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.

Table Terms

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.


Simulation Results

Player FanDuel
Value 25th
Patrick Mahomes $9,300 24.12.5918.728.744.5%1.21
Russell Wilson $9,000 23.62.6218.529.041.5%1.44
Josh Allen $8,200 22.92.7917.228.440.2%1.90
Kyler Murray $8,600 22.52.6117.227.638.4%1.34
Deshaun Watson $8,300 22.42.7017.228.138.8%1.70
Lamar Jackson $8,100 21.72.6816.226.931.3%1.43
Justin Herbert $7,900 20.72.6214.925.829.3%1.28
Ryan Tannehill $7,400 19.92.6915.124.624.0%1.58
Matthew Stafford $7,500 19.02.5313.624.021.4%1.02
Matt Ryan $7,600 18.12.3912.724.222.7%0.87
Derek Carr $7,000 17.62.5212.423.619.8%1.11
Kirk Cousins $7,100 16.62.3311.621.714.4%0.68
Teddy Bridgewater $7,300 16.42.2511.421.411.5%0.59
Ben Roethlisberger $7,700 16.32.1211.221.916.3%0.48
Philip Rivers $6,900 16.22.3410.721.012.1%0.71
Daniel Jones $6,900 15.72.2810.620.49.3%0.59
Drew Lock $7,200 15.72.1810.820.911.8%0.51
Tua Tagovailoa $6,700 15.42.3110.120.510.0%0.68
Kyle Allen $6,800
Nick Foles $6,800
Jake Luton $6,500


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.

Running Back

Simulation Results

Player FanDuel
Value 25th
Christian McCaffrey $9,500 22.32.3516.427.559.9%3.62
Dalvin Cook $9,300 20.82.2414.825.753.4%2.62
Derrick Henry $8,900 20.32.2815.226.251.3%3.35
James Robinson $7,300 17.52.3911.823.639.5%3.12
James Conner $8,200 16.82.0511.022.535.0%1.70
Josh Jacobs $7,700 16.62.1611.021.832.8%2.09
Todd Gurley $6,900
Antonio Gibson $6,200 14.52.349.720.326.7%2.54
Jonathan Taylor $6,400
David Johnson $6,800
Ezekiel Elliott $8,000 14.01.758.618.619.1%0.94
Clyde Edwards-Helaire $7,000 13.01.868.018.619.5%1.26
David Montgomery $5,900
Chase Edmonds $6,700 11.81.766.617.214.6%1.02
Melvin Gordon $6,600 11.31.726.816.111.7%0.96
D'Andre Swift $6,000 11.21.876.316.411.6%1.23
Le'Veon Bell $5,500
Devin Singletary $5,800 9.41.635.113.74.5%0.84
Joshua Kelley $5,400 9.11.695.212.83.6%0.90
Justin Jackson $5,900 8.91.524.712.83.9%0.63
Kenyan Drake $6,000 8.81.464.712.72.7%0.57
Phillip Lindsay $5,700 8.21.454.212.52.9%0.58
J.K. Dobbins $5,300 7.71.464.211.91.7%0.61
Chris Carson $7,600
Matt Breida $4,700 7.21.543.711.00.4%0.71
Zack Moss $5,800
Adrian Peterson $5,300 7.11.333.710.40.5%0.41
Jordan Howard $4,500 7.01.563.210.20.4%0.70
Nyheim Hines $5,400
Wayne Gallman $5,500
Brian Hill $5,000


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.

Our algorithm is relatively low on James Conner, a player who doesn't possess a lot of upside. Jim Sannes and I discussed Conner in detail on this week's Heat Check podcast.

James Robinson and Antonio Gibson rate out top-five in that floor/ceiling mark, and I have a lot of interest in Robinson for the workload and matchup against the Houston Texans.

Keep an eye on Chase Edmonds for word if Kenyan Drake is ruled out. The same logic applies to DeeJay Dallas and the Seattle Seahawks once again.

