The Top 21 DFS Players Based On Last Year’s Best Performances
Jake Ciely (@allinkid) of DailyRoto.com is making sure you're ready to win a million dollars playing daily fantasy football this year... or at least put some extra bills in your pocket. He's here to recap last year with the Top 10 DFS scores of 2014 and use those to give you the Top 21 DFS Football players for 2015.
Top 10 DFS Scores from 2014 and Top 21 Daily Football Players for 2015
You're going to be prepared this DFS Football season! We're making sure of it. You now have a breakdown on how to pick your quarterbacks, running backs, receivers and tight ends at your fingertips. You can also find tips on how to stack for GPP success. There is no excuse for you not to walk away with some extra cash in those pockets this year.
With all of the positional advice taken care of, it's now time to look at some player targets for this year. We'll talk DFS sleepers next week, but this week is about the big names.
For the previous advice pieces, just click away.
As a quick preface before we get to this year's players, let's examine the top single game performances from last year.
Demaryius Thomas, DEN – Week 5: Thomas started the season rather slowly but after the Broncos bye, he had eight catches, 226 yards and two touchdowns against the Cardinals. He came close to matching this game against the 49ers in Week 7 (also a home game).
Russell Wilson, SEA – Week 5… and 7… and 16: Colin Kaepernick had some great rushing days in 2013, but 2014 was Wilson's year, as each of these games included two passing touchdowns, 100-plus rushing yards and a rushing touchdown. Wilson averaged about 40 FPPG on DraftKings!
Tom Brady, NE – Week 8: We can include Rob Gronkowski too… more on him in a minute. Brady threw five touchdowns on 30-for-35 passing with 354 yards. Gronk caught all nine of his targets for 149 yards and three touchdowns! Patriots stack equaled big winnings this week.
Ben Roethlisberger, PIT – Weeks 8 and 9: Big Ben had 10 touchdowns in the Steelers first seven games. Then he more than doubled that in just two games. Roethlisberger destroyed the Colts and Ravens in back-to-back weeks totaling 862 yards in the process.
Marshawn Lynch, SEA – Week 10: You knew Beast Mode had to show up once. In Week 10, Lynch ran through the Giants for 140 yards and four touchdowns on just 21 carries. Oh, he chipped in 23 receiving yards just for kicks.
Andrew Luck, IND – Week 13: Luck actually had four games with four or more touchdowns last year! In Week 13, he obliterated the Redskins defense for 370 yards and five touchdowns leading to his season's best game. Although, I'm pretty sure no one complained about Weeks 3, 4 and 9.
Le'Veon Bell, PIT – Week 14: It's not surprising to see Bell on the list. Against the Bengals, Bell had 235 total yards (185 rushing) with three touchdowns (two rushing). Those willing to gamble on his hot streak benefited quite a bit, as it was Bell's third straight game with more than 200 yards.
Julio Jones, ATL – Week 14: This wasn't Jones' only monster game, as Week 3 and 13 were pretty dang impressive too. However, Week 14 saw Jones catch 11 balls for 259 yards and a touchdown. The scoring bonuses were just icing on the cake.
Odell Beckham Jr., NYG – Week 15: Seasonal league-ers still thank OBJ for this game during their playoffs. Beckham continued his assault as a rookie with 12 catches, 143 yards and three touchdowns. With PPR scoring, you were giddy over this result no matter what format you played.
Jonas Gray, NE – Week 15: Leave it to the Patriots to have a running back game go to waste because we never knew which RB they'd use. Gray had 201 yards and a ridiculous four touchdowns on 37 carries. Or… nearly as many yards as he had the rest of the year and four times as many touchdowns.
What can we learn from this group? Only two names weren't on the DFS radar to start the season. And truthfully, OBJ had already cemented himself by the time Week 15 rolled around. In fact, everyone on this list cost you a pretty penny to roster except for Gray, who we already mentioned wasn't even whispered among the sleeper circles.
