Thursday, Sep 8th
Monday, Sep 12th

The Scroll Reflection Edition. 18.21.

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    One Week Season

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    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!

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    WEEK 18 SHENANIGANS:

    We are going to see some weird things happen this week because there are very few teams left playing for anything, and some of the teams that are theoretically playing for playoff seeding could elect to rest starters. The Bengals are a perfect example of this, as they could theoretically finish anywhere from the one-seed to the five-seed in the AFC, but are dealing with some injury concerns – namely quarterback Joe Burrow. As such, the additional variance makes picking out +EV situations a bit more difficult this week, considering we are highlighting these picks early in the week when we know next to nothing regarding how individual teams will handle the final regular-season week of the season. 

    +EV LINES (Week 18)::

    GREEN BAY PACKERS (-2.5) @ DETROIT LIONS (BET MGM, -110):

    The Packers have locked up the one-seed, home-field advantage, and the only bye out of the NFC, meaning they have nothing to play for this week. That said, if the Packers choose to rest their starters this week, they’d go a full three weeks between playing a live NFL game (Week 17 occurred on January 2nd and their Divisional game wouldn’t be played until January 22nd or 23rd). Also, Aaron Rodgers and other players on the team have publicly stated that they intend to play this week. Obviously, this line is so low due to these unknowns, and the decision ultimately rests with head coach Matt LeFleur, but I would guess that starters ultimately end up playing for at least a half here, particularly considering there are no massive injury concerns with the Packers (David Bakhtiari, Billy Turner, Randall Cobb, and Jaire Alexander remain out, but the Packers entered Week 17 relatively healthy). And even if Rodgers and some of the primary players rest here, the Packers are playing a Lions team that has been decimated by injuries this year and could be playing with Tim Boyle at quarterback once more. There are numerous “outs” to this modest line as it stands currently.

    CINCINNATI BENGALS (-3.0) @ CLEVELAND BROWNS (BET MGM, -110):

    This one is similar to the first pick, in that we don’t currently know how the Bengals are going to handle resting players versus gunning for playoff seeding. What sways me to side with Zac Taylor playing his players is the wide range of potential outcomes regarding the Bengals playoff seeding, as they could end the season anywhere from the one-seed to the five-seed. As in, they could find a playoff bye, or they could be traveling to play a team like the Patriots in the Wildcard Round. Joe Burrow tweaked his knee late in their Week 17 victory, adding an additional layer of concern here, but it is reportedly a minor injury that shouldn’t be of concern on a normal week. Offsetting those concerns is a Browns team in shambles. Their secondary was already hit hard by injuries, and then Denzel Ward was injured last week and didn’t finish the game with a groin injury. Nick Chubb also picked up a rib injury and there are legitimate reasons to hold him out here. Baker Mayfield is also playing some of the worst football of his career of late. And finally, the Bengals play in the early slot on Sunday, while the other 10-6 AFC teams (the Bills and Patriots) play in the afternoon slot. This all comes together to make the Bengals giving only three points a situation that outweighs the risk associated with them resting players.

    DALLAS COWBOYS @ PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (+7.0; BET MGM, -110):

    This one is super interesting to me, as the line opened with Dallas favored by only 2.5-points. It appears that the market has over-corrected here. I have this line at Dallas -4.5 / -5.5, giving us some positive expected value on the Eagles with the points at home. Additionally, both of these teams don’t have a lot of play in their respective ranges of outcomes as far as playoff seeding goes, with the Cowboys locked into the two-through-five-seed, and the Eagles locked into the six-or-seven-seed in the NFC. Those unknowns have me siding with the massive spread here. Finally, what pushes this one over the edge is the fact that we have a large spread in a game with a small game total (Dallas now favored by seven with a game total of only 42.5 points).

