Thursday, Dec 8th
Bye Week:
Saints
Colts
Commanders
Packers
Bears
Falcons

Player Grid! ::

Note ::

Boston Scott updates can be found here! Additional updates can be found here as well, if/when they drop!

Week 1 Player Grid Update ::

4.30 AM Pacific

Week 1 Player Grid!

(by JMToWin)

New family members :: this is my player pool. My rosters this weekend will reflect what you’ll find in the Player Grid; but this is intended less as “picks for the weekend” (as you know, we’re not in that business; our goal at OWS is to equip you to make your own picks, with a high level of confidence, and with a process to back them up!), and more as an opportunity for you to compare your thoughts against my own. Optimally, you’ll come to the Player Grid with a clear sense of who you like already. And optimally, you’ll find a number of “overlaps” between your list and my own, as well as a handful of places where we’re on different plays from one another, or are even seeing things a bit differently on the slate.

This is not a complete list of all the good plays on the slate.

This is, instead, a look at the player pool I’ll be fishing.

Returning family members :: welcome back! We’re making a few improvements to the Player Grid this year. Rather than the confusing Tiers we’ve used in the past, we’re adjusting the format to better account for the way we actually approach a slate.

Bottom-Up Build

:: this is covered in-depth in the Angles Pod (and it is 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”; also, it is highly recommended that you join in our Week 1 “Bottom-Up Build Challenge” on Twitter // DraftKings! — first prize is an Everything NFL bundle!)

Blue Chips

:: last year, these would have been called “Tier 1”; these are 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

Build-Arounds

:: these are games, offenses, situations, or scenarios I’ll be looking to build around across my rosters

Bonuses

:: 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; essentially, these are the leftover “Tier 2 // Tier 3” guys from the old Player Grid verbiage; ones who don’t otherwise fit into the Bottom-up Build or a “build-around” spot

Final Notes ::

>> The special “Processing The Edge” Chat Pod that I referred to in this week’s Angles Pod is live on the site. It’s a hefty listen, but I also believe it will be MASSIVELY beneficial for any of you who are really strong at season-long but have not been able to translate that to DFS. You’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t give that a listen.

>> I want to give a big shoutout to the team that has helped us reach this point in the 2020 season on OWS :: Xandamere // Sonic // Hilow for the unbelievable content || Lex Miraglia for the peerless research || Dustin and Aaron for working tirelessly behind the scenes (and on Twitter) so I could focus on football for you guys || CubsFan for all the work that went into development for this season || TodFromPA for the awesome interview with Xandamere and the Run To Daylight Pod (coming to you live Saturday night!) || and the OWS Fam for allowing us to go on this ride with you each season! We kicked off the season with Xandamere barely missing out on a first-place Milly tie, and with another OWS member grabbing a share of the first-place tie for a cool $37k. Now :: for Main Slate Week 1!

>> Remember to check out Discord if you want to chat with us about the slate!

>> The GPP Ceiling Tool now has a “download” button if you’d like to use those as projections

>> OWS Annual members :: your 20% off promo code for Marketplace expires end-of-day Sunday!!! (You can find this on your profile page)

Run To Daylight!

Run To Daylight (hosted by TodFromPA || presented by OWS!) will be live at 8 PM Eastern.

Hilow will be on.

Lex will be on.

I’ll be on.

Let’s have some fun!

(Note: the podcast runs live, but it will be archived shortly after it finishes.)

And with that (at last), let’s get to the first Player Grid of the year!

Updates ::

Click for Boston Scott Update

It starts!!!!

Miles Sanders is out for Philly this week.

What does this mean? —

Boston Scott will be filling in as the lead back. Corey Clement will likely see some action, but it will be Scott’s show.

Scott is a bowling ball of a running back (5’7″, 203 pounds; 4.4 40 time), with good speed and good hands. He was originally being developed by the Saints as a pass-catching option, and he looked good in that role last year with the Eagles (even lining up at wide receiver on close to 10 snaps per game at times when Sanders was healthy and the Eagles’ wide receivers were not).

