Thursday, Sep 23rd

The Scroll Reflection Edition. 3.21.

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    One Week Season

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    Early Bets

    Published Monday Afternoon

    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!

    +EV LINES::

    NO (+3.0) @ NE

    Two teams that flipped their respective scripts over the span of a single week. New Orleans is fresh off an embarrassing loss to the Panthers, a game in which they managed a meager seven points. On the other side, New England is coming off a statement win against the lowly Jets in which they didn’t allow a single touchdown. What will be missed by most is the fact that the Saints just played without seven of their offensive coaching staff and numerous injuries along all areas of their defense, including their top linebacker and top cover corner. I expect this game to move closer to a “pick ‘em” as the week progresses, presenting a solid +EV scenario early in the week.

    ARI (-7.0) @ JAX

    This line might move the dreaded hook (half a point in the direction of the favorite) before this article is even released, which would leave me far less interested. Some might be worried about the points allowed from Week 2 from this Cardinals defense, but you must take both weeks into account when analyzing why the outcomes were so different. The Cards possess one of the top pass rushes in the league, which was able to generate enough pressure in Week 2 to mask their deficiencies in the second level. Minnesota was well equipped to get the ball out quick and aggressive enough to hit on a couple deep strikes to mask their own offensive line deficiencies. The Jags? Not so much. What we’ve seen over the first two weeks is a coaching staff ill-prepared for the specific opponent, forcing an insane situation-neutral pass rate from a rookie quarterback behind an atrocious offensive line. Yikes alert for a game against the vaunted pass rush of the Cardinals. On the other side, we’ve seen what Kyler and this offense are capable of, which entirely outmatches the defensive efforts from the Jags. Feel confident in this line early in the week before it adds the hook.

    MIA @ LV O 45.5

    The way this game sets up tilts toward the pass on both sides, with Miami boasting a top defensive line and trash offensive line, and Las Vegas boasting a trash offensive line and improving defensive line. The big unknown here is the prospective health of Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who left Week 2’s contest with what is currently being called bruised ribs. The MRI is set for tomorrow, after which the line on this game should move one way or the other. There are two ways to play this from an EV perspective: (1) wait for the news and hope the over/under moves down throughout the week as it appears more and more likely Tua misses, or (2) bet the over now with basically two outs to expected value. Regardless of how you choose to approach it, the game sets up well to the over, but there is a chance public sentiment drives the line lower Monday through Thursday as more news comes out surrounding Tua. My preference is to bet it now because it gives you two outs to the over: if Tua is fine and plays this game, or he misses and the Dolphins get a full week to prepare with Jacoby Brissett under center against a weak defense.

    HONORABLE MENTIONS::

    CHI @ CLE U 46.5

    WFT @ BUF U 46.5

    BAL @ DET U 49

    The theme of the “Honorable Mentions” this week is moderate-to-high game totals in games with large spreads. Typically, we see the game totals fall throughout the week in games with large spreads as sharp money comes in on the under. Games with this setup historically give you additional outs to the under (and additional EV!) early in the week.

    Process|Review

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


    Maximize Your Builds With OWS + FantasyLabs


    Week 2 Review, Part 1


    Week 2 Review, Part 2

    Process Points

    Lesson of the Week: “Trust The Process” – What It Really Means

    Last week in the OWS Discord’s Reflection channel, there was an exchange that I found very interesting and also extremely relevant to this weekly reflection article that I am doing. A member brought up the phrase, “Trust the Process,” and there was some discussion about how the phrase is often misused. People justify their bad results by thinking it is variance and just continue with “their process” even though it is often a bad process. So how do we know if our process is good?

    I am a basketball coach, and last week I came across this photo that was shared on Twitter by a well-respected coach/trainer who was relating it to shooting a basketball, and how most coaches try to train players to do certain things that will help you make shots, rather than eliminating the things that cause you to miss shots.

    When I saw the photo, I immediately thought of how it pertains to DFS. Our “Survivorship Bias” tendencies in DFS are to examine what went right in a given week in regards to on-field results, whether there were things we were accurate on or things that other people nailed that we missed. Our tendency is to feel good about our lineups that do well. If we don’t have a good week, we check out the winning lineups and compare them to ours to try to figure out “what 3v3s could I have had different to make my bad lineup cash, or make my good lineup great”? This can be a fun (or wildly infuriating) exercise, but in the end, this is usually a fruitless endeavor.

