The key to success in daily fantasy sports is research. With our Trends tool, research is easy.
Ceiling (and Floor) Projections
(Written the Friday before kickoff)
You may have missed an upgrade we made to the site a few weeks ago involving the way we make our NFL ceiling and floor projections. In summary, when we create ceiling and floor projections now, we are using game comps as the basis.
In other words, we locate 30 players with projections similar to that of the target player, and then we average out the results of that cohort. When we say that the projections are “similar,” we aren’t looking at the final raw projections, but rather what goes into the projection in terms of rushing yards, targets, rushing attempts, etc. Tom Brady and Cam Newton may both be projected to score 20 points in a given weekend, but they would not be matches for each other because their profiles are so different. The FantasyLabs concept of “ceiling” remains the same — we are still looking for the score that we project the player to exceed 15 percent of the time — but how we project ceiling is different now.
With that in mind, I’m going to look for players who have high ceiling and low ownership projections. (By the way, our ownership projections have been amazingly accurate this year.) You’d think that high-ceiling players would always have high ownership, but that’s not always the case. Sorting by “Ceiling” in Player Models shows that two of the top-six running backs are projected (at the time of this writing) to be owned in no more than four percent of the field:
Now, let’s look at this week’s RB trend:
A couple notes about this trend:
• The Day of Week filter is set to Sunday because our ownership projections are for the main slate on each site.
• The sample is small, primarily because ownership projections were added only this season.
How concerning is that small sample? I certainly wouldn’t take the FanDuel Plus/Minus values and Consistency Ratings as gospel based on 22 results. However, consider the nature of this trend. I’m looking for low-owned high-ceiling players. I’m not as interested in the overall Plus/Minus per se. Rather, I’m trying to hit a home run with enhanced frequency. I think the trend will still be useful in that regard, despite the sample size.
Next, here is this week’s wide receiver trend:
As is the case at RB, among the high-ceiling WRs in Week 14 are both high and low ownership projections. Take a look at the following screenshot and compare some of the projections:
T.Y. Hilton is projected to appear in many more lineups than Jordy Nelson this weekend even though the two players have comparable median and ceiling projections. In large guaranteed prize pools, these are the situations we’d want to exploit, and that’s where this trend comes in handy.
Let’s look quickly at the RBs and WRs who match for this trend.
Wow, there are a lot of players who have 20-point ceilings and low ownership projections. And, remember, these ceiling projections come directly from players with similar projections. In many cases, they are very attainable.
DeMarco Murray is the name that sticks out right away. The low ownership makes sense given that he’s playing against the Broncos, but this is a “sneaky matchup,” as noted by Editor-in-Chief Matthew Freedman in the RB Breakdown. Denver’s RB Opponent Plus/Minus is +0.1 over the last 16 games, making this a fairly neutral matchup overall. Only David Johnson, Le’Veon Bell, and Ezekiel Elliott have ceilings higher than Murray’s.
At wide receiver, Hilton has the highest ownership projection despite facing the Houston Texans and their -1.7 WR Opponent Plus/Minus. In the list above are several low-owned options worth rostering.
(Written Sunday night after games)
There were quite a few matches this week, so I picked some of the more notable performances to highlight. The low ownership among RBs was there in almost every instance. Of course, it did not help that one of the highest-owned options, Le’Veon Bell, posted one of the top five all-time NFL DFS performances. However, Kelley and Gore in particular did well as No. 2 RBs, each doubling their salary-based implied point totals with less than four percent ownership.
Weather concerns (Nelson, Sammy Watkins, and Jarvis Landry) and quarterback concerns (Demaryius Thomas) helped keep ownership down for these WRs, but the ceilings remained intact. On a day when WR scoring was a bit suppressed overall, these WRs provided some serviceable performances. The WR chalk was a mixed bag of strong and weak performances: Emmanuel Sanders and Hilton did well while Antonio Brown and Mike Evans underperformed for a large portion of the field.
The new PECOTA-based ceiling system we use is just another way to look for an edge using our Player Models. By comparing present players with past players in similar situations, we can better understand a player’s true range of outcomes. When using this precedent-based approach alongside our ownership projections, we have the power to uncover high-upside plays with great value in GPPs.