Sunday, Feb 12th — Late
Bye Week:
49ers
Bears
Bengals
Bills
Broncos
Browns
Buccaneers
Cardinals
Chargers
Colts
Commanders
Cowboys
Dolphins
Falcons
Giants
Jaguars
Jets
Lions
Packers
Panthers
Patriots
Raiders
Rams
Ravens
Saints
Seahawks
Steelers
Texans
Titans
Vikings

The Scroll Reflection Edition. 14.21.

JUMP TO

    One Week Season

    Where Sharp DFS Players Hang Out


    Early Bets

    Why does Vegas set lines? What is their goal? Well, Vegas sets lines in an attempt to get exactly half of the action on each side of every line they post. In this case, they take the rake, guarantee a profit, and move on. So, does that mean Vegas lines are perfectly set? Furthermore, does it mean they are always perfectly set early in the week? No! Every week this season (starting Week 2), we’ll be jumping into early-week betting line inefficiencies to take advantage of before they move. This line movement can be caused by a number of factors, but the primary reasons for movements after initial line release are public sentiment and recency biases (shark money typically doesn’t come in until later in the week, when bettors have more complete information). With that, let’s jump in!

    If you are looking for referral codes to get those juicy sign-up bonuses (and free money that come with them), follow the link here for referral codes to various books partnered with OWS.

    ARBITRAGE BETTING / FREE ROLLING

    Time for another betting lesson! Whippee! The lesson for this week is arbitrage betting, or the practice of line hunting with the goal of finding lines on different books that allow you to walk away with a guaranteed profit, regardless of the outcome. In order to make this happen, we must find lines with juice that is different enough to allow for a profit to be realized no matter what happens in the game. Arbitrage lines are most common (in the NFL) on player props and game props (which aren’t typically released for the week when I write this piece), but do make an appearance every now and then on game lines for other major sports (NBA and MLB the most common).

    For example (and we’ll keep the numbers simple to highlight how this can be done, and we’ll use an example of a free roll), say a player’s rushing yards prop sits at 59.5 on one book juiced to -105 to both the over and under. On another book, the line sits at 64.5 juiced to -105 to both the over and under. If you buy the line on the first book up to match that of the second book (64.5), you’ll get something around +130 to the over. If you then bet $105 on the under on the second book (to win $100), and $100 on the over on the first book (to win $130), you are now free rolling to the over. If the under hits, you make back $205 (the $100 profit plus your $105 bet), and if the over hits, you make $230, or a $25 profit.

    The same process can be used for true arbitrage betting, where the numbers work out to guarantee a profit. This takes time, patience, and discipline to work through (or you can subscribe to services that do this for you if you’re willing to pay for it), but quite literally guarantees profit over time. If you’re looking for a quick way to see various lines, odds, and juice across multiple books, check out oddschecker.com.

    +EV LINES (Week 14)::

    PITTSBURGH STEELERS (+3.5) @ MINNESOTA VIKINGS (BET MGM, -115):

    Bet MGM is one of the few books that has the hook added to the Steelers for the Thursday Night Football game this week. Against a Minnesota team that we know has played all but one game this season to a one-possession score, that hook is extremely valuable to us. Furthermore, the juice of -115 is the lowest in the industry.

    NEW YORK GIANTS @ LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (-10; BET MGM, -110):

    We all know that the Giants will be playing with their third-string quarterback this week, but what we don’t currently know is the game-day status of Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen, who was placed on the COVID list early this week but is vaccinated, meaning he simply needs to provide two negative tests spaced 24-hours apart to play. Should he gain clearance, it is highly likely this line moves further in favor of the Chargers here. Bet MGM is currently one of the only places around the industry where you can get this line without the hook.

    BUFFALO BILLS @ TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (-3.5; FANDUEL, +100):

    FanDuel currently has the Bucs -3.5 at even money, which is one of the better bets around the industry currently. This game sets up to be extremely pass-heavy, and the defenses from these two teams are on opposite trajectories. The Bucs are finally getting healthy while the Bills lost their best defensive player in Week 12 (Tre’Davious White).

    HONORABLE MENTIONS::

    DRAFTKINGS PARLAY

    New Orleans Saints ML (-220) @ NY Jets; Seattle Seahawks ML (-335) @ Houston Texans; Los Angeles Chargers ML (-550) vs. NY Giants.

    This three-team parlay pays +123 on DraftKings (bet $100 to win $223, or $123 in profit). That same parlay pays +112 on Bet MGM, good for a 10% boost to expected value on DK.