This should tilt the Eagles toward a more pass-heavy game script than they were already lined up for; so while Scott is definitely “good chalk” (i.e., a running back who will be highly-owned, yes; but who also is underpriced for his role, his floor, and his ceiling — making him a solid play even at high ownership if you want to go there), this also opens a few more pass attempts for Philly as a whole.

Scott // Ertz // Goedert // DeSean // Reagor should be the guys on the field the most, seeing the most work. Reagor is likely to go overlooked from that bunch and has upside in tourneys (Philly loved what they saw from him in camp before his injury; and he seems to be ready to go at this point). I’ll have some Scott on my builds, for sure. I’ll also have a bit of DeSean and some Reagor, while the likelihood of a more pass-heavy spot could pull me to one or two sneaky-Wentz rosters as well.


Bottom-Up Build

DK salary remaining :: $8300

Full breakdown (of what this is, and what the thinking is behind these players) can (and should) be found in the Angles Pod

Mitchell Trubisky

James Robinson

Sony Michel

DeSean Jackson

Terry McLaurin

Henry Ruggs

T.Y. Hilton

T.J. Hockenson

Jets

Blue Chips

Quarterback

Lamar Jackson :: You’re not going to get Jackson cheap; but he is the safest way to gain exposure to the upside this offense has. While “great matchups” can make it seem as though a player like Marquise Brown is “can’t miss” (for example…), the reality of how the Ravens run their offense tells a different story. Yes, Brown has a shot at hitting this week with the injuries in Cleveland’s secondary; but even if he misses, Lamar remains highly likely to have a good game. I’ll be looking to get my “Ravens upside” exposure through Jackson this week, making sure I spread his floor/ceiling combo across a chunk of my rosters.

Cam Newton :: Cam doesn’t actually belong in the Blue Chip category (not in the way that other guys on this list do); but I’ll be treating him as if he’s a price-considered Blue Chip piece for my own rosters, so I wanted to make sure to list him here. We explored in the NFL Edge the reasons why I like Cam in this spot. At his price (and with his rushing upside), I’ll be happy to anchor some rosters with him in spots where I won’t otherwise have a quarterback attached. (If I run 26 rosters out there, I’ll likely have five or six with Cam. If that’s the case, a couple Julian Edelman rosters may also find their way onto my roster block. James White also has an outside shot at making an appearance.)

Running Back

Christian McCaffrey :: No player in the NFL has CMC’s role-driven (and talent-driven) floor/ceiling combo. The matchup and expected game environment work in CMC’s favor here; and while he’s too expensive to be a “must-play” (on DK, for example, he’d need to score north of 40 to be considered a true “had to have him”play; and while he can get there, for sure, his chances of getting there are lower than his expected ownership), the raw points he can get you are still enormously valuable if you hit on a salary-saver or two who put up a legitimately elite game. (I.e., if you can get 35 DK points from CMC, that’s not a “had to have him” score at his salary; but 35 points from a single player is still extremely valuable. If the $5k player who allowed you to fit in CMC also goes out and scores 30, the lower point-per-dollar production from CMC gets washed away by the fact that those raw points are now locked onto your roster.) Where I use CMC, I’ll be looking for ways to pair him with high-upside pieces; but I’ll definitely be looking for ways to use him. (Note: on DK, McCaffrey costs 20% of the salary cap. On FD, he costs 16.7%.)

Dalvin Cook :: Cook touched the ball 20+ times in nine of his first 10 games last year, including five games of 25+. Only Joe Mixon and Christian McCaffrey had more carries inside the five-yard-line, while no player had more carries inside the 10. With Stefon Diggs gone and Aaron Rodgers on the other side, the Vikings should continue leaning on the run. Cook’s role gives him a high floor. His role + talent give him a high ceiling.

{{ Austin Ekeler :: }} Ekeler isn’t in the same “low likelihood of failure” tier in which CMC/Cook find themselves, as we do have a new offense, and we do have other running backs for Ekeler to contend with. I also greatly prefer this play on DraftKings, where PPR scoring gives Ekeler more value. But if he comes with a floor of four catches for 30 yards and 50 yards rushing, that gives you enough floor to work with for the monstrous ceiling he has in this matchup.

