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 16:
Note 1: 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.)
Note 2: This is a pretty gross week. We said this last week, and somehow this week is even worse. Per the DFS SuperModel, only 5 players offer at least $500 in savings on DraftKings. Typically that number is at about 12. So yeah, this is a pretty tough week.
Mecole Hardman, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
Model (DK: +734)
Hardman is still only playing on about 33% of the team’s snaps, but he did see 9 targets (and 1 carry) last week, scoring 10.7 fantasy points. He’s still just a part-time player, but he is averaging 5.0 targets over the last 4 weeks, and maybe being a part-time player on the most explosive offense in football is better than being a full-time player on the Jets. The Chiefs have the highest implied point total of the week (32.25) and Hardman ranks as our top overall value on DraftKings (per the DFS SuperModel), priced at just $3,100.
David Montgomery, RB, Chicago Bears
Model (DK: +691, FD: +806)
Montgomery ranks as our 2nd-best overall value on both DraftKings and FanDuel (per the DFS SuperModel). Here’s what we had to say in the Week 16 XFP Report:
The 4 highest-scoring fantasy games of Montgomery’s 29-game career have all come over the last 4 weeks. Not surprisingly, he leads all RBs in FPG (26.5) over this span. Since Week 5, Montgomery averages 19.0 FPG and 18.0 XFP on 79% of the team’s snaps. Those numbers rank 4th-, 4th-, and 1st-best, respectively. If cutting that sample in half, you’d notice no increase in volume, but a massive boost in efficiency and production. He averaged a lowly 12.9 FPG on 18.2 XFP from Weeks 5-9, and a whopping 26.5 FPG on 18.0 XFP from Weeks 12-15.
Montgomery had long been an XFP buy-low / regression candidate – in other words, he’d long seen good volume but failed to capitalize on it. But he’s finally capitalizing on it. Montgomery averaged 3.6 fewer FPG than his expectation implied from Weeks 1-9. In other words, he was one of the 3 least-efficient RBs in fantasy football. Since then, he’s been the 2nd-most efficient player in fantasy football, out-scoring his expectation by 8.6 FPG. But why?
Last week I argued this was mostly due to a soft stretch of the schedule. Montgomery’s first 3 opponents during this stretch – Green Bay, Detroit, Houston – were worth a boost of about 6.1 FPG based on schedule-adjusted FPG allowed. However, Minnesota ranked 12th-best by the same stat (-1.2), and Montgomery smashed them as well, scoring 29.2 fantasy points on a 24.7-point expectation (32 carries, 2 targets).
Minnesota was a tough test, and he passed with flying colors. I’m sure strength of schedule was still a pretty big factor, but not the only one (and maybe not even the dominant one) behind his recent success. For instance, immediately before this stretch, Chicago made two key changes to their offense – 1) Pro Bowl center Cody Whitehair moved to left guard. 2) OC Bill Lazor started calling the plays for Chicago.
Montgomery is still hard for me to trust – we have a recent 4-game sample of utter dominance, and then a larger 29-game sample of pure mediocrity – but I fully trust him to return mid- to low-end RB1 production this week, in a soft matchup against the Jaguars. The Bears are favored by 7.5-points and Jacksonville ranks 4th-worst in schedule-adjusted FPG allowed to opposing RBs (+4.6).
Darius Slayton, WR, New York Giants
Model (DK: +454, FD: +506)
Similar to Goedert, Slayton ranks as a top XFP Value. Similar to Hardman, he’s not a very sexy play, but he is cheap. He’s seen 9 and 8 targets over the last 2 weeks, and gets a tougher-than-neutral matchup this week. But he’s also just $3,800 on DraftKings in a pretty gross slate. He ranks as our 2nd-best WR value on both sites, per the DFS SuperModel.
DJ Moore, WR, Carolina Panthers
Model (DK: +420)
Moore ranks as a top-5 WR value on DraftKings, per the DFS SuperModel. Here’s what we had to say about him in Start/Sit:
Moore averages 8.8 targets, 103.8 yards, and 17.7 FPG over his last 4 games. And he’s seen better volume (measured by XFP) than Robby Anderson in each of these 4 games, averaging 16.7 XFP per game (to Anderson’s 10.9). For perspective, 16.7 XFP per game would rank 5th-best among WRs (tied with Keenan Allen) if over the full season, and is nearly double his average over his prior 7 games (9.5) when he was fighting through injuries. This is a tough-to-neutral matchup on paper, but not insurmountable – Washington ranks 14th-best in FPG allowed to outside WRs (21.1), 9th-worst in schedule-adjusted FPG allowed to opposing WR1s (+1.5). The bigger takeaway to me is it seems Moore has re-emerged as the team’s clear-cut WR1. I’m bullish enough to start him as a mid-range WR2 this week.
Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers
Model (FD: +941)
Ekeler ranks as the top-overall value on FanDuel, per the DFS SuperModel, and is probably also an easy cash game-lock on DraftKings. Here’s what we had to about him in Start/Sit:
In healthy games with Justin Herbert under center, Ekeler averages 13.0 carries, 8.3 targets, 19.9 XFP, and 19.5 FPG. If across the full season, he’d rank 2nd in XFP per game and 4th in FPG. Keep in mind, Ekeler ranked 6th in FPG last year (19.5) despite ranking just 12th in XFP per game (15.0). And since entering the league, he’s arguably been fantasy football’s most-efficient RB. He’s an easy must-start high-end RB1 in a top-12 matchup against Denver.
Note: WR Keenan Allen is looking like a gametime decision this week, and TE Hunter Henry is on the COVID-19 reserve list. Consider that a boost to Ekeler’s pass-catching floor if one or both are out.
Jarvis Landry, WR, Cleveland Browns
Model (FD: +694)
The Jets are playing backup practice-squad-caliber players at all 3 CB spots. Over their last 5 games, opposing WRs are out-scoring their per-game average by 5.5 FPG when playing the Jets, which ranks 5th-most over this span. The 3 biggest games they’ve allowed have all been to slot-heavy WRs in Keenan Allen (36.5), Jakobi Meyers (28.9), and Tyreek Hill (25.8). Cole Beasley also tagged them for 112 yards and 11 catches in Week 7. Over the past 4 weeks, Jarvis Landry ranks 10th in FPG (19.7) and 9th in XFP per game (18.1). Per the DFS SuperModel, he ranks as a top-3 overall value on FanDuel.
J.K. Dobbins, RB, Baltimore Ravens
Model (FD: +535)
Dobbins isn’t a sure thing. Stuck in a 2-way committee with Gus Edwards, saddled with a QB who vultures rushing TDs and doesn’t throw to his RBs, you can argue both his ceiling and floor are in question. But he is a clear top value on FanDuel, ranking 5th-best among all players.
Dobbins has scored in 4-straight games, averaging 13.3 carries, 0.8 targets, 72.5 YFS, and 13.9 FPG. He’s played on 55% of the snaps, handling 59% of the XFP out of the backfield, with Mark Ingram playing on just 1 snap over the past 2 weeks. Again, this sort of volume isn’t very exciting, but Dobbins is a dynamic play-maker and a special talent, currently ranking 5th in YPC (5.16). And the matchup is also on his side, favored by 10.5-points, against a Giants defense that ranks 7th-worst in schedule-adjusted FPG allowed to opposing RBs (+2.2).
Darrell Henderson, RB, Los Angeles Rams
Model (DK: +549, FD: +476)
In a typical slate, Henderson wouldn’t be too enticing. But in this (super gross) slate, it’s no surprise Henderson ranks as a top-7 overall value on both sites (per the DFS SuperModel). With RB Cam Akers out, due to a high-ankle sprain, we should be expecting Henderson to return to the role he saw from Weeks 2-7. Over this span (minus Akers), Henderson played on 49% of the snaps and handled 64% of the XFP out of the backfield. He produced like a mid-range RB2 on mid-range RB2 volume, averaging 14.0 carries, 2.0 targets, 14.3 XFP, and 13.7 FPG. But he’s priced closer to a mid-range RB3 (or worse if excluding players off of the slate), ranking 31st in salary on DraftKings ($4,500) and 29th on FanDuel ($5,600). He gets a neutral, maybe slightly below average (if factoring in projected gamescript), matchup against the Seahawks.
Miles Sanders, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
Projections (DK: 2.73X, FD: 2.45X)
Sanders has ranked highly in our projections, certainly too high most weeks (if we’re being results-oriented, which we probably shouldn’t), and he ranks highly again this week (top-2 among RBs on both sites). And I’m fully on board with it. Here’s what I had to say in Start/Sit:
Sanders was always in a position to be a 2020 league-winner. For one thing, he’s always on the field. He’s played on 74% of the team’s snaps in his 10 full games this year, which would rank 3rd-best among all RBs (behind Ezekiel Elliott’s and Christian McCaffrey, both at 76%). For another, he’s really freaking good. He ranks 2nd-best in YPC (5.44). And he’s reached at least 75 YFS in 9 of 11 games despite being held to 10 or fewer touches in 3 of those games. (SB)
The only thing holding him back was questionable play-calling and incompetent QB-play. But maybe those concerns have since been remedied. Philadelphia has played 2 of their best games of the season over the past 2 weeks, with Jalen Hurts under center. Sanders is averaging 15.5 carries, 3.5 targets, 5.77 YPC, and 19.8 FPG over this span. And he comes off of 2-straight tough matchups to face a Dallas defense that ranks 2nd-worst in YPC allowed (4.90) and 2nd-worst in rushing FPG allowed (19.4).
