Thursday, Dec 8th
Bye Week:
Saints
Colts
Commanders
Packers
Bears
Falcons

The Scroll Week 14

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    The DFS Slate

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    Meet The Team


    Angles

    Happy Thursday!

    New members: Every Thursday morning, we send out the Angles email — in which we take a critical, “overview” look at the slate ahead.

    The Lay Of The Land ::

    Week: 14

    Total Main Slate Games: 10

    Slate Overview:

    This deep into the season, this has the feel of a throwback slate: Week 14; only 10 games on the Main Slate.

    With the 18-week NFL season, the final week of byes is now Week 14 (it used to be Week 13) — and with the NFL giving us a three-game Saturday slate next week (Week 15) and a three-game slate on Christmas day (Week 16), this isn’t even our final 10-game slate of the season. But at a point in the season when we are conditioned to seeing an overflow of available options and teams, we instead have a slate that offers us a total number of games on the lower end of what we’ve seen over the last couple months.

    Teams missing from this Main Slate include the Saints, Colts, Packers, Bears, Patriots, Cardinals, Raiders, Chargers, and Dolphins — which means a LOT of “top running backs” absent :: Alvin Kamara // Jonathan Taylor // Aaron Jones // David Montgomery // Rhamondre Stevenson // Josh Jacobs // Austin Ekeler. Additionally, we are missing Davante Adams, the dual-threat upside of Justin Fields, the marquee names on the Cardinals’ offense, and the fully-stocked passing attacks of the Chargers and Dolphins.

    Add it all together, and with all the premium names missing, this already-small slate has the feeling of an even smaller slate — a feeling that is compounded once we look at some of the matchups the “top available offenses” are facing:

    The Bills are implied to score 26.75 at home against the Jets, and they can certainly get there; but in terms of “offensive upside,” this is one of the tougher matchups on the Bills’ schedule, making it less likely that they soar past this implied total for a “had to have it” score.

    The Chiefs are implied to score 26.0 on the road against the Broncos, and they can certainly get there; but in terms of “offensive upside,” this is one of the tougher matchups on the Chiefs’ schedule, making it less likely that they soar past this implied total for a “had to have it” score.

    The Cowboys are in a smash spot at home against the Texans (favored by 16.0!; implied to score 30.75!), but as we’ve been hammering all year: Mike McCarthy has made it clear since summer that he sees the Cowboys’ defense as their identity, and that — much like Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco — he feels confident that the Cowboys should call their offensive game plan accordingly: taking control of games, dominating on the ground, and forcing the opponent to become one-dimensional against the lethal Dallas pass rush. McCarthy has been good to his word, limiting pass volume in games the Cowboys control — which essentially leaves us with the Cowboys’ split backfield as the clearest source of upside in this game.

    Similarly, the Eagles are in a matchup they are capable of controlling…but as we’ve been on top of throughout the season: this is an adaptable offense; and against a beatable Giants run defense, it’s reasonable to expect the Eagles to lean on the ground game, again limiting the scope of upside we can target from a potentially high-scoring Week 14 offense.

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    End Around

    Hilow is a game theory expert (courses at Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and Northwestern) and tournament champion who focuses on mid/high-stakes single-entry/three-entry max

    The End Around is published Saturday afternoons

    Relative Value Breakdown

    Dwprix is a research expert at OWS, with focuses on NFL Edge Matchups and the Relative Value Breakdown

    The Relative Value Breakdown is published Saturday Mornings

    JM’s Player Grid

    JMToWin is a high-stakes tournament champion (Thunderdome, Luxury Box, Game Changer, Wildcat) who is focusing this year on single-entry/three-entry max


    OWS Fam ::

    This is not a complete list of all the good plays on the slate

    This is, instead, a look at the player pool I’ll be fishing


    The Grid ::

    Bottom-Up Build

    :: covered in-depth in the Angles Pod (it’s highly recommended that you listen to the breakdown of the roster in order to see the thinking behind it, and in order to understand what we’re talking about when we look at a “bottom-up build”)

    Blue Chips

    :: my “Tier 1” plays: the plays I feel confident leaning into across different types of builds; these players have a high ceiling and a low likelihood of price-considered failure

