Fantasy News & Analysis

Premium Content Sign Up

DFS data dive: The highest fantasy ceilings of NFL Week 15

Sep 10, 2020; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) hands off to running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire (25) during the first half against the Houston Texans at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

One of the advantages of being a “data scientist” is that everyone assumes you know what you’re talking about. While that has its privileges, more important to the craft is the ability to leverage statistical programming packages like R and Python and apply them to almost any question that can be answered through data.

I publish analyses on the single-game DraftKings showdown slates that use the combination of current projections, historical game results and similarity algorithms to simulate an upcoming game by looking back at the most similar historical matchups. In this analysis, I’m taking the same outline and applying it instead to the DFS main slate by projecting the likelihood each individual QB, RB, WR, TE and DST option will be the highest-scoring of the slate. In doing this, we can find the unlikely tournament plays who may not have been on your radar.

Editor's note: Now available to all PFF ELITE subscribers, the NFL DFS Optimizer gives both new and die-hard DFS players an opportunity to generate optimized single lineups and multiple lineups for DFS tournaments and contests on DraftKings, FanDuel and Yahoo DFS.

British statistician George E.P. Box once said, “All models are wrong, but some are useful,” and that’s the mind frame you should bring to this analysis. The numbers below are not “right” in the traditional sense of maximizing accuracy, which would only mimic the recommendations you’ll find throughout the DFS toutersphere. The numbers below are harnessing the unexpected connections and reactions between players that have actually happened over the past several years and thereby points to under/overvalued players that won’t be identified through traditional projections and logical deduction.

METHODOLOGY

For each game on the DFS Sunday main slate, I looked through thousands of NFL matchups from 2014-2020 and found the closest analogies according to the following parameters: betting spread, over/under, average fantasy points scoring for the top-ranked positional players of both rosters (QB1, RB1, WR1, TE1).

Once I find the 75 most similar matchups for each upcoming game, I then simulate the main slate 10K times by randomly choosing one of the 75 matchups for each game and then find the highest-scoring QB, RB, WR, TE and DST on the entire slate.

Every match of historical and current games is not perfect, but by matching 75 different matchups to each game and simulating 10K times we can smooth out the bumps and get a strong picture of how a slate of similar games would have played out.

The last step is totaling up the number of times that a particular team shows up as the top option for the slate at each position and divide by the total simulations. That number is what I call “highest-scoring %” in the bar charts below labeled by team. Below the bar charts by team, I join the highest projected player on that team for the position and list his projected fantasy points and salaries for DraftKings and FanDuel.

QUARTERBACKS

Subscribe to PFF Edge to continue reading

Already have a subscription? Sign In

Know tomorrow, today. Western Southern Financial Group.
Sponsor

Fantasy Featured Tools

  • Sort projected player stats and fantasy points by position, week, and category.

    Available with

    Edge
  • Available with

    Edge
  • PFF's Fantasy Football Expected Points tool is primarily used for identifying potential over and undervalued players.

    Available with

    Elite
  • Research past fantasy performance with sortable player stats including PFF-exclusives like aDOT and fantasy points per opportunity.

    Available with

    Edge
  • PFF’s Fantasy Strength of Schedule (SoS) metric provides a league-wide, season-long view of opponent matchups for each fantasy position.

    Available with

    Edge
Pro Subscriptions

Unlock NFL Player Grades, Fantasy & NFL Draft

$9.99 / mo
$39.99 / yr

Unlock Premium Stats, PFF Greenline & DFS

$34.99 / mo
$199.99 / yr