    HONORABLE MENTIONS::

    LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (-2.5) @ LAS VEGAS RAIDERS (BET MGM, -110):

    This game takes a little more finesse. This is obviously the game with the most playoff implications this week (win-and-in for both of these teams), and the league echoed that notion when they flexed it to the Sunday Night Football game to put a bow on the season. There are a few reasons why the expected value resides with the Chargers here. The Chargers defense has been successful in taking away the primary areas of the field that the Raiders look to attack (deep passing), the Raiders haven’t scored more than 20 points in their last five games, the Raiders run game has underperformed this season behind one of the league’s worst run-blocking offensive line (the glaring deficiency of this Chargers defense), and the Raiders picked up yet another off-field distraction this week, with rookie cornerback Nate Hobbs arrested on Monday after he passed out in the driver’s seat blocking the exit ramp of a Las Vegas parking garage.

    Process|Review

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


    Maximize Your Builds With OWS + FantasyLabs


    Week 17 Review

    Process Points

    Lesson of the Week: A True “One Week Season”

    This week, instead of my normal article looking back, I have done some research and takeaways on the unique Week 18 slate and situation with playoff scenarios and what it means for each team. I figured this would be more useful for you than my normal article since these things make this slate such a one-of-a-kind thing. There are a ton of moving parts and games that will affect the approach of other teams entering their games and potentially cause teams to pull the plug early to rest players in the longest season in NFL history. Enjoy!!

    AFC

    • Titans
      • Lock up 1-seed with a win at Houston OR if KC and CIN both lose
    • Chiefs
      • Will be no lower than 2-seed if they win (would depend on if TEN beats HOU)
      • Likely 3 or 4-seed if they lose (lose tiebreaker to all of CIN, BUF, and NE)
    • Bengals
      • Current 3-seed. Can only move up with losses from KC or TEN
      • If they lose, they drop to 4-seed, assuming one of BUF or NE wins.
    • Bills
      • Clinched playoffs
      • Win division with a win against the Jets
      • Can be as high as 2-seed if KC and/or CIN lose (will know both results)
      • Can be as low as 7-seed if they lose, and NE and IND both win.
    • Patriots
      • Clinched playoffs
      • Win division with a win and BUF loss to NYJ
      • 5-seed if win and BUF win
      • 6-seed if lose and IND win
    • Colts
      • Beat JAX, and they are in
      • If win:
        • 5-seed if BUF or NE loses
        • 6-seed if BUF & NE both win, and Chargers win Sunday night
        • 7-seed if BUF & NE both win, and Raiders win Sunday night 
      • If they lose, they can still make the playoffs if LAC, NE, and PIT all lose.
    • Chargers/Raiders
      • The winner of this game is in the playoffs.
      • Raiders can have a playoff spot locked up before they play if both of the following things happen:
        • Jaguars beat Colts
        • Ravens beat Steelers
    • Steelers/Ravens
      • Both teams must win to stay alive. 
      • Either team would need the Colts to lose to the Jaguars in order to have a chance. The Colts play at the same time as PIT/BAL.
      • Divisional rivalry, proud coaches, outside chances at playoffs – both teams will be giving it everything they have.

    Some Assumptions – It is the NFL, so you never want to completely write teams off, but usually, when we get these surprising late-season wins from dead teams, it is a good team who has underachieved that knocks off a team who may have overachieved…..it is rarely a doormat type of team that knocks off a very good team with a lot on the line. There are three games in the AFC that fit the latter description, and if we make some assumptions based on those games, things get a little clearer:

    • We will know the Chiefs result on Saturday, which will have a ripple effect. If we assume they beat a lame-duck Broncos team with Drew Lock, then they are the 2-seed at worst. 
    • Tennessee is playing a very bad Houston team with the 1-seed on the line, so again a relatively safe assumption of them winning/controlling that game can be made. 
    • Buffalo plays at home against the Jets with a division title on the line. It would be easy to say the Jets are a real threat after they almost (should have) beat the Bucs in Week 17. However, the Bucs were a warm-weather team playing on the road, in the cold, riddled with injuries and turmoil. They even had flight issues with two of their starting defensive backs who were returning off the COVID list that caused them to arrive at the stadium right before kickoff. The Bills are healthy, at home, and playing for a division title. This is not the same as last week.

