Larejo123 takes a look at some of the overlooked plays and “missed opportunities” from the week behind us, identifying the thought processes and approaches that could have led us to those plays.
The great thing about 10 weeks of football is we actually have a statistically significant sample. 10 games are the equivalent of when the NBA turns the calendar to November, or MLB moves to its two-week mark in mid-April. We can debate just how statistically significant the NFL season has become, but we can draw some conclusions that should not be stemming from random variance, and we can lean into trends we’ve seen as the NFL begins to normalize. Every week is still going to be pure chaos, don’t get me wrong, but the fun part about coming into Week 11 is learning from all we’ve consumed so far this season. We should be building our best lineups yet.
Week 10 was a fairly boring week from a DFS perspective. Most of the best price-per-dollar performers at running back were the obvious values on the slate (D’Ernest Johnson and Mark Ingram), while the studs at wide receiver led the position (Stefon Diggs and CeeDee Lamb), and Josh Allen and Dak Prescott were atop lineups in many tournaments. DFS is easy, right? Not so fast, sometimes in hindsight, we can look back and say why not just play the obvious value, and differentiate in only one or two roster spots. Well, more times than not, that’s a really sound strategy. Since I’ve been playing DFS over the past eight years, I have found the pendulum swing back and forth constantly. Sometimes we have those weeks where the chalk hits and we slam ourselves for overthinking, and other weeks the chalk flops and we commend ourselves for being contrarian and thinking differently. It won’t be the first time nor the last time you’ve read this, but the important thing is consistency, and not swaying with the wind when it comes to DFS. Find your swim lanes, be bold in your strategies, and let it rip. Our best weeks yet are right around the corner. What did we miss in Week 10?
Welp, this is going to be controversial but can I let you guys in on a little secret? (side note: as I’ve provided more and more DFS content, I’ve realized that revealing my own biases should be mandatory, as it helps the reader put my comments in context). I’ve never subscribed to the theory of building different lineups for different contests. I definitely understand the need to eat more chalk when building a cash lineup, but it’s slighter in my opinion, than what lends itself to popular belief. Now, I don’t play cash games and I’m also a lifetime negative cash game player, so if you want to take this paragraph and throw it in the trash, be my guest.
But for all the discussion of how much risk you need to take on in large GPPs, small GPPs, MME, SE/3-max, single entry, cash games, and more, if you’re like me, it can just tie you in knots. So while the lineup building process differs dramatically across those strategies, at the end of the day, the lineups produced can be very similar. If you’re willing to put a player on 2/150 rosters because you think there’s a slim hope they can crush it, why not play them in a single entry tournament? Maybe it’s my style only, but if I’m not confident in a play, I don’t even want to waste $20 on that player. And lastly, when we make our lineups and scan them up and down to see which ones we are most confident in, what is that grounded on? That’s why I personally struggle with this. I’m not saying you do, it’s likely you’re much better than I am at contest selection (disclaimer: I really suck at that), but if you spend even five minutes looking at the lineups that won tournaments this past weekend, those were cash game lineups (Allen, Johnson, Ingram, Lamb, Diggs, Henry, Stevenson, fill in the rest).
I really struggled on a good label for this paragraph so I’m being direct. You can’t just build the chalk lineups and also play for first place. Even in my criticism above, Rhamondre Stevenson was less than 5% owned in most tournaments. He could have been considered a cash game player but he was not chalky. Nor was Hunter Henry, the top tight end on the slate. But these were sharp plays not only because of their high floors, but specifically Stevenson, because he took the chalk one step further.
Hilow and Xandamere did a tremendous job on Saturday’s Inner Circle pod going deep on both D’Ernest Johnson and Mark Ingram III. Once I tuned in, I was hooked on both, as it was clear as much as we want to poke holes in chalk (that’s what I love most about OWS!), they were both good chalk, immune to game script, with really no clear backups. But why did some lineups just cash while others made top-tens? Because of the presence of one more value running back.
We’ve seen this work before. A stud WR is going to be chalk so we pair him with his quarterback and add in his running back. Or, we take off his quarterback and replace him with the opposing QB-WR stack instead. Or, we overstack to expose ourselves to this play (and others in the same game) to be different than our roster counterparts. I hope this gets us thinking. We don’t have to refute any chalk plays, but we can take slightly (not drastically) different angles in how we add those plays to our rosters.
I alluded to this in The Oracle this past week, but my execution of it was poor. My basic premise was to replace the word correlation with concentration in our lineup building process. My thinking was, with the high-total offenses and large point spreads in play in Week 10, what if we could team stack (three or more players from two offenses) as a substitute to game stacking in the chance that we do get some blowouts on Sunday. If we get those outcomes, and the points come with concentration on a few plays, the way we built those rosters would differ from the field so significantly that I could see it being viable.
Nobody does this, of course, because there’s actually zero percent correlation between how many points the Bucs score and the Bills score. But as the Falcons and Browns could tell us, sometimes there’s also zero correlation between how many points their defenses give up with how many points their offenses score! So maybe we overrate game stacking? Just a thought. I’m here to stimulate your brains.
I did lean into this strategy but I say I executed it poorly because I blindly only combined my stacks across the top four projected offenses on the slate (Bucs, Bills, Cowboys, Colts). What I failed to account for was the Patriots with their 23.5 projected point total. Some weeks, a different strategy (team stacking/player blocks) is enough to literally be different than the field. But we need to limit our blind spots. So while we can hope for concentrated offenses, it may be necessary to look into the second and third tiers of team projected points (most likely it’s 24-29 team points). In Week 11, I’ll be looking to deploy this same strategy but including the offenses which have the potential to stack points in a concentrated manner, even if their point totals aren’t among the top three or four on the slate.