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NFL DFS Week 3 WOAT: DraftKings Weekly Ownership and Trends
DREWBY
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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 3 Look Back

Week 3 was RB value week as a wave of injuries and new situations created a ton of critical choices at the Running Back position. Many of the players stepping into new roles delivered as you can see leveraging the premium tools for RB historical production, Melvin Gordon, Charles Sims, Shane Vereen, and Christine Michael all eclipsed 3x value, while Theo Riddick didn’t quite meet expectations he was still square in our decision making framework, not to mention cap space freed up for studs like David Johnson and DeAngelo Williams. I wanted to see how people were approaching this decision by analyzing both the DraftKings Millionaire maker filled with more public money, and the $333 Wildcat filled with some of the sharpest DFS minds and high stakes customers.

dr_300x250_nflSharp Take: Invest in Christine Michael against the SF Defense, and Shane Vereen with an increased workload. These 2 players were almost 2x the ownership in the $333 tournament as they were in the Millionaire Maker and both delivered on expectations smashing through 4x value. A combination of later news confirming Rawls was out, as well as recency bias pushing up some of the public on plays like Melvin Gordon, Matt Forte, CJ Anderson, and name value in Ezekial Elliott, lead to only 15% ownership of Michael and 11% of Vereen in the Millionaire Maker.

While RB was the most compelling there were also sharp vs. square dichotomies at other positions. At Wide Receiver the public pounded Travis Benjamin to the tune of 34% ownership while he was just 29% owned in the high stakes. The market was about even on Jarvis Landry (31%), Stefon Diggs (23%), while the public was heavier on Larry Fitzgerald (18% vs. 12%) and Sterling Shephard (16% vs. 10%). The biggest sharp play was Antonio Brown at 33% in the $333 vs. just 22% in the Millionaire Maker who actually was the highest owned receiver at high stakes. Some of this was likely not buying into the Eagles defense, while it can also be directly linked to Shane Vereen above. Tight end was a fairly market neutral position though it is worth noting the ownership of Jordan Reed was 15% at high stakes versus 9% in the Millionaire Maker.

QBs have become so boring to talk about, who would have thought? With a max ownership of 13% (Tannehill) and only him and Rivers cracking double digits, the QB ownership gets very spread out. It is worth noting that for the most part the market is going towards mid-range QBs for their value and there doesn’t seem to be a differentiation between stakes.

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 and 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.[sociallocker]

  • Jarvis Landry and the Dolphins D was the most popular stack owned by 19% of the $333 field and 14% of the Millionaire Maker, while surprisingly Travis Benjamin / Melvin Gordon combinations were owned by 16% and 20% respectively. Landry and Dolphins D were highly owned anyways but it was an interesting call with Landry handling punt return duties, while it is surprising to see Benjamin and Gordon given that they are not correlated but perhaps gamers felt the value too good to ignore.
  • As far as more traditional stacks, Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson lead the way at high stakes (15%),  followed by Mariota/Sharpe (12%) and Tannehill/Landry (12%).

One stack to call out was my favorite QB-WR-WR special of Tannehill / Landry / Parker that was owned at 6% in higher stakes and just 1.3% in the Millionaire Maker. While this is one isolated example it is worth noting higher stakes gamers may be venturing beyond the simple QB/WR stacks of yesteryear.

Deploying what we learned

It is easy to swim with the fish and harder to reap the benefits of the sharks, but a quick peruse down pricing can pop out some of the popular plays pretty easily. At QB we know ownership will be spread out but a chunk of it will gravitate towards the Green Matchup indicators next to Kirk Cousins and Philip Rivers in the $6000 range, and possibly even Joe Flacco, who I suspect will be paired somewhat frequently with Dennis Pitta. If people choose to pay up they will do so for Cam Newton or Drew Brees, but tick Cam up with “Road Brees” disappointing many of late, which you know will be discussed.

In the past, our popular QBs have yielded popular pass catching plays. It wouldn’t be a shock for people to chase Desean Jackson’s 20 point day though I am not sure how the market will handle Jordan Reed, particularly with Greg Olsen lower and Gronkowski possibly back healthy and marginally higher. Travis Benjamin should remain popular despite a mediocre showing and there will be lots of Hunter Henry hype generated on his $2700 price tag. If Brees does end up popular, and even if not, I expect some ownership to flock to Fleener and Michael Thomas, as I’m typing this out I’m slowly ticking down the ownership of Gronkowski, Olsen and Reed. Did you know that Terrelle Pryor Sr. played QB last week, and ran the ball, and caught the ball? Of course you did. At $4300 he’ll be one of the most popular plays of the week.

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At RB, “players in new roles” has dictated a lot of the value and ownership so Jordan Howard will get a heavy look at just $3700. with Carlos Hyde at $4200 at a big game at Seattle one of the next men up. With those 2 seemingly the clear cheap value down low we can move up to Melvin Gordon for our next ownership inflection at $6300, and I expect him and CJ Anderson to join Hyde and Howard as popular RB cycles.

Anyways, whether you are on team fade the chalk or play all the value there are still ways to get contrarian with your construction. Hopefully this helps you understand how other players are approaching things. And with that, I’ll leave you with a few DFS quotes from esteemed mass multi-stock investor Warren Buffett.

  • Rule number 1, never lose money. Rule number 2, never forget rule number 1.
  • Price is what you pay, value is what you get
  • We simply attempt to be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful
  • Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing

Good luck out there in Week 4.[/sociallocker]

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