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The Scroll Week 11

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    Angles

    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 11.

    🦃 Early Notes On Thanksgiving(!):

    As always, the Angles Email will hit your inbox on Wednesday next week. We’ll update you on the content plan for the week (Thanksgiving content — always a blast! — plus Main Slate content), and we’ll drop our Black Friday deals your way(!).

    Pro Tip:

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    🏈 Week 11 Angles

    Twenty of the 32 teams in the NFL have already had their bye week, with all 32 teams scheduled to play next week (as is typically the case on Thanksgiving week). Six teams are scheduled for bye in Week 13, and two teams have an oddly-timed bye in Week 14, which leaves us with four teams on bye in Week 11 — a list consisting of New Orleans, New England, Indy, and Atlanta.

    The teams on bye this week don’t do a whole lot to dramatically reshape the Main Slate for DFS, as the Patriots have been a fantasy wasteland, while the Saints and Falcons have been inconsistent fantasy producers at best. The Colts have a concentrated offense that is capable of producing big games, but they are hardly a “key cog” in a typical DFS slate.

    The bigger landscape shift comes through the island games this week, where Cincinnati, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Kansas City all boast players who are typically priced at the highest ends of their respective pricing ranges, and where Minnesota boasts a couple additional players who tend to draw heavy ownership most weeks. While we are obviously conditioned to dealing with missing pieces from the Main Slate this deep into the season, it’s nevertheless noteworthy to be missing all of Joe Burrow, Lamar Jackson, Jalen Hurts, Patrick Mahomes, Ja’Marr Chase, A.J. Brown, Travis Kelce, Mark Andrews, and T.J. Hockenson from the same slate.

    Even with this list of missing players, however, we have plenty of potential for excitement on the Main Slate — and while this slate doesn’t quite give us the setup we had last week (where San Francisco and Dallas stood out as great team stacks, and all of Houston at Cincy, Detroit at LAC, and Washington at Seattle provided opportunity for serious fireworks), it does give us a potentially higher-scoring slate than we have been working with for much of the regular season.

    Five teams on the Main Slate are implied to score 26+ points, with this list consisting of:

    Miami (30) at home against the Raiders
    Detroit (28.25) at home against the Bears
    San Francisco (26.5) at home against the Bucs
    Houston (26.5) at home against the Cardinals
    Dallas (26.5) on the road against the Panthers

    Miami, Detroit, San Francisco, and Dallas are all favored by nine or more points, but as the Cowboys and 49ers reminded us just last week, it’s possible for good, aggressive offenses to produce at a tourney-winning level without “game environment” cooperating.

    Houston, meanwhile, is favored by five points against an Arizona team that has allowed five opponents to score 27+ points against them (Giants // 49ers // Bengals // Ravens // Browns) and now has Kyler Murray under center — potentially creating an opportunity for this game to develop into something special.

    In addition to these high-upside teams (and — in the case of Arizona/Houston, and possibly even Chicago/Detroit, with Justin Fields returning — high-upside games), we also have the concentrated Jags (23.5) taking on a Tennessee defense that has allowed the seventh-most yards per game to wide receivers, the pass-happy Commanders (23.25) taking on a Giants defense that has allowed the sixth-most yards per game to wide receivers, and the Seahawks and Rams playing one another in a game that has an outside shot at developing into an overlooked shootout. On top of all of this, the Chargers (seventh in the NFL in points per game at 26.6) are implied to score only 23.5 on the road against a Packers defense that has allowed the 11th fewest points per game in the league (20.2), but that ranks 23rd in DVOA and has played only one team that ranks in the top 11 in the NFL in points per game. That team was the Lions (sixth at 26.8 points per game), who scored 34 against them. Quietly, the Chargers’ defense also faces the third-most pass attempts per game, and only six defenses in the NFL have a broader delta than Los Angeles between EPA/play through the air vs on the ground (i.e., there are only six teams against whom it is “more valuable to pass against than to run against”), creating a sneaky opportunity for price-considered upside from the Packers’ passing attack if the Chargers’ offense does their job.

    Because the human mind processes small snippets of information better than large blocks of information, I typically aim to fill the Angles Email with shorter paragraphs — so the length and “blockiness” of that last paragraph is a bit of an indicator of how packed with potential this week is. Not only do we have the obvious spots, but we have a lot of other spots as well.

    On top of all of this, DraftKings is finally adjusting running back pricing (shoutout to FanDuel for doing this much earlier), and there is plenty of salary flexibility across all positions, creating what should be a wide-open slate.

    Should be fun!

    Looking forward to digging in deeper.

    📺 Week 11 Production Notes:

    There were some crossed wires around schedules and holiday travel on my end, and as such, I’ll be flying on Friday for a week with family. A few things this means on your end:

    1) If you typically tune into the Angles Pod each week, you’ll be able to tune in early this week. It should be up on Thursday night.

    2) If you typically tune into my show with Pete Overzet each week, you’ll catch Hilow filling in this week(!).

