Thursday, Sep 5th
Monday, Sep 9th

The Scroll Thanksgiving Scroll



    The DFS Slate

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    OWS Fam!

    Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Black Friday!

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    I also want to hammer the fact that NBA Props profit is up to $1,448…and the price of the package (for Black Friday) is down to $599. There are seven months of NBA remaining. There are only 37 spots remaining.

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    A Quick Shoutout To The OWS Fam

    What an unbelievable season it’s been.

    There were too many binks and big finishes from the OWS Fam this last weekend to shout out all of them here, but I want to particularly shout out mit846 for taking down over $80,000 this last weekend, and also want to shout out mcron05 and FelixChar for continuing the 2023 OWS domination of The Slant. Mcron05 took down the OWS Fam’s second Slant win of the season, while FelixChar grabbed his fifth top-12 finish in The Slant across eight weeks of MME play.

    (Reminder: $39 rest-of-season Bink Machine!!! Start applying the MME lessons we’ve been hitting on throughout the year!)

    With that, let’s get to an early look at BOTH of this week’s slates.

    Thanksgiving ’23 Angles

    We have a wild one on our hands this year, with a slate that mirrors what this season has offered throughout: Three games on this slate, with the closest spread on the slate being 7.0 points. (Wow!)

    The Lions (27.25) are taking on the Packers (19.75) in a rematch of a game the Lions won 34-20 in Week 4 (after entering halftime with a commanding 27-3 lead). The Lions had 43 rush attempts and only 28 pass attempts in that one, with David Montgomery popping for 37.1 DraftKings points on the back of 100+ yards and three touchdowns on the ground.

    The Cowboys (30.0) are taking on the Commanders (19.0) in a clash between one of the hottest passing attacks in the NFL and a Washington defense that ranks dead last in pass defense DVOA. The Commanders are one of the most pass-aggressive offenses in the NFL as well, which could lead to this game developing into something genuinely exciting…but Sam Howell is also on track to take a historic number of sacks, which could lead to this game turning ugly against the aggressive, opportunistic Cowboys defense.

    And finally, the 49ers (25.0) are traveling to take on the Seahawks (18.0) in a game with a wide range of outcomes. These teams met three times last year (playoffs included), with the 49ers scoring 27 (Jimmy G), 21 (Purdy), and 41 (Purdy), while holding the Seahawks to 7 // 13 // 23.

    On short slates, one of the best things you can do is “focus on telling cohesive stories” with your rosters — though you also, ideally, want to both A) find a way to be unique, while B) playing good plays.

    A good example of what I mean by this was the 2020 Thanksgiving slate — when I was able to take down the Game Changer by building for a scenario of “Washington dominating Andy Dalton and the Cowboys,” while most of the field was building for a scenario of “Dallas controlling this game on the ground.” Antonio Gibson (100+ yards // three touchdowns) helped Washington storm out to a lead, which neutralized an immensely popular Ezekiel Elliott (3.9 DK points) — allowing me to carve out a clear path to the top of the leaderboards by getting just one thing right.

    In the NFL Edge, The Scroll, and The Oracle (for Inner Circle members!), we’ll be diving into some valuable angles around potential ways to attack this one — but as you think through things, ask yourself what stories you want to tell, and how these stories might be able to separate you from the field.

    Week 12 Content Schedule

    The Angles Pod should come out at the regular time.

    The NFL Edge will be written and submitted to editors by 6 PM Eastern, so expect the full Edge to be live that evening/night (with pieces of it going up throughout the day). (My DFS Interpretations will be completed by the time the Edge goes live as well.)

    The Scroll will go live throughout the day on Saturday (with pieces — including my Player Grid — going live on Friday evening/night).

    The Slate pod (for Inner Circle!) will run at its normal time.

    Lots to get to.

    Enjoy the Black Friday deals(!).

    I’ll see you at the top of the leaderboard throughout the week.

    Mike’s Player Grid

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

    The Format

    My “Player Grid” for the Thanksgiving slate will take the format of my usual “Afternoon Only” article that I do every Sunday. A full-fledged Player Grid just didn’t feel like the right way to try to break down this slate with only three games on it and such a limited player pool to begin with. Rather, this slate very closely resembles what we see every Sunday with only three to four games in the late window. The added caveat on Thanksgiving is that we get time between each game to learn from what has happened already and the ownerships that have flipped over.

