Football is back, and it feels so..so..good. Week 1 had as many fireworks as expected and much much more. More importantly, NFL DFS is back and better than ever. Each year, the competition gets fiercer as average DFS players turn into stars with the amount of information and analysis available at the fingertips.
Each and every week, I will be your ownership guru here at Fantasy CPR. On Saturday’s, you will have access to my projected ownership for the week (See RB projections from this past week) and we will recap the results on Tuesdays.
For clarity, we will only be analyzing the main slate of the week (1PM and 4PM EST games) on DraftKings which includes the new version of the Millionaire Maker, Roman’s Fantasy Football Millionaire.
NFL Week 1 Ownership Review – RBs
Welcome to Week 1 of a new installment to the Fantasy CPR page, DraftKings NFL Ownership Projections and Review. Please bookmark this page (ALEX MCKINNON) to find your weekly ownership projections and reviews and follow me on twitter @AlexMcKinnonDFS for up to the minute news and notes about DFS ownership in the NFL.
A running theme throughout DFS history and DFS future was and always will be four main qualities to make someone chalk or popular to the public. Price, Recent Success, Opportunity/Injury, and Match Up or P.R.O.M.
- Price – Often coorelated with Injuries, a low priced option that the public feels will have opportunity to get a higher volume then originally projected is key.
- Recent Success – A player who is on a positive trajectory and is outscoring his projected value.
- Opportunity/Injury – A injury to a specific position on the depth chart that creates more or new opportunities for a a player.
- Match Up – Very simply, a DFS player will target week defensive (or offensive) match ups at a particular position or overall.
On the next page, I have a breakdown of the price, opponent, ownership and production for the eligible RBs in Week 1 on DraftKings Roman Fantasy Football Millionaire, the premiere contest in NFL DFS where the #1 spot receives $1 Million dollars.
17 Rank – Opponents Ranked On DraftKings Points allowed to this position (RB) in 2017
Multiplier – Perceived value based on price (DK Points / Price)
Example of Multiplier –Dalvin Cook 14.5 Points / 6.2 ($6200) = 2.34 x multiplier
According the the results on the Millionaire contest, 181 points would have cashed in Week 1, meaning if each of your selections came in at 3.62 x multiplier, you would have been in the money.
The thing I found most interesting with the results of Week 1’s RB ownership was that the top three ‘chalk’ backs were $8500, $4500 and $6400. That is interesting to me for two reasons…One being that price will not slow down a DFS player who thinks one of the most expensive options will hit value and go off. The other is that there is a clear pattern for ownership based on price in brackets. For example, the first three highest owned players are Alvin Kamara ($8500), James Conner ($4500) and Christian McCaffrey ($6400). The following three are David Johnson ($8800), Alex Collins ($5600) and Melvin Gordon III ($6800).
This implies to me that most DFS players this week concentrated on grabbing a high priced RB, mid-priced RB and/or a low-priced RB. This will be something I watch going forward to find stronger pivot options based on pricing brackets.
Follow The Leader (Best Chalk Plays)
- Alvin Kamara (33.51% owned) – 46.1 DK Points
- James Conner (25.54% owned) – 38.2 DK Points
- Melvin Gordon III (14.71% owned) – 30.6 DK Points
With the suspension of Melvin Gordon and a pair of brand new running backs as his primary backups during week 1, it was hard not to imagine this high of an ownership for Alvin Kamara ($8500). 1/3rd of the entire millionaire field had Kamara on their roster and if you didn’t, you were immediately eliminated from cashing. It can be that simple sometimes. It’s always nice to find the non-chalk success, but don’t miss out on these home runs.
James Conner perpetuates the exact example from the Price, Recent Success, Opportunity, Match Up model (going to call it P.R.O.M. moving forward). His price was very low ($4500), the opportunity was there due to Le’Veon Bell, he had a decent preseason and the match up was decent at minimum (they were 0-16 last year). Conner ended up taking EVERY SINGLE SNAP with a RB on the field and had the second highest DK points total for RBs on the week. Another example of just buying into the chalk when it’s this juicy.
I actually expected Melvin Gordon III ($6800) to be higher owned than he ended up (14.71%). The pricing was low in my opinion and despite the Chiefs strong rush defense, this game was clearly going to be a shootout. The field leaned more towards McCaffrey which certainly didn’t pay off and Gordon backers cashed in with his 30.6 DK points.
If You’re Friend Jumped Off A Bridge, Would You Jump Too? (Worst Chalk Plays)
- Christian McCaffrey (22.8% owned) – 14.5 DK Points
- David Johnson (19.57% owned) – 17.7 DK Points
- Alex Collins (17.82% owned) – 7.9 DK Points
- Leonard Fournette (14.21% owned) – 8.5 DK Points
- Kareem Hunt (10.79% owned) – 4.9 DK Points
As we just covered, it seemed like the decision this weekend was between Christian McCaffrey ($6400) and Melvin Gordon III. I believe due to his strength catching targets out of the backfield combined with the implied weak match up vs. the Cowboys, McCaffrey edged out Gordon in ownership but failed to deliver. I wouldn’t worry too much about his production and would definitely keep him in mind for the Falcons game.
