Sunday, Jan 29th — Early
Sunday, Jan 29th — Late
Bye Week:
Bears
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. 8.21.

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!

    +EV LINES (Week 8)::

    BUCCANEERS (-4.5) @ SAINTS:

    This line feels correct as currently set but we have two key members on the Tampa Bay side that should return to action this week after missing Week 7, in Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Brown. The early week line of 4.5 has the unknowns surrounding both of their statuses baked in, which gives us a good bit of expected value should they return to practice this week.

    COWBOYS @ VIKINGS (Over 52.5):

    I have this line about two to three points too low currently. The kicker is that the juice is currently on the under, meaning additional expected value if you get in now before the line moves. This is a great example of mispricing with a team (in this case, both teams) coming off a bye week. Simple pricing psychology.

    LIONS (+3.0) vs Eagles

    Admittedly, this line would feel a great deal safer with the addition of the hook, but we have a few aspects working in our favor for the Lions here:

    (1) The strength of the Eagles defense this season resides on the perimeter, while they are extremely porous over the middle.

    (2) The Lions have shown us that they will pull out all the stops in order to get their first win, as evidenced by their Week 7 game against the Rams.

    (3) The Lions offense biases production over the middle of the field to the running backs – both on the ground and through the air – and to TJ Hockenson.

    (4) The Lions are poor against the run and league-average against the pass.

    (5) The Eagles have zero run game.

    Although this line is unlikely to move much throughout the week, we’re currently presented with an interesting opportunity to bet on the aggression of the Lions before the masses realize just how badly they want that first win.

    HONORABLE MENTIONS::

    PACKERS (+3.5) @ ARIZONA:

    The 6-1 Packers travel to the valley of the sun to take on the 7-0 Cardinals in a game with high playoff implications. There are two primary reasons why the value lies with the road underdog here: short week football carries a wider range of potential outcomes so capturing the points with the hook brings additional value; secondly, the Cardinals should be expected to run fewer offensive plays than a standard week against a Packers offense that ranks second in the league in average time of possession per drive. Take the points in a game that should be closer to a “pick ‘em.”

    RAMS @ TEXANS (Over 45.5):

    The average points scored per game in the NFL in 2020 was 49.4. The Rams average 29.8 points per game in 2021, while the Texans give up an average of 28.7 points per game. The line on this game is currently set at 14.5 points, meaning Los Angeles’ Vegas implied team total is currently 29 points, right in line with how many they have scored this season. But where it becomes interesting is the fact that the Rams have scored 26 or more points in all but one game thus far (their blowout loss to the Cardinals, where the time of possession was the biggest issue), while the Rams have given up 14 or more points to all but one opponent. So, as opposed to thinking about this game total as pure points, we should feel confident in simplifying it to “do we think the Texans score 10 or more points in this spot more than half of the time?” Against a now run-funnel Rams defense, I like the Texans to put up double-digit points here. The final piece of the puzzle is the unlikeliness of this game total to move lower as the week progresses.

    Process|Review

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


    Maximize Your Builds With OWS + FantasyLabs


    Week 7 Review

    Process Points

    Lesson of the Week: Variance or Process?

    We are getting to the point in the season where it can be very frustrating if you haven’t seen success yet. Inevitably, there will be questioning of the process and wondering if you are just “running bad” or if there is something wrong with your play/process. It is a fair question and one that a lot of people are facing. If you aren’t already, I strongly suggest you join the OWS Discord and specifically check out the Reflection channel. There is some excellent conversation happening there on Mondays. Xandamere and I went pretty deep on Monday about some of the specifics in evaluating play. I think it would benefit a lot of people to understand the numbers. This was a terrific week for me as I had a lineup take 3rd in the $5 Flea Flicker on DraftKings for $10,000. Let’s dive into that lineup and explore it from the lens of “Variance vs. Process,” looking at some of the critical concepts to understand when evaluating your play.