{{ Joe Mixon :: }} Mixon has a rookie quarterback making his first career start, and he’s playing against a solid all-around Chargers team that likes to slow down the game. But he’s also a near-lock for 20+ touches (Mixon had 20+ touches in seven of his last nine games last season, with a low of 16 touches, and with four games of 26+), and his role includes pass game involvement and goal line work. His chances of hitting are a bit lower in this matchup than they will be in others; but the upside is still very much intact, and his role-driven floor remains high as well.

Wide Receiver

Davante Adams :: Adams had double-digit targets in 10 of his last 11 games in 2019. To put that in perspective: Julio Jones had double-digit targets in under half his games in 2019 (seven out of 16). DeAndre Hopkins saw double-digit targets in eight games last year. When Rodgers looks to throw, he’s looking to Adams. Floor and ceiling are both locked in. (Note :: Aaron Jones is not a typical JM play, with his uncertain volume; but given his upside and the Adams exposure I expect to have, I’ll have some Jones as well, including potentially a roster or two with Jones and Adams together (in two of the Packers’ final six games last year, this would have been a slate-winning combo, while it would not have cratered your roster in any of those six weeks).)

Michael Thomas :: Because Thomas is used primarily in the short areas of the field, I don’t go out of my way to “make sure I have him” at his price tag; but same as CMC above :: if you’re building around a game in such a way that you have some salary left on the table, or if you’re building around some less expensive upside pieces and you can fit Thomas on your roster, the raw points he can provide are extremely valuable if the other pieces on your roster hit for ceiling.

{{ Chris Godwin :: }} Godwin is not quite the slam-dunk he’ll appear to most (even with Evans doubtful, it would not be a complete shock if Godwin came out of this game with nine or fewer targets — which is still plenty, of course; but is not enough to make him a lock-and-load play). But even with ownership sure to trend upward here, I like Godwin in a vacuum. Something like 6-80-0 is his likeliest “low end” game, while he has clear upside for something more like 9-130-2. I’ll probably be underweight against the field here; but that’s more about how over-excited I expect the field to become about this play than it is about how I feel myself. (I’ll also be attacking this spot with some Rob Gronkowski and O.J. Howard. It’s easy to come up with the reasons why one or the other of these two will fail; but it’s also easy to come up with scenarios in which one or the other has a big game, and ownership is unlikely to reflect their actual chances of hitting.)

Tight End

George Kittle :: On DraftKings, I’m likelier to pay down at tight end; but on FanDuel (where Kittle costs 13.3% of the salary cap, against 14.4% on DK, and where the cheaper tight ends also cost more against the salary cap than they do on DK), Kittle on a 49ers team with missing weapons in a game against an Arizona team that should be able to keep the pressure on is a really solid play. You know Kittle will be involved. And as long as this game gets played (being in Portland, I can tell you that these fires are no joke; smoke is just hanging over the city — and it seems San Francisco is much of the same), we know the upside is there as well.

Zach Ertz :: With Dallas Goedert banged up, Miles Sanders banged up, and a thinned-out wide receiver group, Ertz is a solid bet for eight or more targets, and one of his 13+ target games is certainly on the table. Ertz’ price on FanDuel really stands out. On DraftKings, I won’t be leaning heavily on Ertz myself, but he’s very much in play. (You can also look to take advantage of the factors that point to Ertz, at much lower ownership, but embracing some uncertainty with Jalen Reagor, who will be on the field for a full complement of snaps and is a nice pivot off heavier DeSean Jackson ownership.)

Build-Arounds

Atlanta Scores Points

This is covered in-depth in the NFL Edge, of course; but if you want to play Russ, you ultimately want to bet on his opponent scoring points. I do think points will be scored in this game, so I’ll be looking to build Atlanta exposure across a chunk of my rosters, through Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, Hayden Hurst, and even a sprinkle of Matt Ryan and Todd Gurley. As long as Matt Ryan shows up to play, we’re likely to see a maximum of one dud from this entire group; and a dud would increase the chances of a big game from one of the others. I’ll bring back some of this Atlanta exposure with Russell Wilson, and I may even include Greg Olsen or a Seahawks wideout on one of these rosters. Finally, I’ll hedge my Russ // Falcons bets with some Chris Carson exposure. I’ll likely isolate these plays on a group of rosters (while avoiding this game on another, bigger chunk of rosters), as there are certainly ways in which this game could disappoint. But if this game hits, I want to position myself to maximize the manner in which I’m able to take advantage.