    3) My Player Grid might be up early. It might be up late. I don’t want to post it until it’s sharp and ready. My plan is to have it ready by Friday morning if it comes together early, and to have it posted Friday afternoon (an hour or two earlier than normal) if it’s not ready in the morning. Travel with two kids under the age of five can introduce unexpected complications, however, so if it’s not up “a couple hours early” on Friday, it will be up a few hours late. (Better “late and sharp” than “early and not.”) We’ll see what happens there.

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    -JM

    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

    NOTE 2: Full-PPR scoring

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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

    MACRO SLATE VIEW::

    From a macro perspective, this slate brings us back to the range of low game totals, wide spreads on games with high game totals, lack of projectable value, and spread ownership. The field is also telling us with a high degree of certainty that the Cardinals are no longer a dumpster-fire team after seeing Kyler Murray play one game, with four of the top six, and five of the top ten players in expected ownership coming from the Texans-Cardinals game. While that game does fall within the top three or four expected game environments, there are significant uncertainties that the field seems to be largely overlooking. But when you combine the lack of projectable value with the relatively low salaries, solid game total, and low spread found in that game, we get a situation where the field seems to be over-hyping that spot. Optimal theory would dictate shifting to a more team-based and individual-based process as we hunt for the top range of outcomes plays on the slate, with the understanding that 30+ fantasy point outings are likely to be few and far between. Finally, and as you’ll shortly see, there are fewer players expected to garner 20 percent ownership or more on this slate when compared to previous weeks. With that, let’s dive in!

    RESTRICTIVE CHALK VS EXPANSIVE CHALK::

    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.

    TREY MCBRIDE

    EXPANSIVE CHALK. Trey McBride is expected to garner the top overall ownership on the slate for the third consecutive week. He has held one of the most valuable tight ends roles in the absence of Zach Ertz, seeing 28 targets and putting up 248 yards on 21 receptions and scoring once across three starts. The matchup is a solid one against the zone-heavy Texans defense. McBride has also been the team’s most valuable pass-catcher against zone coverage this season from an underlying metrics standpoint. On the other hand, we must realize this is still a second-year tight end seeing only his second NFL action with his current starting quarterback, and Kyler Murray has historically held miniscule tight end target rates throughout his career.

    DEVIN SINGLETARY

    NEITHER EXPANSIVE NOR RESTRICTIVE CHALK. Singletary has held an elite role in the absence of Dameon Pierce, playing 75 percent of the offensive snaps or more in both games since Week 9. I talked a lot about the return to health of Laremy Tunsil this week and how that has opened up the run game for Bobby Slowik and the Texans. Even so, Singletary now has four career games with more than 100 yards rushing across five professional seasons and will need 100 yards and multiple touchdowns to sink you for not playing him at massive ownership.

    TANK DELL

    NEITHER EXPANSIVE NOR RESTRICTIVE CHALK. Dell leads the Texans in most predictive receiving metrics this season, falling just short of Nico Collins in only fantasy points per route run against zone coverage. For all intents and purposes, Dell is the WR1 on this team. That said, the Texans have held all pass-catchers to sub-elite snap and route participation rates this season, leaving Dell in a route on just 77.7 percent of the team’s pass plays this season. A solid 13.8 aDOT and elite efficiency have made up for the modest route rates to this point in the season. Consider Dell a fine play at salary, albeit coming with some interesting potential leverage angles considering the high expected ownership.

    BRIAN ROBINSON

    NEITHER EXPANSIVE NOR RESTRICTIVE CHALK. Fun fact, Brian Robinson is the only running back to have multiple RB1 overall finishes this season. That surprised me in my research this week. Antonio Gibson is now out for the Commanders for a matchup against the struggling Giants defense. The idea here is that some of Gibson’s receiving usage will trickle down to Robinson, which would reduce the requirement to score multiple touchdowns to return a viable GPP score. Consider Robinson an extremely solid on-paper play this week.

    EVAN ENGRAM

    EXPANSIVE CHALK. Evan Engram has one of the most consistent roles amongst tight ends in the league, seeing seven to 10 targets in all but one game this season. That said, he has a miniscule 8.7 percent red zone target share and faces off against a Tennessee defense allowing just 7.9 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends while being the only team in the league yet to allow a receiving touchdown to the position.

    RONDALE MOORE

    EXPANSIVE CHALK. We really want to play a slot wide receiver with a 67.0 percent snap rate, 84.3 percent route participation rate, and 3.3 aDOT at 20 percent ownership this week? Moore has a laughably low 0.64 yards per route run this year, which ranks 97th in the league. Moore’s inflated expected ownership is telling of the lack of projectable value this week.

    CHALK BUILD::

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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

    Build-Arounds

    :: 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

    Bonuses

    :: 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 :: $6.1K

    Kyler Murray
    Tony Pollard
    Devin Singletary
    Hollywood Brown
    Tank Dell
    Jayden Reed
    Trey McBride
    Tyler Conklin
    Jaguars

    Join The Bottom-Up Build Contest On DraftKings!