    So how can we tie the photo/basketball analogy into the initial question about “trusting the process?” We need to understand what a good process looks like. To me, a sound process is more about eliminating misses than finding makes. In order to do that, we need to know what “misses” look like, and not just in the box score. Our “process” and reflection should have ALMOST NOTHING to do with how our lineups actually fared in regards to fantasy points in a given week.

    What a Miss Looks Like

    The best example I can think of from this week about what a miss looks like is Cooper Kupp. I didn’t play any Kupp in my 11-lineup roster block I use for my SE/3-Max/5-Max tournaments. Kupp showed heavy usage in Week 1 and projected well, especially for his salary, which made him a strong “in a vacuum” play for Week 2. Here was my reasoning for not using Kupp:

    • He projected for around 20% ownership. Usually, in SE/3-Max/5-Max tournaments, the ownership will condense around the higher owned players even more so than the larger field tournaments that ownership projections are primarily used for. With that being the case, I thought his ownership could rise up near 30% in a potentially sluggish game environment.
    • I was consciously trying to condense my player pool around the late games as much as possible. With four games in the late window having totals over 50, I was making a conscious effort to bet on those games carrying the slate and mostly fading the early games.

    When evaluating the Kupp decision, it is a mistake to just say “he scored 39 DK points, I obviously should have played him.” That is easy to say in hindsight and does nothing to help us going forward. The real mistake for me was in understanding how he would be used. It turned out that Kupp was around 15% ownership in most tournaments, rather than the 30% I expected. I used DK Metcalf and Justin Jefferson, thinking their ownerships would be about 8% and 4% respectively. Instead, Metcalf ended at around 16% and Jefferson close to 8%.

    My mistake wasn’t that Kupp had a better week than Metcalf and Jefferson. My mistake was that I ended up playing WRs with similar projections to Kupp for more salary while not gaining any advantage via ownership. Had I known that Metcalf would actually be MORE OWNED than Kupp in these contests, I almost certainly would have preferred Kupp and used the extra salary elsewhere.

    The lesson here for me is to think of ownership projections in more fragile terms. We talk and hear all the time about the need to consider alternate outcomes on the field. As we play GPPs, we are constantly challenging the target/touch, yardage, and TD projections for players and evaluating different ways that things can play out. We should be equally, IF NOT MORE, aware of different ways that ownership could swing. I treated the ownership projections to be set in stone and made decisions based on that, which was a “miss” for me this week. Being able to identify the real reason WHY not playing Kupp was a miss will help me going forward. My guess is the field focused heavily on late games just like I did and Kupp’s ownership dropped as a result. Most DFS players would evaluate this situation and say “I knew Kupp was a great play at his price. I should have played him in that spot…next time I won’t make that same mistake regardless of ownership.” That’s where you will get into trouble though and start chasing your tail with FOMO of the “best plays” and just blindly playing very chalky lineups. Next time, it is very possible, if not likely, that the top projected WR in that spot ends up 30%+ owned and scores 15 points, rather than 15% owned and scoring 30+ points.

    If you are only focusing on the “ones that made it back” (AKA “makes”), you won’t understand where/why you actually missed. This is how we are able to “Trust the Process” – by making sure our process evaluates all aspects of our “misses” rather than just wishing for “makes.”

    SE/3-Max/5-Max Yearlong Strategy and Weekly Review

    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. 

    Lineup Reviews

    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 wanted to be heavy on the afternoon games which were set to be high scoring (but also popular) and the core stack here was a spot I thought would differentiate me significantly from the field, which it did. I was very heavy on Pitts in Week 1 and wanted to go back to him in Week 2 at a quarter of the ownership and in a better spot against the pass funnel defense of the Bucs. I ended up playing Pitts in 8 of 11 lineups this week. With so much Pitts exposure, it felt right to have at least 1 Ryan lineup because if Pitts did have his breakout game here, there was a very high chance it would result in Ryan having 300+ and 2-3 TD’s at a low $5,600 price tag. Evans was my preferred TB receiver because he was overshadowed in Week 1 and wasn’t generating much buzz across the industry. His ceiling for his price was just too good to pass up as a correlation piece. With the low ownership of that core stack, I was fine with ignoring ownership and just plugging in my two favorite plays from the DAL-LAC game in Allen and Lamb. DK Metcalf is a play I was very high on this week for his ceiling and as leverage off Chris Carson. Unfortunately, it turned out to be Lockett’s week again. With so much salary going to the WR/TE/Flex spots, I had to go value hunting at RB and Defense. Javonte and Edmonds were good prices for what I believe are the best RBs in split backfields so I was willing to bet on them in favorable game scripts to make the rest of the roster work. The story for Carolina D was exactly what happened; they were at home, underrated, and Jameis’ Week 1 performance was fool’s gold.