    QB Strategy ::

    • Quarterback is always an important position, but that importance goes to another level on these small slates. There are two main reasons for this. First, on average quarterbacks obviously score the most points of any position and we can only start one of them. Second, as noted above correlation is even more important as the slates get smaller and there are fewer scoring opportunities to go around. By choosing the right quarterback, you are also increasing the chances that you are right at two other positions. Again, the shorter slate condenses the scoring across all lineups, making each position more vital to separating and giving yourself a chance to win. This is why quarterback strategy has its own section:
      • Dak Prescott has been on an absolute tear recently and now faces possibly the worst pass defense in the league on a short week. The Commanders just got torched by Tommy DeVito. Dak is not a guarantee to end up as the “optimal” QB, but regardless of ownership, he is a terrific play.
      • Brock Purdy and Jared Goff are the other two quarterbacks of the “favorites” on the slate and are likely to carry the next two highest ownerships after Dak. Goff has the better “matchup” while Purdy is coming off the huge game and has more playmakers that can do the work for him. 
      • Jordan Love and Sam Howell are pretty interesting GPP options on the short slate.
      • It’s hard to trust Geno Smith with a bum arm or Drew Lock against the 49ers. Stranger things have happened, but within the context of the slate and with the loose pricing I don’t think that whoever Seattle starts at QB is a very good play even at very low ownership. Even if they have a good game, the other spots on the slate feel strong enough and easy enough to find the salary that the “risk” probably won’t help you gain that much. 

    My guess on final ownership::

    • Dak Prescott – 35-50%
    • Brock Purdy and Jared Goff – 12-20%
    • Jordan Love, and Sam Howell – 6-12%
    • Geno Smith – Sub-5%

    Defense Strategy ::

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    Willing To Lose

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

    The Thanksgiving Slate is awesome for a few reasons. First, you get to watch with family (typically, and sometimes begrudgingly so). Second, because there are just three games, it’s the greatest mix of the predictability of a main slate with the volatility of a Showdown. As we look at the way this slate shapes up, we have three projected dominant outcomes. Lions by 7.5, Cowboys by 11, and the 49ers by a touchdown. While covering the spread is essentially a coin toss, we know the NFL doesn’t subscribe to how it should play out on paper. It’s on us, the predictors, to identify which of these games can have a flipped script, which underdog will hang in there and give the favorite a contested matchup or pull off an upset victory, or . . . if all three favorites here dominate and win (boring). In the wise words of Chris Berman, “that’s why they play the games.”

    A Showdown slate allows us to analyze the player pools and really dig into the matchups at every level to see where the best on-paper matchup lies, and where the off script outcomes present themselves. We can do the same here through a simple narrative exercise. We have the Packers, with Jordan Love coming off his best game of the season, but likely down Aaron Jones, squaring off with the Lions defense on which both the Bears and Chargers moved the ball easily. The Commanders, with a banged up Sam Howell and a head coach ripe to be fired, at perhaps their lowest point in the season, getting the tough Cowboys defense. And finally, the Seahawks, limping into this one with a starting quarterback with an injured elbow and a matchup with the 49ers, who are firing on all cylinders. In order to build effective DFS lineups on this slate, force yourself to envision the outcomes of all three games. We have to find our “just right” outcomes across the three games. Too hot would be all three favorites winning and covering. Too cold would be something like all three underdogs winning their matchups outright. Just right likely lies somewhere in between. And while it’s difficult to envision which of these underdogs can find success, this is the thought exercise I am going through on this slate. 