    TAKEAWAYS – If those assumptions play out as expected (which seems reasonable), that would mean the following:

    • Cincinnati will know before their game starts if the Chiefs won, and they will know while they are playing if Tennessee is in control of the Texans, as expected. This increases the risk of the Bengals pulling some of their more important players very early or in the middle of the game. Head coach Zac Taylor is currently saying they will approach this week the same as normal, but the oddsmakers don’t appear to believe him. Taylor has to have that approach right now because if the Chiefs were to lose on Saturday, they need to be ready to play – it is better to be prepared for an unlikely scenario and then decide not to play your key players once you have the information than to scramble at the last minute if the Chiefs lose. There isn’t much difference between the 3-seed and 4-seed, so it would make sense for the Bengals to be conservative here. This would change if the Chiefs lose on Saturday, in which case Cincinnati would be full throttle on Sunday trying to secure two rounds of home playoff games.
      • NOTE:: It sounds like Baker Mayfield is not going to play this week, and it wouldn’t be surprising if the Browns sit some other key players as well. They looked like a team who had cashed it in on Monday night. This game could quickly turn into a preseason type of game.
    • Buffalo and New England will know before their games start what the results were for the three teams above them. Obviously, both teams want to win and take the division. However, if the Bills dominate the Jets as expected, the Patriots will know that means they will be the 5-seed or 6-seed (which there really isn’t much of a difference between). If Jacksonville upsets Indy, that would mean the Patriots are locked into the 5-seed if the Bills win. Again, the Patriots will likely prepare for the game like normal, but there is some real concern for them changing course early or in the middle of the game to protect some important players if/when their positioning becomes clear.
      • Miami does not own their 1st round pick and has a chance to finish the year with a winning record with a win. Head coach Brian Flores is a Patriots disciple, so this game will mean something extra to him as well, so we should expect a full effort from Miami (who beat New England in Week 1). The Dolphins are eliminated from the playoffs because of tiebreakers, but this game will still mean something to them. If the Patriots don’t see a difference between the 5-seed and 6-seed, this game may actually mean more to the Dolphins than it does to the Patriots. Bill Belichick has lost key players in meaningless games before. I wouldn’t be surprised with him treating this as a glorified preseason game.
    • The Ravens and Steelers play each other at the same time the Colts play. If the Colts lose, the winner of this game would have a chance to make the playoffs. Even if it becomes clear that the Colts are going to win, this is a huge divisional rivalry with tough, competitive coaches and possibly Ben Roethlisberger’s last career game. I would not expect either team to pull off the gas, regardless of the status of other games.
    • Also, there is only one AFC team who can truly play “spoiler” this week and knock a team out of the playoffs despite already being eliminated themselves – the Jaguars. Three division champions are already crowned, and six of the seven playoff spots are decided (Chargers/Raiders is late and a “win and in” situation). It is hard to sell the “spoiler” narrative for knocking a team down a seed or two. 

    NFC

    • Packers
      • Locked into 1-seed 
    • Rams
      • Clinched playoffs
      • A win gives them the division championship and 2-seed
      • If they lose, they could drop to the 5-seed with ARI win
    • Bucs
      • Clinched Division
      • Win and Rams loss = 2-seed
      • Bucs lose OR Rams win = 3 or 4-seed
    • Cowboys
      • Clinched Division, current 4-seed
      • Need Rams AND Cardinals to lose in order to move to 3-seed (need Bucs to lose as well for 2-seed)
      • Play Saturday, won’t know anything
    • Cardinals
      • Need win and LAR loss to win the division
        • If that happens AND TB loses, could be 2-seed
    • Eagles
      • Locked into playoff spot, 6-seed or 7-seed depending on results
    • 49ers
      • Need win or Saints loss to make the playoffs (as 6 or 7-seed)
    • Saints
      • Must win AND SF lose to get in

    Some Assumptions – We may get clarity on the approach that some teams will have over the course of the week, but here are some things we can consider:

    • GB/DET
      • Jordan Love will start for the Packers, who should treat this like a preseason game.
      • The Lions will have the #2 draft pick at worst. Winning doesn’t hurt their draft position. They could get the #1 pick if JAX beats IND, but IND will be doing all they can to win, so that seems unlikely. This means the Lions will definitely be trying to win against the Packers back-ups (so it will be a pretty fair fight).
    • DAL/PHI
      • The Cowboys play on Saturday. Even if they win, they would need all of TB, LAR, and ARI to lose to improve their seed – which seems like a lot to ask. Mike McCarthy has had a lot of playoff coaching experience and knows the importance of being healthy going into the playoffs, and with the season being a game longer this year, getting his guys some rest would make sense, especially considering the chances of the Bucs, Rams, and Cardinals all losing is so low.
      • The Eagles had to place a number of players on the COVID list Monday. Those players may be cleared, but with no practice on a short week, they may err on the side of caution with their playoff spot secure and no huge difference between the 6-seed and 7-seed.

    TAKEAWAYS – Based on current playoff positioning, game times, and what we know right now, here are some important things to keep in mind:

    • The Seahawks are a solid team who had a bad year. Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson have a lot of pride. A win can keep the Cardinals from winning the division. We should expect Seattle to treat this as their own playoff game. Seattle also does not own their own 1st round pick in the draft, so they have zero incentive to lose.
    • Arizona obviously has a lot to play for, and the only thing that would change that would be if the Rams get out to a huge lead on the 49ers, which would make the game meaningless for Arizona. Given the playoff implications for the 49ers and the fact that they beat the Rams convincingly last time, it seems unlikely for that to happen. Arizona players could have some risk of getting pulled early, however, if the Rams are dominant.
    • The Rams and 49ers both need to win and can’t afford to take anything for granted as a loss for either team could significantly alter their playoff situation.
    • The Bucs play in the late afternoon wave on Sunday and won’t know the results of the NFC West matchups. The Bucs will have a shot at being as high as the 2-seed if the Rams lose (against a team they’ve already lost to). This would lock in multiple home games in the playoffs, so they will care about it. As mentioned before, the SF/LAR game is likely to be competitive throughout, so the Bucs should be playing this one out. However, if they can dominate Carolina as they did two weeks ago, they will have the luxury of getting Gronk and Evans to their bonus numbers and getting them out of the game early.
      • Carolina may be looking for a franchise quarterback in the draft and currently would have the 6th pick in the draft. Depending on other results, if they win, they could fall as far as the 9th pick, and if they lose, they could move up as far as the 3rd pick. The Panthers are an analytically driven team and are likely very aware of this situation.
    • New Orleans has to win to have a chance to get in (they need a 49ers loss). This is a huge game for the Rams, and it is unlikely the 49ers will dominate to the point where the Saints would feel like they have no chance to make it. Expect a normal, full effort from the Saints.
      • The Falcons have had a disappointing season and are eliminated from the playoffs. They would currently get the 10th pick in the draft. A win would do nothing for them this season and move them back in the draft order, while a loss could move them up as high as the 7th pick. Matt Ryan turns 37 in May, and the Falcons may target a quarterback, so a potential change in draft position could be big for them. We should pay close attention to the mood and sentiments coming out of Atlanta this week.

    DEAD GAMES:: These games have no playoff implications for either team. 