    Worst Lineup ($700k Power Sweep, 3-max, $150):

    The “story” I was telling: This lineup wasn’t technically my “worst” lineup by points scored, but I wanted to review this specific lineup because there are valuable lessons here. I went with a cheap Tua/Waddle stack in the early games with six players in the late games. I will talk more about that below, but Tua’s injury put me in a tough spot and needing a miracle to try to cash so I made some swaps:

    • Initial: Ezekiel Elliott, Ceedee Lamb, Keenan Allen, Jared Cook
    • Swap: Austin Ekeler, Amari Cooper, Rondale Moore, Kyle Pitts

    It wasn’t quite enough to get me there but the changes gave me a chance. The initial lineup had a very unique and cheap stack with Tua/Waddle, so I was happy to game stack DAL/LAC with two players from each side at higher ownership. After the MIA game fell apart, however, a roster construction like that from my remaining players had no chance to hit at the level it would need to while also gaining on the field. I ended up with two mini-correlations at lower ownership (Moore/Jefferson and Ekeler/Cooper), along with two strong stand-alone plays (Carson and Pitts). It didn’t end up mattering here, but understanding and using late swap to give yourself a chance to cash a lineup that is otherwise dead can provide a large boost to your EV over time.

    Week 2 Results:

    I did infinitely better in Week 2 than I did in Week 1. No, really. I went from zero lineups cashing to one lineup cashing! Baby steps. In all seriousness, this is somewhat par for the course in GPPs. You are going to have some bad swings especially if you are building to win and not just building to cash. This week, I was heavy on afternoon exposure but didn’t line things up right from those games. Almost all of my early game exposure was to defenses and the BUF/MIA game (three Josh Allen lineups and two Tua lineups out of the 11 we are evaluating). Unfortunately, the Tua injury short-circuited that entire game and made it an uphill battle this week. Had Tua played the entire game, there is a very good chance the Dolphins would score 20+ points and the Bills would have played more aggressively as well. With the way DAL-LAC played out, this actually could have been the great leverage spot I thought it was going to be in the scenario of a 38-24 Bills win powered by their normal pass first mindset, rather than the 35-0 dud of a game environment it ended up as. But, that’s football, and we’ll never know “what could have been” — on to Week 3!!

    Week 2 Investment: $792

    Week 1 Winnings: $75

    Estimated Yearly Investment:  $14,000

    Yearly Winnings: $75

    Bottom-Up Breakdown

    Week 2 Review

    Each week I will review the Bottom-Up Build contest, looking at how the winner got to the top of the leaderboard. The purpose of the Bottom-Up Build is to put players in that you would feel comfortable rostering in a regular contest (price considered floor and high ceiling) so that when you’re building for these other contests, you’re not struggling with the last couple spots and jamming someone in that you are uncomfortable with.

    Overview

    Rules :: Max $44k Salary (exceeding $44k salary will disqualify entry); must use OWS avatar to be eligible for prizes
    Total Entries :: 198 (156 eligible since 39 didn’t have an OWS avatar and three didn’t enter a lineup
    Prizes (Edge Points) :: 1st = 100 Edge // 2nd = 50 // 3rd = 25
    Highest Owned Player :: Jaylen Wadde – 48%
    See All The Entries :: Contest Link

    Winners:

    1st: SpasticToaster

    2ND: DougJFick

    3rd: Jman805

    Analysis

    SpasticToaster won by building a roster that allowed him to pay up for the second-highest priced QB on the slate, Kyler Murray ($8.2k). He double-stacked Murray with Rondale Moore ($4k) and AJ Green ($3.7) and ran it back with K.J. Osborn ($3.3k). These four players from the same game went for 5.15x. This was just the fourth-highest total on the slate but still had a total over 50. The highest owned game environment and highest total on the slate (DAL-LAC) disappointed with the total going well under. 

    Kyler Murray was always going to be lower-owned in this contest with the salary cap restriction but what’s interesting is that his ownership in this contest (3.5) wasn’t much lower than the Wildcat (5.52%) and Millionaire Maker (6.5%). Murray always has one of the biggest ceilings on any slate which can elevate the ceiling of the players around him and from the opposing offense, especially with a game total of 50+. 

