Thursday, Sep 5th
Monday, Sep 9th

Afternoon-Only 14.22

Mike Johnson (MJohnson86) has racked up nearly $500,000 in DFS profit as an NFL tournament player with success in all styles of contests

Finding an Edge

The whole idea behind this piece of content is that it is unique. Specific content and strategies for the “non-main slate” contests are very rare in the DFS industry and most players who enter them are casual players or doing so on a whim after their main slate entries had things go wrong, and they want something to root for or to chase their losses during the late games. Edges are getting harder and harder to find in DFS as information gets better, projections get sharper, and the field gets more experienced. These smaller slates present a clear opportunity and advantage for those that focus on them, as most players will just take their thoughts from the main slate and approach these lineups the same way without considering how much having seven to nine fewer games (depending on the week) changes the strategy. 

Ownership Strategy

Ownership will be higher for pretty much every player on “short slates,” just because there are fewer players to choose from. This will be especially true for “chalky” players from the main slate. This means getting these players right is even more vital than on the main slate. There are fewer alternatives to choose from so if they have a big game and you aren’t on them it is much harder to find other ways to make up those points. This also means it is easier for lower-owned players to pay off, as there are fewer players at their position that they need to have “fail” for them to be worth the risk.

Correlation is even more important than on the main slate because the useful fantasy games that pay off for the slate are likely to be clumped up from the same games. I always make lineups with a game stack (QB + at least one pass catcher + at least one opponent) and then one or two “mini-correlations” from other games. 


Only three games on this week’s afternoon slate, which obviously condenses the QB pool considerably and makes most of the field’s builds relatively predictable.

  • Geno Smith should easily be the highest owned QB on this slate.
  • Patrick Mahomes has a tough matchup and the highest price tag but by far the highest team total.
  • The four remaining QBs are all projecting for minuscule ownership on the main slate, meaning they will all likely end up garnering a little bit of ownership on the Afternoon Only slate and making it tough to nail down which of them will be the most popular but also making it almost certain that none will get near the Mahomes level.
  • From a strategy perspective, the important thing to think about is how those last four QBs will most likely be played. All of them are unlikely to be played with a running back from their team or against the opposing defense, giving a lot of value to playing those pairings.

My guess on final ownership:

  • Geno Smith – 40-60%
  • Patrick Mahomes – 15-25% each
  • Wilson, Darnold, Purdy, Brady – 5-12%
Defense Strategy
  • The top-3 defenses on this slate are sure to be the Panthers, 49ers, and Bucs. The Panthers are extremely cheap and the 49ers // Bucs game is projected to be close and low scoring (with QBs who are potentially very vulnerable). 
  • The Chiefs are an outstanding “pay up for uniqueness” option as it will be tough for people to justify the extra money to move up from the other options on the slate. They won’t be completely overlooked against the hapless Broncos offense, but I particularly like the idea of playing the Chiefs D with Mahomes stacks as a bet that Kansas City’s offense gets rolling and forces Denver to be aggressive, leading to a full-scale Wilson meltdown.


Be sure to check the NFL Edge game breakdowns for deeper dives into these games, but here are some afternoon specific thoughts.

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