Fade the chalk — easier said than done after a week of commentary about who the best DFS plays are for Week 1 of the NFL season. So it comes down to fading the appropriate options while identifying the players who are still flying under the radar. Our offseason series on DFS ownership can help not only in identifying what causes certain players to be highly owned but also the appropriate situations to avoid for DFS GPPs.
PFF's ownership report that monitors DraftKings and FanDuel ownership levels leading up to kickoff is an added element. This is a worthwhile tool that can help you decide which players to include or not include in DFS lineups. Of course, simply fading a player because he is highly owned won’t lead to lasting results in DFS. Understanding why certain players should be avoided while targeting the ones undervalued by the market is the best path to long-term success.
Week 1 is a different setup than the rest of the regular season. Historically, this has played out at the quarterback position with a high amount of players owned in the 10% range for Week 1 compared to all other weeks.
As the graph shows, we see next to no quarterbacks owned at a rate greater than 15% over the past three seasons for Week 1 contests. In general, it is rarely worthwhile to fade a quarterback solely because of ownership, no matter what week it is. There are so many playable options at the position — ownership is spread out to the point where it doesn’t matter much as a basis for decision-making.
For the remaining skill positions, we see little difference in the density of ownership when we compare Week 1 to the remaining regular-season weeks. Typically, Week 1 has been a situation where early pricing misses on a handful of value plays that see highly concentrated ownership once their volume projections become more accurate and defined with preseason action. This year could be different as the lack of preseason football may not allow concentrated ownership on a few preseason darlings.
We do see a few more players fall into the 20% ownership range than in the remaining regular season weeks. We also see a few highly owned players like Dalvin Cook and Adam Thielen in 2019, Alvin Kamara in 2018 and Todd Gurley and Zach Ertz in 2017. Besides Christian McCaffrey, no player is projected for greater than 30% ownership, but there are a few value plays at both running back and wide receiver who could continue to see their projected ownership rise.
Let’s take a look at some of the projected highest-owned players for the main slate, along with some possible pivots off of these players at similar price points.