DFS Daily Update for 10/16: Making Sense of Ownership Percentages


So Nevada shut down daily fantasy sports operators in their state yesterday. They basically said DFS is gambling, so therefore providers need to have a gambling license to offer DFS contests in the state of Nevada.

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I am frustrated and just deleted a big rant about a government that legislates morality. Our American government, the same one that says that poker is not a game of skill and weed is just as dangerous as cocaine, has also said that DFS is a game of skill and therefore not gambling. Obviously they’re wrong and DFS is gambling, but they ignore that games of skill can also be games of gamble. I wish they would stop worrying about things like “gambling is bad, except for the lottery” and start letting people make their own decisions.

In the meantime I really don’t think we have to worry about a Black Friday like event. The industry is clearly legal today. This is quite a different landscape than online poker was. Bill Frist and Congress basically said that online poker was illegal in 2006 and then we pretended they didn’t until the Department of Justice shut things down in 2011. If the DOJ wanted to shut down DFS, first they would have to say they were wrong in the UIGEA and re-write law. DraftKings is in Boston, FanDuel is in New York, and nearly a billion dollars in investment capital has come in this year from other influential American entities. PokerStars is in the Isle of Man, Full Tilt was in Ireland, and Ultimate Bet was in Costa Rica. For DFS to go away like online poker did after Black Friday is a pretty unrealistic task. I could see other states besides Nevada banning DFS or calling for gaming licenses, but I don’t see it happening at a Federal level anytime soon.

Yesterday I submitted 10 lineups into the $2 Thursday qualifier for the FanDuel Fantasy Football Championship in Vegas. My intention is to get a glimpse into how the public is being swayed on FanDuel. I did my best to pick guys that I or others like, and here’s what I learned:

Tom Brady 20.2%
Matt Ryan 12.6%*
Andy Dalton 12.6%
Carson Palmer 6.5%
Drew Brees 6%*
Aaron Rodgers 5.7%
Blake Bortles 4.8%
Eli Manning 4%
Sam Bradford 2.8%
Andrew Luck 0.6%
(65.2% of 100% accounted for)
Brady’s really popular. Ryan ($8,100) and Brees ($8,300) owners will likely gravitate to Brady at $9,000 making him more popular. People are obviously off Luck coming back from injury. People think Peyton Manning is more like a noodle armed fainting goat than a guy who threw more touchdowns than anybody ever has before two years ago. I like Palmer at $8,000 but he’s not as exciting as Brees or Ryan was. Russell Wilson at $8,000 is overpriced. People don’t like Eli Manning or Bradford either, so the 18% who were on Ryan and Brees will likely pay up to Brady or down to Dalton ($7,600). Sixteen other QBs average about 2% each, I don’t think I missed anybody popular.

Running Back
Devonta Freeman 54.2%*
Dion Lewis 14.6%
Chris Ivory 12.1%
Eddie Lacy 11%
Adrian Peterson 10.1%
Le’Veon Bell 9.9%
Matt Forte 9.9%
LeGarrette Blount 8.1%
Adrian Foster 6.8%
Charcandrick West 5.6%
Gio Bernard 5.3%
DeMarco Murray 4.5%
Chris Johnson 2.8%
Frank Gore 2.2%
Carlos Hyde 2%
Lamar Miller 2%
CJ Anderson 1.8%
Rashad Jennings 0.9%
(163.8 of 200% accounted for)
I pegged Freeman for 42% ownership, I was way off. They’re all going to go somewhere but we have a nice popularity scale here. Remember last week when the Washington Redskins were good at covering the run, so we all faded Freeman? This week the Redskins are still good at covering the run, but since Freeman shredded them last week it seems people think that Ivory will shred them this week. Lewis is pretty heavily owned for a guy who was limited in practice yesterday with an abdomen injury. I thought Charcandrick would be more popular.

Wide Receiver
Julian Edelman 33%
Larry Fitzgerald 22.5%
Allen Robinson 19.6%
Willie Snead 18.9%*
Julio Jones 12.8%*
AJ Green 11.4%
James Jones 10.9%
Brandon Marshall 10.5%
Jeremy Maclin 7.1%
Anquan Boldin 6.2%
Jordan Matthews 6%
Calvin Johnson 6%
Allen Hurns 5.8%
Leonard Hankerson 4.6%*
Donte Moncrief 3.6%
Randall Cobb 3.5%
TY Hilton 2.3%
Odell Beckham Jr. 2.3%
Marquess Wilson 2.1%
John Brown 2%
Demaryius Thomas 1.9%
Antonio Brown 1.8%
Dwayne Harris 1%
Mohamed Sanu 0.5%
Josh Huff 0.3%
Davante Adams 0.2%
(196.8% of 300% accounted for)
Seems everybody is all aboard the New England Patriots train. Makes them all a fade for me in GPPs. Never thought I would see a Jaguars wide receiver at 19.6% on a full slate.

Tight End
Antonio Gates 31.8%
Tyler Eifert 14.6%
Rob Gronkowski 13.3%
Martellus Bennett 6.4%
Travis Kelce 3.3%
Delanie Walker 1.7%
Julius Thomas 1.6%
Jimmy Graham 1.2%
Zach Ertz 1.2%
Kyle Rudolph 0.7%
(75.8 of 100% accounted for)
Gates seems a little too popular to me. People are high on the Green Bay defense, low on Philip Rivers, and really, really high on Gates. These things do not make sense to me.

Stephen Gostkowski 14.5%
Brandon McManus 10.3%
Josh Brown 9.1%
Matt Bryant 6.7%*
Mason Crosby 3.8%
Steven Hauschka 3.5%
Zach Hocker 3.3%*
Nick Folk 2%
Caleb Sturgis 1.6%
Denver Broncos 22.5%
New York Jets 15.1%
Green Bay Packers 6.2%
Cincinnati Bengals 4.9%
Minnesota Vikings 4.5%
Seattle Seahawks 3.9%
Detroit Lions 3%
Philadelphia Eagles 1.6%
Buffalo Bills 0.6%
Jacksonville Jaguars 0.5%
(62.8 of 100%)
People figured out that Denver has the best defense in the league, but 22% for a defense on the road that isn’t much of a favorite is way too high of an ownership percentage. I think Seattle is the nuts this week and I love that they’re so low owned.

Nothing really surprising here overall. People gravitate harder to the chalk because people would rather min-cash every week than win the contest once a year. The Patriots look really good for cash games, but I will be fading the lot of them in GPPs simply from a game theory perspective. If Brady is owned at 20% and Rodgers is 6%, then Rodgers is the better GPP play because playing Rodgers increases our probability to win the GPP. Green Bay’s team total is nearly as high as New England’s, and I think it’s pretty unreasonable to expect Brady to outperform Rodgers at a 20-6 rate if we played this weekend 26 times.