One of the overlooked aspects of DraftKings’ NFL scoring is the bonus system; three bonus points are awarded for 300-yard passing games and 100-yard rushing/receiving games. Here’s a breakdown of the recent frequency of those bonus levels:
You can see that while 100-yard rushing performances have been stagnant or perhaps declining a bit, 100-yard receiving performances (and 300-yard passing games) are on the rise. I think this adds to the value of wide receivers as flex plays over running backs in GPPs since the potential for bonus points gives them added upside.
It should also dictate how you value certain types of wide receivers. DraftKings’ PPR system aids players like Kendall Wright, for example, who don’t score many touchdowns. Many of those high-volume receivers see such short targets that they don’t really have a high probability of crossing the 100-yard mark in any given game, though, which tilts the scales back in favor of the big play-makers – Antonio Brown, T.Y. Hilton, and so on.
Top Five Wide Receivers
Demaryius Thomas, Denver at St. Louis, $8600 – Thomas is the most expensive wide receiver on DraftKings this week, which I think he should be. He has a plus matchup against a weak Rams secondary – one that he should be able to effectively use his size against – and he’s second to Antonio Brown in points per game this season.
With the explosiveness of the Broncos’ offense, Thomas is arguably the best bet to both go over 100 yards and score a touchdown in Week 11. He has six straight 100-yard games and, if you can find a way to do it, he’s perhaps (perhaps!) a safer cash-game play than Brown.
Calvin Johnson, Detroit at Arizona, $8500 – Johnson proved that he’s back last week, although it’s worth noting that he would have posted a 6/64/0 line if it weren’t for an early touchdown. You have to give Megatron tourney consideration, but I’m not going to be on him in cash games. I’ll gladly pay $100 more for Thomas or drop a full $700 (what!?) for Brown.
Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia at Green Bay, $8200 – Maclin is very similar to T.Y. Hilton in Indy as someone capable of huge games in his offense, but a receiver you can’t trust to consistently turn in quality production (Maclin even more so). The total in this game is around 56 points, so there’s going to be a lot of scoring, but I’m much more bullish on the Green Bay receivers.
Note that since salaries were determined before Maclin’s Monday night dud, he didn’t benefit from a price reduction as he normally would have. Jordan Matthews, whose price also remained stagnant, is the receiver to own for the Eagles this week.
T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis vs New England, $7900 – Even though I like Andrew Luck in what is probably a pretty difficult matchup (due mainly to bulk attempts), I’m not very high on Hilton this week. I think Revis and the Pats will do what they can to make him a non-factor, which should open things up for players like Dwayne Allen and Ahmad Bradshaw. It’s scary, but I’d imagine I won’t have any Hilton exposure this week. That might be different if the price were right, but there’s no way he should cost more than Brown.
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh at Tennessee, $7800 – Can you say ‘must play’ in cash games? The consistency of Brown and Thomas almost makes me want to go cheap at running back in cash games – something I don’t normally do – just to get these guys in the lineup. Even though I prefer Thomas overall, I think (maybe, perhaps, not sure yet) that I’d rather have Brown at $800 cheaper.
Five Others to Consider
Jordy Nelson, Green Bay vs Philadelphia, $7700
How is a No. 1 receiver on an explosive offense in a game projected to be very high-scoring – and one who has scored in five of the past six games – priced so low? You can expect Nelson’s usage to be high this week, but this isn’t a situation to fade. You can go ahead and stack both Nelson and Cobb with Rodgers if you are so inclined due to the upside of the trio.
Golden Tate, Detroit at Arizona, $7500
Randall Cobb, Green Bay vs Philadelphia, $7500
Emmanuel Sanders, Denver at St. Louis, $7400
DeSean Jackson, Washington vs Tampa Bay, $7300
Five Mid-Priced Wide Receivers
Julio Jones, Atlanta at Carolina, $7000 – Despite what’s been regarded as a down year for Jones, he still has 61 catches for 853 yards, meaning he’s on pace for 108 grabs and over 1,500 yards this season. The only problem has been finding the end zone in Atlanta’s surprisingly poor offense – something Jones has done just three times this year. Even if he’s not a good bet to score, though, Jones is underpriced here.