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    Blue Chips

    Not unusual at this point in the season, with pricing getting tighter, but no Blue Chips on my end this week.

    It’s also a unique week in that my approach is HEAVILY skewed toward “build-arounds” (see more below).

    “Light Blue” Chips

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    Build-Arounds

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    Building Blocks

    With such a heavy “stacks” focus for me this week (both in the Player Grid and in my expected builds), I wanted to use this week’s Building Blocks to focus primarily on some interesting strategical player pairings

    Pollard + Tyreek
    Story:

    “Both guys hit”

    Why It Works:

    If Pollard is, indeed, putting up a tourney-winning score, it’s likely that CeeDee Lamb is NOT putting up a tourney-winning score. A nice way to double up on this edge, then, is to include a high-upside player that CeeDee Lamb rosters will not have. You could replace Tyreek with any other high-priced wide receiver or running back and the strategy angle on this block would remain the same.

    How It Works:

    If this block hits, you’ll not only have something unique, but will also be separating from the field in terms of raw points. More than likely, you won’t have to worry too much about strategy on the rest of these rosters.

    POTENTIAL DOWNSIDE:

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

    Kupp + Gibbs + DJM

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    Bink Machine

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

    Week 11…

    I’m going to hold off on posting Bink Machine rules until Sunday morning, when I’ll have a clearer sense of some of the rules I’ll be rolling out there.

    Bonuses

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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 ::

    Stroud || Fields || Goff || Howell || Kyler || Purdy || Love

    RB ::

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    A Wrap ::

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

    -JM

    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
    • Dolphins RBs – Everything depends on the De’Von Achane news to determine exactly how we play this, but the Dolphins have the highest implied team total on the slate and should almost certainly put up production on the ground in this matchup. The Raiders aren’t a “terrible” run defense, but they are close, and the Dolphins scheme has shown what it can do in the right spot. Raheem Mostert and De’Von Achane are both squarely in play…..with Mostert a near-lock if Achane isn’t activated.
    • Tony Pollard – It’s been a ridiculously frustrating season for Pollard, but he’s still likely to see somewhere in the 15-20 touch range in a near-perfect matchup. The Panthers run defense has been awful this year when facing teams who have legitimate passing threats that don’t let them sell out.
    • Austin Ekeler – Elite talent and matchup. The Packers just let Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren both have good days against them and now face an explosive Chargers team with a superstar at running back.
    • Jahmyr Gibbs – There was some fear around David Montgomery’s return for how the Lions would use Gibbs, but it appears the cat is out of the bag for good in Detroit. Gibbs is so explosive and is likely to get 15-20 touches weekly going forward. 
    tier 2
    • James Cook – The Bills running game ranks 4th in the league in DVOA and the Jets are attacked more easily on the ground than through the air. The Bills season is on the brink and Cook is their best RB, time to take the training wheels off.
    • Aaron Jones – The Chargers run defense just got obliterated by the Lions in Week 10. Obviously, the Packers offense isn’t the same animal, but Jones is an explosive player in the right spots and has 26 and 19 opportunities in his last two games.
    • CMC – Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of paying up at RB and CMC’s salary is such that most weeks I’m fine just fading him and living with it if he does find a way to a 40-pointer. This week will probably be the same, but I can’t in good conscience not mention him when he has a good chance to lead the position in scoring.

    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 finally brings us some desirable totals – AZ // HOU, CHI // DET, LV // MIA, and SEA // LAR are all expected to produce points.   
    • The Giants are on the main slate which means there is at least one team that is a two-score favorite. The G-Men are so bad, that their opponents merit consideration every week. This week, the Commanders are the lucky team that gets to play the Giants.
    • The Commanders (-9) are joined by the Dolphins (-13.5), Cowboys (-10.5), and 49ers (-11.5) as two score favorites. The Bills (-7), Texans (-6), Jaguars (-7) and Lions (-7.5) are all touchdown favorites.
    • The only game with a high total and a competitive spread is SEA // LAR.
    • There are eleven QBs on the slate who either began the year as a backup or have less than two full years of starting experience. Several fit both criteria.  
    Pawn – WR Jameson Williams ($3,300)

    Amon-Ra St. Brown ($8,800) and Jahmyr Gibbs ($7,000) were both considered for spots in this article and I wouldn’t fault you for playing one of the safer Lions. Now, for those us you who like to gamble, can I interest you in some Williams?  Williams played the most snaps of his career (52%) last week and had a touchdown called back on an illegal block. He was publicly praised by the coaching staff this week and it’s easy to forget the Lions traded up for him just two years ago, selecting him over Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave. Most people write that move off as a mistake, but the Lions valued Williams highly for a reason. He can flat out fly (4.3 40-time) and boasts plus size at 6’1. The Bears generate no pressure (the least sacks in the league) and have given up the second most touchdown passes. I think Williams gets behind this defense, and I like betting his touchdown prop which can currently be had at +300 or better on most books. This might be the last week to get a free Williams, at 1% ownership.

