Thursday, Sep 5th
Monday, Sep 9th

The Scroll Week 12



    The DFS Slate

    (In One Central Space)

    Meet The Team


    Happy Thursday!

    New members: Every week (typically Thursday morning; Friday morning this week), we send out the Angles email — in which we take a critical, “overview” look at the slate ahead.

    But first…

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    The Lay Of The Land ::

    Week: 12

    Total Main Slate Games: 11

    Slate Overview:

    Firstly: FATIGUE.

    We see it every year on the Main Slate following Thanksgiving. A lot of DFS content is less sharp (there was a popular site last year whose content was downright laughable! — like, ‘Did you guys forget that there was a slate after Thanksgiving? Were you hungover when you put this together?’), and a lot of DFS players are going through the motions on a shorter week with the Thanksgiving Slate already behind them. How do we take advantage of this? By putting in our typical level of focus // preparation! Every edge counts. Grab this edge this week.


    We’ve gotten used to this, so this shouldn’t be surprising; but we have 22 teams on the Main Slate this weekend, and 17 of these teams are implied to score 24 or fewer points.

    The exceptions are ::

    30.5 – Miami
    28.75 – Kansas City
    26.25 – San Francisco
    25.75 – LA Chargers
    25.5 – Seattle

    Miami is favored by two touchdowns at home over a hapless Texans team that ranks 29th in defensive DVOA and 31st in offensive DVOA — with that first number creating one of the bigger mismatches we’ll see all season against a Miami team that ranks second overall in offensive DVOA. The most interesting component for us to dig into here will be how the Dolphins will choose to attack, as Houston can be attacked any way, but they are facing the lowest opponent pass play rate in the NFL. The Miami passing attack can smash here, but will they “get there” at their attached price tags? Is Jeff Wilson’s role in this offense for real? These will be key questions on the slate.

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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 might be the slate of uncertainty of the 2022 season, with no games over 50.0 and an astounding eight games with game totals of 43.5 or less (remember, 43.5 is a significant betting threshold in the NFL). That leaves only HOU // MIA ((47.0), LV // SEA (47.5), and LAC // ARI (48.5) as the top expected game environments on the slate, and the Dolphins are favored by 14 points, removing that game from consideration for game stacks. The Dolphins have the top Vegas implied team total at 30.5, followed by the Chiefs (28.75), the 49ers (26.0), and the Seahawks and Chargers each tied at 25.75. The Bucs, Jets, Ravens, Bengals, Commanders, Cardinals, and Raiders are the only other teams projected to score more than three touchdowns, with 10 (!!!) total teams projected for under three scores.

    The first thing I do when breaking down a slate is to look at the game environments that can outperform expectations. From there, I look to teams that can outperform expectations, before looking to the tertiary tier of concentration in order to identify any potential one-offs. Using that practice leads to two games that have a better than average chance at blowing up into something you had to have (LV // SEA and LAC // ARI), and six teams that are worthy of team stacking (MIA, KC, SF, SEA, LAC, and I throw in CIN into this grouping), with the Bucs, Jets, and Ravens the likeliest teams to return GPP-viable one-offs outside of the aforementioned games. And yet, expected ownership is all over the damn place because the field seemingly has no process like this from which to identify potential upside. As you will shortly see, there is not one quarterback or tight end expected to cross my chalk threshold of 15% ownership at each of those positions, and there are only three chalk running backs and three chalk wide receivers. This. Slate. Is. Spread. Out!


    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. The Dolphins are thought of as this extremely pass-heavy offense, ranking near the top of the league in pass rate over expectation this season. And yet, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has attempted between 30 and 35 passes in five of his six full games this season, with the only outlier being their Week 2 impressive comeback win over the Ravens (50 pass attempts and six pass touchdowns). Furthermore, Tua has been involved in three games in which the Dolphins were able to control the environment throughout (Week 1 win over the Patriots, Week 7 win over the Steelers, and Week 10 thrashing of the Browns). In those games, Tua averaged 33.3 pass attempts while Dolphins running backs combined to average 28.67 running back opportunities per game. Furthermore, all of those games came in Miami. Raheem Mostert is listed as doubtful after not practicing throw Thursday and seeing only a limited showing on Friday – not a good look with the team coming out of their bye week. Finally, the Texans have faced the highest rush rate against this season and cede the most DK points to opposing backfields. Yea, Wilson is probably the best on-paper chalk of the season in my eyes.


    Neither restrictive nor expansive chalk. Walker has already shown the ability to amass 30+ running back opportunities under the right conditions during his rookie campaign and faces a Raiders defense ceding 28.0 DK points per game to opposing backfields. Not much pushback from me here.