Mike Evans, Tampa Bay at Washington, $6800 – I’m having some trouble with Evans. On one hand, he’s coming off of two huge games and has at least four catches in every single game of his young NFL career. Every game!
On the other hand, well, there is no other hand…I just got on board. But I still prefer Jones for $200 more.
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona vs Detroit, $6300 – Don’t underestimate the value of Carson Palmer’s presence for Fitzgerald. With Palmer gone, Fitzgerald moves from priced accurately to wildly overpriced. He’s not a consideration for cash games, and I don’t even think he has any contrarian value in tournaments because it isn’t like this is a quality matchup; the Lions have been the second-best in the league against wide receivers.
Julian Edelman, New England at Indianapolis, $6300 – Remember what I said about high-volume receivers who can’t consistently record 100 yards? I present Exhibit A.
If Edelman were a good bet to score, I’d like him a lot more, regardless of his chances of hitting the bonus level. He’s never going to be able to consistently find the end zone, though, even in the Pats offense. I much prefer Brandon LaFell.
DeAndre Hopkins, Houston at Cleveland, $6200 – Hopkins and the Texans are coming off of a bye and will face a Cleveland defense that has been poor against the pass in 2014, despite the presence of Joe Haden. If it looks like Haden will be on Hopkins, he obviously gets a downgrade. Either way, I don’t think I’m going to have too much Hopkins exposure in a game that will probably be low-scoring.
Five Others to Consider
Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh at Tennessee, $6200
A.J. Green, Cincinnati at New Orleans, $6000
What. The. Hell. I know the Bengals’ offense is a mess and I know Green isn’t even averaging four catches per game this year, but receivers this talented shouldn’t be priced this low. That means that Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall – both cheaper than Green – are sensational values this week as well. Even though times are rough in Cincy and Chicago, all three players are capable of 150/2 in any contest.
Odell Beckham, Jr., NY Giants vs San Francisco, $6000
Alshon Jeffery, Chicago vs Minnesota, $5900
Brandon Marshall, Chicago vs Minnesota, $5800
Five Value Wide Receivers
Brandon LaFell, New England at Indianapolis, $5800 – Like I said, I much prefer LaFell – a big receiver who can score – to Edelman. I also like that the Colts will probably place so much defensive attention on Gronkowski that LaFell will benefit. LaFell has four touchdowns in the past four games.
Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay at Washington, $5600 – V-Jax has historically been a big risk/reward receiver. In 2014, though, we haven’t seen those big performances. I don’t think Jackson is necessarily done – 31-years old isn’t a death blow for receivers – but you have to prefer Evans at this point. The question is whether or not the price difference makes Jackson more valuable, but I’ll probably just avoid this situation altogether.
Roddy White, Atlanta at Carolina, $5500 – White has come on strong of late, but I’m still not his biggest fan. There aren’t enough fantasy points to go around in Atlanta, and Jones is going to be the first option for Matt Ryan. The Panthers’ pass defense ranks in the bottom third of the league against wide receivers, but I don’t think this is a good enough risk/reward situation to use White, especially in cash games.
Andre Johnson, Houston at Cleveland, $4900 – There are a lot of reasons to be concerned about Johnson; he doesn’t have a 100-yard game all year and has scored just one touchdown. While this price tag certainly looks attractive and will allow you to go bigger at running back, I think the upside is so limited in this offense that it doesn’t make much sense to use Johnson in GPPs.
Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina vs Atlanta, $4900 – Remember, pricing came out before the Panthers’ Monday night contest. Benjamin turned what was going to be a dud performance into a two-touchdown game. We witnessed what could be a weakness for Benjamin – that he’s very touchdown-dependent – but I think that’s workable at $4900.
Note that if you plan to play Benjamin, you have to monitor Cam Newton’s health throughout the week. He’s clearly banged up right now, which diminishes Benjamin’s floor.
Five Others to Consider
Jordan Matthews, Philadelphia at Green Bay, $4500
Keenan Allen, San Diego vs Oakland, $4500
Pierre Garcon, Washington vs Tennessee, $4000
Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota at Chicago, $4800
Justin Hunter, Tennessee vs Pittsburgh, $3100
It’s called being stubborn. Look it up.