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The Scroll Week 13

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    The DFS Slate

    (In One Central Space)


    Meet The Team


    Angles

    Happy Thursday!

    New members: Every Thursday morning, we send out the Angles email — in which we take a critical, “overview” look at the slate ahead.

    The Lay Of The Land ::

    Week: 13

    Total Main Slate Games: 12

    Slate Overview:

    You wanted something different?

    After a couple months with 10 or 11 games on the Main Slate, we have only two teams on bye this week, giving us 12 games to choose from; and after weeks of Over/Unders in the 47-48 range standing out as “the top on-paper spots on the slate,” this week gives us not one, not two, but three games with Over/Unders north of 50, and two additional games in the 47-point range.

    Josh Allen plays on Thursday night and will be missing from the Main Slate, but the only other noteworthy offenses missing are a split-backfield/run-leaning Cowboys team and an underwhelming, horizontal-raid Cardinals team, while most of the marquee names in fantasy are present on this slate (with a number of them in matchups against one another).

    Of course, this being 2022, we also have four games with Over/Unders of 42.0 or below (and this being 2022, we’ll probably see at least a couple pieces of chalk emerge from these games; go figure), and we have three games in the 43.5 to 44.5 point range.

    Those three games are particularly interesting:

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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::

    Boy, oh boy, this slate is fun! We leave behind the days of poor game environments and find ourselves with a slate with top teams playing each other, some hyper-concentrated sides, and some quite frankly weird chalk. Furthermore, the slate feels wide open from the perspective of being able to identify where the field is going, opening the door for us to have a little fun with roster building this week. There are also numerous high upside spots that are going generally overlooked by the field. In all, this creates a dynamic slate with more freedom to maneuver than we’ve seen in the recent past.

    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.

    JOSH JACOBS

    Nothing really left to say about Jacobs, who has been one of the more pleasant surprises this season. His workload is elite, his offensive line is elite, and the matchup is elite. He is listed as questionable with his calf injury but he was last week too before playing 79% of the offensive snaps in an overtime win, including ripping off the walk-off touchdown on an 86-yard eruption.

    KENNETH WALKER

    Look, Walker can hit under the right conditions, and he should see significant work against the Rams, but Walker has been one of the least efficient starting running backs this season based on his underlying metrics. He also has exactly one game with more than four targets this season, leaving him firmly established in the realm of yardage and touchdown backs. That’s not typically something I want exposure to at high expected ownership.

    TRAVIS ETIENNE

    The big concern here is his health after head coach Doug Pederson removed him from last week’s contest after just five offensive snaps with a foot injury. He was reportedly fine to return to the game, but his coach held him out anyway out of an abundance of caution. That raises some concerns surrounding his expected workload in one of the best pure matchups he will see all season.

    GARRETT WILSON

    Wilson has a weak 8.4 aDOT, moderate 26.8% targets per route run rate, and modest 22.6% team target market share on a team highly unlikely to push the pace or turn to the air on their own, leaving a very thin needle to thread for him to return GPP viability. He feels safe this week which is why he is currently expected to garner the highest ownership on the slate (we’ll cover more of his situation and other similar situations on The Slate podcast).

    AMON-RA ST. BROWN

    The Jacksonville defense naturally funnels pass game production to the middle of the field, which plays nicely into the expected volume and production of Sun God here. Not much else to say other than I would 100% pair him with a member of the Jaguars as his clearest path to top-end production comes in a game environment where each team is putting up points.

    PAT FREIERMUTH

    I am at a complete loss with this one, which is likeliest due to the state of the slate. As in, rosters are simply likeliest to prioritize production at other positions, leaving people hunting for certain volume at a variant position.

    CHALK BUILD::

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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 13

    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.

    Justin Herbert:  FD $8.1k, 13.5% // DK $7.2k, 14.4% // Value on Fanduel

    Herbert’s the fifth highest priced QB on Fanduel and the sixth on Draftkings. He takes up .9% less of Draftkings salary cap compared to Fanduel’s cap. This week he faces the Raiders who have given up the second most Fanduel points per game to QBs (21.3). 

    Trevor Lawrence:  FD $7.5k, 12.5% // DK $5.9k, 11.8% // Value on Draftkings

    Lawrence and the Jags face a Lions defense who’ve given up the most Draftkings points per game to QBs (26.0). The Lions have given up 29.0 Draftkings points or more in six games this season. Lawrence is the 10th priced QB on both sites, but takes up 11.8% of the cap on Draftkings and 12.5% on Fanduel.

    Christian McCaffrey:  FD $8.2k, 13.7% // DK $8.6k, 17.2% // Value on Fanduel

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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 MME and high-dollar, small-field SE/3-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

    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


    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).

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

    Joe Burrow
    Joe Mixon
    Jaylen Warren
    Ja’Marr Chase
    D.J. Chark
    Marquez Valdes-Scantling
    Harrison Bryant
    DeAndre Carter
    Steelers

    Alternate Bottom-Up Build
    DK Salary Remaining :: $6.0K

    Tua Tagovailoa
    Joe Mixon
    Jaylen Warren
    Tyreek Hill
    Jauan Jennings
    Marquez Valdes-Scantling
    Harrison Bryant
    DeAndre Carter
    Steelers

    Join The Bottom-Up Build Contest On DraftKings!