    Restrictive chalk. The other side of this game. The Seahawks allow 27.2 DK points per game to opposing backfields, one spot lower than the Raiders. Jacobs has one of the most secure roles and workloads in the league. The only knock to Jacobs here is the addition to the team’s injury report on Friday with a calf injury after practicing in full over the first two sessions of the week – never a good sign heading into the weekend.


    Expansive chalk. Wilson’s low aDOT (8.6, 76th in the league) and heavy snap rate (88% or more in each of the last three games) line up well with what Mike White brings to the table at quarterback for the Jets, but this is still a low aDOT wide receiver that needs heavy volume, efficiency, and touchdowns in order to provide a GPP-worthy score. Wilson has seen double-digit targets only twice all season, each instance of which came with Joe Flacco in at quarterback to start the season. The field seems content to thread an extremely thin needle here.


    Neither restrictive nor expansive chalk. Allen returned from an extended absence to play 68% of the offensive snaps for the Chargers in Week 11, converting 5-of-8 targets for 94 yards, including an electric 34-yard reception on the final possession of the game. That said, this is still a wide receiver that held a poor 8.9 aDOT last year (69th in the league) and scored only six touchdowns all season. All the field seems to be seeing is “Keenan without Mike Williams? Score!” The reality of the situation is Keenan’s workload is more affected by the presence of Austin Ekeler, whereas someone like Josh Palmer is the likeliest beneficiary of Williams being out (hello, first two-touchdown game of his career last week). Another extremely thin needle to thread for the chalk wide receivers this week.


    Restrictive chalk. Nuk has gone over 100 yards receiving nine times in 31 games as a member of the Cardinals, which is a function of a low aDOT role and volume based entirely on game environment. He has scored 16 touchdowns in those 31 games. He has exactly two games with multiple scores in those 31 games. He has gone over 100 yards and scored multiple touchdowns exactly zero times as a member of the Cardinals. At a price of $7,700, can he hit the 100-yard bonus and score multiple touchdowns? Sure he can, he’s a talented alpha wide receiver. Is it the likeliest scenario against an above average Chargers secondary? Nope. Why not pay $900 more for some scrub named Davante Adams that has gone over 100 yards receiving in six of 10 games this season and has popped for 100 yards and multiple scores three times already with the Raiders? These are the decisions that win tournaments.


    Expansive chalk. The two chalk pay-down defenses of the week. The strange thing is I can’t really poke many holes in either of these units, assuming Justin Fields misses (which I get the feeling we might see him play this week). The Chiefs generate pressure at a 24.6% clip and have already amassed 32 sacks and 37 quarterback hurries, each of which rank in the top five in the league. They now face a Rams team already with the worst offensive line in the league, now playing without their starting quarterback and their top pass game option in Cooper Kupp. Yea, I can see this one. Head back to the game write-up for the Bears // Jets game for more in-depth coverage of that situation as it pertains to the Jets defense and Justin Fields.


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    Relative Value Breakdown

    Dwprix is a research expert at OWS, with focuses on NFL Edge Matchups and the Relative Value Breakdown

    Better Play on Draftkings or Fanduel?

    Week 12

    Pricing can change the value of a play between Draftkings and Fanduel. Recognizing what plays are better values on each site based on scoring rules and points per dollar can create a sizable edge when building rosters. Here are the Week 10 players that are best utilized on Draftkings or Fanduel.

    Joe Burrow:  FD $8.6k, 14.3% // DK $6.7k, 13.4% // Value on Draftkings

    Based on Burrow’s price this week and average production this season, he has the highest salary multiplier of any QB on the slate (3.7x). His salary is the second highest among QBs on Fanduel, but only the seventh on Draftkings. The Titans allow 21.8 Draftkings points per game to QBs, tied for the third most. 

    Lamar Jackson:  FD $8.2k, 13.7% // DK $8.0k, 16.0% // Value on Fanduel

    Jackson is the second highest priced QB on Draftkings where he’s only $200 cheaper than the most expensive QB on the slate, Patrick Mahomes. He’s a better value on Fanduel where he’s the sixth highest priced QB and $800 cheaper than Mahomes. Jackson takes up 2.3% less of the cap on Fanduel than his price does on Draftkings. 

    Kenneth Walker:  FD $8.4k, 14.0% // DK $6.9k, 13.8% // Value on Draftkings

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    JM’s Player Grid

    JMToWin is a high-stakes tournament champion (Thunderdome, Luxury Box, Game Changer, Wildcat) who is focusing this year on single-entry/three-entry max

    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

    Angles Pod

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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 (above).

