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.
The NFL DFS season is just so interesting and fun. The way each week comes together and has its unique variables makes each slate a new “puzzle” that you have to sort your way through and figure out. Coming off a week in which there were only two games with totals of 47 or higher on the main slate and several games that had very large point spreads, we now enter a week with SIX games with totals of 47 or higher and no games with a point spread of greater than 7.
Given the nature of DFS and human psychology, we can expect people to be looking for “this week’s Miami // Baltimore game”, but the reality is that situation was very rare and had an extreme outcome that we are unlikely to see for quite some time. As noted before, there are six games with game totals of 47 or higher and all of them project to be relatively competitive games::
A multi-part question::
I do think there will be a chunk of the field that will wonder, “How could Buffalo // Miami NOT hit? Look what Buffalo has done on offense so far? Look at the injuries on the Buffalo defense. Look what Miami did last week!!!” While that game certainly can hit (duh), I think the “past is a predictor of future” crowd will have a hard time staying off this game. To be fair to that crowd: they are generally aware that the past is not quite that predictive; but the emotional pull of “what we just saw” is still difficult to get away from. Obviously, ownership projections at this point in the week will provide a clearer snapshot of actual numbers across these games, but there is an emotional pull on this game that should also be highlighted.
The KC offense is likeliest to go overlooked among this set of teams. Simply betting on Kelce/Mahomes is already a unique way to go this week (contrary to what Vegas would indicate), and the idea of “betting on one of these KC wideouts finally having a breakout” is somehow incredibly contrarian. A side note here: Mahomes has talked this week about how unique the KC offense is, in that they essentially encourage their wideouts to not run the routes the way they look on paper. Plenty of teams have options in their routes that require the wide receiver to read the defense and run a different route at the top depending on what that coverage shows; but KC is probably the only team that takes that a step further and gives their wideouts freedom to run the called route however they see fit. A slant doesn’t have to look like a slant. A post doesn’t have to look like a post. (And so on.) They can read the defense and run the route in the way they feel will best get them open. This is part of the reason MVS and JuJu were excited to join this team, but this takes time to get used to. It wouldn’t be at all surprising if one of these wideouts were to break out soon.
Sharp money in Vegas hasn’t been buying the idea that Herbert will play (or that he won’t be himself if he does play), which contributes to me being least interested in JAX/LAC as a limited-entry player.
(1) Based on current ownership projections it looks like DET/MIN is the chalkiest game of the week, but that said ownership is looking fairly spread out (4 of the top 20 highest projected ownership plays are from DET/MIN, more than any other game). I think that’s my overall favorite game environment as well as both teams have good offenses, both teams have pretty condensed offenses, and both teams have mediocre defenses.
(2) KC/IND is showing up as very overlooked right now – I don’t have a single player projected for more than 10% ownership (the highest I have is Juju at 6.4%). Now there’s plenty of time for that to change, of course…but any time I can get what is arguably the league’s best overall offense (or one of them) at super low ownership, I’m VERY interested. I cannot count the number of times that KC stacks have won people huge amounts of money at low ownership over the past few years.
(3) It’s one of JAX/LAC or KC/IND (or rather, IND), and my reasoning is this. The Jaguars gave up 28 points to Washington in Week 1 and then completely shut the Colts out in Week 2. The Colts, meanwhile, have only scored 20 points in two games (one of which included overtime). Oh, and the Chargers have “only” scored 48 points in two games….not a tiny number, but certainly a bit below expectations for an elite offense. So the question is…is Jacksonville’s defense significantly better than expected? Or is the Colts offense failing (even if temporarily)? If the former, JAX/LAC is likely to not shoot out. If the latter, Indy is likely to struggle to keep up and while KC can still rack up a ton of points, the game is unlikely to shoot out.
(1) I think the clear answer to that first part is BUF @ MIA. There won’t be a single tout or site that fails to hype that game up as a potential shootout. If you read the Edge this week, I purposefully wrote the “Likeliest Game Flow” section of this game up as I did to kind of highlight the fact that while this game is the likeliest to shootout, it does not mean it will shootout – and there are many, many more games (as was mentioned in the question) that carry chances of blowing the slate up. So, my answer to the second part of the question isn’t “I do or don’t agree with it,” it’s highlighting the range of outcomes of potential game environments – realize what a roster is saying has to happen in order for it to hit outlier performances and take a GPP down (more on this in the End Around and The Slate podcast).
(2) Hands down – Rams/Cardinals. Only Zach Ertz is currently projected for more than 5% ownership from Arizona. It’s the game with the lowest spread and so much bias surrounding Arizona (to be fair, they have looked completely lost on offense – but it’s still Kyler Murray). Very, very close second to Eagles/Commanders. Outside of Jalen Hurts and Curtis Samuel, there isn’t much emphasis being placed on this game environment by the field currently.
(3) Jaguars/Chargers as I think there are more paths to failure than the rest of these games. Is Justin Herbert healthy enough to take a hit and continue playing? Is the Jaguars defense for real or did they simply benefit from stacking the box against a broken opponent last week? That said, I don’t think the field is even paying attention to this game – that makes me want to pay attention to this game.
As DFS players, we know that usage and talent are two things that, over time, will almost always win out and show itself in the box score. Sometimes we can get caught waiting too long for these things, or miss a change in situation, and get burned. However, staying the course and/or “going back to the well” can often be quite profitable. I (Mike // mjohnson86) had my best week of the year last season in Week 3 as I hit on several players or situations – a Josh Allen stack, Saquon Barkley, and DK Metcalf – that had disappointed the first two weeks but I bet on their talent and usage to “regress” and that they had big weeks coming. I was lucky to have all of those things hit at once for a big score and to bink a couple tournaments, but the thought holds and it is something we see almost every season.
As we head into this year’s Week 3, what are some players or teams that you are “betting on regression” and confident have big, tournament winning days coming soon?