JMToWin is a high-stakes tournament champion (Thunderdome, Luxury Box, Game Changer, Wildcat) who is focusing this year on single-entry/three-entry max
This is, instead, a look at the player pool I’ll be fishing.
:: covered in-depth in the Angles Pod (it’s highly recommended that you listen to the breakdown of the roster in order to see the thinking behind it, and in order to understand what we’re talking about when we look at a “bottom-up build”
:: these are my “Tier 1” plays: the plays I feel confident leaning into across different types of builds; players who have a high ceiling and a low likelihood of price-considered failure
:: these are games, offenses, situations, or scenarios I’ll be looking to build around across my rosters
:: these are players who don’t fit into the categories above — either Upside pieces who don’t have the floor to be Blue Chips (and are not being focused on within my game-focused builds) or players who may not have a strong shot at ceiling, but are worth keeping in mind from a “role” perspective
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Full breakdown (of what this is, and what the thinking is behind these players) can (and should) be found in the Angles Pod (above).
Find last week’s Bottom-Up Breakdown and join The Bottom-Up Build DraftKings Contest here!!
If you missed the NFL Edge this week, I used my DFS Interpretation for this game to put together what I feel is a valuable discussion around a little-talked-about aspect of roster construction in NFL DFS (in particular). I wanted to drop that entire discussion in here, for any of you who didn’t read it in the Edge. Taylor is a Blue Chip play this week (low likelihood of raw-points failure // solid shot at a high price-considered ceiling…and since his price is so high, this also means “solid shot at one of the top raw scores on the slate”), but this discussion can also be kept in mind as you decide where/how he fits onto your builds this week:
I’m ahead on my prep for the week, so rather than restating the obvious (Jonathan Taylor has a high ceiling here), I’ll branch into a bit of a strategy discussion around this slate:
One of the things I want to always think about is “positional spending.” This is not a starting point for me, necessarily, so much as it’s something I try to get a feel for as I get familiar with a slate; but this week provides a great example around which to talk about this.
Here’s what I mean:
Jonathan Taylor obviously has a high ceiling. We can run out the scenarios in our minds (how many points will JT likely get from receiving work in a game the Colts should control? // how likely is it that he gets the hundred-yard bonus? // what are his chances of scoring one or two touchdowns? // will the Colts look to limit his workload late in this game if they have a nice lead?), and we can say pretty comfortably that anything shy of 20 points would be a bit surprising, and anything north of 35ish points would also take some outlier outcomes. (Realize :: understanding “range of outcomes” in this manner is valuable for ALL players you’re considering on a slate. You can obviously lean on the GPP Ceiling Tool for this as well, but I especially love playing through scenarios in my mind, in order to have a clearer sense of what I’M seeing, and why I’M seeing things that way.) In a vacuum, this makes JT a solid play, as his raw floor is high and his “reasonable ceiling” matches his elevated price tag, while there are outlier scenarios in which he could score 40+ points. That’s Step One — covered above in Mike’s writeup, and reestablished here. JT = good.
But there’s also a question of positional spending, and the fact that we have SEVERAL running backs with potential 20-carry, 5-target roles (Jamaal Williams if Swift is out // Antonio Gibson if McKissic is out // James Conner with Edmonds out // Alexander Mattison with Dalvin Cook out // potentially Eli Mitchell, who has five catches in two of his last three games for a team now missing Deebo // potentially David Montgomery, who can get a 20/5 workload if things come together just right).
The way I like to look at things, then, is to ask simple questions that help me better understand potential roster construction approaches (and the amount of “certainty + ceiling” I’m able to soak up through different approaches). For example: If I play Jonathan Taylor + a wide receiver in the mid- to high-$5ks, does that give me a higher “certainty + ceiling” than playing a similarly-priced Cooper Kupp + one of those running backs in the mid- to high-$5ks?
Said differently: in a vacuum, Taylor is an excellent play. But I also want to gain an understanding of what “Spending that salary on one of my running back spots, on a week with lots of cheaper running backs with high floors and ceilings” means for my overall roster construction. Basically: because SOME of these cheaper, big-role running backs are almost certain to score 20+ themselves (with a decent shot at some of them scoring 25+), the raw floor that Taylor provides loses some of its value, and you ultimately are betting on Taylor posting a truly elite game (which, again, is VERY much in the reasonable range of outcomes here, but is not as much of a “sure thing” as him going for 20+). On the flip side, the more affordable wide receivers this week come with a lot more question marks, which means that — while “paying up for Kupp” would obviously be a move made in the hopes of capturing 30 to 40 points — a 20-point score from Kupp is more valuable than a 20-point score from JT, as it’s easier to confidently isolate other (cheaper) 20-point scores at RB than it is at WR.
Of course, there’s a final layer here (alluded to by Mike, above), where ownership comes into play as well. That is to say: “from a positional spending standpoint, it’s more +EV to spend big money at a different position…but what if JT’s ownership is a lot lower than it should be?” In that case, the potential for a “had to have it” game from JT starts to weigh more heavily in the thinking, as a 5% or even 8% owned JT could create a situation where only 5% to 8% of rosters are in the mix for first place if the slate shakes out just right (JT blowing up, some of the cheaper backs disappointing, Kupp disappointing, etc.).
To be clear: all of this is said against the backdrop of completely agreeing with everything Mike laid out above. But since I’m pretty far ahead on my “feel for the slate as a whole” this week, I wanted to dive into that discussion in this space.
Outside of JT, nothing else from this game stands out, though I will note that it wouldn’t be shocking to see Wentz throw only 26 to 30 passes, and for Pittman to still see eight to 10 targets — which means he still has plenty of ceiling for the price, and doesn’t even need a “close game” in order to hit. His floor is lower than in other spots, as the blowout potential is real; but his ceiling still makes him noteworthy.
I also like Tyrod as a “last piece on the roster” type of play. Here’s what I mean: it’s common for people to start their rosters at QB, and for this to be the first decision point. In cash games, in particular, this makes sense, as it’s easier to find a 4x+ at QB than at other positions, with a higher floor to boot. But in tourneys, simply starting your roster from a different position can be enough to give your roster a very different look. While others are scraping around for the cheap TE, or WR, or DST at the end to fill out their roster, you’ve already prioritized your “top plays” at these positions, which might leave you playing the “what salary do I have left?” game at QB. I’d be surprised if Tyrod were to post a 25+ point game, but an 18 to 22 point game is very reasonable, and he’s $5.3k on DraftKings. I won’t be starting any rosters with Tyrod this week, but I’ve messed around with some tourney builds that have had him as the “last man on the roster,” and I’ve been happy with those builds.
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