Thursday, Sep 5th
Monday, Sep 9th

The Scroll Week 10



    The DFS Slate

    (In One Central Space)

    Meet The Team


    Angles hits inboxes on Thursday mornings throughout the regular season; you can also find Angles in The Scroll on Thursday afternoons.

    OWS Fam! —

    Welcome to Week 10.

    We’re entering the second half of the regular season, and we’re very much entering the stretch of the season where we start to see our greatest edge as a community. The last couple weeks have introduced the early stages of “the fatigue zone” for our competition, and our accumulation of 2023 information/knowledge about teams, coaches, and players is rounding into form in such a way that the most BASIC edge (“being better at knowing who the good plays are”) is reaching its broadest point.

    We had another huge week from the OWS community in Week 9 (the Binks Channel was lighting up throughout Sunday evening), and while we’ve had a truly electric run throughout the first half of the season, this is just the beginning. The second half of the season is ours for the taking.

    Let’s get to it.

    Week 10 Angles:

    One of the most effective ways to capture DST points in DFS is to simply ignore “what you know” about the defenses themselves, and to instead just pay attention to the quarterback each defense is playing. I bring this up for two reasons.

    1) Last week’s list of “QBs we can very obviously consider picking on” included Jaren Hall, Tyson Bagent, Brett Rypien, Clayton Tune, and Aidan O’Connell (a list that doesn’t even include fringe “pick on” guys like Daniel Jones, Mac Jones, Taylor Heinicke, Gardner Minshew, Bryce Young, Jordan Love, etc.).

    2) This week’s list of “QBs we can very obviously consider picking on” includes Tommy DeVito…and that may be it.

    True to recent form, a lot of the games on the weekend are giving us lower totals (out of 10 games, six have an Over/Under below 43.0), but among those lower-total games are Cleveland at Baltimore (the last time these teams played, in Cleveland, the Ravens scored 28, and Lamar Jackson put up a tourney-worthy score), Falcons at Cardinals (would it surprise us if Kyler Murray starts in this one, and this game plays to the upside?), and Giants at Cowboys (with the Cowboys implied to score 27.0 — the second-highest implied team total on the slate). Additionally, this slate provides us with C.J. Stroud and the Texans traveling to take on Joe Burrow and the Bengals (the Bengals — at 27.25 — have the highest implied team total on the slate), Brock Purdy and the 49ers traveling to Jacksonville off their bye to see if they can start another streak of 30-point games against a Jags team that is capable of keeping pace, the Lions (25.5) traveling to take on the Chargers (23.0) in a clash of high-upside offenses, and the pass-happy (shootout-happy) Commanders traveling to Seattle to take on a Seahawks team that will be looking to bounce back after getting embarrassed by the Ravens (Seattle is implied to score 26.0 points).

    The Chiefs, Dolphins, Eagles, and Rams are all on bye this week, which removes plenty of superstar firepower from the slate, while the Bills and Raiders are also playing off the Main Slate, removing a couple more options the field prefers to flock to.

    In addition to all of this, we have some serious recency bias that could impact the way our competition is attacking this slate, with some offenses and/or players who have underperformed lately entering good matchups and/or potential game environments, and with some offenses and/or players who have performed at a high level lately entering poor matchups and/or potential game environments.

    Add it all together, and this could be one of the more interesting, wide-open slates — a slate with a decent shot at some high-end DFS scores being produced, but with a lot of different avenues down which these potential results could be pursued.

    While we will have plenty to get into throughout the weekend (digging down into the second, third, and fourth layers of this slate), one of the thoughts I want to leave you with at the moment is this:

    Separate this week from all others.

    Don’t think of this week in the context of last week, or the week before, or the week before. Instead, think about what might happen on this week’s slate, in this week’s set of games.

    The deeper into the season we get, the more whiplash our competition starts to feel (and the more confused they become), because they tend to put too much weight into “what happened,” assuming this will tell them what is going to happen moving forward. The deeper into the season we get, the more inconsistent the messaging of “what happened” becomes (i.e., teams develop throughout the season, and the NFL is a matchups-based league, and sometimes a team just simply has a really bad day or a really good day, and because of these factors, indicators gathered from “what happened” begin to conflict with one another, creating that whiplash confusion from people who spend too much time looking backward instead of looking forward), and we can gain a material edge on the field if we can instead learn to look toward “what might happen on this particular week.”

    As always, we’ll be doing our best at OWS to sift through the noise and break down the games in a way that allows us to understand what is likeliest to happen in each spot — and we’ll also be doing our best to think about “what might happen,” and how we can take advantage of this.

    We’ll attack with this mindset, and we’ll see where this slate takes us.

    I’ll see you on the site throughout the weekend.

    And as has been the case all season, I’ll see many of you at the top of the leaderboards on Sunday!

    The Workbook

    Majesstik is one of the most respected Slate Breakdown artists in DFS

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    Around The Industry

    Introduced in 2023, ‘Around The Industry’ provides a snapshot of sentiments from respected voices in the DFS and fantasy spaces.

    NOTE 1: Contributors’ scores are tallied each week, with a cash prize going to the leader at the end of the season

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    End Around

    Hilow is a game theory expert (courses at Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and Northwestern) and tournament champion who focuses on mid/high-stakes single-entry/three-entry max


    This slate has a higher median game total than we have seen in quite some time, meaning the score required to ship GPPs is likely to also be higher than we have seen (last week’s 250-point outburst came primarily through one game environment – more on this below) in quite some time. Even with that, the “tale of this slate” cannot be fully told without also mentioning that we’ve had multiple spots of late-week injury news that influence how salary is likely to be spent. That said, the field appears to be reacting to those injury concerns slower than I can remember seeing in recent history, which is likely to lead to a more spread-out slate than we have seen in some time. That creates a unique situation that requires some deeper thought. Let’s dive in!