    Wired to Waivers

    How do you consistently beat opponents in dynasty and season-long settings when you all start with the same amount of FAAB (Free Agent Auction Bidding) dollars, a rotating waiver priority, or a standings-based waiver system? Are some people just luckier than others in nabbing their guy? How do some managers seem to have triple the FAAB budget? If you’ve played dynasty or season-long fantasy football, you’ve probably found yourself wondering these same questions at one point or the other.

    The reason some managers seem to assemble stacked rosters is twofold: they draft for ceiling and fill in the gaps through waivers, and they are early to the party on “hidden gems” off the wire. That last point is the whole reason we are here. In order to consistently beat dynasty and season-long fantasy football, you have to not only be aggressive on the waiver wire, but you have to know where to look to find the players your opponents will be looking for NEXT WEEK. Successful waivers do not involve simply scooping as many replacement running backs as possible after an injury occurs. It takes knowledge, planning, foresight, and a little bit of gusto. You don’t need another talking head to tell you to grab Devontae Booker after Saquon Barkley was injured, or to grab Chuba Hubbard after Christian McCaffrey went down, or to grab Elijah Mitchell after the 49ers lost three running backs. So, that is exactly what we will be doing in this piece for the remainder of the season. We’ll scour the league to find the players in the best position to be difference-makers should one thing work in their favor, and we’ll do so weeks before our competition. Your opponents can’t blow their waiver priority or FAAB budget on players already on your roster!

    Oh, and since there are enough analysts in the industry telling you who the obvious pickups are, we won’t waste our time with those players here (which isn’t to say they aren’t worth an addition, it simply means those are typically the players you should expect to spend significant FAAB, or waiver priority, in order to acquire them). With that quick introduction into what we will be doing in this space for the rest of the season out of the way, let’s dig in!

    FORWARD-THINKING WAIVERS (Week 14)::

    KJ OSBORN (Minnesota Vikings):

    Adam Thielen suffered a high ankle sprain early in the Vikings Week 13 contest, paving the way for Osborn to see his largest snap rate of the season (92%). He provided four receptions on seven targets for 47 yards and a score, and I’d expect him to serve as the de facto number two receiving option in this offense for the next three to four weeks (which could be through the championship round in fantasy). Consider him a viable depth option at the wide receiver position for the remainder of the fantasy season.

    JALEN RICHARD (Las Vegas Raiders):

    Change of pace/ third-down back Kenyan Drake was lost for the season in Week 13 after suffering a broken ankle. With Richard out of the contest while on the COVID list, Josh Jacobs went on to set a career-high in targets and receptions with nine, on 85% of the offensive snaps. Jacobs has typically played between 52% and 69% of the offensive snaps but was forced into a higher snap rate with Richard inactive and Drake leaving with his ankle injury. Many will assume that Jacobs will see his responsibilities increase with Drake out of the lineup, but I would contend that he is likeliest to fall back into the 52-69% snap rate range weekly, with Richard now the back to own in the change of pace and third-down role. Kenyan Drake scored double-digit fantasy points in five of 11 healthy games this season, and I’d project Richard for similar production down the stretch.

    DEVANTE PARKER (Miami Dolphins):

    It’s highly likely people jumped ship on Parker after his extended absence, but DP returned to a 71% snap rate in his first game back, and should run with Jaylen Waddle as the top two wide receivers for the Dolphins the remainder of the year. In that Week 13 game, Parker continued in his moderate-to-deep, perimeter role, catching five passes for 62 yards. Consider Parker a player with a solid eight-to-10-point floor and ceiling for 25+ on a weekly basis down the stretch.

    JAMYCAL HASTY (SF 49ers):

    There is a good deal of speculation surrounding this one, but Hasty is exactly the type of player we look to target in this space. Lead back Elijah Mitchell briefly left Week 13’s contest after a scary hit to the head but was eventually cleared to return. He then reported concussion symptoms on Monday and was placed in the league’s concussion protocol. Jeff Wilson, Jr. also left the game with an undisclosed injury, which was later described as a “knee flare up” by head coach Kyle Shanahan. With the team clearly not ready to anoint Trey Sermon with any real responsibility out of the backfield, Hasty could be in line to see the lion’s share of running back opportunities for the first week of fantasy playoffs.

    RICKY SEALS-JONES (Washington Football Team):

    If anyone dropped RSJ following Logan Thomas’ return to action, now is the time to add him back onto rosters (before he returns fully to health). RSJ averaged just under six targets per game over the six games that Thomas missed earlier this season and should return to a near every-down role once healthy.

