Sunday, Jan 29th — Early
Sunday, Jan 29th — Late
Bye Week:
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Afternoon-Only 15.22

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. 

QB STRATEGY
  • Justin Herbert and Joe Burrow will be the two most popular quarterbacks on the slate.
  • Tom Brady and Mac Jones should also be relatively popular, as Jones has a great matchup and Brady has two big name receivers to use as stacking partners.
  • Ryan Tannehill and Derek Carr are the third tier of quarterback but are sneaky options as leverage off two of the top running backs on the slate.
  • Finally, Colt McCoy and Brett Rypien will be the lowest owned QBs as they play in by far the worst projected game environment.

My guess on final ownership:

  • Herbert and Burrow – 20-30% each
  • Brady and Jones – 12-20% each
  • Tannehill and Carr – 8-12% each
  • Colt McCoy – 4-7%
  • Brett Rypien – 1-2%
Defense Strategy
  • Per usual, the defense ownership will be roughly the inverse of QB ownership, with the Broncos and Cardinals garnering the majority of the ownership on the slate. Both are already projected as top-3 options on the main slate, and I’d expect they combine for roughly 50-60% of the ownership on the afternoon slate.
  • The Titans and Bucs defenses are also somewhat popular on the main slate, and should each have around 12-20% ownership on the afternoon slate.
  • The rest of the defenses all have some good logic behind them as ways to get unique:
    • The Patriots should have single digit ownership and could slow down a Raiders offense that can be predictable and concentrated, especially given the coaching familiarity involved in that game.
    • The Raiders are a bit expensive for a unit that has struggled, but given how the Patriots offense has looked at times this year, they could simply fall into some points.
    • The Chargers defense is talented, and if they build a lead that forces the Titans to the air, there is the potential for big plays.
    • Tom Brady and the Bucs offense have a high pass rate and have struggled this year, making the Bengals an intriguing option.

HOW I’M APPROACHING EACH GAME

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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