    Obviously, this was a great score for me, but if you watched the end of the Lions/Rams game, you know that the game ended on an easy dump off to D’Andre Swift that hit him in the hands, bounced up in the air, and was intercepted. The person who took 2nd place did not have Swift. This means if he just catches the ball, I would have taken 2nd place and won $20k instead of $10k. A $10,000 swing on a dropped pass — what a bad beat!! Actually, it isn’t that simple, and looking at it that way doesn’t tell the full picture. I also had Chris Godwin on this roster. Godwin was sitting at 7/96/1 receiving in the 4th quarter with the Bucs up 38-3. The Bucs got the ball back with 7:58 left and took out all of their offensive starters — except Godwin. On 2nd & 7, they ran a WR screen for Godwin that he took for 15 yards then immediately went off the field with a smile on his face. Clearly, the Bucs staff knew how close he was to a 100-yard game and put him in just for that purpose. That play was worth 5.5 points between the production and a 3-point receiving bonus. If the Bucs left him on the sidelines (as most teams would), I would have finished 7th for $1k — a $9,000 swing. The point here is that usually, we focus on the things that go wrong or hurt us, but rarely do we consider those things that went our way that shouldn’t have. 

    From the standpoint of Variance vs. Process, you should be evaluating your process by what percentage of your lineups are finishing in their respective percentiles. For instance, if you are a perfectly average player, you would expect 1% of lineups to finish in the top 1%, 5% of lineups in the top 5%, 10% of lineups in the top 10%, and so on. What that means is for every 100 lineups you make, a player who is “even with the field” would expect to have one lineup finish in the top 1%. You are then relying on variance and things bouncing your way in those few spots where you make it into the top 1%. The best DFS players in the world struggle to get more than 2% of lineups into the top 1% threshold, which also seems low — but if a poor DFS player is finishing in the top 1% in only 0.5% of their lineups, that means the top players are getting 4x as many chances for variance to hit them just right. Along with this, it is important to understand that these numbers are going to tell you more as the sample size increases. If you are a “2% of lineups finishing in the top 1%” type of player, but you only play three lineups per week, that is 54 lineups per year — meaning you’d only expect one roster all year to finish in the top 1%. The lesson here is that if you don’t have the time or means to play an extremely high number of lineups, you simply aren’t going to have enough data to be able to tell if it’s you or you’re running bad. This is where you have to “trust the process”….. 

    • Do your lineups have good correlations? 
    • Are you attacking the right game environments? 
    • Is your player pool condensed enough that you are likely to get paid off if you are “right” in a week? 
    • Do you understand game theory and ownership situations?
    • Do your lineups have enough differentiation for your contests without playing “bad plays”?

    These are the kind of questions you should be asking yourself to determine how sound your process is. I’ve had two big scores this season that if one or two things break differently, I easily could have finished 5th and 7th instead of 1st and 3rd. My returns would look much worse right now, and I’d actually be down on the year — but that wouldn’t mean my process was worse than how I look at it now just because things broke my way. Process gives you a chance (over a large enough sample), and Variance decides if you get the big payday for it or wait for the next chance. This is the essence of GPPs.

    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 ($150k Double Spy, Single Entry, $200)

    The “story” I was telling: Some may look at this lineup and think it is “too chalky” or has too high of ownership, as all nine spots have double-digit ownership. However, it’s important to consider how those pieces work together and the ownership they have combined. The Rams trio of Stafford/Henderson/Kupp had just smashed in a similar matchup the week prior against the Giants, and Swift was the most obvious Detroit skill player to use as a bring-back. Given their individual ownerships and recent history, most would likely think this was a popular grouping. However, that four-player group was used in only 0.11% of lineups in this contest. The Double Spy was an 833-person contest, so what that means is this was the only lineup in the contest which had this grouping (Shout out to Jesse Friedland for his awesome “Ownership Analyzer” tool!). The other four spots were filled out with individual pieces I was high on as floating plays for the week, and given the uniqueness of my core stack, I didn’t really take ownership into consideration at all for those other pieces.

    Worst Lineup ($200K Three-Point Stance, 5-max, $33):

    The “story” I was telling: The biggest thing to take away from this roster is the story it tells about the slate. There were six teams on the main slate that had team totals of 27 or higher, and every one of my skill players was from one of those teams. I built my main stack around KC/TEN — the highest game total by a large margin — and had a piece of each of the other four offenses. While the results weren’t there, I had access to all the best spots through high usage players for their price tag and also managed to have three players who were single-digit ownership. I didn’t need anything crazy to happen for this roster to pay off. I just needed the games to play out as expected, with the scoring playing out in my favor.

    Week 7 Results: I only played ten rosters this week instead of 11, as I bumped up to play the $200 Double Spy this week. I only cashed one of the ten rosters, but luckily it was that highest-priced entry, which made it an alright week for the roster block.

