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Mike’s Player Grid 8.23

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


Welcome back to my (Mjohnson86) Player Grid. The format will vary slightly from JM’s Player Grid, as we each see things slightly differently and play in slightly different contests, but should complement his thoughts and content very well for those looking to build their lineups for the week. The format of this article will likely evolve as the season progresses but should provide a lot of value. Enjoy!!


The Core

This is a list of players that stand out to me at each position from using my “Checking the Boxes” criteria outlined in my Checking The Boxes course. This list is a starting point, from which I build out lineups using game theory and roster construction concepts (which we will also touch on) with the mindset being to find the best plays with big ceilings. Low ownership is a bonus, but not a must. This section will focus primarily on three positions – running back, tight end, and defense – as the other two positions (quarterback and wide receiver) tend to have more dependent tendencies which I try to attack from other angles (which we will get into in the other sections). I like all of these plays on all sites, unless otherwise noted:

Running Back ::

Tier 1
  • Tony Pollard – Pollard’s season has been up and down, but when you look deeper at the results you can see that he’s a potential steal right now. The Cowboys have only had three games this season where the game was within two scores heading into the 4th quarter. In those games, Pollard’s weighted-opportunity (carries + 2*targets) counts are 29, 29, and 41. The Cowboys are 6-point home favorites this week against the Rams 24th ranked run defense.
  • Alvin Kamara – Kamara’s usage has been insane since his return, averaging 36.75 weighted opportunities per game due in large part to his huge role in the passing game. Colts games tend to have a lot of plays and points (5 of their 7 games this season have had combined point totals of more than 50), so this could be the game where Kamara erupts.
  • Jonathan Taylor – The Saints run defense has a tough reputation, but they’ve been only average this year while facing a pretty average schedule of rushing offenses. This is the lowest I can remember seeing JT’s salary and if Zack Moss misses this game then he might be the best play on the slate.
  • D’Andre Swift – The lead runner on a top-3 offense, Swift can get it done in multiple ways. His weighted opportunity counts over the last four games are 21, 38, 29, and 22.
tier 2
  • Isiah Pacheco – Great matchup and reasonable salary for the lead RB on the team with the highest implied total on the slate.
  • Bijan Robinson (DK-only) – Awful matchup and game environment, but his price is laughable. I was hoping he would be lower-owned after last week’s debacle, but it makes sense why he’s not. Tennessee has a tough run defense, but Bijan should catch several passes and he can get there in a variety of ways.
  • Breece Hall (DK-only) – Similar to Bijan, the game environment is really bad. That being said, Hall’s talent and volume in a decent matchup make this price tag a little ridiculous. Wouldn’t play him on Fanduel, where his salary is close to Kamara/Pollard.
  • Christian McCaffery – Have to mention him as he has a great matchup on the ground and Deebo Samuel is out. I probably won’t end up with much of him because of his price tag and the opportunity cost, but he’s highly likely to post a score in the 20s with a 30+ point game not being hard to imagine.

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