod Taylor BUF 6100 19.5 57.9% Ryan Fitzpatrick NYJ 5700 18.3 21.8%
Drew Brees NO 7850 24.1 53.9% Matt Barkley CHI 5600 17.7 20.8%
Joe Flacco BAL 5800 17.9 53.6% Joe Flacco BAL 5800 18.3 19.8%
LEAST LIKELY TO ACHIEVE VALUE
NAME TM SALARY AVG P(CASH) NAME TM SALARY MAX P(GPP)
Cam Newton CAR 6850 18.9 38.9% Cam Newton CAR 6850 19.4 8.3%
Trevor Siemian DEN 5950 16.5 40.4% Matt Ryan ATL 7200 21.2 9.4%
Andy Dalton CIN 6200 17.4 41.7% Drew Brees NO 7850 24.4 11.3%
Philip Rivers SD 6700 19.2 43.5% Philip Rivers SD 6700 19.8 11.3%
Tom Brady NE 7550 21.8 43.8% Derek Carr OAK 6800 20.3 11.6%
Jameis Winston TB 6500 18.7 44.4% Ben Roethlisberger PIT 7100 21.6 12.0%
Matt Ryan ATL 7200 20.9 45.3% Carson Palmer ARI 6650 20.0 12.7%

Whether playing cash games or tournaments, Tyrod Taylor is the best quarterback value this week. His opponent, Oakland, ranks 26th in FantasyAces points allowed to opposing quarterbacks and 22nd in pass defense effiiency. Given Taylor's running prowess, it's also worth noting that the Raiders also rank 27th in run defense efficiency. And with respect to projected ownership rates in tournaments, Taylor's 10-15 percent ranks sixth, so there's nothing to worry about in terms of lineup uniqueness.

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)
David Johnson ARI 6700 24.2 62.3% Melvin Gordon III SD 5750 22.3 47.9%
Melvin Gordon III SD 5750 19.4 57.7% David Johnson ARI 6700 24.5 44.0%
Le'Veon Bell PIT 6600 20.7 52.9% Le'Veon Bell PIT 6600 22.6 39.7%
Jordan Howard CHI 5300 16.6 52.8% Jordan Howard CHI 5300 17.2 36.2%
Carlos Hyde SF 4800 13.8 47.2% Carlos Hyde SF 4800 15.5 35.9%
LeSean McCoy BUF 5700 16.1 45.9% LeGarrette Blount NE 5000 15.4 33.0%
Latavius Murray OAK 5000 14.1 45.6% LeSean McCoy BUF 5700 17.5 32.8%
Jeremy Hill CIN 5100 14.2 44.8% Jeremy Hill CIN 5100 15.5 32.1%
Frank Gore IND 4450 12.3 44.4% Latavius Murray OAK 5000 15.1 31.8%
Theo Riddick DET 4900 13.5 44.2% Frank Gore IND 4450 13.3 31.1%
LEAST LIKELY TO ACHIEVE VALUE
NAME TM SALARY AVG P(CASH) NAME TM SALARY MAX P(GPP)
Chris Ivory JAX 4400 4.7 4.0% Paul Perkins NYG 4000 5.8 4.3%
Jalen Richard OAK 3900 4.7 6.3% Chris Ivory JAX 4400 6.9 5.7%
Denard Robinson JAX 3500 4.6 8.2% Dwayne Washington DET 3300 5.3 6.2%
Paul Perkins NYG 4000 5.7 10.6% Rex Burkhead CIN 3500 5.8 6.8%
Rex Burkhead CIN 3500 5.1 11.1% James White NE 4200 7.3 8.0%
James White NE 4200 6.5 13.3% Chris Thompson WAS 3800 7.0 9.5%
Chris Thompson WAS 3800 6.0 13.9% Denard Robinson JAX 3500 7.1 12.6%
T.J. Yeldon JAX 3800 6.1 14.7% Jonathan Stewart CAR 4950 10.5 14.2%
Darren Sproles PHI 4300 7.9 20.3% Tevin Coleman ATL 4700 10.0 14.3%
Jonathan Stewart CAR 4950 9.4 22.0% Terrance West BAL 4400 9.4 14.5%

Three running backs rank among the Top 10 value probabilities and also have favorable stat matchups: David Johnson, Jordan Howard, and Theo Riddick. Johnson faces a Washington defense that ranks 32nd in run defense efficiency (per DVOA) and 26th in FantasyAces points allowed to opposing running backs. Howard faces a 49ers defense that ranks 32nd in points allowed to opposing running backs and 30th in run defense efficiency. Finally, Riddick faces a Saints defense that 28th in fantasy points allowed and ranks 32nd in pass defense efficiency on running back targets, the latter of which is particularly relevant given his receiving prowess.

