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DFS Football 101: Important Tips for New Players, Round 16

Michael Rathburn

Known as “Rath” in the Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) community, he has helped run operations for two prominent daily fantasy sports startups. Michael has taken his insider knowledge and expertise in daily fantasy sports to the content side. Rath won the 2016 FSWA "Baseball Article of the Year, Online" award and was a finalist for the FSWA Best Baseball Series in 2011.

With Week 16 in the books and a lot of players sitting out Week 17, I wanted to take a look back at the DFS season by the numbers for DraftKings, by looking at the best performances and players to hit value at each position for cash games and GPPS.


Best Value: Derek Carr $5900, 39.82, 6.7x, @ Bucs, Week 8

Best Game: Aaron Rodgers $6700, 40.18, vs Vikings, Week 16

Most times hitting at least 3x value (Cash):

Most times hitting at least 4x value (GPP):

Top Scorers:

Player Avg. Score Avg. Salary Avg. Value Standard Deviation
Aaron Rodgers 24.8 $ 7,367 3.4 7.9
Drew Brees 24.8 $ 7,453 3.2 9.7
Matt Ryan 24.8 $ 7,027 3.3 7.4
Tom Brady 22.7 $ 7,518 3.0 8.6
Andrew Luck 22.7 $ 7,193 3.1 9.6

The top quarterbacks all put up at least 3x value on average. The best cash game players were Rodgers, Ryan, Luck, and Cousins based on their lower standard deviations.

Running Backs

Best Game: Le’Veon Bell, $9000, 54.8, vs Bills, Week 14

Best Value: Jay Ajayi, $3500, 36.7, 10.5x, vs Steelers, Week 6

Cash games: GPP:
The common theme in both formats is the Ravens and Bears are two defenses you never want to play running backs against. They don’t allow value in cash games or tournaments.

This group of stud running backs showed that bellcows still exist in 2016:

Player Avg. Score Avg. Salary Avg. Value Standard Deviation
Le'Veon Bell 24.8 $ 8,458 3.3 10.8
David Johnson 27.9 $ 8,360 3.4 8.2
Ezekiel Elliott 23.2 $ 7,607 3.1 8.7
LeSean McCoy 22.7 $ 7,250 3.1 10.1
DeMarco Murray 20.5 $ 6,993 3.0 6.4

I found the players who didn’t average at least 3x value to be interesting like Freeman, Miller, Ingram, Ware, Gore, and Forte. This group was either very inconsistent or had very low ceilings.

Wide Receivers

Best Value: Davante Adams, $3900, 10.6x, 41.2 vs Bears, Week 7

Best Game: Julio Jones, $9200, 51.0 vs Panthers, Week 4

Cash Games:
*Notice the Eagles didn’t allow any receivers to hit 5x (a big game), but did allow the second-most to hit 3x value which is great for cash games.

  • The following teams allowed the fewest wide receivers to hit at least 3x value:
    • Broncos – 4
    • Colts, Vikings, Steelers – 11
    • Bengals, Seahawks, Texans – 12
The Broncos completely shut down opposing wide receivers in every aspect of fantasy with the best secondary in the NFL.

GPP: Top Scorers:

Player Avg. Score Avg. Salary Avg. Value Standard Deviation
Antonio Brown 21.3 $ 9,267 2.3 9.6
Jordy Nelson 20.5 $ 7,473 2.8 9.7
Odell Beckham 20.0 $ 8,720 2.3 9.6
Mike Evans 19.9 $ 7,927 2.6 10.3
Julio Jones 19.9 $ 9,154 2.2 13.8

One of the things sharp players discovered about wide receivers on DraftKings is that the salaries were too high based on the actual scores. Most of the top tier WRs were terrible values in cash games and I wrote about this repeatedly in prior articles.

Tight Ends

Best Value: Dwayne Allen, $2600, 29.2 points, 11.2x, vs Jets Week 13

Best Game: Travis Kelce, $5000, 36.0 points, vs Broncos Week 16

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Michael Rathburn plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: burnnotice, DraftKings: burnnotice, Yahoo: burnnotice, Fantasy Aces: burnnotice, FantasyDraft: burnnotice.