DraftKings Week 1 WOAT: Weekly Ownership and Trends
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.
What is up everybody, Drewby here and I am thrilled to be back with the WOAT – Weekly Ownership and Trends. In this weekly article, we will cover everything from DraftKings strategy to historical ownership information and forward-looking DraftKings Week 1 ownership projections. We take a look at how specific pros are attacking cash games, how people are stacking in GPPs and everything in between. The goal of this article is not to provide you the best fantasy players but rather to get you to think like the best fantasy players.
But it is week 1 and we have nothing in the immediate past to look back on, so we can look at things a little more thematically with some of our takeaways from last year's articles.
Some General Ownership Refreshers:
- Quarterback ownership inherently gets spread out. We typically see a cap of 15% ownership at this position. While nailing your quarterback and WR is critical to winning a tournament, you don't gain a ton of leverage at this position by forcing contrarian plays.
- Running back ownership is almost always a place where ownership compresses. Last season this compression centered around David Johnson and Le'veon Bell as they separated themselves from the rest of the running back depth. Despite this, we frequently see “chalk” running backs find their way to successful outcomes. High volume running backs are more predictable than low volume wideouts.
- Wide Receiver and Tight End positions also see compressed ownership to a slightly lesser degree. Wide receiver specifically is one where the market is more frequently inefficient. Whether it is the inherent variance of the position or people overvaluing Cornerback vs. Wide Receiver matchups, this became the focal area of most pivots for me.
We also looked at high stakes GPPs and found…
- High stakes players stack more
- High stakes players began to favor larger stacks such as QB-WR-WR more than the market
- High stakes players frequently correlate their running backs with defensive selections
- High stakes cash lines were higher, so if you aren't learning from these contests, well…
And what to make of Week 1 Last Season?!
Well last year we saw a TON of chalk go busto in week 1, even at the “predictable” RB position. Of the 10 backs owned at 10% or higher, we saw 6 of them flop out on their backers and only Spencer Ware deliver the business.
Meanwhile at the wide receiver position people flocked to Marvin Jones, who was underpriced for his newfound role in a newfound offense. A role that didn't materialize as anticipated until later in the season. This, in turn, freed up value for Julio Jones' in a dream spot and kept attention off AJ Green in a tough matchup against the NY Jets secondary. Yes those were words that were actually written, many times!
The biggest thing we learned about week 1 is that we may think we know, we truly have no idea. If you've got a gut feeling, it isn't a bad week to lean on it because as the season goes on the models will start to catch up.
So what to make of Week 1 This Season?!
In the WOAT we don't make a big deal about DraftKings quarterback ownership but our reasonable expectations are that some combination of Ben Roethlisberger, Russ Wilson, Cam Newton and Carson Wentz will end up as popular options. This is pricing and matchup driven, though it is certainly interesting to note that a lot of the best spots in Week 1 are road teams.
Our expectations are that Le'veon Bell and David Johnson will carry 30%+ ownership each. Our premium projections love both players but from a value perspective, I could also get on board with LeSean McCoy in tournaments. He carries a cheaper price and similar value calculation but should have a fraction of the ownership. Sure the Bills are dreadful, but so are the Jets! And we aren't drafting him for the rest of the season. At mid-range RB we expect Todd Gurley and Carlos Hyde to soak up another big chunk of rushing ownership and with the hype slowly building around Christian McCaffrey he could end up getting there as the week progresses.
There are four options for wide receiver above 8k and another four options priced above 7k. Most of these will be modestly owned as it is challenging to fit with their QB and the stud running backs previously mentioned. Antonio Brown and Julio Jones should carry 20% ownership in the softest paper matchups of the upper echelon. It is hard to envision a scenario where one of Antonio Brown or Bell doesn't rip the Browns to shreds but it is a divisional game on the road. Of the next quartet, we'd forecast Amari Cooper to be the chalk driven by the cheapest price and CSURAM88's love affair with the young talent. The wide receiver ownership needs to hit the value range and some enticing matchups will draw fantasy gamers to the likes of Michael Crabtree, Larry Fitzgerald who is now infamous for sucking in the 2nd half of the year and dominating the 1st, Kelvin Benjamin (because, San Fran yo), and probably Alshon Jeffrey correlated to the Wentz ownership above. I'm not here to tell you which guys are the most palatable or who our projections love, I'm just here to talk ownership!
Tight end is probably the easiest position to project ownership this week. The chalk tight ends will be Zach Ertz and Delanie Walker. This is undisputed. Gronk and Kelce play the Thursday night slate so they won't be available, leaving this a position where people want to pay down. I wouldn't be surprised if Ertz and Kelce soaked up some 50% of the ownership in certain tournament formats. This means virtually everyone else - from high upside guys like Jordan Reed, Greg Olsen, and Tyler Eifert – to punts like Evan Engram will go super low owned. Ertz seems like a cash game lock to me but this is an interesting position to pivot in tournaments.
Unfortunately you don't win cash games by making the all-chalk team and don't win tournaments by fading the best value. It is on you to make your decisions, and our projections are here to help with that.
We will be back next week with a look at Week 1 actual ownership and key stacks.
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