    Knight – RB Devin Singletary ($5,300)

    Featured as last week’s Pawn, Singletary didn’t disappoint, delivering 26.1 DK points on a whopping 31 touches. The Bengals profile as a run funnel, whereas all paths against the Cardinals are that of least resistance. It’s not realistic to think Singletary sees 30 carries again, but he could easily see more than two targets and repeat his elite (81%) snap share with Dameon Pierce set to miss another week. The matchup is excellent, and Singletary’s price didn’t increase anywhere near enough to account for his role without Pierce. It’s going to be hard not to play him on most of my rosters, and he’ll absolutely be featured on my tighter builds. The one knock is that we won’t get the low ownership we saw last week, but sometimes you must make the right play, even if everyone else is also making the same play.

    Bishop – RB Brian Robinson Jr. ($5,800)

    Robinson has seen snap shares ranging between 37% and 61% on the year. His snap shares in his last five games are 51% // 56% // 49% // 49% // 53%.  Antonio Gibson has played almost every other snap at RB with only 43 snaps all year going to someone other than the Commanders top two RBs. Those splits are notable for two reasons. First, Robinson is currently the RB6 in PPR scoring. Second, Antonio Gibson has been ruled doubtful for this game. If we were to add Gibson’s PPR points to Robinson’s yearly total, Robinson would be the RB1, one point ahead of Christian McCaffrey. While it’s not fair to expect Robinson to inherit all Gibson’s work, it is fair to expect him to get most of the vacated touches, which sets Robinson up for a massive price considered workload. Add in that he’s playing the Giants who are rolling over, as a home favorite, and Robinson is checking all the boxes. Early ownership projections have him around 10%, but that must not be factoring in Gibson’s absence. I expect Robinson will be chalk, but if he scores 30 points, you’re still going to need him. I’ll have him on my tighter builds, often paired with Singletary. I’ll look to diversify my rosters elsewhere.

    Rook – WR Christian Kirk ($6,000)

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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

    This Is the Week

    It feels like the planets are aligning for us large-field degenerates. Plenty of pay-up-to-be-contrarian spots to exploit. It feels almost too easy to play the chalk wisely or pivot off completely. There isn’t an obvious chalk defense for us to agonize over. Yay!

    I LOVE Week 11.

    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.

    Nico Collins/James Conner

    If Collins remains at his sub 5%, he may be the GPP play of the year. Grabbing low owned pieces of the most popular game is always a smooth move but when they have slate-breaking upside, I get tingly feelings in my nether region. 

    Conner will have some ownership so maybe we fade the Cardinals altogether? Playing Collins and the Texans DST (3%) describes a scenario where Houston makes big plays early and Cardinals play catch-up. Lots of Kyler Murray dropbacks that lead to sacks and turnovers. Cardinals targets are spread out enough that no one posts a score that you can’t live without. 

    Christian McCaffrey/Mike Evans

    I’m sticking with my “while playing fantasy football, always try to roster the best fantasy football player” philosophy and inserting CMC into approximately 40% of my rosters. It would really help his ceiling if the 49ers were pushed a little. It won’t take a lot for the Buccaneers to eclipse the sad efforts of the Jaguars last week. 

    If the Bucs do make a game out of this, it will likely come via the Baker Mayfield/Mike Evans connection. Evans has been Mayfield’s most common first read on long and short passes this season. He also historically matches up well against the 49ers single-high cover scheme. I like Evans’ chances of reaching 100 yards and paydirt more than his ownership projection of 2.5% would indicate.

    Austin Ekeler/Romeo Doubs  

    I like this pairing on FanDuel because of the red zone role each player possesses. 

    *isn’t “possesses” a super weird word? WTF?

    Ekeler will be semi-popular, making Doubs (.5%) a nice piece to offset your lineup’s ownership concerns while simultaneously betting on this game environment. These players are fine in game stacks, particularly of the less-expensive Jordan Love variety, but could also get there as correlated pieces in the sexy stacks of C.J. Stroud, Kyler Murray, or Justin Fields.  

    LOWER-OWNED TREASURES

    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

    Picture a snowball rolling downhill. It is slow to get started, then builds both speed and size and gains momentum as it rolls, fast. In the first few feet, the direction and shape of the snowball can change but once it gets going, there is no turning back. The bigger it gets, the faster it goes, and the more it will continue on its path until it reaches flat ground. This might not be my best analogy, but it is what comes to mind when we think about the small habits we form and how difficult it can be to break them. The more small habits we have, the more difficult it is to change our course of action, alter our thinking frameworks, and practice in a new way. We’re already a snowball rolling quickly downhill, so any changes in trajectory require a lot of brainpower and will. This was what I felt like this week.