    • WFT/NYG
      • Washington still put up a fight against the Eagles last week, while the Giants got embarrassed by the Bears. Joe Judge says the team is fighting and will be ready to play, but this game should be ugly all around. The Giants defense has still been playing alright. They just give up points because the offense gives opponents such short fields. From Judge’s post-game comments, we should expect another run-heavy split from the Giants offense.
      • Assuming the Texans and Jets lose to the high-caliber teams they play, the Giants can’t improve their draft position with a loss and would only drop one spot at most if they win.
    • CHI/MIN
      • You can bet your bottom dollar that Matt Nagy is giving this one everything he’s got. Everyone who is capable of playing will be suited up for the Bears (except Justin Fields), and Nagy will try to win this one and convince ownership to give him another year due to the “momentum” he has to end the year (winning three straight games against dead teams). Given what we’ve seen out of Chicago ownership, it just might work. The Bears also do not own their 1st round pick, so there should be no pressure internally for any benefits to losing.
      • Things are a bit ugly in Minnesota as everyone is mad at Kirk Cousins for missing their must-win game in Green Bay in Week 17. Head coach Mike Zimmer said that rookie Kellen Mond would not play, so it’s either Kirk Cousins or Sean Mannion for the Vikings. Given that Cousins is fully guaranteed $35 million next season (with another $10 million from his signing bonus counting against the Salary Cap), it seems that sitting him would be wise.
      • No one knows what Dalvin Cook’s legal situation will lead to in the off-season, so that could have some effect on their approach here. 
        • I don’t know exactly how the contracts work, but it seems to me that the Vikings may not want to risk Dalvin getting a serious injury that would have implications if they try to cut him in the off-season. 
        • On the other hand, if they can cut him without paying him if the legal issues prove to be bad, then it would make sense to just ride him and conserve Alexander Mattison (who would become their lead back if Cook is gone).
      • It will be interesting to see/hear what comes out of Minnesota throughout the week, but it’s definitely a situation to keep an eye on and read the tea leaves.

    Bottom-Up Breakdown

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

    Week 17 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 :: 126 (114 eligible since 12 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 :: Braxton Berrios – 61.90% ($3,700)

    Highest Owned Stack :: Tyler Huntley (20.63%) + Rashod Bateman (25.40%)  = 13.49% combined

    See All The Entries :: Contest Link

    Winners:

    1st Place: greenwarrior

    2nd Place: black-eyed_god

    3rd Place: dougjfick

    Analysis

    The Seahawks came to play this week putting up 51 points, their highest point total on the season. The closing total of 41 was the sixth-lowest but it ended up being the highest of any game. Russell Wilson put up his first 25+ point game since Week 2. He found DK Metcalf three times in the end zone resulting in his first 30+ point game of the season. The Seahawks also found success on the ground with Rashaad Penny scoring 35.5 DK points. On the other side of the game, Amon-Ra St. Brown had his best game of the season with 38.4 DK points and has now seen double-digit targets in five straight games (11, 11, 11, 12, 12). He’s scored in three straight and four of the last five games. 

    This was an excellent example of a game that was being overlooked. We knew that the Lions defense is one of the worst in the league (30th overall) and the Seahawks defense isn’t much better (25th overall). Seattle has plenty of playmakers on the offensive side with Wilson, Lockett, and Metcalf. Due to them not producing much (besides some Lockett games), their prices were discounted making them excellent plays, especially for the Bottom-Up. The winner of this week’s contest, Greenwarrior, nailed the top four scorers from this game (Wilson-27.8, Penny-35.5, Metcalf-30.9, St. Brown-38.4) and went on to score 43 more points than the second-place finisher. 

    Black-eyed_God was the second-place finisher, and they also won the contest in Week 15. This week, they stacked Trey Lance with Deebo Samuel and ran it back with Brandin Cooks. The third-place finisher, DougJFick, also played Lance but played him naked. 

    Putting It Together

    This was the first week all season that I haven’t played in any contests. Due to the large slate and my lack of time to prepare, I thought it would be a good rest week as we get ready to gear up for the playoffs. I’ll definitely be playing this week so I hope to see you at the top of the leaderboards!

    Tournament of Champions

    Congrats to those who qualified for the TOC! I’ve sent the invites out, so if you qualified, check your DK notifications (and reach out to me on Discord or the support email if you don’t see the invite). Same rules apply (must have OWS avatar and stay at or below $44k in salary). We’ll post the link in Discord and Twitter once the contest starts if you would like to follow along.

    TOC Prizes:

    1st- OWS for Life membership

    2nd- Inner Circle 2022 membership

    3rd – 100 Edge Points

    4th – 75 Edge Points

    5th- 50 Edge Points

    6th – 25 Edge Points

    7th – 20 Edge Points

    8th – 15 Edge Points

    9th to 19th – 10 Edge Points

    Qualifiers for the TOC: Black-eyed-god, Sgmain18, Spastictoaster, Swench1919, Mikeall65, Abright8, Andkristopher, Sklarma72, Aothomas42, Jaymz_10, Ericdc20, Ottoball, Bluepeach8, Sobe1, Kygavin, Hinobrown, Greenwarrior and Bigdogkyle.