    Putting It Together

    The first two slates of the season have been much lower scoring than anticipated.  Yet, we’ve seen game environments and players with some of the biggest ceilings going overlooked. This past week, it was Derrick Henry Week and Kyler Murray. In Week 1, it was Tyreek Hill and Patrick Mahomes. Building from the bottom-up can help fit these players into our lineup. Occasionally, we can get stuck on having to lock in one of these high-priced players right away. But when we build lineups from the bottom-up, it can allow these overlooked, high-priced, high ceiling players to fall into our lap based on our remaining salary allocation.   

    My best weeks last season were when I realized Sunday morning, after reviewing my lineups, that there’s a game environment I love, but is going overlooked by myself and the field. Sunday morning is when I feel like I have all of my lineups built, and I have a sense of what the field is going to do, and I can look at lineups as a whole group working together. So far this season, I’ve struggled with my process and giving myself enough time to feel good going into a slate. Because I’ve learned about the importance of process from JM over the years, it’s easy to recognize what I need to do to improve. Where I need to get better is execution.

    Week 3 :: 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
    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

    Two weeks of NFL are in the books, with two weeks of some low probability performances. We’ve had plenty of “if we play this slate 100 times, this result would happen five or ten times out of 100” results. Week to week, the NFL is entirely unpredictable. If nothing else, whether you’ve won or lost the last few weeks, take those “bell-curve” performances forward with you as you continue to build lineups in Week 3.

    In the NFL, a 5% outcome can almost be as certain to happen as a 95% outcome. We have to continue to work on recognizing this to be true. It’s why the Texans would have beat the Browns if Tyrod Taylor did not get hurt. It’s how Derek Carr threw for 350+ yards in Pittsburgh. And, it’s how Jameis Winston looked like prime Drew Brees in Week 1.

    Consider the likelihood of an outcome, flip it, and ask yourself if that could happen in the upcoming game. 

    So, how did we do on Sunday?

    Derrick Henry

    Henry went nuclear again. I know there will always be an inverse correlation between Henry’s fantasy points and OWS subs money won. And I love that. I rarely play him and totally understand why you don’t as well. He’s a back who doesn’t catch passes, in PPR scoring, and he’s game-flow dependent.

    So while it stung watching Henry score the only fantasy points of any significance for what seemed like the last hour of Sunday’s afternoon slate, there are two stats we should have looked at before his Week 2 game which would have seemed to indicate a big game was coming for the big man.

    Henry on the road – From the Seahawks pregame notes via Titans beat writer on Twitter, check out this DELTA…

    Henry was averaging 125 yards per game on the road over the last three seasons. The difference between him and 2nd place (Dalvin Cook) is more than the difference between Dalvin and Ezekiel Elliott, who ranks 9th.

    Henry after a bad game – Via Seahawks beat writer Greg Bell on Twitter, “Since the mid-2019 season, Derrick Henry has averaged 174.6 rushing yards/game the week after getting held to under 100yds. It’s happened 7x. He’s had four 200-yard games in such situations, including 250 1/3/21 vs. HOU.”

    Anytime there’s a situation where we’ve seen four 200+ yard games, we need to pay attention. If you need access to beat writer content, follow Majesstik on Twitter, and use those incredible lists he has set up! But until then, play the King on the road!

    Courtland Sutton / Julio Jones

    Ah, narratives, my old friend. Here are the Week 1 stat lines for these two stud WR’s: 

    • Sutton 3 targets, 1 catch, 14 yards, 80% of offensive snaps
    • Julio 6 targets, 3 catches, 29 yards, 78% of offensive snaps

    The narrative around Sutton was that he may still be recovering from a torn ACL; therefore the Broncos are easing him back into action. This was not true of course, with his 80% snap rate in Week 1. Jerry Jeudy sprained his ankle in Week 1 and was then out of action in Week 2. So, while the fantasy world expected Tim Patrick and KJ Hamler to fill the Jeudy void, it turns out it was Sutton. We had a “new” number one WR against perhaps the worst defense in the league (Jacksonville) and we forgot to play him.