    Week 7 Investment: $792

    Week 7 Winnings: $500

    Estimated Yearly Investment:  $14,000 

    Yearly Winnings: $2,730

    Bottom-Up Breakdown

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

    Week 7 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 :: 189 (150 eligible since 39 didn’t use 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 :: Darrell Henderson – 49.21% (priced at $6,600)

    Highest Owned Stack :: Justin Fields (20.11%) + Darnell Mooney (34.39%) = 21.16% combined

    See All The Entries :: Contest Link

    Winners:

    1st Place: Sklarma72

    2nd Place: hooft

    3rd Place: Rsmooth81

    JMTOWIN’S BOTTOM-UP BUILD

    Analysis

    Sklarma72 is in the Tournament of Champions! His winning lineup was based around a lower-owned game environment between the Dolphins and Falcons. It consisted of a double-stack built around Tua Tagovailoa with Jaylen Waddle + Mike Gesicki, and a run back with Russell Gage. This game was the fifth-highest total and was projected to be one of the closest with a 2.5 point spread. It was thought to be a competitive game that had a slight chance of shooting out. Sklarma did an excellent job at finding value on the week with their only real dud coming from Miles Sanders who got hurt.

    Hooft’s second-place finish was also pushed near the very top of the leaderboard with the Dolphins / Falcons game environment in mind. They used the same stack as Sklarma (Tua + Waddle + Gesicki) but added Kyle Pitts instead of Russell Gage, choosing to use both TEs in his lineup and both TEs in this same game.

     Rsmooth81’s lineup chose to attack the Bengals and Ravens game which I’m kicking myself for not playing this week (I think I’ve played Joe Burrow and Ja’marr Chase every week except one or two and have them on my main season-long team). The Ravens were big favorites (6.5) which set up well for Burrow to throw a bunch. He tied his season-high in attempts (38) and yards (416) leading to his fourth straight 20+ DK point game and has 2+ TDs in every game so far. This was a double-stack, run-back consisting of Chase + Tee Higgins, and Rashod Bateman. How Burrow was only .5% owned and Chase 1.6% owned is baffling. Their prices we high-ish for the max salary rule but Rsmooth81 was literally the only one to play Burrow and Chase.

    Putting It Together

    Surprisingly, none of the top three finishers used Chris Godwin who was one of the most popular plays on the slate and ended up paying off with 28.10 DK pts. The chalkiest player on the slate and in the BUB, Darrell Henderson, was faded by the top two finishers. He was a great play that was owned by half the field (including me) that just didn’t pay off. The BUB field was smart and hopped on Dante Pettis (15.54 DK pts) after Sterling Shepard was announced inactive. He was only 4.72% owned in the Milly Maker but 20.63% in the BUB, making him the tenth highest player owned. All of the top three finishers played a double-stack and run back. Only two times has a top-three finisher used a naked QB. Albright8 won with a Trey Lance/Eli Mitchell stack, but Mitchell isn’t really a pass-catching back so I would classify this as more of a block than stack. If you count this as a naked QB, only three of the 21 top finishers this season have used a naked QB. It goes to show how important lineup construction, game environments, and using stacks are to get to the top of the leaderboards.

    JM has recently talked about reviewing your early week thoughts or notes. Typically, my process starts with writing down all the games in order of totals from high to low.  I leave space so I can jot down some personal thoughts on every game and fill out my BUB sometime early in the week. Usually, I have more notes for the higher totals and the lower total games of course have less. The Bengals and Ravens were the eighth-highest total so not great, but one of the first things I wrote down this week was “I like this game.” I ended the week only on the Ravens side playing Lamar Jackson, Marquise Brown, and Rashod Batemen even though the Bengals were more likely to be throwing being the underdog. Even if the Bengals were playing from ahead, it would have meant Burrow and the offense would probably be playing well. When I built my BUB, I put CJ Uzomah (24.10 DK pts) in but didn’t play him anywhere else this week even though the Ravens were giving up a ton of pts to TEs (and now give up the most at 20.4 DK pts/g). This all goes to show how important it is to go back and review your early week notes, your “gut instinct calls,” and your independent research. We can get lost in what everyone else’s opinion is and/or rely too much on projections that we forget our own thoughts and research later on in the week.

    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, and Sklarma72.

    Week 7 :: 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.

    One Week Season is going to have a Milly winner this season. Someone is going to take one down. I don’t know when it will be, but in the near future, there’s going to be a new millionaire who flies the OWS flag at the top of the leaderboards. Why do I feel this will happen? Well, for one, you have to start any article out with a bold statement otherwise nobody will keep reading. But second, the community we have here is second to none. I get smarter every time I read anything on OWS. I get smarter when I participate in any way in our Discord chats. I get smarter contributing to the Oracle each week. And I can already see that every time I visit the “Binks” channel in Discord, we have a new big winner. The third reason why I feel this will happen is that we’re all building each week, and when you build and compound your foundations, an apex is near. 

