Sunday, Feb 11th — Late
Bye Week:

Missed Opportunities. 16.21.

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.

Are you ready for Week 16? I have amazing news for all of you. Whether you won or lost in Week 15 (shoutout to some of you who had massive takedowns), we are going to have a similar slate upcoming in Week 16. So as we reflect on Week 15, just take some solace (good or bad) in the fact that we get to do it all over again in a few more days. There will be many players (unfortunately) hitting the COVID-19 inactive list and we could see a few game postponements this week as well, and if we’re lucky, colder weather may limit game totals in some places just like it did on Monday night.

So do yourself a favor, and sit on this week’s Sunday slate until at least Friday morning. Don’t look into plays, correlation, game environments, and more until then. I’d say by around Wednesday this week, we’ll start to see a similar piece of clay being formed, which we are asked to solve into a puzzle. Except for the second straight week, the clay may change colors, a huge part of it might be removed, and we might be told we must mold it into specific shapes. Be prepared for another week of uncertainty, and embrace it. If I’m taking one thing into next week, it’s that our OWS community is uniquely positioned to embrace uncertainty, and capitalize on late-breaking news, game postponements, and more, because we build like nobody’s watching, and we build for first place. I had my worst week to date this week but I’m as optimistic as ever. Because I know I’m learning, and I am seeing it pay off for others who are digesting information in a like manner to me, and they are building rosters with 200 points in mind, embracing risk and biased discomfort, and they are willing to lose. 

With that all in mind, as we turn the page to next week, I want to focus on a lesson in false confidence on reflecting on Week 15.

Tyler Huntley + Late Swap

The most obvious play of Week 15 came in at under 3% ownership in the DK Milly Maker. The most obvious play. Why was he unowned? Lamar Jackson was not ruled out officially until Sunday afternoon, while the Packers defense was expected to devour Huntley and the slow and sluggish Ravens offense. In his two starts prior to this week, Huntley was asked to throw the ball 38 and 36 times, respectively. For a backup QB on a “run-first” team, those are high totals. Right off the bat, we should have all recognized the trust the Ravens coaching staff has in him. He also posted a floor of 40 rushing yards in each of those starts. This gave him floor and ceiling. We talked him up all over the site last week, and in hindsight, we should have all locked him in (just like Taysom Hill vs. the Jets two weeks ago) and moved on.

The other strategic advice we dished out on OWS in The Oracle was to react to Sunday news this week. It seems the mere fact that many did not play Huntley was out of pure laziness in not wanting to re-draft their entire lineups once the news officially broke that Lamar would be out. Let’s capitalize on this. Late-swap is an under-utilized strategy and one we have experts on at OWS. Trust them (don’t trust me on it, I’m an amateur there). When we get a near minimum starting QB with rushing upside ruled in, against a team he should be forced to keep up with (who also has slow linebackers, let’s be honest), it’s a lock button. But no, Larejo, you stay with Teddy Bridgewater there buddy, do your thing. My own false confidence came into play here when I felt I identified the Denver and Cincinnati game as the low-owned game of the week. Once I got there, I wouldn’t budge, but thinking the Bengals could travel west and put up loads of points, while also expecting Ja’Marr Chase to win constantly against an above-average corner in Patrick Surtain II was a false hope. I anchored too greatly on the game, overrated the offenses involved, and omitted the most obvious play on the slate.

Amon-Ra St. Brown & Brandin Cooks

Each week when I come back to highlight where I missed some opportunities, I look into which plays I wish I identified in Willing to Lose. A few weeks back, it was Dallas Goedert, a tight end in a great game environment (vs. Jets) going overlooked because he was priced similarly to the chalk tight end, Gronk. That same week, David Montgomery provided amazing leverage on the similar value RBs priced near him and outproduced all of them vs. the Cardinals. Last week, we had a guy in Rashaad Penny, whom if we could have identified with the coachspeak plus the matchup (vs. Texans), he came in at incredibly low ownership, and I believe led running backs in scoring on the slate. This week we had two guys: ASB and Cooks, who came in at low ownership and provided the slate-winning upside we needed.

Onto ASB first. His target counts for the last two weeks: 12 and 12. He’d emerged as the defacto #1 WR in Detroit. The Lions implied team total: 17.5 points. As we’ve covered, they had topped 20 points just twice in 13 games this season. And as we know, their matchup was tough against the Arizona defense, which ranked 4th DVOA vs. the pass. Most teams’ best WR, however, does not play in the slot primarily. While this limits ASB’s aDOT, it increases his floor with receptions. The game script would largely not affect his role, as the Lions stink at running the ball, so his volume should have been locked in. All we needed was a touchdown to take a 5/50/0 to an 8/90/1 and we got it. 

Cooks has been a killer all season. Credit to Hilow for being on this dude from the summer on, as he’s now posted six games above 20 DK points (and a 17 point game). There was a storm narrative coming this week with ALL the love on the Jacksonville side post-Urban Meyer. Would they get the fired coach boost? Ah, now that Urban is gone, all would be right in Jacksonville, right? We should have remembered this is the Jaguars. And while they were playing the Texans, we should have also remembered how good Davis Mills looked in one half against the Seahawks the week prior. He was clearly the better QB in the matchup against Trevor Lawrence, and at this point, with the Texans also getting points in the game, we should have been jumping at the chance to play the Texans defense along with their only reliable offensive player, Mr. Cooks.

Crushing, again Mark Andrews

Mark Andrews was the key cog in the late games. Along with the highly owned Jeff Wilson Jr., Andrews was another George Kittle experiment this week. He had just posted 31.5 DK points a week ago, he surely could not duplicate that performance. And just as Kittle did a week ago (37.1 after 42.6), he went for a similar score as the Packers could not cover him. The field is almost so sharp now that we know how rare it is to put up ceiling games, and therefore we conclude it probably wouldn’t happen again, as we don’t want to feel points-chasey. But maybe we do? This DFS game is about little edges we can gain. Earlier in the season, it looked like double-TE was one way to slightly differ our approaches from the field, and last week it seems going chasing points on actual good players may not be a bad strategy after all. Especially in the late game of the day, with a rookie QB who has shown he favors him (11 and 10 targets in Huntley’s two previous starts).