    NY Jets PASS-CATCHERS:

    New York’s alpha wide receiver, Corey Davis, was lost for the season in Week 13 after reaggravating his groin injury, causing him to require core muscle surgery. Although Elijah Moore is the player to own on this team for the foreseeable future, the absence of Davis opens up significant snaps for the remaining healthy pass-catchers. Jamison Crowder, Denzel Mims, and Ryan Griffin are how I would prioritize them for waiver adds.

    Process|Review

    In this weekly video, Xandamere reviews his roster-builds & process.


    Maximize Your Builds With OWS + FantasyLabs


    Week 13 Review

    Process Points

    Lesson of the Week: Talent Matters

    This week’s lesson will be relatively short, but it is extremely important to think about and be constantly aware of it. In DFS, we are constantly evaluating matchups, looking for tendencies, finding changes in opportunity, and gaining an edge in each particular week. However, I think that the focus on all of those things can very easily take you away from an important and fairly obvious concept of being successful. That concept is playing very good players. I dive deeper into some of these concepts in the “Talent” lesson of my Player Pool course in the Marketplace, but the idea is that we can’t get blinded by on paper things that may or may not actually influence things on the field. There are two places from this week that I want to highlight as prime examples of this:

    • Jamaal Williams — Williams saw a huge workload on Thanksgiving after D’Andre Swift went down. The Vikings had given up a huge game to Eli Mitchell in Week 12 as their run defense is usually the more vulnerable part of their defense and they had several injuries, many of which they were still dealing with in Week 13. These factors made Williams a very popular play this week. However, there was a TON of risk for Williams in this spot. First of all, the Lions were a winless team who had only scored 20 points three times all season. This meant his TD equity, and therefore ceiling was relatively low. Also, when Williams himself had missed time, the Lions had two other younger running backs flash some talent and make big plays in limited opportunities next to Swift. As a winless team with only the future to play for and Williams equating to an above-average back-up in terms of talent, there was a good chance that Williams would not see that monster workload that many were expecting (and he didn’t, as he played only 47% of snaps and gave up 35% of the RB opportunities to the other two backs). Williams was clearly going to be over 20% owned and had such a low floor and ceiling relative to the other RBs in his price range, making him an easy fade for me. I understand all of the positives that people saw, but I think this was a case of zooming in too far and trying to make a case for a play rather than zooming out and evaluating all of the factors at play and what you were really betting on in the context of the slate and team situation.
    • Raiders passing game — On DraftKings, the Raiders had the 4th most popular QB, the 3rd most popular WR, and the highest owned TE on the slate. A lot of opportunities had opened up on the team with Darren Waller out (and Henry Ruggs already gone), and they were playing a Washington defense whose pass defense we have picked on throughout the season. However, this is again a situation where talent matters!! A team that has been inconsistent offensively (and struggled mightily in three games before a good Thanksgiving showing) was without, by far, what were its two most dynamic playmakers in the passing game when the season started. Losing that much talent is going to hurt an offense a lot, especially when someone like Waller is such a centerpiece in volume and for drawing defensive attention. Passing games are not like running backs where it is often just a plug-and-play situation where the team doesn’t really change their approach based on the personnel. The passing game relies on talent to get open and make plays while the ball is in the air, as well as chemistry and timing. Taking it a step further, the Washington defense had been very good in recent weeks, and their offense was battling injuries of their own and traveling across the country on a short week. That made it likely Washington’s defense would hold their own, and their offense would not be pushing the Raiders into a pass-heavy game script. If the Raiders passing game was going to be overlooked and everyone would have single-digit ownership, sure, I would have looked to attack this spot….but as the most popular team on the slate?? I’ll pass on that every time.

    A bigger picture lesson to take away from this is to check out your exposures across your lineups every Sunday morning, especially if you are playing a decent number of lineups, and make a list of what percentage of each player you have. Look at your top tier of most owned players and evaluate them strictly on the basis of talent and how critical they are to their team’s offensive success (forget about the defensive injuries, DVOA, narratives, etc.). Sometimes those secondary types of players will work out, but over the long-term, if your top-owned players are not very talented or critical to their team, you are likely going to be fighting an uphill battle. 

    Lineup Reviews 

    As outlined in my +EV Primer course (you can find in the Marketplace – either by itself or in the bundle with my player pool course), one of my approaches that keeps me from getting too high or low week-to-week is playing consistent contests and approaching them from a season-long perspective and using that to evaluate my play and ROI. This season, in this article, I will be tracking my progress on a weekly basis as I play the Single Entry (SE), 3-max, and 5-max tournaments in the $20 to $150 price range on DraftKings main slate for all 18 weeks. Rather than sweating or worrying about my ROI every week and “hoping to cash,” – my goal for the season is to maximize profit relative to that long-term investment total. The results of a given week are irrelevant.  