    My goal this NFL DFS season is to help any member of this community get to their apex. The NFL season is akin to a roller coaster ride. And as we enter the third month of the season, I know you’ve had some ups and downs (as have I), and my hope for this article each week is that it can provide some consistency in your process. Welcome to Week 8 . . . your best week yet.

    I am going to switch up the format for this week as I want to double down on the NFL DFS precepts we established last week. I’ll run through some missed opportunities from Week 7 but in the context of this formidable structure. And my goal is to continue to refine this as we go along, even looking back into Week 7 to see if there’s anything we need to add, edit, or remove.

    Note: These concepts are described with the large-field tournament, mini-MME mindset

    #1 – Fade the Public

    Definition: When the masses are flocking toward a play, go the other way. In a DFS context, identifying where ownership should gather and consider a teammate for leverage.

    What happened in Week 7? Mike Evans and Chris Godwin were in crush spots in Week 7, especially considering Antonio Brown’s absence. The problem was that Godwin was significantly underpriced on DK. This led to Godwin garnering over 30% ownership in most tournaments, good for second or third-highest, depending on the tournament. His teammate, Evans was priced up $600 higher, and carried about a third of the ownership en route to his 31 point DK day with three touchdowns. Now, Godwin himself produced a 28 point output so I am not here to tell you he was a bad play. I just want to reiterate the fact that his last catch of the day was 34 yards, which pushed him into the 100+ yard bonus, which turned him from 20 points and nothing special to a 28 point potential GPP-winner. I would like to be on the Evans side of this coin 10 out of 10 times. It’s hard to project but when chalk congregates, teammates go overlooked when they could be in similar matchups, especially when priced higher.

    Where might we see this in Week 8? Tee Higgins vs. NYJ (Ja’Marr Chase). Calvin Ridley vs. CAR (Kyle Pitts). 

    #2 – Paying Up at Defense

    Definition: On DK, where defensive pricing is usually tighter, there’s a strong psychological urge to pay down at defense. Even for those who plan to pay up, the longer they look at their rosters, the more likely they come off that expensive defense. 

    What happened in Week 7? The Arizona Cardinals were projected to be the highest owned defense we’ve seen this season at only $3,100. But, I spent all week trying to figure out how to get to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. When writing Willing to Lose, I uncovered the fact that the Raiders home stadium has been playing like the Coors Field of the NFL for almost a season and a half (nobody is talking about this yet!). Despite this, Justin Fields could not even go in there and score more than nine points vs. Raiders. The Bucs were home, with Fields to play around with, and priced at $4,000 on DK. And yet, I only ended up with the Bucs on one of five of my builds while they coasted to a 21-point fantasy day. They should have been a lock button, but as I said before, the itch to upgrade the $3,500 WR to a $4,500, or the $6,000 RB to $7,000 RB will always be there. With how large these Vegas spreads are, and how much leverage we can gain, we should be considering paying up at defense in over half our lineups.

    Where might we see this in Week 8? Rams vs. Texans. 

    #3 – Opening Vegas range for low-owned game environments: 47-50 points

    Definition: We can fight the psychology of the 51+ game totals, where ownership naturally starts to build, and focus our efforts on being long on the tier below: the tighter spread and slightly above average game total environments. When they hit, they’ll hit big. 

    What happened in Week 7? We had three games with a touchdown or less spread in the 47-50 range: PHI/LV, WAS/GB, and ATL/MIA. What I loved as the week went on was seeing two of these three games start to evolve to become those lower-owned game environments (PHI/LV and ATL/MIA). Of these teams, the Falcons and Dolphins did their part, the Raiders did theirs, and the Packers did hold up their end, but neither the Eagles nor Football Team could keep pace and we were also stripped of many concentrated performances. From these games, however, we did crush the floating plays. Guys like Foster Moreau (once Darren Waller was ruled out), Tua and Mike Gesicki along with Kyle Pitts, and Terry McLaurin all significantly outpaced expectations. It won’t always be the game stacks within these games we have to target each week, as we can see in Week 7 it happened to be the floating plays as the angle. This will ping pong back and forth. Keep targeting these games.

    Where might we see this in Week 8? Bills/Dolphins. Eagles/Lions. Pats/Chargers. Titans/Colts.

