The Greatest “Cheat Sheet” In DFS
Each week in The Oracle, OWS team members will take on the key strategy questions from that week’s slate :: sharing their thoughts on how they plan to approach these critical elements from a roster-construction, game theory, and leverage perspective.
There are a lot of moving parts as we head into the home stretch of the NFL season so I’m leading with an open-ended question that was a staple of “The Oracle” many times in the past. What are you seeing that makes this slate particularly unique?
Oh, man — so much. On my RG pod with SquirrelPatrol, he called this “Week 18, Jr.”
In the Angles Pod, I went game by game on the situations in play, but from a broad sense, we have the Jags saying “no games are meaningless,” but we are still at risk of playing popular DFS options for limited snaps; we have the Raiders benching Derek Carr; we have the Falcons shifting their focus toward their primary rookies in recent weeks; we have the Chargers, 49ers, and Vikings with less to play for than some other teams (playoff seeding locked into a tight band), and therefore more likely than some other teams to lighten the load a bit on key players (RBs, in particular, are at risk of this – they’ll all still play, of course, but could finish a bit below their expected usage rates); and we have several teams with everything to play for. This is also a week in which there are a lot of question marks on most of the high-priced players, but since this likely isn’t enough to shake the field off the “find ways to pay up” approach, this could concentrate ownership on a small number of high-upside-but-also-somewhat-fragile options (making mid-range rosters potentially powerful, if the high-priced pieces as a whole flounder this week). And if you’re playing on FanDuel, you have them botching their rollout of the slate so that the Sunday night game of Pitt // Balt is on the Main Slate and the afternoon game between the Rams // Chargers is not. Talk about uniqueness!
There’s going to be a lot of late news. It’s generally been the case this season, that by Saturday night/Sunday morning, we have all or almost all of the relevant news of who’s playing. But with teams looking at potential rest situations (hi, Jags), there’s a strong chance that there will be spots about which we don’t have clarity until inactives come out. We’re also at the part of the year in which we start seeing more weather impact to games, and that’s another spot where it’s hard to prepare in advance because weather forecasts don’t start to hone in until 12-24 hours prior to the game.
The point here is that this slate will, I think, have a lot of late information to which we’ll have to react, and those who can react both smartly and quickly to it will have an edge. While we’ll likely go into Sunday morning with some unknowns, try to prepare with if/then situations to the greatest of your ability. For example, let’s say the Jags unexpectedly announce Travis Etienne inactive 90 minutes before kickoff. What do you do here? How much exposure to JaMychal Hasty do you want? The more prepared we can be in advance, the better we’re likely to do – try not to be caught scrambling at the last minute.
Also, keep that dynamic in mind as you go through content this week. There is a LOT that is subject to change this week, at least for me, and my advice is don’t get fixated on something today and let it constrain your thinking on Sunday morning.
A unique week this late in the season to have no real large weather concerns, especially after the debacle of Week 16. JM did a great job laying out specifics of team situations that are in play and how those will potentially change the way teams approach games in ways that don’t show up in spreadsheets. The “Week 18, Jr.” nickname for this slate is entirely appropriate as we are seeing so many factors at play that usually aren’t as predominant until the final week.
As for specific approaches to this slate, I dove in a bit as far as roster construction in my Player Grid. My basic thought process is I see a lot of risk and mediocre ceilings at the upper end of RB pricing ($6,500 and up on DK), making me want to build my rosters with relatively cheaper RBs and chasing ceiling at the WR/TE/FLEX spots.
Hilow’s answers will be available Saturday afternoon.
There will likely be a lot going on next week (the last week of the NFL season always has a TON of fun dynamics to discuss), so I’d like us to take a moment this week to reflect on our DFS seasons so far. As sharp players, we are always learning and paying attention to trends, results, and processes. What is the biggest thing you’ve learned throughout this season that you believe will help you be a better player moving forward?