    Podcast Bottom-Up Build
    DK Salary Remaining :: $6.1K

    Geno Smith
    Michael Carter
    Kyren Williams
    Treylon Burks
    Greg Dortch
    Tyler Lockett
    David Njoku
    Josh Jacobs

    Post-Podcast BUB
    DK Salary Remaining :: $6.3k

    Tom Brady
    Kenneth Walker
    Rachaad White
    Julio Jones
    Donovan Peoples-Jones
    Justin Watson
    Trey McBride
    Josh Jacobs

    Join The Bottom-Up Build Contest On DraftKings!


    Build with a salary cap of $44k or below!

    150 Edge Points (good for two free DFS Education courses!) + ‘Discord Blue’ color in Discord!

    Join Here – Contest 1

    Join Here – Contest 2

    * With the BUB becoming more popular, we’ve set up two contests. ONLY ENTER ONE. The best score between the two contests will be credited with the win! *

    Blue Chips

    Patrick Mahomes

    We’ll touch on some of the Mahomes pairings I like in the Building Blocks, but this one is pretty simple: KC tops the NFL in pass rate over expectation and is playing a Rams team that ranks fifth in DVOA against the run and 26th against the pass. You probably don’t need me to tell you that Mahomes is a Blue Chip. He carries the best floor/ceiling combo at the QB position this week.

    “Light Blue” Chips

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    Building Blocks

    New this year: these are unique player pairings that can be used as foundational building blocks for tournament rosters

    Tommy + Julio + Evans + DPJ
    Cost: $21.3K DK // Not as sharp on FD

    “Bucs come off the bye and turn their yards into TDs”

    Why It Works:

    No one wants to play the Bucs anymore. Everyone on this list is carrying an ownership projection of 5% or lower.

    How It Works:

    The Bucs rank top five in passing yards per game, while the Browns rank bottom three in defensive DVOA and points allowed per game. The issue for the Bucs this year has been an inability to turn their yards into points…but this week, they are coming off the bye, and are taking on a soft defense in the Browns. You should mix this into your large-field play. And I’ll be considering this one (and variations of this one) on my tighter builds, including on my Main.

    In this game, I also like Rachaad White, Chris Godwin, Amari Cooper, and David Njoku. I’ll comfortably play White outside of game-focused builds, while the Browns pieces will largely be confined to rosters of mine that bet on this game environment.


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

    Burrow + Tee + Boyd + Burks

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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 ::

    Tom Brady || Joe Burrow || Kyler Murray || Justin Herbert || Derek Carr || Geno Smith || Patrick Mahomes

    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 course you can find in our Marketplace. 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 ::
    Kenneth Walker

    Not to be dramatic, but Walker appears to be one of the top running back talents in the league. He has the ability to wear down defenses and has true home run potential every time he touches the ball. This week he is fresh off a bye and is facing a Raiders defense that is 31st in the league in PFF tackling grade.

    Jeff Wilson

    Wilson had already taken the lead role in the Dolphins backfield and now Raheem Mostert is out as the Dolphins face a bottom-of-the-barrel Texans run defense. The biggest concern for Wilson is the game getting out of hand quickly and the Dolphins limiting his touches, but even in that scenario he could put up big numbers and score one or more touchdowns to build the lead.

    Rachaad White

    White is a player who profiled very well coming out of college and appeared to be taking over the Bucs backfield slowly but surely even before Leonard Fournette’s injury. Now, White is looking at a full-time role against a terrible Browns run defense.

    Austin Ekeler

    Ekeler checks a lot of boxes this week and his modest recent fantasy output will likely keep him from becoming too popular amongst the field. Ekeler is playing in the game with the highest total on the slate against a defense that was just shredded by the 49ers playmakers creating yards after the catch.


    • Isaiah Pacheco – This game appears to be a much greater matchup for the Chiefs passing game than running game, but Pacheco is the clear lead runner (especially with CEH now on IR) for a team projected to score four touchdowns and win by 15 points. It is rare to find a running back at a reasonable price tag who is such a big home favorite and is projected for single-digit ownership. Pacheco has 31 carries in his last two games and a very good chance for 20 touches here based on the anticipated game script.
    • James Conner – Similar to Ekeler, Conner is a clear lead running back in the highest game total of the week. Conner is also facing a Chargers run defense that is bottom-3 in the league in basically any metric. Kyler Murray and Marquise Brown return this week for the Cardinals, which should ensure offensive production from the team and give Conner more scoring opportunities. Conner is averaging 22 opportunities per game over the last two weeks as the feature back and now has an elite game environment and matchup.
    • Samaje Perine and Michael Carter also deserve discussion in this space due to their lead roles and respective situations. Perine excelled in relief of Joe Mixon last week and should have the chance for another week of heavy usage in a pass-heavy game script. Carter is the top RB for a Jets offense playing a bottom-3 defense with a likely huge QB upgrade.