    Quick explanation :: Restrictive chalk is an expected highly owned piece that restricts the maneuverability of the remainder of your roster while expansive chalk is an expected highly owned piece that allows for higher amounts of maneuverability on the remainder of your roster. Classifying various forms of chalk as either restrictive or expansive allows us to visualize what it means for roster construction on a given slate and how restrictive a certain player might be – meaning more of the field will look similar from a roster construction standpoint with that piece.


    EXPANSIVE CHALK. Trey McBride ranks second in the league (amongst tight ends) in targets per route run rate at 27.4 percent. That said, there are significant uncertainties introduced to this offense with the innumerable changes the team is undergoing heading into Week 10. Kyler Murray returns to the starting lineup for the first time since Week 14 of the 2022 season, where he tore his ACL after just three offensive snaps. He has had three weeks of practice time (with just one week of running with the starters) with a second-year tight end and a rookie WR2. Over the course of Kyler’s career, he has held one of the lowest tight end target rates in the league, ranking second to last in 2022 and third to last in both 2021 and 2020. Particularly on a slate where raw points are likely to be more meaningful than in recent weeks, McBride’s range of outcomes most definitely falls short of being the top overall player in expected ownership.


    NEITHER EXPANSIVE NOR RESTRICTIVE CHALK. As we’ve covered extensively this season, Hockenson has operated in a role largely confined to the short areas of the field, meaning he has very little chance of surpassing 100 yards through the air. He has seen double-digit looks three times this season with five additional games of eight targets or more and has yet to surpass 88 yards. He gets a difficult matchup on paper, his opponent is highly unlikely to completely push the game environment, and his team is implied for just 19.0 points.


    NEITHER EXPANSIVE NOR RESTRICTIVE CHALK. I get it, Mixon carries the top median projection versus salary on the slate. We must also understand that he has yet to score more than 20.0 DK points this season and has cracked 100 yards on the ground once in the previous two seasons.


    NEITHER EXPANSIVE NOR RESTRICTIVE CHALK. Marquise Brown has the fewest number of unknowns amongst Cardinals skill position players but is still being thrown the football from a quarterback seeing his first game action in almost a full calendar year. Brown’s borderline elite 27.7 percent target market share, elite 31.0 percent red zone target share, and solid 25.5 percent targets per route run (TPRR) rate are muted a bit by a less than stellar 21.5 percent TPRR rate against zone coverage this season, which the Falcons find themselves in, at an above average rate. We would also do well to remember that the Falcons have allowed just one quarterback to surpass 250 yards through the air while holding all but Amon-Ra St. Brown and DeAndre Hopkins to 84 yards or fewer this season. 


    RESTRICTIVE CHALK. The top scoring fantasy defense against Tommy DeVito and an offense averaging just 11.2 points per game (worst in the league) and allowing 5.4 sacks per game (worst in the league). I won’t fight this one at ownership.


    NEITHER EXPANSIVE NOR RESTRICTIVE CHALK. Tank Dell ranks top 10 in fantasy points per route run against man coverage and top 18 in yards per route run against zone coverage this season. He holds a solid 14.0 aDOT (11th deepest in the league) and the Bengals have somewhat quietly allowed the deepest defensive aDOT in the league at 9.7 this season. The Bengals also have only 15 hurries this season and have struggled to consistently generate pressure in the backfield, which should allow quarterback C.J. Stroud a cleaner pocket than he’s seen in other spots this season. We’ve seen what he can do when kept clean and when blitzed this season (Bengals carry an above average 24.8 percent blitz rate). Oh, and Nico Collins and his 20.7 percent target market share and 23.1 percent TPRR rate are missing from the lineup this week. Dell has an elite median expectation to go along with an elite ceiling in this spot.


    NEITHER EXPANSIVE NOR RESTRICTIVE CHALK. White is extremely like Joe Mixon on this slate, having not surpassed 100 yards on the ground once this season but carrying a robust pass game role. Even so, he’ll need to score multiple touchdowns to sink you for not playing him this week.


    RESTRICTIVE CHALK. The Bengals will be without Tee Higgins and lead the league in pass rate over expectation (PROE) during the previous month of play. Chase carries an elite 28.3 percent TPRR rate against zone coverage this season, which the Texans have played at the eighth highest rate in 2023. They’ve also allowed explosive plays at the tenth highest rate from zone coverage this season, which spells trouble against the talented wide receiver.


    RESTRICTIVE CHALK. Tony Pollard has cracked 20 DK points once this season, which came way back in Week 1 and required two touchdowns. His efficiency metrics have fallen off a clip when compared to the 2022 season as the team has changed the way they utilize him. The theoretical ceiling is there, but I personally prefer a guy like Travis Etienne at cost.


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    JM’s Player Grid

    JMToWin is a high-stakes tournament champion (Thunderdome, Luxury Box, Game Changer, Wildcat, King of the Hill/Beach, Spy, etc.) who focuses on the DraftKings Main Slate

    OWS Fam ::

    This is not a complete list of all the good plays on the slate

    This is, instead, a look at the player pool I’ll be fishing

    The Grid ::

    Bottom-Up Build

    :: covered in-depth in the Angles Pod (it’s highly recommended that you listen to the breakdown of the roster in order to see the thinking behind it, and in order to understand what we’re talking about when we look at a “bottom-up build”)

    Blue Chips

    :: my “Tier 1” plays: the plays I feel confident leaning into across different types of builds; these players have a high ceiling and a low likelihood of price-considered failure


    :: games, offenses, situations, or scenarios I’ll be looking to build around across my rosters

    Building Blocks

    :: unique player pairings that can be used as foundational building blocks for tournament rosters


    :: players who don’t fit into the categories above — either Upside pieces who don’t have the floor to be Blue Chips (and are not being focused on within my game-focused builds) or players who may not have a strong shot at ceiling, but are worth keeping in mind from a “role” perspective

    Sunday Morning Update

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    Bottom-Up Build

    Full breakdown (of what this is, and what the thinking is behind these players) can (and should) be found in the Angles Pod (on the One Week Season podcast feed).