    Each week I will review the best and worst of my 11 lineups from my “Roster Block” of SE/3-Max/5-Max. Below are this week’s results, and you can find more information about my process/theory for this in my Week 1 Process Points article

    Best Lineup ($300k Red Zone, Single Entry, $50)

    The “story” I was telling: I was very high on the LAC/CIN game for this week as it was the 2nd highest total game on the slate and also the 2nd closest spread, something I pointed out in my Sunday morning thoughts in the Inner Circle Channel of the OWS Discord. Getting those three pieces at such crazy low ownership in this spot was outstanding, and frankly, could have been a lot bigger if a couple of fluky things hadn’t happened in the late 3rd to early 4th quarter. Next, I went with a Godwin-Pitts stack as I loved Godwin this week, and Pitts gave me a high-upside way of playing Godwin differently than most of the field would be while allowing my TE position to be correlated. I played Sony Michel in most lineups as I felt great about his spot and usage, and he just opened so much else up for your roster. The final three pieces of this lineup were made in conjunction with each other. Another thing I mentioned in the IC Discord channel was that I liked playing Eli Mitchell with a SEA passing game piece because a scenario where he has a good game (getting a lot of scoring opportunities and still being used late in the game) would be a scenario where the Seahawks were scoring points, and the Seahawks were almost guaranteed to not have success running the ball here which meant that would have to come through the air. (Note that if you take away the 73 yard TD run on a fake punt, the Seahawks RBs had 58 yards on 23 carries). Therefore, I went with DK Metcalf as a correlation play with Mitchell, hoping to leverage the two off each other. The Washington defense plays into that strategy as well, as playing Mitchell instead of Gibson was a bet that Mitchell is going to outscore him, and part of that would/could be that Gibson fails, or at least is substantially outscored by Mitchell. One scenario for that happening was a low-scoring game and/or WFT defense dominating and maybe taking away some of Gibson’s ceilings with a defensive touchdown. While it didn’t work out or pay off here, that’s a play I really like to make where multiple roster spots are betting on outcomes of not only their specific games but also in the context of the whole slate.

    Worst Lineup ($400k Spy, Single Entry, $100):

    The “story” I was telling: I played a lot of Gardner Minshew as a min-price QB who has proven to be decent in the past and is playing the Jets was just a straight process play for me. Most of my Minshew lineups had Goedert as the stacking partner, but I went with Quez Watkins here to leverage his huge snap share and explosive abilities in a unique way that few people would be using for Minshew. Next, there was a couple of familiar correlation plays as I had Godwin-Pitts again and played Mixon with Mike Williams as another way to be exposed to that LAC/CIN game. I decided to go again with WFT defense (I really liked them this week because the Raiders passing game was so popular, and I thought they had a high chance of failure due to their personnel’s talent being so depleted). I had two options with how to use my last two roster spots…..I could use Antonio Gibson as a correlation with WFT, which would leave me with $8,200 for Justin Jefferson, or I could play JT with Marvin Jones. I chose wrong. In hindsight, the answer looks obvious, but my thought process was that Jones would be played mostly in Kupp lineups, and Kupp lineups wouldn’t have JT, so that would be super unique to play Jones and hope his big game comes with the Rams spreading out the production while JT has a ceiling game and dwarfs Kupp’s score. Regardless of how well-intended my thought process was, that’s about three levels too deep for the contest I was in and all of the other differentiation I had already put on the roster. Watkins, Pitts, and Jones were all relatively thin plays “in a vacuum,” and I could have had just one of them and been plenty unique for this lineup/contest.

    Week 13 Results: I only played eight lineups this week, instead of eleven, as I put an entry in the $555 Milly instead and didn’t want to overextend how much I was playing for the week. Of those eight lineups, four of them finished in the money. My player pool was very good this week, and I was targeting the right spots, but I was on the wrong side of a couple of plays and was hurt by the TE position as I played mostly Goedert (which looked great until Kittle dwarfed him) and had some Pitts with TB WRs, which I love in hindsight with sub-5% ownership but obviously hurt me with how things played out.

    Week 13 Investment: $582

    Week 13 Winnings: $450

    Estimated Yearly Investment:  $14,000 

    Yearly Winnings: $5,075

    Bottom-Up Breakdown

    Dwprix breaks down the top lineups in the OWS Bottom-Up Build challenge.

