Supermodel Tyra Banks has amassed $95M in earnings throughout her 30-year career.
Similarly, I have a model. It’s super – a true thing of beauty. And, while it hasn’t earned $95M, it has made me quite a bit of money over the years.
That model is the DFS SuperModel. Each week it will highlight the top-25 most mispriced players on both DraftKings and FanDuel. While I can’t tell you what exactly goes into the DFS SuperModel, I can tell you what does not go into it – namely, our projections. For the most part, you should be deferring to those – primarily the FPTS/$ column you’ll find here – or use both together.
That’s what I’ll be doing in this article, using both resources to help me highlight the top main slate DFS Value Plays in any given week. Here’s Week 13:
Note: This is just the first-pass publish of the DFS SuperModel. The SuperModel and our projections will continue to update throughout the remainder of the week. (Saturday PM at the latest.)
David Montgomery, RB, Chicago Bears
Model (DK: +1,284 / FD: +1,207)
David Montgomery chalk week? Gross, I know, but that looks likely to be the case in Week 13. Per the DFS SuperModel, he ranks as the top-overall value on both DraftKings ($1,284) and FanDuel ($1,207). Here’s what we had to say about him in Start/Sit:
“Montgomery is understandably tough to trust, even coming off of the best game of his career last week, but he is seeing terrific usage. Since Week 5, he’s played on 80% of the team’s snaps, averaging 14.8 carries, 5.3 targets, 18.2 XFP (3rd-most), and 15.0 FPG (13th-most). And he gets an even better matchup this week – the Lions are allowing opposing RBs (collectively) to out-score their per-game average by a league-high 9.3 FPG. They rank worst in total FPG allowed (33.0), 2nd-worst in receiving FPG allowed (13.8), and 3rd-worst in rushing FPG allowed (19.3) to opposing RBs. He’s a high-end RB2 this week.”
He's no doubt a phenomenal value in DFS, but he’s also an easy fade for large-field tournaments if he’s likely to be one of the highest-owned RBs of the slate. The reason is simple – when has a chalky Montgomery ever hit in DFS? The answer is never. Last week’s game against the Packers was just the first 25.0-point outing of his 26-game career.
Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers
Model (DK: +556 / FD: +986)
Per the SuperModel, Ekeler ranks as the 2nd-best overall value on FanDuel ($986), and ranks as the 5th-best RB value on DraftKings ($556). On paper, the matchup is slightly better than neutral. Opposing RBs are out-scoring their per-game average by 1.0 FPG when facing New England. But the main attraction with Ekeler is volume. That, alongside price and a long history of hyper-efficiency and sustained success. Here’s what we had to say about him in the Week 13 XFP Report:
“Heading into Week 12, Ian Rapoport reported Ekeler “would not be the bell cow just yet.” And sort of like when he said James Conner would be in a committee in Week 2, or that Christian McCaffrey would be in a committee in Week 9, or that Jalen Hurts would see a major upsurge in usage in Week 12,,,, he was wrong. Yeah, for future reference, feel free to safely ignore any of his reports that are not also backed up by Adam Schefter.
Ekeler was a bell cow in Week 12, with Kalen Ballage out, playing on 73% of the team’s snaps (5th-most on the week), and earning 14 carries and 16 targets. Better yet, he led all players in XFP, totaling 35.3. He wasn’t very efficient on that good volume, scoring just 23.9 fantasy points, but this was about a week early as it relates to his injury timeline, and he’s long been one of the most efficient RBs in fantasy, so don’t be too concerned in that regard.”
“Through 4 healthy games, Ekeler is averaging 15.3 carries, 8.0 targets, 20.5 XFP, and 21.0 FPG. If over a full season, those numbers would rank 12th, 1st, 2nd, and 4th-best among RBs. In other words, he’s seeing even better usage than he saw through the first 4 weeks of last season during Melvin Gordon’s holdout. Over that stretch, he averaged 26.8 FPG – the only player coming anywhere near Christian McCaffrey during that span. He averaged 71% of the snaps (vs. 67% now), along with 14.0 carries and 6.3 targets per game. From Weeks 5-17, those numbers dropped to 53%, 6.3, and 6.9, respectively. And still, he rounded out that stretch ranking 5th in total fantasy points, averaging 16.8 FPG.
“Might he be a league-winner down the stretch and through the fantasy playoffs in 2020? I think the chances are high.”
James Robinson, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
Model (DK: +692 / FD: +588)
Ekeler is the SuperModel’s 2nd-favorite RB value on FanDuel, but Robinson isn’t too far behind, and he actually ranks ahead of him on DraftKings. His matchup is a little tougher, but mostly just neutral overall – Minnesota ranks 14th-worst in YPC allowed (4.37) and 14th-best in total FPG allowed (22.9) to opposing RBs. Again, like with Ekeler, the draw with Robinson is all about volume. Here’s what we said in the Week 13 XFP Report:
“Robinson went undrafted in 99% of leagues this offseason, but he’s emerged as a quiet superstar and a likely league-winner for those of you who secured him off waivers early in the season.