    Bottom-Up Build
    DK Salary Remaining :: $6.4K

    Sam Howell
    Bijan Robinson
    Rachaad White
    Terry McLaurin
    Jaxon Smith-Njigba
    Michael Wilson
    Logan Thomas
    Rashid Shaheed

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    Week 10 Player Grid Note

    OWS Fam ::

    A unique Grid this week.

    If you don’t typically listen to the Angles Pod, I would recommend doing that (you can find it on the OWS YouTube channel or on the One Week Season podcast feed), as the discussions in the Angles Pod supplement the Player Grid nicely. To summarize, however:

    There are no one-off plays this week that stand out to me as “Blue Chips” or even “Light Blue Chips,” but there are several teams/games that have potential to outperform the rest of the slate.

    I’m always somewhat focused on game environments in my builds, but because of the unique setup/structure of this week, I’ll be even more game-focused than normal in my approach, with three to five spots on every roster of mine likely to be built around “the game scenario I’m building for on that roster.”

    The basic structure of my rosters this week, then (eight spots on a roster before DST) will look something like this:

    1. 3 to 5 spots taken up with game-focused blocks
    2. Remaining RB/TE spots taken up with guys from my RB/TE pools
    3. Remaining WR spots taken up with either A) secondary stacks, or B) players from my two wide receiver lists: “Role-Certain Fillers” and “Low-Floor Ceiling Shots”

    The Player Grid this week is structured accordingly, with game-focused Build Arounds at the top (followed by some fun angles I’ll be playing in the Bink Machine and some specific Building Blocks to consider), followed by my RB, WR, and TE lists.

    Let’s get to it!


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    Building Blocks

    Purdy, Purdy Good
    Purdy + CMC + Aiyuk

    “The 49ers do it again.”

    Why It Works:

    In five of eight weeks this year, Purdy-led stacks would have kept you on a 188- to 228-point pace. All three of the weeks in which CMC cracked 26 points, Purdy and a pass catcher also hit. Most people play CMC as a one-off. I’ll play CMC alongside Purdy and a San Francisco pass catcher.

    How It Works:

    If this stack hits (or if you’re on a variation of this stack that hits), you’ll have a significant head start on the field, with a large number of raw points that most people won’t be getting. Depending on tourney size, you may not have to worry about strategy/ownership at all beyond this stack.


    The story plays out differently, and you don’t get first place — which is really all that matters.

    Not The Way The Field Drew It Up

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    Bink Machine

    A look at some of the rules I’ll be applying in the Bink Machine this week.


    The Bink Machine is now only $79 for the rest of the season(!).

    CMC + Purdy || Purdy + Pass

    CMC has cracked 26 points in three games this year, and in all three of those, stacking him with Purdy and a pass catcher would have been the most +EV way to play things. Going back to last year, CMC has cracked 26 points in seven of 14 games played with Purdy, and stacking him with Purdy and a pass catcher would have been the most +EV way to play things five times. This pair of rules creates a setup of “100% of CMC rosters have Purdy and a pass catcher.” (Rule 1: If playing CMC, include Purdy. Rule 2: If playing Purdy, include one of these three pass catchers.)

    ARSB + Goff

    Amon-Ra St. Brown has scored 30+ DK points four times since the start of last year. In three of those games, Goff hit as well (and he was solid in the other). Given the nature of this week (where a 24-point score from a high-priced guy could still be valuable for the raw score provided — i.e., “Maybe none of the high-priced guys go for 35+”), I don’t necessarily want to box myself out of playing ARSB away from Goff, but I do want to account for the fact that if ARSB truly hits, I’m probably getting Goff correct as well. This rule says that on at least 60% of ARSB rosters, Goff should be played.

    Lamb + Dak

    CeeDee Lamb has scored 28+ DK points four times since the start of last year, and Dak has scored 31+ in three of those. This rule accounts for the fact that “if Lamb is hitting, Dak is probably hitting as well.”


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    If Building For Single-Entry // Three-Entry Max

    This is my narrowest pool, which means it’s the pool likeliest to change a bit as I move deeper into builds. If it changes throughout Saturday night, I’ll add an update in this space.

    If I were building for single-entry // three-entry Max, my tightened-up player pool would be:

    QB ::

    Purdy || Goff || Howell || “Potentially some exposure to the QBs opposite these guys” || “QBs from Bonus Stacks”

    RB ::

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    A Wrap ::

    I’ll see you at the top of the leaderboards this weekend!


    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

    Welcome back to my (Mjohnson86) Player Grid. The format will vary slightly from JM’s Player Grid, as we each see things slightly differently and play in slightly different contests, but should complement his thoughts and content very well for those looking to build their lineups for the week. The format of this article will likely evolve as the season progresses but should provide a lot of value. Enjoy!!

    The Core

    This is a list of players that stand out to me at each position from using my “Checking the Boxes” criteria outlined in my Checking The Boxes course. This list is a starting point, from which I build out lineups using game theory and roster construction concepts (which we will also touch on) with the mindset being to find the best plays with big ceilings. Low ownership is a bonus, but not a must. This section will focus primarily on three positions – running back, tight end, and defense – as the other two positions (quarterback and wide receiver) tend to have more dependent tendencies which I try to attack from other angles (which we will get into in the other sections). I like all of these plays on all sites, unless otherwise noted:

    Running Back ::