    The Titans looked so bad in Week 1, we forgot about Julio Jones. He had such a nondescript debut for his new team, that he too (along with Henry) went overlooked in his Week 2 matchup. The narrative here of why Julio was overlooked was two-fold: age and DFS pricing. When an aging player has an underperforming game, and it’s been a while since his last breakout game, we tend to label them as “declining”. So Week 1 was validation that Julio was washed for many. Then he lit up Seattle’s defense on Sunday, in classic Corey Davis style. When Henry and AJ Brown garner attention, Tennessee has shown us many times how lucrative and available offensive option #3 can be.

    The second reason for Julio’s overlooked matchup was his price. When CeeDee Lamb, Amari Cooper, Keenan Allen, and Cooper Kupp were so close in price, both Julio and his teammate Brown were sure to draw lower ownership. Now, playing Julio as a direct replacement to these other WR’s is not necessarily the answer. Rather, being ‘contrarian’ with Julio would mean playing him instead of AJB in Titans and Seahawks game stacks. Or, to leverage him in a one or two-man replacement to avoid a chalky game stack (i.e., stacking Cowboys and Chargers with Zeke, Lamb, and Keenan, but playing Julio instead of Cooper).

    4 PM Eastern (late games)

    All week we heard about how fantastic these late games were going to be. And it turns out that most of them were fantastic, with the one exception being the Cowboys and Chargers. We had four projected Vegas totals over 50 in the late window, while all nine of the early games were projected to be under 50. As it turned out, only two of the nine early games went for 50+ (Rams/Colts and Texans/Browns), while three of the four late games finished north of 60 points.

    This should be a lesson in absolutes. While none of the early games went for the winning game stacks, there were some excellent box scores in there to be had. And while one of the four late games did disappoint, it was still the right strategy to major in that window while minoring in the early one. I say this is a lesson in absolutes because A) we should try to avoid saying always and never in any situation, and B) we’re rarely going to always be right or always be wrong.

    The final point I want to make this week is to encourage you not to follow DFS recommendations blindly. While I advised you to play Rondale Moore last week, that does not mean you have to go there. I had my reasons, but he still has a chance to come through and a chance to fail.

    When reading the NFL Edge or The Scroll, consider why certain players are being recommended before adding them to your player pool. Even the best in the business will only be right about 60% of the time. No DFS writer/podcaster will be right or wrong all the time. We’re simply following some of our processes to guide you on your process.

    Now, let’s have our biggest week ever in Week 3! I’m ready, are you?

    Above The Field

    Time Capsule

    I don’t mind making mistakes. Everyone does it. We’re humans. I have an absolute abhorrence for making the same mistake twice. At that point, I simply should’ve known better. But it’s really difficult at the beginning of the year because we’ve had eight months for rust to set in. I think I need to write down some Week 1-related notes and make myself read them next September.

    Dear Sonic,

    I know the last 8 months have been tough with no NFL DFS, but let’s not put 50% of our bankroll in play in Weeks 1 and 2. They may be the most variant weeks of the entire year. Slow your roll, bruh. 

    Try to remember that it’s been a long time off for NFL defenses as well. Some of these defensive units are playing together for the first time and haven’t perfected their communication just yet. Make sure you have a list of players that are:

    A) Projected for low ownership

    B) Between 3K and 5K in salary and;

    C) Capable of using their speed to make a confused secondary pay for mistakes 

    When Week 2 arrives, forget everything you saw in Week 1. It’s meaningless. 

    Also, don’t roster Marquez Valdez-Scandling. It’s a TRAP!

    Love,

    2021 Sonic

    Draftkings Milly Review

    Per usual, I will forgo the review of the luckbox that won the Milly on a single bullet and focus my analysis on someone who max-entered and had success. This week, I had the pleasure of coming across a name that is new to me but performed very impressively in Week 2. 

    wiley77 used a concentrated player pool to propel 63 of his lineups over the pay line with 18 of those landing in the coveted top .1%. He managed this without going particularly stack-happy. Almost all of his lineups featured a 3-stack with either a QB/Pass Catcher/Opponent or QB/Pass Catcher/Pass Catcher. He did not employ a strict bring-back rule. The chances of an opponent appearing in stacks were increased subtly by using a non-aggressive “enhance” or “boost” correlation. Only 13 lineups had less than three players from the same game, and those involved a running QB with a single teammate. It was a sharp move, in my opinion. A Konami Code dude can easily score with his legs, thus limiting the touchdown receptions available for his slew of receivers.

    The recipe for success here was the absence of any game stacks involving the popular Cowboys/Chargers contest, instead focusing on massive shares of Russell Wilson and Tom Brady with 2x-the-field inclusions of Kyler Murray and Josh Allen.