    Week 13 Review

    Each week, I’ll review the Bottom-Up Build contest. I’ll look at how the winners got to the top of the leaderboard, the game environments used, and how we can use this tournament to become better players. The purpose of the Bottom-Up Build is to roster players that you would feel comfortable rostering in a regular contest (solid price considered floor and high ceiling) so when you’re building for other contests, you don’t find yourself struggling with the last couple spots and jamming in someone that you’re not comfortable with. Studying these players may also put you on a game environment that others may be overlooking.

    Overview

    Rules :: Max $44k Salary (exceeding $44k salary will disqualify entry); must use OWS avatar to be eligible for prizes

    Total Entries :: 148 (135 eligible since 13 were disqualified for not using an OWS avatar and/or went over salary and didn’t enter a lineup)

    Prizes (Edge Points) :: 1st = 100 Edge // 2nd = 50 // 3rd = 25

    Highest Owned Player :: Antonio Gibson 65.54% ($5,700)

    Highest Owned Stack :: Derek Carr (17.57%) + Foster Moreau (42.57%) = 12.08% Combined

    See All The Entries :: Contest Link

    Winners:

    1st Place: Bigdogkyle

    2nd Place: Pimpinjoy

    3rd Place: Josahood

    Analysis

    First-place finisher, Bigdogkyle, found the value on the Eagles, rostering a double stack with no run back, and instead rostering the Eagles D (Gardner Minshew + Quez Watkins + Dallas Goedert). The line opened with the Eagles favored by 7, moving down to 5 once Jalen Hurts was ruled inactive. Minshew was the bare minimum $4k in salary and he was playing the Jets who have allowed the most points per game in the league (30.6). The Eagles had an implied point total of 24 points so Vegas expected three TDs. JM often breaks down the math to figure out if it’s possible if a player block/stack can hit value or not. Minshew + Watkins + Goedert cost only $12.1k in salary and needed 48.4 points to hit 4x value. We could assume the Eagles get two TDs through the air with hopefully both of them going to Goedert or Watkins. With just those TDs (Minshew two, Watkins/Goedert two), you would already have 20 DK points, so you would need something like 250 passing yards from Minshew and nine catches with 100 yards from Goedert and Watkins to hit 4x. This was definitely reasonable to assume and ended up paying off 4.9x.

    Second place finisher, Pimpinjoy, also played Minshew + Goedert with no run back. They rostered two Rams (Michel and Van Jefferson) who had the largest implied point (31) total and ran it back with Marvin Jones. Jefferson ($5.3k) has seen 8, 9, and 7 targets with Robert Woods out, and Michel was way underpriced with Henderson out and the Rams as a 14 point home favorite.

    Third-place finisher, Josahood, had quite possibly the best leverage play on the slate in their lineup. 43.2% of entrants played Brandon Aiyuk while George Kittle was only 1.4% owned. Kittle went for 42 points while Aiyuk had only 8.5. Without Deebo, it made sense to play Kittle who was only $300 more. Shanahan has shown so far that Aiyuk isn’t his second or third favorite weapon on the offense, favoring Deebo, Kittle, and Mitchell. Rostering Kittle was also an easy way to differentiate your lineup because 42.6% of entrants paid down for Foster Moreau. This Kittle roster went a step further and correlated the Seahawks passing game with Russell Wilson and Tyler Lockett included as well.  

    Putting It Together

    This week we had several cheaper running backs in great spots: Sony Michel ($4.3k) with no Henderson as a 14 point home favorite; James Conner ($5.9k), who’s seen 20+ carries in three of four with no Kenyan Drake and as a 7.5 point home favorite; Elijah Mitchell ($6k), who has now seen 20+ attempts in three straight games and was a 2.5 point favorite; and Antonio Gibson who has seen 23+ attempts in three of four. All of these backs have been involved in the passing game lately as well. To top that off, we had Minshew starting at the minimum salary who had 15 games above 16 DK points (4x his salary this week) when he was with Jacksonville. We also had Foster Moreau at only $2.7k who went 6 for 60 and one TD on six targets last time Waller was out. There was a ton of value all over the place this week. I struggled this week because I didn’t recognize how strong some of these plays were.

    Tournament of Champions

    We are pumped to announce we will be having a Bottom-Up Build Tournament of Champions! The TOC will take place Week 18 and first place will win an OWS Inner Circle-For-Life ⭕️ membership with additional prizes to other qualifiers! All weekly first-place finishers will be eligible. Congrats to those who have already qualified: Sgmain18, Spastictoaster, Swench1919, Mikeall65, abright8, Andkristopher, Sklarma72, Aothomas42, Jaymz_10, Ericdc20, Ottoball, Sobe1, and Bigdogkyle.