Wide Receiver

Simulation Results

Player FanDuel
Value 25th
DeAndre Hopkins $8,800 17.21.9512.522.134.2%1.67
D.K. Metcalf $8,100 16.01.979.921.331.3%1.46
Keenan Allen $7,500 15.92.1111.220.828.5%2.16
Stefon Diggs $7,600 15.52.0410.120.629.4%1.75
Julio Jones $8,200 15.21.858.921.028.2%1.15
Tyler Lockett $7,400
Terry McLaurin $7,200 14.11.968.219.724.1%1.40
Tyreek Hill $8,300 13.81.667.820.125.4%0.86
Allen Robinson $6,900 13.71.998.620.125.2%1.51
A.J. Brown $7,600 12.91.697.218.620.7%0.95
D.J. Moore $7,000 12.71.826.018.319.7%1.01
Adam Thielen $7,700 12.31.606.618.118.3%0.77
Will Fuller $7,100 12.11.715.818.618.9%0.93
Robby Anderson $6,600 11.61.766.317.315.2%1.03
Justin Jefferson $6,800 11.61.716.017.717.9%0.97
Marvin Jones $6,100 11.31.866.116.013.3%1.13
Marquise Brown $5,800 10.61.825.116.312.2%1.11
Mike Williams $6,200 10.41.685.516.714.7%0.93
Darius Slayton $5,900 9.81.654.014.89.3%0.84
Danny Amendola $5,300 9.51.805.114.37.4%1.10
Christian Kirk $5,900 9.51.613.714.98.6%0.82
Cole Beasley $5,300 9.41.784.814.27.2%1.05
Chase Claypool $6,300 9.41.494.114.78.8%0.68
Amari Cooper $7,000 9.41.344.913.95.4%0.44
Brandin Cooks $6,100 9.31.523.914.38.1%0.72
Corey Davis $6,000 9.21.544.514.15.4%0.68
T.Y. Hilton $5,300 9.21.733.814.27.6%0.97
D.J. Chark $6,400 9.11.423.514.78.5%0.60
Hunter Renfrow $5,100 8.81.734.113.65.6%0.95
Jerry Jeudy $5,700 8.81.543.314.69.5%0.77
DeVante Parker $6,300 8.41.343.612.85.2%0.48
Sterling Shepard $5,500 8.31.523.512.93.8%0.71
John Brown $5,500 8.31.512.913.25.6%0.73
JuJu Smith-Schuster $6,500
Randall Cobb $5,400 8.31.533.612.86.3%0.73
Diontae Johnson $6,000 8.21.363.412.83.5%0.52
Laviska Shenault $5,400 7.81.453.412.22.3%0.64
David Moore $5,200 7.81.503.312.45.1%0.71
Darnell Mooney $5,500 7.81.423.112.75.5%0.64
Calvin Ridley $8,000 7.70.963.012.74.0%0.18
CeeDee Lamb $5,800 7.61.313.412.63.9%0.51
Anthony Miller $5,100 7.51.482.612.15.0%0.70
Michael Gallup $5,400 7.51.393.012.54.9%0.62
Russell Gage $5,400 7.41.373.311.11.3%0.49
Nelson Agholor $5,000 7.41.472.012.23.3%0.69
Larry Fitzgerald $5,000 7.21.442.811.21.8%0.64
Henry Ruggs $5,700
Mecole Hardman $5,600
Preston Williams $5,100 6.71.312.311.32.0%0.53
Curtis Samuel $5,600
James Washington $5,000


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.

Tight End

Simulation Results

Player FanDuel
Value 25th
Travis Kelce $8,000 13.51.698.617.942.1%0.84
Darren Waller $6,400 11.61.817.015.728.8%1.10
T.J. Hockenson $6,000 10.41.736.115.025.2%0.94
Mark Andrews $6,600 9.91.505.914.723.5%0.63
Hunter Henry $5,600 9.61.715.313.618.3%0.93
Jonnu Smith $5,700 9.61.685.313.719.1%0.88
Noah Fant $5,800 8.81.524.713.317.9%0.67
Evan Engram $5,500 8.41.534.612.313.7%0.67
Hayden Hurst $5,600 8.31.474.312.715.1%0.68
Trey Burton $5,500 7.21.313.311.08.6%0.44
Logan Thomas $5,000 6.61.323.19.94.0%0.42
Eric Ebron $5,400
Jimmy Graham $5,300
Mike Gesicki $5,300
Dalton Schultz $5,100
Jack Doyle $4,900
Jordan Akins $4,800
Albert Okwuegbunam $5,000
Mo Alie-Cox $5,000


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.

T.J. Hockenson, Hunter Henry, and Jonnu Smith are in the next tier, along with Kelce, and then the following tier comprises Hayden Hurst, Noah Fant, Evan Engram, and Mark Andrews.

We've got options at every position, so saving at tight end when possible could be crucial.