After one week feeling under the weather (in which I mostly slept and watched the 1972 AFC Divisional Game), I am back covering Week 15 in the Daily Fantasy Football scene. Well, being off the grid for a week, what did I miss? Did Thomas Rawls, Andy Dalton, Tyler Eifert, T.J. Yeldon, Vincent Jackson and Jonathan Stewart all suffer injuries, some season-ending? Yeah right!
Let’s review the hectic week.
Week 14 Review
Week 14 had the usual Sunday Million contest, but it also featured the Fanduel 2015 WFFC in San Diego. I heard it was a lot of fun, and will try to either be there in the years to come, or cover it in the years to come.
However, because it was only 200-some odd contestants, I will be breaking down wakely‘s NFL Sunday Million entry, which cashed in $175,000. Not quite $3M, but close (I’d take $10 at this point in the year). wakely capitalized on yet another strong performance from Russell Wilson-Doug Baldwin stack, which accounted for close to 30% points of his total. Let’s break down some plays from Week 14
Tim Hightower (16 pts, 4% Owned) – Definitely the shock of the week. The Buccaneers Run Defense actually ranks 9th in the NFL, but the reason Hightower makes a good play is because of salary and volume. Many Beat Writers stated Hightower would get the most carries with Ingram being out, and at only $4,500, 16 points was plenty to pay off the minimum salary.
Lamar Miller (20.09 pts, 15.2% Owned) – Somewhat liked by the field, Lamar had an amazing first half despite injuring himself and being limited in the Second, salvaging his day against the G-Men.
I’m going to add a section to the column each week from now on, collecting my thoughts about DFS in the previous weeks before I dive into the upcoming slates. So here it goes:
DFS Thoughts with Zachary Robinson
This Week’s Topic – Recency Bias
One thing I have taken into account is that the masses are asses, and this fact should be quickly understood in GPP’s (which I mostly do my research and focus on). People are easily to forget about good players if they have a few bad weeks. This should never happen. It’s fantasy, and people have bad weeks, but can have 3 great weeks very quickly. For example: During the first few weeks of the NFL season, WR DeAndre Hopkins was everyone’s favorite new shiny toy, putting up numbers, and being owned 20-35% on the Thursday and Sunday slates. But after a few bad weeks, with the emergence of WR’s such as Doug Baldwin, his ownership percentages took a massive decline, reaching between 3-10%. But when the matchup is there, why not play a guy who was a stud 3 weeks ago and put up 25-30 points, but due to recency bias, is only owned 5%.
This perfectly goes hand-in-hand with Week 15. Tom Brady, who is (in my personal opinion) the 2nd or 1st greatest QB to ever walk onto a football field, tore up the NFL in the first few weeks, and saw ownership percentages in the Thursday and Sunday slates at nearly 30%. Sprinkle in one bad game, and a shiny new toy in Russell Wilson, and you get the fact that Tom Brady was only 5% owned on the Thursday Slates for Week 15 against the Titans.
The masses are asses.
Week 15 Preview
My strategy, or strategery (As Matt Hayes calls it) for QB’s this week goes as following- You are trying to find your High Plains Drifter. “They can’t catch me they’re never gonna find me, they’re never gonna know that I’m the High Plains Drifter”. A low-owned QB, with tons of upside in a good matchup is the #1 difference in Daily Fantasy. So here are a few of my High Plains Drifters.
Drew Brees, NO ($8,000) – In the last 17 games at the Superdome on Prime-Time, Brees has thrown for 5,671 yards with 52 TD’s and only 5 picks. He’s a different animal at home. Also, with game as the second-highest Vegas Total of the week, against a Lions D that ranks 19th against QB (and the fact that the Saints D ranks dead last against QB’s), this game has shootout written all over it. Brees was only 7.50% owned on the Fanduel Thursday slates. Recency Bias also plays a role in selecting Brees, as his salary has decreased by -$9,000 to begin the year.
Philip Rivers, SD ($7,400) – Remember when Philip Rivers was everyone’s new shiny toy for a couple of weeks this year? Well, now he’s 1.50% on the Week 15 Thursday Slates, so now he’s your shiny new toy. Recency bias indicates that the field is off of him, however against Jacksonville a couple of weeks ago, he went crazy. So why are people off of him now? Because he had a couple of bad weeks, but they were against Kansas City twice and Denver, so let’s cut him some slack. The Dolphins rank 24th in the NFL against QB’s, 31st against WR’s, they allow an average of 106.8 QBR on balls thrown their way, giving up a 63% completion rate. This could also be Rivers’ last game in San Diego, a place where he has played for 11 years, so the narrative goes his way as well. He is the ultimate High Plains Drifter.
