1 year ago

Predicting Ownership in Daily Fantasy

Howdy, partners! We are continuing a series of articles devoted to ownership in DFS. Last time, we discussed why ownership is important. Little spoiler – it may give you an advantage over the field (if you are eager to learn more, head here). This time around, we are going to delve a little bit deeper and try to predict ownership (and maybe even get into the mind of a typical DFS player).

Generally, there are three main factors that can potentially influence ownership. We are going to dissect them one by one, with recent examples for the purposes of clarity.


1. Price Increase/Decrease

In Daily Fantasy sports contests in Europe, prices fluctuate quite often — FanTeam and Bethard change player pricing for every new contest.

This is especially true about hockey, even if the prices change within a certain range. Obviously, if a player drops in price, his ownership percentage may increase, making him more affordable (and most likely more highly-owned), and vice versa.

However, you must remember that cheap is not always the answer – if you are sure that the more expensive guy will bring you the goodies, you have to pick him.

Yes, Alex Ovechkin is consistently one of the most expensive players out there, but very often there is no need to fade him because he delivers more often than not. We may also conclude that his ownership percentage does not fluctuate much week-to-week because of his consistent point returns.

The next two factors, though, may lead to a certain ownership % change in Ovechkin's and other similar cases. 


2. Matchup For The Week

This is arguably the most important factor of them all. If a team is up against a weak opponent, you may certainly expect that the players from that team will be high-owned despite the price.

Let me give an example. As you can see, the Pittsburgh Penguins were pitted against a weaker opponent in Columbus Blue Jackets, which might have bumped their ownership quite a bit.

Same goes for the Sharks – LA Kings have been a dumpster fire in the last couple of seasons. As a result of that, the stack of Kane, Couture, and Karlsson was relatively high-owned.

Another example from football – one could have expected easy wins for Liverpool and Spurs (even though there weren’t so easy after all), so Kane's, Salah's, and Mane's ownership (30%+) is pretty self-explanatory.


3. Recent performance (aka recency bias)

This is another important thing when it comes to trying to predict ownership. Most people tend to pick the players who were on fire during the last gameweek, hoping that a repeat performance would drown them in cash.

However, all athletes are prone to slowdowns, and some sports such as hockey have a high degree of randomness, so, it is impossible to expect the same kind of performance the next night after a huge blowout.

The same example that I’ve given above can be inserted here. See, just before the encounter with the Blue Jackets, the Penguins were involved in a goalfest against the Canucks (with the final score of 8:6 in favor of Pittsburgh), and this might have boosted their ownership.

Now, with that said and done, let’s try to predict ownership for the upcoming NHL slate (5 games late night on December 2) and the midweek in EPL.

Home Away
Leicester Watford
Southampton Norwich
Chelsea Aston Villa
Man United Spurs
Wolves West Ham
Liverpool Everton
Sheff United Newcastle
Arsenal Brighton

Here is how the slate for the EPL midweek looks like. The Leicester-Watford game is an outlier – Watford is a whipping boy this season, so expect Vardy, Maddison, and company to be owned at 30 to 40 percent, despite the considerable price increase compared to GW14 (from 12.4 to 14.2 for Vardy and from 11.6 to 13.2 for Maddison).

Another team whose players should be high-owned is the Spurs – they are on a roll since Jose Mourinho has been appointed head coach, and Man United are far from a formidable opponent this year.

Another factor that might lead to Spurs'assets being rather highly-owned is their price compared to the last game week (Kane is priced at 8,9 compared to 12,8 against Bournemouth at home last week). 

Bear in mind that guys like Mane, Mo Salah, and Aubameyang will be high-owned because they always are regardless of the match-up recency bias or not.

The teams who may fly under the radar a bit (and most likely will be low-owned) are Brighton and Newcastle. The former are playing against Arsenal and are bound to have scoring chances because the Gunners’ defense are a sieve. Expect Brighton's players ownership to increase a few % because of a rather favorable match-up and low price. 

The latter are up against SHU, one of the best teams in the league defensively, but seem to be finding their groove. Factor in the cheap pricing (Joelington, 6.4, for example), recency bias (a 2:2 draw against the champions) , and we might expect Newcastle's ownership percentage increase by 2-5%.

Home Away
Rangers Golden Knights
Sabres Devils
Red Wings Islanders
Blackhawks Blues
Ducks Kings

This is tonight’s NHL state. The Isles will likely be high-owned because the Wings’ D has more holes than Swiss cheese (expect Matt Barzal and company to be owned by 25-30% of the field). Jack Eichel and his Sabres may be relatively high-owned due to a recent outburst against the Leafs; however, temper your expectations here.

The Rangers may be under-owned a little bit because, in players’ minds, Vegas is still a force to be reckoned with. They are, but they are not as good as they were the last season – plus, their #1 goalie is out, and Rangers have Panarin and other quality players at their disposal.

That is it for today. Try to employ the principles I’ve listed in this piece, and it may win you a buck or two playing daily fantasy sports in Europe. I bid you adieu, and may your life be full of puck luck!



DFS enthusiast and rather frequent player. Spreading DFS word within the sound of my voice. Love all things hockey.