CFL DFS Strategy: Using Price Per Target to Determine the Best Values at Wide Receiver
Like Anthony Allen about to be tackled for a two-yard loss, I have called an audible and changed from the original intentions of this week’s strategy article. Instead of looking at market share of targets, I have decided to look at price per target to see if it’s an efficient way of finding underpriced wide outs.
Now, not every target is created equal, but for the sake of this article I’m going to look at them like they are. DraftKings has put together this week’s CFL slate early, giving me the pricing needed to get started. After compiling the numbers, my query gives us 15 receivers that are $1,000 per target or less.
As expected, the majority of receivers are under $6,000 (what most would consider mid-range to cheap wide outs). In fact, 10 of the 15 receivers are under $6,000 and six of those receivers are under $5,000. I’m not surprised by the abundance of cheap receivers because of the high amount of passing in the CFL and the usage of receivers all over the field. This allows for third and fourth options on teams to average 5-7 targets per game.
What does surprise me is that three of the eight highest priced receivers available this week found themselves inside the top 15, including Adarius Bowman, a receiver that is priced at $10,800. Let’s take a deeper look into the numbers and see what we can pull from the price per target statistic.
The Top Receiver
Tiquan Underwood takes the title as the most underpriced receiver of the slate, coming into the week with 6.7 targets per game and a price tag that sits at $4,100. His $615 per target is the best by $85, the largest gap of any receiver inside the top 35. Was this a pricing mishap or is his $4,100 price tag valid? Underwood is averaging 9.3 Fantasy points per game due to zero touchdown catches and 55% catch rate. This number is drastically different than other Hamilton receivers like Luke Tasker (85.7%) and Andy Fantuz (85.2%). While Tasker and Fantuz are used in the short to mid-range passing game, Underwood and another top-15 receiver, Chad Owens, are both used down the field and on the sidelines more often. This results in longer passes and more opportunities for a bad throw. Owens’ owns a 64.7% catch rate, showing this lower rate isn’t just an Underwood problem. Considering the matchup (Edmonton) and the price per target, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better value receiver in this slate.
The Winnipeg Receivers
There is only one Winnipeg receiver inside the top 15, Jace Davis, who is tied for second in terms of price per target ($700). Davis took advantage of an early Weston Dressler injury that allowed for him to be a safe option for Drew Willy. Willy has looked his way an average of seven times per game, resulting in 21 receptions, 235 yards, and one touchdown for Davis. With another injury to the Blue Bombers’ receiving core, Ryan Smith, Davis has a great chance to redeem himself from a subpar performance last week (3/30/0).
With Ryan Smith injured, Davis isn’t the only receiver affected. The aforementioned Weston Dressler was injured early in the first game of the season, causing him to miss 1.5 games through four weeks. He has been great in his return from injury, garnering 18 targets over two games. With three games played, Dressler’s price per target equates out to $1,014, 18th best. If you change his games played to 2.5 then you see that number drop all the way to $845, 10th best.
An Important Injury
As mentioned, Jace Davis is tied for second with a price per target rate of $700. He is tied with Joe West of the Calgary Stampeders, who has been ruled doubtful for this week’s game against Winnipeg. West would be a great option if healthy, but it’s his injury that could allow for even more value to open up at the wide out position. Anthony Parker has averaged 4.6 targets per game and should see that number rise if West is out this week. In Calgary’s last game, he saw eight targets, second most on the team that week. If that trend were to continue, his $771 per target is an absolute steal for your Fantasy lineup.
Possibly the Best Value of Them All
Naaman Roosevelt’s 10.7 targets per game are second most in the CFL and likely a direct product of Saskatchewan’s 42 passing attempts per game. Luckily for us, this trend should continue as the Roughriders face off against high-flying Ottawa this week. Roosevelt’s $741 per target is astonishingly low, ranking him seventh on the list even though he’s $7,900 this week. Other receivers playing this week that have averaged nine targets per game or better this season include Adarius Bowman ($10,800) and Duron Carter ($9,000).
The Safest Receiver in the League
Speaking of Adarius Bowman, his extremely high price tag of $10,800 isn’t nearly as high as you might think. His 11.7 targets per game and $926 per target make him an extremely safe option at the receiver position. While many consider Chris Williams the best receiver in the league, those two stats show otherwise. Williams averages nine targets per game, resulting in $1,244 per target this week. Bowman’s teammate, Derel Walker isn’t too far behind Williams, as his price per target sits at $1,288. These two stats show us that it’s Bowman that is the safest receiver in the league and not Williams or Walker.
Heading into this week there are multiple options that price per target gives us, especially considering we see receivers at all price levels represented inside the top 15. An emphasis on Tiquan Underwood and Anthony Parker should allow for high-priced players to be used in all formats. And if you’re looking at going expensive at the wide out position then that money should be focused on Adarius Bowman and not Chris Williams, at least in cash games. The more opportunities for touches, the more opportunities for Fantasy points and it’s these players that have done this the best per dollar in 2016.