    Build-Arounds

    :: games, offenses, situations, or scenarios I’ll be looking to build around across my rosters

    Building Blocks

    :: unique player pairings that can be used as foundational building blocks for tournament rosters

    Bonuses

    :: players who don’t fit into the categories above — either Upside pieces who don’t have the floor to be Blue Chips (and are not being focused on within my game-focused builds) or players who may not have a strong shot at ceiling, but are worth keeping in mind from a “role” perspective


    Angles Pod

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    Bottom-Up Build

    Full breakdown (of what this is, and what the thinking is behind these players) can (and should) be found in the Angles Pod (above).

    Correlated Bottom-Up Build
    DK Salary Remaining :: $6.0K

    Deshaun Watson
    James Cook
    Miles Sanders
    Ja’Marr Chase
    Phillip Dorsett
    Chris Moore
    David Njoku
    Donovan Peoples-Jones
    Eagles

    Alternate BUB
    DK Salary Remaining :: $6.2k

    Joe Burrow
    James Cook
    D’Andre Swift
    Ja’Marr Chase
    Phillip Dorsett
    Chris Moore
    Greg Dulcich
    Donovan Peoples-Jones
    Cowboys

    Join The Bottom-Up Build Contest On DraftKings!

    Buy-In:
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    Rules:
    Build with a salary cap of $44k or below!

    Prizes:
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    Join Here – Contest 1

    Join Here – Contest 2

    * With the BUB becoming more popular, we’ve set up two contests. ONLY ENTER ONE. The best score between the two contests will be credited with the win! *


    Blue Chips

    There are no “True Blue” Chips on my list for this week

    “Light Blue” Chips
    Jalen Hurts

    With Josh Allen playing the Jets and Patrick Mahomes playing the Broncos, Hurts is the “elite DFS QB” likeliest to go for 30+ points. The Giants rank bottom-six in DVOA against both the pass and the run, and we are likely to see the Eagles start this game the way they typically start games: going surprisingly pass-heavy, before taking a lead and turning things over to the run. In both of these pathways, Hurts will be an engine of the offense until this game gets out of hand (and if it doesn’t get out of hand, he’ll remain an engine throughout). His chances of a true blowup game are lower in this spot, given that the Giants are unlikely to keep pace; but his chances of disappointing are very low, and his chances of being the highest-scoring QB on the slate remain relatively high.

    Amon-Ra St. Brown

    Some interesting math here…

    If we throw out the game in which ARSB got hurt this year (he was in and out of the lineup afterward, but was largely ineffective, and then proceeded to miss most of the next month) and throw out the games in which he played very limited snaps, he has averaged 25.14 DraftKings points per game across his last 14 contests. (This includes his first two games back from injury, in which he posted his two worst games in this stretch.) This would put him above the 2022 per-game production of both Justin Jefferson and Stefon Diggs. In fact, to more deeply illustrate how underpriced ARSB is: getting ARSB at $7.8k against his relevant sample size of production is the equivalent of getting 2021 Cooper Kupp (27.9 DK points per game) at $8.6k. I’ll also note that ARSB has four games in this stretch of 15.3 or fewer DK points (i.e., he is capable of working out as a fade), and his “likeliest outcome” is somewhere in the mid-20s (23 to 26 points), which helps those who rostered him, and doesn’t kill those who don’t roster him. But just in terms of “production expectations gained for the salary,” he’s definitely underpriced — especially against a Minnesota defense that has allowed the most WR yards and second most WR receptions in the NFL.

    Cowboys DST

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    Build-Arounds

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    Building Blocks

    New this year: these are unique player pairings that can be used as foundational building blocks for tournament rosters

    Goff + ARSB + Chark + Hockenson
    Cost: $22.8K DK // $26.9k FD
    Story:

    “This game plays out the way the public expects it to play out”

    Why It Works:

    This game is going to be stacked lots of different ways, and even this stack won’t “set you on a clear path to first place” if it hits. But this particular combination of players makes just as much sense as any other, and it’s likely to be lower-owned than many of the other ways this game could be built (Swift, Thielen, Jefferson, etc.). If the touchdowns come through the air for the Lions and Hockenson scores once or twice for Minnesota, this setup would separate from the field, allowing you to play a chalky game and still gain a significant edge when it hits.

