There are several ways to assemble a daily fantasy roster.
The intent of this article is to focus on players who represent values and or will return on investment.
What is a Return on Investment score?
The Return on Investment (ROI) score is determined by dividing the first two numbers of a player’s price tag by their points scored in a given week.
The lower the ROI score is, the more a player has returned on your investment.
An example of a good return on investment, Tua Tagovailoa was priced at $5,600 on DraftKings and scored 43.86 fantasy points in Week 2 of last season.
56 / 43.86 = 1.28 ROI
An example of a poor return on investment, Russell Wilson was priced at $7,200 on DraftKings and scored 12.06 fantasy points in Week 2 of last season.
72 / 12.06 = 5.97 ROI
While you will not always need to use the ROI score to assemble your entire roster, utilizing it on certain players can help you be more cost-effective while assembling the final pieces of your roster.
The Top 10 average ROI among players that finished in the top 25 in scoring last season:
- QB: 3.46
- RB: 5.20
- WR: 5.25
- TE: 5.50
Another indicator of success is a player scoring three times his cost (3X). This is a method that has been used in a variety of daily fantasy circles and will be used here.
In Week 1 last season, Saquon Barkley was priced at $6,100.
- 6.1 x 3 = 18.3 (Goal to hit 3X cost)
- Points scored 36.4 – 18.3 = +18.10
- Average = Average points scored
- ROI = Average Return on Investment
- 3X = Average of how high a player scores three times their cost
- 30+ = Games with 30 points or more
- 20+ = Games with 20 points or more
- 10> = Games with fewer than 10 points scored
Quarterback DFS Values
Sam Darnold ($5,200)
49ers vs Rams
Like most teams, the 49ers are locked into their playoff seeding and are resting some of their starters. With Brock Purdy ruled out, look for Sam Darnold to provide one of the biggest returns on investment in Week 18.
Make no mistake, even though the team is resting some starters, Kyle Shanahan will still be putting his best offensive foot forward.
Let’s not forget last summer when Shanahan famously rhetorically asked the San Francisco Chronicle why Darnold couldn’t resurrect his career like Steve Young did.
Now Shanahan has a chance to make Darnold look great against a Rams defense that is seventh in points allowed to quarterbacks.
The playoff-bound Rams are one of three teams to have four or more games with 30+ DFS points allowed to quarterbacks. Over the last three weeks, the Rams have allowed a league-high 25.02 points per game to the position.
During that three-game stretch, the Rams defense had a passing touchdown percentage of 77.78%.
Despite the 49ers being tied for league-low pass attempts on a per-game basis with 29.1, this could be a game in which they look for Darnold to throw it more.
Christian McCaffrey is sidelined this week with a calf injury.
Elijah Mitchell will fill in, Mitchell is still someone the team will need for the playoffs. Expect Jordan Mason to see more work, but at the same time, expect Shanahan to preserve his running backs more than usual.
Last season with the Panthers, Darnold finished strong. In his final two games of the season, the former USC quarterback had back-to-back games with over 20 points and averaged 295.5 passing yards.
Darnold has seen minimal work this season, but he has a 60% completion percentage on 20 pass attempts and a touchdown.
With the team walking the tightrope of how long to play their starters, projecting the 49ers pass catchers could be tricky, but this is a chance to have a quarterback in a Kyle Shanahan offense that is only $5,200.
Honorable Mention: Jordan Love ($6,600)
Running Back DFS Values
Ezekiel Elliott ($5,900)
Patriots vs Jets
In what could be Bill Belichick’s final game as the Patriots head coach, look to get a piece of the action by playing Ezekiel Elliott.
In the three weeks before this matchup, the Patriots have thrown the ball 62% of the time. Look for that number to dwindle against a Jets team that is being thrown on 51.80% of the time, the third-lowest mark in the league.
In regards to points allowed, the Jets are allowing the seventh-most points to the position. Along with that, their defense is one of 10 teams to have double-digit games with more than 20 points allowed to the position.
Three of those games have come over the last three weeks as they have allowed 31.97 points per game, the third-highest mark in the league.
On the season, the Jets have the fourth-highest rushing first down percentage allowed at 36.99%.