    Tier 1
    • Joe Mixon – The Texans defense is solid, but not necessarily elite. Joe Burrow has the Bengals offense rolling and they should score points. Tee Higgins is out and Ja’Marr Chase is a little banged up. The biggest games by Bengals running backs last season came when at least one of Cinci’s star WRs was sidelined. 
    • Bijan Robinson – Elite talent and matchup at a discounted price. The game environment has sneaky shootout potential. Arthur Smith can give us a 40-point game from Bijan whenever he is ready to do so.
    • Alexander Mattison – Should be a feature back with Cam Akers out of the mix and the Saints matchup isn’t as tough as perceived. Mattison is already involved in the passing game and near the goal line. The presence of Josh Dobbs as a running threat should help efficiency as well.
    • Travis Etienne – Four straight games over 20 Draftkings points. An elite workload at a relatively affordable price. The 49ers are another team whose name seems daunting but who have given up some solid production to RBs this year.
    • Aaron Jones – The Packers season is teetering on the brink and Jones is their best hope of pulling off a road upset. Jones touched the ball 24 times in Week 9 and, barring injury, another 20-25 touches this week seems highly likely.
    tier 2 (the big spenders)
    • Tony Pollard, Austin Ekeler, CMC – All of these guys rate out extremely well in my “Checking the Boxes” process. This week I am heavily prioritizing the higher-priced wide receivers, however, so the high salaries of these three make them tougher for me to justify. Pollard is my favorite of the group as he has the lowest salary and best matchup. My biggest concern with him is blowout potential like we saw two weeks ago in the Rams game. Ekeler has an elite ceiling in a potential shootout with the Lions. CMC is the hardest sell of the bunch for me as he only has one 30+ point game on the season but is the highest-priced player on the slate.

    Salary Savers

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    Papy’s Pieces

    Papy is a full-time DFS player, with a focus on high-stakes tourneys, and with hundreds of thousands in lifetime profit

    The Board
    • This Week offers us four respectable totals: Det // LAC (48.5), Cin // Hou (47), SF // Jax (45), and Was // Sea (44.5).
    • Of the four desirable game environments, Det // LAC, Cin // Hou, and Was // Sea stand out as the best games to build around.
    • NYG // Dal has a three-score spread (-17) which might end up making Dallas the largest favorite of the season.
    • The strong and weak game environments have a big gap on this slate making it a good week to favor game full game stacks.
    • Early ownership projections are predicting chalk to form at TE and RB.
    • There are several injuries across the slate that should open volume for mispriced players.
    Pawn –  RB Devin Singletary ($4,700)

    Singletary was chalk last week and burned a large portion of the field when he predictably slammed into the solid front of the pass funnel Buccaneers. Despite his lack of success, Singletary played 75% of the snaps and saw 13 out of 15 RB carries. He also received three targets. No other RB had any targets. Singletary dominated the backfield work in a way we rarely see in today’s NFL, but he did it in one of the worst matchups for RBs. He is priced like a backup and should see as high a snap share as the elite RBs on the slate.  This time, he has a good matchup against a Bengals team that is weaker against the run than the pass, in a game environment that is expected to produce points. He probably won’t win you the week, but he has a great chance to deliver a strong price-considered score. I’ll be using Singletary on my tighter builds to open the salary for slate winners.

    Knight – TE Sam Laporta ($5,700)

    Laporta has bucked the trend of rookie TEs needing a year to adjust to the NFL. He’s in the top five for TEs in targets, catches, yards, and TDs. The Chargers have given up the fourth most receptions and the third most yards to TEs this year. The game environment is expected to be high scoring. If you rely on props too heavily for DFS, you’ll learn the meaning of the saying, “The props lied, my bankroll died,” but they are worth considering for “stand out” props. Laporta’s receiving yards / receiving props stand out for a TE this week. There isn’t an objective reason not to like Laporta in this spot other than salary allocation. I get wanting to punt TE and I’ll have lineups where I don’t pay up for him, but on my rosters that use salary at TE, it’ll be spent on Laporta.

    Bishop – QB Sam Howell ($5,900)

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    Sonic’s MME Pool

    Sonic is a Milly Maker winner and large-field tournament mastermind who focuses on mass-multi-entry play

    Mindful, You Must Be

    Listen to this on Sundays before lock. L.F.G.  

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Description automatically generated

    After my family-induced bye week, I head into Week 10 with clarity and a sense of balance. This slate is guiding me towards the light, clicking on players that have a solid projection but also significant ownership. I’m also drawn to the dark side, with plays that appear scary at first, but carry the potential to separate my lineups from the masses.  

    I’m doing a lot of hand building this week and spending a lot of time focusing on rules and groups for my Bink Machine rosters. Lots of opportunities to leverage the chalk, and as JM has established in his Player Grid, it feels very much like a week based on correlation and leaning into specific game environments.

    Secondary Core-Relations

    We’re always hunting for those high-ceiling combinations to add to our existing game stacks. It’s better to aim at getting four things right instead of trying to hit a nine-way parlay. I’ll lean on a handful of core secondary stacks that will be finessed into lineups whenever feasible.

    Calvin Ridley/Brandon Aiyuk (and/or Christian McCaffrey)

    This grouping will obviously work fine with the associated quarterbacks, but I’ll be jamming these two or three players into stacks that feature other game environments as well. I think it’s very possible that this combo can reach a ceiling without Brock Purdy or Trevor Lawrence posting had-to-have-it scores. CMC will score at least one touchdown on the ground. It’s kind of his thing. If you’ve ever read anything I’ve ever written, you’ll know that if Christian McCaffrey is on a slate, I’ll be overweight. His current projection of 13% has me licking my chops. 

    With Jacksonville’s lacking ability to put pressure on the passer, Purdy should have time to allow Aiyuk to find weakness in the zones. CMC and Aiyuk lead the 49ers with eight and seven red zone targets respectively. 

    *I’ll feel much more conviction on this play if Trent Williams returns from injury. 

    With both teams coming off a bye, we can expect them to have spent time tweaking things that are “almost there”. For the Jags, that means converting some of Ridley’s air yards into touchdown production.

    This game feels as likely as any to push into a back-and-forth affair. If that were to happen, these players, along with the immortal Deebo Samuel, would have had a say in the outcome.

    Kenneth Walker/Seahawks DST

    In a vacuum, the old-school RB/DST pairing doesn’t necessarily provide any significant correlative boost. But Walker provides leverage off Geno Smith stacks which are steaming in ownership as the week progresses, and the Seahawks defense is priced close enough to the potentially uber-chalk Cowboys DST to make for a nice pivot at about a third of the ownership. 

