Sunday, Feb 12th — Late
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Afternoon-Only 5.22

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

My guess on the order of QB ownership:

  1. Jalen Hurts
  2. Kyler Murray
  3. Matthew Stafford
  4. Jimmy Garoppolo
  5. Cooper Rush 
  6. Baker Mayfield

A huge percentage of the field is going to play lineups built around the PHI // ARI game, meaning Hurts and Murray will likely account for over 60% of the QB ownership by themselves. That information may make some people lean towards trying to be different but if you do so you have to be smart about it. First of all, that game has such a high floor and ceiling relative to the other games that it will be hard to match. Second, while the raw numbers of people playing PHI // ARI will be high, the lineups built around other teams will all look so similar that it will be equally difficult to differentiate. For instance, a Matthew Stafford lineup will naturally include Cooper Kupp and Tyler Higbee for most people. Where will they go next? 

  • Well, at running back, most Stafford lineups will then look to play the lead runners on the highest total teams on the slate: Miles Sanders and Jeff Wilson.
  • Most people will also probably try to use PHI D or SF D in these lineups, as correlation with one of their running backs and because the most popular defense, Dallas, is facing the passing game the roster is built around.
  • That lineup has spent a lot of money with Kupp and high-priced defenses so they’ll next look to save some money somewhere. No players from ARI on the roster yet, so adding Rondale Moore makes sense.
  • From there, the lineup could go a lot of ways, but we almost certainly know that at least one of the remaining spots will be a DAL player to correlate with the Rams stack. The point is that Stafford will likely be 15-20% owned and most of those rosters will be stacked the same way and built similarly for at least 2-3 of those spots.
    • QB: Stafford
    • RB: Sanders
    • RB: Wilson
    • WR: Kupp
    • WR: Moore
    • WR:
    • TE: Higbee
    • FLEX: 
    • DEF: SF or PHI
  • This means that you will essentially be 5 to 7 spots the same as roughly 10% of the field and be playing 2v2 and 3v3 from there.

Overall, my point on this is that on short slates like this (especially ones with only three games) there is going to be a ton of overlap across rosters. If we know that, it doesn’t make a ton of sense to chase these other spots with lower floors and ceilings when they aren’t going to actually differentiate us that much.

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