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.
As we head into the holiday weekend and a unique Saturday slate of NFL games, winter is truly upon us in a big way. Multiple days of NFL games in one weekend is awesome, but digging into the slate we can see there is a lot of ugliness in store for us, in large part due to the cold and snow. There are several factors that have this week’s slate feeling more like a lump of coal than a shiny new toy. Here are some things to consider on this slate::
Taking all of this into consideration, what are your expectations for the slate and how will it affect your approach?
From a “game environment” standpoint, I’m taking cues from Vegas on the games in Cleveland and Chicago (weather), and will be largely staying away from those offenses (outside of, potentially, some pieces on the ground), but I don’t see any reason to be worried about the game in Kansas City, and the two indoor games (Dallas // Minnesota) definitely stand out on a week with so many weather concerns.
Stepping outside of “game environment” discussions, I see this as a slate that will have precious few 30-pointers on it, and those who end up with multiple 30-pointers on a roster will be in much better shape than the field to chase down a big payout. The question, “Can this player win me a tourney?” is a key one to ask this week. I’ll gladly allow the field to try to “guess right on eight different guys who will all score 20 to 25 points,” while instead targeting clear 30-point upside myself.
It’s the first real weather slate of the season, or at least it looks like it as of Wednesday morning. We have six games as of right now that look like they have some element of weather concern, and so I’ll go back to my general rules of weather and DFS:
Sum it all up, and my rule of thumb is to completely ignore weather unless it’s a full-on hurricane (i.e. sustained 20+ mph winds and/or a monsoon coming down).
I’m hoping people get off of SEA/KC, as if we remove weather, that is the clear best game environment for a potential shootout. Yes, it’s going to be extremely cold, but the wind looks to be light and just cold weather doesn’t really do much to scoring.
I’m almost entirely writing off game environments in all spots except one – Seattle @ Kansas City. The Seahawks lead the league in pass rate over expectation over the last six weeks and are playing a team in the Chiefs that lead the league in pass rate over expectation on the season. The injuries in Seattle condense the offense to a point that brings massive upside to the remaining players (and I also don’t think Kenneth Walker plays considering the Seahawks elevated two additional running backs today (Friday) and Seattle has played exactly zero games with five active running backs on the game-day roster this year). And the Chiefs are, well, the Chiefs. The other two top expected game environments have more paths to failure than I think the field will give credit for this week, with both the Giants and Vikings primarily content to operate with conservative approaches unless/until otherwise forced and the fact that the Eagles are missing their quarterback, playing a team that has been at or below league average in pass rate over expectation in every game this season. That leaves me highly interested in both sides of the SEA/KC game and otherwise looking for teams that can outperform their team totals. I’ll likely have high exposure to SEA/KC with various correlated secondary stacks and one-offs built around that spot.
I think this slate is likely to be “ugly”, something we have said often this year, but there are also some clear ways I am looking to “embrace the ugly” and kind of cheat code my way to the top::
Given the context of the slate we discussed in Question 1, it is reasonable to think that we have a good chance of this week’s scoring being relatively low like last week’s was – with roughly 200 points putting you in contention in almost every tournament except the largest fields and even the largest tournaments having lower than usual winning scores. Last week we discussed how finding great salary multipliers can be very important on lower scoring weeks. However, these lower scoring weeks also make 30+ point games from individual players far more valuable, regardless of the player’s price, and this week there are many more players with clear paths to a 30-point game than we had last week.
Which players do you think have the best chance of scoring 30+ points this week and how will those players and overall factors of the slate affect your builds?
*Includes access through the Super Bowl