Divisional Round: A Venn Diagram
Randall Cobb was the MVP of DFS last weekend. A full 60% of his five receptions went for scores, as he totaled 116 yards on a salary of only $4,000. Not only that, but he was a true game-time decision, so his ownership was extremely low (3.22%). His 37.6 points were more than five clear of the second-highest scoring receiver, Antonio Brown, and three clear of Le’Veon Bell, the second-highest scorer on the whole slate.
So, here’s my question. What percent of lineups with him included on them cashed in the FF Quarter Millionaire? My initial reaction was like 100%. When the highest scorer on the slate is salary relief, and when the obvious chalk he would clear salary space for (Aaron Rodgers) hit big, how could you miss? Then, I considered that he might be paired with Jordy Nelson frequently, the biggest bust of Wildcard Weekend, and I became less certain of myself.
The answer is 76.5%, or 2,112 of the 2,759 lineups with Cobb on them found their way to the top 27% of the field. (Oh yeah. Now that DraftKings moved off that $1,000,000 top prize, their payouts got much more proportional. FYI.) Because I was still curious, I decided to look into Cobb’s interaction with the two big-ticket Packers. Have a look:
When Cobb, and his 75.9% independent cash rate, were paired with the 67.6% rate of Rodgers, it raised the combined rate to 96.8% (Also, only 5.6% of Mr. Run The Table’s lineups paired him with Cobb, a tiny number.) Meanwhile, the cold water of Nelson’s 2.1% independent cash rate drug Cobb’s rate down nearly 45 points to 31.2%. One thing I noticed is that even though Cobb and Rodgers enjoyed independent cash rates which were only 8% apart, being paired with the Nelson’s injury hurt Rodgers much more than Cobb (54.2% drop for Rodgers but only a 44.7% drop for Cobb). Also, you see that Rodgers’ and Nelson’s combined cash rate was half of the overall cash rate (13.4% versus 27.4% for the tournament as a whole). Yet, when they were combined with Cobb, his cash rate was only lowered by 5.5%.
What this tells me is that even though Rodgers beat his position by 15 points, while Cobb only beat his by 5, Cobb’s low price was more of a factor in predicting success than the actual spread of DK points at their position.
Also, circling back to my original guess, if not for 12.1% of Cobb lineups that also included Jordy Nelson, his overall cash percentage would be 79.6%, much lower than 100%, but not that much higher than his 76.5% overall cash rate. One of the reasons that Nelson didn’t dent Cobb’s cash percentage much is that Cobb’s low price allowed him to be paired with another high-priced success. Nearly 60% of the time, when he was paired with Nelson, it was Rodgers, but fitting in Le’Veon, Antonio, or Baldwin was doable as well.
Now, let’s work on finding the Randall Cobb of the Divisional Round.
Here are some of my targets as of Friday morning:
How bad has Eli Manning been this year? When I saw that the Packers held him to under 300 yards last week, despite perfect game flow, I wondered if that meant the Packers pass defense was finally finding itself. Then, I saw he had only thrown for 300 four times all year and realized that 299/1 represented a pretty good game for him. That’s about the moment I felt dumb for playing him. Looking at the whole picture though, with the cold weather, the third-down drops and the three punts from inside of Packer territory, if feels like Eli had a bottom-third to bottom-quarter result, given the circumstances.
When those circumstances (on the road, in the cold) are swapped out for home in a dome, I can’t help but take another taste of that Swiss cheese secondary. Dak threw for three scores in the first meeting, despite three factors working against him: 1) No Dez Bryant, 2) A Blowout-Induced Run-Heavy Game Plan, & 3) Aaron Rodgers struggling, unable to keep up. All three of those flip this week, which means we could see a bit of a shootout, with possible catch-up time late, and with all of Dak’s weapons at the ready.
Even if you’ve got another signal caller in mind, Dez is a must. Like, sauna in a sweater musty. Gotta do it. Hear me out.
vs PHI – 35% // at CLE – 14% (blowout) //at PIT – 28% // vs BAL – 23% // vs WAS – 30% // at MIN – 33% // at NYG – 24% // vs TB – 28% // vs DET – 25% // Week 17 – Hardly Played
Now, when Green Bay forces Dallas to open it up a bit, a huge percentage of a larger number of attempts equates out to a Do Not Fade situation. That he’s on par with the most athletic receivers in the league in the best matchup possible becomes almost an afterthought. Ten-plus targets at $6,600 is good enough.
