WEEK 15 NFL DFS: Transform entries into $ with Megatron (Saturday Update)
Welcome to the 15th weekly edition of the Daily Fantasy Rundown with “leonem” and “dinkpiece”. Each week throughout the NFL season our weekly NFL analysis will highlight the best top, value and cheap plays of the week based on the Daily Fantasy Industry’s pricing for salary cap games. Our analysis will help you consistently build winning rosters over the long run.
Jeremy Maclin (KC) – Our primary concern with Maclin was simply volume and whether the Chiefs would “need” to throw it enough to support a big day. Maclin’s posted market shares the last three weeks of 40.7%, 45.5%, and 39.1%. Even if we’re really conservative in projecting Alex Smith for 25-30 throws, it’s fair to expect Maclin to approach 10 targets. Maclin started the week as a secondary cash game target but that label is selling him a little short. He’s a very solid target in cash games.
Philip Rivers (SD) – The Chargers are playing what could be their last game in San Diego this week and Rivers along with a few other Chargers veterans have been very vocal about wanting to leave on a high note. We liked the matchup already for the Chargers as the Dolphins defense has fallen apart over the last few weeks and are flying across country on a short week. Rivers was just 1.5 percent owned in Thursday GPPs on FanDuel. He’s become our favorite tournament target at the QB position.
Brandon Bolden (NE) – This is a very slight upgrade for Bolden. We still think the floor is low enough to make him a secondary target in cash games, but the Patriots are heavy favorites and Bolden should be used heavily in the second half to “salt away” the game. He’s a bit touchdown dependent to strongly pay off his tag, but the Patriots have a team total over 30 points and he should command most of the red zone rushing looks.
Eric Ebron (DET)/Zach Ertz (PHI) – These two represent our favored tournament targets at the tight end position. We feel strongly that Antonio Gates (SD) is the best route at TE in cash games, but Ebron/Ertz come with almost no ownership, low price points, and strong matchups.
Aaron Rodgers/Randall Cobb (GB) – Cobb had sub-5 percent ownership in Thursday GPPs and he saw an increased role last week after Mike McCarthy took play-calling back over. The matchup with TJ Carrie (ranked outside PFF’s top 100) is a strong one and the Packers have a healthy implied team total just shy of 26 points. Rodgers is a bit expensive and QB is flush with options but 1.5 percent ownership caught our eyes. This is a nice stack for GPPs.
Greg Olsen (CAR) – Olsen got a full practice in on Friday which is what we wanted to see before considering him cash viable. We still prefer Gates, but Olsen is back in the cash game conversation with signs of full health.
Amari Cooper (OAK) – Sam Shields absence weakens the GB secondary and there is some sneaky shootout potential in this game. Cooper was ignored in Thursday lock GPPs (0.9 percent) and he has big play upside with a discounted price tag. Cooper is now on our radar as a tournament target.
Larry Fitzgerald (ARZ) – We had already prioritized Mike Floyd (ARZ) and John Brown (ARZ) over Fitzgerald in cash games, but our projections still pushed Fitzgerald ahead in our rankings. After revising target estimates and analyzing matchups further, we have the Cardinals wide receivers ranked as Floyd, Fitzgerald, and Brown this week. Fitzgerald’s priced down on FanDuel and still in consideration over there, but our preference for Floyd leaves him in limbo a bit. Floyd is cheaper and a stronger target and it’s unnecessary to use two ARZ receivers in the same lineup. If stacking in tournaments, Fitzgerald has the lowest upside of the group, so we’d prefer stacking Palmer with Floyd/Brown/David Johnson before using Fitzgerald.
Calvin Johnson (DET) – Again, this is a slight downgrade but Calvin didn’t practice on Saturday. Every indication is that he’ll play but missing practice on Thursday and Saturday suggests the ankle is a concern. We still like the matchup for Calvin quite a bit and will have exposure to him, but the depth at wide receiver makes him less of a core play.
Carolina RBs – The Carolina beat writers keep suggesting a three person backfield in Carolina this week with Cameron Artis-Payne getting some work. Throw in Cam’s presence around the goal line and it’s hard to get excited even with minimum price tags.
Vikings Defense – Anthony Barr (LB) and Harrison Smith (S) have been ruled out. Linval Joseph (DT) is on track to return but is listed as questionable. The Vikings defense is still the best cheap option to target but we’re more likely to emphasize spending up at the position with a few starters out.
Additional notes: We’re still awaiting clarity on Spencer Ware (KC). If he’s out, we really like Charcandrick West (KC) as a value play. Ware missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday but returned to a limited practice on Friday.