    Week 14 :: Bottom-Up Tourney

    Every week, you can click here for the newest contest link for the upcoming Bottom-Up Tourney.

    Rules

    1. Must be using an OWS Avatar to be eligible to win. This can be found on your profile page, or at the top of this week’s NFL Edge!
    2. Single Entry // 200 Entries
    3. Max $44k Salary (exceeding $44k will automatically disqualify your entry)
    4. Prizes (Edge Points) :: 1st = 100 / 2nd = 50 // 3rd = 25
    5. Winners please email support@oneweekseason.com with your DK Screenname

    Missed Opportunities

    Larejo123 takes a look at some of the overlooked plays and “missed opportunities” from the week behind us, identifying the thought processes and approaches that could have led us to those plays.

    By the end of Week 13, it feels redundant to keep reflecting in this space to talk about where we went right, where we went wrong, and what we learned to take with us moving forward. However, we still have nearly one-third (!) of the NFL season left to go. In the regular season alone, five weeks of football await us and then onto the month+ long playoffs. So whether you’ve won or lost (chances are if you’re reading this, you’ve had some sort of sweat at some point this season), there are always lessons to be learned and foundations to keep building upon moving forward from here.

    And I know this . . . DFS progress is being made. While I’m not a frequent contributor in the OWS Discord, I do frequently read the channels. And the content and discussions I’ve read over the past few weeks are lightyears ahead of discussion in the early weeks of the season. I’d be willing to bet many of you who do put in the time and effort to be thoughtful about your analysis and comments would even surprise yourselves at just how sharp the thoughts you are sharing really are. So while you may not have had a huge takedown yet, it’s coming. I feel it’s always a duty of mine here to ensure we stay positive together. To ensure we keep grinding and analyzing each and every slate, and to ensure we learn something, anything, week in and week out. Because after all, we are all choosing to be here. We’re choosing to be a part of the OWS community. We’re choosing to play a game we love, and we’re choosing to put our hard-earned money into a game of skill and luck, for the chance to financially impact our lives.

    Week 13 Overview

    With all that said, I don’t have any fancy theories, metaphors, or similes (I’m not sure I’ve used any similes this season, but it still applies here) this week. What I want to do instead is tackle a few leverage points which jumped off the page on Week 13’s main slate, and dictated a good chunk of the results. As always, this is how I’m seeing it and what I’m taking forward with me. This was such a fascinating slate (as many of the OWS content team talked about leading up to kickoffs) as the chalk was well-defined and obvious, and yet where you chose to differentiate became larger levers in pulling your way up or down the leaderboards. I try to take some hand-written notes during the games on Sunday, in preparation for this article, and here are my quick and dirty items to unpack with you today.

    Value RBs – We Were Outflanked

    It would have been one thing if we had one RB, say Jamaal Williams at $5,400, who was a clear fill-in starter who we thought (even though it turns out he wasn’t) would get a three-down role and was clearly underpriced. It would be another thing if we also got a mispriced Antonio Gibson at $5,700, in his voluminous role without his sidekick J.D. McKissic, in a great game environment as well. Let’s say we had those two underpriced backs and you were building rosters. This would have felt exactly like Week 10 when we had Mark Ingram III and D’Ernest Johnson as the clear chalk. And in that week, if you recall, we had a third option emerge in Rhamondre Stevenson, as yet another value RB, and rosters with all three backs did very well in GPPs. But flashing back to this week, we did not just have Williams and Gibson. We also had James Conner, Alexander Mattison (albeit priced up), Miles Sanders, and Elijah Mitchell, and then we were given Sony Michel before the late games kicked off. We were outflanked.

    All the discussion, rightfully so, began and ended with what to do with the clear RB value this week. We heard all the strategies we could deploy. We could pick our favorite two or three of the bunch. We could play one value and one high-priced player. Heck, we could even pay up x2 at the position. But with how rare Week 13 was shaping up to be at RB, we just could not fight this transparency that was showing itself to us. When we have that many good options (I didn’t even mention David Montgomery, who should have been on our radars), it’s best to lean in. If it’s one guy, maybe two, there’s some merit to fading all or playing both or playing both plus another lookalike profiling player. It’s unlikely in this scenario that ALL of the five, six, seven backs are going to underperform, so when this happens in the future, you’ll see me embracing it and spending all my time working on other positions in planning for the week.

