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.
This is an interesting week at quarterback where there’s really nobody I am chomping at the bit to play. This is also apparent in our ownership projections with nobody projected for more than 13-16% ownership except for Deshaun Watson on FanDuel.
Otherwise, ownership looks like it’ll be spread out between Watson, Lamar Jackson, Sam Darnold and Jameis Winston. There should also be a mix Ryan Tannehill, Derek Carr and Ryan Fitzpatrick, among others.
My favorite leverage play at quarterback is Matt Ryan, who I discussed in my ceiling projection article.
The running back position is the biggest decision point for DFS players this week, granted that’s true for most weeks.
Christian McCaffrey, Alvin Kamara and Melvin Gordon are projected for the most ownership on DraftKings and FanDuel. Leonard Fournette is also up there on FanDuel. As usual, CMC has the highest projection at 26-30% on DraftKings and 21-25% on FanDuel.
If you decide to fade him on DraftKings, you can make a bit more unique lineups since his price points will force people on to similar value plays. That said, there are multiple ways to go this week, so there are still other lineup variations you can deploy to differentiate from the field.
I’d expect most players to start their lineups on DraftKings rostering two of CMC, Gordon, Kamara or Devonta Freeman.
A potential leverage play on DraftKings could be Austin Ekeler for $100 less than Gordon. Ekeler is still somewhat involved, playing around 53% of the snaps and averaging 11.3 touches per game over the last four weeks. With an ownership projection of 2-4%, it won’t take much to overweight yourself relative to the field. Even 5% exposure would do it, and he boasts a top-seven Leverage Plus/Minus.
Joe Mixon also carries a positive Leverage Plus/Minus, and he’s one of seven running backs on the main slate who is seeing over 20 touches per game over the last four weeks. It’s just not quite a GPP play unless it makes you squirm when you plug him into your roster.
Mark Ingram is also an excellent leverage play. Matthew Freedman goes in-depth on him in his running back breakdown.
Davante Adams and Michael Thomas both project to be the highest owned receivers on the slate. Adams is still underpriced and Thomas is still probably too cheap relative to how he’s used in this offense despite the matchup against the 49ers.
Following them is Mike Evans, Odell Beckham and Mike Williams (DraftKings). OBJ offers almost no leverage in tournaments based off what our models are showing, potentially making him an easy tournament fade. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Williams be one of the higher owned value receivers on DraftKings considering we need some value there to get to CMC.
Among the receivers who are projected to see at least 9-25% ownership, there are only three that are showing positive Leverage Plus/Minuses. Those three are Evans, DeAndre Hopkins and Julian Edelman.
D.J. Moore has also been crushing, seeing 12, 9, 15, 11, 10 targets over his last five games. Moore boasts a top-five Leverage Plus/Minus on both sites.
Ian Thomas is projected as the highest-owned tight end both sites, which makes sense considering he’s minimum salary on DraftKings and FanDuel. In cash games, I plan on locking him in because I don’t buy into the Panthers saying they want to use a committee approach. Alex Armah is a fullback and Chris Manhertz is mostly a blocker, so this sounds like peak coach speak to me. Thomas went 4-24 on four targets last week on 43% of snaps after Greg Olsen left the game.
Jack Doyle is next in line at 17-20% ownership on both sites. Doyle is in a good spot on a Colts team that has limited pass-catching options. Given the volatility of the tight end position and the high ownership ship projections, Thomas and Doyle aren’t offering much leverage on this slate.
Hunter Henry is the tight end I’d most likely want to be overweight on compared to the field after he just put up a dud against the Packers. Austin Hooper is also an elite tournament option who shouldn’t catch hardly any ownership with his high price tag, along with coming off a knee injury. He was one of the Falcons’ best touchdown threats before going down. It won’t be hard to overweight yourself on the field with his projected low ownership.
The Jets and Colts are currently projecting for the highest defensive ownership but only at 13-16%. I loathe selecting a defense and wish they’d add a superflex to add some more strategy behind roster construction.
Anyway, my favorite leverage plays at defense are the Vikings, Packers and Ravens. All own positive Leverage Plus/Minuses and are large favorites that may present more sack and turnover opportunities.
Pictured above: D.J. Moore
Photo Credit: USA Today