Daily Fantasy Football Range-of-Outcome Projections: Week 8

Fantasy football is a volatile game.

Sometimes, a shoelace tackle is the difference between a 10-yard catch and a 70-yard touchdown, and sometimes goal-line carries go to backup players.

It happens. A lot.

And, don't get me wrong -- median projections are quite valuable and capture the most-likely scenario. Setting your lineups based on 90th-percentile projections isn't the right way to handle things for a head-to-head lineup, but if you want to figure out which players can bust a slate open, then you'll have to embrace some risk.

That's why I've started simulating NFL weeks and seeing what happens when the slate is played out 1,000 times. Here are some things that popped at each position this week, based on my simulations, which factor in numberFire's projections and my own tweaks.

Table Terms

FanDuel Salary: A player's main slate salary on FanDuel.
Median FDP: A player's median FanDuel projection across the 1,000 slate simulations.
Value: Projected median FanDuel points per $1,000 in salary. All quarterbacks generally have a 2.00 FanDuel-point-per-$1,000 rate at the low end, which implies 2-times value, or 2x value. On a full slate of 13 games, roughly 13 running backs tend to have a 2x value projection. On a full slate of 13 games, a small handful of receivers may get to a 2x median projection, and just more than 30 will be at 1.5x. On a full slate of 13 games, few tight ends will get to a 2x median value, and anything above 1.5x is generally a top-six projection. It's important to understand the different value expectations across positions.
25th Pct: The player's 25th-percentile FanDuel point projection, meant to show a low-end (or floor) outcome. Every player's true floor is zero.
75th Pct: The player's 75th-percentile FanDuel point projection, meant to show a somewhat attainable/projectable high-end (or ceiling) outcome without simply looking at true outlier performances.
FDP%: The frequency with which a player surpassed a certain raw projection threshold, meant to show a raw ceiling outcome. This doesn't adjust for salary and is a different value for each position.
Boom/Bust Ratio: The frequency with which a player had a "boom" game compared to a "bust" game based on historical, position-based value outcomes. For quarterbacks, this measures games with 2.75x value versus games with worse than 2x value. For running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends, it's 2x versus less than 1.5x. Think of it as a simple floor-versus-ceiling rating. Higher is better, and they should be compared only within the same position.


Simulation Results

Player FanDuel
Value 25th
Patrick Mahomes $9,200 24.12.6218.129.445.9%1.22
Russell Wilson $8,700 24.02.7618.328.843.3%1.75
Lamar Jackson $8,300 21.62.6016.027.732.7%1.20
Joe Burrow $7,600 19.42.5514.225.526.8%1.20
Ryan Tannehill $7,500 19.12.5513.224.322.5%1.09
Josh Allen $8,200 19.02.3213.424.623.2%0.69
Aaron Rodgers $8,400 18.92.2513.724.121.9%0.55
Justin Herbert $7,700 18.42.3812.923.519.5%0.72
Matthew Stafford $7,200 18.12.5112.423.720.4%1.08
Derek Carr $7,300 17.92.4612.923.319.5%0.98
Jimmy Garoppolo $6,600 17.02.5811.622.115.2%1.14
Jared Goff $7,300 17.02.3311.122.215.6%0.67
Drew Brees $7,600 16.82.2211.321.914.3%0.50
Philip Rivers $6,900 16.32.3611.021.313.2%0.76
Baker Mayfield $7,200 16.22.2511.221.112.1%0.58
Ben Roethlisberger $7,100 16.02.2610.721.012.3%0.58
Cam Newton $7,400 15.42.0910.821.012.7%0.43
Kirk Cousins $7,100
Nick Foles $6,700
Tua Tagovailoa $6,800 15.02.2010.820.010.0%0.56
Drew Lock $7,000 14.92.1210.019.99.9%0.46
Sam Darnold $6,500

The quarterback pool has a lot of studs at the top, but Russell Wilson again elevates based on his boom/bust ratio. The Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers are in one of the best games -- if not the best game -- of the week based on all the weather concerns around the league. Patrick Mahomes has the best raw median projection but has blowout risk against the New York Jets. That's okay, though, because we can pivot down to Lamar Jackson at a salary of just $8,300.

We also have a few standout lower-salaried plays with Joe Burrow and Ryan Tannehill going head-to-head in my second favorite game of the week, and believe it or not, Jimmy Garoppolo at just $6,600 has a lot of appeal, as I discussed on this week's Heat Check podcast.