    Walker is a boom/bust play, but that’s why we get him at only 8%. In the absence of Montez Sweat and Chase Young, Rhamondre Stevenson broke off a 64-yard touchdown against Washington last week and yeah, New England is not an explosive unit.

    Mike Evans/Nick Westbrook-Ikhine 

    Do you have a current lineup with two open WR spots, and $5300 per player to spare? You could go chalk with combinations of Tank Dell, Marquise Brown, Diontae Johnson, and Tyler Boyd. Those plays are all awesome. But if your cumulative ownership is already looking like a cash lineup, you may consider the combined ownership of 4% that Evans and NWI provide. We’ve seen Evans break multiple slates over the years and Will Levis’ arm strength is just silly. Throw in the leverage we get off teammates Rachaad White and DeAndre Hopkins, and this makes for a very juicy large-field tournament play. 


    Running Back

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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

    There are parallels to be drawn between evaluating NFL coaches and DFS content providers. Let me explain. First, NFL coaches have to build a team and a coaching staff, manage players, personalities, and media, and then decide which players go on the field. Then, they are also tasked with making adjustments, both in-game and during the week, to further optimize the following week’s game plan. Importantly, their decisions are questioned by many fans and media members, who then ultimately build either support or skepticism for the coach as the season(s) go on. And the more these coaches have a platform, the more we start to learn about their biases, tendencies, preferences, and more.

    DFS content providers are a unique breed. I’ll say we here, as I am fortunate to have a platform to contribute to OWS, but in general providing DFS coaching, strategy, and optimization to the masses (no matter how big or small) is complex. The stakes are a million times smaller, but every content provider balances the overall DFS landscape to sift through the important and unimportant information to put together coherent, unique points of view that readers can consume. With the size of the industry now, the amount of noisy data that exists has never been larger, and while most spend the bulk of their time publishing content, we also want to build lineups that can win. Similar to NFL coaches, the content and rosters need to be adjusted each week, could be adjusted in-contest (late swap), and then each week the slates clear and the process starts all over again in the search for the elusive ever-optimal lineup. Also similar to coaches, content providers have fans, people who either support or scrutinize them, and the more content they put out, the more we learn of tendencies, biases, preferences, and more.

    Evaluate the Evaluators

    Evaluating the success or failures of both of these cohorts directly ties into the last points here. While it’s easy to read, react, and form opinions, keep in mind a concept called evaluate the evaluators. You should always be thinking of this, because all of the output we consume from coaches and content providers has an attached bias or a predetermined structure, and it’s important to think about everyone as non-perfect. 

    Evaluating the evaluators is a simple concept. It forces you, the consumer, to think for yourself, and be a natural skeptic. Thinking of NFL coaches, do we know if we can trust Robert Saleh to put the best man for the job under center for the Jets? No, we don’t know if he can be trusted there. But do we trust he can build a defense with his best 11? Yes, we do because of his history and success as a DC. Do we think Sam Howell can really be this good, or do we think he is boosted by a new OC in Eric Bienemy? Likely, the latter. So if Howell leaves this offense, our expectations should shift. Further, was Geno Smith just in bad situations his whole career before last season? No. So his reversion to the mean that we’ve seen in 2023 really could have been slightly more predictable. Players can emerge from bad coaching, and coaches can emerge from bad players.

    Every single word you read or listen to in the DFS space should be taken with your own spin on it. Most DFS providers have won big in the past. Those performances will be anchored in their writing. For instance, you will almost always get game stacks with me. For some 150-maxers, you’ll get the large player pool guys and the tight and narrows. When you read an article that lists out what seems to be every high-priced WR that week, think of this. Every content producer has a style, and it’s up to you, the consumer, to uncover that style and work it into the way you understand what you read or hear. If I had a nickel for how often I can predict a matchup but played the wrong players, well, you know. So when you read the rest of this piece below, know that I’m typically wrong about the given players, but more often than not some of the logic I can provide will help you more.

    It’s yet another shiny example of why teaching a man to fish is longer-lasting than simply giving a man a fish.

    Brandon Aiyuk + 49ers // Jaguars

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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.

    Week 10 Topics

    1. A Tradition Unlike Any Other

    2. Gem That Unlocks The Slate

    3. Contrarian Approach

    4. Floating Plays

    5. “That was so obvious, how did I not see it?”

    1. What makes this particular slate particularly unique?

    The Question ::

    A weekly staple of The Oracle, what makes this slate particularly unique?

    The Answers ::
    JM >>

    There are two distinct, unique components I’m seeing on this slate — and the slate itself takes on a particularly unique shape when adding these two distinct, unique components together.

    The first thing I’m seeing is a slate without a lot of standout one-off plays. Among all running backs, it won’t be surprising if we don’t see any that end up going for 4x their salary on DraftKings (and if we do see any, it’s likely to be guys on the lower ends of the price range who aren’t providing a true “separator” score), and at wide receiver, we have some pretty clear paths to the highest-price plays underperforming salary-based expectations, while the other ranges of the WR pool don’t provide the clear opportunities for 30-pointers we can typically hunt down.

    The second thing I’m seeing is a number of game environments that have a lot of room to the upside, with opportunity for one or more of these games to really separate from the field.

    While both of these are unique components, they create a particularly unique slate when paired, as this slate — to me — looks like one in which my high-reliability core is going to be less about “having high exposure to a handful of high-confidence plays” and more about “selecting a small number of teams/games to build heavily around.” I expect my rosters to be heavily focused on teams and game environments, with a larger-than-normal pool of clumped-together one-offs I’ll be mixing around matching around these teams/games.