    #4 – Wide Receiver narratives

    Definition: With WRs, if they are on the field a lot and have speed, they have upside. We label skill position players frequently. We label them as high floor, low ceiling, all or nothing, but we have to fight these narratives. Who is on the field? Who has a solid aDOT? Who has not produced lately? Who has not shown a ceiling lately but could?

    What happened in Week 7? Well, we had almost the reverse of this narrative. The inverse of a truism is also true, right? Cooper Kupp and Ja’Marr Chase came to play earlier this season and their price tags were starting to reflect their outputs. The narrative for these two guys was a positive one. We had seen their ceilings lately. We had seen them crush tough matchups. But there started to be doubts of sustainability creeping in. This is way more true in the case of Chase, as his Ravens matchup kept people off him, whereas Kupp was still a top 10 owned player on this slate, due to his consistency with Stafford and matchup with the Lions. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves of the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting to yield different results. 

    Where could we see this in Week 8? Stefon Diggs. Calvin Ridley.

    #5 – Good offense beats good defense

    Definition: Exactly what it sounds like. We didn’t have any instances of a bad offense beating a bad defense, though the Colts and 49ers game was a close one. 

    What happened in Week 7? Saving the best for last, the Cincinnati Bengals and the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens were coming off the drubbing of the Chargers and their recently high-powered offense so we had to expect they would stymie the Bengals, right? They owned Joe Burrow in their matchup last season, holding him to only three points. But do the Bengals have a good offense? We could argue yes, and could have argued this before Sunday. And do the Ravens have a good defense? Yes. Again, we could have mostly agreed on this statement too. I targeted this game and Joe Burrow last week in a few of my builds because of this precept and I hope it shows how these games can sometimes play out. Rules are geared toward giving the offense an advantage in the modern NFL, we need to keep that in mind.

    Where could we see this in Week 8? Bucs at Saints.

    Above The Field

    Ode to meaganjoy: The Sequel

    Those of you that have frequented this page for the last year may find some familiarity in the name meaganjoy, winner of this Week 7’s Millionaire Maker on DraftKings. They were featured in this space just 11 months ago, in Week 10 of the 2020 season. Meaganjoy had snatched victory in the final moments as Kyler Murray connected with Deandre Hopkins for a game-winning Hail Mary. As I pointed out then, this DFS player is no joke. Sharp as they come…but taking 1st in the Milly again? WTF? 

    Winning a tournament of this size, this magnitude, within a year is mind-blowing. We need to find out what ancient rituals or animal sacrifices were made to achieve this. Maybe he and Tom Brady are part of the same illuminati group, and they have some magic flask full of Satan’s pee or something. Unreal. 

    The winning lineup itself was lovely. A standard 4-stack with chalky, breakfast-narrative, soul mates Matt Stafford and Cooper Kupp along with the lessor-owned Van Jefferson and a bring-back in D’Andre Swift, who was somehow only 7.3% owned.

    The question I’ve been asking myself centers around the usage of Foster Moreau. My assumption is that this was a “late swap special.” There was speculation before the early games that Darren Waller would be sidelined for the Raiders afternoon game, but this was not confirmed until 90 minutes prior to the late games. Did meaganjoy swap to Moreau late, and if so, what did the lineup look like before this? Perhaps they had a secondary stack with Terry McLaurin/Cole Kmet and the Panthers at DST. Then, when hand tweaking (or re-running the optimizer), they were able to use the $500 in Tight End savings to move up from the Panthers D ($3500) to the Buccaneers ($4000). This would result in 27.7 extra points, the difference between 1st place and $1,000,000 or 143rd place and $600. WOW. Late Swap is a thing, kids. Don’t start drinking until the late games lock.  

    I’ve been googling the shit out of “meaganjoy DFS sicko wizard psychic” all week in hopes of finding the answer to this late swap thing as well as the even-more-burning question of their gender identity preference. I mean, not that I really care or anything, but it would be neat if this luck-box genius was a non-dude. 

    Damn, I’m only a couple of hyphens away from my hyphen cap. I’d better conserve. #HyphenCap

    I was hoping that analysis of meaganjoy’s statistics and allocations would reveal some special formula, the “secret sauce,” if you will. But it appears they are just really, really good. 

    Of the 150 entries, ownership hovered in that sweet spot between 70% and 125%, with only a few exceptions above that caused by the massive steaming of the Cardinals Defense. 

    Stacks sizes were pretty standard. 

