Thursday, Sep 5th
Monday, Sep 9th

Angles 15.23

Angles hits inboxes on Thursday mornings throughout the regular season; you can also find Angles in The Scroll on Thursday afternoons.

Week 15 Angles

OWS Fam!

Welcome to Week 15 — where things might look the same as always on the surface…but where the story under the hood might actually be a bit different than normal.

We all have our own opinions and preferences, of course, but I personally prefer smaller Main Slates to full 13-gamers (and from what I have gathered over the years, most of the OWS Fam feels the same way) — and the NFL has done us a favor by giving us our typical island games alongside three games on Saturday, to provide a 10-game Main Slate for DFS on Sunday.

The island games and Saturday games this week haven’t taken significant upside or excitement off the Main Slate, as we have backup quarterbacks facing off on Thursday night (Chargers // Raiders), backup quarterbacks facing off in each of the first two Saturday games (Vikings // Bengals || Steelers // Colts), and a game between the Broncos and Lions on Saturday night that features a Broncos team that has created muted game environments across the last couple months. The Sunday night game (Ravens // Jags) has a low total (42.5), but plenty of potential, while the Monday night game (Eagles // Seahawks) could produce some fireworks; but given that 12 of 32 teams are missing from the Main Slate, we really aren’t losing nearly as much as we could.

Somewhat critically, the Main Slate provides us with a VERY clear divide between the early games and the late games, with the seven early games featuring only one contest with a game total over 38.0(!!!!), while the three late games provide us with totals of 48.0, 50.0, and 50.5. (Note: the only game in the early window with a total over 38.0 is Bucs at Packers, which comes in at 41.5).

While we know that game totals are not the be all and end all of “what we should expect in a game,” it is worth pointing out two important items here:

1) In the past, we would be almost universally ignoring games with totals below 42 (let alone games of 38 and below!), and in the past, we would also have been giving heavy attention to games with totals of 48.0 and above. (Said differently: 48+ is not just “a good total in the context of 2023”; that would have been an attractive total in past seasons as well — with the difference being that in past seasons, the “clumped together others” would have had totals of, say, 43 to 45, and there would have been only one or two games, at most, with “ignore them” totals of 38.0 and below).

2) As we have explored a number of times across the last few seasons in the Winner Circle podcast: it’s not unusual on a two- or three-game slate to see DraftKings scores well over 200. Said differently: if the composition of a three-game slate includes games that can produce points, it’s completely possible to score well over 200 DK points within that three-game slate…which also means that on larger slates, it’s possible to score well over 200 DK points without branching outside of three games.

Hmmmm…

Now, it’s one thing to illustrate that, “Hey, it’s possible to select players from just three games and score 200+ points, and we also happen to have three games on this slate that have much clearer pathways to being high-scoring,” but what’s especially intriguing is the structure of the slate as a whole, in that these three games are note only separated from the rest in terms of “pathways to being high-scoring,” but are also separated from the rest within the slate itself. Again: all seven low-total games are being played early. All three high-total games are being played late(!). (More on this — and the strategies that might be built around this information — as we move deeper into the week.)

In terms of the structure of the low-scoring games — and where we might, on the surface, be able to hunt for “game environment upside”…

The Bucs have allowed point totals of 25 // 27 // 27 // 39 to their last four opponents who were not the Panthers or Titans, and are playing a Packers team that has come on of late, scoring 27+ in two of their last three games. On the season, the Packers have topped 24 points only three times, and have allowed more than 25 points only once, so the 41.5-point total here is not surprising; but there are certainly opportunities for this game to play to the upside, or at least for this game to produce some useful fantasy scores.

The Dolphins are implied to score only 22.75 against the Jets, and it looks like Tyreek Hill won’t be at full health after missing most of Miami’s game this last week, but “Miami at home” is still an upside setup against any defense.

The Texans are expected to be without C.J. Stroud this week (concussion), which should allow the Titans to play to their more conservative nature; but when we consider that this game would have had a bit of a different expectation with Stroud under center, we can stretch our imagination far enough to see a scenario in which the Titans are producing some nice fantasy scores.

The run-heavy Falcons are implied to score only 19.0 on the road against the Panthers, who are one of the worst run defenses in football. The Falcons are also an aggressive defense, taking on Bryce Young and the broken Panthers offense, which opens the door for Atlanta to potentially be working with short fields and allowing Bijan Robinson to rack up a big day.

The Chiefs haven’t shown us much to be excited about this year, and are taking on a tough Patriots defense in Foxboro, but this is still a team quarterbacked by Patrick Mahomes, which means it’s totally possible for good things to happen.

As for the late games, we have the healthy 49ers (30.75) traveling to take on the attackable defense of the Cardinals (17.25).

We have the red-hot Rams offense (28.25) hosting the Washington Commanders (21.75) and their unbelievably bad, no good pass defense.

And we have the game of the week, with the Cowboys (24.0) traveling to take on the Bills (26.5) in a game that could trend low-scoring…but could also develop into a true shootout.

All in all, we have two teams that stand out (the 49ers and Rams), one game that stands out (Cowboys // Bills), and a bunch of other spots where we are either going to be “hoping for a miracle game environment to develop,” or are going to be hunting around for some one-off plays that are capable of posting separator scores in the midst of mediocre game environments.

It’s nothing we aren’t used to…

But it is a bit different from what we’ve had so far this season.

Should be a fun week to dig into.

See you at the top of the leaderboards!
-JM