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Identifying potential Week 13 blowup performances for DFS

Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Houston Texans wide receiver Brandin Cooks (13) celebrates after catching a touchdown pass during the second half against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

In its most boiled-down form, DFS involves identifying the highest-scoring players at each position in a given week. With close to 20 playable options at the quarterback and tight end positions, along with even more at the running back and wide receiver positions, it is a feat in itself to identify one position correctly.

To finish at the top of a DFS contest, you must hit on basically all skill positions and circumvent the randomness associated with selecting defenses. Doing all of this while also fitting under the confines of a salary cap makes DFS one of the most difficult setups to beat consistently, especially in large-field tournaments.

Being first and foremost a data company, PFF has the ability to build and train models not only on public data but also PFF specific data, such as receiving grades and pass routes run, among a litany of other variables. Utilizing specific variables, we can build a model tuned to predict performances where a pass-catcher goes over a certain site-specific scoring threshold. This threshold is defined at 25 DraftKings, 20 FanDuel or 20 Yahoo receiving fantasy points.

This model provides the percentage chance that each receiver will meet or exceed our fantasy-point threshold for the site given their historical opportunity. The model won’t be right on every player, but it is useful in identifying the performances that we want to unearth in our DFS lineups. 

The only thing that mattered in Week 12 was Tyreek Hill and his 60.9 fantasy points at 24.4% ownership. Other nice-to-haves were Jarvis Landry, Justin Jefferson and A.J. Brown. It was the mid-to-high priced wide receiver options that came through in Week 12, with our model missing out on a few of the top performances. Jefferson was the top play from the blowup model on the weekend, but with Adam Thielen being out, he quickly turned chalky at 22.6% ownership. 

Neither top-priced tight end option came close to paying off their salary, with the tier below being the correct approach in Week 12. 

Totals continue to trend down, as the mean this week is the fourth-lowest of 2020. This sits right next to the mean we had last week, with few high-end options. Only three games above 50 are on the main slate, with no clear top option to target for DFS. This should once again spread ownership out among numerous pass-catching options.

Let’s take a look at the best bets to blow up on the main slate for DFS Week 13. 


Adams has now scored at least one touchdown in each of his past six games, offering an unmatched floor at the wide receiver position. Last week was still a relatively quiet performance for him, but he did convert on all six of his catchable targets. He once again saw over 100 air yards, with a 47% air-yard share. 

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