Running Back

Simulation Results

Player FanDuel
Value 25th
Derrick Henry $9,500 20.92.2015.826.855.3%3.05
Alvin Kamara $9,000 20.02.2314.526.150.3%2.80
Kareem Hunt $8,200 19.22.3513.524.346.1%3.12
Jonathan Taylor $7,300 16.92.3211.022.636.6%2.43
Dalvin Cook $9,200 16.91.8310.822.334.6%1.14
Josh Jacobs $7,800 14.61.879.920.225.9%1.32
James Conner $6,900
Myles Gaskin $5,700 13.32.338.118.317.6%2.18
Clyde Edwards-Helaire $7,500 12.71.707.517.816.8%0.89
Jamaal Williams $7,000 12.51.797.618.017.1%1.08
Jerick McKinnon $6,000
Darrell Henderson $6,100 11.81.947.416.713.2%1.35
Joshua Kelley $5,900 11.51.946.616.212.7%1.37
David Montgomery $5,800 11.41.966.616.714.4%1.35
Aaron Jones $8,500
D'Andre Swift $6,300 10.21.615.014.98.3%0.79
Melvin Gordon $6,700 10.11.515.414.97.8%0.66
Devin Singletary $5,700 10.11.775.614.77.6%1.04
Le'Veon Bell $6,000 10.01.675.414.76.5%0.93
Phillip Lindsay $6,000 9.11.524.913.22.8%0.65
Giovani Bernard $5,900 7.81.333.812.32.6%0.48
DeeJay Dallas $4,600 7.81.704.012.22.4%0.97
J.K. Dobbins $5,100 7.71.503.711.41.4%0.66
Adrian Peterson $5,400 7.61.403.911.72.1%0.55
JaMycal Hasty $5,600 7.51.344.211.10.7%0.43
Joe Mixon $7,400 7.30.993.610.90.7%0.10
Latavius Murray $5,100 7.11.393.610.50.8%0.50
Justin Jackson $5,800
James White $5,300 6.91.303.510.50.6%0.43
Nyheim Hines $4,900 6.41.303.19.70.1%0.42
Malcolm Brown $5,200
Rex Burkhead $5,200
La'Mical Perine $5,300
Matt Breida $4,800
Carlos Hyde $5,000
Gus Edwards $4,600
Zack Moss $5,400 5.40.992.38.20.1%0.15
Frank Gore $5,000

Kareem Hunt once again rates out as an elite salary-based play based on his floor and ceiling outcomes, and Derrick Henry and Alvin Kamara are the standout studs based on the simulations. I'm always lower on Henry than the projections, but against the Cincinnati Bengals in a likely shootout, Henry gets bumped up. Kamara, meanwhile, gets a really tough matchup against the Chicago Bears and will likely need the usual volume to hit his ceiling. Dalvin Cook grades out a tier (or two) below those two backs, yet his game environment is more akin to Henry's than is Kamara's.

Of the backs hovering around $6,000, 5 are actually inside the top 10 in boom/bust ratio (Myles Gaskin, Jerick McKinnon, Joshua Kelley, Darrell Henderson, and David Montgomery). Only Gaskin profiles as a strong DFS play to me with his certain workload and efficiency.

Keep an eye on the news out of the Seattle Seahawks backfield, as DeeJay Dallas could be a salary-relief play at $4,600, but Carlos Hyde has a salary of just $5,000 himself.