    Stack of 5: 15

    Stack of 4: 73 (100% of these were QB/two-pass catchers/OPP)

    Stack of 3: 54 (these varied between QB/pass catcher/OPP and QB/two-pass catchers/No OPP)

    Stack of 2: 8 (a few skinny stacks featuring various QBs)

    Matt Stafford was prioritized at QB, but meaganjoy’s toes were dabbled in the waters of 13 different signal-callers. 

    The impressive part of this was the absence of the popular Patrick Mahomes, Matt Ryan, and Lamar Jackson. It was as if meaganjoy said, “I’m only eating the chalk with one QB this week, and I’m gonna double the field on him.” 

    Some sharp and aggressive decisions were made at RB.

    You have to appreciate the conviction and discipline displayed here. Going way under with semi fades on the two highest-owned (and highest projected!) backs was ballsy as hell. A “1st place or bust” approach for sure. For the record, meaganjoy’s next-highest results were 440th and 489th. Take away that one magical lineup, and total profit would have been a whopping… $5. A game of inches!

    One thing that jumped off the page as I perused the results of Week 7’s Milly came at the RB position. Almost all of the sharpest DFS pros were overweight on Damien Harris, and all of them were way overweight on D’Andre Swift. Well, meaganjoy is going to want to commission a bronzed statue of Swift for their front yard because this is the 2nd time D’Andre has brought home a Milly victory. 

    Most pros chose to roster the Darrell Henderson chalk at roughly 50% of the field. Henderson came at 39%, and most of them had him in the 20% range. The few that committed to Hendy did so fully by going above the field at 65-85%. 

    A peek at the WRs shows the biggest stand taken.

    Essentially a $2520 bet on Cooper Kupp. He smashes; we have a chance. If he fails, who cares? I won the Milly 11 months ago!

    Note to self: I should be playing more like this. 

    A fairly common approach by the professional DFS players this week and most weeks; when a player is chalky, get way above or at least 50% under. 

    Some contrarian choices with TE allocations for sure. 

    Noticeably absent from these charts is the presence of any Baltimore Ravens. 

    Wouldn’t it be funny as hell if they accidentally unchecked the Ravens team box before the final optimizer run and then tilted like hell after lock? 

    Most of the sharps just play DST straight. Pick a bunch that seems appealing, set the randomness at “infinite,” cap them at a reasonable number, and move on. No need for galaxy brain ownership and leverage decisions here. Bigger fish to fry. 

    That’s all I’ve got for you this week, folks. Meet me at Hilow and Xandamere’s (yet unnamed?) Discord pod on Saturday. I’ll try to get them to pontificate for 30 minutes on the emergence of DFS leveling and the theoretical efficacy of the “Bring-back Pivot.” I can already envision smoke billowing from Air-Podded ears across the globe! 

    Good luck in Week 8.

    LFG!

    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.

    The goal of this article is to present you with information and 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, and 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.

    Typically a $5 entry fee for the weekly main tournament

    After a $20K prize the first couple weeks, 1st place has been $12K for the last four weeks

    This is a daily fantasy tournament! Right now the edge is that too many players 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 7

    Here we take a look at the five highest-scoring lineups from Week 7, how they were constructed, what we can learn from them, and the most important concepts to keep in mind when drafting a team.

    ScoreQBRBWRWRFlexTE
    154.96StaffordMitchellEvansKuppChasePitts
    154.34TuaTaylorEvansKuppChaseGesicki
    152.76StaffordHarrisEvansKuppChaseKelce
    150.66StaffordSwiftAdamsKuppChasePitts
    149.46StaffordTaylorEvansKuppChaseErtz
    Brief Summary of Five Highest Scoring Lineups:
    • 5/5 with Cooper Kupp and Jamarr Chase
    • 4/5 with Matthew Stafford and Mike Evans
    • QBs: Stafford (x4), Tua Tagovailoa
    • RBs: Jonathan Taylor (x2), Elijah Mitchell, Damien Harris, D’Andre Swift
    • WRs: Kupp (x5), Chase (x5), Evans (x4), Davante Adams
    • TEs: Kyle Pitts (x2), Mike Gesicki, Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz
    • RB-WR-WR-WR (x5)
    Information to Note:

    The only stacks in the top-5 this week were four Stafford-Kupp (+1 Swift) and one Tua-Gesicki