Diggs Pops

Every once in a while, you have to take a running leap at some upside, even if this means not quite being able to see how far below you the ground is. The Bills could easily go run-heavy here, and Stefon Diggs could easily disappoint; but if the Jets and Bills played a 16-game season against each other, Diggs would pop off at least two or three times, and I don’t expect his ownership to reflect that reality. I’ll have a little bit of Diggs; and I may even have enough that I’ll throw in a Josh Allen roster or two along the way.

Lions // Bears Pops

If you read the NFL Edge writeup for this game, you know why we already had an eye here before the Golladay injury; and in fact, that injury messes things up a bit, as it’s no longer viable to take Marvin Jones at low ownership. Instead, we end up with likely Marvin Jones chalk, which introduces a new element: a volatile downfield weapon against a good defense, at chalk. How you want to handle that is up to you (I’ll have a bit of Marvin, I’m sure; but I’ll likely be underweight against the field), but there are also some other angles to consider in this game. Namely: Marvin Hall will be filling in for Golladay, and has big-play upside; T.J. Hockenson should be asked to pick up some of the slack here (as will Danny Amendola, if you want to get frisky); there should be plenty of people on Jones, but not nearly as many on Matthew Stafford paired with Jones; and there won’t be many people who embrace the low floor of this game environment for the upside that can be produced when things are clicking for Mitchell Trubisky, Allen Robinson, and Anthony Miller. I’ll have some pieces of this game on my builds this week.

Raiders // Panthers Pops

Read the NFL Edge writeup for this game, of course. There are ways this game could break poorly for us; but if we played out this slate a hundred times, this game would hit the Over more often than not, with two offenses that want to score points and two defenses that should be attackable all season. I’m not as in love with Josh Jacobs as the field apparently is (you can certainly see paths to a disappointing game here, for a back who relies on touchdowns for a large chunk of his production); but I’ll absolutely have some exposure, as he’s a strong play in this spot. Henry Ruggs, Darren Waller, and Bryan Edwards are all upside plays for Las Vegas. D.J. Moore, Robby Anderson, and possibly even Curtis Samuel join CMC as upside options on the Carolina side.

Bonuses

Jets Safety :: The Jets have a brutal matchup against the Bills. But the Bills do a great job taking away the perimeter, and this should filter targets to Jamison Crowder and Chris Herndon. Crowder had a pair of solid games vs Buffalo last year and could easily replicate that success, while Herndon should start seeing five to seven targets pretty quickly this year.

Mike Gesicki :: We know the Dolphins want to attack, and we know they’re going to want to spread the Patriots out and see what they can create. We also know the Patriots are comfortable playing man coverage with shadow assignments for huge stretches of their games, and we know this means Stephon Gilmore on DeVante Parker and JC Jackson or Jason McCourty on Preston Williams. Gesicki should be the number three option in the pass game for this team, and Patrick Chung (who usually covers tight ends for the Patriots) opted out of playing this year. Gesicki is an interesting upside play at tight end this week.

DST

My DST list for the week (I could branch beyond this, or could end up much tighter; but this is where I’m starting my search!)

Ravens (aggressive // blitz-happy // good)

Jets (aggressive // blitz-happy // playing Josh Allen)

Bills (stout // playing Sam Darnold)

Colts (bend-but-don’t-break vs a middling gunslinger; could lead to turnovers and big plays)

Patriots (can still play man coverage; and thus, can still blitz aggressively)

Philly (stout front // should force Haskins to throw // mistakes can pile up)

Chargers (great pass rush // great coverage // taking on a rookie in his first NFL start)

A Wrap ::

Remember to check out the Run To Daylight Pod to hang out with Tod, Hilow, Lex, and me from 8 PM to 10 PM Eastern.

And remember to check back on the Player Grid on Sunday morning. (Probably eight or nine weeks out of the season, we add late-Saturday-night/early-Sunday-morning notes to the top!)

I’ll see you at the top of the leaderboards this weekend!

-JM