FanDuel Thursday Ownership notes:
DFSReport.com is doing a nice job with an article covering Thursday Ownership Rates (tournament). The link will take you to a pretty comprehensive list. Below are our thoughts:
Quarterback: The gap in ownership between Russell Wilson (SEA) and the rest of the quarterbacks is startling this week. He’s 3x the ownership of most other QBs in strong situations. He’s not 3x more likely to out-earn his salary and he doesn’t have 3x the ceiling, so we see plenty of other quarterbacks as stronger tournament targets.
Running Back: David Johnson (ARZ) and Adrian Peterson (MIN) were the highest owned running backs on Thursday. Peterson’s ownership was a little disappointing as we hoped some recency bias might knock him down a bit. Lamar Miller (MIA) is someone whose profile we like better in tournaments but checked in as the third highest owned RB. He’s still got tournament winning upside but that ownership is a slight nuisance. It’s a very mild downgrade for Miller. We also like Jeremy Hill (CIN) in tournaments on FanDuel. The 6.5 percent ownership won’t detract our interest but it was slightly higher than we anticipated. Brandon Bolden’s (NE) ownership (4.1 percent) makes him a strong tournament target. We also like Melvin Gordon (SD) at 0.6 percent. Eddie Lacy (GB) looks like a pretty easy fade (11 percent owned) against a very good Oakland run defense.
Wide Receiver: Doug Baldwin (37.4 percent) and Tyler Lockett (14.9 percent) were the two highest owned wide receivers followed by Jeremy Maclin (14.7), Sammy Watkins (14.7), and Tedd Ginn (14.3). The Baldwin ownership is crazy and he’s an easy fade in tournaments at those ownership levels. The next group of receivers came at 10-13 percent ownership and included Allen Robinson, Calvin Johnson, Julio Jones, Michael Floyd, John Brown, and DeAndre Hopkins. We’re generally in agreement with that group and the ownership on all of those players is low enough that they remain strong options in tournaments. Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham Jr. were only owned at six percent, which makes them worthwhile tournament investments. We also liked the low ownership on Randall Cobb (4.8 percent), Allen Hurns (four percent), and Amari Cooper (0.9 percent).
Tight End: Jordan Reed (WAS) was the highest owned TE after his big effort last week against the Bears. The matchup isn’t as favorable this week and the price tag is higher. He still has strong upside but a 17-20 percent ownership isn’t ideal to attack in tournaments. Antonio Gates (SD) remains our favored cash game target and is fine to target in tournaments with ownership hovering around 11-12 percent. We’re also comfortable with Rob Gronkowski (NE), Julius Thomas (JAX), and to a lesser extent Ben Watson (NO) at those levels. Greg Olsen’s (CAR) ownership was intriguingly low (3.5 percent) on Thursday but we expect with more clarity on his health it should rebound. Zach Ertz (PHI) and Eric Ebron (DET) are strong tournament targets in faster paced/high scoring games that come with low price points and almost no ownership.
Kickers: Everyone is under 10 percent owned. Steven Hauschka (SEA) is one of the easier ways to get leverage on all the other heavy ownership on the Seahawks.
Defense/ST: The Seahawks are heavily owned (25 percent) and we think it’s justified with the loose pricing on FanDuel and the condensed defensive pricing. We expect it will be more spread out on DraftKings. The Chiefs are the next highest (11 percent) before you get into the Patriots, Bengals, and Panthers at seven percent. The Vikings remain intriguing as a tournament option on FanDuel at just two percent.
Quarterbacks – The featured site for the quarterback position is DraftKings
Top 5 QB Rankings
1) Cam Newton (CAR)
2) Russell Wilson (SEA)
3) Tom Brady (NE)
4) Carson Palmer (ARZ)
5) Blake Bortles (JAX)/Drew Brees (NO)/Aaron Rodgers (GB)/Matthew Stafford (DET)
Russell Wilson (SEA) – The first four in our quarterback rankings are all tightly congested and you could make a meaningful case for any of them as the “top” quarterback option for this week. When taking into account price tag, we feel like Wilson and Carson Palmer make the most sense if spending up at the quarterback position. Wilson is carrying a heavier burden for his offense without Marshawn Lynch or Thomas Rawls, so our projection leans towards Wilson over Palmer. The matchup for Wilson with Cleveland is favorable. The Browns are noted for their horrific run defense (29th in Football Outsiders run defense DVOA) but they rank 26th against the pass and 29th overall. They’re just not a very talented defense. The Seahawks have a healthy implied team total (28.75 points) that is second only to the Patriots. Wilson has accounted for 75 percent of the Seahawks offensive touchdowns this season and we’d expect that pace to maintain with the depth issues at the running back position. If you’re concerned about a blowout (Seahawks are 14 point favorites), there are all alternatives; however, we’re not particularly worried. During Wilson’s prolific four game stretch where he’s tossed 16 touchdowns and rushed for another, the Seahawks have outscored opponents 141-56 and led three of those four games by two scores or more for almost the entirety of those games.