    They made some sharp decisions at RB as well. A tight pool and a near 7x share of Derrick Henry on one of his slate-breaking afternoons shot wiley77’s lineups to the top of leaderboards.

    There was not much FOMO happening here. Personally, I rarely fade CMC or Dalvin at reasonable ownership. But you can’t play them all, particularly if you want to have a 46% share of one of the studs. 

    As much as I admire the fortitude of wiley77’s convictions, I’m left to wonder if expanding the pool at WR might have provided a better chance at 1st place. Given the usage of Kyler, a little bit of Rondale Moore would have possibly propelled one of wiley77’s lineups even higher than his top finisher at 19th place. 

    As I’m looking at Wiley77’s impressive allocations while lamenting its limitations, I’m further convinced that my approach of hand-building 50 lineups and including numerous outliers mindfully before tightening up my pool for a run of 100 in the optimizer is perfect…for me. 

    Everyone is different, and wiley77 is undoubtedly one who is very sharp. I’ll be keeping an eye on him for sure. 

    Just for good measure, here’s a peek at his TE allocations. WOW.

    Imagine rostering a TE in 90% of your lineups, kicking back, and watching him targeted repeatedly by The GOAT in the red zone. Life is good.

    Week 1 PPW Review

    Every Saturday, I release my player pool onto The Scroll for your perusal. I try to give short notes on all pertinent players detailing why I may be rostering or avoiding them. 

    Sometimes things work out. Sometimes they don’t. Sometimes it’s my fault. Other times we get bit by the variance bug. I’ll give examples of each.

    Nailed It…Hey, I should do this for a living!

    Christian Kirk played well again, so I shouldn’t strain myself patting my own back. But I liked Moore and AJG as low-owned ancillary pieces of a game stack with smash potential. They put up 27.4 and 13.4 points, respectively. A.J. Green had a TD, but also multiple other red zone opportunities in which he was unable to cash in. I think he will continue to have that role going forward, at least until he convinces the Cardinals coaching staff he’s toast. 

    I had 14% Rondale at 2.4% ownership and still managed to lose money this week. GPPs are hard.

    Oh boy, I stink

    Sigh. Alvin Kamara never got going and this game was pretty gross for the Saints. I really thought playing the Marquez Callaway flop lag was a good idea. Maybe it was, and it just didn’t work out. Betting on Jameis Winston to carry a WR’s production is always and forever an adventure.

    I played exactly 0% Henry Ruggs. This was poor process on my part. At .91% ownership, I could have sprinkled him into four lineups and been way over the field. Ruggs has the talent to catch an 80-yard TD at any time. I try not to completely fade guys like that over 150 lineups if they are micro-owned. Boo, me. 

    Missed the flop again. I run so bad.

    Avert your eyes if you don’t know this already and want to avoid tilt…

    Both Christian McCaffrey and Damien Harris put up solid scores this week, but unfortunate circumstances around the goal line kept them from smashing. Harris also got dinged up for a bit and ceded some extra snaps to James White. The Patriots DST put up 19 points, so this pairing was nearly a tourney-winner. I’ll continue to roll with these two RB’s when favorable ownership and prices converge.  

    Next year, I’m digging up that Time Capsule…and I’m playing me some Ruggs. 

    .91% owned. 

    Welp…

    On to Week 3. 

    LFG!!!!!

    Underowned UD

    Underowned Underdog (Battle Royale: Week 3)

    The goal of this article is to present you with information & strategy about a different-style DFS tournament that is currently filled with an inexperienced field of entrants. Due to Underdog’s main customer base of Best Ball players, there are many people approaching this tournament in a suboptimal way. So let’s take advantage!

    What is Battle Royale?

    Battle Royale is Underdog’s main slate tournament offered each week. You and five others participate in a six round draft, selecting a QB, RB, 2 WR, FLEX, & TE from all of Sunday’s games (including SNF). Your final roster then competes with every entry in the tournament, not just your fellow drafters, for the highest score of the week.

    Thus far, Underdog has offered a $5 tournament each week, along with a $20 tournament in Week 2. The 22K entry tournament from Week 1 moved to two 5.5K entry tournaments in Week 2. The prize money is pretty evenly distributed at the top, with first place rewards thus far of $20K, $20K, and $5K.

    Week 3’s Battle Royale is a $6 entry, 18.9K entrant tournament with $20K to first place.