    I try each season to take some sort of detox from the NFL news cycle. It’s constant and relentless, and it shapes my thinking whether I like it or not. After a not-so-successful Week 10, I decided Week 11 was a good time to do this. A few days off X (will always be Twitter), I didn’t consume any football-related emails, or newsletters, or proactively visit any football websites. I realized how much this process has evolved over the years, and now how difficult this was to pull off Sunday through Thursday this week. We’re at the point now where we have so many people smarter than me devoting countless hours to pushing out phenomenal content, and while some of the data points are invaluable, it’s also easy to fail to realize how this shapes our thinking in a given week. When we see a strong tweet, for instance, about why Player X succeeds vs man coverage or zone coverage, why Player Y should have four touchdowns this season but holding calls held him back, or why Player Z averages more EPA per play in this formation during a day game, it’s all helpful – but much of this can be noise. These data points will lead you to play these plays, but if and when you lose on Sunday, do you message those content providers and tell them why they were wrong? No, of course not. Because YOU are the one choosing to listen to their small indicators on why or why not we should click on a certain player’s name.

    Clear Thinking

    I found that entering Week 11, I was in need of clear thinking. A small piece of this was inspired by the book, Clear Thinking by Shane Parrish, which I am now reading (solid read, btw). Everyone has their way to go about building a clear thinking framework (meditation, the great outdoors, etc.) but for me, I simply felt I needed to log off for a few days. One of the basic foundations of proper clear thinking, according to Parrish, is to establish a process (framework) at your best that works well for you at your worst. In other words, we can strive for a process that will help us succeed over time, while also using the same process to avoid significant failure. Life is all about success, of course, but it’s also about avoiding failures. Our greatest achievements impact us, but our greatest failures can impact us more. So as you read below, just know any analysis is coming from a place of clear thinking. I went through my process, without influence, to land on strategies that could lead to success but also will hopefully avoid failure.

    By doing this, I am practicing a handful of the Willing to Lose tenets from this season. Back in Week 1, I talked about simplicity, just cutting through the noise and playing your guys. Trust your instincts and processes to build for first place along the way. Sometimes, when searching for inspiration to build winning lineups, it could be as simple as price, matchup, and regression. We may not need to dive into rates over expectation, air yards, and success per dropbacks. We are also allowed to trust our eyes. I just checked, and that’s approved! Just make sure you are bringing in some data to support your gut (i.e. the Goldilocks Principle). Find the right balance of quantitative with qualitative. Use your hindsight to reflect and build on your predictions to get right what you previously got wrong. Finally, always use your individual filter to build your rosters, and evaluate the writers you read. They (we) are human, too.

    Arizona and Houston, for the win

    Looking at a few macro factors on this slate, there aren’t many games that jump off the paper as having the potential for a back-and-forth, point-scoring bonanza. The Cardinals // Texans is one, Seattle // Rams another, and maybe the Bears // Lions or Chargers // Packers can mix it up, as well. As I scanned the unknowns here, and realized how heavy some team stacks will be (Dallas, Miami, San Francisco), I kept coming back to this Arizona and Houston game. Over the last few weeks, we’ve learned who C.J. Stroud is. He’s a baller. Regardless of a healthy offensive line, or a healthy wide receiver room, he will find a way. With Kyler Murray back in the fold for Arizona, their situation neutral pass rate moved from 47% on the season to 63%, and Murray also scampered for a touchdown with his legs. Translation: two talented quarterbacks that can go blow-for-blow in the right game environment.

    You all know by now how much I love game stacks. But, although I’m recommending one here, I didn’t set out to land here. With Kyler back, that obviously should help future Cardinals game to hit the over, but we also have two running backs in Devin Singletary (assuming Pierce misses again) and James Conner who should be playing over 75% of the offensive snaps (Conner to grow on his 63% last week in his return from injured reserve). In the words of the great Kirk Cousins, ‘we like that!’ As we look for any game stack, we also want condensity across the pass-catcher target trees. On the Cardinals side it’s really Brown, Wilson, and McBride, while the Texans could be down Nico Collins and Noah Brown, and if they are, it’s the Tank Dell, Bob Woods, and Dalton Schultz show (note: if Nico plays, he enters this conversation).

    Texans games in the last two weeks have provided totals of 76 (Bucs) and 57 (Bengals) points. They are producing big plays as an offense on the ground and through the air. The matchup with the Cardinals yields somewhat of a run funnel, but in reality, the Cardinals defense can’t stop a nosebleed. Houston will score, the question is simply how. And although seeing the 30+ carries Devin Singletary had last week, and the juicy ground matchup again this week should force us to question how much production can come via the air, Stroud has proved he can hit in any matchup. It will sound crazy, but we’ve seen this win big tournaments before. One of Kyler or Stroud with two of their pass-catchers (Dell and Schultz, or Hollywood and McBride), alongside at least both Conner and Singletary leads to a simplified build where this game needs to hit 70+ points across these guys to pay off.

    Brian Robinson Jr. and the Commanders Defense

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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 11 Topics

    1. A Tradition Unlike Any Other

    2. Second Time’s The Charm

    3. Weekly Lineup Process

    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 >>

    Not that this is particularly unique for 2023, but the closest “high-total spread” we have this week is six points between the Cardinals and the Texans (i.e., there are games with closer spreads than that, but they are in lower-total spots). This effectively leaves us pursuing teams A) with high totals in somewhat non-competitive games, B) with lower totals in more competitive games, or C) with high totals in games that “could end up being competitive.”