    • QB-WR (x4), QB-TE, QB-WR-OppRB
    • One of the least correlated weeks at the top, as Evans and Chase posted huge scores without a necessary bring-back, and Pitts and Gesicki posted the highest scores in their respective games at the same one-off position
    • As has been the case throughout the season, several different RBs have made the top-5 due to the scores being more clustered together at the top, while a few WRs continue to separate themselves every week
    • Kupp has been on the main slate five times; he’s been on every top-5 roster in four of those five weeks (20/25 overall)

    Most appearances by one player in top-five each week:

    • QB: 4 // 2 // 4 // 4 // 3 // 2 // 4
    • RB: 5 // 5 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 2 // 2
    • WR: 4 // 5 // 5 // 5 // 4 // 5 // 5
    • TE: 3 // 2 // 4 // 3 // 3 // 3 // 2
    • Three times there have been the same two WRs on all five top-5 rosters
    • Of the five times there has been the same WR on all five top-5 rosters, two of them have included another WR on four of the top-5 rosters

    Kelce’s appearances in the top-5 by week: 2 // 2 // 0 // 0 // 1 // 1 // 1

    • While Travis Kelce is still the most uniquely advantageous player for this format due to his unrivaled ceiling at the weakest position, it has yet to come to fruition this season as other TEs are either matching him or out-producing him every week, while one of the other “1st-rounders” is putting up a have-to-have-it score each week (usually Kupp/Davante/Hill)

    Two RBs were drafted on 20/25 top-5 teams through five weeks, but WRs have made a push of late and the last two weeks only 3/10 rosters have utilized two RBs. WRs carry a higher ceiling and we should expect three WRs to be drafted on the highest-scoring teams as the field gets sharper, but with the Half-PPR and no bonuses combined with a relatively softer field, the bankable production of the two RB strategy has been more successful overall through seven weeks. Still, as long as you are in the range of WRs who still carry high ceilings (which should always be the case in these 6-person drafts), WRs should be favored over RBs in the FLEX spot more often than not.

    Just four of the top 35 teams over the first seven weeks have failed to combine for at least 10 TDs (9, 9, 9, 8). 23 of 35 teams have scored 11+ TDs. 13 of 35 teams have scored 13+ TDs. In Half-PPR with no bonuses, TD equity is an extremely valuable commodity.

    This from the last article still holds true: “Each week there are many players or game environments with big-score potential left out of the draft due to the small rosters, but each week taking advantage of a low-owned player could have won you this tournament. WR projections carry such a wide range of outcomes that focusing more on game environments through stacking is the long-term +EV approach to these drafts. Guessing right on a top scorer from five or six different games can work SOMETIMES but, to consistently put yourself in a position to win every week, limiting how many things you need to go right is the best strategy.”

    Story Each Draft Tells

    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. Here I will take a look at two constructions, one in the top-5 and one of my own.

    PHILSHIFLEY80QBRBWRWRFlexTE
    150.66StaffordSwiftAdamsKuppChasePitts

    With his first pick, Phil takes Adams, the highest projected WR on the week in a soft matchup. Adams has the highest TD expectation of any WR in the NFL, making him extremely valuable even in this half-PPR format. Adams is the most likely player available to potentially outscore Derrick Henry and Tyreek Hill. With his next pick, Phil takes a slipping Cooper Kupp (likely to due to fear of blowout), the 3rd highest projected WR of the week. With Darrell Henderson going very early in drafts, Kupp’s success leverages those rosters taking Henderson. With his next pick, Phil takes Chase, a WR with a massive ceiling but with a perceived difficult matchup. Phil has now made bets on 3 WRs who have all shown very high floors and very high ceilings in 2021. Pitts was coming off his best game of the season, in a game environment expected to carry lots of pass volume, and basically functions as a WR at the TE position (similar to the other dominant TEs like Kelce/Waller). Pitts is one of the few TEs capable of matching Kelce/Waller/Andrews ceilings. For his first stack, Phil takes Kupp’s QB, betting on the success of Kupp going hand-in-hand with Stafford. And to finish his team with a final correlation, Phil takes Swift, betting on the Lion with the highest touch expectation and projection to be the player that pushes Kupp and Stafford into more volume in a perceived blowout spot. So the final story is a Stafford-Kupp-Swift stack featuring the expected highest scorers from that game, two players with among the highest ceilings at their positions (Adams, Pitts), and a WR on a team expected to pass heavily vs a defense that is potentially being overrated by the field.