Unfortunately, Johnson, Howard, and Riddick happen to have the highest projected ownership rates too, so you can only roster (at most) one of them in tournaments. Given all of the various factors, I'd go with Howard. He's got a lower price tag than Johnson, the weather conditions in Chicago and Matt Barkley at quarterback suggest a heavy reliance on the running game. Furthermore, given that Washington ranks third in pass defense efficiency on running back targets and that FantasyAces' scoring system awards only 0.5 PPR, Johnson's receiving points figure to be suppressed.

So which running backs with Top 10 value probabilities are the best alternatives for tournament lineups? Well, Melvin Gordon III faces a Buccaneers defense ranked 27th in pass defense on running back targets and LeSean Mccoy faces a Raiders defense ranked 27th in run defense efficiency. And in terms of projected ownership rates, they're in the 15 percent range, as opposed to Johnson, Howard, and Riddick's 30 percent range.

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)
Larry Fitzgerald ARI 4850 13.6 45.6% Julio Jones ATL 6400 19.4 32.0%
Julio Jones ATL 6400 17.3 43.1% T.Y. Hilton IND 5000 14.8 30.6%
Jordy Nelson GB 5500 14.7 42.4% Odell Beckham Jr Jr NYG 6500 19.2 30.5%
Mike Evans TB 6200 16.5 42.1% Larry Fitzgerald ARI 4850 14.3 30.4%
Amari Cooper OAK 4950 13.0 41.1% Dorial Green-Beckham PHI 4000 11.6 29.4%
Tyreek Hill KC 4500 11.7 40.6% Jordy Nelson GB 5500 15.9 29.2%
Julian Edelman NE 5000 13.0 40.6% Julian Edelman NE 5000 14.4 29.0%
Doug Baldwin SEA 4900 12.7 40.4% Emmanuel Sanders DEN 5000 14.4 29.0%
Tyrell Williams SD 4500 11.7 40.2% Amari Cooper OAK 4950 14.1 28.4%
Demaryius Thomas DEN 4900 12.7 40.2% Doug Baldwin SEA 4900 13.9 28.1%
Jamison Crowder WAS 4650 12.0 39.9% Kenny Britt LA 4650 13.1 27.7%
Steve Smith BAL 4200 10.8 39.9% DeAndre Hopkins HOU 4900 13.7 27.3%
T.Y. Hilton IND 5000 12.8 39.6% Mike Evans TB 6200 17.3 27.2%
Odell Beckham Jr Jr NYG 6500 16.5 39.0% Jamison Crowder WAS 4650 12.8 26.4%
Emmanuel Sanders DEN 5000 12.6 38.5% Antonio Brown PIT 6600 18.0 25.9%
LEAST LIKELY TO ACHIEVE VALUE
NAME TM SALARY AVG P(CASH) NAME TM SALARY MAX P(GPP)
Mohamed Sanu ATL 4450 7.6 17.3% Randall Cobb GB 4800 9.5 11.8%
Randall Cobb GB 4800 8.3 17.8% Cameron Meredith CHI 4300 8.6 12.1%
Will Fuller V HOU 4300 7.7 19.0% Mohamed Sanu ATL 4450 9.1 12.9%
Anquan Boldin DET 4500 8.5 21.9% Marvin Jones Jr DET 4850 10.0 13.2%
Malcolm Mitchell NE 4200 8.0 22.1% Anquan Boldin DET 4500 9.3 13.3%
Chris Hogan NE 4100 8.1 24.0% Quincy Enunwa NYJ 4800 10.1 13.9%
Marvin Jones Jr DET 4850 9.6 24.1% Eli Rogers PIT 4000 8.5 14.3%
Quincy Enunwa NYJ 4800 9.8 25.6% Willie Snead IV NO 4800 10.7 16.2%
Eli Rogers PIT 4000 8.2 26.0% Brandon LaFell CIN 4300 9.6 16.3%
Allen Robinson JAX 4650 9.7 27.0% J.J. Nelson ARI 3800 8.5 16.4%
Taylor Gabriel ATL 4100 8.7 27.7% Kelvin Benjamin CAR 4700 10.6 16.7%
Ted Ginn Jr CAR 3900 8.3 27.8% Allen Robinson JAX 4650 10.6 17.2%
J.J. Nelson ARI 3800 8.1 27.9% Ted Ginn Jr CAR 3900 8.9 17.2%
Willie Snead IV NO 4800 10.2 28.0% Pierre Garcon WAS 4200 9.6 17.3%
Dorial Green-Beckham PHI 4000 8.6 28.9% Tyler Boyd CIN 4450 10.4 18.2%

I'm going to cut to the chase here. Larry Fitzgerald, Doug Baldwin, and T.Y. Hilton each represent high value and have exploitable projected ownership rates in the 5-10 percent range. They also happen to be the only three wide receivers in the top half of the table that have a favorable matchupa in even one of the three stat categories I look at (i.e., FantasyAces points allowed to wide receivers, Football Outsiders' pass defense efficiency, and Pro Football Focus' individual matchup grades). Specifically, as all three run the majority of their routes out of the slot, all three have individual matchups against awful slot cornerbacks per Pro Football Focus. Hilton has the best matchup, as he'll actually be getting shadowed by Buster Skrine. Meanwhile, Fitzgerald will be matched up against rookie Kendall Fuller and Doug Baldwin will be matched up against newly promoted to the active roster Leonard Johnson.