All of this sounds good for Elliott, who has accounted for 69% of the Patriots’ rushing attempts since Rhamondre Stevenson went down with his high ankle sprain.
During that four-game stretch, Elliott has averaged 17.27 points per game and has two games with more than 20 points scored. While he has averaged 4.6 yards per attempt during that, he has managed to be productive for fantasy without scoring a touchdown.
The Jets lead the league during the last three games allowing 2.0 rushing touchdowns per game.
If the Patriots do intend to pass the ball some, even that bodes well for Elliott, who has a 24% target share over the last four weeks. That is more than any skill position player on the team.
The Patriots are not playing for the playoffs, but they are playing for Belichick to beat the Jets one final time. Look for Elliott, the most utilized player on the Patriots roster, to be a big part of that.
Honorable Mentions: James Conner ($6,100)
Wide Receiver DFS Values
Jayden Reed – $5,700
Packers vs Bears
Entering the final week of the regular season, Jayden Reed leads Packers wide receivers in points scored. Look for the rookie receiver to finish up strong against the Bears.
On the season, Reed is seventh on our return on investment rankings. Down the stretch has been even better for the talented pass catcher. Among wide receivers who have played in at least two games over the last three weeks, Reed has the second-best return on investment on score.
A large part of Reed’s success has been due to him being tied for third at his position with 10 total touchdowns. Seven of those touchdowns have come since Week 9.
Down the stretch, the Bears defense has shown signs of improvement. Their defense has two games allowing fewer than 20 points to the wide receiver position, and those have come in the last two weeks.
While the touchdowns over the last three weeks haven’t gone to wide receivers, the Bears are still allowing touchdowns through the air. During the last three weeks, the Bears defense has a passing touchdown percentage of 83.33%. That is second to only the Buccaneers.
Despite that, the Bears are tied for sixth in most touchdowns allowed to wide receivers.
The red zone has been the best way to attack the Bears pass defense. Headed into this week, 80% of touchdowns the Bears have allowed to wide receivers have come inside the red zone. Reed is second to Romeo Doubs with six red zone touchdowns.
There is also the Bears and what they have done against wide receivers in the slot position.
Going into the final week, the Bears are allowing 15.5 points per game to the slot position, the fourth-highest mark in the league. That bodes well for Reed, who has lined up as the slot receiver on 66.4% of his snaps.
In terms of usage, this is a game that the Packers need as they can clinch a playoff berth with a win. Expect Reed to be a part of that effort to get the team into the postseason.
Honorable Mention: Wan’Dale Robinson ($4,200)
Tight End DFS Values
Davis Allen – $2,500
Rams at 49ers
With Sean McVay ruling out Tyler Higbee due to a shoulder injury, look for Davis Allen to be a surprise against the 49ers.
Playing just 13% of the Rams’ offensive snaps, Allen’s statistical output has been minimal. His best performance came in the one other game Higbee missed this season.
In Week 14, against a Ravens defense allowing the 11th-fewest points to tight ends, Allen caught four of five targets for 50 yards and a touchdown. That resulted in 15 points scored.
That was one of just four weeks in which the Ravens allowed 15 or more points to tight ends.
Along with that statistical output, it also helps to know that Allen played on 71% of snaps and had a 13% target share.
If Allen produces anywhere near that total, he will have one of the strongest returns on investment at his position in Week 18. With a cost of $2,500 on DraftKings, Allen will need 7.5 points to score 3X his price.
That is in the realm of possibility against a 49ers defense that is allowing 11.09 on a per-game basis to tight ends. Along with that, as previously mentioned, the 49ers will be resting certain players throughout the game.
While the 49ers have allowed just three touchdowns to tight ends, one of those did come from a backup. Back in Week 15, while Trey McBride was torching the 49ers for 102 yards, Elijah Higgins also had four receptions for 40 yards and a touchdown.
With the Rams resting starters, Carson Wentz will serve as the quarterback in their season finale. With players like Kyren Williams and Cooper Kupp also sitting in Week 18, Wentz will have limited options which could prove beneficial for Allen.
Honorable Mention: Tucker Kraft ($3,700)