Angles hits inboxes on Thursday mornings throughout the regular season; you can also find Angles in The Scroll Thursday afternoons
I can’t tell you how excited I am to hang out all season.
If you’re an OWS Free member, be sure to take advantage of free projections, free DraftKings/FanDuel ownership projections, free access to everything in The Scroll, and free access to the Angles Podcast and Inner Circle pods (all of which can be found throughout the week on the One Week Season podcast feed). As always, everything is free Week 1.
Inner Circle and OWS DFS are both receiving permanent price bumps at the end of Week 1. If you get in early, you’ll lock in the lower price for life. (If you get in and have buyer’s remorse, don’t worry; you have two full weeks to ask for a refund. You even get to keep that lower price if you come back in the future. All upside, no risk.)
Total Main Slate Games: 13
In this week’s Oracle (live in The Scroll at halftime of Thursday Night Football!), one of the questions includes the following:
The NFL leans into the excitement surrounding the opening weekend and intentionally schedules many high profile games with marquee matchups. Such is the case this week, with some incredible Week 1 games to get our juices flowing. The secondary result of that, however, is a lot of lower expectation games and a clear separation in expected quality across the slate. For this week’s main slate, some big picture things to consider:
10 teams with an implied team total of 21 or lower
9 of 13 road teams are favored
9 of 13 games have an over/under of 45 or lower
We also have separation between the first two “games above 45.0” (GB/MIN currently at 47.0, PHI/DET currently at 48.5) and the latter two “games above 45.0” (LV/LAC currently at 52.0, KC/ARI currently at 53.5). These top two games are sitting on a higher shelf than pretty much all the other games.
Also from The Oracle, however (and I absolutely love this), Mike contributed the following:
While we certainly want to keep this information in mind, we also know that these spreads and game totals are historically the least efficient in Week 1 that they will be all season. Despite this being fairly common knowledge among serious DFS players, most of the field still hangs on to these numbers like gospel and treats them with far more certainty than they have historically shown to have. Later in the year, most lines end up pretty accurate but in Week 1 we know there are some huge inefficiencies on the board, creating an opportunity for us to exploit inefficiencies if we can accurately find them.
Throughout my response to that topic, I began to realize that I had played around with plenty of rosters that had gone through players and packages from those lower-total games. I was definitely hunting through those games, but I also hadn’t found any one spot that really stood out from others (in terms of either likelihood or highest-end ceiling). The fact that there is so much unknown in Week 1 almost guarantees that something unexpected will emerge from one or two of these games (potentially of the slate-shifting variety, and potentially including game environment factors that lead to multiple pieces from one of these games being on tourney-winning rosters), but that same uncertainty also pretty much guarantees that there isn’t some data point we’re going to uncover that will give us the answers to the test. The “wrong” game totals are likeliest to be wrong because of factors that we are, at present, unaware of.
So how do we use this information to our benefit?
First off, if we believe that “something crazy will probably happen from these lower-total games and end up on tourney-winning rosters,” we need to realize this means we need to account for this in some way.
And then, from there, we have something of a sliding scale.
If we’re looking at smaller-field contests (this has its own sliding scale, but say anywhere from 100 to 500/600 entries), you can recognize that this week offers a massive gap between the top two games and everything else, and can consider leveraging this fact to say, “I’ll let others make mistakes trying to out-guess me on lower-total games. I’ll take the top games and find a way to build around them intelligently-uniquely.” There’s no need to chase the other games too deeply (not unless there’s something that stands out to you — something you want to play because you’re confident in the play, rather than for strategy purposes); just be smart about the way you’re building around these top games in order to set your roster apart.
If we’re looking at contests in, say, the 600 to 2000-entry range, we’re probably becoming a bit more willing to anchor at least one part of our roster to a more significant bet on these lower-total games. (The major exception would be if we were building around the higher-total games with an approach that we felt comfortable the field just simply wouldn’t have; see Building Blocks in The Scroll this weekend for a few ideas here.) In contests of this size, we don’t need to go too far off the board in gaining access to these lower-total games. We can find “really good plays,” as long as these plays feel at least a little bit uncomfortable (which is to say: as long as these plays will be an actual differentiator for you if they hit).
As we get into contests ranging from 2000 to 10,000 entries in size, we have to really start assuming that there will be sharks in the waters hunting for potential prizes amongst the low-total games — thus increasing the chances of someone finding that unforeseeable edge, and thus increasing the need for you to be thinking about how you might be able to find that unforeseeable edge yourself.
And as we get into contests north of 10k entries (again: consider all of this to be on a sliding scale, and these thoughts to be generalities), we reach a point where there are rapidly-diminishing benefits to taking the higher-certainty plays at the top of this slate, while it becomes increasingly valuable to take risks with intelligent, game-based builds in the lower-total setups.
In short: the larger the tournament field, the likelier it is that we’ll miss out on first place to a roster that has found that “hidden gem” in the lower-total games, thus increasing the value of us shrugging off Week 1 Vegas totals and hunting for that hidden gem ourselves. The smaller the tournament field, the more valuable it becomes to allow others to chase those off-the-board scenarios, while you gain your edge by building a differentiated roster around the games whose totals are so much higher than the others on the slate.
That’s a lengthier Angles Email than usual, but hopefully worth the time spent reading.
Now buckle in and build some ultra-sharp rosters!
All podcasts this week can be found on the One Week Season podcast feed (search your favorite podcast player).
If you’re an Inner Circle member or an OWS DFS member, be sure to hit up the Podcasts page to add the 2022 IC Pods and Angles Pod to your podcast player.
I’ll see you at the top of the leaderboards.