    LexMiragliaQBRBWRWRFlexTE
    105.64RyanHenryPittmanDeeboFournettePitts

    With my first pick, I took Derrick Henry as the highest projected player on a week missing all of Christian McCaffrey, Alvin Kamara, Dalvin Cook, Austin Ekeler, Ezekiel Elliott, Nick Chubb, Najee Harris, and James Robinson at the RB position. Henry also gave me access to the best-expected game environment on the slate. Taking Deebo Samuel with my next pick, I was betting on the #1 WR vs a defense getting crushed by WRs in 2021 and with multiple weeks of huge ceilings already this year. Deebo’s ceiling this season is one of the few to compete with Adams/Hill/Kupp. Leonard Fournette gave me access to one of the large favorites of the week, while also leveraging the success of the popular TB WRs (Evans/Godwin). My first correlation came with the selection of Michael Pittman, betting on the #1 WR on the opposing side of Deebo. SF’s secondary has been ravaged by injury and IND was down TY Hilton and Parris Campbell, securing a high target expectation for Pittman. Both IND and SF are tougher to run on than pass on, therefore both Deebo and Pittman set up for potential target bumps. Pitts was coming off his best game of the season in a game environment expected to carry lots of pass volume and functions as a WR at the TE position (similar to the other dominant TEs like Kelce/Waller). Pitts is one of the few TEs capable of matching Kelce/Waller/Andrews ceilings. I took Matt Ryan with my final pick as a way to include a final stack, as well as give me access to any other ATL passing points that didn’t flow through Pitts. Calvin Ridley was a popular player this week, therefore getting his QB and the player most likely to leverage Ridley’s success in Pitts was a way to get strong pieces from one of the most underrated game environments on the slate. Ultimately, no one on this roster failed but none of the players outside of Pitts popped off for big games capable of matching the outputs of Kupp/Chase/Evans/AJ Brown.

    Thoughts on Week 8

    This from the last article still holds true: “Recency bias is going to keep playing a role in ADP of these drafts. So, certain guys that have underperformed against expectations recently are likely to keep slipping to the ends of drafts. Keep this in mind when drafting, because you likely don’t have to go “way off the board” to seek upside, but rather try to find it in guys we still expect big things from, but for whatever reason, they haven’t had their big game yet.”

    Based on UD’s projections, these are the players most likely to be drafted in the first round (meaning the majority of the time you will only end up with one of them): Henry, Kupp, Kamara, Ekeler, Swift, Darrell Henderson, Stefon Diggs, Josh Allen

    None of Kelce, Waller, or Andrews are on the main slate, which most likely means TE is going to be the most frequent final drafted position. Pitts sees the biggest value boost as a result (meaning he should be targeted earlier this week), as well as TJ Hockenson just behind him. 

    • Tyler Higbee faces the worst TE defense in 2021 and has yet to have a big game despite one of the best TE route shares in the NFL.
    • Adam Trautman is projected for 3.1, meaning he will be unowned, but he has 43 and 36 rec yds in the last two weeks, TB has allowed strong TE production under Bowles, and the Saints carry their highest expected passing volume of the season vs TB
    • Ricky Seals-Jones is playing 100% of the snaps and is just the 13th highest projected TE

    RBs facing defenses allowing tons of RB production: Ekeler, Darrell Henderson, Swift, Joe Mixon, Robinson.

    • All get goal-line work, all have high touch expectations, all are used in the passing game
    • Damien Harris vs LAC is also a good matchup, however he doesn’t share the same touch expectation of the other guys mentioned here (he’s also opened 16th in RB projections, meaning he will be extremely low-owned)
    • Kenneth Gainwell is 22nd in RB projections, but Miles Sanders is very questionable

    WRs outside the top-15 projected with fairly high ceilings in positive matchups: Courtland Sutton, Tyler Lockett, Marvin Jones, Tee Higgins, Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, Chase Claypool

    • Michael Pittman is interesting depending on health of TY Hilton
    • Marquez Callaway is still the #1 WR in a spot with higher pass volume expectation
    • Emmanuel Sanders and Cole Beasley see slight boosts with Dawson Knox going down and leverage #2 projected Stefon Diggs
    • Devonta Smith faces easiest matchup of the season vs DET

    Leverage of some of the aforementioned WRs: Julio → AJ Brown, Henry // Higgins → Chase, Joe Mixon // Lockett → DK Metcalf // Smith → Goedert // Claypool → Najee Harris, Diontae Johnson // Pittman → Jonathan Taylor // MJJ → James Robinson

    Always look for guys with high ceilings that are being overlooked by the field, but don’t go so far off the board you roster players without top-5 ceilings at their positions.

    Deconstructing The Slant

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