Daily Fantasy Football Range-of-Outcome Projections: Week 9
Fantasy football is a volatile game.
Sometimes, a shoelace tackle is the difference between a 10-yard catch and a 70-yard touchdown, and sometimes goal-line carries go to backup players.
It happens. A lot.
And, don't get me wrong -- median projections are quite valuable and capture the most-likely scenario. Setting your lineups based on 90th-percentile projections isn't the right way to handle things for a head-to-head lineup, but if you want to figure out which players can bust a slate open, then you'll have to embrace some risk.
That's why I've started simulating NFL weeks and seeing what happens when the slate is played out 1,000 times. Here are some things that popped at each position this week, based on my simulations, which factor in numberFire's projections and my own tweaks.
FanDuel Salary: A player's main slate salary on FanDuel.
Median FDP: A player's median FanDuel projection across the 1,000 slate simulations.
Value: Projected median FanDuel points per $1,000 in salary. All quarterbacks generally have a 2.00 FanDuel-point-per-$1,000 rate at the low end, which implies 2-times value, or 2x value. On a full slate of 13 games, roughly 13 running backs tend to have a 2x value projection. On a full slate of 13 games, a small handful of receivers may get to a 2x median projection, and just more than 30 will be at 1.5x. On a full slate of 13 games, few tight ends will get to a 2x median value, and anything above 1.5x is generally a top-six projection. It's important to understand the different value expectations across positions.
25th Pct: The player's 25th-percentile FanDuel point projection, meant to show a low-end (or floor) outcome. Every player's true floor is zero.
75th Pct: The player's 75th-percentile FanDuel point projection, meant to show a somewhat attainable/projectable high-end (or ceiling) outcome without simply looking at true outlier performances.
FDP%: The frequency with which a player surpassed a certain raw projection threshold, meant to show a raw ceiling outcome. This doesn't adjust for salary and is a different value for each position.
Boom/Bust Ratio: The frequency with which a player had a "boom" game compared to a "bust" game based on historical, position-based value outcomes. For quarterbacks, this measures games with 2.75x value versus games with worse than 2x value. For running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends, it's 2x versus less than 1.5x. Think of it as a simple floor-versus-ceiling rating. Higher is better, and they should be compared only within the same position.
We have a big group of stud quarterbacks on the slate this week, and that pushes a lot of them to the top (the seven quarterbacks with a median FanDuel point outcome of at least 20.0 are all salaried at $7,900 or higher). The boom/bust ratio points to two quarterbacks on the lower end of that range: Josh Allen and Deshaun Watson. It's worth noting that Ryan Tannehill at just $7,400 does rank third but is in a rather unappealing game environment.
The odds of big games (25-plus FanDuel points) just belong to Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson, Allen, Watson, and Kyler Murray. For tournaments, it's really tough not to focus on the top seven, primarily, in order to access the unmatchable (or at least significantly more predictable) ceilings based on how the slate shakes out.
Derek Carr rates out well at just $7,000 and is a viable cash-game consideration, yet his ceiling doesn't really look large enough to help you win a tournament.
We also have star running backs on the slate, including the return of Christian McCaffrey. Dalvin Cook, Derrick Henry, and McCaffrey boast three of the top four boom/bust ratios. It's hard to fit in two of them, but I'm ranking them as Cook being the 1A and McCaffrey being the 1B. Henry isn't in the same tier due to the minimal passing game involvement and game environment.
The wide receiver pool is pretty loaded, too, particularly at $6,900 and above. The best boom/bust ratios belong to Keenan Allen, Stefon Diggs, DeAndre Hopkins, Tyler Lockett, Allen Robinson, DK Metcalf, and Terry McLaurin.
That said, it gives validity to a wide range of receivers who can put up 20-plus FanDuel points. To me, that suggests that it's a week where tracking popularity estimates will offer clear leverage spots. There are a ton of pivot options, so just avoiding the chalk is a very easy position to take in tournaments.
Problematically, value is tough at receiver. Danny Amendola and Cole Beasley are each salaried at $5,300 and have positive boom/bust values but are just low-ceiling plays regardless. Marvin Jones and Marquise Brown are hovering around $6,000 and are the standout values based on the data, but John Brown and Jerry Jeudy have the matchup angle even if the projections are lower on them.
It's going to be hard not to load up on Darren Waller, as he has a salary of just $6,400 but a projection not that far from Travis Kelce's at $8,000. Waller easily has the best floor/ceiling rating at the position.
We've got options at every position, so saving at tight end when possible could be crucial.