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NFL DFS Week 5 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 5 Look Back

This week I’m going to break down the slate with a “Sharp” vs. “Square” methodology, calling out the 2 sharp and square plays at each position and offer some commentary regarding the results or the process. While ownership in a high $ tournament doesn’t mean somebody is a great play (tournament structures differ), it is at least worth noting how customers are approaching each game…[sociallocker]

At Quarterback the most notable outlier was heavy investment by the public into Tom Brady returning from suspension, while the sharps were instead focusing their attention on both sides of the Pittsburgh vs. NY Jets game. Ownership of Big Ben was similar at both levels, but sharp players were trying to get exposure to both sides of what they were projecting to be a fast paced game (and the most likely to shoot out). With quarterback not being a huge separator last weekend it is still worth noting the public was on the right side of this one with Brady throwing for 400 and 3 TDs in less than a full game of action.

Player Team Position Salary $333 Wildcat $20 Milly Maker Sharp Ratio
Ryan Tannehill MIA QB 5700 4.35% 2.07%               2.10
Ryan Fitzpatrick NYJ QB 5100 10.24% 5.47%               1.87
Carson Wentz PHI QB 6400 4.42% 7.10%               0.62
Tom Brady NE QB 7500 9.04% 15.43%               0.59
Theo Riddick DET RB 4900 11.03% 5.59%               1.97
Jerick McKinnon MIN RB 4000 32.10% 22.63%               1.42
Terrance West BAL RB 4800 9.10% 15.98%               0.57
Melvin Gordon SD RB 7000 5.28% 10.19%               0.52
Gary Barnidge CLE TE 3200 9.92% 4.99%               1.99
Will Tye NYG TE 2600 12.28% 6.60%               1.86
Zach Ertz PHI TE 3500 27.38% 29.65%               0.92
Martellus Bennett NE TE 3700 6.42% 12.35%               0.52
Cameron Meredith CHI WR 3000 6.53% 3.84%               1.70
Brandon Marshall NYJ WR 7100 28.33% 17.49%               1.62
Steve Smith Sr. BAL WR 5300 10.30% 17.28%               0.60
Sterling Shepard NYG WR 5500 6.33% 11.87%               0.53


At Running Back, Theo Riddick was owned at minuscule levels in the public leagues and surprisingly cracked double digits in the $333 Wildcat, driven by match-up and price. When Detroit only dressed two running backs, his workload was secure. As Theo slipped into the end zone for his 2nd touchdown, this was a play I felt like I missed. McKinnon was popular at both levels (though it is worth noting the discrepancy), while Melvin Gordon and Terrance West were the public running back plays. Gordon is no doubt a representation of chasing points. I predicted his ownership would be lower at high stakes where I actually felt he made a compelling tournament play, given his workload.


The sharps were generally on top of wide receivers. I particularly want to call out Cam Meredith who I lost to on multiple fronts, including a Slack Chat ownership bet with Leone. Meredith was a play that got a little bit of buzz and was in a great matchup. But when Eddie Royal was listed as active, I felt there was no way he’d produce points or crack 5% ownership. I was wrong on both fronts as he dropped a 9 for 130 and 1 TD performance. Sometimes it is okay not being the smartest person in the room, but that one is a lesson to me to not be so stubborn in my ways when people are handing me a great low-owned play on a platter. Meanwhile for other pass catchers, the public nailed the Martellus Bennett pick. Bennett was out gained in yardage by Rob Gronkowski, but still saw 8 targets at a low price and converted them into 3 touchdowns. You can check out the ownership and ratios below.

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…

We know stacking is popular. In the past we’ve seen several two-man stacks approach double digit ownership percentages with 4-5 cracking 8 or 9%. This week is the first I noticed a full 3-man stack cracking that threshold as the trio of Big Ben – Antonio Brown – Sammie Coates was owned in 8.7% of the $333 Wildcat teams compared to just 1.64% of the Millionaire Maker. Similarly, Ryan Fitzpatrick – Brandon Marshall – Quincy Enunwa were owned in 8% of the Wildcat compared to just 0.8% of the Millionaire Maker. More or less, half of the people that chose to go QB1+WR1 also paired up the WR2. The sharp players were targeting this game for stacks on both sides of the field. If you are playing at these stakes, those numbers give me some pause. If you are playing at lower stakes, you should take note of the tactics. Other popular two-man stacks in the Wildcat were Luck & Hilton (12%), Tannehill & Landry (8%), Dalton & Green (7%), Brady & Edelman (7%) and Carr & Cooper (6%).

If sharps are going to be game stacking, I’d expect New Orleans and Carolina to be one of the first games to target given the high team total and all of the “New Orleans is Coors field!!” chatter across the industry. If this holds true it will bring Brees+Cooks+Snead stacks into play. Running it back on both sides of the ball, you’ll see Cam+Kelvin+Olsen for Carolina. It wouldn’t’ surprise me in the least bit if you just replaced ownership of Pittsburgh / Jets last week with these players and hit refresh, although pricing is up somewhat on the matchup.


While this game is the clear target, it is possible we’ll see similar tactics leak into other games. These games include Jacksonville at Chicago (Bortles Service!), Cincinatti at New England (AJ Green garbage time?!), or the Sunday night fireworks between Indianapolis and Houston. Regardless of which route you go, it is worth considering whether you’re playing DFS like a sharp or public player. The point is not that all “sharps” are winning players. Obviously there are losing players at all buy-in levels. The point is that people who are investing that much capital are generally putting more time and research into their teams than the guy firing off mobile lineups from the office shitter. You just might be the smartest person in the room, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other smart people you should be listening to.[/sociallocker]

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