    We will be running a playoff survivor so there will still be opportunities to earn more Edge Points this season!

    Week 18 :: 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.

    I have a feeling I’m going to refer back to this article in the OWS archives for weeks, months, and years to come. Last week, OakZoo had the great idea of wrapping up all the threads covered in this space over the course of the season and I immediately agreed. With an 18-week, 17-game season upon us and almost finished, looking back at content in Weeks 3, 4, or even 15 seems like ages ago. But a key part of reflection is to maintain discipline and not to forget. So for Week 17’s edition, I’ll hit on some of the key tenets covered across these articles over the course of these past four months. Hopefully, this is more helpful than my telling you that if you have not had Bengals stacks these past two weeks, you likely did not win anything 🙂

    Way back in Week 6, I introduced the concept of DFS Precepts as foundational principles to take forward in your lineup building process. The foundations emerged from A) my playstyle (three to seven lineups each week, GPP only, typically large-field, usually between $100 and $200), and B) from writing six weeks of DFS reflection articles across the OWS NFL season. I felt like by Week 6, we had enough consistency (and the ability to look back over how many NFL seasons you wished) to be able to instill these principles in every-week GPP lineups.

    I’d call Week 6 the peak of this article, but let’s dive into some key themes (from the DFS Precepts and beyond) that emerged, and then we’ll wrap it all up for Week 18 and beyond:

    ●  The importance of concentrated offenses: Time and time again we see tournament winners emerge multiple times from the same team. Take the Bengals this season, for instance, or the Vikings the last few seasons. Condensity is a theme of this season and it’s going to remain that way. The sooner we accept which teams distribute the wealth and which don’t in 2022, the sooner we’ll hit profit. 

    ●  Fading the public is not just a point-spread term: In many games and on many DFS sites, you’ll see the “obvious” great matchup and the industry will talk up a certain player to be the beneficiary. Back in Week 4, this happened with Travis Kelce. He had a matchup with the Eagles, who were terrible to that point at covering tight ends, and with his high ownership came a lower-owned Tyreek Hill who exploded. We’ve seen WR2’s frequently crush when the WR1 is going to be high-owned due to a matchup with a porous secondary (think Claypool vs. Diontae, Higgins vs. Chase, etc.) as well. Frequently, this fading scenario appears with pass-catchers.

    ●  Game stacking the Vegas zone of 46-ish to 49-ish point totals: This is our sweet spot. There were countless times when games in this range exceeded expectations (with Week 5’s Browns / Chargers being the stand-out). Scenario one each week should be to stack up the highest total on the board (if it seems combinatorial ownership will be low), but if the masses are going there, the second tier is where we want to be. 

    ●  The Runners and The Slingers (+ game stacking with running backs): We’ve had too many instances of QB’s in one of these two categories winning a million dollars this season for this not to be a thing. Label the QB pool each week. Who is a runner (high expected rushing yardage floor)? Who is a slinger (high pass attempts + high aDOT)? If the QB fits in neither category, don’t play them. This won’t work every week, but it will be profitable long-term. The exception to this rule is when a QB is priced as a backup but is starting and is clear and obvious value. The second tenet here is to game stack with at least one running back. It’s not frequent we see all the touchdowns coming via the air, and even if they did, the RBs will almost always be involved. Don’t overrate the tendency of NFL “shootouts” to mean all passing will go to WRs and TEs.

    ●  Try not to sleep on the late/afternoon slate games: There’s a reason why the NFL lines up higher-total games in the late window. They usually have the better offenses involved, the premier QBs, and the competent coaches. This leads to points scored. I’ve used the analogy before of hunting vs. being hunted, but I almost always have some exposure to this cluster of games in game stacks. An honorable move to diminish this effect as well is to go heavy on actually playing the afternoon-only slate (hit up Mike Johnson or Xandamere if you do, they are ahead of the curve!).