    In that third category, the main focus this week is the Cardinals and Texans, where the Texans are currently six point favorites and are implied to score 27.0 (with the Cardinals implied to score 21.0). Somewhat interestingly, the spread in the Bears/Lions game has closed as Fields’ health has come into clearer focus, with that game offering a very similar setup: Lions are currently 7.5 point favorites and are implied to score 27.75 (with the Bears implied to score 20.25).

    I like the Cardinals this week and will have exposure to both sides of that game, but it’s definitely interesting that so much confidence is being expressed in Arizona’s offense when it seems that so little confidence is being expressed in Chicago’s offense.

    With very little that truly stands out on this slate, and with pricing on the Cardinals pieces drawing so much attention toward that team, this is developing into a “one key to the slate” type of weekend, where — for example — if the Cardinals were to seriously underwhelm in this spot, the majority of the field would see their weekend ruined.

    As noted above (and as noted throughout the week) — if I separate “what the field is doing” from my thoughts and simply look at what I was seeing in my independent research and thinking, I like the Cardinals this week. I’ll have rosters that build around that game (both through the Cardinals and through the Texans). But I’ll also have full sets of rosters this week that build around a scenario of “that game” (and the Cardinals in particular) underwhelming.

    It’s a good week for balancing in some strategy elements such as this.

    Xandamere >>

    The sheer number of interesting games to target and good plays to choose from. We have 4 games with totals of 46.5 or higher. 5 teams with totals of 25 or higher. A few years ago that wouldn’t have seemed outlandish, but this year it feels like a breath of fresh air. In addition, there are a LOT of players that I feel like I can make a solid case for….but also factors that ding many of those plays. As in, even for most of these good plays, there aren’t many who are a “smash” play where the only way they can fail is “because football is weird.” Lots of good plays, but also not a lot of “must” plays, which means many different ways we can build. 

    Hilow >>

    There are a lot of unique aspects of this slate that come together to form one of the more game theoretic slates in recent memory. First off, there are very few “projectable value” options available, with almost all of them coming from the Texans-Cardinals game. That has simultaneously reduced the expected ownership on the players priced in the elite pricing tier ($8,000+) while placing extreme ownership on the perceived value options from the Texans and Cardinals. Furthermore, the tight ends priced between $4,000 and $5,000 are currently projected for 98% combined ownership. Finally, we’re back to a down median game total week. All of that comes together to form an extremely chalky slate, giving us innumerable paths to generating leverage smartly. More on this in the End Around and on The Slate pod!

    Mike >>

    Coming off an exciting week in the NFL where there was finally a ton of scoring, we have several games with shootout potential but no “slam dunk” spots. A couple of the spots (Lions, 49ers), have teams that should put up a ton of points but the salaries of the players make it hard to stack. Meanwhile, a couple of the spots (LAC/GB and SEA/LAR) have clear paths to surpassing expectations but have at least one offense that is uncomfortable to trust. 

    There are also several really interesting players in “bounce back” spots who should be lower-owned thanks to recent production and still-elevated price tags. Guys like Adam Thielen, Tony Pollard, Cooper Kupp, Brandon Aiyuk, and Justin Fields stand out as those types of players (sneak peek to my answer to question #5 here!)


    2. Second Time’s The Charm

    The Question ::

    We have four games on this week’s slate that are the second matchup between divisional opponents. Over the next few weeks we will continue to see many of these matchups. How much, if any, stock do you put in the outcome of the first matchup when evaluating the second? Also, what specific things do you look for or find the most predictive?

    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!

    Afternoon-Only

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

    FINDING AN EDGE

    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 three games in the Afternoon Slate this week, which condenses things and makes it harder to separate from the field but also creates a situation where many roster constructions that are sub-optimal on a larger slate now become viable.
    • Playing a defense with an offensive stack of a team becomes more viable as the slate gets smaller. If the 49ers smash the Bucs, a Purdy double stack could very well perform at a high level while the 49ers defense also lands in the optimal lineup. The Bills are also a candidate for a similar situation, as it wouldn’t be totally shocking for Josh Allen to have a blow-up game and the defense to tee off on Zach Wilson as he tries to keep up.
    • On the flip side of that, the Bucs and Jets defenses are the cheapest options on the slate and in tough situations…..but playing them in lineups with stacks from their opposing offense is very viable. An early defensive touchdown from either team could spur their opponent’s offense into turbo-mode and set off a scoring explosion. Sure, they likely wouldn’t post a huge score then but a 9 to 12 point game (eight points for a turnover leading to a touchdown alone) from the lowest salary at the position sure would open up a lot of things.
    • Tyler Lockett’s status will be something to closely monitor after he missed practice all week and is listed as questionable. From a game theory perspective, the best situation may actually be if he is active because then all three Seahawks wide receivers will likely have their ownership held in check. Lockett’s unknown health will keep people off of him, while Metcalf and JSN won’t see the massive surge in ownership that they would have if Lockett doesn’t play.
    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 11 offers us an 11-game slate with only 3 late games. While four games have an implied point total of 46 or higher, the two highest players in terms of projected ownership (at the time of this writing) are TEs Trey McBride and Evan Engram. There isn’t a ton of obvious value this week, which will likely lead the field to double TE builds more frequently than most weeks. There is potential for late breaking news to open some value on the late slate – specifically around Tyler Lockett who didn’t practice all week. However, since we know the field seldom uses late swaps, being ready to take advantage of this may prove particularly useful this week.  

