Thursday, Sep 5th
Monday, Sep 9th

The Oracle (Conference Championship)

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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.

Conference Championship Topics

1. Bounce Backs

2. Mahomes Alone

3. Spare Change

4. Best Ball SZN

1. Bounce Backs

The Question ::

The NFL playoffs are a special animal. The atmospheres are so intense, while game flow and how teams match up against each other has such an impact on the way things shake out each week. As such, there can be wild swings in usage and/or effectiveness of players during these playoff runs and players who disappoint or whose team forgets about them one week can become critical pieces the next week.

Are there any players you are specifically expecting “bounce back” performances from in this week’s Conference Championship games?

The Answers ::
Xandamere >>

Jerick McKinnon stands out to me here – last week he played 65% of the snaps against just 35% for Isiah Pacheco, he just didn’t manage to get anything going (and zero targets didn’t help). Same with Juju Smith-Schuster, who played 85% of the snaps last week, most among all Kansas City pass catchers (more than Kelce!), but it resulted in just one target. Juju was already quite low owned last week, so after a disappointing performance it’s likely his ownership continues to be low (at least for a 2-game slate). 

Hilow >>

My “where the hell did that come from” play of the week is Marquez Valdes-Scantling against the shaky coverage of Eli Apple on the perimeter for the Bengals (which, yea, would be more like a “bounce front” week instead of a “bounce back,” because he was never really there…).

As far as true bounce back, I don’t think there is any greater prospect than A.J. Brown this week, The matchup lines up well and we have a bit of squeaky wheel narrative working in his favor after both DeVonta Smith and Dallas Goedert ruled the gridiron for the Eagles in their Divisional Round win.

Mike >>

In the KC // CIN game, Jerick McKinnon stands out to me as a player that is playing a ton of snaps and I think the Chiefs will get him more touches this week as a safety valve to relieve Mahomes from pressure as much as they can. I also think that Tyler Boyd will be heavily used as Hayden Hurst battles a calf injury and Joe Burrow is likely to see more pressure this week from Kansas City’s defensive front than he did last week when the sloppy field didn’t let Buffalo generate much of a pass rush.

In the SF // PHI game, AJ Brown has some “squeaky wheel” narrative going for him and I am especially high on him because of how he matches up with this 49ers defense. In the Wild Card round, we saw DK Metcalf’s size and physicality allow him to have a big game and I think AJ Brown can do the same.

2. Mahomes Alone

The Question ::

The talk of the week has (rightfully) centered around the health of Patrick Mahomes after he suffered a high ankle sprain in last week’s Divisional Round victory over the Jaguars. Obviously, a player like Mahomes is so crucial to his team that how he is able to play has a huge impact on how the game will play out. Considering that there are only two games this weekend, and how we know the way offenses interact with each other and call plays can have huge impacts on game flow (and subsequently player usage, scoring, etc.), this means that the status of his ankle will effectively have a monumental effect on half the slate. 

Obviously, we aren’t doctors here, but what are your expectations for Mahomes, and, in turn, are there any angles you are seeing for how this game plays out as a consequence of what you expect from him?

The Answers ::

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Thanks for hanging out with us in The Oracle this week

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