    This is a daily fantasy tournament! Right now the edge is that too many entrants are still treating drafts like season-long teams instead of one-week teams. This article will explore how to think correctly about drafting in this format.

    Reviewing Underdog’s Battle Royale: Week 2

    Here we take a look at the five highest scoring lineups from Week 1, how they were constructed, what we can learn from them, and the most important concepts to keep in mind when drafting a team.

    Brief Summary of Five Highest Scoring Lineups:

    • 5/5 with all of Derrick Henry, Tyler Lockett, Cooper Kupp
    • QBs: Lamar Jackson (x2), Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady, Kyler Murray
    • TEs: Travis Kelce (x2), Rob Gronkowski (x2), Darren Waller
    • All 5 used different second RB

    Information to Note:

    The range of “correlated” players was 2 to 4, with zero teams including a 3-man stack of some kind. In Week 1, the range of “correlated” players was 3 to 5, and 80% of the top-5 included a 3-man stack. Whereas in Week 1 every roster included a QB-WR stack, only one of the top-5 in Week 2 included a QB with his own pass-catcher (Brady-Gronk).

    • Some of the highest scoring plays this week just happened to come as strong naked QBs (Kyler, Brady, Lamar) or one-offs (Kupp, CMC)
    • Still, every top team so far has included at least one stack of some kind. Limit the number of things you need to go right through stacking.

    For the second straight week, 80% of the top 5 scores either grabbed Kelce first or drafted TE last (so 8/10 top-5 scores on season). Kelce, Hockenson & Gronk have been on 9/10 of the top-5 rosters.

    Two RBs have been drafted on 9/10 top-5 teams thus far. Whereas all five in Week 1 drafted a slipping Mixon, all five in Week 2 drafted a slipping Henry.

    At least 7 TDs were scored by non-QBs on 9/10 top-5 teams thus far. One had 6, and three others had 8 or 9. In Half-PPR with no bonuses, TD equity is an extremely valuable commodity.

    Low-owned or under-valued players have made their ways onto top-5 rosters in each week. In Week 1, Thielen & Deebo made the top-5 with huge scores despite going essentially undrafted. In Week 2, Kupp & Lamar made every top-5 with huge scores despite going frequently undrafted or last pick. I wrote last week after doing several drafts that many interesting players were left out of most drafts (as is the nature of small rosters), and that finding the upside in those overlooked guys would help someone win. Fading the more popular Carson & Metcalf or adding Lamar to KC stacks (Kelce in this case) allowed high-upside access to the same exact game environments! All of the ownership on Carson & Metcalf let Lockett go overlooked, but he obviously has offered immense blow-up upside in his career and was on the same high-total team as them. Lamar’s scary history with the KC defense let him go overlooked, but we know he offers as much fantasy upside as any QB in NFL history.

    Story Each Draft Tells

    Here we take a look at the “story” that is being told by each top roster. When we draft a player, we are assuming on that roster that the player has success, and therefore each successive pick must further align with the “story” we are telling on that roster.

    177.46KelceHenryLamarKuppLockettEkeler

    Lamar-Kelce: QB-Opp TE stack in high-total game in which this QB’s ceiling is usually maximized naked

    Henry-Lockett: RB-Opp WR stack in high-total game in which the RB having success is likely to mean increased pass volume for the WR

    Austin Ekeler: Home-Favorite RB on week’s highest total game in which the game’s top 3 WRs are 100% owned & often stacked

    Kupp: QB’s #1 target on high-total team going mostly overlooked by drafters

    169.92CMCHenryMahomesKuppLockettGronk

    Christian McCaffrey: #1 projected RB who can find success in any game-script on team with narrow distribution

    Henry-Lockett: RB-Opp WR stack in high-total game in which the RB having success is likely to mean increased pass volume for the WR

    Patrick Mahomes: #2 projected QB in matchup he’s historically dominated naked and his top pass-catchers are extremely popular

    Kupp: QB’s #1 target on high-total team going mostly overlooked by drafters // Dominant RZ target on week’s highest total team with recent struggles vs TEs

    168.64ChubbHenryBradyKuppLockettGronk

    Nick Chubb: A top projected RB as large Home-Favorite with high implied team total

    Henry-Lockett: RB-Opp WR stack in a high-total game in which the RB having success is likely to mean increased pass volume for the WR

    Brady-Gronk: QB-TE stack on week’s highest total team with a long history of RZ connection