    How It Works:

    Because this building block doesn’t necessarily “separate from the field” if it hits (as noted already: it should put you ahead of a lot of rosters if it hits, but you’ll still be competing against other rosters that have a similar setup, especially in large-field play), I would look to pull one or two additional levers on this roster: rostering a high-upside piece that the field is overlooking, or finding some leverage off a popular piece, etc. Still (and again) :: this is one of the more unique ways to attack the most popular game on the slate, while still telling a story that makes all the sense in the world.

    POTENTIAL DOWNSIDE:

    The story plays out differently, and you don’t get first place — which is really all that matters.

    Geno + Lockett + Metcalf + DJ Moore

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    Bonuses

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    If Building For Single-Entry // Three-Entry Max

    This is my narrowest pool, which means it’s the pool likeliest to change a bit as I move deeper into builds. If it changes throughout Saturday night, I’ll add an update in this space.

    If I were building for single-entry // three-entry Max, my tightened-up player pool would be:

    QB ::

    Jalen Hurts || Joe Burrow || Deshaun Watson || Jared Goff || Geno Smith || Tyler Huntley

    RB ::

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    A Wrap ::

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

    -JM

    Mike’s Player Grid

    Mike Johnson (MJohnson86) has racked up nearly $500,000 in DFS profit as an NFL tournament player with success in all styles of contests


    Welcome back to my (Mjohnson86) Player Grid. The format will vary slightly from JM’s Player Grid, as we each see things slightly differently and play in slightly different contests, but should complement his thoughts and content very well for those looking to build their lineups for the week. The format of this article will likely evolve as the season progresses but should provide a lot of value. Enjoy!!


    The Core

    This is a list of players that stand out to me at each position from using my “Checking the Boxes” criteria outlined in my course you can find in our Marketplace. This list is a starting point, from which I build out lineups using game theory and roster construction concepts (which we will also touch on) with the mindset being to find the best plays with big ceilings. Low ownership is a bonus, but not a must. This section will focus primarily on three positions – running back, tight end, and defense – as the other two positions (quarterback and wide receiver) tend to have more dependent tendencies which I try to attack from other angles (which we will get into in the other sections). I like all of these plays on all sites unless otherwise noted:

    Running Back ::

    I’m really not a fan of the running back situation this week, as the top options based on my criteria are all very pricey and also rate slightly lower than the usual top options. My preferred way to build on Draftkings this week will be with cheaper options at running back and hoping they can get me 15-20 points while using the extra salary to load up on high-upside passing game pieces.

    Dalvin Cook

    He checks all the boxes we want and the attention that Minnesota’s passing game will receive from the field should keep his ownership in check.

    Christian McCaffrey

    CMC’s role in games without Elijah Mitchell is, by far, the best role in fantasy football.

    Derrick Henry

    Henry is basically two different players in Titans wins and losses. This week the Titans are favored against a Jaguars team that Henry has demolished over the years. 25+ touches seems very likely in this spot with a solid matchup and potential for some big plays.

    Per my comments above, these first three RBs I like much more on Fanduel than on Draftkings. Their prices are less prohibitive there and allow much better builds around them. That’s not to say that they can’t be played on Draftkings, but it takes a specific type of build to make it work.

    Tony Pollard/Ezekiel Elliott

    Pollard and Elliott should both have solid workloads until the game gets out of hand. Pollard’s explosiveness and the matchup allow him to have a much higher ceiling than Elliott. He is underpriced for his recent performance on both sites. The duo has combined for 42 and 57 DK points in two of the last three weeks, making them viable to play together in this matchup in smaller field contests and also making it likely that the production isn’t an even split and one of them posts a 4x or better score while the other disappoints. The biggest concern here would be a situation where the Texans implode very early and give Dallas short fields that give touchdowns but limit yardage and receptions, while also allowing the Cowboys to put both of these guys on ice early.