    Top-Tier Wide Receivers

    Building on this thought process of embracing the chalk at RB (embracing might be too strong a word, but you know what I mean if you just read my words), if I had focused more attention on WR this week, my rosters would have been better positioned. WR in particular was intriguing in Week 13. We had Cooper Kupp as the clear alpha of the group, and he performed like one. But as I tried to tee up with the high condensity forming among many offenses in the NFL, there weren’t that many pass-catchers we could expect significant volume from. My short-list was something like Kupp, Terry McLaurin, Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, Keenan Allen, Diontae Johnson, Jaylen Waddle, and Brandon Aiyuk. When you looked below $4K on DraftKings, things were barren. But at this point in the season, it’s nice to see the pricing algorithms catching up to performance, and without some late-week injuries, value was scarce.

    Leading up to the games, I leaned into McLaurin, Godwin, Jefferson, and Aiyuk, with some Diontae because I liked those game environment environments, and WFT, SF, and MIN all fit on my condensity tree. I’m pretty satisfied with how I tackled this position, but my error came with a few higher-priced RBs I paid for (Najee Harris, Mattison) which led me to rostering cheap WRs who did nothing (Rondale Moore, Nico Collins, Zach Pascal) and leveled out my rosters. But, while I did like my process here, going with mostly value RBs and high-priced WRs led to a very chalky roster construction, which could have been differentiated by . . . 

    Double Pay-Up at TE and no Foster Moreau

    That’s right, as JM even teed up in some places last week, the Gronk and Kittle double-pay up at tight end would have crushed. And some did make that play. Of course, Dallas Goedert on his low volume also crushed expectations, but rosters with Kittle and Gronk would have been immediately differentiated but also kept a ceiling intact. By paying down at RB, and most likely QB and Defense, we could afford the stud WRs we wanted plus these two high-profile tight ends. This move would have been very awkward and uncomfortable to maneuver, especially with the clear chalk forming on Foster Moreau at more than half, even a third of their respective prices. But that made this play all the better.

    Speaking of Mr. Moreau, I just did not get it last week. His production his entire career has been buoyed by touchdowns; as in, he has big games price considered when he scored them, and he’s off the radar when he didn’t. But for a touchdown-dependent TE, who jumps into an offense, without any weapons over a 20% share of team air yards on the season, I just did not understand why we all penciled him in for 5/50/1. I know the answer is his stone-minimum price, but if he were to be 10% owned, great then, let’s capture that safety. But as his projected ownership crept above 30% on Saturday, this play became the school of fish we look for. The chances of Moreau going for 120 yards and a touchdown were probably 5-10%, much lower than his ownership. I’m not the most contrarian player in the book, but I think I strive to never be on that play (granted I only build about five lineups a week, for MME, I would have had shares).

    Sunday News with Sony Michel and A.J. Dillon

    I’m proud of how I’ve handled the Sunday news the last two weeks. I’ve played both Sony and A.J. in consecutive weeks when their respective first-stringers Darrell Henderson and Aaron Jones were active and suited up to play. Why? Because their prices were solid in both cases, and in both cases with Henderson and Jones, there was enough reporter and beat writer speculation about them seeing a limited snap count and being used primarily as decoys.

    In Sony’s case, his price was so cheap at only $4,300, and the news came from FOX’s Jay Glazer who usually is trust-worthy, that I started to lock him in where I could prior to the Rams kickoff, and it still wasn’t enough. But with the positive game script they were expected to have, and the Rams lack of depth behind Sony, he made too much sense. It felt uncomfortable with Henderson being active, but active in case of emergency only at this point. Last week with Dillon, we thought he would be the featured back all week, then when Jones surprised us by suiting up, we knew Dillon’s talent was there, and it became a question of whether he could still hit value, which he did.

    Either way, get in the breaking news channel in OWS Discord. Read JM’s 11:30 am EST Angles email. React on Sunday to what you are seeing and hearing even through the early games. Your bankroll will thank you.

    Above The Field

    Breaking Rules and Smashing Slates 

    Up until now, we’ve read the studies that show how the top 1% of large field tournaments tend to adhere to certain statistical parameters. We know that an overwhelming percentage of these rosters fall within the cumulative ownership range of 75%-125%. We’ve learned that the majority of these successful rosters employ a quarterback stacked with one or two pass catchers and an opponent. From this analysis, we’ve developed a set of rules that govern our process and provide a foundation upon which our roster decisions are made. 

    But what happens when new variables are introduced that suggest success might best be achieved by taking a different path? Will our minds be open enough to notice? Humans are creatures of habit. We are generally quite anxious and insecure when things aren’t in their familiar places. There exists a danger in being so conditioned in our routine that we may fail to notice that the very game we are playing has changed. 

