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The Oracle 7.23

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.

Week 7 Topics

1. A Tradition Unlike Any Other

2. Moving Target

3. High Expectations

4. Floating Plays

5. “That was so obvious, how did I not see it?”


1. What makes this particular slate particularly unique?

The Question ::

A weekly staple of The Oracle, what makes this slate particularly unique?

The Answers ::
JM >>

We talk all the time about how “chalk forms no matter what,” and we talk about that in preparation for weeks like this. In this week’s Angles Pod, I likened DFS play to “trying to capture lightning.” In that context, I said that Raheem Mostert in Week 6 was like a hill in the landscape, so even though a lot more people were standing there waiting for lightning, the chances of lightning striking that spot were also dramatically higher than some other spots. On the flip side, this week is more like a level landscape, and there are some natural rises and falls in the landscape that makes some spots marginally likelier than others to get hit by lightning, but because there are no hills in the landscape, there are huge numbers of people willing to stand together on the minor rises in the landscape in hopes that lightning will hit them. Maybe it will. But those spots aren’t dramatically more likely than others to catch lightning this week.

Said differently: the chalk this week is generally “good in the context of this week,” but it isn’t dramatically better than a lot of other viable plays clumped up around the chalk. Because of that setup, I’ll very naturally end up underweight the field on “chalk pieces I like…but don’t like as much as the field likes them,” and I’ll very naturally end up overweight the field on spots that the field will be overlooking because of their willingness to stand together on small rises in the landscape.

Xandamere >>

Low game totals. We have a game at 47.5, then a couple in the 43-45 range, and a bunch below. Only TWO teams on the main slate are projected for 25+ points, which is absolutely wild. One could argue Vegas is overreacting to the down scoring environment…or maybe they are properly reacting after getting smashed by bettors hitting every under this season? 

What this means is that raw points are more useful than salary multipliers. It’s likely to be a lower-scoring week, and an expensive stud who gets you 30 is highly likely to be a valuable piece of a roster even if it’s only a little over 3x his salary. Value plays who can get you 15-20 are more valuable. POINTS are more valuable because there are fewer of them to go around. It’s also a week where, while chalk forms as it always does, the chalk is likelier to be, on the whole, more fragile than other weeks because there just aren’t many guys in true smash spots with relatively low chances of failure.

Hilow >>

Beyond the top-level “state of the slate,” where we’re lacking multiple top-end game environments and team situations, this slate sets up for two glaring trends. First, there isn’t an abundance of “safe” value, meaning we should expect the field to largely look to build more balanced rosters than in previous weeks. Second, the chalk is much more fragile than we have seen to this point in the season. Those two aspects of this slate make it more like a labyrinth than a puzzle, filled with traps and dead ends at every turn! Avoiding those traps becomes more important on a slate like this, something that is also highly likely to give the field fits this week.

Mike >>

This week is similar to last week but taken to another level with only 10 games (i.e. – 20 teams) on the slate and several of those games having very low Vegas implied totals. We also have one clear-cut top game environment, but that game’s total has been bet down several points since opening. All of it sets up a situation where we have a potentially very unpredictable and volatile slate. There don’t appear to be many “sure things” in terms of game environments or individual player situations/matchups, but we know that the “field” will naturally still congregate to a few specific spots based on optimizers and projections. 


2. Moving Target

The Question ::

Last week’s main slate had somewhat limited scoring that resulted in lower “winning scores” than normal. Many weeks we see winning scores in the 230-250 range on Draftkings, while last week the Milly Maker winner scored 228, but 2nd place was far behind at 216 points, and most of the other big contests had winning scores ranging from the high 190’s to 210. This week we have only 10 games on the slate, the game with the highest implied total has actually had its total dropping significantly throughout the week, and a lot of offenses with questionable quarterback situations.

Taking all of those things into account, it seems reasonable to expect a similar target for winning tournaments this week. How does this “moving target” potentially affect your approach to the slate and/or how you evaluate players for your player pool?

The Answers ::

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Thanks for hanging out with us in The Oracle this week

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