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 harsh reality about how much time we spend consuming DFS content each week is that your sharpest thoughts could be your first thoughts of the week. I might get in trouble for saying this, but once you’ve established your own foundations, core concepts, DFS precepts (have to get my own plugin there), and your ability to synthesize data, you may not need to listen to any outside voices. When you feel it, you are comfortable enough to scan a slate, interpret the salaries, injuries, and have a strong sense of how to build a competitive lineup. When this happens, my suggestion is to still spend time with the content writers and producers you know and love, but take their suggestions, thoughts, and feelings, and weigh them with your own. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, but the best way to be different is to be YOU.
In addition to focusing on thinking for yourself, my other main focus for this week is to preach that even if you are losing, it does not mean you’re way off. This website is called One Week Season because we want to prepare you for YOUR week, whenever that is coming. I have personally had six of eight weeks this season netting a loss. I only play large-field tournaments but I’m down around $2,000 for the season. And that’s with immersing myself more than ever before in NFL DFS, since OWS brought me on to give an opinion on these slates this season. Needless to say, not how I thought these two months would play out! This past week, I actually made money for the second time with more limited play than usual, and this was on a weekend where I was traveling and spent less time consuming content of all eight Sundays so far. Taking the positive approach here, my belief is I profited because I did not have time to overthink. My initial thoughts and first assessments of the slate may have been better than I give it credit for, but as I do each week, my process frequently takes me off these thoughts when I have more time to deliberate. I need to trust my own judgment more, and as do you. You are sharper than you think.
Build your foundation and repeat your process. People preach practice makes perfect. But in a DFS world, there is no such thing as perfect. I much prefer repetition creates expertise. Read The Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell if you don’t believe me. Expertise is what enables someone to become a trusted advisor. A voice in an industry. Expertise is what any OWS subscriber is working toward, and by Week 9 is really close to achieving. So, as Week 9 is upon us, what did I learn in Week 8?
When Week 7 turned to Week 8, and I sat down to write last week’s Missed Opportunities on Monday evening, I wrote down the five precepts I’ve been working off like always. And in last week’s edition, as I looked ahead to Week 8, in the Vegas range for me was Titans and Colts. I believe it opened at 48 and ended up closing at 51. When I looked at the setup on my own, I thought here we have two divisional opponents, with concentrated offenses (I thought TY Hilton would have been out along with Julio Jones) and the plays on both sides were obvious: Ryan Tannehill, Carson Wentz, Jonathan Taylor, Derrick Henry, Michael Pittman, and AJ Brown. I built an early-week lineup based on this thinking and let it sit there on DK most of the week. Then, as the week went on, this game was showing up as very popular. Henry was getting buzz over Alvin Kamara (whom I liked more), Pittman was looking like a top two or three WR in terms of ownership on the slate, and Taylor wasn’t as sneaky as he may have seemed when JM brought him up on Tuesday night’s Inner Circle podcast, along with the Colts defense.
In my typical style, I saw the field going there more and more, and I zagged to be heavier on the Bucs and Saints. I did keep a variation of this Colts and Titans lineup in there, which ended up finishing around 6,200th in the DK Milly Maker, but my conviction was no longer strong because of where and how often I read about this game during the week. Ownership does matter, but it’s mostly a futile exercise. I talked about this a few weeks back, but fading a guy because he’s going to be 10-15% owned is a waste of mindshare and breath. One of ten lineups with a player shouldn’t factor into your lineup decisions. If a player is over 25% (one in four), then in my opinion that’s a strong threshold to fade in tournaments (option A), or you can simply be confident you will find a one or two percent-owned sharp play elsewhere (option B). My point here is simple: you always have options. Don’t anchor on your biases (i.e. I always fade the popular pick, recognize why they are popular), and be willing to adjust your approach each week. My second, stronger point here is to keep those early-week notes somewhere. I know I’m not the first to point this out, but recognize where your head was at on Monday and Tuesday and trust your intuition. This is especially true if you’ve had success in the past, and have many years of DFS experience on your side. Chances are, your mind is able to process a slate way faster than you think. And you might not need five industry voices to contradict your thinking.
I loved Kamara last week, along with Najee Harris, Taylor, and Joe Mixon. I wasn’t finding many ways to get lineups with two of these guys in there, but as the week went on, I saw Hilow’s sharp take on the double pay-up strategy in the End Around and on the Saturday night pod, and I just freaking loved it. Sometimes the “jam them in” style has made so much sense and it’s honestly a strategy few deploy anymore with pricing usually tight. However, in hindsight, which is how I write these articles, I had a blind spot ignoring the value plays at RB like Carter and Mitchell.
When I talked a few minutes ago about the early week expensive Titans/Colts roster I built, my running backs were Mixon and Mitchell. I thought Mitchell looked explosive on SNF last week, and with the Bears name-brand defense, along with a low Vegas total, knew he would go overlooked. I just did not love his pass game role, because who could? And in true fashion, Mitchell posted his third 100+ yard rushing game with under 20 carries. A target is worth more than a carry of course, but the 100-yard bonus on DK is still worth three receptions. He becomes an exercise in looking back on box scores (yes, simple as that) and seeing his potential to get us to a ceiling game, where he’s now done it three separate times.
Mike Carter is another story. If you were anywhere on OWS last week, you should have read Papy’s NFL Edge writeup about Carter, and/or seen JM’s inclusion of Carter on the Player Grid and in the Bottom-up Build. The Jets were giving him about 70% of the snaps at RB, and the Bengals allowed the most targets and receptions to running backs on the season, and the Jets were expected to play from behind most of the game. All of those points made Carter incredibly underpriced. He was also coming off a game where his new QB, Mike White, hit him with nine targets in just about three-quarters of action. Nine targets. I should have recognized that, and we all should have been driving his ownership higher once Tevin Coleman was again a healthy scratch.
I am usually out here preaching to pay up at defense in large-field tournaments. And while the Rams did not return value (their price over $5K was outrageous this past week), I also learned a new lesson at defense: don’t overlook just how bad some matchups and offenses can be. One of the staples of why we pay up at defense is for this very reason. I almost played the Rams this week because the Texans offense is just non-existent with Davis Mills at QB. Similarly, when the Jets put up a few stinkers against the Patriots, they were very obvious and strong plays for this reason.
But this week, we saw the Eagles and Seahawks among the top finishers on tournament-winning rosters as they matched up with the Lions and Jaguars. These weren’t as obvious on-paper plays because of how terrible these defenses have been, but I should have recognized how strong these angles were with their respective low ownership and the field’s tendency to rally around the cheapest possible defenses (this week that was the Washington Football Team).
I remind myself here to never say never, and understand possibilities because for how often we can have a Jacksonville 30-point game against a historically bad Seahawks secondary, we can also have the opposite scenario play out more times than not. Take your conviction plays, and ask yourself how they can go wrong? Poke holes in them, as JM and team have preached this season, and play out those scenarios before landing on the play you feel has the better chance of going overlooked and under-owned.