Find Your Edge: Week 6

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.

Week 6

Each week we’ve been digging deep into the data for an edge, and this week we’re going to look forward to the next few weeks to figure out the optimal strategies for smaller player pools in bye weeks.

We still only have a couple teams on bye this week. But starting next week we’ll have between 3-5 teams on bye for the next five weeks. You combine the smaller player pool in terms of teams with the inevitable injuries that come with the sport and you’ll have a much different DFS landscape during this section of the season.

Luckily, we have data for the past few years to dig through and see if there are actionable trends for these weeks.

Overall scoring

Over the last few years, we’ve seen scoring decline in the largest tournaments in the coming weeks, so there’s reason to expect the same in 2018.

This makes it logical that building a floor into lineups become a little more difficult, and while we’re always searching for upside, we also need to make sure our lineups have a robust foundation.

Top ownership by week

There are strong trends in ownership during the coming weeks, especially for the top-3 owned players at each position. What you see below is that starting around Week 6 the average ownership for the top players at each position rise. The trend in most pronounced at the RB position, now that workloads are more well defined and some backfields have descended into value-draining timeshares.

RB and WR ownership peaks over the next few weeks. The real question is if we should chase the safety of chalk during these tough times, or fade the crowd to profit.

How winners approach chalk during bye weeks

We’ll try and find the answer for optimal chalk strategy during byes by looking at how winners (top-0.1% of entries) are exposed to the most popular player options in comparison to the field.

What we see is that the ownership exposure for winners to RBs, and to a lesser degree DST and QB, is higher than the field. Therefore winners have taken fewer risks with those positions in order to profit. The opposite is the case of WRs and TEs, positions of high volatility and TD dependence.

The gap for TEs is really huge, meaning that your best strategy for building strong tournaments lineups could be a chalky RB/QB/DST core, joined with more random and lower-owned WRs and TEs.

The optimal approach

Fear not DFS players, we’re going to get through the bye weeks. Don’t kill yourself trying to differentiate from the crowd by finding obscure RBs.

We’re projecting T.J. Yeldon, Melvin Gordon and Christian McCaffrey as the top owned RBs this week, and according to past trends they should give you an edge over the field.

On the other hand, staying away from the top ownership projected WRs and TEs like Julio Jones, Antonio Brown and Cameron Brate might be wise. If you’re looking for more contrarian options, check out my Match Matrix article for the week that gives the top-10 stack options for QB/WR, QB/WR/WR and QB/WR/TE.

About the Author

  • Kevin Cole (colekev)

  • Kevin Cole previously worked on Wall Street as an equity and credit analyst before transitioning to data-related sports analysis. For a number of years, Kevin has specialized in creating predictive sports models that includes published work at Pro Football Focus, Rotoworld, numberFire, and RotoViz. He is now the Director of Data and Analytics at RotoGrinders.


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