Adrian Peterson, MIN ($8,600) – The Vikings come into Week 15 with a very important divisional game that has severe playoff implications. With these chances on the line, who better to trust than AP? The Vikings are home favorites with a spread of -5 and a O/U of 43. Chicago ranks 22nd in the NFL against HB’s, and Peterson tends to do well against them, eclipsing the 100+ yard mark back in Week 8 of the regular season. The consistency is there for AP as well, as 77% of games started by Peterson has resulted in either 100+ all-purpose yards or a TD. The Vikings are also not afraid to run the ball, as 49% of total offensive plays are through the run, and 60% of TD’s in the Red-Zone is by running the ball. His price has even decreased by -$600 to begin the year. Fire up AP AD.
Foswhitt “Fozzy” Whittaker, CAR ($4,800) – Taking a page out of last week’s Fanduel Winner, a minimum (or close to it) HB only needs two things- touches and a good game-script, and Whittaker has both of those things. With HB Jonathan Stewart out this week, Fozzy takes over in an offense that leads the league in total run plays (Panthers run the ball 53% of the time). The Panthers are favorites (even on the road) against a New York Giants team that ranks 23rd against the run, and have let in at least 1 TD 46.2% of the time this season. And you only need 1 TD.
My strategy for WR’s this week- Because of so many cheap HB’s to choose from this week, I believe it is possible to roster 1 or 2 high-priced WR’s. One can be chalk, and one contrarian, both chalk, or both contrarian. I will list two contrarian, high-priced WR’s, and one mid-to-low range WR that is considered a “chalk” play.
Odell Beckham Jr., NYG ($9,100) – The matchup of the year against Josh Norman landed Beckham a 6.4% ownership on the Thursday Slates. But I will have some exposure to Odell (GPP’s only), and here’s why: The Giants-Panthers game is the 4th-highest Vegas Total at 48 points, ODB has the 6th-highest floor of WR’s, 5th-highest ceiling of WR’s, with 142 targets on the year, which averages out to 10.9 targets per game (accounts for 26.6% of team’s targets). The Giants simply do not have a run game (and if they fall behind, which they could, they’ll abandon the run against CAR), as 90% of TD’s by the New York Football Giants have been via the pass, and 61% of their total offensive plays have been via the pass. Also, there is a chance that Giants WR Dwayne Harris could not play, and that could mean that Beckham could line up in the slot, with Norman staying outside. But do not forget, when it comes down between a Tier 1 WR and a Tier 1 CB, the receiver tends to win out, and I am very confident that ODB will win out, when the Panthers finally lose this year to the Giants.
DeAndre Hopkins, HOU ($8,700) – Here is another player who was the hottest thing since night baseball in the first few week of the season, yet due to hard matchups and poor performances, has not been targeted in GPPs. In Week 10 of the NFL season against the New York Jets, DeAndre Hopkins turned 12 targets into 5-118-2. His Quarterback? T.J. Yates, who wasn’t afraid to target him against Revis Island. Now with QB Brian Hoyer out for Week 15, Yates gets the start against a Colts Secondary possibly without CB Vontae Davis that already rank 23rd against the pass, and give up 2+ pass TD’s 69.2% of games. Like with Odell, the Texans do not have a run game that should be respected, 83% of offensive TD’s for Houston is by the air. D-Hop has a total of 15 Red-Zone targets, with 158 total targets on the season, and 69% of the games started has resulted in either a TD or 100+ yards. He was close to 11% owned on the Thursday Slates.
Jeremy Maclin, KC ($6,700) – One of the biggest offensive offseason signs has done alright this year, but will do even better against a weak Ravens secondary that ranks 3rd-to-last in the NFL against WR’s. Maclin should line up against CB Shareece Wright, who has allowed a 54% completion rate for 14.4 ypc. The Chiefs are 7-point road favorites, and with a tough matchup for the Chiefs HB’s (Ravens rank 8th against HB’s), Smith and Co. could throw the ball against a defense that has allowed 2+ passing TD’s in 69.2% of games. Maclin has an 89% snap rate on the year, with 11 Red-Zone targets and close to 9 targets/game. His price has dropped $-900 from the beginning of the year, and was fairly owned in the Thursday slates.
Gary Barnidge, CLE ($6,500) – Contrary to popular belief, the Seattle Seahawks actually suck against the TE position, ranking 25th in the NFL. Even underdogs, SEA-CLE still has a good O/U at 43 points. Barnidge has the 3rd-highest floor among TE’s, and the 6th-highest ceiling. Even with Crowell having a good game last week against the Niners, the Browns don’t have a respectable run game, as 62% of their offensive TD’s have been through TE’s, and 62% of total offensive plays have been through the air. Barnidge has an 84% snap rate, with 16 Red-Zone targets on the year, and an average of 7.7 targets per game. He also just signed a new contract extension. You will too, if you play him this week.
Kickers and Defenses
Steven Hauschka, SEA ($5,000) – Home favorites with a large spread.
Kai Forbath, NO ($4,500) – Great kicking environments with a high Vegas Total.
New England Patriots ($5,000) – Large spread and home favorites.
Alright, that’s my time. Good luck to those playing in the DraftKings Fantasy Football Championship this weekend in San Diego, and good luck to those playing in this week’s Razzball contest.
Go read a book.