Adam Levitan projects ownership for every NFL DFS player each week in the FantasyLabs Player Models. Gauging ownership is important when it comes to tournaments so you can try to gain leverage on the field. You don’t need a team of 1%-owned players to win a tournament, but it’s also unlikely you’ll win a tournament with an abundance of highly-owned players.
The goal of this article is to give a brief rundown of the players we project to be the highest owned heading into the week, along with how they can affect roster construction. And just to get you thinking about the slate and roster construction in general.
Be sure to check the ownership projections throughout the week, as breaking news can cause these to fluctuate.
Note: Ownership percentages as of Saturday morning.
To nobody’s surprise, Lamar Jackson leads the way in our ownership projections, followed by Patrick Mahomes against the Raiders. Jackson has been smashing this season, boasting three-straight games with 30 or more DraftKings points, and Mahomes owns the slate’s highest implied team total.
If people opt to pay for them in tournaments, paying down at quarterback could offer some leverage at this position. Rostering Jared Goff wouldn’t be paying down that much, but he does have a positive Leverage Plus/Minus, and the Rams have the fifth-highest implied team total.
People have been hammering the matchup against the Cardinals all season, but he may see nearly no ownership after a few down games.
Christian McCaffrey and Miles Sanders have the two highest ownership projections on both sites. However, Sanders’ will depend on the status of Jordan Howard (shoulder). Howard is listed as questionable and hasn’t been cleared for contact at the time of writing.
After those two running backs, Saquon Barkley, Le’Veon Bell, Leonard Fournette and Jonathan Williams all look to be in the mix in the next tier of ownership. Of this group, Barkley is the only one who possesses a positive Leverage Plus/Minus on both sites, while Fournette does on DraftKings.
One intriguing tournament pivot to me is Aaron Jones, whose workload doesn’t stand out compared to some of these guys, but he’s in a good offense, in a good matchup. He carries a top-four Leverage Plus/Minus on both sites, and there were some rumblings from the Packers that he needs to see more touches.
I’d expect most rosters to start with CMC and Sanders and build out from there.
It’s not too often that we get receivers projected for 31-40% in large-field tournaments, but that’s where we are with Davante Adams, and deservedly so. He’s seen 33 targets since his return from his toe injury, and he draws one of the best matchups on the board. In tournaments, I’d at least want to be even with the field in terms of exposure, or slightly underweight. Personally, I’ll be starting cash game rosters with CMC and Adams… as most people likely are.
Tyreek Hill also carries a 31-40% projection on FanDuel, where he’s considerably cheaper with his 99% Bargain Rating. He’s in a nuclear spot against a burnable Raiders secondary.
As I mentioned with the quarterbacks, I like Goff as a leverage play, which brings me to Cooper Kupp. Kupp is $100 more than Adams and $200 cheaper on FanDuel. With Adams expected to carry such high ownership, Kupp’s ownership should be incredibly low at a similar price point. The slot is one of the places where we’ve been targeting the Cardinals all year, but Kupp has been struggling with Goff’s downward spiral. I’d have to think if the Rams haven’t been catastrophically bad of late, Kupp would have higher ownership in this spot. Recency bias at it’s finest.
Sterling Shepard is next in line which makes sense considering he goes back to his role in the slot with Golden Tate (concussion) ruled out. There are a bunch of vacated targets in this offense with Tate and Evan Engram (foot) out. Shepard could be a worthwhile GPP fade with one of the worst Leverage Plus/Minus scores on the slate.
There are a lot of plays in the mid-range this week in Shepard, Dede Westbrook and Tyler Boyd. My favorite leverage play in this range is Alshon Jeffery, who was removed from the injury report this week. The Dolphins have been shredded through the air, and Zach Ertz (hamstring, questionable) could potentially be out. As I was writing this, the Eagles promoted a tight end from their practice squad.
People may be hesitant to play Jeffery coming off an ankle injury, so his ownership is checking in incredibly low right now. He carries a top-two Leverage Plus/Minus on both sites.
Earlier in the week, it looked like Jack Doyle was going to be the cheap tight end of choice with Eric Ebron (ankle) going to injured reserve. Then, Gerald Everett was ruled out, putting Tyler Higbee in play at $2,500 on DraftKings. He’s not as appealing at $5,500 on FanDuel but still in play. In a week where we want to get CMC locked in, Higbee’s cheap price opens up a lot.
Higbee has the highest ownership projection on DraftKings, where Travis Kelce leads the way at 17-20% on FanDuel.
Kelce offers some leverage on DraftKings given the tighter salary constraints there, making him an intriguing tournament play on that site. If Ertz is ruled out, Dallas Goedert should be in the mix with Doyle and Darren Waller as the tight ends with middling ownership.
Meanwhile, George Kittle and Hunter Henry have some of the highest Leverage Plus/Minuses on the slate among tight ends.
As usual, there aren’t any standout defensive plays. The Panthers, Eagles, Browns and Chargers are all in the mix for the higher end of the ownership spectrum.
Of that group, only the Jaguars have a neutral or positive Leverage Plus/Minus.
Pictured above: Cooper Kupp
Photo Credit: USA Today