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)
Travis Kelce KC 4750 12.6 39.0% Jimmy Graham SEA 4900 14.3 23.3%
Jimmy Graham SEA 4900 12.8 37.2% Travis Kelce KC 4750 13.1 19.5%
Greg Olsen CAR 4700 10.8 27.1% Greg Olsen CAR 4700 11.9 14.6%
Tyler Eifert CIN 4800 10.3 21.7% Antonio Gates SD 4000 9.8 12.9%
Antonio Gates SD 4000 8.5 21.0% Tyler Eifert CIN 4800 11.4 11.4%
LEAST LIKELY TO ACHIEVE VALUE
NAME TM SALARY AVG P(CASH) NAME TM SALARY MAX P(GPP)
Coby Fleener NO 4300 6.1 4.2% Coby Fleener NO 4300 7.0 1.9%
Jared Cook GB 4200 6.3 5.3% Jared Cook GB 4200 7.4 2.9%
Dwayne Allen IND 4000 6.1 5.9% Clive Walford OAK 3800 6.9 3.4%
Dennis Pitta BAL 4100 6.5 7.0% Dwayne Allen IND 4000 7.4 3.8%
Jermaine Gresham ARI 3750 6.0 7.1% Zach Ertz PHI 4200 8.3 5.2%

This is awkward. So, none of the tight ends in the top half of the table fit the usual bill of having matchups against the Bottom 8 in both FantasyAces points allowed and pass defense efficiency on tight end targets, but all five have projected ownership rates amenable to both cash games and tournaments.

So who to go with for value? Well, at least Graham and Kelce face a Bottom 8 defense in one of them. Specifically, Carolina and Atlanta (i.e., their opponents this week) rank 29th and 27th in points allowed to opposing tight ends, respectively. Given their value probabilities, my advice would be to go with Kelce in cash games and Graham in tournaments.

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)
New England Patriots NE 3400 13.1 72.4% Green Bay Packers GB 2800 10.8 46.7%
Green Bay Packers GB 2800 10.7 67.8% Chicago Bears CHI 2500 9.6 46.7%
Denver Broncos DEN 3400 12.3 66.3% San Francisco 49ers SF 2500 9.6 46.7%
Baltimore Ravens BAL 3000 10.9 64.8% New England Patriots NE 3400 13.1 45.9%
Chicago Bears CHI 2500 9.3 64.0% San Diego Chargers SD 2500 9.3 44.3%
LEAST LIKELY TO ACHIEVE VALUE
NAME TM SALARY AVG P(CASH) NAME TM SALARY MAX P(GPP)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers TB 2700 7.7 46.2% Tampa Bay Buccaneers TB 2700 7.8 26.8%
NY Jets NYJ 2800 8.1 47.1% Arizona Cardinals ARI 2900 8.8 28.2%
Arizona Cardinals ARI 2900 8.6 48.7% NY Jets NYJ 2800 8.6 29.6%
Washington Redskins WAS 2500 7.7 51.2% Seattle Seahawks SEA 3300 10.8 31.0%
Atlanta Falcons ATL 2700 8.4 52.0% New Orleans Saints NO 2500 7.8 32.5%

Continuing the them, this is a weird week when it comes to finding a value defense. On one hand, the default recommendation is "the cheaper the better" because even the lowest value probability is higher than any other position. On the other hand, the two defenses with high value probabilities and highly favorable matchups are New England and Denver, which (unfortunately) happen to be the most expensive.

The resolution to this dilemma is to distinguish between cash games and tournaments. In cash games, New England is a better "value" option than Denver because, in addition to facing a wildly inefficient offense (per DVOA) that has allowed a ton of FantasyAces points to opposing defenses and is starting a rookie quarterback, the Patriots will be at home as the fourth-most efficient run defense in sub-40 degree weather.

Tournaments are a different story -- one that focuses squarely on Bears-49ers. The game will be played in cold, rainy, windy conditions. That will bring run offense to the fore even more than normal when there's a matchup between two run-oriented offenses with the two running backs being the best skill position players on the field. Per DVOA, San Francisco has a better run offense (7th) than Chicago (19th), but the 49ers have a worse run defense (30th) than the Bears (21st). And with respect to fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs, San Francisco ranks dead last, whereas Chicago ranks fourth.

In terms of ownership rates, both are projected in the one-to-five percent range, so that's not an issue. They have the same cost, so that's not an issue either. This one really is a toss-up. My advice would be to go use Chicago in 50 percent of your tournament lineups and San Francisco in the other 50 percent.


More articles from Danny Tuccitto

See all

More articles on: Daily FF

See all

More articles on: FantasyScore

See all

More articles on: Strategy

See all