    ●  Trust your initial thoughts: When you’ve been at this long enough, it’s likely your first thoughts of the week (could even be on Sunday night looking ahead to the next week) will be your sharpest thoughts. Write them down somewhere and refer back to them on Saturday. Your DFS sharpness is developed over time, and if you’ve been putting the time in, don’t underestimate your own abilities to synthesize DFS content and work it into actionable information.

    ●  Being contrarian for contrarian’s sake: Ignoring all of the chalk is a futile exercise. Recognize when it’s good or bad chalk (Hilow’s End Around is a great assist here), and take your stance. When chalk is overwhelming, lean into it and consider taking it one step further (i.e. value RBs everywhere, play another who is not getting steam).

    ●  Good offense beats good defense and the inverse is true: Always have a keen eye looking out for these games, especially late in the season. Injuries can decimate a team on either side of the ball, and with the NFL rules geared toward benefitting offenses and points, shootouts can happen at any time with competent quarterbacks.

    ●  Pay up at defense: Urges are a wild thing in DFS, and $1,000 extra in salary creates quite the urge. Anyone who overthinks a DFS lineup will likely come off a high-priced defense for a lower-priced defense in order to move up to a more comfortable play at another position. We don’t want to play a defense if the price is egregiously high, but if in range, take advantage of these overthinkers and play the better matchup!

    ●  React to Sunday news: Don’t set it and forget it. You have to react to Sunday news and be ready for late swap. It sounds obvious but people actually have plans on Sundays in their personal lives sometimes, and simply reacting to a piece of news can be a +EV move over much of the field.

    ●  Don’t seek five reasons to play a low-owned player, it’s two or three max! Back in Week 3 or 4, JM introduced the concept of biased discomfort. This has stuck with me all season, and one of my realizations in that week was that we want to play uncomfortable, low-owned plays to out-leverage the field, but we read DFS content and seek out logical reasons to play these guys. That’s irony at its finest. So, as any DFS content provider should do, we need to simplify. If I am going to recommend a certain player, I should not be able to give you more than three logical reasons, because if I can give you more than that, then that player will likely be higher-owned than you think.

    ●  When you haven’t been profitable over a stretch, don’t scrap everything! Tweak, re-calibrate, repeat and execute. Think of the Moneyball analogy from Week 12, just because we haven’t binked doesn’t mean we’re broken in our process. The Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays haven’t won World Series titles, that doesn’t mean their process isn’t worthy of emulating as we’ve seen in MLB.

    ●  And finally…build lineups like nobody’s watching!

    That’s all for this week, and it’s been a wild ride this season. Finish strong in Week 18!

    Above The Field

    Of Bugs and Barbells

    Some weeks you are the windshield, and other weeks you are the bug. In Week 17 of the NFL season, you either played a bunch of Ja’Marr Chase lineups, or your splatterings were swept up by a truck driver’s wiper blades somewhere along Route 95. 

    This week was especially tough for me because I had one lineup in the final round in each of DraftKings’ and Underdog’s Best Ball millionaire contests. As soon as Chase caught that 2nd touchdown of the first half and I realized that “guarding Bengals best weapon” was not in Kansas City’s game plan, my laptop found its way to the upright and locked position as it prepared for flight. 

    Turns out a laptop doesn’t fly as well as a Frisbee, but they do follow similar trajectories. 

    Among those whose computer likely survived the day was RussianMOBB, who astutely identified a potential mistake by the field and exploited it by overweighting Chase, Joe Burrow, Russell Wilson, and DK Metcalf. 

    Chase was only 4.5% owned, and while the matchup vs. the Chiefs secondary wasn’t pristine on paper, the game environment had shootout potential. We are also learning that Chase is among the ignore-matchup, elite-talent wideouts that we can never fade unless he’s projected to be ridiculous chalk. DK Metcalf was only 2.4% owned, and he’s been in that category for well over a year now. 