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    Despite these all being divisional matchups, I was surprised when I realized the only one that has happened already this season was the Packers // Lions. The Lions dominated that game in Week 4 when David Montgomery returned from injury and had 32 carries and three touchdowns. We know using solely the past to predict the future is lazy, but since it’s the only one that has happened already this season, we can use this to our advantage to realize many will see this previous game and assume the same outcome, a dominant Lions win. Without the presence of a previous matchup this season for the other games, my angle here is leaning into the Packers, as the likeliest underdog to make some noise, while the Cowboys (even if they never cover the spread on Thanksgiving) and 49ers have enough positive momentum and facing injured quarterbacks leads me to believe they’ll enjoy the same success this week. With this in mind, here is how I am looking to exploit these three true outcomes on Thanksgiving (and enjoy the holiday, everyone!):

    Christian Watson + Packers Tight End

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    The Oracle

    The Greatest “Cheat Sheet” In DFS

    Each week in The Oracle, OWS team members will take on the key strategy questions from that week’s slate :: sharing their thoughts on how they plan to approach these critical elements from a roster-construction, game theory, and leverage perspective.

    Thanksgiving Topics

    1. Contest Selection and Bankroll

    2.  Late Swap and Adjustments

    3. Getting Unique

    4. Value Plays

    1. Contest Selection and Bankroll

    The Question ::

    NFL DFS on Thanksgiving can be a wild ride and extremely fun. Especially since the NFL moved a few years ago to having three games on the day, it’s pretty much a full day of football and fun. The tricky thing about this is that it is such a unique slate and many of us have a lot of other commitments on this day. It is easy to be tempted by an extra day of football at this point in the season, especially with the monster contests that the sites offer, but the nature of the slate is so unique that there is a tight line to balance of playing too much and overextending the bankroll.

    Considering the nature of the day, size of the contests, and small number of games – do you have a preferred approach from a contest selection (size, price, and format) and/or bankroll approach?

    Also, do you have any thoughts on how everyone’s focus on this slate potentially affects Week 12 preparation and strategy due to the quick turnaround?

    The Answers ::
    Xandamere >>

    I personally always set aside time on Thanksgiving for DFS (sometimes to my wife’s dismay) – to Mike’s point, a lot of people are playing very casually on this slate, they might set a lineup but they won’t check in throughout the day and late swap, and so to me this is one of the largest edge slates of the season. That doesn’t mean you’ll always be profitable on it, of course, as sharp rosters flop all the time…but the +EV is there. 

    Normally on a short slate, I don’t enter as much volume as I would on a main slate, but Thanksgiving is the exception to me here. Personally, I treat it like a regular main slate and try to get around my normal full slate buy-ins, because I feel like the edge is great and I want to hammer it. That approach may not work for you, though! If you go this route, make sure you have the appropriate amount of time to dedicate to DFS, both in prep before the slate and then being able to watch the slate as it progresses – one of the biggest advantages of Thanksgiving DFS is how the games are spread out, which allows you to assess where you are and react by swapping, and if you aren’t able to utilize this edge, I would recommend either not playing or just playing a modest amount for fun.

    TL;DR – only enter as many rosters as you feel you can effectively watch and swap if needed. 

    JM >>

    I LOVE this question; it’s one I would not have thought to ask, but it’s one I have consciously been making decisions around this week.

    Because my family is always traveling at Thanksgiving AND we have two “main slates” this week from a content perspective, I typically head into Wednesday evening thinking I won’t be playing this slate…and then, by Wednesday night, I find myself thinking, “Well, I’ve put in all this work on this slate; let’s see if I can find some rosters that give me an edge.”

    Of course, at this point, I’ve followed this pattern enough times (and had enough big days on the Thanksgiving slate), that I’m now aware of the fact that I am definitely playing this slate.

    Typically (due to the size of the slate and the time constraints I face on this week), I end up focusing on the $1500 single-entry tourney (where I’ve had an absurdly high cash rate over the years on Thanksgiving, and where I took down first place in 2020), and that’s currently my expectation for this year.

    What’s interesting to me here is that Xandamere’s answer is sort of the opposite: ‘I see a bigger edge here than normal, so I typically attack with my normal Main Slate allocation.’ Notice that Xandamere has TONS of experience on smaller slates, whereas I have very little experience on smaller slates (my only “nights with no work” during football season are Sunday night and Monday night, so I use those spaces to recharge, and rarely play Showdowns on those days, and don’t play the Monday-to-Thursday; then on Thursdays, I’m working on the NFL Edge, all of which leaves me thin on short-slate experience). In other words: Identify your strengths, and play to them. Get some action in play on your end (it’s a great slate to play!), but don’t feel like you “have to” attack it heavily. Remember: every bit of bankroll you put in play should be put in play intentionally, and you should never be giving up edges. If you aren’t seeing YOUR edge on this slate, pull back a bit. If you ARE seeing your edge on this slate, attack a bit more fully.