    D’Andre Swift

    Swift appears to be trending in the right direction with his usage and health, as he took control of Detroit’s backfield in last week’s win over Jacksonville. If Swift is truly taking over the backfield, he’s drastically underpriced. Even if he simply maintains half of the usage, he gets a ton of work in the passing game and has the explosiveness and game environment to pop off for a big game.

    D’onta Foreman

    Foreman is a battering ram facing a run defense that has been battered lately. He has 100+ rushing yards in four of his last six games and is the short-yardage back for the Panthers.

    SIDE NOTES::

    • Rachaad White/Leonard Fournette – The matchup dictates that the Bucs should throw the ball a lot and the Tampa running backs will likely catch a lot of balls like the 12 they combined for on Monday night. It wouldn’t take much for one of them to fall into the end zone and, along with their 5 to 7 points from receptions, be in easy striking distance of a 20-point DK game. As I said earlier, I prefer paying down at RB this week to spend up on receivers, so this option (while seemingly having a lower ceiling) opens up some things.
    • Isiah Pacheco – 15+ touches in four straight games. Very likely in a positive game script. Facing a “run funnel” defense and an offense that struggles to sustain drives, therefore increasing Kansas City’s expected play volume. 20 touches for Pacheco seems very reasonable in this spot and with how he has popped on film this year, I will be surprised if he doesn’t have a big game before the season ends.
    Tight End ::

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    Sonic’s MME Pool

    Sonic is a Milly Maker winner and large-field tournament mastermind who focuses on mass-multi-entry play

    Sonic’s MME Pool is published Saturday evenings

    Willing To Lose

    Larejo is a mid-stakes tournament mastermind who specializes in outmaneuvering 150-max players with a small number of entries

    Willing To Lose is published Saturday afternoons

    The Oracle

    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 Oracle is published Saturday afternoons

    Sunday Crunch

    Sunday Crunch is an Inner Circle feature that can be found late on Saturday nights and non-IC members can receive a chunk of the content each week. Mike also posts updated thoughts to Discord on Sunday mornings for Inner Circle members.

    Sunday Crunch is published Sunday mornings

    Afternoon-Only

    Mike Johnson (MJohnson86) has racked up nearly $500,000 in DFS profit as an NFL tournament player with success in all styles of contests

    Afternoon-Only is published Sunday afternoons

    Underdog Underowned

    Lex is a matchup researcher who focuses his play on Underdog’s Battle Royale contest.

    Late Swap

    StatATL is an OWS Fam grad who had multiple tournament wins last season that included a large field showdown for MNF and a $50,000 SE win. This season Billy has been hammering short slates and utilizing late swap. In this article, he’ll help you take advantage of late swap.

    Need more late swap education? Read this free educational article on Late Swap

    Outlook – Late Games:

    Three of the ten total games fall into the late window this weekend, with only the Chiefs surpassing a 24-point Vegas implied team total. While KC is a ten-point road favorite, the two main offensive pieces (Mahomes and Kelce) carry hefty price tags. That said, I don’t expect heavy ownership around any of these three games, despite one offering some sneaky shootout potential (more on that later). 

    Overall, ownership should congregate around a few spots this week with the main decision point being how you account for Minnesota at Detroit. This game carries a 53 implied point total (a full touchdown more than the next highest) and features several strong on-paper plays. If your main stack on a roster is from the early games, such as the aforementioned MIN/DET matchup, I suggest a construction with at least one spot, preferably the Flex, saved for the afternoon games. This will allow you to block the most popular player if your early plays smash, or get contrarian with some of the options outlined below if your roster needs to play catch-up to get over the cash line.