Wide Receiver

Simulation Results

Player FanDuel
Value 25th
Davante Adams $9,100 16.91.8511.521.431.6%1.28
Tyreek Hill $8,100 15.41.919.820.927.8%1.34
D.K. Metcalf $7,800 15.01.938.821.027.7%1.34
Keenan Allen $7,400 14.21.928.719.523.9%1.30
Tyler Lockett $7,200 13.91.938.119.824.6%1.36
Kenny Golladay $7,600 13.31.757.419.122.7%0.99
A.J. Brown $7,500 13.21.757.319.021.5%1.00
Stefon Diggs $7,100 13.11.847.219.422.6%1.10
Adam Thielen $7,700 12.71.657.218.820.2%0.82
Tyler Boyd $6,400 12.31.936.917.515.9%1.28
Cooper Kupp $7,300 12.11.656.817.114.9%0.88
Robert Woods $7,000 11.91.706.617.616.5%0.92
Brandon Aiyuk $5,900 11.81.996.117.817.9%1.34
Justin Jefferson $6,600 11.51.755.617.516.6%1.00
Marquise Brown $5,900 11.21.906.017.416.9%1.22
Tee Higgins $6,000 10.61.775.416.011.9%1.00
Mike Williams $5,900 10.41.774.915.911.4%1.04
Chase Claypool $6,000 10.21.704.715.411.1%0.91
T.Y. Hilton $5,500 10.11.834.216.313.0%1.07
DeVante Parker $6,100 9.51.574.314.98.2%0.78
Marvin Jones $5,500 9.41.704.414.45.9%0.97
Jarvis Landry $5,800 9.31.604.314.68.1%0.84
JuJu Smith-Schuster $6,500 9.11.393.814.47.4%0.58
Zach Pascal $5,200 9.01.723.814.07.0%0.98
Jerry Jeudy $5,600 8.81.582.714.17.6%0.83
A.J. Green $5,800 8.71.502.814.79.8%0.75
Kendrick Bourne $5,000 8.61.723.414.48.4%1.00
Hunter Renfrow $5,100 8.31.643.513.13.6%0.88
Michael Thomas $8,600 8.20.963.612.53.1%0.10
Darnell Mooney $5,200 7.91.532.713.16.1%0.78
Marquez Valdes-Scantling $5,100 7.81.533.012.83.4%0.74
Allen Robinson $6,800
Danny Amendola $4,900 7.51.533.111.62.2%0.73
Corey Davis $5,400 7.51.393.312.33.2%0.60
Cole Beasley $5,300 7.51.412.612.32.8%0.63
Rashard Higgins $5,500 7.41.352.912.24.1%0.57
Anthony Miller $5,100 7.41.452.512.34.0%0.66
John Brown $5,600 7.41.312.512.53.0%0.55
Jakobi Meyers $4,500 7.21.602.711.42.3%0.83
K.J. Hamler $4,800 7.21.492.411.72.7%0.72
James Washington $5,000 7.11.422.911.72.0%0.65
Henry Ruggs $5,700
Jeff Smith $4,600 7.01.532.610.91.4%0.73
Nelson Agholor $5,000 6.91.372.411.42.3%0.59
N'Keal Harry $5,100 6.81.342.710.91.5%0.52
Adam Humphries $5,000 6.61.332.610.30.7%0.47
Preston Williams $5,200
Damiere Byrd $4,900 6.51.332.110.40.9%0.55
Tre'Quan Smith $5,300

Davante Adams is the WR1 in the median outcomes, and that's even with our algorithm a little lower on him than the consensus seems to be. There's a lot of love for both Seattle receivers, D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, each of whom have top-three boom/bust ratios. Tyreek Hill joins them, but the blowout risk for the Chiefs is more than a little worrying for him to reach his true ceiling.

The standout lower-salaried plays are Brandon Aiyuk, Tyler Boyd, Marquise Brown, T.Y. Hilton (but I won't roster him), Mike Williams, Tee Higgins, and Kendrick Bourne.

There's a good crop of receivers in the $7,000-plus range who project for similar odds of 20-plus FanDuel points, so we have a lot of ways to differentiate this week away from whichever receivers trend toward being the chalkiest.

Tight End

Simulation Results

Player FanDuel
Value 25th
George Kittle $7,700 14.61.9010.318.647.7%1.45
Travis Kelce $7,900 13.91.759.518.242.4%1.01
Darren Waller $6,800 12.41.828.216.935.8%1.18
Mark Andrews $7,000 11.41.636.816.631.1%0.82
Hunter Henry $5,600 10.41.855.914.723.7%1.22
T.J. Hockenson $6,000 9.01.514.812.916.3%0.61
Trey Burton $5,300 8.71.644.413.015.5%0.85
Robert Tonyan $5,900 8.31.414.312.111.2%0.51
Noah Fant $5,700 8.21.444.511.89.4%0.53
Jonnu Smith $6,100
Jimmy Graham $5,400 7.41.373.811.27.4%0.51
Jared Cook $5,800
Eric Ebron $5,100 7.21.413.311.07.4%0.53
Mike Gesicki $5,500
Tyler Higbee $5,700 5.60.992.78.92.8%0.15
Harrison Bryant $5,000
Irv Smith Jr. $4,500

We have four big dogs in the mix this week with George Kittle, Travis Kelce, Mark Andrews, and Darren Waller on the slate. The two salary-based standouts, though, are Kittle and Waller, and they fit my process better. Kelce's got blowout risk, and Andrews is in a tough game.

numberFire's algorithms love Hunter Henry, giving him a top-two floor/ceiling rating. Trey Burton is the other standout low-salary play based on the simulations.

There isn't much love for Mike Gesicki, but he's still a high-volume player who gets downfield work and should be in play for tournaments.