DFS Lessons Learned From 2018 – Wide Receivers
Achieving consistent success in the Daily Fantasy Sports landscape is hard. With the amount of information available nowadays, the edge in DFS continues to get smaller each passing NFL season. But just because the gap is getting smaller, it does not mean one can not be obtained. A nice way to get ahead of the DFS competition is by taking a look back.
While the rest of the industry spends the off-season looking at free agency moves and the NFL Draft, it is good practice to always review the previous season’s results. This process will help daily fantasy sports players get ahead of the curve. As they discover new trends that may put them on a certain player before the public discovers it.
As we continue our lessons learned from 2018 series, this piece will focus on the wide receiver position. By examining the top scoring DFS wide receivers of the 2018 NFL season we will better understand how to pick the position for our daily fantasy lineups in 2019.
Use Receiving Yards in DFS
Receiving yards, for as long as DFS has existed, has been the best predictor of fantasy points. And 2018 was no different. Yards was the top correlation to fantasy points. Of the 10 top scoring DraftKings wide receivers, nine of them were also in the top-10 in receiving.
|Player||Team||Receiving Yards||DraftKings Rank|
|M. Evans||Tampa Bay||1524||9|
|T. Hill||Kansas City||1479||1|
|M. Thomas||New Orleans||1405||6|
|D. Adams||Green Bay||1386||3|
With this in mind, you will want to choose your wide receivers for your daily fantasy sports entries with an emphasis on yards. For example, through three weeks of the 2018 NFL season, the Cincinnati Bengals had allowed an average of 281.6 passing yards as well as two 300-yard passers. So when the Bengals faced the Falcons in Week 4, DFS players should have been targeting Julio Jones for their lineups. And if they did so, they were rewarded with a nine reception, 173-yard performance that was good for 29.3 DraftKings points.
Using Receptions in DFS
In addition to chasing yards, DFS players should also be chasing receptions. Second, only to yards, receptions are the next most correlated variable to wide receiver DFS points. In 2018, eight of the top-10 scoring wide receivers on DraftKings also were in the top-10 in receptions.
So when you build your DFS lineups, you will want to find receivers that are going to get the catches. To determine who will get those receptions, you must find which pass catchers are getting the targets within an offense.
Using Targets in DFS
A common theme among DFS players is to rely solely on targets as the measure on whether to use a certain wide receiver. And on the surface, this makes plenty of sense. In order for a wide receiver to produce daily fantasy points, they must be targeted. So more targets equal more opportunity. And you can make an argument for this. By examining the top weekly scoring wide receiver on DraftKings for the first 16 weeks, 13 of them were targeted in the passing game at least 10 times.
|1||M. Thomas||New Orleans||17|
|4||C. Kupp||Los Angeles||11|
|5||O. Beckham||New York||14|
|6||T. Hill||Kansas City||12|
|7||O. Beckham||New York||11|
|8||S. Watkins||Kansas City||9|
|9||M. Thomas||New Orleans||15|
|10||T. Hill||Kansas City||10|
|11||T. Hill||Kansas City||14|
|13||K. Allen||Los Angeles||19|
Targets are the most predictable stat for wide receivers while receptions and yards are a by-product of those targets. But there is a better measure than just targets to use when deciding on using a wide receiver in your DFS lineup.
Using Target Market Share
A better way to measure a wide receiver’s involvement in the passing game is to examine the market share of the targets. Rather than use total targets, by using the market share it will show a more sticky result and paint a more clear picture. In fact, by taking a closer look at the top-10 scoring wide receivers on DraftKings for the 2018 season, it provides a very clear path to wide receiver success.
|Player||Team||DraftKings Points||Target Market Share|
|T. Hill||Kansas City||340||23.4%|
|D. Adams||Green Bay||332.6||26.4%|
|M. Thomas||New Orleans||320.5||28.3%|
|M. Evans||Tampa Bay||294.4||22.1%|
|R. Woods||Los Angeles||271.6||22.8%|
All of the top-10 scoring wide receivers saw at least 22% of their team’s total passes thrown their way. This tells a better story than just total targets.
Putting It All Together
The easiest way to use these metrics to select your wide receivers is pretty simple. You are going to want to pay up at the position. The 16 weekly top DFS scorers at wide receiver had an average salary of $7,581 on FanDuel. While their average salary on DraftKings was $6,981.
Unlike the quarterback and running back position, it is tough to find value at wide receiver. So you will use those positions to save salary so that you can afford to go up at the wide receiver position. And when you do be sure to target wide receivers that are going to get yards and receptions. The easiest way to do this is to consider the target market share.
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