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NFL DFS Week 16 WOAT: DraftKings Weekly Ownership and Trends
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This will be a weekly series discussing DraftKings Weekly Ownership and Trends (WOAT) in Guaranteed Prize Pool (GPP) tournaments that we can use to better ourselves as DFS players. If pricing were perfectly efficient, some DFS players could beat GPPs on ownership alone. Vince Lombardi once said ownership isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.

Shout out to my friends at The Fantasy Fanatics for access to their NFL Ownership tools which I leveraged for most of this analysis. You can access all ownership data in their premium tools.

Week 16 Look Back

Week 16 brought the pinnacle of fantasy with season long playoffs and DFS championships alongside them. With DraftKings Main Event being a $1500 buy in with $1 million to 1st place, it is interesting to explore how players approached this event at the highest stakes.

At Quarterback Drew Brees was the most popular option (16%) followed by Andre Luck (12%) and Cam Newton (10%) as double digit owned options. Immediately following this group was Blake Bortles, Russell Wilson, and Aaron Rodgers. While Brees and Cam let down their backers, Bortles adequately paid off his price tag and Wilson and Rodgers finished as the top scoring teams at their position. Wilson was notably a “sharp play” with 8% ownership in the $1500 Main Event compared to just 4% in the smaller stakes GPPs, while Brees was higher owned in the lower stakes contests.

At Running Back I expected more distributed ownership between the $6000 range of Howard, Powell, Gurley, Montgomery and Ajayi, but Howard walked away with the ownership title at 45% in the Main Event. For the 1st time in weeks the market chose not to pay up for Lesean McCoy and David Johnson who were the highest priced RBs on the slate and went off at 13% ownership. Indeed both backs found themselves as top 5 options in DraftKings scoring formats and were joined by Ajayi (8%) and Mark Ingram (19%). Howard ultimately had a 120 yards on the ground but trolled ownership on multiple occassions getting stuffed at the goal line and vultured by Jeremy Langford. Despite some touchdown variance on Howard, the top 10 RBs in ownership generally produced, leaving RB a position where it isn’t typically fruitful to go completely off the board.

Wide Receiver was a different story as Jordy Nelson and Doug Baldwin saw themselves hovering just above single digit ownership and nearly topping 40 DraftKings points. That said Adam Thielen stole the show nearly putting up a 50 spot at 1% ownership and was popular on several Rodgers – Nelson stacks found at the top of GPP leaderboards. The most popular wide receivers were TY Hilton (19.5 points), DeAndre Hopkins (7.3 points), Michael Thomas (15.8), Allen Robinson (26.7), and Julio Jones (10). Each of these receivers was owned by 20% of the field, and while there were some serviceable performances, only Robinson left owners happy. Each week we see popular value play wide receivers disappoint and last week further reinforces my opinion that the WR position is the best opportunity to take shots in tournaments.

At Tight End we were able to correctly predict high ownership on Cameron Brate who at 27% was just 1 of 4 tight ends in double-digit ownership. With a quarter of the ownership going to Brate, Greg Olsen (23%), Vernon Davis (18%) and Delanie Walker (11%) were the next highest of the bunch. With Travis Kelce missing from the main slate, Charles Clay and Antonio Gates surprised as the top two tight ends. Because tight ends have lower target volume, they are even more reliant on touchdowns for equity and thus more variant than wide receivers. Despite feeling like Brate was the clear cut play, it is another reminder for me this week on the variance of this position.


Ownership – Key Stacks

With stacking being the most popular GPP strategy, the way people approach stacks is always interesting to me. What are the most popular stacks? Are there sharp and square stacks? Again, leveraging The Fantasy Fanatics we can take a look at in-depth granular ownership data on how people are approaching their stacks…

The Andrew Luck – TY Hilton stack was massively owned by 8.9% of the $1500 Main Event field and I am definitely too lazy to look if that was all CSURAM’s doing. Regardless, if you played them, you hit on the nuts stack and can’t even hit a 3x payout zone it would give me pause if I should chalk stack like that. There were only 6 other stacks owned by more than 2% of the field – Brees/Thomas (5.5%), Bortles/Robinson (5%), Ryan/Jones (4.6%), Cam/Olsen (3.9%), Brees/Cooks (2.4%), and Russ/Baldwin (2.1%). Ultimately the highest scoring stack was Rodgers and Jordy Nelson who were owned by 1.6% of the field.

Some other interesting combination ownerships were at the RB position where players were correlating their RB with their defense. Jordan Howard – Bears (2.6%), Ty Montgomery – Packers (2.1%), and The Garrette Blount – Patriots (1.8%) were some of the more popular options to utilize this approach with Blount being the most effective pairing.


Week 17 Look Ahead

Well it is week 17 what can we say? You have made it this long, which is more than many can say. We are now left in a week where we have three groups of teams left:

  • Dead teams who are going on vacation next week. Some players may be disengaged, some teams may be trying to get a look at young talent, and other players are trying to put good film on tape or earn bonuses.
  • Teams who have clinched and have nothing to play for but maintaining some chemistry and health.
  • Teams fighting for their playoff lives

As the industry chatter continues throughout the week, everyone is looking for angles they can exploit related to the situations above. The 3rd bucket above represents the safest options for guaranteed playing time, while the 1st and 2nd buckets represent possible discounts and low owned talents we can grab onto. It truly is a weird week for creating projections and as Mike Leone and Drew Dinkmeyer pointed out, a week where good information is arguably as important as the projections themselves.

If the market is searching for values they can trust, Vegas lines will offer the first glimpse into that safety. This would lead me to believe players on the likes of Atlanta, New Orleans, Seattle, Green Bay, Tampa Bay, Washington and Indianapolis could carry a fair load of the ownership, particularly at the quarterback and pass catching positions. Because of this it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Mark Ingram and Jacquizz Rodgers represent the base for running back chalk, with Ty Mongtomery and Devonte Freeman also in play with secure roles. If news is clear on Thomas Rawls he could also be popular as people continue to exploit the San Fran rushing defense. So, while there is some clear chalk, it also means the industry will aggregate on some value chalk in guys like Eli Rogers or one of Deangelo Williams or Fitzgerald Toussaint. I still don’t have a feel on which “random” guys that will be, but I will say it seems like if there is going to be “chalk value” on guys without crystal clear news, it is an easy fade. On the other side of the coin I am willing to pull the trigger if people seem a bit gun shy on news and situations. At tight end it seems obvious that Travis Kelce will be the lock of the week as there is seemingly nothing to love beyond him, but we have seen countless times this season how pivoting at tight end has been profitable.

Regardless of which way you go, Week 17 should be an interesting one, albeit one where you may want to practice more stingy bankroll management and save up for the wild card rounds!

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