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DFS: How Well Does Wide Receiver Salary Predict Points? (Fantasy Football)

Jul 31, 2020

In our third and final installment of this mini-series, we will be taking a look at the pass-catchers to see how they have performed compared to salary over the last three seasons. Check out our first two posts to get a fuller idea of what we’re doing here.

How Well Does Quarterback Salary Predict Points?
How Well Does Running Back Salary Predict Points?

First, let’s take a quick look at the top 10 DraftKings performances from wide receivers and tight ends over the last three seasons.

 

I filtered out all the stone minimum receivers that were priced at $3,000. I also used only players that saw two or more targets in a game to get rid of the bench guys that never see the field.  This gives us more useful data set to analyze.

Here is the full plot of all wide receiver performances in our sample:

Too many data points to really learn much from, but you can see the thick clustering in the bottom left of the graph, cheap pass-catchers very rarely post big scores – that is pretty short of surprising.

Let’s take a closer look and find the average DraftKings score for each price point:

After the $8,000 mark, we start seeing very few players at each price point. For example, there have only been 12 wide receivers priced at $8,200 in the last three years. There has only been one priced at $10,000 (Antonio Brown in week six of the 2016 season, and he had a nine-point dud). There have been less than 10 wide receivers priced at every salary over $9,000, so the data can be a little random at that extreme.

You can see the general uptrend in the plot though. Much like we saw with quarterbacks and running backs, there does seem to be a flattening in the middle price points, with production leveling off between around the $6,500 and $7,500 mark.

Let’s round each salary to the nearest $500 mark and plot it again, this will give us a better idea of the trend as we cluster the points together in many fewer categories.

 

Here is that data in table format:

We see a big climb in points when going from a $5,500 receiver to the $6,000 mark, adding 2.2 points on average. A similar jump is made between $7,000 and $7,500 – there is an increase of 2.1 points on average in that case. $6,500 receivers have actually outscored $7,000 ones over the last three years by about 1.2 points on average.

Interestingly, after you get past the $8,000 mark – all things are pretty equal. Keep in mind that we don’t have a ton of data at those price points, but with the data we do have for the last three years, all receivers priced at $8,300 or above have performed essentially the same on average.

Conclusion

We find similar results to our first two posts here, with there not being much to gain in the middle tiers of salaries. There does not seem to be an advantage to playing a $7,200 receiver as compared to a $6,300 guy – for example. Also, after you have surpassed $8,000 – you aren’t adding much value by paying more. An $8,500 receiver has performed the same as a $9,500 on average.

There seems to be an advantage to be had with middling price points in NFL DFS. Quarterbacks between $6,000 and $7,000 average about the same scores, as do running backs and wide receivers when you’re in the $6,500-$7,500 range. These few hundred dollars can be very valuable to help you afford the stud players, and those stud players are often the make or break players of your lineup.

Thanks for checking this out, hope people out there enjoyed it!

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Jon Anderson is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Jon, check out his archive and follow him @JonPgh.

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