DFS NFL Strategy for How to Pick Wide Receivers for GPPs

Posted on September 8, 2016

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The NFL season is finally here, and that means Daily Fantasy Football is back. Saahil Sud, formerly Maxdalury, has created a strategy on how to approach selecting each position for your lineups, in both cash games and tournaments. Over the next few weeks, we will be going over these strategies in detail. Next up we will discuss Saahil’s strategy for how to pick wide receivers for GPP’s.

Overview

As we can see from the first chart in Saahil’s NFL GPP and tournament WR strategy video, wide receivers have around the same salary as running backs. There are a lot of cheap wide receivers available that are second, third, or fourth wide receiver options. Wide receivers average slightly more points than running backs (12.8 points for WRs, 12.3 points for RBs). As long as PPR scoring exists, there is always going to be a slight favoring towards wide receivers. However, the variance for wide receivers is actually the same as it is for running backs.

Looking at some correlations between some of the wide receiver stats and fantasy points per game, two of the most important things to look at are receiving yards and targets. Targets are going to be generally more consistent than receiving yards, so that is something you should really focus on when you’re selecting your picks. Another thing that is important is red zone targets, especially in GPPs where you need to score a high fantasy score in order to succeed, and wide receivers rely on touchdowns for a lot of their points. So you want to target wide receivers that are getting red zone targets, and getting them consistently.

As we’ve discussed with the other positions, it is important to look at the coefficient of variance (CV) for wide receivers. As we can see in the chart, wide receivers are generally more variable than running backs and quarterbacks. The reason for this is because wide receivers get a lot of points whenever they touch the ball, but they normally touch the ball a lot less than RBs or QBs. So a WR may get an 80-yard touchdown on two targets, or may get five yards on two targets. So that spread creates a lot of variance.

Key Elements

When choosing wide receivers for tournaments and GPPs, the most important thing you want to look for is wide receivers with a high scoring potential. Looking at the top 10 highest-scoring games for WRs and RBs in 2013-2014, if you take away the top highest-scoring game in which the running back scored more, the WR scored more in all of the other games. What you need to take away from this is what you really need to find that high-scoring wide receiver to help you get a winning GPP score, and they can tend to put up some monster games, especially when you take into account the PPR scoring. When a player gets 10 catches for over 150 yards and two touchdowns, that is a very difficult fantasy score to replicate from any other position.

Looking at stacking combinations in Top-1o lineups in DraftKing’s Millionaire Maker tournament from last year, we see that the QB-WR combo stack is very common, and as you can see on the chart, they are very effective (43.75% of top-10 lineups had a QB-WR stack). Stacking a wide receiver with a running back also proved to be successful, as 23.75% of top-10 lineups had this stack combination. This can be a good strategy when deployed correctly, but it is something that you want to make sure you’re not hurting yourself with a negative correlation there. Some people also like to stack a wide receiver with a tight end. This is a strategy Saahil does not recommend doing as often, unless you’re pairing it with the quarterback as well. Only 8.75% of top-10 lineups in the DK tournament contained a WR-TE stack.

In FanDuel’s Millionaire Maker tournament, we see a little of the same thing. On FanDuel, the QB-WR stack is slightly lower owned (40.59%), and that’s because of the lack of PPR makes the wide receiver a little less valuable compared to DraftKings. We’ll see the same thing with the RB-WR stack. Again, this is a strategy that can be effective, but it is something Saahil does not recommend doing unless you’re aware of the negative correlation you’re putting in there.

As we’ve already discussed, quarterback and wide receiver points are very heavily correlated. For every one additional QB point, expect the wide receiver’s points to go up .35. So that means that we want to be focusing on pairing our quarterbacks with their wide receivers. When forming our lineups, we want to focus on having as much correlation as we can get. That starts with the highest correlation between any two positions, which is QB and WR.

Wide receiver ownership is always interesting, and generally pretty spread out. Looking at this one week from the 2014 NFL season, we see that Antonio Brown clearly has the highest ownership (25.0%) and would be the chalkiest player. Outside of that, we can see that there’s a pretty wide-spread and a pretty low ownership across the board. The reason for this is because there are a lot more wide receiver options. You are going to get two, possibly three wide receivers that are in play for each team, where as running backs there is only going to be one, maybe two and quarterbacks there will be only one. This allows us to pick from a large group of players, and outside the chalkiest players, we generally don’t have to worry about ownership too much.

NFL Tournament Lineup Example

Let’s take a look at the NFL Tournament lineup example (from last season) found in Saahil’s NFL GPP and tournament WR strategy video. This lineup consists of three wide receivers, along with a wide receiver in the flex position. This lineup consists of a QB-WR stack with Ben Roethlisberger paired with Antonio Brown, and luckily they both put up monster performances. Brown finished with eight receptions for 118 yards and two touchdowns, along with scoring a punt return touchdown, while Roethlisberger threw for 364 yards and four touchdowns, along with 13 rush yards. Another wide receiver used in this lineup was Allen Robinson, who also put up great numbers. Robinson caught 10 receptions for 153 yards and three touchdowns. Robinson is a wide receiver that is known to be a big red zone target, and is the type of player you want to get for one of your WR slots. Julio Jones was another WR picked in this lineup, and while he didn’t put up the best game (8 receptions for 93 yards), he still didnt hurt the lineup. Jones is normally a very consistent player. The final receiver used in this lineup was Danny Amendola, who had a very low salary that week. That game was one that starting WR Julian Edelman was injured, so Amendola stepped into the starting lineup. Even though Amendola didn’t put up a monster performance (seven receptions for 62 yards and a touchdown, and 36 passing yards), getting that touchdown and getting seven receptions was more than enough to make him a very viable play, and round out a pretty good lineup.

More Daily Fantasy Research from RotoQL

RotoQL offers numerous different resources to help increase your chances at winning in Daily Fantasy Sports. You can check out our video tutorials on how to use RotoQL at the Zen Desk (rotoql.zendesk.com). If you have any specific questions, feel free to email us at support@rotoql.com. Finally if you are new to DFS or just need a refresher on some of the fundamentals, visit RotoU (/university). We hope you learned from Saahil’s strategy for how to pick wide receivers for GPPs!

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