    Buy-In:
    Free

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

    Prizes:
    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

    “One of Jacobs // Adams”

    Throw away the Davante flu game, and we’re now at seven consecutive games in which one of these two has scored 30+ points. As we’ve been saying throughout this stretch: 30-pointers are tough to come by, so if you can give yourself a 50/50 shot at a 30-pointer, you should be looking to do so.

    This week, I may not be as strict about my “one of these two on every roster I build” rule, as I believe there could be some 40-pointers on this slate, and I want to make sure I leave myself with enough salary flexibility to mix and match some other high-priced, high-upside pieces. But I’ll also continue to be very happy to play one of these two anywhere I can — especially as 40-pointers are completely possible for these two as well.

    Travis Etienne

    In his three healthy games since the Jags traded James Robinson, Etienne has touched the ball 27, 30, and 14 times, with the 14-touch game coming in a 10-point loss to the Chiefs. If we assume this game between the Jags and Lions stays close, we can assume Etienne will top 20 touches, with clear pathways to 25+. The matchup and game environment are ripe for production, and the DK price tag is too low, making Etienne one of the stronger floor/ceiling options on the slate.

    “Light Blue” Chips

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    Build-Arounds

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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

    Tua + Tyreek + Jauan
    Cost: $18.7K DK // Not as sharp on FD
    Story:

    “The Dolphins are successful through the air”

    Why It Works:

    You could stack up this game a number of different ways, and all of them should come with relatively low ownership for a spot that is capable of producing “had to have it” scores.

    How It Works:

    We know the Dolphins are likely to skew pass-heavy here (see above), so the question is simply, “Are they successful?” If they are, Tua plus one of his pass catchers could easily become the stack required to win a tourney this week. And if the Dolphins’ passing attack becomes the optimal way to play this slate, it almost certainly means the 49ers are attacking through the air as well, making a $3.2k Jauan Jennings a great way to tail the initial bet while freeing up salary to maximize upside across your roster.

    I also like Tua double-stacks and Tua + Waddle, and I like bringing back any of those plays with CMC, Aiyuk, Deebo, or Kittle.

    POTENTIAL DOWNSIDE:

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

    Mahomes + Kelce + Mixon

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    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 ::

    Tua Tagovailoa || Patrick Mahomes || Joe Burrow || Justin Fields || Trevor Lawrence

    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 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 ::
    Josh Jacobs and Austin Ekeler

    Both of these players have elite: game environment, matchup, volume, and talent. I’m listing them together because they are playing in the same game and it’s likely at least one of them has a huge game, with it being very possible for both to do so.

    Aaron Jones

    The Bears defense has not held an opponent under 27 points since Week 7, after which they started trading away top defenders. They will also be without some other key defenders this week. Jones is the lead back on an offense that we expect to score touchdowns and has taken a big lead in the usage department over AJ Dillon recently.

    David Montgomery

    Khalil Herbert was placed on injured reserve two games ago and Montgomery has had a carry or target on 33% of the offensive plays for the Bears in both games. He is now facing a Packers defense that has been torched by running backs all season and has Justin Fields back to spark the offense’s production.

    Zonovan Knight (or Ty Johnson)

    Knight came out of nowhere last week for 100+ total yards as the Jets made the ineffective James Robinson inactive. The Jets had a three-man rotation with Knight, Johnson, and Michael Carter….Carter is now doubtful for Week 13. Given the state of the slate, Knight’s $4,600 price tag in a good matchup is especially appealing as there is a good chance his performance has earned him the top-dog role in the Jets backfield. He will likely carry some ownership, but he opens up a lot for your roster. If the Jets were to fall behind, Ty Johnson could potentially play the lion’s share of the snaps as he has a history of work as a receiving back and Johnson will likely come in with under 1% ownership.

    SIDE NOTES::

    Travis Etienne – If we knew Etienne would have the same role he has had for much of the last few weeks, he would arguably be the top RB option on the slate. However, Etienne was pulled from last week’s game out of “an abundance of caution” after having his foot rolled up on (the same foot he broke last season, causing him to miss the whole year). Jamychal Hasty played very well last week, especially in the receiving game, and Darrell Henderson was just added to the team and could help spell Etienne as well. Basically, playing him is a roll of the dice on what kind of role he will have for a team that is essentially dead and is clearly conscious of conserving his body.

    Joe Mixon // Samaje Perine // Isiah Pacheco – Listing all of these guys from the same game together. Obviously this game should draw a ton of attention, but most of that will likely flow to the passing game pieces. Each of these players has some appeal as a way to get exposure to an explosive game environment::

    • Perine would become arguably the best RB play on the slate if Mixon does not clear concussion protocol. If Mixon is active, you can’t play Perine.
    • Mixon obviously has an elite ceiling, but I have some concern that if he is active he will be eased back into action coming off a concussion, especially considering how effective Perine was the last two weeks.
    • Pacheco is coming off a 23-touch performance in which he took the reins of the Chiefs backfield. Jerick McKinnon is battling a hamstring injury but was removed from the injury report on Friday, which will keep Pacheco’s ownership minuscule. Pacheco is a perfect complement to Bengals passing game stacks.
    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! 