    Important Early Outcomes to Watch:
    • Vikings and Lions skill position players – specifically Amon-Ra St. Brown, Justin Jefferson, D’Andre Swift, Dalvin Cook, and TJ Hockenson. All project to be in the top five in ownership at their position. Early projections have St. Brown as the highest-owned player on the slate as well as Goff and Cousins as the two highest-owned QBs.
    • Cowboys – Pollard, Zeke, Lamb, and Schultz. Dallas is projected to win by three scores and this matchup features one of the only times all season a team has a 31+ Vegas implied team total.
    • If Treylon Burks is inactive, I expect a strong performance from either Derrick Henry or Chig Okonkwo
    • “Slate Breakers” – unexpected monster performances like Joe Mixon a few weeks ago
    Price Range Breakdowns (Late Games):

    $6,500 and up:

    • DK Metcalf – Coming off his best performance of the year, Metcalf is priced the highest he’s been all season. He is top ten in the league for targets this season including 48 over his past five games.
    • Travis Kelce – Ownership will likely be spread out at TE this week and while Denver presents a tough matchup, this doesn’t affect his ceiling. If shutdown corner Patrick Surtain is matched up with JuJu Smith-Schuster, this may create more looks for Kelce. Early projections have him at 12% ownership.

    $5,500 – $6,400:

    • Isiah Pacheco Lead running back on a team favored to win by two scores. With CEH on IR, Pacheco has averaged 17.5 opportunities (rushes + targets) in the past 4 games. Projected at sub-5% ownership

    $4,500 – $5,400:

    • D’onta Foreman – Facing one of the league’s worst rush defenses, Foreman has 24 or more carries in 3 of his past 5 games. If you want an idea of the upside of this spot, go look back at what Josh Jacobs and Cam Akers did to this same Seattle defense the past two weeks.
    • Jerry Jeudy – Has been an absolute world-beater against man coverage, averaging over 6 yards per route run. The next best are Chris Olave and Ja’Marr Chase, who both average less than 4 YPRR. With Sutton doubtful, this could be a sneaky spot for Jeudy as DEN will likely be playing catch-up.

    Sub $4,400:

    • George Kittle – I can’t remember a time when Kittle was this cheap. He has put up 5x his current salary in terms of DK points twice in the past six games and should come in at sub-5% ownership.
    • Greg Dulcich – A second Bronco for late swap consideration?! I know it’s gross, but KC should be leading and if Sutton is out, the “offense” gets even more condensed. Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett said the team will be using Dulcich in a “wide receiver role”. Expect high ownership, however.

    Defense:

    • 49ers ($3,200) – Should carry low ownership and have shown the ability to be the had-to-have-it defense for the week. The Niners are averaging over 12 DK points at home this year, despite playing high-powered offenses such as the Chiefs, Dolphins, Chargers, and Seahawks.  
    • Bucs ($2,900) – The Bucs are facing third-string QB Brock Purdy who will be making his first NFL start and are averaging over 3 sacks per game. Additionally, they have only given up over 23 points in a game twice all season.
    Stacks/Construction:
    • Seattle is my favorite stack to build around in the late window this week, as the offense is very concentrated. If Kenneth Walker is inactive, I would expect a slightly higher focus on the passing attack, and Geno has eclipsed 20 DK points in 7 of his past 10 starts. You can stack Geno with two of Jones/Homer, Fant, Lockett, and Metcalf in the hopes of capturing all the TDs. DJ Moore or D’onta Foreman make strong bring-back options at their salaries if building a game stack.
    • Reiterating the need to be mindful of how you are accounting for the Vikings vs. Lions game if not stacking it. This game is head and shoulders ahead of the rest of the slate in terms of fantasy goodness, and the likelihood of it completely failing is very small.  
    • I would expect a vast majority of rosters to build almost completely around the early slate. If you build with late swap in mind leaving at least one player from the late window and your early bets flounder, my favorite plays to consider are Pacheco, Jeudy, or a SEA WR (if Walker and DeeJay Dallas are both inactive). If your early stacks smash, look to block the most popular play by rostering Dulcich.
    • If your roster leaves both the FLEX and DST spots for the late slate, I’d recommend 49ers Def and Pacheco as placeholders as this will allow you good flexibility as you can always swap down to the Panthers (at $2,200) and use the extra salary for the flex spot (up to Godwin or Lockett). If we expect Seattle to be throwing more, this gives additional opportunities for sacks and interceptions for Carolina’s defense. Things could change, so as always, keep an eye on late-breaking news and remember to make sure your latest starting skill position player is in the FLEX spot.

    I hope to see you and your OWS avatar at the top of a leaderboard this week!