Thursday, Dec 1st
Monday, Dec 5th
Bye Week:
Cardinals
Panthers

Missed Opportunities. 5.21.

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.

I had so much fun this week. Some of that fun was because I was able to travel on business for the first time in over a year, but some of it also was because I felt I had some great clarity on this slate. Maybe it was a couple of plane rides without headphones, and sleeping in a hotel room for three nights. My results weren’t my best, but I still really liked my process and how it all came together. 

I only built three lineups this week, entered them into the Milly Maker and the Power Sweep, and they were all in on Friday night. I only tinkered with one roster spot Saturday and Sunday, a floating play where I landed on Amon-Ra St. Brown. Not my proudest time spent, but I felt good about playing him (he delivered value), and also felt great about my three game stacks: Eagles/Chiefs, Seahawks/49ers, and Cardinals/Rams. I had zero exposure to Browns/Vikings, which did not hurt me, and Panthers/Cowboys, which did. All in, I cashed one of three, came out in the red but felt great after the early games had concluded. This was the first week where the late games on Sunday did not feature any high scoring shootouts (two of four hit the over), nor did they have much concentrated production. Only Deebo Samuel crashed the top 15 DK scorers on Sunday from those last four games! And with that lack of production, I lost cashing on two of my three lineups. There were some very key decision points this week, let’s get right to them.

Tyreek Hill vs. Travis Kelce

Fade the Public. You know when you hear someone say this and it sounds so obvious after the fact? Tyreek vs. Travis this week for me was a true fade the public scenario. If we want to get quantitative, using the Milly Maker on DK as an example, Kelce had 15.1% ownership, while Hill carried 8.2%. That’s close to double the ownership, equivalent to something like 67/33 percent of the bets on Kelce. If you use the FantasyLabs Vegas tool, you know that the hypothetical “33” is just sitting there in a bright green box on Hill begging you to bet him.

At first glance on the week, we could see the large pricing discrepancy between Kelce and the rest of the tight ends. This typically leads to increased ownership. I know that’s fairly obvious, but it will almost always bump up Kelce’s exposure on a slate without Darren Waller, while when Tyreek is priced next to Davante Adams or DeAndre Hopkins, he’ll naturally lose some ownership. As we dug into the Chief’s matchup, it felt very comfortable to project Kelce as the highest owned Chief. We had the Eagles yielding the eighth-most fantasy points to tight ends on the season, who were just wrecked by Dalton Schultz (6/80/2) six days earlier on Monday Night Football. And we had a “defensive philosophy” of keeping everything in front of them, with their new DC a Colts disciple who plays a lot of zone coverage, Cover-3, and Cover-2. Enter Tyreek. Matchups don’t matter to him. He was the highest-priced WR, coming off two pedestrian weeks, but with any good content you read on the Chiefs during the week, it was stated that THIS was Travis Kelce’s week. It had to be, the data was all there. But sometimes, when we know the public/field is going more in one way vs. another, and the other way is Tyreek Hill, I think it’s safe to say it’s cool if we go that way and fade the public.

Tyreek vs. Kelce candidates in Week 5: Aaron Jones (Davante Adams), Adam Thielen (Dalvin Cook), Nick Chubb (Kareem Hunt), A.J. Brown if he plays (Derrick Henry)

Paying up at Defense

23, 11, 9, 8, 8. These were the top defensive scores put up on Sunday, with the Buffalo Bills at the top of the list. Just one week after the most expensive defense, the Denver Broncos ($4,300), put up 19 points (second on the Week 3 slate to the Saints at 20 points), the $4,300 Bills led the defensive scoring going against Davis Mills and lowly Houston Texans at home in the rain.

We’ve seen a trend over the years to pay down at defense. It’s notoriously the most volatile “position” in a lineup. But in some weeks, it’s a bit ridiculous. The Lions and the Jets were the two highest-owned defenses this week. But coming into Week 3 and 4, we had the Broncos at home against a rookie QB in Zach Wilson and then the Bills against the rookie Mills. These were obvious spots. It’s incredibly hard to stomach posting a top-end defense to go along with a cheap play at RB, WR, or TE when you can upgrade over $1,000 in salary in some cases.

We talk about guaranteed points and how important they are. Floors matter, as do ceilings. Now that we have two straight weeks of a high-priced defense dominating the position, I fully expect many will talk to themselves on Monday and Tuesday this week and commit to playing a high-priced defense. But as the week goes on, and with DK’s tight pricing, those entries will mostly pivot and go right back to the cheap options. I’ll be looking into closer to 50% high-priced defenses going forward, especially with how pitiful some of the rookie quarterbacks and beat-up offensive lines can look.

Defensive candidates for my rosters in Week 5: Patriots (at HOU), Buccaneers (vs. MIA)

Capitalizing on Injuries

It’s 2021 and yet it’s debatable whether or not many of us are adapting our approach to injuries any better than we did many years ago. In our defense, we have some fairly absent-minded coaches out there (some of whom like to play mind games with us), but thinking through some of the major injuries from a coaching perspective is how we should be able to identify who will fill the voids. This is an OWS staple. It’s where the NFL Edge was born. Analyzing game by game how coaches will attack, and where we can find inefficiencies. At least we know we are all in the right place!

Three situations caught my eye last week. The first was obvious, the Tennessee Titans without A.J. Brown and Julio Jones. The masses flocked, and boy did they ever to Nick Westbrook-Ikhine. He was a wonderful cash game play at his price tag. But for tournaments, we had to think through which of these Titans receivers could pop. NWI is a rookie, and with Josh Reynolds finally healthy, along with the veteran Chester Rogers, I thought it would be more prudent for the Titans to keep NWI in his 3rd WR role, while they could elevate Reynolds and Rogers into the Brown and Julio roles. The results vindicated my belief, even as NWI saw 81% of the snaps and had eight targets. Reynolds did slide into a starting role at 78% and led the team in receiving. Sometimes, it’s not as simple as, whoever is left will assume the starter’s targets. Think about personnel packages, and positional depth charts before immediately flocking to the next man up.

The second situation was the Packers. With all the love for Allen Lazard and Robert Tonyan on OWS, I’ll make this one quick. I too played Lazard while Randall Cobb went 5/69/2. With MVS out of the lineup, we know an every snap WR leaves a big void. Similar to NWI above, Lazard is more or less Green Bay’s WR3, utilized as their best WR blocker while playing more than half of the snaps. Tonyan, similarly, should have seen more routes run this week. And then Cobb caught two TDs, taking his former minimal role and expanding it in the red zone, earning Rodgers trust on his way to a big DFS score.

The last situation was with the New York Giants. With Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton out, and Evan Engram still playing a bit less than a full-time role, it was time for Saquon Barkley and Kenny Golladay. Along with Kadarius Toney, this trio saw 36 targets of the 63 offensive snaps. Toney would have been the “direct replacement” for Shepard in the slot, while Saquon was the obvious guy to see more volume, and Collin Johnson was the other player who some thought could have stepped right in for Slayton, even though it turned out to be CJ Board and John Ross.

The right injury beneficiaries in Week 5: Curtis Samuel (Dyami Brown, Logan Thomas), Alvin Kamara (Tony Jones), Allen Robinson (David Montgomery)