Daily Fantasy Football Range-of-Outcome Projections: Week 4
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.
Update: The Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots game has been postponed and is expected to be played on Monday or Tuesday. Cam Newton has tested positive for COVID-19 and will not play this week.
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.
With all of the high over/unders on the slate, a lot of quarterbacks rate out pretty well from a median projections standpoint. Despite Lamar Jackson's top-tier median projection, the salary of $9,600 is a bit high for my liking with his status as a heavy favorite against the Washington Football Team. That said, he's probably an elite tournament play.
The best floor/ceiling rating by far belongs to Dak Prescott in the simulations in his game against the Cleveland Browns. Dak is near the top of my list, but I'm intrigued by Russell Wilson, Deshaun Watson, and Joe Burrow at their salaries, as well. Dak still could be a cash-game consideration. The data suggests he should be.
Running back is loaded this week, yet it's still Alvin Kamara rating out at the top of the list. Josh Jacobs is second in floor/ceiling rating, but I'm going to look past that and go with Ezekiel Elliott as my preferred play in a much better game environment.
Based on how everyone sims out, I'm still ranking my favorite backs as such: Kamara and Elliott with a drop now that Clyde Edwards-Helaire is off the slate.
Myles Gaskin and Ronald Jones -- among plenty others such has Joe Mixon, Mike Davis, James Robinson and Darrell Henderson -- are very viable, but we need to be spending down for a purpose. High-salaried wide receivers and tight ends are not nearly as safe as the high-salaried running backs.
The best floor/ceiling ratings belong to Tyler Boyd, Mike Evans, D.K. Metcalf, Odell Beckham, and DeAndre Hopkins. That's not a bad list to look to in cash games, really. I'd throw Tyler Lockett and D.J. Moore into the conversation, and they're top-10 guys in boom/bust rate in the sims.
Receiver is pretty wide open. The top of the list has some big names but not a ton. This makes the value at running back far less appealing.
Some strong 75th-percentile outcomes among wideouts below $6,500 belong to Boyd, Julian Edelman, DeVante Parker, Will Fuller, Robby Anderson, Michael Gallup, Jarvis Landry, Justin Jefferson, and Marquise Brown.
Tight end always sucks from a predictability standpoint due to low volume. At the top, just one tight end stands out from a floor/ceiling standpoint, and that is Darren Waller, now that Travis Kelce is off the main slate.
The top tight end to me -- salary considered -- is Mike Gesicki based on his projections. The Miami Dolphins should have to throw a lot against the Seattle Seahawks, and Gesicki leads all tight ends in air yards share. Logan Thomas now looks like a promising salary-saving option.