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NFL DFS Week 15 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 15 Look Back

We hit the nuts last week! Well not necessarily the nuts from a “picks” perspective but that isn’t what the WOAT is all about. We hit the nuts for outlining the way that the market would approach the slate. From last week:

DJ and Bell have seen an Nth consecutive price bump and the ownership feels like it still isn’t going anywhere, as the usage will have both players projected high on all content sites (including ours). This will immediately force people to search for value which they’ll find in both Kenneth Dixon and Kenneth Farrow at running back this week. Do your diligence into the roles, risks and rewards with both of these players this week as they will dictate results in both cash games and tournament formats. I anticipate both players should garner ownership at RB or the flex position, with Tevin Coleman perhaps picking up some steam coming off a big week in LA.

As with every week, it isn’t hard to pay down at tight end and I’ve already heard Jermaine Gresham and Delanie Walker touted, along with some lingering ownership on Cameron Brate and Ladarius Green. Tight end has perhaps been the best position to pivot on the entire season. With tight end also having low flex usage historically, I think lineups paying up for any combo of Jordan Reed, Jimmy Graham (Full Slate Only), or Tyler Eifert and Travis Kelce offer a lot of touchdown equity with plenty of PPR upside. Meanwhile, punting to save salary with a Gresham or Walker seems like a fine trade-off, but given the variance we’ve seen from cheap tight ends, that might not be the angle you need to go if seeking tournament winning upside.

With the flex value at RB slightly more present this week, I think we will see ownership sprinkle back up a little bit on our expensive wide receiver options than last week. That said I have to imagine we’ll continue to see some of the higher priced wide receivers vacated in favor of the likes of JJ Nelson, Marqise Lee or Allen Robinson (among others). As outlined in my premium article earlier this season, the market has also been wrong more often than they’ve been right on wide receiver. Last week’s results aside, it’s worth thinking hard about the variance of cheap value wide receivers before inserting them into your lineup.

More or less the highest owned players at each position. Unfortunately hitting the nuts in the WOAT doesn’t earn us money, but by understanding exactly how our opponents are going to approach the slate we are able to make rational decisions about where and why we want to pivot. I am most apt to eat chalk at running back which didn’t work out so well as both Kenneth Dixon and Farrow disappointed. While I was off of Dixon due to the time share, he manage to find the end zone late in the game while Farrow sputtered to a poor outing. For me, wide receiver is the easiest spot to try to pivot and I had no tournament ownership of Marqise Lee, Allen Robinson and JJ Nelson who all seemed high variance and highly owned. Without a ton of other options that had a high projection and low ownership in this range, it generally forced me onto alternative lineup construction, saving a bit at running back and spending more on mid-range wide receivers.


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…

From a stacking perspective, there were 28 stack combinations owned by 1% or more of the field, and that collectively accounted for almost half of the ownership in the Wildcat. This same stacks made up just 30% of the ownership in the Millionaire Maker with people playing more diverse and also stacking less in general. In aggregate, roughly 2/3rds of the Wildcat used some form of QB stacking while only 54% of Millionaire Maker lineups did the same thing. This outlines one of the reasons that despite the high variance, many high volume DFS players consider the Millionaire Maker a +EV investment. The highest owned stacks in the Wildcat were lead by Derek Carr and Michael Crabtree and were generally focused on single QB+WR stacks with low salary cap allocation. This was partially slate driven, as most expensive QBs were in tough matchups, and also the desire to roster either (or both) of Le’veon Bell and David Johnson.

One other prevalent stack that high stakes DFS players have started to use with a good deal of frequency is pairing a QB with a Wide Receiver and a pass catching Running Back. This week the trio of Carson Palmer – David Johnson – Larry Fitzgerald finds their way onto that list. In previous weeks we have seen it with Big Ben and Le’Veon Bell but it is increasingly viable in the right situations. The most popular stacks are below:

Stack Team Pos % of Cap $333 NFL $1.4M Wildcat
Michael Crabtree, Derek Carr OAK WR,QB 24.40% 3.53%
Larry Fitzgerald, Carson Palmer ARI WR,QB 26.00% 2.49%
Sammy Watkins, Tyrod Taylor BUF WR,QB 23.20% 1.95%
Carson Palmer, Jermaine Gresham ARI QB,TE 17.00% 1.93%
Colin Kaepernick, Jeremy Kerley SF QB,WR 18.40% 1.80%
Philip Rivers, Tyrell Williams SD QB,WR 24.00% 1.73%
Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr. NYG QB,WR 27.20% 1.71%
Matt Ryan, Taylor Gabriel ATL QB,WR 25.80% 1.71%
Emmanuel Sanders, Trevor Siemian DEN WR,QB 23.60% 1.69%
Carson Palmer, David Johnson, J.J. Nelson ARI QB,RB,WR 40.00% 1.60%
Demaryius Thomas, Trevor Siemian DEN WR,QB 23.00% 1.58%
Larry Fitzgerald, Carson Palmer, Jermaine Gresham ARI WR,QB,TE 31.00% 1.52%
Blake Bortles, Marqise Lee, Allen Robinson JAC QB,WR,WR 26.80% 1.50%
Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Trevor Siemian DEN WR,WR,QB 36.20% 1.45%
Mike Evans, Jameis Winston, Cameron Brate TB WR,QB,TE 36.40% 1.45%