    If people followed all of the rules, all of the time, we wouldn’t have the Theory of Relativity, Rock n Roll, or the iPhone. Eek! Pushing rules aside, even for a moment, allows the creative mind to think freely and flow without restriction. 

    “By all means, break the rules, and break them beautifully, deliberately, and well.” —Robert Bringhurst

    If you’ve read this article over the past year or two, you’ve probably detected a theme. A common thread that links each week’s review of successful tournament players. There’s a specific point I’m trying to get across. 

    There is more than one way to do this. Be YOU. 

    Find out what works best for you and…well…do that

    I’ll stop short of telling you to play the way you are most comfortable, though. Sometimes doing things that are intentionally uncomfortable is necessary for growth. DFS often serves as a microcosm, a training ground upon which we sharpen our life skills. Stepping out of our comfort zone occasionally is a critical component in our evolution as human beings. So, whether you are playing DFS tournaments or navigating life’s expansive range of outcomes, the optimal way to handle any endeavor is to be true to yourself. Just make sure you’ve tried a bunch of stuff, broken a few rules, and lived with the results. That way, when the next decision point comes, you’ll know more about who this “YOU” person really is. 

    Week 13 Milly Review

    Congrats to our 1st place finisher, kland304, on his magical Minshew skinny stack that featured additional correlation in the form of Rams DST/Sony Michel and Jamaal Williams/Justin Jefferson. 

    Adam Levitan’s research taught us that 13% of the field utilizes a tight end in the flex, while this approach only appears in 9% of the top 10 lineups. Therefore, TE in the flex is substantially suboptimal over time. However, using this data to never consider playing a TE in the flex would be a mistake if that particular slate’s puzzle pieces suggested it was advantageous.  

    If there are multiple tight ends that are projected to outscore the RBs and WRs at their price points and they come at lower ownership, then what a huge mistake it would be to leave the optimizer’s little “TE in the Flex” button unclicked. It requires some additional rules to make sure the opto doesn’t go crazy putting guys like Jared Cook and Gerald Everett in lineups together, but that’s not difficult to notice and rectify. 

    This week, our award for most impressive display of strategy and testicular fortitude goes to cardinals19191. This sicko ran 150 lineups and cashed 138 of them. WTF? Delving in deeper to his allocations, it’s easy to see how he got there. 

    Seeing the success of this approach makes me want to abandon my hand building throughout the week and just mash 150 lineups in the optimizer right before lock. cardinals19191 didn’t overthink this situation, did he? Using only 43 players in the entire pool, cardinals19191 said: “Minshew is $4000 and going to start against the Jets. Lock him. Sony Michel is going to start at RB for a home favorite with a high point total and he costs $4300. Lock him.” 

    Hunter Renfrow was a low aDot floor play at one point but with the subtraction of the Raiders other passing options, Renfrow is the main weapon in the passing game. He’s even getting end zone looks now. 

    By spending a grand total of $8300 on Minshew and Michel, getting to 78% Cooper Kupp was not difficult. 

    With all of the ownership on Antonio Gibson, I love the move to cap him at 14% and move the bulk of RB2 ownership to a low-owned David Montgomery.

    Obviously, if any of these players had busted we probably wouldn’t be having this conversation. Survivor bias is a thing, but in this case, the planets aligned for these players and cardinals19191 was rewarded for their astute perspective on how to exploit this slate. In some ways, he simply took what DraftKings and the field gave him. 

    Rules were broken here for sure and they were made for a reason. 

    Stacking is generally optimal 
    Cardinals19191 ran 145 lineups with his QB naked. 

    Stay under that 125% ownership threshold
    Cardinals19191 had over 60 lineups that eclipsed that mark including one lineup that was 179.5% owned and duplicated 8 times. That lineup tied for 418th place and made him $150. 

    “If you can’t solve a problem, it’s because you’re playing by the rules.” – Paul Arden.

    Week 14 may be a “double-stack bring-back” week or it may present a brand-new angle, ready to be exploited. Will you be conscious enough to notice? Be in the moment…and maybe your big moment will come. 

    Underowned UD

    Lex Miraglia takes a look under the hood of the Underdog Battle Royale tournament: identifying what works, what doesn’t, and what provides our best path to first place in this top-heavy, but ultra-soft tourney.

    Underowned Underdog Can Be Found In The Reflection Scroll Tuesday Nights

    Deconstructing The Slant

    In this weekly video, TodFromPA breaks down his ownership in The Slant against top players in DFS.

    Deconstructing The Slant Can Be Found In The Reflection Scroll Tuesday Nights