David Johnson ($8800) did all he could in a lackluster performance by Sam Bradford and the Cardinals offense. 17.7 DK Points is a great performance for most, but DJ has a lot more in the tank. I would love a few more duds to start the season and then go all in on Johnson when they finally start Rosen. That’s a long-term watch.
The Alex Collins ($5600) situation is the hardest to read from the failed chalk plays. I personally loved him heading into Week 1 assuming the Ravens would roll and Collins receiving a lot of late game rushes. The problem is, he fumbled early on and John Harbaugh didn’t let him back in. Does he not know that 17.82% of the Millionaire contest had Collins in their lineups? Greedy. I would be wary of Collins moving forward as Flacco develops his receiving core and the fact that there is clearly a short leash on Collins.
The Leonard Fournette ($7100) situation is pretty cut and dried. He clearly would have made an impact on this game when the Jaguars were looking to close it out, but the hamstring injury ended what could have been a good day for the Jaguars star. The 14.21% who selected Fournette for their lineup just have to move on to next week, not much you can do to control injuries.
The Chiefs offense looked fiery despite the total lack of Travis Kelce and Kareem Hunt ($6900) production. I am way more worried about Hunt in this run and gun offense going forward than Kelce. He did excel at the beginning of last season, but this was clearly an experimental game and definitely did not have a clear path for Hunt to make an impact. Easily the worst of the chalk this week.
Where Did You Come From? (Best Low Ownership Performances)
- Phillip Lindsay (0.02% owned) – 18.2 DK Points
- Austin Ekeler (0.07% owned) – 23.6 DK Points
- Chris Thompson (1.22% owned) – 24.8 DK Points
- Adrian Peterson (3.34% owned) – 23.6 DK Points
- Joe Mixon (5.92% owned) – 25.9 DK Points
This list will be scattered with surprises all year long and we came out hot right out of the gate. Phillip Lindsay ($3000), are you kidding me? In a backfield already occupied by Devontae Booker and Royce Freeman (7.17% owned – 7.1 DK Points), Lindsay was the back who prevailed. I have no idea the impact of Lindsay on Freeman’s stock, who many believe to be the best option for the Broncos, but kudos to the 0.02% of Millionaire chasers who made this leap of faith.
Austin Ekeler ($4400) will clearly play a major role when the Chargers find themselves trailing this season. Unfortunately, that will be hard to predetermine and this performance will certainly not damper Ekeler’s price going forward. Great value play be the very select few this weekend with Ekeler in a shootout.
Who would have though not one but TWO of the Redskins running backs would have scored over 23 DK points vs. the 5th best team against RBs on DK last season. Adrian Peterson ($4700) turned back the clock and Thompson ($4700) showed flashes of what he has done before, make an impact in the passing game. Both clocked in under 4% owned (just over 1% for Thompson) and it will be interesting to see who the public leans towards moving forward.
Joe Mixon ($6100) had a modest ownership share (5.92%) this week but I really think he needs to be mentioned for low-ownership steals. 25.9 DK points at only $6100 with some of the top guys producing much less was nice to see for Mixon believers. I am worried about his price rising steeply, but Mixon is clearly 1B to AJ Green in this offense with no one else close on the Bengals roster.
Are You Worth Your Salt? (Best Value Multipliers)
James Conner (8.49 x)
Phillip Lindsay (6.07 x)
Alvin Kamara (5.42 x)
Austin Ekeler (5.36 x)
Chris Thompson (5.28 x)
Adrian Peterson (5.02 x)
Melvin Gordon III (4.5 x)
Joe Mixon (4.25 x)
James White (3.9 x)
As I mentioned above, a multiplier of 3.62 across the board in your lineup would have put you in the money on DraftKings Millionaire contest. Nine running backs (above) were able to accomplish this feat this week. Depending on the week, a lineup that contains 4-5 x it’s value will put you in contention for a tournament win. Eight running backs were at least 4 x and two were able to surpass 6 x their value. James Conner provided enough value to register as two elite running backs with his 8.49 x multiplier.
What Did We Learn?
The cream of the crop will provide you value if you stick with them this year. Guys like Kamara, David Johnson, Melvin Gordon and others will solidify your lineups with certified point getters. The challenge has two faces heading into the rest of the season. Finding the right guy(s) in that $5500-$7000 will be most stressful part of constructing the right lineup. Guys like McCaffrey, Fournette, Barkley, Mixon, etc. who are boom or bust will consume your energy moving forward. The other concern is when and where to play the obvious chalk. I think we were lucky this week with a pair of rather obvious chalk plays (Kamara and Conner) but we won’t be that lucky moving forward. Be sure to properly analyze the pros and cons of the P.R.O.M. method I just created (Price, Recent Success, Opportunity/Injury and Match Up) and pick the right spots.
Be sure to follow me on twitter at @AlexMcKinnonDFS for the latest in DraftKings ownership for the NFL season and let me know who you think will be chalk in Week 2!