    Hilow >>

    Bankroll be damned, I love taking shots on the absurdly negative EV of the Milly Maker on Thanksgiving. That slate just hits different for some reason for me. Maybe it’s because for as long as I can remember I’ve been throwing bullets at the Milly Maker on Thanksgiving and sweating it with family. It does a couple of things for my mentals – it helps break up the season as the Thanksgiving slate comes at the three-month point after I’ve been grinding content and contests for a while, it helps me reset for the last two months of the regular season, and it’s a tradition of some sorts for me. All of that to say, the Thanksgiving slate is more casual for me – and that’s okay! I’ll probably put $500 or so into the Milly Maker and have fun with it. That said, I’ll make it as +EV as possible by paying attention throughout the day.

    Mike >>

    There is a ton of edge on this slate, but it can also be super hard to realize that edge in a huge way because of the likelihood of duplicate lineups and soft pricing. I like to play a few higher $ entries in smaller fields as those present more realistic paths to a big score, but also like to build a lot of different lineups in MME-style contests as there are a lot of fun, creative ways to give yourself a sweat going into the last game and the uniqueness of the ability to late swap and exploit variable change (explored in the next question) makes this slate one of a kind in a lot of ways. For this Thanksgiving, on Draftkings I will be playing the Spy ($100 SE), Red Zone ($50 SE), and “Five Course Feast” ($33 5-Max) as my main focus – while also throwing 20 entries in the big $1 and $3 20-max tournaments for some extra fun. On Fanduel I will play some lineups in the $4.44 tournament with an MME approach, although I doubt I will “max” it. I’ll also throw one or two lineups in the $55 “Bomb” for a more realistic sweat.

    2. Late Swap and Adjustments

    The Question ::

    One of the most +EV things that is available to us on any DFS slate is the ability to late swap. The fact of the matter is that extra information is available to us after each game completes and we can use the information from the game’s results as well as ownership to help us make the best decisions going forward. As a bonus, a very small percentage of our competition actually uses this option. While we don’t always have to make the swap, at least looking at it and considering it can help us in all types of contests. The extra unique thing about this slate is that there is usually 30 minutes to an hour between each game ending and the next one starting, giving us actual time to have the complete information and a bit of time to dissect how we want to use that information – this is very different from a usual Sunday NFL DFS slate where most games are still going on when the second wave of game kickoff.

    With all of that in mind, do you have any specific strategies you use prior to or during the Thanksgiving slate in regards to late swap?

    The Answers ::

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    Thanksgiving Strategy

    StatATL has a math degree and a background as a financial analyst, and has blended an analytical, numbers-driven approach with an “OWS mindset” to rack up over $100,000 in lifetime DFS profit while maintaining low weekly buy-ins

    Thanksgiving Strategy

    On a small slate, like this upcoming three gamer for Thanksgiving, one of the biggest mistakes our competition will make in terms of roster construction will be thinking about certainty or safety (what’s likeliest to happen) first and building around that. It’s essential to realize that if you construct your entire roster with what is most likely to happen in all three games, you will be highly duped and won’t win much even if your lineup finishes 1st.

    It’s also critical to remember that we are not building to maximize points, but instead are constructing each roster with how to maximize our chance to get first place. Wait, what? Are you saying I don’t want to try to score the most points??? While that seems counterintuitive, what I mean is to approach each roster with a certain game script in mind, taking a similar approach to how we think about and build for showdown contests.  

    Thanksgiving provides us a unique opportunity unlike almost every other slate, where we can “build the plane as we fly”. This will be further discussed in the strategy section, but as more information becomes available as the games unfold, we can completely change our heading or direction (see what I did there) on where each roster needs to go.

    Finally, keep in mind that you don’t have to be different everywhere; some highly owned players will end up in the optimal. 

    Let’s Dive In

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