Jared Cook, $3,900 AT DAL
Bringing it back is tricky though. The Cowboys will get Morris Claiborne back, and Anthony Brown has played better of late. The Cowpokes basically pitched shutout against the Eagles’ wide receivers in Week 17 and their last 100-yard receiving game allowed to a wideout was on Thanksgiving.
But everyone has a weakness, and Dallas’ is so obvious, it reminds me of King Hippo from :
They’ve allowed 120 tight end receptions, when only two other teams have allowed 95 or more. The last time they took the field, they allowed a ridiculous 13/139/2 game. Before that, 8/93. Week 15, it was 5/73/1. Rudolph had a disappointing 6-for-45 on a Thursday night before that, and in the preceding game, the tight end line was 10/95/2. What a great time for Rodgers to have some vacated Nelson targets to spread around.
LeGarrette Blount, $5,800 VS HOU – Sometimes, less is more.
Julian Edelman, $6,800 VS HOU – Thir. Teen. Over the last seven weeks, Edelman is averaging 13 targets per game. Unfortunately, the seven scores he had in nine games last year is looking more and more like an aberration than something we should expect to see again, but with that sort of volume, his upside is double-digit receptions and a three-point yardage bonus. Frankly, when you chase upside that way, and you fail, it’s a soft floor to land on.
Also, with the Patriots, you don’t really worry about matchups, as they impose their will on everyone. That said, Houston’s outside guys, Bouye and Joseph, are tough. The middle of the field, where Edelman roams, is the softest spot in the defense. All this talk of softness makes me want to take a nap.
By the way, that thirteen, that’s eight targets per game and then, as a bonus, five more targets (a.k.a. Tyreek Hill’s average weekly volume over the last five weeks). Click him into your lineup on Friday the 13th, just because…
Dak. Dez. Cook. Blount. Edelman. Everything else is still negotiable.
Ezekiel Elliott ($8,500 VS GB) is such an obvious value for $2,000 less than Le’Veon Bell ($10,500 AT KC), but you’d have to be prepared to run a Dallas Full House out there. (You guys. ”Onslaught” is #NotGood. Can we not…)
That said, anytime you can plug in a guy with 50-point upside, and that people have an excuse to not play, it’s worth considering. Le’Veon has just that upside. When you look up “Pay Up To Be Contrarian” in the dictionary, this very well might be the situation you see.
If I settle for a back so uninspiring that he’s not worth mentioning here, those extra dollars will surely go to Doug Baldwin ($8,100 AT ATL), whose slot versus Atlanta draw is one of the best on the slate. Also, last week, he had 11 catches on 11 targets, with one incompletion, and he put the “ass” in “pass reception.” What does he have in store for his encore? Pony up to find out!
In honor of the first season of Friday Night Live, here’s my current
3) Terrance Williams, $3,100 VS GB – Sometimes, you just need a guy that’s less than $3,900. He’s that, with some upside.
2) Eli Rogers, $3,900 AT KC – I have a sinking feeling Ben throws it more than 18 times this go around…
1) Paul Richardson, $4,100 AT ATL – Not to blaspheme against one of the God’s of #DraftTwitter, but is it possible that Richardson fills the “Lockett-role” better than Lockett did? He’s a former second round pick, so the skills are there. He’s settled into a nice little red zone role. Atlanta couldn’t cover a twin-sized bed if they had a king-sized sheet.
Patriots, $4,000 VS HOU – It seems I’m at loggerheads with Le’Veon and the Pats D. Only one person can stay, and as of now, it’s Bell. If not New England, I’m tending to Kansas City, at full strength against an uncharacteristically sloppy Ben Roethlisberger. If the punt is needed, I’m playing Atlanta at home over each of the three defenses more expensive than them, even if I have the money. They give up points in bundles, but the sacks are there, which makes a 9-pointer very feasible.
With that, I bid you adieu. Find your Cobb, my friends. Find your Cobb.