“Robinson played on 97% of the team’s snaps in Week 11, and he ranks 1st in Snap% since Week 7 (88%). With Chris Thompson on I.R., he’s now a full-on bell cow, and maybe the best example of a true bell cow we have this year. And, for fantasy, that goes a long way. Jacksonville is terrible, game script is consistently horrible, the offense is bad, and the offensive line is even worse. And yet, I’m confident Robinson continues to produce as a mid-range RB1. Why? Because a bell cow RB is the most valuable asset in fantasy.
“Robinson ranks 4th among all RBs in fantasy points, averaging 18.3 FPG. He ranks 7th in total XFP, averaging 15.9 XFP per game. Since Week 7, he ranks 3rd in XFP per game (18.3) and 3rd in FPG (19.5). He’s reached at least 90 yards from scrimmage in each of his 5 games over this span, and has hit that mark in 9 of 11 games this year. Start him as a top-6 fantasy RB against Minnesota this week.”
Brandin Cooks, WR, Houston Texans
Model (DK: +683 / FD: +556)
It's hard to look at Cooks’ $5,600 salary on DraftKings and not want to play him. He’s a top-12 overall value on both sites. Here’s what we said in Start/Sit:
“Since the Bill O’Brien firing in Week 5, Cooks ranks 17th in XFP per game (14.7) and 14th in FPG (16.9). With Will Fuller suspended, he should see even better volume now, but there’s a chance that whatever that amounts to (in XFP) gets offset by a reduction in efficiency (due to an increase in defensive attention). He gets a brutal matchup this week, against a Colts defense that – for the 3rd straight season – ranks top-5 in schedule-adjusted FPG allowed to opposing WR1s. Still, Deshaun Watson is rolling, and you should feel safe starting Cooks as a mid-range WR2.”
All of this being said, like with Montgomery, Cooks is no doubt a top value, but he’s also an easy fade for large-field tournaments if he’s likely to be one of the highest-owned WRs of the slate (and he is). This is a brutal matchup. And Deshaun Watson’s splits with/without Will Fuller are fairly alarming. Since 2018, he’s seen a 21% drop in passing FPG when Fuller has sat out. Of course, over the same span, Hopkins saw his FPG average jump from 19.8 to 21.9 without Cooks. But – and though Bill O’Brien may disagree – I’m not so sure Cooks is in the same ballpark talent-wise as Hopkins.
Michael Pittman, WR, Indianapolis Colts
Model (DK: +657 / FD: +922)
Pittman ranks 17th among slate-eligible WRs in our projections this week, but he ranks just 34th in salary on DraftKings and 33rd on FanDuel. So, uh, yeah – I think this one’s easy. Here’s what we had to say in Start/Sit:
“Pittman – a Fantasy Points-favorite all throughout Draft season – may have finally emerged as Indianapolis’ true WR1. He flopped last week, but the volume was good, earning 9 targets, which was as much as Zach Pascal and T.Y. Hilton combined. That was the 3rd time he saw 7 or more targets over his last 4 games, averaging 6.8 and 62.8 YPG over this span. Pittman is no lock, but I’m fine starting him as a mid-range WR3 in this dream matchup. Houston was stout against WR1s, using Bradley Roby to shadow, but weak at the other 2 CB positions. When he missed time earlier in the year, WR1s Davante Adams and DJ Chark combined for 72.2 fantasy points in 2 games. Now starting Vernon Hargreaves, Phillip Gaines, and Eric Murray at CB, this is arguably now the best WR matchup in fantasy.”
Breshad Perriman & Denzel Mims, WR, New York Jets
Both Perriman and Mims are popping as top values (on DraftKings) according to our projections. So, who should you prefer? Both have played in 4 games with Sam Darnold under center. Mims averages 6.3 targets per game and 55.5 YPG within that sample. Perriman averages 4.8 and 44.3. That might have you lean Mims, but Perriman is also on quite the hot streak. Over his last 3 games, he averages 6.3 targets, 78.0 YPG, and 17.5 FPG. Compare that to Mims’ 7.7 targets, 66.7 YPG, and 10.3 FPG. That makes Perriman look like the better option, but Mims has seen better volume and isn’t too far behind in YPG, he just hasn’t scored as many touchdowns. But both no doubt seem awfully mispriced at their lowly salaries – $3,900 for Perriman, $4,100 for Mims.
