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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.
On DraftKings — where we typically see as many as three or more players priced at $9k and above (with Christian McCaffrey often ringing the $10k+ bell) — the highest-priced player this week is $8600. Furthermore, only eight players (two quarterbacks, three running backs, two wide receivers, one tight end) are priced at $8k or higher. This could conceivably create an ownership vacuum, in which leftover salary is automatically allocated to these “top plays” — but in mid-late-week projections, no one from this group of eight players is particularly dominating expected ownership.
Meanwhile, plenty of players in the $6ks and $7ks are going to be attractive to the field this week, likely leading to a more balanced build, or to builds in which only two roster spots play the extremes (one “scrub,” one “star”; balanced everywhere else).
If we assume — for purposes of illustration — that a DFS player spends $8k on “defense and tight end” (or on defense and “a lower-cost option elsewhere so I can pay up at TE”), we end up with $6k per roster spot remaining. With no one from the top end shaping up as a perceived “must play,” we should generally see very balanced rosters this week.
Do you see any clear strategic angles to a more “stars and scrubs” build this week, or are you likelier to be looking more to other angles for your potential path to first place?
I’ll definitely be hunting for some “30-point-potential” value plays, as these guys will almost certainly go lower-owned this week than they typically would. I think that’s a key potential advantage on this week’s slate.
With that said (see Questions 2 & 4!), there are also going to be plenty of ways to be different than the field this week, so I won’t force a “stars and scrubs” build just to get differentiation in pricing structure. Part of that is the simple fact that the strategic angles my mind typically uncovers are usually going to come together from other approaches; but I’m working to pick up as much as I can from Hilow on the raw strategic advantages of moving away from the “chalk build,” and looking for ways to leverage that strategy without getting outside of my own strengths as a player.
Said differently: I’m going to be explicitly hunting for lower-priced, high-upside options, as these guys will not only create a differentiated build, but will also come with lower ownership than normal. But I won’t force any such plays in just for the sake of “a differentiated build,” as I expect to be different from the field this week regardless of how my pricing structure comes together.
Agree with JM in that I don’t think there’s an edge in forcing stars/scrubs builds. While there are some viable cheap plays who have sufficient ceiling to be worth targeting (Laviska, Mooney, Callaway, Hardman, Cephus, Dyami, Osborn, Jefferson), I think you’d be hamstringing yourself if you forced one of those guys onto every single roster. Those guys are all in the mix for me not just for value but because of how they help differentiate roster construction, but there are lots of other ways to differentiate roster construction!
There are a handful of sub 5k players that I’m interested in so far but I have concerns that their ownership may climb as Sunday approaches. The touts I’ve tuned into seem to be hammering the same dudes, which can create a less-than-desirable result. I’ll keep digging but playing chalky stars and scrubs would obviously defeat the purpose! Since I’ll likely be building my usual 150 in MME, I’ll certainly go top and bottom heavy for a good portion either way.
From a theory perspective, we should always be looking for a way to attack a slate that the field is not likely to be on. That said, I’m not entirely sure forcing a stars and scrubs lineup accomplishes that in the most +EV way this week. I’m not completely through the week just yet, but my current thoughts are that attacking some likely under-owned game environments is a better option this week.
Two starting points for me this week…First on the high-priced guys, Derrick Henry and Tyreek Hill are the two main pivot points to start to consider before building. Pairing Henry with Jonathan Taylor and Tyreek with Mecole Hardman are two simple ways to go different than the field right out of the gates.
The second area to differentiate in my opinion is targeting the $5K DK wide receivers more than the $6-7K WR. Building a balanced lineup but going slightly cheaper than many will. In the $5K range we have guys like Chase Claypool, Sammy Watkins, Kenny Golladay, and Christian Kirk, who will carry lower ownership than Cooper Kupp, Mike Evans, AJ Brown, and Chris Godwin. Starting in this range can give us similar ceilings while looking at a different lens than the field.
I think that on a 13-game slate the ownership gets spread out enough and there are no clear, cheap values to condense ownership in any area. My general take is that the objective this week is to build the best rosters you can from a roster construction, ceiling projection, and game environment standpoint and then evaluate what that lineup looks like from an ownership perspective and make some small tweaks if necessary. We obviously don’t want to have 9 guys who are all in the 10-25% range of ownership, but if we just build organically around game environments and strong plays we will likely be unique enough to differentiate from the field with so many games on the slate.
The upside of the “stars” (or $8k+ players) doesn’t feel like that much of an advantage over some of the middle tier players except for at RB. Pricing is soft this week so I think it’s just about picking your favorite(s) game environment, stacking that, then seeing what’s left for the rest of the build. Fitting those remaining pieces together in a way that provides a unique build will be the key.
In their 22 games with Brady as QB, the Bucs have held their opponent under 28 points 19 times.
In their 27 games with Jalen Ramsey, the Rams have held their opponent under 28 points 22 times (and under 20 points 15 times).
While acknowledging that both the Bucs and the Rams are capable of putting up points (which is why this game total sits at 55.5 — highest on the slate), these defenses lower the likelihood of this game turning into a true shootout (70+ combined points — or at least, somewhere in that range).
This leaves Seahawks // Vikings (55.0 point total; one point spread) as the game with the best chance of exploding. (Of the Seahawks’ last 20 games — playoffs included — 13 have gone for 49+ points; seven have gone for 60+ points. Of the Vikings’ last 18 games, 15(!!!!) have gone for 49+ points; seven have gone for 60+ points.) Both of these teams maintain relatively low-volume passing attacks…but both of these teams also have a narrow distribution of targets through the air.
Considering that this game will not be treated as a “clear and obvious top game on the slate,” how are you balancing this game into your Week 3 builds?
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