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.
There seem to be a lot of moving parts this week and with a few of the “premium” offenses in the league on bye it forces us to think more creatively about situations, ownership, etc. With that in mind, what is it about this slate that you find particularly unique?
This is the classic, “It’s an ugly slate…but it’s ugly for everyone” type of setup. The running back chalk is “not bad,” but it might not be quite so chalky on other slates. The tight end value is standing out to the field, but it’s not as if it’s on players anyone is actually excited to play. The most popular passing attacks look relatively easy to fade…but then you scroll through the other quarterbacks available and realize it’s sort of “not scary to fade” across the board.
On a slate like this, I tend to want to avoid “imposing my will” on my rosters. What I mean is this:: there is a lot of ugliness and uncertainty on this slate, but we tend to want to “make firm decisions” when we play DFS, making it tempting on a week like this to overthink everything and tie ourselves in knots when, realistically, you’re going to have some plays that feel icky or uncomfortable regardless of whether you’re on the chalk or not. As such, there are no players I’m forcing, and I’m instead finding interesting starting points (stacks, player blocks, unique pairings, etc.), and then allowing salary and “if this, then this” type of thinking to guide me toward the other plays on that particular build. I’ll have plenty of chalk sprinkled across my builds, but I’ll also have plenty of rosters (both with and without chalk) that look very unique.
Xandamere will return next week!
Right off the rip, there are a ton of game environments with extremely low game totals. It’s normal to see one or two games with game totals under 43.0 points – it’s super rare, especially in today’s pass-heavy game, to see FIVE games with game totals under 43.0 points. There are four games with game totals of 47.0 or higher, which is a nice number – even more importantly, we know almost exactly what pieces are going to draw ownership from the field from those games, and all four involve a rather wide range of potential outcomes. That means the leverage we can generate on this slate should come fairly naturally. Also, there is one running back expected to be on over ⅓ of rosters in play this week, which is an absolutely absurd number for a single player – more on this in the End Around and on The Slate podcast.
The two highest implied team totals on the slate (Chargers and Cowboys) have a lot of uncertainty around them with Keenan Allen a game-time decision and multiple other Chargers skill players out this week, and Dak Prescott playing his first game since Week 1. Also, the next two highest team totals (Bengals and Raiders) are facing run-heavy teams who tend to slow the pace down. Finally, the 5th and 6th highest team totals (Bucs and Ravens) are favored by a touchdown or more. This makes for a lot of uncertainty and tough decisions, which we can leverage for an advantage. Situations where the field appears to have a high degree of “certainty”, we should be less certain about…..situations where the field is scared off due to “uncertainty”, we should be embracing and putting ourselves in a position to prosper.
The 2022 season has been the lowest scoring season we have seen in quite some time and now that we are six weeks into the season it is safe to say those results are getting to the point where the sample size is relevant. We talk often about targeting potential high scoring environments and the need to think about which teams can score four or more touchdowns in a given week. That is still certainly the case, however, given the recent trends it has become much harder to find those wildly fruitful scoring environments and, with less scoring across the league, we have seen some weeks where less correlated lineups are finding more success than we have seen in recent years. Just last week we saw a popular Bills // Chiefs game go 10 points under its projected total and there were still SIX players from that game who ended up on top-10 lineups in the Milly Maker. In past years, that would seem unthinkable but the low scoring nature of the league and the offensive production, even with lower point output, from that primary game was enough to provide many usable DFS scores.
Two part question here::
First, what do you think are the biggest factors contributing to the downturn in scoring?
Second, we always need to be reevaluating the state of the NFL and trends in DFS – does this recent trend have any effect on your strategy or approach going forward?