    Tight End ::

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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

    OWS FAM! 

    Loose pricing! Plenty of chalk! Lots of low owned plays with upside! Hallelujah….Holy Shit!

    Build every roster with late swap possibilities in mind. If Greg Dortch is healthy then we’ll want to cram him in there. If you have Chiefs DST on any roster that isn’t poised to win (or at least cash) the tournament, you must SWAP!





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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

    As we navigate throughout every NFL season, this is about the time when people start to throw their hands up in the air. Most survivor/eliminator pools have been completed. We’ve seen enough upsets across 11 weeks to make our heads spin. “The NFL makes no sense,” exclaimed your uncle at Thanksgiving this year. “It’s unpredictable! One week a team looks great, and the next they lay an egg.” They say we tend to remember our losses more than our wins, and this is exactly where these types of comments come from. When we project confidence on certain games and they play out completely differently than our expectations, there is only one logical conclusion: the games are unpredictable. However, when we look at a macro view of the NFL, I’m always a skeptic when we think the current season of any sport is more variant than prior ones. It’s a sort of recency bias just bubbling to the top of our minds, coupled with the inability to remember what we got right while we focus on what we got wrong and blame factors outside of our own control. To get predictions right, we need to maintain our processes. We need to see macro, not micro. We need to see things like the Chiefs, Bills, and Bengals all contending again in the AFC, and the Buccaneers rounding into form in the NFC. We need to see why the Eagles and Vikings are setting the pace record-wise, and why the Cowboys are mostly thriving this season as well. Instead of focusing on the weekly outcomes, we also need to do our best to rise to the top of seeing the ever-changing seasonal outcomes.

    The Law of Averages

    The beauty of a season average for any player in any sport is the smoothed outcome of one number, as a result of a bumpy road of many numbers (the average, of course, being the added total of a statistic divided by the number of events). It’s a wonderful way to measure short and long-term data because it can provide a stable measure but we mostly fail to remember the ups and downs along the way. In the NFL, when looking at weekly data, by Week 12, we now have statistically significant averages we can point to and reasonably expect these numbers to hit at an average rate. I want to bring up this oft-used principle because we’re in the business of looking into outlier events (spiked weeks) and therefore we need to see trends in order to see these unusual outcomes coming. And while it’s difficult to nail when these performances that can win us DFS tournaments will take place, the beauty is in the journey of getting it right.

    I played a lot of Mac Jones on the Thanksgiving slate. He was cooking, but Kirk Cousins ended up being the most valuable quarterback to own on the main slate (23 DK points). The same Cousins coming off a 3.2 DK point game the week prior against the Dallas Cowboys. Cousins had this production through Justin Jefferson, who also followed a 6.3 point game with a massive 33 DK point fantasy game against the #1 defense DVOA vs. the pass. In an earlier game on the slate this week, CeeDee Lamb put up nearly 21 DK points of his own, just four days after only hitting 9.5 DK points with relatively high ownership. Back in Week 11, we saw Tee Higgins get all the targets from Joe Burrow (13) and put up 27 DK points, after three consecutive ho-hum weeks between 13-14 points without Ja’Marr Chase on the field. And finally, the best example of the law of averages catching up with a player was the infamous Week 9 Joe Mixon game where he exploded for 58 points after he and the Bengals team showed a lot of ineptitude the week before on Monday Night Football.

    The “TL;DR” here is sometimes we need to throw last week’s results out of the window. We know the field as a whole does not chase points as frequently as years ago but what the field still does overall (remember this includes you and me) is get jaded from owning players while they underperformed in their last games. But, as we’ve seen recently, these narratives are ripe to be exploited. It’s why process over results is a popular phrase, and why advanced analytics helps us more than our eyes. If you cared about what happened last week, you wouldn’t end up on Cousins and Jefferson. You wouldn’t end up on the Bengals when they broke out with Mixon and Burrow/Higgins, and you may instead be moving your rosters in the direction where you continue to swim upstream. 

    GPP bounce-backs

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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 12 Topics

    1. A Short Week

    2. Help: Scoring Wanted

    3. Black Friday Shopping:: RB Edition

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

    1. A Short Week

    The Question ::

    Thanksgiving week provides a great amount of fun and football – which is great!! However, it also squeezes essentially three main slates in an eight day window which can be a bit overwhelming. Obviously things get very busy for us with the extra content to create, but also for subs who have jobs and family obligations on top of trying to be prepared and locked in for three slates with entirely different contests and dynamics.

