Find Your Edge: Week 10
Director of Data and Analytics, Kevin Cole, returns with a look at how past DFS slates can yield valuable insights to roster construction, decision making, and winning strategies for the coming slate of games. This is a big deal. We’ve collected a massive amount of data on past DFS slates, and Kevin is going to help you “find the edge” buried deep within them.
This week I’m going to look back into the format that is making a huge mark on the DFS landscape: NFL single-game Showdown.
If you hadn’t noticed, I’ve dedicated a lot of time and resources into providing some of the most actionable information out there for Showdown contests in our dedicated hub.
What you’ll find in the hub’s individual matchup writeup and the broader posts on different game profiles are numbers based on the actual results from hundreds of similar historical matchups.
While I still believe using similar historical matchups from the past ten years is a great way to project what will happen, there’s also value in checking in on the actual Showdown contest results to see if they align with our expectations.
In the tables below, I’m going to look at the numbers for the biggest contests from each of the 45 Showdown slates so far this year. I’m calling top-0.1% entires “Winners” and comparing those player allocations to the averages for the field.
Again, this is a straight comparison of top-0.1% entries versus the field.
Winners have used WR1, RB1 and QB roughly equally in the CPT slot at around 21%. This matches our expectation for normal game profiles to have those as the top three.
Winners have benefitted most from the field by using a higher allocation of WR1 at CPT, harnessing the volatility in that position.
The rest of the differences between winners and the field are fairly small, with TE1 underperforming likely being more small-sample noise than actionable information.
Total roster allocations
This table has a little more detail when comparing the winners to the field.
Columns with “Two” include entries that had that position from both teams in the lineup. “One” columns include entries that only had that position from one team in the lineup.
I think there’s a lot more actionable here than in the CPT allocations.
First, doubling up at QB, RB1 and WR1 (slightly) all produced positive leverage for winners. You don’t want to read too much into 40-something contests, but I believe there will continue to be value using two QBs or two RB1s.
It’s logical that the field will want to avoid betting on both RB1s, with the assumption that game flow in one direction will limit the ability for both teams’ RB1s paying off.
The same thought could be true for QBs, though that might be more about a lack of appreciation for how much scoring you get from the ability to roster two QBs.
The great performances of kickers in Showdown contests has been a storyline all season, and the numbers show outperformance of winners who rostered two of them. Winners have rostered two kickers almost twice as much as the field, and this also is a trend that could continue going forward.
My one concern with betting too heavily on two kickers going forward is that the fact it’s become a talking point might offset any benefit from doing so.
What we’ve learned so far from the results of 2018 Showdown contests mostly matches with our expectations.
It does look like there is still value to be gained by fading contrarianism and rostering more WR1 as CPT, and using more lineups with two QBs or RB1s.
What’s still important is to look at the dynamics of individual matchups, which is what we’re doing in our showdown hub.