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 playoffs are supposed to be the most competitive games of the year. However, in this opening weekend three of our six games currently have spreads of nine points or more and those spreads could continue to grow based on impending injury news. Those games are::
While all of those spreads seem appropriate, we should also acknowledge that those spreads imply a 50% chance of a game going either way of that number and that all of these are the third divisional matchup which can often add some variance to outcomes as teams learn and adjust from past games.
Of these three games, which game (if any) do you think has the best chance of being a much more competitive game than the point spread would indicate? This is not necessarily a question of “can they cover”, but rather do you think any of those three underdogs has a chance to truly put a scare in their opponent?
I think it’s the Seahawks. The Dolphins and the Ravens are both playing with backup quarterbacks who have not looked at all competent this season, and while anything is possible, I think those offenses are likelier than not to struggle here. The Seahawks, however, have a very capable offense with all of their core personnel available, and while the 49ers offense really hasn’t missed a beat as they’ve gone from their starting QB to their second stringer to their third string Mr. Irrelevant, there is at least some additional risk here with an offense helmed by Brock Purdy.
I am in agreement with Xandamere on this one, seeing the Seahawks as the team most likely to put a scare in their opponent. I don’t necessarily think they will win the game, but I could see a couple different scenarios playing out that lead to an unexpectedly close game. First, with the impending potential weather and field issues the game could have additional variance introduced to its range of outcomes. All it would take is a 49ers DB to slip and give up a big play then a botched snap or fumble leading to a Seattle score to give Seattle a comfortable lead and control the clock, forcing Purdy to play from behind for the first time all year. The other potential scenario I see would be simply that the Seahawks passing game puts it together like the Raiders did against the 49ers two weeks ago and is able to turn this game into a shootout.
I think the short answer is a resounding “NO,” but the team with the best chance at a surprising upset is probably the Ravens – and it’s due to their defense. Baltimore finished the season with the seventh-ranked defense by DVOA, with top 11 marks against both the run and the pass. Seattle ranked 21st in defensive DVOA and are completely overmatched on both sides of the ball against San Francisco while the Dolphins have proven to be a completely different team without Tua this season (Skylar Thompson has a silly-low 4.96 yards per attempt during his last three games in which he played the majority of the game, the team could be without three starters along their offensive line and the top three tackles on the depth chart have yet to practice this week, and Raheem Mostert has a broken thumb). Joe Burrow is going to be chucking the football, has four games with multiple turnovers this season, and the Ravens generated 1.5 turnovers per game this season. If any team were to surprise this weekend, it’s probably them (and it would almost certainly come from their defense).
Of the non-divisional matchups in this round, all three of the games feature teams who faced each other during the regular season::
What, if anything, are you taking from the first matchups between these teams to help make your evaluations for those games this week?