DFS Matchup Metrics: NFL DraftKings Week One
DraftKings Week One
For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Adam Strangis, and I’m very excited to be back with the Gridiron Experts crew for the 2018 season! This year I’ll be providing DFS content using The Quant Edge website and their incredible tools to dig a little deeper and find some good wide receiver, and tight end plays each week on DraftKings. These plays won’t be an “Antonio Brown has a good matchup this week” style of plays. Some of the players will be volatile by nature, but with The Quant Edge (TQE), we’re going to be able to find trends and statistics to try and exploit matchups every week. Let’s dive into Week 1!
$4,200 on DraftKings
The Chargers appear to be in a great spot this week as they take on the Chiefs and the defense that struggled to stop the second team Bears offense during the pre-season. While all the attention will rightly be on quarterback Philip Rivers and his number one receiver Keenan Allen, Tyrell Williams might be a steal for Week 1. Mike Williams will likely be popular but I’d rather spend on a receiver that I know can be productive on the NFL level. Maybe Mike Williams can do that but Tyrell Williams has passed 700 yards in consecutive seasons.
Without tight end Hunter Henry last year, Williams saw an increase in targets by about two percent and the snap percentage raised by seven percent. In addition, Tyrell Williams saw 69 targets and 21 of those(30.4 percent) had an aDOT(average depth of target) of 20 yards or more. Rivers threw a pass over 15 yards on 103 of his 575 attempts last season for over 15 yards, which was 17.8 percent.
There’s plenty of room for Williams to have some deep ball opportunities and it would only take one connection deep to pay off. If I’m trying to attack the Kansas City secondary with a full-blown Chargers stack, Tyrell Williams might be the preferred play over Mike Williams or newly re-signed tight end Antonio Gates.
$4,300 on DraftKings
Much of the offseason buzz around the Saints complementary pieces were focused on receivers Cam Meredith and rookie Tre’Quan Smith. Both do appear to be fighting for a role in the Saints offense, but for Week 1 in the dome at New Orleans, I’m looking towards Ted Ginn. If we put Alvin Kamara aside for a minute, Ginn was the second leading receiver in terms of yards last year for the Saints behind Michael Thomas with 787 yards. Ginn was also used all over the formation last year with snap percentages of 28.6 at left receiver, 38.6 at right receiver and then 32.9 in the slot. Ginn accumulated 25 percent of the air yards for the Saints offense last year and gets a pretty sweet matchup this week against a Tampa defense that gave up 38.5 points to receivers last season.
Where the Saints might really be able to exploit Ginn is on post routes. Per The Quant Edge, Ginn ran six posts and caught five of them for 1 touchdown last season, with a perfect 158.3 rating. The only above average cornerback against that route was Brent Grimes. Both Vernon Hargreaves and Ryan Smith gave up a passer rating of 109.7 last season. Ginn unsurprisingly ran eight go routes last year as well and had a monster 40.6 aDOT on those routes. The Bucs defense was not good at defending big plays last year via Marcus Mosher –
Net Explosive Plays In 2017: pic.twitter.com/dR5GXsRDOh
— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) July 5, 2018
Brees is due to see some positive touchdown regression this season after his touchdown rate dropped to 4.3 percent last year, a full percentage point under his career normal rate. That regression could easily start to show up right off the bat in a home game against what we all think is going to be a poor defense. Meredith and Smith might play a role but this is the same situation as the Chargers offense. A receiver who has already shown to be a usable option is right there in the offense, looks like a good matchup against individual corners and might carry lower ownership than other players.
$5,200 on DraftKings
Funchess and the Carolina offense welcomes in the Dallas Cowboys this week and Funchess might be quietly in a great spot. The Cowboys look like they might be without safer Xavier Woods due to a hamstring injury. It could all just be a cover since Xavier Woods is a pre wrestler that is part of the WWE Tag Team Champions, but I digress. When Woods was off the field last season, the Cowboys defense became more susceptible to big plays in the passing game. The explosive play rate with Woods was 11.1 percent and then jumped to 12.4 percent without him. Also, the yards per attempt jumped up from 6.59 yards with Woods and 7.51 without.
The one weakness for Funchess was when he was in press coverage. He was pressed at the line of scrimmage 9.3 percent of the time last year and had a ghastly 5.1 rating on those plays. If things stay close to the same from last year, Funchess will see corner Chidobe Awuzie on about 40 percent of pass plays and Awuzie only pressed 6.9 percent of the time. In all routes that Funchess did not see press coverage, he racked up a rating of at least 90.5 against all other coverages.
Dallas also finished as the seventh worst defense against receivers last year and Funchess will maintain a starting role with the Panthers. It’s a little bit of a risk since there’s mouths to feed in the offense with tight end Greg Olsen and running back Christian McCaffrey but Funchess has boasted a touchdown every 6.8 receptions through his career. He should be able to exploit a defense without one of their starting safeties this week.
$3,400 on DraftKings
This one is a little more difficult to put some of the pieces together because the Browns don’t resemble their 2017 unit on offense almost at all. They have added quarterback Tyrod Taylor, wide receiver Jarvis Landry and running back Carlos Hyde via trades and free agency. They brought in offensive coordinator Todd Haley to implement all of these pieces and Njoku is the one I have my eyes on this week. He wasn’t used very much last year, playing under 50 percent of the snaps as a rookie. He’s been up around 90 percent with the first team through the preseason, and he has all the potential in the world. Where it looks like he can have some success in Week 1 is exploiting the middle linebackers for Pittsburgh. Jon Bostic played for the Indianapolis Colts last year but was dreadful in coverage.
Vince Williams will be the other starter for the Steelers this week, and while he was better in coverage overall, he got scorched when it came to man coverage. Njoku is 6’4,” and 249 pounds with 4.64 40 yard dash speed and Williams is 6’1″ and 233 pounds with 4.7 40 yard dash speed.
I know who I’m going to take in man to man situations every time. Njoku lined up as a traditional tight end 67.7 percent of the time last year, and while that is certainly subject to change, it seems clear that Njoku has a monster advantage through the middle of the field. The matchup looks great and he’s been on the field so much in the preseason, Haley and the Browns must have plans for him as well. He’s a great way to get off the Austin Seferian-Jenkins chalk play in tournaments.
The Quant Edge
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