Week 16 Look Ahead

It is weird to start an ownership discussion with a Tight End, but if it wasn’t for the fact that you are forced to play two RBs, three WRs and just one TE it is possible Cameron Brate would be the highest owned player on the slate. Checking in at just a $3900 price tag, Brate didn’t get a big price bump because his his 20 point DK performance came on a Sunday night game. Many sharp DFS players find value in pricing that didn’t get adjusted from Sunday night performances and Brate certainly fits the bill. He will be a popular target in a “Coors Field Game” at New Orleans and should be a strong cash consideration. It is worth noting his 9 point stat line versus the Saints just 2 weeks ago represents his floor, but you can certainly do worse than a 2.5x floor and 5x ceiling at tight end. That said there are plenty of other tight ends with multiple touchdown upside and Greg Olsen, Tyler Eifert and Delanie Walker have all shown 30 point ceilings.

Running back is a tough spot to predict ownership as of now. Kenneth Farrow received the DraftKings Ownership Algo Price Bump of the week he now finds himself up to $5000, and the market has cooled on Kenneth Dixon after seeing just 25% of snaps last week. For the main slate on DraftKings both Leveon Bell and Zeke Elliott are missing, leaving David Johnson versus the Seahawks and Shady McCoy off of an explosive game versus Cleveland as the expensive options. They should garner fair ownership, with a percentage of DJ’s bandwagon still willing to stick around for another week. I would expect relatively split ownership with most rosters grabbing one of these guys and then jumping down to some more mid-ranged options. The other running back that warrants watching is Ty Montgomery coming off of a massive frozen weather game. Montgomery saw 19 carries last game, but blew through the 100 yard bonus and found pay dirt twice, and has a couple grabs in every game this season. Montgomery makes for a nice game flow proof play given his ability to contribute on passing downs and he received 83% of snaps last week. Beyond that, is hard for me to get a read on how the mid-range might shake out with names like Jordan Howard, Todd Gurley, and Jay Ajayi all in the conversation. My initial read would have McCoy and Johnson around 30% ownership, Montgomery close to 20%, with the next trio of players hovering in the mid teens, and then distributed after that.

For the first week in awhile I expect we’ll see some exposure start to shift back towards the wide receiver buckets without “required” expensive value at running back. Julian Edelman has gotten early waves in the podcast circles given the Patriots lofty team total and has received double digit targets in 4 weeks since Rob Gronkowski’s injury. Edelman seems like a high floor option but it is worth noting he has just 2 trips to the endzone on the year and has just 1 redzone target over the past 4 weeks, making him a tournament fade viable. Meanwhile injury reports will likely dictate Julio Jones‘ ownership levels as it is hard to imagine a “full go Julio” not becoming increasingly more popular for just $8100 versus Carolina. If confirmed 100% I would expect Julio to be the highest owned receiver of the slate with people maybe now hesitant to pay $8500 for Mike Evans after 3 consecutive single digit outings. If Julio however is active but news isn’t clear, it could be a dream scenario for a high upside low owned player. Two other wide receivers that I expect to be somewhat popular are the mid-range wide receiver on high team total games – Michael Thomas and Michael Crabtree – both who are redzone targets for strong passing attacks. In the cheaper value range I expect names like DeAndre Hopkins, Cameron Meredith, Allen Robinson and Marqise Lee to again flirt with double digit ownership levels.

Ironically we will round out our ownership discussion with the spot many people start their DFS roster construction – at QB. As noted in my premium article, Quarterback production is the most predictable and most efficient from an ownership perspective, with highly owned QBs outperforming their lower owned counterparts. Because of this predictability and the spread out ownership you get by being able to roster just 1 QB, I am more likely to embrace projections and disregard ownership. It seems reasonable to expect Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Tom Brady to be highly owned, given name value and team total dynamics, while Philip Rivers, Derek Carr and Jameis Winston represent secondary options. The decision at QB this week isn’t necessarily an ownership one, but whether you want to invest your salary cap dollars on an expensive QB, when the winning QB performances often fall in a tight band.

Good luck this week and happy holidays!

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