Daily Fantasy Football Range-of-Outcome Projections: Week 7
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.
Quarterback is pretty wide open this week in terms of who the best play will wind up being. A lot of guys are in the mix and are playable to varying degrees.
That said, it'll be hard not to look to the Seattle Seahawks/Arizona Cardinals game for a quarterback in a single-lineup situation with either Russell Wilson or Kyler Murray. The ceilings for Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes are still obvious, but they're in possible blowout games.
The simulations love Kareem Hunt at a very palatable $7,100 salary, making him a pretty core play in every sense, but with injury news, Alvin Kamara jumps into elite-play status here based on the simulations.
Derrick Henry rates out very well but faces a stingy Pittsburgh Steelers defense and will be without left tackle Taylor Lewan. I'm once again lower on Henry than consensus, but the simulations say otherwise. I deserve what I get if I wind up low on him.
Antonio Gibson, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Mike Davis, David Johnson, Todd Gurley, James Robinson, and Kenyan Drake have strong floor/ceiling ratios of their own, but it'll be hard to prioritize any of them over Bernard in a cash-game format.
My three favorite salary-considered receivers before the sims were D.K. Metcalf, Tee Higgins, and Robby Anderson, and they're all top-five in boom/bust rate, so you absolutely love to see that confirmation bias. That said, a lot of high-salaried receivers rate out top-14 in that stat, including Terry McLaurin, Davante Adams, DeAndre Hopkins, Kenny Golladay, and Calvin Ridley. With the state of running back being what it is, flexing a receiver on FanDuel is way more in play than usual.
The best options at $6,000 or below look to be: Higgins, Tyler Boyd, Mike Williams, Brandin Cooks, and Jerry Jeudy. numberFire's algorithms do like Deebo Samuel, but I hate the game environment too much to consider him too heavily. The absence of both Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders puts Tre'Quan Smith into value play territory at just $5,300, but the New Orleans Saints never really feature any pass-catcher outside of Thomas (excluding Alvin Kamara).
Tight end drops off after the two studs, George Kittle and Travis Kelce. While numberFire's projections pit this one really close, I'm more inclined to go to Kelce, as Kittle has a matchup with the New England Patriots, who should key on stopping Kittle over anyone else on the San Francisco 49ers' offense. Honestly, I'm of the opinion that Kelce and a value receiver is a viable two-versus-two pivot from a stud receiver and a low-end tight end, whereas I never really treat him that way.
We lost Austin Hooper as a value play, but the absence of Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders does give life to Jared Cook, and Jonnu Smith's health keeps him viable. Hunter Henry and T.J. Hockenson look like the best $5,000 tight end by a solid margin, but David Njoku becomes playable as well. Tight end got a lot better late in the week.