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The pricing algorithms for most daily sites are really good at figuring out a players’ value. They don’t release the factors that make up their pricing equations but with a quick eyeball test it becomes very clear that there is a correlation between previous performance and price. As with any scaled, automated method of producing values, inefficiencies will arise that can be exploited.
We’re going to focus on FanDuel. A quick look at the player pricing will show you that it appears that there is a heavy skew that prices players higher who have performed well in the last few weeks. As a result, players who are injured are not picked up by the algorithm. This includes players who are not going to be playing at all and players who are in fact playing through injuries.
We will look to take advantage of pricing inefficiencies in the pricing algorithm brought about through injury. This column will provide analysis on players who are currently injured and priced over or under market value on FanDuel.
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Full disclosure from Week 1
Let’s take a quick look at the players we called out last week to see how they performed to keep us honest. In Week 1 we got four out of five correct with one a no contest as the player did not play.
LeSean McCoy ($8,400) – 10.2 FanDuel Points
Ouch. We knew it would be bad – we didn’t know it would be this bad. His hamstring could have been one part of the problem, the side to side dancing at the line of scrimmage could have been the other part. Regardless hopefully you stayed away from Shady in Week 1.
Tre Mason ($7,300) – Did not play
Joique Bell ($6,500) – 5.1 FanDuel points
All credit to Bell as he literally suited up for the first time since last year and stepped on the field. Coming off Achilles and knee surgeries earlier this year he missed all of OTAs and the offseason and was never going to be able to perform at an elite level. Out-touched and outplayed by rookie Ameer Abdullah he waddled his way to a 2.3 YPC. He is an automatic avoid this week too.
Roddy White ($7,600) – 10.4 FanDuel points
White was coming off knee draining and elbow surgery in the offseason and looked as healthy as we’ve seen him in a long time. It was far from the doom and gloom we’ve come to experience with White in the sense that he was targeted 8 times and hauled in 4 catches for 84 yards. He was noticeably slower and and generated very little after the catch.
Alshon Jeffery ($8,400) – 10.1 FanDuel points
Alshon was a game time decision and had his snaps limited by the coaching staff. He padded his stats with two big chunk gains in garbage time but was otherwise ineffective against the Packers. So long as there are no setbacks he will improve week to week and should find himself back in form shortly. Week 2 might be a stretch though as he has a very tough matchup with a Cardinals team that just beasted on the Saints and on paper look to have the Bears outmatched on both sides of the ball.
Overvalued plays in Week 2
Players who are not playing due to injury
These are guys you’re not even considering because they are out due to injury:
Players who are questionable
Mike Evans ($8,100)
Evans pulled his hamstring in the second preseason game (8/24) and has not been on the practice field since. If he plays (we’re assuming he will because word was that he was close to playing last Sunday) it’s very tempting to want to start him as there are definitely points to be scored on this offense as witnessed by anyone who started Austin Seferian-Jenkins last week. At $8,100 though, his price tag is too steep for a guy who is coming off a three week hiatus. Similar priced players at his position are A.J. Green and DeAndre Hopkins who are healthy and playing at full strength.
C.J. Spiller ($6,100)
C.J. Spiller is the fantasy football tease of the last 5 years. He is the Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown as he runs up to kick it. Every year. Every. &%*#$. Year. In season-long leagues you draft him only to feel the cold grip of failure as that decision comes back to bite you, yet every year you take him back.
Such tantalizing potential yet perpetually injured. He found himself in the Nirvana for catching RBs in New Orleans, a place where RBs who can catch and run live, prosper and fulfill fantasy football dreams (Payton dialed up a league leading 166 passes to RBs in 2014 whaaaat). He was about to join the illustrious company of players like Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas who had strong PPR seasons catching passes from Drew Brees. But this was not to be. Spiller underwent “minor” knee surgery on 8/15 and did not play a single snap in the preseason. The fact that he has not practiced in over a month drapes him in one big red flag and if he plays in week 2 he needs to be avoided at any price.
T.Y. Hilton ($7,600)
Hilton went down hard on his knee on Sunday and was diagnosed with a deep knee bruise. There are conflicting reports coming out of Indy regarding his availability but it’s looking like he will be good to go come Sunday.
There are a few things about this situation that make him avoidable if he is not playing close to 100%. The first is that the matchup is going to be tough. There is a very good chance he could find himself on Revis Island even if he was at full speed. The second is that it’s a Monday night game and so your options of finding a replacement in the event he does not play are going to be very limited. Look elsewhere and there are some great plays at this price point: Brandin Cooks ($7,400 vs Tampa Bay) and Jarvis Landry ($7,100 at Jacksonville = yum).
Derek Carr ($6,100)
This is less about playing Carr this week and more about his supporting cast of potential plays such as Amari Cooper and Latavius Murray. Carr hurt his thumb and had to leave the Week 1 dumpster fire against the Bengals. X-rays revealed no fractures but the swelling was so bad he could not grip a football. Medication to keep the swelling down along with pain meds should be able to get him on the field but playing well against the ferocious Baltimore defense that just silenced Peyton Manning with a bad throwing hand is going to be beyond the marvels of modern medical science.
Even with a healthy Carr you were probably fading Cooper and Murray but at this point it’s safe to just walk away.