DFS Football 101: FanDuel WR Tourney Strategy
DFS Football 101: FanDuel WR Tourney Strategy

This article is part of our DFS Football 101 series.

Wide receiver is the most challenging position in daily fantasy because of the high variance and having to field three WR on FanDuel. It becomes harder when you only get 0.5 points per reception because there will be more emphasis on yards and touchdowns. You have to balance taking expensive upside players vs. mid-priced players with great matchups vs. value plays because of an increase in targets due to injury.

The roster construction is usually three mid-priced players with great matchups or one from each tier (high, mid, low). It is extremely difficult to get in two expensive receivers on the same team unless you go very cheap at quarterback or running back. This is more of a tournament play because, again, the receivers provide the highest ceiling but also the highest variance. Often you are taking a flyer on a player whose salary has dropped because of repeated poor performances, like a T.Y. Hilton last Sunday. When it hits, it hits HUGE and can cover up missing on one of your other receivers.

Now that we have an overall outlook on the strategy for the position, let's look at some numbers.

Average Wide Receiver Points by Category Breakdown

RECREC YDSREC TDTOTAL PTS
19%50%31%100%

The hierarchy of points contribution by category is receiving yards, touchdowns and receptions.

Top 12 WR Points by Category Breakdown

RECREC YDSREC TDTOTAL PTS
21%55%24%100%

There is more emphasis on receiving yards with the top 12 WRs (WR1) vs. the average wide receiver points by category.

The hierarchy of points contribution are the same:

+2 percent on receptions, +5 percent on yards and -7 percent on receiving touchdowns.

WR 13th-24th Points by Category Breakdown

RECREC YDSREC TDTOTAL PTS
20%53%27%100%

As we get into the WR2 group, the emphasis shifts slightly to touchdowns, vs. the WR1 breakdown:

-1 percent on receptions, -2 percent on yards and +3 percent on touchdowns vs. WR1

WR 25th-36th Points by Category Breakdown

RECREC YDSREC TDTOTAL PTS
20%58%22%100%

The WR3 group becomes even more dependent on yardage and less dependent on touchdowns:

0 percent on receptions, +5 percent on Yards and -5 percent on touchdowns.

The takeaways here are you want yardage whether it comes from yards per reception or targets. Look for receivers with a higher YPC but also QBs who have a higher YPA. Yards and targets are more predictable especially when you look at "market share" for the player (player's yards/total team yards).

How to Select Wide Receivers for Tournaments

Target is at least 2.8x (Projection/Salary * 1,000) or 18 points

Through Week 8, 55 wide receivers scored at least 18 points in a game and 73 hit at least 2.8x value. Of this group, 39 hit both the 2.8x value and the 18-point threshold. That is only an average of five wide receivers per week who fit this criteria. If you look at value, it is about nine per week on average and on raw points (18 or more) it is seven per week. So let's take the middle and say eight WR in a given week will hit the criteria we need to cash and/or win a tournament.

I will use the 73 receivers as the group we pull data from to get a better sample. Again, with receiver you often will hit huge on all three. It might be a situation where one goes off for 25-30 points, one has 15-1, and the last has 8-10. At the end of the day, you need 55-60 points from the group to finish high in tournaments.

Here is the weekly breakdown for WRs who have hit at least 2.8x value:

Week 1 – 7
Week 2 – 10
Week 3 – 17
Week 4 – 7
Week 5 – 8
Week 6 – 7
Week 7 – 7
Week 8 – 10

Most weeks settle between 7-10 receivers who hit value, with the outlier of Week 3's whopping 17. With most of the byes now passed, the number of receivers should see a bump. A contributing factor to the position this season has been the number of injuries at quarterback, which has put a lot of bad backups in play. Also, offenses are not targeting the No. 1 WRs as much and are spreading the ball around more in three-wide receiver sets or a tight end.

What does 18 points look like from the wide receiver position?

6 receptions, 150 yards, 0 TD
10 receptions, 130 yards, 0 TD
6-8 receptions, 75-90 yards, 1 TD
3 receptions, 100 yards, 1 TD
4 receptions, 40 yards, 2 TD

When I look at wide receivers for the week, I try to project the 6-8 receptions, 75-100 yards and TD line, which is the most realistic.

In regard to ownership percentages, if there are wide receivers with at least a 20 percent or higher projected ownership rate, I will fade them. The variance at the position makes it where even if the player hits value, the edge on the field has been neutralized. There are a lot of options each week and several players who will have 10 percent or less projected ownership worth considering.

The one exception is when you have a value play that just screams must play. Last year, we had Michael Thomas and Tyrell Williams who kept smashing value every week regardless, and because they were mid-priced, it was impossible not to play them.

Here is a chart of all the WRs who have it the tournament threshold through Week 8.

Average Salary - $5,863
Average PPG – 19.9
Average Value – 3.4x

$4,500-$4,900 – 20 hit/328 total (6%)
$5,000-$5,900 – 22/233 (9%)
$6,000-$6,900 – 18/169 (11%)
$7,000-$7,900 – 9/95 (10%)
$8,000-$8,900 – 3/35 (10%)
$9,000 and higher – 1/11 (10%)

The numbers by salary range are almost identical no matter which prices you look at. The safest range is between $6,000-$6,900 because the hope is that one of them has a monster game, one hits value and one comes in slightly under. You are only risking around 18-20K at the position with a balanced approach. When you go up to $8,000 or higher, you run the risk of that player not hitting value, then having to drop to the $5,000-$5,900 range, which is even more riskier to hit value.

Wide Receivers who have multiple weeks of hitting 2.8x value:

3 – DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller

2 - A.J. Green, Davante Adams, Deonte Thompson, Larry Fitzgerald, Nelson Agholor, Stefon Diggs, T.Y. Hilton, Ted Ginn Jr, Travis Benjamin, Tyreek Hill

The numbers are pretty grim with the pair of Texans receivers being the only ones to hit at least 3x, and now with DeShaun Watson out for the year, they will probably not be on this list often. The list of players hitting value at least two times are some big names but mostly boom/bust receivers.

Wide Receivers who have hit at least 18 points in a game multiple times:

4 – Antonio Brown

3 – DeAndre Hopkins

2 – A.J. Green, Adam Thielen, Davante Adams, Doug Baldwin, Jordy Nelson, Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Thomas, Mike Evans, Odell Beckham Jr., Stefon Diggs, T.Y. Hilton, Tyreek Hill, Will Fuller

The appeal of Brown is that even though you wont get that "2.8x value" you get pretty close and you get consistency. Paying up for Brown makes sense each week as there is just no one else in his class now.

Defenses that have allowed the most WRs to hit 2.8x value:

5 – Patriots
4 – Chiefs, Cardinals, Cowboys, Texans, Titans

Defenses that have allowed the most WRs to hit 18 points or higher:

5 – Chiefs
4 – Saints, Cowboys
3 – Patriots, Bears, Browns, Texans, Eagles

You want to target players who have shown the ability to either hit 18 points in a game or 2.8x value along with defenses that give up the most "explosive" games to wide receivers.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Michael Rathburn plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: burnnotice, DraftKings: burnnotice, Yahoo: burnnotice, Fantasy Aces: burnnotice, FantasyDraft: burnnotice.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael Rathburn
Known as “Rath” in the Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) community, he has helped run operations for two prominent daily fantasy sports startups. Michael has taken his insider knowledge and expertise in daily fantasy sports to the content side. Rath won the 2016 FSWA "Baseball Article of the Year, Online" award and was a finalist for the FSWA Best Baseball Series in 2011.
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