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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.
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A weekly staple of The Oracle :: In no more than two or three sentences, tell us what makes this slate particularly unique.
There are only 20 teams on this slate (which means there are 12 teams missing), and yet, nine of the bottom-10 teams in “points allowed per game” will be taking the field (in order, from worst to “less-worse” :: Washington // Atlanta // Giants // Miami // Kansas City // Houston // Detroit // Tennessee // Philadelphia). Even more wild :: four of the eight highest-scoring offenses on the year (Arizona // Kansas City // Rams // Tennessee) are playing against defenses from that list. Multiple teams should score 30+ points this weekend…and as we’ve explored, our best bet for 30+ point fantasy scores is often to target teams that have a shot at scoring 30+ points. With so many good offenses and marquee names in obviously good spots, we should expect a decent amount of high-owned production this week, creating a really interesting week to play around with from a strategy, “best path to first place” perspective.
A couple of things stand out:
The Vegas totals/spreads are configured in a way we don’t see very often. It feels kind of trappy for me in MME because of the way ownership appears to be shaking out. The WRs that have good ceilings in the sexy games all have either high prices or high ownership. The exception being the Cardinals who are so spread out it makes one consider running Kyler Murray naked, which really isn’t optimal in big tournaments. I’m really interested to see if some additional value pops up before lock because right now it appears Derrick Henry will actually be held in check by the lack of credible pay down options at other positions. Rashod Bateman week so far I guess.
Despite there being multiple potential blowout games, there are a select couple of favorites in those games that stand out above the rest as far as attackable game environment goes. The Rams get an opponent that has shown extreme second half aggression when trailing (additional offensive plays and possessions), while the Buccaneers are missing two of their primary pass-catchers in Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski. Both of these spots stand out to me as carrying additional floor when compared to the other two “blowout games.” Additionally, although we have one clear smash game environment at our disposal this week (KC @ TEN), we have a game that is likely to fly under the radar in ATL @ MIA.
There seem to be two paths of attack becoming more defined by the day this week. The crowd who will go all in on the high-scoring offenses (Bucs, Rams, etc.) because they out produced against expectations last week and had multiple tournament winners. And then the crowd who will target the low spread games with the potential for a back and forth affair. My lean is toward the latter (PHI/LV, ATL/MIA, WAS/GB) but the right answer for this week is probably to have exposure to both game environment categories.
It is rare to have a slate with so many elite spots, not just for teams but also for individuals. The top four individual non-QB plays on the slate are very clearly Derrick Henry, Davante Adams, Cooper Kupp, and Tyreek Hill. All four of them have incredible usage, matchups, and game/team environments. Usually the premium players on a slate consist of a couple players in these clear “smash” spots and others who are top end players but have something working against them (weather, game environment, matchup) that will separate the “best plays” from this range. This week, all four of the players I mentioned are in spots where it would be truly shocking for them to fail and the spots are also set-up so well that it is highly unlikely that none of them posts a “had to have it” score. Also, the fact that there are four of them makes it likely that ownership for all of them is lower than we would normally expect in spots like this. Usually, a “balanced build” that avoids those popular players is a great way to differentiate, but this week I think it is so likely that at least one or two of these guys goes for 35+ that it makes fading the group entirely much less feasible.
The unique thing that stood out to me when reviewing the main slate was the amount of lopsided games Vegas has set the spread on. Of the three teams currently showing a 30+ point total, the Chiefs are slated for the most competitive game in the eyes of the bookmakers. This game seems pretty straight forward so it’ll be a matter of differentiating elsewhere if dipping into it. For that, I think we need to explore some of the games with decent totals and tighter spreads where the game environment will be fierce the entire way and look for one of those games that could pop. The Eagles at Raiders is one that stands out for me.
Game Environments, Week 7: It should be pretty apparent where the field will gravitate this week, as there are six teams that pretty clearly stand out from the pack. The Chiefs and Titans are playing one another, which pits two teams that A) rank bottom 10 in points allowed per game, and B) rank top eight in points scored per game. The Packers are playing at home against a Washington Football Team defense that has allowed the most points per game in the league. The Cardinals are playing at home against the tanking Texans. The Rams are playing at home against the talent-deficient Lions. And the Bucs are playing at home against a middling Bears team. Are there any of these spots that stand out to you more than others? And are there any teams/games outside this group that you feel could provide sneaky paths to tournament-winning upside?
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