There are infinite ways that you can build a DFS team. You can go contrarian, pick players from your favorite team, throw darts randomly, or listen to some idiot on twitter. That’s not going to stop me from presenting another way of putting together a roster. In this case, I’m going to use the trends tool from Fantasy Labs to determine which positions are best to spend money on and which positions in which you can be a little more frugal.
To do this, I broke down each position into different cost buckets at DraftKings. I then looked at their points +/- in reference to their implied points. I also list the consistency, which is a measure of how often that player met or exceeded their point expectation.
Let’s get started.
Quarterbacks at DraftKings with a price of $9000 or more have outperformed their expectation by over four points on average. They have also been the most consistent group in terms of meeting their expected score. If you aren’t going to pay up big for quarterback, the data suggests you should save some money and try to find a bargain guy with some upside.
QB’s with prices in the $5000-6900 range have outperformed their brethren in the $7000-8900 range. (Remember, this is in terms of points per dollar, not necessarily total points. But the name of the game is getting the maximum amount of points per dollar so that’s what I’ll highlight here).
For the main Week 1 slate, there are no quarterbacks with the hefty price tag of $9000 or more (Rodgers is highest at $8500). In that case, I would recommend quarterbacks in the lower range of salary and spend on other parts of your roster. Players that fit and that I believe have upside include Tony Romo ($6800), Jameis Winston ($6600), and Robert Griffin III ($5600). Griffin has the lowest price of any projected starter right now and will likely be a popular play in GPP formats.
For running backs, the top tier guys haven’t had the returns that the quarterbacks have. Then again, there have only been 17 instances of a running back having a salary of $9000 or more so the jury could still be out on that trend. If you just looked at running backs with a price of $8000 or more, you would get a points +/- of +2.45 and a consistency of 59.3%.
So while you get the most consistency out of the higher-priced running backs, you can get a lot of positive expected value out of RB’s in the $4000-$4900 range. These are most often filled with backups or players who don’t have a clearly defined role in the offense.
The higher cost running backs that I like for Week 1 include Ezekiel Elliott ($7300) and Lamar Miller ($7000). For the lower-cost guys that could provide a spark, I think Jeremy Hill ($4600) and Chris Ivory ($4300) both fit nicely depending on how the rest of preseason shakes out.
Spend your money on the top receivers. They have the best +/- and consistency of any group. For Week 1, that includes Julio Jones ($9400) and Odell Beckham Jr. ($9300). Normally Antonio Brown would be included in this group, but he’s not included in the main slate since he is playing on Monday night.
Much like the running backs, if you aren’t going to pay full price you can find value in the $4000-$4900 range. Players in this range that I like for Week 1 include Marvin Jones ($4600), Vincent Jackson ($4400), and Travis Benjamin ($4100). I guess you could also add Steve Smith ($4900) to that list because he’s a bad mother****** and I really don’t want to count him out of doing anything.
I may need to re-name the $7000+ group to “Gronk and Friends” because two thirds of the games included were Rob Gronkowski. It’s no different in Week 1 this season with Gronk being priced at $7400 and the next highest tight end being Travis Kelce at $5000. Despite that huge salary jump, the past data shows that “Gronk and Friends” has been worth it at +3.13 point differential and has been the most consistent group as well. The big question is whether or not to trust Gronk without his normal quarterback Tom Brady or whether it will matter at all.
If you don’t take Gronk, there are some cheap options to consider, although tight ends are usually more touchdown dependent than the other positions due to a lack of targets and yards that most receivers get. Players like Delanie Walker ($4500) don’t have the same ceiling as Gronk but for $2900 less, you can spread that surplus salary around to your other positions (like wide receiver!) to improve your roster.
I don’t want to mince words here, so I’ll just say that having defenses as part of a roster is really stupid and terrible. They are the most difficult to project so my philosophy is to just take a really cheap one against a meh quarterback and spend the money elsewhere. If you have multiple entries, mix up your defenses. For Week 1, I like the Browns at $2300. Are the Browns terrible? Yeah, probably. But they are going against Sam Bradford who really likes to throw to the other team so it could be worse.
This ended up about twice as long as I thought it would be. Hopefully you found the data useful or maybe you’ll just ignore it and end up doing your own thing. That’s the fun part about DFS, there’s an infinite way to do things.