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Identifying potential Week 4 blowup performances for DFS

In its most boiled-down form, DFS involves the process of 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.

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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 the historical opportunity they have been afforded. 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. 

My write-ups for Week 3 focused on low-salary plays with upside. Injury situations hurt some of our best prospects either before or during games. I don’t make any adjustments for injuries — simply letting the model sort through previous routes run. Last week, the model was high on Allen Robinson, Michael Gallup (on Fanduel) and Tyler Lockett (on Yahoo — all of whom came through in big ways. Let’s dive into the best plays, according to the blowup model, while providing some context on how to attack these situations in DFS. 


Josh Allen has been distributing targets evenly to all pass-catchers. The good news is that the Bills' offense has no capable pass-catching tight ends, but the third receiver and running back targets are cutting into Diggs' and John Brown’s opportunities. Diggs has a 25.5% target share but is the preferred deep threat, with over 30% of the team's air yards.

Diggs has the fifth-highest percentage chance to blow up in Week 4. This matchup could go overlooked from a DFS perspective, as it is tied for the sixth-highest total on the main slate. Buying Diggs after his lowest target total in a potential shootout could be the key differentiator on this week’s slate.

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