    Kupp: QB’s #1 target on a high-total team going mostly overlooked by drafters

    165.6WallerHenryKylerKuppLockettZeke

    Waller: Only TE with same ceiling as Kelce

    Henry-Lockett: RB-Opp WR stack in high-total game in which the RB having success is likely to mean increased pass volume for the WR

    Murray: #1 projected QB in high total game whose ceiling is maximized naked

    Kupp: QB’s #1 target on high-total team going mostly overlooked by drafters

    Ezekiel Elliott: Overlooked high-usage RB in week’s highest total game in which four other players are more popular 

    163.26KelceHenryLamarKuppLockettDalvin

    Kelce-Lamar: Unrivaled consistency/ceiling at weak position stacked with opposing QB whose success means more passing volume for the TE, and whose own ceiling is maximized naked

    Henry-Lockett: RB-Opp WR stack in high-total game in which the RB having success is likely to mean increased pass volume for the WR

    Kupp: QB’s #1 target on high-total team going mostly overlooked by drafters

    Dalvin Cook: A top projected RB in high total game with history of blow-up scores on team with extremely narrow scoring distribution

    The Most Important Concepts to Remember

    Every single team you draft tells its own unique story!

    For example, when you choose Kamara, you are saying he outscores the others in that range (so Dalvin & Henry for instance) and you then need to build the rest of the roster with that in mind.

    Which players later in draft enhance chances of AK scoring higher than others, and/or decrease the chances of the others outscoring him?

    • AK’s ceiling may correlate with success from opponent, as his highest scores come with high target volume
    • Cook & Henry’s ceilings may negatively correlate with success from their teammates (so Thielen/Jefferson or Brown/Julio)

    You also need to keep in mind with those early picks who you are missing out on even before you are forced to choose between guys available

    • Ex: McCaffrey & Kelce are always going to be high picks for good reason, so if you don’t get one of them, you need to tell the story on your roster why your players will outscore them
    • This is the same thought process as before, but in this case, you aren’t choosing AK over Henry but rather “choosing” AK because CMC is already gone
    • I.e. If you miss out on Kelce, Hill is the most direct leverage, but you can also go even further by taking Hill AND Waller, as Waller is the most likely to lead the position in scoring if not Kelce
      • CEH (well maybe not after W2 fumble) could be another pivot off the top KC guys, as his success leverages the chances your players outscore Kelce/Hill
    • I.e. If you miss out on CMC, draft your team based on whether your own guy outscores him (maybe a heavy bet on that game environment) or a CMC teammate like DJ Moore has a big day that limits CMC’s ceiling

    Manage exposure through a portfolio of drafts that ideally work in concert with each other.

    For example, imagine you have rosters 1 & 3 from Week 1:

    • Mahomes – Hill – Mixon – Chubb – Lockett – Hock
    • Kelce – Kyler – Hop – Chubb – Mixon – Deebo

    What you are betting on in this example:

    • One:
      • Take Mahomes, miss out on Kelce, so take his other top pass-catcher and bet on that being the highest scoring stack
      • Take Kelce, miss out on Mahomes, so take QB you think outscores him, and then his WR1 to bet even further on that game environment
    • Two
      • Take Chubb on both, correlating with your two bets on KC passing game (this helps both rosters, just through different players)
    • Three:
      • Strong position on Mixon due to him being undervalued in drafts with a good chance to outscore guys above him
    • Four:
      • Miss on Kelce, wait on TE by taking highest projected TE left w/ last pick
      • Take Kelce as TE, grab Deebo as a bet on that game environment (Deebo succeeding positively correlates with Hock, which helps roster 1, but you also know it’s still unlikely he outscores Kelce on roster 2)

    You are left with teams that:

    • Leverage Nick Chubb success into positives for the KC passing game, which you have differentiated between the two teams
    • Bet on the two highest projected QBs in their own stacks
    • Bet on a high-upside RB you took a stand on later in drafts
    • Bet on a game environment through Deebo & Hock that can ultimately benefit both rosters

    In a perfect world, Lockett & Hopkins would be on opposite rosters here

    • A Hopkins ceiling game is likely negatively correlated to Kyler’s ceiling (given how much of it can come from rushing success), so having Hopkins with Mahomes would be a further bet on Mahomes outscoring Kyler
    • Lockett with naked Kyler here means you are betting on him being QB1, likely in large part due to rushing points, and therefore Hopkins’s ceiling is lowered, making way for someone like Lockett to outscore him

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