    RussianMOBB managed to cash 52 of his 150 lineups, including finishes of 5th, 29th, 31st, and 92nd. They had 14 in the coveted top 2,000 for a total profit of over $24k. 

    RussianMOBB is similar to industry luminaries like ShipMyMoney and AL_Smizzle in that he uses 4-stacks almost exclusively. Double stack with a bring-back every time. When they hit, they hit. 

    They used a player pool 112-deep, which would be on the larger side most weeks, but with this 14-gamer, it was much closer to average. 

    By the way, shout out to the 1st place winner, Hydog1987, who ran only 33 lineups yet managed to use a player pool of…ONE HUNDRED AND FIVE! A man after my own heart! Just stack damn near each game once or twice. You never know which one might go nuclear…you may even win a million dollars!

    Another thing worth illustrating about RussianMOBB’s approach this week is the flat nature of his allocations. Many of the success stories we study here involve an uber-aggressive stance on one or several players. MOBB managed to get overweight on several key players while still managing to be risk-averse, with not a single player owned over 30%.

    Just another example of Sonic’s old adage…say it with me…

    There are multiple ways to win. Be YOU. 

    RussianMOBB’s top lineup featured a Seahawks stack with scorching Lions rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown coming back and two members of the Cincinnati Bengals. I normally don’t stack two position players from a team outside of the quarterback’s game, but I do make exceptions in some cases if one of them is a running back. This usage seems perfectly acceptable in my less-than-humble opinion. 

    Too bad Gerald Everett didn’t get into the “demolish the talentless Lions” fun. An extra 4.3 points would have resulted in a million dollars. I hope RussianMOBB doesn’t read this and see that I’m pointing out the $400 he left on the table and the fact that Noah Fant was only $300 more and put up 21.2 fantasy points. If you know him…just leave that part out of your next conversation…or bring vodka…or both!

    As you all know by now, I tend to use this space to highlight a player that played well and managed to land multiple lineups in the “had a sweat” category. But let’s flip the script a little here and focus on someone that studied hard all week, put their best possible plan together, and died a miserable, embarrassing death. Fun, right?

    Ladies and Gentlemen, behold the awe-inspiring Week 17 performance of jerdresch. This poor bastard ran 150 different lineups in the milly and cashed…one. Yep. One lineup snuck into 38,804th place. Whew. Dodged the shutout! 

    But here’s the thing. Ol’ jerdresch didn’t play particularly poorly. He played with conviction. He played without fear. If we play this slate out 100 times, there may be one instance where he is the champ and not a member of Team Flying Laptop. 

    Check out these ballsy allocations:

    Jonathan Taylor is capable of slate-breaking performances on any given week. JM recognized Deonte Harris as a potentially low-owned salary saver and put him in this week’s Bottom Up Build. The Patriots DST was up against the Jaguars, who are among the most turnover-prone, touchdown-starved offenses in recent memory. Courtland Sutton is an alpha receiver who was way underpriced given the absence of Jerry Jeudy and Tim Patrick. Trey Lance was priced silly low for a starting QB that can do damage with his legs. I love the stance on Alvin Kamara, whose ownership actually fell into that Ja’Marr Chase – “he can break a slate on talent, play him any time he’s low owned” category.  

    These are not bad plays. It just didn’t work out. 

    And when I say it didn’t work out…

    Holy shit 

    I haven’t yet heard of Mr. (or Ms.) jerdresch yet. Perhaps he plays this style every week and has just been running horribly for the last 40 or so slates. He certainly wouldn’t be alone in that category. I firmly believe, however, that if he keeps playing with this type of aggression, the planets will align, and jerdresch will see his (awkward) name in the headlines someday. Let’s just hope his bankroll is deep enough to realize this expectation.  

    So, it was a great week for RussianMOBB, but let’s pour one out for our fallen comrade, jerdresch, who came, saw, and was defeated. 

    We preach a barbell approach to DFS tournaments here at One Week Season. We play for first place. Jerdresch did just that but ended up paying the rake for us. 

    Just think, if you play well enough, you’ll end up there too.

    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