    With all of that in mind, are there any adjustments you make to your approach and strategy on a week like this to account for the changing dynamics of the situation?

    The Answers ::
    Xandamere >>

    I have a really boring answer here….no, I don’t change anything about the Thanksgiving week for DFS. This is where I show how truly degenerate I am, in that I specifically set extra time aside this week for DFS. We don’t put on a big-deal Thanksgiving, and while occasionally we travel to see family for it (which does then put a damper on any DFS play), generally speaking I prioritize DFS this weekend because it has historically been one of the most profitable weekends of the year to play. I also usually take an extra day or two off of work this week, if not the entire week, to make sure I have enough time available. 

    Hilow >>

    I think everyone needs to be realistic with themselves with their own individual answer to this one. For me, I simply view the additional slates as more data points from which to realize equity. That means losing players get more exposed to losing and +EV players get to realize their equity quicker. But I also have to realize that not everyone is in the same situation as myself, meaning how you (we, I) handle additional slates on a short week can (and should be) completely different. The beautiful thing about growing in the DFS space is that the lessons we learn and how we grow are directly applicable to life, in that we have been training ourselves to make better decisions after taking in all the information, formulating our assumptions, and approaching decisions through critical thinking and in-depth analysis. So, how would YOU handle this slate? Did you have enough time to think through the slate, to build rosters, to think critically?

    JM >>

    A few things to touch on here. Firstly, in Hilow’s answer, he mentioned “the growing DFS space.” To that point :: two of my three under-22-year-old nephews were deep into DFS builds throughout this holiday week; we’re definitely seeing a wave of younger DFS players coming in, which is incredibly awesome in a space that was a bit static for a couple years. Secondly, in Hilow’s answer, he mentioned being realistic about your own individual answer to this one. I couldn’t agree more. Which brings up my “thirdly,” which is that both Hilow and Rotomaven were having “second Thanksgiving” on Friday (Thanksgiving with the side of the family they hadn’t had Thanksgiving with on Thursday), and I’m sure they aren’t the only people in the DFS community who had big family events on Friday (or Saturday, or all weekend) this week. If YOU are able to buckle in for your normal DFS prep, this slate provides a nice edge, as there are a lot of people who are going to “still be playing” in spite of less time to prepare. That edge might not play out in your favor in the small sample size of one week; but over time, edges like this are clearly going to make you money. With that said, you also need to make sure you are not one of those players who is donating money to players who are better-prepared than you. On Wednesday night this last week, I settled into my roster construction mode for the Thanksgiving slate…and after about an hour, I realized I just wasn’t building rosters that I felt were giving me a clear edge. The slate wasn’t set up favorably for me, and my mind wasn’t “in it,” so I decided to play extremely light volume on Thanksgiving rather than giving away money. If you reach Saturday night and realize that you are part of the edge for someone else this week, pull back on your play. There will be another slate that you can hit!

    Mike >>

    I think the biggest thing to understand here is a concept that most people struggle with in all walks of life – self awareness and realistic expectations of yourself. Each person’s situation is different and this weekend there are a lot of things going on. It is important for us to realize when we “have it” and when we don’t if we want to be +EV in the long run. Money saved is worth just as much as money won, and if you aren’t prepared like you normally would be then you should adjust your play accordingly. Don’t give up the edge you’ve worked so hard for by burning money on poorly built lineups.

    2. Help: Scoring Wanted

    The Question ::

    Once again here we are, talking about the lack of scoring this NFL season. Taking a look at the Week 12 Main Slate, we have hit a new low with no games with a total of 50 or higher and only three that have a total over 45 (and one of those three is a game where the Dolphins are favored by 2 touchdowns!!). While it can be a bit frustrating, we must always keep in mind that with uncertainty comes opportunity. We just saw a Thanksgiving slate where the NE // MIN game totaled 59 points despite a lowly 42.5 game total. Which of the games on the main slate stands out as a chance of surprising for a back and forth affair? Also, what factors do you look for in trying to identify these spots?

    The Answers ::

    << Inner Circle! >>

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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!

    Sunday Crunch

    Sunday Crunch is an Inner Circle feature that can be found late on Saturday nights and non-IC members can receive a chunk of the content each week. Mike also posts updated thoughts to Discord on Sunday mornings for Inner Circle members.