Okay, so what if we look outside the Top 10 games of 2014? I went week by week and included the Top 5 scorers and/or those topping 25 standard Fantasy Points (yes, I know DFS is PPR, but it was a cutoff point for being near a Top 5-10 range) and totaled 128 scores for the 17 weeks. Interestingly, that included just 64 players with 34 having multiple appearances and just 30 being one time only. It also included 25 quarterbacks for 62 scores. Yep, nearly half of those top scores came from quarterbacks. There were 19 receivers for 32 scores, 16 running backs for 30 scores and four tight ends for four scores. Here's the full list:
What can we learn from this? Well, if you look at the names, again, there are very few that were surprise players. Even if I include Donte Moncrief (was on the radar at that point), Jordan Matthews (same as Moncrief) and Michael Floyd (disappointing season, so no one on board for Week 17), we still only get 16 players with 17 scores (Jay Cutler notched two… and to be fair, we always knew he could put up big games). Basically, the vast majority of big scores came from well-known, high-performing, mostly-expensive players. From those most were quarterbacks, with receivers and running backs surprisingly close and tight ends barely included. That's with Gronkowski only showing up once. That's not to say Gronk doesn't give you a tremendous edge at tight end for consistency, but as I said before, touchdowns are exceptionally important to tight end scoring and is how you find value.
If you want a shot at a million, or just at cashing big in GPPs this year, you're going to have to spend "money" to make money. Quarterback has proven to be exceptionally important in roster construction. Just look at Rodgers and Luck alone. That's 13 games between the two! You would have been in great shape for the majority of the season. In addition to those two, other quarterbacks and running backs found their way here by hurting teams in multiple ways. A decent amount of quarterbacks put up rushing yards (Wilson, Kaepernick, Newton, Tannehill) and several running backs had good receiving numbers (L Bell, Charles, Murray, Ellington, Forte, J Bell). It's not a must, but using dual-threat players clearly increases your odds of hitting it big.
For 2015, I could just run through the Top 5 at each position and say, "Use these guys," but that's no fun. So, here are the Top DFS Options for 2015.
Luck, Rodgers, Wilson, Roethlisberger, Rivers – Wait, what? Rivers?! Yes. Look at the numbers (four games) he put up without Keenan Allen on track and no Danny Woodhead (who was a PPR RB1 in 2013). I don't like Brees with the changes in New Orleans, or Peyton Manning for the same in Denver. Tannehill is very close here.
Anderson, Adrian Peterson, Lacy, Charles, Bell, Hill – No real surprises, although people might not realize that Hill is a decent pass catcher and could see even more work this year… could; keep watch. Murray is a real risk each week given the Eagles offense/usage. Forte could be back, but we need to see how many targets he loses with Marc Trestman gone. Lynch needs touchdowns and with Jimmy Graham in town, he might see fewer opportunities. Once Foster is back and 100 percent, you know he's in the mix.
Bryant, Thomas, Beckham Jr., Calvin Johnson, Randall Cobb, Julio Jones, Alshon Jeffery, Andre Johnson, Hopkins, Hilton – Giant names here. Jordy Nelson would have been here if not for… *sniff*… let's not talk about it. So, Cobb steps in his place. Jeffery didn't crack the list last year, but Brandon Marshall is gone, and Cutler still slings the ball plenty. Like Jeffery, Hopkins is his team's main target. I question the quarterback play, and Hopkins could easily bust, but he should see truckloads of targets. Wait, Andre Johnson and T.Y. Hilton? Yep. With Luck as his quarterback, look for Johnson to post one of his best season's ever. Brandin Cooks will have plenty of catches and yards, but touchdowns will be an issue. Touchdowns aren't a problem for Evans, but will he see a high number of targets and yards with a rookie quarterback and Vincent Jackson still hanging around? I could list another 5-10 names, but these are the best of the best.
No one – One more time… just search for touchdown opportunities. Gronk had one huge week. Yes, he had several good weeks, but tight ends just don't reach the elite level enough (even Gronkowski) to warrant dropping top receiver level money, especially when you can nearly guarantee terrific production at receiver by spending there instead.
Image via Getty
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