Though, all of this being said, Jamison Crowder actually has the best matchup, and, truthfully, one of the best matchups of the week. Las Vegas is one of the league’s top slot funnel matchups, which is where he runs 75% of his routes. Las Vegas is giving up the 3rd-most FPG to opposing slot WRs (18.1), but the 7th-fewest to opposing outside WRs (18.8). But he’s hard to trust, averaging just 30.3 YPG over his last 4 games.
I wish I had a better read here, but the truth is I don’t.
Chicago Bears WRs
Anthony Miller and Darnell Mooney are popping as top-3 WR values on DraftKings, while Allen Robinson ranks best overall on FanDuel. That’s according to our projections, but the SuperModel is in near-complete agreement. And the matchup is equally soft for all 3 WRs – the Lions are giving up the 9th to 11th most FPG to slot, left, and right WRs. So, again, who do you prioritize?
Since Week 8, Robinson ranks 10th (17.1), Miller ranks 22nd (13.8), and Mooney ranks 34th (12.8) in XFP per game. Miller – averaging 8.0 targets and 68.3 air yards per game over this span – is safer than Mooney and should probably have the higher median projection. But Mooney has more upside, averaging 7.0 targets and 94.5 air yards per game.
Really, Robinson is the only one I’m excited to play. He also gets the biggest boost with Mitchell Trubisky back under center. Trubisky has targeted Robinson on 28.8% of his throws this season, compared to Foles’ 22.2%. (Miller’s and Mooney’s splits with/without Trubisky were negligible.) Robinson averages just 7.6 targets, 71.2 air yards, 11.8 XFP, and 13.5 FPG over his last 5 games with Foles under center. However, over his last 11 games with Trubisky, he averages 10.9 targets, 118.0 air yards, 19.3 XFP, and 19.2 FPG. If over the full season, those numbers would rank 2nd-, 3rd-, 2nd-, and 5th-best. He’s rightfully the top WR value on FanDuel this week.
T.J. Hockenson, TE, Detroit Lions
Model (DK: +718 / FD: +603)
My typical inclination is to just punt TE every week. Every single week. And that strategy works more often than not. But Hockenson is popping as a top value on both sites.
Hockenson always had target-quality working in his favor, earning 6 of the team’s 8 targets inside the 5-yard-line, along with a team-high 9 end zone targets. But now he’s seeing phenomenal target quantity as well with Kenny Golladay out, and is producing on that good volume. Since Week 7, but excluding Week 10 due to injury, Hockenson is averaging 7.8 targets, 64.0 yards, and 14.0 FPG. If over a full season, those numbers would rank 4th-, 3rd-, and 3rd-best among TEs.
He gets a top matchup as well. Chicago is giving up a league-high 15.8 FPG to opposing TEs, along with a league-high 31% share of their total receiving fantasy points allowed to TEs.
Robert Tonyan, TE, Green Bay Packers
Model (DK: +895)
Tonyan was on fire early in the year, averaging 20.1 FPG across the 3 games Davante Adams was dealing with a hamstring injury. Then Tonyan hit a lull, averaging 6.3 FPG across his next 5 games. But he’s averaging 16.6 FPG across his last 2 games. What’s going on? Can we trust him? Honestly, I have no idea. But he ranks 9th in FPG, or 4th if excluding Week 1 (a game he didn’t start and wasn’t targeted). And yet, he ranks just 12th in salary on DraftKings ($3,700) this week.
He’s probably just your typical “mediocre TE in an elite offense”, meaning, you’re really just hoping for a touchdown, but the chances that happens are pretty good (28.5-point implied total). And the matchup is pretty soft – especially if Darius Slay (calf) plays and shadows Davante Adams – the Eagles are giving up the 10th-most schedule-adjusted FPG to opposing TEs (+1.5). And okay, maybe he’s even a little bit better than mediocre – he was a hyper-athletic (113.6 Speed Score) undrafted small school QB-turned-WR who then converted to TE in the NFL, and he’s played great this season – but I think you get the point. He’s a strong value, a fine play, and, most importantly, he allows you to pay up elsewhere at the other more important positions.
Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers
Projections (DK: 3.35X / FD: 2.68X)
Rodgers has been an absolute monster this season, ranking as PFF’s highest-graded QB (93.1). He also ranks 2nd (behind only Kyler Murray) in fantasy points per dropback (0.66). He’s scored at least 22.5 fantasy points in 9 of 11 games, and ranks 4th among all slate-eligible QBs in FPG (23.9). He has what looks like a tough matchup on paper, but it’s only tough on paper. Once adjusted for strength of schedule, Philadelphia is giving up the 11th-most FPG to opposing QBs (+0.8), and they may also be without top CB Darius Slay (calf) this week. Behind the 3rd-highest implied point total of the slate (28.5), Rodgers is a massive value as just the 5th-most expensive QB on the slate on DraftKings ($6,500), $700 cheaper than his average since Week 6. For good reason he’s our top QB value on both sites according to our projections.