    Important Early Outcomes to Watch:
    • Texans and Cardinals – This game projects to have several of the highest owned players this week, including Trey McBride, Tank Dell, Devin Singletary, James Conner, Hollywood Brown, and Michael Wilson. With all being sub-$6k in salary, any 25+ point outcome will have to be accounted for.   
    • Mid-Range TE (specifically Trey McBride, Evan Engram, Cole Kmet, and Dalton Schultz) – All four are between $4,100 and $5,000 and are projecting for 75-80% combined ownership. If all fail to put up a 4x salary considered score, a different salary allocation could have extreme leverage. Note – Dalton Kincaid ($4,900) is also in this price tier and is projecting for double-digit ownership. More on Kincaid later.
    • WAS DST – The Commanders are projecting to be the highest owned DST unit on the slate, even though their season high is 11 DK points. It’s one thing to play a high owned, expensive chalk defense when they are in fact an elite unit with upside, it’s another thing to roster them when it’s The Commanders…  Slate Breakers – Such as Ja’Marr Chase’s 55 DK point performance in week 5 or CJ Stroud’s 46 points in week 9.
    Price Range Breakdowns (Late Games):

    Note – With only 3 games on the slate and ownership generally spread out, the caveats of “high owned play if ahead, or low owned pivot” have been removed this week

    $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 11!

    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 11

    In my early drafting to begin the week, I’m noticing I have never gone against ADP so consistently and widely as for this slate. Many of the higher ADP options are coming with workload and matchup questions, while a ton of players with 1st place upside are going undrafted or super late. I’d expect some of these guys to climb over the course of the week, but for the most part, it will remain similar due to UD’s projections (outside of a few guys like Achane, who has already climbed 3+ rounds). This is the easiest slate to get unique as I’ve ever seen in this contest.

    QB:

    Notable QBs missing from the slate: Lamar Jackson, Joe Burrow, Patrick Mahomes, Jalen Hurts

    Top 6 QBs by ADP: Tua Tagovailoa, Josh Allen, CJ Stroud, Dak Prescott, Jared Goff, Brock Purdy

    Big dogs are mostly absent here. Find ways to stack as the winning roster almost always is going to have a QB stack. When it doesn’t, it’s usually because of an elite QB who couldn’t be paired with his best player, and/or who scored a lot of rushing points.

    Notes:

    • Brock Purdy vs TB: While I do think Purdy has more value in the 12-person drafts, he’s still worth mentioning due to a matchup at home that typically provides an uptick in pass attempts. Purdy had 2+ TDs in 10/11 starts before the 3-week tough stretch leading into last week’s easier matchup (in which he had 3 TDs). The entire offense is healthy again and Purdy has 4 TDs in his range of outcomes here. Played across from Mike Evans is a way to bet on a little more aggression from the SF offense as well.
    • Matthew Stafford vs SEA: He’s free and both his receivers are discounted in a matchup against a defense a little overrated and away from their significant home field advantage. Carroll’s SEA defense has struggled against the Rams offense throughout the McVay era, and this year’s iteration is easier to pass on than to run on. Stafford hasn’t popped yet this year in fantasy, largely due to a lack of TDs, but he’s been quarterbacking at an elite level.
    • Justin Fields @ DET: Before getting hurt vs MIN, Fields was coming off two monster fantasy games. DET has allowed some big QB games this year despite being an improved defense overall (fighting some injuries as well), and last year allowed Fields to *rush* for 279 yards and 2 TDs in two matchups. 4 of the 5 highest drafted QBs in best ball are off this slate, and Fields comes with one of the highest ceilings at the position in the last round.
    RB:

    Notable RBs missing from this slate: Jonathan Taylor, Rhamondre Stevenson, D’Andre Swift, Isiah Pacheco, Javonte Williams, Joe Mixon, Bijan Robinson, Alvin Kamara

    I’ve personally been passing on most of the top ADP RBs due to matchup and workload concerns. MIA and DET backfields both come with tons of upside, but also some workload uncertainty. If selecting an RB with a pass-game role, stacking with QB can almost always give you a unique combination.