    Xandamere >>

    After a couple of lower-total weeks…we have games with totals! Like, actual, real-sounding totals! On a 10 game main slate, only 4 games are under 40 points, and 5 games are clustered between 43.5 and 48.5 points. A few years ago that wouldn’t sound good, but in 2023, it’s pretty good. So, we have some games with healthy Vegas totals, but we don’t have one clear head-and-shoulders above the rest game, so there isn’t that one huge decision point of “everyone and their brother are investing in this game…do I go there at massive ownership, or cross my fingers and hope it flops?” With a lot of games that could deliver useful environments, this is a slate that we can approach in a whole bunch of different ways, and those are always interesting to me. 

    Hilow >>

    The most unique and interesting aspects of this slate are the relative lack of projectable one-off plays and the fact that the field seems slow to react to the changing dynamics as the week has progressed. We spent a lot of time talking about those two theoretical components of the Week 10 slate on The Slate podcast, so check that out if you missed the show this morning!

    Mike >>

    The most unique thing I am seeing about this slate is how many games we have that have the potential to turn extremely pass-heavy whether that is due to strong run defenses, offenses that rely heavily on the pass, or a combination of the two. Games that feel like they fit that criteria, include: SF // JAX, WAS // SEA, HOU // CIN, TEN // TB, and DET // LAC. We just saw last week when the Texans and Bucs game took off into the stratosphere due to those circumstances. 

    The second thing that stands out to me as “unique” for this week is the state of the running back position. It really does feel thin as most of the backs with the most secure workloads are very expensive and seemingly have narrow paths to “ceiling” games while the best on-paper RB plays in the mid-tier of salary (Pollard, Mixon, Bijan) have a history of disappointing.

    2. Gem That Unlocks The Slate

    The Question ::

    In Week 9, we saw the Texans and Bucs game combine for 76 total points and absolutely blow up the slate. We once again have a smaller 10-game main slate this week and we don’t have as many “duds” as past weeks have presented. There are multiple spots where both defenses would be considered some level of a “pass funnel” and a couple of spots where two very good offenses are facing off. With all of that in mind, which game do you think is most likely to combine for a huge point total that ends up as the key to the slate?

    The Answers ::

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    Thanks for hanging out with us in The Oracle this week

    We’ll see you at the top of the leaderboards this weekend!


    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 whole idea behind this piece of content is that it is unique. Specific content and strategies for the “non-main slate” contests are very rare in the DFS industry and most players who enter them are casual players or doing so on a whim after their main slate entries had things go wrong, and they want something to root for or to chase their losses during the late games. Edges are getting harder and harder to find in DFS as information gets better, projections get sharper, and the field gets more experienced. These smaller slates present a clear opportunity and advantage for those that focus on them, as most players will just take their thoughts from the main slate and approach these lineups the same way without considering how much having seven to nine fewer games (depending on the week) changes the strategy. The biggest win of my career came on an “Afternoon Only” slate in January of 2021, and I hope to share some of my insights on the format to help you attack this niche corner of NFL DFS.

    This Week’s Slate
    • Only 10 games on the Main Slate, but we are back to four games on the afternoon slate and three of them have shootout potential while the fourth game features the team (Dallas) most likely to score 40+ points this week.
    • It feels like I’ve suggested this several times this year, but once again have a situation where playing lineups entirely from the afternoon games on the main slate makes sense. Only six games on the “early” slate and the two highest total games are SF // JAX (a game with two elite defenses) and HOU // CIN (a game with two good defensive coaches facing offenses that have injury issues). I won’t be surprised if winning scores from the afternoon slate are very close to winning scores from the main slate.
    • There don’t appear to be any injury issues we are waiting for word on and the weather looks great in three of the four locations (Seattle will be somewhat chilly and may have a little rain).
    • The Lions backfield feels like the best leverage spot for tournaments on this slate, as the elevated price tags for Jahmyr Gibbs and David Montgomery while sharing the workload makes them difficult to project well. However, on a shorter slate with several other situations likely to limit RB production there is a good chance that one of these Lions RBs ends up on winning rosters.
    • Overstacking the Cowboys seems very viable on this shorter slate. If they have a dominant performance and you can get all their pieces together you can separate yourself quickly. Most people will likely try to bet on one area getting the majority of the production with Pollard, Dallas passing game, or Dallas defense. Playing multiple or all parts of that together may be underutilized relative to the likelihood of Dallas smashing.
    • The Commanders are almost certainly going to have a high volume of pass attempts again and their receivers are relatively cheap. Other than Terry McLaurin, none of the other WR/TE options are likely to be near the top of their positions in ownership but at least one of them is likely to post a solid to great DFS tournament score.
    Ownership Strategy
    • Ownership will be higher for pretty much every player on “short slates” just because there are fewer players to choose from. This will be especially true for “chalky” players from the main slate.
    • This means getting these players right is even more vital than on a main slate. There are fewer alternatives to choose from so if they have a big game and you aren’t on them it is much harder to find other ways to make up those points.
    • This also means it is easier for lower owned players to pay off, as there are fewer players at their position that they need to have “fail” for them to be worth the risk.
    • Correlation is even more important than on the main slate because the useful fantasy games that pay off for the slate are likely to be clumped up from the same games. I always make lineups with a game stack (QB + at least one pass catcher + at least one opponent) and then one or two “mini-correlations” from other games.
    QB Strategy

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    Late Swap

    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

    Need more late swap education? Read this free educational article on Late Swap

    Outlook – Late Games:

    Week 10 offers us another small 10 game slate with chalk forming at some very intriguing places, including the two highest in terms of projected ownership to be Trey Mcbride and TJ Hockenson. This sets up to be a week where building around game environments is likely the optimal way to go and we’ll discuss how we can utilize that knowledge to our advantage below.

