News & Analysis

A quick guide to playing Pro Bowl DFS

Jan 29, 2017; Orlando, FL, USA; NFC wide receiver of the Seattle Seahawks Doug Baldwin (89) is congratulated by NFC running back Darren Sproles of the Philadelphia Eagles (43) after he scored a td during the second quarter at Citrus Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Pro Bowl is upon us, and if you’re really itching for some DFS action, both DraftKings and FanDuel have you covered with their new single-game formats.

Below is a rundown of the slate if you’re looking to play some DFS this weekend.

With shorter slates, I personally eschew cash games and only play in tournaments. This article is more of a general guide, but I did want to make note of that bias before moving on.

Quarterbacks

Each year at the Pro Bowl, each team gives all three of their quarterbacks decent run in the game. So over the past five years, that means 30 quarterbacks have played at least a couple of series in the game.

Only two of them have ever topped 200 yards (Andrew Luck in 2012, with 205 yards; and Matthew Stafford in 2014, with 316).

Exactly half (15) of the quarterbacks threw for between 100-199 yards. The remaining (13) threw for fewer than 100 yards.

There have only been two occasions of quarterbacks throwing for three touchdowns in the Pro Bowl (Russell Wilson did it both times). On eight occasions, quarterbacks threw for two touchdowns.

About half (14) of the quarterbacks threw one touchdowns, while only six didn’t throw for any scores.

The takeaway: Odds are, your quarterback will throw for between 100-199 yards and just one score. There’s no need to pay up at the position, unless word comes out that a specific option will play an entire half.

Running backs

Running backs almost never do anything on the ground in the Pro Bowl. Over the past five seasons, only one individual running back has topped 50 yards (Mark Ingram with 72 in the 2014 game).

Only three running backs have rushed for a score during the Pro Bowl — including just one in the past three seasons.

The takeaway: There’s no need to pay up for a good rusher in the Pro Bowl.

Actually, you should simply aim for running backs who specialize through the air. Receiving backs to tend to see decent work in the Pro Bowl.

Jay Ajayi had five receptions last year, tied for the AFC team lead — while Darren Sproles caught four balls, second-best for the NFC squad. In 2015, Devonta Freeman, Todd Gurley, and Darren Sproles all scored receiving touchdowns.

You should be targeting running backs with receiving chops this weekend.

Wide receiver

The wideout position is wildly volatile in the Pro Bowl. Teams don’t run the ball often and there are so many pass-catchers running routes, that no single player is likely to stand out.

In fact, among receivers, only 2015 Allen Robinson (2-105-1) and 2012 A.J. Green (7-119-3) had over 100 yards over the past five years.

Volume is typically evenly distributed; most receivers will catch between 2-5 catches. And the vast majority of receivers have at least a 20-yard reception by the end of the game.

You shouldn’t expect too many touchdowns, though. In fact, over the past five years, only 2012 A.J. Green (3), 2012 Vincent Jackson (2), and 2014 Emmanuel Sanders (2) have multiple receiving touchdowns among receivers, and there have only been 12 receivers who scored at least one touchdown.

Based on these odds, your receiver is more likely not to score than to score. So that means if you’re looking to take down a GPP, you really need to hit on a receiver who will score, otherwise you’ll find yourself well behind.

The takeaway: At the wideout position, you should target deep threats and red-zone threats. Chain-movers won’t see the type of volume they do in real games, and the 30-plus-yard touchdowns should be raining down, meaning you’ll want some speedsters on your team.

Tight ends

Tight end can be fantastic in the Pro Bowl. Over the past four seasons, tight ends have scored as many touchdowns in the Pro Bowl as wide receivers (11).

This stat is particularly noteworthy when you remember that there are far more wide receivers to choose than tight ends.

In the Pro Bowl, there’s little difference in volume between tight ends and wide receivers. But remember what I noted above: You should target deep threats or red-zone threats. Tight ends firmly fit into the latter category.

If you’re choosing between any position-agnostic slot for this weekend — like the “Offense” position on DraftKings or the “Flex” position on FanDuel — then you should really eye tight ends.

You can save a ton of money by doing this. For example, on FanDuel Antonio Brown is $14,000, while Jimmy Graham — the most expensive tight end — is nearly half the price, at $7,500. Tight ends are also much cheaper on DraftKings.

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