Allen Robinson, WR, Chicago Bears
Model (FD: +328)
Robinson remains a strong value on FanDuel, ranking 3rd-best among WRs per the SuperModel. He gets a top matchup this week, against a Jaguars defense that ranks 5th-worst in schedule-adjusted FPG allowed to opposing WR1s (+2.7), and 3rd-worst over their last 5 games (+6.0). Over this span, we’ve seen big games from Marquise Brown (98 yards), A.J. Brown (27.2 DKFP), Justin Jefferson (27.3 DKFP), Adam Thielen (21.5 DKFP), Jarvis Landry (31.3 DKFP), and Diontae Johnson (26.1 DKFP). Updating a stat from last week, it seems FanDuel’s price-adjusters haven’t appropriately accounted for the return of Mitchell Trubisky:
Trubisky has targeted Allen Robinson on 29% of his throws this season, compared to Nick Foles’ 22%. 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 14 games with Trubisky, he averages 10.4 targets, 111.1 air yards, 18.4 XFP, and 18.9 FPG. If over the full season, those numbers would rank 2nd, 3rd, 2nd, and 6th-best among WRs.
Jamison Crowder, WR, New York Jets
Projections (DK: 2.98X)
Crowder was looking like a potential league-winner before a Week 6 injury shut him down. He averaged 11.5 targets and 22.1 DKFPG through his first 4 games, earning double-digit targets in all 4 games and reaching 100 yards in 3 of 4. Since then, it hasn’t been so pretty. But he does average 6.3 targets and 12.3 FPG over the last 3 weeks. And he does get a dream matchup this week – the Browns are one of the league’s top slot funnel defenses, giving up the 5th-most FPG to slot WRs (15.7) but just the 18th-most to outside WRs (21.5). And he is cheap, at just $4,500 on DraftKings. He’s a decent value.
Diontae Johnson, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
Johnson is not without warts, but he’s also mispriced by about $2,000 on both sites if just looking at volume and production in games healthy. Here’s what we had to say in Start/Sit:
Johnson has a tough matchup on paper, and he’s struggled all season with drops. And Ben Roethlisberger has struggled with just about everything of late. Still, the volume he’s seeing is too good to pass up, too good not to start him as (at-worst) a fringe-WR1 this week. Excluding games in which Johnson missed time due to injury, he averages 18.7 FPG, 19.1 XFP, and 11.9 targets per game, hitting double-digit targets in 10 of these 11 games. If over the course of the full season, these numbers would rank 7th, 2nd, and 1st among all WRs.
Dallas Goedert, TE, Philadelphia Eagles
Through Jalen Hurts’ 2 starts, Philadelphia’s leading receivers (by XFP per game) are: Goedert (12.3), Jalen Reagor (11.7), Greg Ward (9.2), and then Zach Ertz (8.8). Since Week 11, Goedert ranks 4th in XFP per game (14.0), 5th in targets per game (7.4), and 7th in FPG (14.0). And yet he ranks just 9th in salary on DraftKings ($3,600), only $1,100 above the site minimum. That’s why he’s popping as a top value in the SuperModel, even though this matchup is slightly below average on paper.
Logan Thomas, TE, Washington Football Team
Projections (DK: 2.53X, FD: 1.61X)
Thomas ranks as our top TE-value in our projections on FanDuel, but I like him quite a bit on DraftKings as well. Here’s what I had to say about him in Start/Sit:
Thomas is fresh off a game in which he scored 26.1 fantasy points on 15 targets. Since Week 6, he averages 12.8 FPG, which ranks 3rd-most among TEs (ahead of George Kittle), hitting double-digit fantasy points in 7 of 9 games. Over his last 3 games, he averages 19.4 FPG and 10.7 targets per game. Among wide receivers those numbers would rank 10th- and 5th-best, respectively. Terry McLaurin is banged up and struggling with an ankle injury, and Carolina has given up the 2nd-most FPG to opposing TEs since Week 9 (18.7). Start Thomas this week over any TE not-named Travis Kelce, Darren Waller, or George Kittle.
Here’s what my go-to tape expert told me yesterday:
Thomas’s production has far more to do with volume than efficiency or talent, but he is seeing elite volume and easy targets over the past 4 games. His TD vs Pittsburgh was due to a bust in coverage and with Alex Smith constantly throwing short routes, Thomas is often his first option. Expect that to continue this week, with Terry McLaurin banged up. The majority of his production has come underneath in zone defenses but as long as Smith is the QB (which is likely this week), he is going to produce because he just doesn’t throw it downfield. This is a great matchup for him – Carolina runs zone at the highest rate in the league.
Donald Parham, TE, Los Angeles Chargers
TE Hunter Henry has been placed on the COVID-19 reserve list. Per Field Yates, he’s out for Week 16. Per Gilbert Manzano, HC Anthony Lynn has confirmed Parham will start if Henry sits. This news puts him in consideration of being the top-overall TE play of the slate. Our expectations shouldn’t be too high in terms of scoring potential, but TE has been such an absolute wasteland this season, that a punt-play like this makes you feel like it’s Christmas. Parham averaged 15.7 FPG in the XFL this year, but has seen just 13 targets on only 110 total snaps with the Chargers this season. But the good news is, he out-snapped the only other TE (Stephen Anderson) 24 to 4 last week, and 5 of his 13 targets (38%) have come in the red zone.