    Important Early Outcomes to Watch:
    • Christian McCaffrey & Travis Etienne – Facing off against each other, these two carry the highest ceilings at the position (as well as likely the highest floors), and both are projecting for modest ownership.
    • Bengals WRs – With Tee Higgins already ruled out and Ja’Marr Chase a game-time decision, all of Tyler Boyd, Trenton Irwin, and Andrei Iosivas should all see increased volume. If Chase were to miss, I would say it’s more likely than not, that one of Boyd, Irwin, Iosivas (or Mixon) would end up on tournament-winning lineups based on their cheap salaries and likely increased volumes.  
    • Dallas DST – The Cowboys currently project to carry twice the ownership as any other DST and are $4,400 this week. This is a great matchup for them, at home facing Tommy Devito, however, if they put up 20+ points, they will need to be accounted for.  
    • Blow Up Game Environments – Like last week, there is a good chance that one game environment separates itself from the others, and if that occurs on the early slate, will need to be accounted for.  
    • Slate Breakers – Such as Ja’Marr Chase’s 55 DK point performance in week 5 or CJ Stroud’s 46 points last week.
    Price Range Breakdowns (Late Games):

    $7,100 and up:

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    Battle Royale

    Lex is a matchup researcher who focuses his play on Underdog’s Battle Royale contest

    Welcome to Week 10!

    If you are new to this contest or just want to get a bigger picture of the first two years of the contest, here is my review of the top Battle Royale rosters in 2021 and 2022.

    For this week, I’ll be hitting on some of my thoughts on each position and updating some trending stats. Let’s get started!

    Looking at Week 10

    This week has a bit of everything, from missing elite QBs, thin RB depth, and both missing and questionable elite WRs. This week looks like another that will produce a lower-than-average winning score, making double stacks more viable and making it more important to find those under the radar guys that drafters are overlooking. Last week, CJ Stroud stacks were overlooked past grabbing Nico Collins, and even the popular PHI/DAL game had viable double stacks that went under owned. There are constant opportunities in this contest to scroll down and find players with high ceiling outcomes who are going overlooked just by a matter of not being in the top 36 ADP that basically forms off Underdog’s projections.


    Notable QBs missing from the slate: Patrick Mahomes, Jalen Hurts, Tua Tagovailoa, Josh Allen, Justin Fields, Matthew Stafford

    Top 6 QBs by ADP: Joe Burrow, Dak Prescott, Lamar Jackson, Justin Herbert, CJ Stroud, Jared Goff

    Not that this is the right strategy for every draft, but I will be looking at double-stack options this week whenever it makes sense given the offensive environments we have to work with. Burrow and Dak have double stack options but some game questions, whereas Goff, Herbert, Geno, Howell, Purdy, and Lawrence are all expected to play in a competitive game and come with several strong stacking partners for 6 and 12 man drafts.


    • Geno Smith vs WAS: WAS’s pass defense has been struggling mightily all year, and they recently shipped off two of their best pressure generators on the defensive line. Geno’s stock is low coming off a tough week, and without a big game since Week 2, but this is a great time to buy, especially on a week missing many elite options. Seattle Geno has shown that 300+ yards and 3 TDs are within his range of outcomes if Pete Carroll is forced to let the offense throw more, and with a very capable WAS offense on the other side against a still weak Seattle pass defense, this game environment could take off. SEA is one of only 3 teams implied for 26+ points (SEA, CIN, DAL). 
    • Jared Goff @ LAC: While the Chargers defense could be improving, they’ve also just played Tyson Bagent and Zach Wilson. Goff and the Lions have been one of the best offenses in football in 2023, and they will have a full complement of weapons for the first time all season. The Lions have multiple ways to attack the weaknesses of this LAC defense, and Goff has already demonstrated a high ceiling in this offense. Herbert and co. should be able to make this game competitive as well.

    Notable RBs missing from this slate: Jonathan Taylor, Rhamondre Stevenson, Breece Hall, Josh Jacobs, Raheem Mostert, D’Andre Swift, Isiah Pacheco, James Cook, Javonte Williams

    Christian McCaffrey should be locked into the 1.01 this week, as there’s a clear tier break between him and the rest of the guys on the slate this week. Most of the RB plays I’m interested in this week are guys who have been coming off some down weeks and have taken ADP hits as a result. The guys below are all in the best matchups they’ve had in weeks, and I’m trying to get back on board at their depressed prices.


    • Kenneth Walker vs WAS: While this defense is easier to pass on than run on, we know what the SEA offense prefers to do, and Walker is fully capable of busting some big runs in this matchup. He’s still the lead back in positive game scripts, and SEA being a 6+ point home favorite against a defense trending the wrong way is a good spot for this home run hitter. If this game environment turns into some of the higher scoring SEA games we’ve seen over the last couple of years, it’s possible for Walker to hit big alongside one of the WRs as well. Double SEA stacks are going to be inherently more unique in this contest.
    • Tony Pollard vs NYG: Pollard has not had the kind of year even the bigger pessimists probably expected, but he’s also had a run of really tough matchups. The NYG defense has been burned by RBs all year, including Pollard himself in Week 1, and a 27.5 point team total as a home favorite is a great setup. RB is not deep this week, and Pollard is already discounted several rounds from where he started the year (he’s already climbed a full round from the contest open this week), so this is a spot I’m looking to jump back on earlier than later. His pass catching role and paths to ceiling always make him stackable with Dak as well.
    • Joe Mixon vs HOU: Mixon still owns all the usage in this backfield, Ja’Marr Chase is questionable, CIN is favored at home, and the matchup sets up well for Mixon to succeed in any gamescript. Rachaad White is the only RB to really “go crazy” vs HOU, but Mixon has a very similar role to White, and the depth at the position this week makes this one of the better spots to get a helpful score.
    • Bijan Robinson @ ARI: His stock has taken a hit over the course of the season, mostly due to his usage rather than his actual play, but coming off multiple losses and a hammering from media and fans alike, we can only hope this is the week he sees more high-value touches. If he was going early then that would not be the bet I would want to make, but given that he’s currently fallen to the RB7 on the week going in the 3rd-4th rounds, I am more willing to take the chance on him again in a matchup that has ceded four 100-yard runners, and two more over 80 yards. Even if his usage just returns to early season levels, he sets up well here in a game environment that could get interesting depending on Kyler Murray’s return on the other side.