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    DFS 101::

    Patrick Mahomes and Jeff Wilson are likely to be the highest-owned players at their respective positions this week. While both are in great spots and I will certainly be using each in a decent amount of lineups this week, there is a clear and easy way to leverage the field’s approach to these two this week. One of the oldest tricks in the DFS playbook is betting on the opposite method of attack from the “sure things” for the week. Tua Tagovailoa and Isiah Pacheco are in the ultimate spots this week, as both the Dolphins and Chiefs are set up to score a lot of points. Playing the two of them is a bet that the games go as expected, but the touchdowns come in different ways than expected – in this case, through the air in Miami and on the ground in Kansas City. 

    Another Round Of Tee::

    I highlighted Tee Higgins in this space last week and discussed how talented he is and what he is capable of as an “alpha” wide receiver. Sure enough, Tee dominated the Steelers to the tune of season highs in targets (13), receptions (9), and receiving yards (148). While he didn’t get in the end zone, it was an impressive performance against a solid defense. Somehow, his price has gone down this week and his ownership also appears destined for single digits on both Draftkings and Fanduel. The Bengals face the league’s top run defense this week and are without their star running back, Joe Mixon. Those factors should force the Bengals into a game plan that is severely pass-heavy with Higgins once again showing out as the alpha.

    Getting Defensive::

    << Inner Circle! >>

    Inner Circle will return for the 2024 NFL season


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

    Mike has a sick family at home he IS NURSING back to health. Mike will be back next week for the afternoon-only slate.

    Underdog Underowned

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

    The goal of this article is to present you with information and strategy about a different-style DFS tournament that is not currently as strategically optimized as traditional DFS due to its infancy as a contest style. Due to Underdog’s main customer base of Best Ball players, there are many people approaching this tournament in a suboptimal way. So let’s take advantage!

    Brief Review of Previous Data

    This section will just be to track some top-five lineup trends that may help you in constructing your roster.

    • In 18-of-29 weeks, there have been at least four QB-teammate stacks in the top-five rosters (13-of-18 were QB-WR)
    • 2022 QBs + teammate in top-five: Joe Burrow (12/13) // Justin Fields (4/12) // Lamar Jackson (9/10) // Josh Allen (5/9) // Patrick Mahomes (5/5) // Jalen Hurts (4/4) // Tua Tagovailoa (2/2) // Jared Goff (1/1)
    • Of the 55 QBs on a top-five roster in 2022, 48 have scored four-plus touchdowns
      • Allen and Fields had 70/1 and 85/1 on the ground in the games without four touchdowns
    • Of the 145 top-five rosters, 106 have had two RBs (73%)
      • This means a 1-2-2-1 roster construction
    • Mark Andrews has made a top-five roster in 12-of-21 weeks he has been on the slate, and Travis Kelce has made a top-five roster in 11-of-19 weeks he has been on the slate
    • In 2022, nine of 11 weeks have had a single WR or RB make all five top-five rosters

    Week 11 Top-Five Rosters: Score // Roster // ADP

    Looking at Week 12

    Notable QBs missing from this slate: Allen, Hurts, Dak Prescott, Daniel Jones, Aaron Rodgers, Kirk Cousins

    There are some QBs with upside outside the top six (Kyler Murray, Tom Brady, Marcus Mariota), but none are truly necessary bets with QBs (matchups) on the board of Patrick Mahomes (LAR), Tua (HOU), Lamar (BAL), Burrow (TEN), Justin Herbert (ARI) and Geno Smith (LV). Murray’s high ceiling makes him the only one I’ll likely consider if the draft falls that way.

    Running Backs:

    Notable RBs missing from this slate: Jonathan Taylor, Saquon Barkley, Rhamondre Stevenson, Dalvin Cook, Aaron Jones, Tony Pollard, Ezekiel Elliott, Devin Singletary, Jamaal Williams, Miles Sanders, Najee Harris

    Wide Receivers:

    Notable WRs missing from this slate: Justin Jefferson, Cooper Kupp, Stefon Diggs, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Ceedee Lamb, AJ Brown, DeVonta Smith, Gabriel Davis, Jakobi Meyers, Michael Pittman, Diontae Johnson, George Pickens

    • Drafting Tyreek Hill or Davante Adams both possibly means no Kelce or Andrews
    • With so many of the normal top ADP WRs off the slate, there are a lot of teammate pairs in the drafted range that will likely produce one big score or two “okay” scores, determining how the slate unfolds
      • Hill + Jaylen Waddle // Tee Higgins + Ja’Marr Chase // Mike Evans + Chris Godwin // DK Metcalf + Tyler Lockett // Deebo Samuel + Brandon Aiyuk // Keenan Allen + Josh Palmer // Amari Cooper + Donovan Peoples-Jones
    Tight Ends:

    Notable TEs missing from this slate: Dalton Schultz, T.J. Hockenson, Pat Freiermuth, Dallas Goedert, Dawson Knox, Zach Ertz, Darren Waller, Kyle Pitts

    • Gets thin extremely quick this week after the Kelce, Andrews, Kittle trio
    • Gerald Everett with Arizona on deck, and Gesicki vs Houston as potential leverage off Miami’s top trio are the most interesting for me to consider if missing the top guys 

    Strategy based on first picks:

    If Travis Kelce:

    • Mahomes extremely unlikely to be able to stack
    • Downgrade Lamar: bet on Kelce over Andrews
    • Upgrade Waddle and Wilson: bet on Kelce over Hill
      • This downgrades Tua slightly for me as well if I’m betting against his most likely path (Hill ceiling) to a ceiling game
    • Keep eye on available stacks; QB likely needs to keep pace with big Mahomes game
      • Tua and Waddle are still a possible option if Waddle slips a bit, and that would really leverage Hill in a Kelce roster’s favor
      • Higgins/Chase with Burrow
      • DeAndre Hopkins with Kyler
      • Lockett/Metcalf are later possibilities with Geno
      • Keenan/Palmer are later possibilities with Herbert
    • Odds are against getting any of Henry, Ekeler, McCaffrey
      • Treylon Burks should only be in consideration with a Cincinnati stack
      • Upgrade Allen, Palmer and Everett; can even potentially pair with Hopkins
      • Upgrade Aiyuk and Deebo: also a bet on Kelce over George Kittle

    If Tyreek Hill:

    • Upgrade Andrews; bet on Hill over Kelce
    • Getting Andrews or Kelce will be tough on a Hill roster, so upgrade Kittle and think about ways Andrews and Kelce won’t be necessary for a top roster
      • Downgrade Lamar; Downgrade Aiyuk and Deebo (if taking Kittle)
      • Upgrade Juju Smith-Schuster, Isaiah Pacheco
    • Upgrade Tua; not necessary to stack, but betting on clearest path to a Tua ceiling game with Hill here
    • Upgrade Jacobs and Foster Moreau; bet on Hill over Davante Adams
    • Downgrade Waddle; double-stack would need Tua and probably a bring back (Brandin Cooks) to even make sense in this format
    • Odds are against getting any of Henry, Ekeler, McCaffrey
      • Treylon Burks should only be in consideration with a CIN stack
      • Upgrade LAC passing stacks (Herbert / Allen / Palmer / Everett)
      • Kittle still significant upgrade; Aiyuk and Deebo even bigger upgrade if no Kittle too

    If Patrick Mahomes:

    • Taking Mahomes knowing Kelce isn’t stackable means you need someone to either keep pace with a good Kelce game (so upgrade Andrews), or upgrade a KC pass catcher
      • KC pass-catcher isn’t required due to Mahomes ability to spread ball around so none of the ancillary guys are necessary, but should at least be considered
      • Juju has 20 and 22 point games, Mecole Hardman has 26 and 17 point games, Kadarius Toney has one 17 point game
    • If Mahomes is on the winning roster despite also a big Kelce game, it means Mahomes significantly outpaced all the other QBs and your rostered TE did just enough
      • This would also upgrade the RBs for those QBs: Wilson, Ekeler, Joe Mixon (Q), Walker, Conner
    • With no Hill, Tua, or Kelce, this makes MIA order of preference: Wilson – Waddle – Gesicki
    • Upgrade Kittle due to odds against getting Kelce, Andrews, and CMC

    Underowned Combos:

    • Tua + Wilson / Gesicki
    • Burrow + Higgins / Chase + Henry / Burks
    • Mahomes + Juju
    • Geno + Lockett / Metcalf + Moreau

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

    Late Swap

    StatATL is an OWS Fam grad who had multiple tournament wins last season that included a large field showdown for MNF and a $50,000 SE win. This season Billy has been hammering short slates and utilizing late swap. In this article, he’ll help you take advantage of late swap.

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

    Outlook – Late Games:

    Four of the eleven games fall into the late window this weekend, which includes four of the top five teams in terms of Vegas implied team totals (KC, SF, LAC, SEA). I would expect heavy ownership on several players from those games, specifically Kenneth Walker and Josh Jacobs (if active) at RB, DeAndre Hopkins and Keenan Allen at WR, and the KC defense, who project as the 2nd highest owned overall on the slate. If you’ve read my articles before, you know how I feel about highly-owned defenses.