    Notes:

    • Tony Pollard @ CAR: Well last week was as sad as it has been all season. But, at a heavy discount on a week with a lot of the high ADP RBs on the slate dealing with matchup or usage questions, Pollard still remains enticing as part of this elite offense with a dream matchup on the ground.
    • Devin Singletary vs ARI: If Dameon Pierce remains out, there’s no reason Singletary won’t be force fed again in a good matchup and game environment that HOU is favored in at home. I prefer him in the 12-person drafts given how much deeper RB is this week than last, but his rush attempt expectation would likely be one of the highest on the slate with Pierce absent. Lead RB rush attempts vs ARI by week: 19, 17, 23, 20, 25, 20, 26, 19, 20, 22.
    • Austin Ekeler @ GB: He’s RB2 on the week behind CMC for a reason so he’s not going overlooked, but Ekeler is one of my favorite plays on the whole slate given his usage expectation, matchup, and RZ efficiency. The floor and ceiling are both solid in this spot.
    WR:

    Notable WRs missing from this slate: AJ Brown, Devonta Smith, JaMarr Chase, Tee Higgins, Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, Courtland Sutton, Michael Pittman, Drake London, Chris Olave

    Scroll down, scroll down, scroll down! Don’t be a slave to ADP, as there is lots of upside deeper in drafts. This is as strong of a week to scroll down as there has been given the players going undrafted.

    Notes:

    • Brandon Aiyuk vs TB: I have no idea how Aiyuk is going so overlooked this week (last-round ADP) and why Deebo is going ahead of him despite Aiyuk being the more consistent scorer when both are playing. This matchup tilts to the air in a way that favors Aiyuk, and SF has the 2nd highest total on the slate.
    • Mike Evans @ SF: SF has allowed 5 WRs to top 100+ yards, and allowed big games to several others as well. Evans is Mayfield’s preferred target, gets chances deep every week, and TB should have to throw a lot in this game due to SF’s tough defensive front and the likelihood of falling behind in this game.
    • Christian Kirk vs TEN: TEN continues to struggle vs WRs, and Kirk has been by far the most consistent JAC WR. Kirk doesn’t come with the biggest ceiling, but this sets up nicely for a strong outing from him or Ridley, and both are completely free (going undrafted).
    • Nico Collins vs ARI: Noah Brown has been missing practice while Collins has said he’s playing. Dell is among the highest-drafted WRs on the slate, so Collins provides leverage off him in the last round in a good game environment. HOU is one of the few teams implied for 26+ points.
    TE:

    Notable TEs missing from this slate: Travis Kelce, Dallas Goedert, Mark Andrews, TJ Hockenson, Kyle Pitts

    There will be times when it burns me (like last week thanks to a 66 yard TD), but I am likely to go significantly underweight Kittle almost every time the entire SF offense is healthy due to his lack of usage with everyone in the lineup. And with all the other elite TEs off the slate, we are basically sifting through a group of TEs that average around 5 targets a game. I will be focusing on TEs that fit the game environments I’m building around in a particular draft to strengthen my bet on that game.

    Notes:

    • Trey McBride @ HOU: HOU has given up solid production to TEs, and the style of defense sets up better for how McBride is used. McBride has been heavily involved since the Ertz injury and appears to be breaking out in his 2nd year.
    • Evan Engram vs TEN: Engram has 7+ targets every week since Week 1, giving him one of the best floors at the position. He has yet to score a TD on the season, but he caught 4 in this offense last year, including a 162 yard, 2 TD game vs TEN.
    • Dalton Kincaid vs NYJ: Playing the Jets defense is an overall unfavorable matchup, but Kincaid has maybe the highest target expectation at the position on the slate.
    • Cole Kmet @ DET: Kmet feasted on this matchup in 2022, and DET has been below average vs TEs. Kmet caught 3 TDs in Fields’ last two full games and he’s received 25 targets over the last 3 weeks. With DET being tougher on the ground and solid vs 1st-read targets, Kmet probably has the best setup here even above Moore, and is the likeliest to push DET’s aggressiveness on the other side.
    • Luke Musgrave vs LAC: The LAC defense has been victimized by TEs all year, and Musgrave already has 4 games of 50+ yards in his rookie season. GB passing matchup sets up better than the rushing matchup. (This is more of a 12-person draft play if betting on this game environment).

    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:

    • 32 of the 46 teams had at least one flex player score 30+ half-PPR fantasy points
    • 20 of the 46 teams had all flex players score at least 20+ half-PPR fantasy points
    • 42 of the 46 teams had all flex players score at least 15+ half-PPR fantasy points

    Stacking and Correlation:

    • 26 of 46 had a QB paired with just one teammate
      • WR (19), TE (5), RB (2)
    • 7 of 46 had a QB stacked with two teammates
      • WR-RB (4), WR-WR (2), WR-TE (1)
    • 5 of those 33 QB stacks had a runback (Opposing player)
    • 45 of 46 had at least one game correlation
    • 14 of 46 had two different game correlations

    FLEX usage:

    • 153 of 230 top-5 rosters have had two RBs, meaning they chose RB at FLEX over WR and TE.
    • 76 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!