    Notable WRs missing from this slate: Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, AJ Brown, Devonta Smith, Cooper Kupp, Puka Nacua, Stefon Diggs, Garrett Wilson, Davante Adams, Jakobi Meyers, Courtland Sutton, Michael Pittman, DJ Moore, Adam Thielen

    WR is missing an abundance of talent this week, and even some of the best guys on the slate have concerns (Chase/Higgins-Q, Lamb-blowout, SF-everyone healthy). There is a lot better value at WR late than there is for RBs, and in the 12-man drafts especially I am looking at more doubles than usual (DET, SEA, and WAS all come to mind) as the winning score is likely to be lower than average again this week.


    • DK Metcalf vs WAS: Metcalf is possibly my favorite play of this week (which could surely go extremely poorly). WAS has one of the worst pass defenses in football and has particularly struggled against some bigger-bodied pass catchers (AJB, London, Waller, DJM). Metcalf has had a run of some extremely difficult matchups, all while playing through multiple injuries, so this spot is one I’m running to jump back on board. I do think he’s best played across WAS pieces, as we know that’s the best path to SEA opening up their offense enough for Metcalf to reach a high ceiling game. This slate has enough questions at WR that I’m willing to take Metcalf earlier than he’d normally be valued on a typical week, and I may even be trying to get one SEA player on nearly every team this week (especially for 12-person drafts), as this is a spot difficult to see the SEA offense failing.
    • Mike Evans vs TEN: While TEN has tightened up since the early season, the weakness of the defense is still the secondary and that was before they shipped off an All-Pro safety. Evans has the more valuable fantasy role in this offense, with more chances for big gains and TDs, and we know TEN can be tested deep. 
    • Jahan Dotson @ SEA: SEA has been struggling against WRs much more than in 2022, and Dotson is likely to see less time matched up with Tariq Woolen than McLaurin. He’s also available at the end of drafts so he will be far lower owned in this contest than his teammate. Finally getting the usage we’ve been looking for all year (26 targets last 3 weeks), Dotson is flashing the talent he displayed as a rookie and now gets another game environment that could see Howell drop back 40-50 times.
    • All of the elite WRs from the LAC/DET and SF/JAC games should be considered here given their propensity to produce big scores and the potential for each game environment to “take off.”

    Notable TEs missing from this slate: Travis Kelce, Dallas Goedert, Dalton Kincaid, Cole Kmet

    Last week TEs went crazy, scoring TDs all across the league. We shouldn’t expect that from the later TEs every week, but on a week down Kelce, Andrews in a weird spot, and Hockenson questionable, there are plenty of later TEs that could appear in top scoring lineups this week. This section is more just some quick notes on basically all the TEs that are viable this week rather than me pointing out overlooked plays.


    • Mark Andrews vs CLE: Already torched this defense earlier this season and is one of the most consistent players at the position attached to an elite offense. Not the most ideal matchup/game environment, but also one of the only guys here who can actually separate from the pack at the position on a given week.
    • TJ Hockenson vs NOR: NOR has been giving up significant production to TEs of late, and Hockenson is playing with a QB who’s heavily targeted the TE position all season.
    • Sam LaPorta @ LAC: LAC has bled production to TEs, LaPorta’s role has grown over the season (28 targets last 3 weeks), and this game environment has one of the best chances of popping off.
    • Jake Ferguson vs NYG: Highest team total on the slate, second most consistent pass catcher on team, positive matchup.
    • Kyle Pitts @ ARI: London is questionable again, Heinicke showed a little more consistency than Ridder, and should once again see 6+ targets.
    • Trey McBride vs ATL: Better matchup than the WRs, has been getting more usage since Ertz went down, and gets Kyler Murray back.
    • Dalton Schultz @ CIN: Much better matchup than the HOU WRs, and with Collins questionable he could get even more targets filtered his way.
    • Logan Thomas @ SEA: Potential high-scoring environment, good for about 5 targets every game, and has a penchant for the endzone.

    Underowned Combos:

    • Geno Smith + DK Metcalf + Jahan Dotson
    • Sam Howell + Logan Thomas/Terry McClaurin + DK Metcalf/Kenneth Walker
    • Jared Goff + Sam LaPorta + Amon-Ra St. Brown/Jahmyr Gibbs
    • Justin Herbert + Austin Ekeler + Gerald Everett + (DET RB)
    • Dak Prescott + Tony Pollard + Jake Ferguson
    • Brock Purdy + Christian McCaffrey + Jaguar
    • Kyler Murray + Trey McBride/Marquise Brown + Falcon
    • Joe Burrow + Joe Mixon + Dalton Schultz

    Notable Stats

    These are some notable stats from rosters appearing in the top 5 of the contest so far this season.

    1st place performance:

    • 31 of the 45 teams had at least one flex player score 30+ half-PPR fantasy points
    • 20 of the 45 teams had all flex players score at least 20+ half-PPR fantasy points
    • 41 of the 45 teams had all flex players score at least 15+ half-PPR fantasy points

    Stacking and Correlation:

    • 25 of 45 had a QB paired with just one teammate
      • WR (18), TE (5), RB (2)
    • 7 of 45 had a QB stacked with two teammates
      • WR-RB (4), WR-WR (2), WR-TE (1)
    • 5 of those 32 QB stacks had a runback (Opposing player)
    • 44 of 45 had at least one game correlation
    • 13 of 45 had two different game correlations

    FLEX usage:

    • 152 of 225 top-5 rosters have had two RBs, meaning they chose RB at FLEX over WR and TE.
    • 72 of the other top 5 rosters all used WR at FLEX, meaning there’s only been one instance of double-TE to ever finish top-5 (2023 W7: Kelce/Andrews). 

    Hope this helps you get started with the contest and ship that first place! Good luck everyone!