    Overall, I would expect many rosters to feature at least one value RB from the early games (Murray, White, Perine, and Wilson), and due to these salary savings, the few pay up options at WR are likely to be higher owned than the probability is of them producing a slate breaking score. That said, if your main bet/stack on a roster is from the early games, I suggest a construction with at least 3, preferably 4 pieces (which can include DST) saved for the afternoon games. This will allow you to block the popular pieces if your early plays smash, or get contrarian with some of the options outlined below if your roster needs to play catch-up to get over the cash line.

    Important Early Outcomes to Watch:
    • Dolphins skill position players, specifically Jeff Wilson, as Miami has an implied total of over 30 points.
    • Value RB plays, such as Latavious Murray, Rachaad White and Samaje Perine (along with Wilson).
    • Mark Andrews – We have all three separators at the TE position on the slate (Andrews, Kelce, Kittle). If Andrews goes for 25+, you will likely want to pivot to Kelce/Kittle if you still have the TE slot open.
    • “Slate Breakers” – unexpected monster performances like Mixon a couple weeks ago
    Price Range Breakdowns (Late Games):

    $7,000 and up:

    • Christian McCaffrey – Most expensive player on the slate with a somewhat uncertain role but showed his 40+ point ceiling just three weeks ago. Has seen 20 or more opportunities in two of the past three games and is currently projected for single-digit ownership.
    • Adams/Jacobs – Over the last 3 weeks, Adams and Jacobs have combined for an absurd 68% of the offense’s usage (targets plus carries). Renfrow and Waller are both on IR, so I don’t foresee this usage changing. Adams currently projects for only 16% ownership despite three straight games exceeding 30 DK points.
    • Austin Ekeler – Feels like the obvious pay-up option at RB, but not currently projected for top-five ownership at the position. A strong leverage spot off of the value RB plays and I like him as part of a Chargers stack (more on this below).

    $6,000 – $7,000:

    • James Conner – Rondale Moore has been ruled out and while Hollywood Brown is likely to make his return, he could be eased in. Connor has seen back-to-back games of 19+ opportunities and is going up against a Chargers team that gave up 99 or more yards rushing to Isiah Pacheco, Tyler Allgeier, and Kenneth Walker in 3 of the past 4 weeks. If Brown is inactive, Conner is an even stronger play.
    • Chris Olave – The Saints are likely to be playing from behind and Olave has entrenched himself as the alpha WR. The speedy wideout is only projected for 2% ownership against a 49ers team that gave up 100+ yards to Greg Dortch and Marquez Valdes-Scantling in two of the past four weeks.

    $5,000 – $5,900:

    • Isiah Pacheco – Along with Tua Tagovailoa, Pacheco offers the largest leverage play on the slate. The field is certain that both the Dolphins will score on the ground, (hence Jeff Wilson’s ownership), and that the Chiefs will score through the air. Pacheco is only projected for 4% ownership despite KC being a two-touchdown home favorite and Clyde Edwards-Helaire being on IR.
    • JuJu Smith-Schuster – The Chiefs are projected for 29 points, Toney and Hardman have both been ruled out and JuJu is projected for 6% ownership. I feel like most weeks the Chiefs players go under-owned, and it appears that trend will continue this week. Can be paired with Pacheco and Mahomes as part of a Chiefs smash build.

    Sub $5,000:

    • Van Jefferson – Chiefs are projected to win by two touchdowns and Cooper Kupp is on IR. This is simply an ownership play at sub-1%.
    • Sky Moore – Coming off a career-high 6 target game, Toney and Hardman are both ruled out. Moore is min priced and likely won’t carry more than 2-5% ownership


    • Seahawks ($3,300) – 7 or more DK points in every home game this year, including 13 or more in 50% of those games. Love this matchup if Jacobs misses for LV.
    • Cardinals ($2,700) – Leverage off highly owned Chiefs DST ($2,800). 8 or more DK points in 5 of the past 8 games.
    • 49ers ($4,000) – A pay-up to be contrarian play. 49ers are two-score home favorites and have shown several times this season they have the ability to be the had-to-have-it DST unit for the week.
    • KC is my favorite stack to build around this week, and Mahomes and Kelce are both projecting for sub-15% ownership in a smash spot. Other great Chiefs stacking options are mentioned above as well.
    • Herbert with two of Ekeler, Palmer, Allen, and Everett looks to be a solid contrarian build. Only Ekeler is carrying more than 15% ownership, and most rosters won’t have both him and Herbert. Hopkins is a natural bring back on these rosters as he projects to see double-digit targets.

    As always, keep an eye on late breaking news and remember to make sure your latest starting skill position player is in the FLEX spot.

    I hope to see you and your OWS avatar at the top of a leaderboard this week!