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Identifying potential Week 5 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.

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 given. 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.

Week 4 was tuned in, to put it lightly. Odell Beckham Jr. and Amari Cooper led the wide receiver position in fantasy scoring and were plays identified by the model. D.J. Chark Jr. and Mike Evans were the only top-end plays that were not represented in the model expectation of an outsized performance. The only real miss was Brandin Cooks, who burned DFS lineups with his zero-point performance. Let’s dive into the best plays for Week 5 and provide some context on how to attack these situations in DFS.

CALVIN RIDLEY ($7,500)

Ridley experienced his first down week of the 2020 season and still saw over 100 targeted air yards. His injury situation is trending toward a game-time decision. Numerous other questionable tags are littered amongst this receiving corps, which could lead to an increase in usage and opportunity for those able to play.

This could also impact ownership — which is needed since Ridley projects as the second-most owned wide receiver in Week 5. The game script and matchup are both positive, so if Ridley is able to play — and other injury news breaks poorly for the Falcons — he should be in line for all the work he can handle in a potential shootout.

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