    Ever have that thing happen where you do a bunch of work on an excel sheet, save it and then it somehow vanishes anyway? 

    No. Of course not. Me neither. 

    Hope that was a good omen. 

    LFG!

    Sonic


    QB:

    RB:

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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

    If you’re a single entry player, look away, this slate is not for you. In fact, with how recent weeks have looked pre-slate, this is the type of slate that twists you up in knots. First, there are more games to analyze than we’ve gotten used to (12), and more importantly, we finally have some real point totals expected with three games sitting around or over 50 points, along with a few games sitting prime in our Vegas zone between 46-49. We can play around with so much this week that it’s going to be very easy to start feeling analysis paralysis set in as we listen to and consume more DFS content. But don’t you worry, I’m here for you. 

    Week 13 Strategy

    Here’s my advice this week: take your typical bankroll and do one of two things A) increase it by 50-100% to put more money in play spreading out over more game stacks, or B) take the same amount of entry fees and enter smaller buy-in contests to again spread out your entries. Your path to the best outcome this week is likely by embracing correlation and variance through exposure to more games. It’s as simple as that.

    With many games jumping out as possible “had to have it” environments, I don’t want to act like I’ll be an expert in telling you which it will be. What I do know is that the general tendency of the field this week should be to overstack less. Once we get the QB + WR1 + Bring back 1 onto rosters, some will be hard-pressed to ignore other game environments. For instance, entries that want to hone in on Chiefs/Bengals may go Mahomes + Kelce + Chase or Higgins, but there will be a natural compulsion to then grab players in Chargers/Raiders or Dolphins/49ers to ensure they don’t get blindsided by the exciting games.

    For any OG OWS members out there (2018), the GPP player block approach is a good one to deploy in this context this week. I’ll get more into it below but think of your rosters this week as one overall block, as JM used to preach, where it can move up or down in some places while having hedged bets in others. You are not going to be able to predict which of these spots will erupt on Sunday. If you want to go single entry/three-max this week, godspeed my friend. You may not want to watch the games.

    This will be an exciting slate, I think we’ll get some 300-point DK scores taking down tournaments and the scoring overall should be wild. So, where will these mega scores come from and how can we position our rosters for first place? Buckle up.

    Browns & Texans Stack (Watson, Chubb, Pierce, DPJ)

    The game total here is expected to be around 47 points. The Browns are currently sitting as the second highest expected scoring team behind the Chiefs on this main slate. It feels gross to roster some of these Cleveland players, but you may be wise to do so. The two best talent + matchups for any RBs on the slate this week are Nick Chubb against Houston (31st DVOA vs run) and Josh Jacobs (if he plays) against the Chargers (30th DVOA vs the run). Only one of these running backs is healthy, and despite his limited passing game role and high DK price ($8,000), Chubb is coming off his first-ever game where he commanded over 80% of the RB touches while playing with Kareem Hunt healthy (h/t Joe Holka on Twitter). If this is the start of a trend, it would be fun to be on early. I talked a few weeks back about the rushing yards crown and what it would mean to Chubb . . . he’s now third behind Henry and Jacobs (trailing by 120 yards).

    Chubb should be less popular than teammate Deshaun Watson who has the narrative in his favor as we’re all curious to see how he looks in his first NFL start in nearly two years. I don’t love the play but I wouldn’t be surprised if plays more like a schoolboy this week and scrambles more frequently than he had in the past. With less polished pocket passers, even an NFL game can be like playing football at recess. If he does this, and we’re paying up for Chubb, why not lock onto Donovan Peoples-Jones. Amari Cooper will be the natural play, but DPJ has the long catch upside (remember the Watson to Will Fuller connection?), and with David Njoku out, there are fewer mouths to feed.

    Finally, Dameon Pierce. You may have noticed the Chubb and Jacobs matchups above being against the 30th and 31st-ranked rushing defenses. And who do you ask is the actual worst defense at stopping the run? The Cleveland Browns. This is a get-right spot for Pierce. The Texans should be feeding him and ensuring they run their putrid offense through him in this spot. He’s a fun pairing with Chubb for the environment where both teams should have success on the ground, but in a larger stack, you can play this block and go chalk everywhere else and you’ll be extremely unique if this game goes over 50-55 points.

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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 13 Topics

    1. I Don’t Know What To Do With My Hands

    2. Unlocking The Slate

    3. Game Environments: Pick ‘Em

    4. Floating Plays, Week 13

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


    1. I Don’t Know What To Do With My Hands

    The Question ::

    It feels like all season long we have been discussing the low scoring in the NFL and how hard it is to find fruitful fantasy environments. Finally, this week we have found a “DFS Oasis” full of some games with high totals, explosive players, bad defenses, and good weather. Three games have totals over 50, two others over 45, and two more (GB//CHI and PIT//ATL) feature some defenses that have struggled and/or explosive, cheap players.

    The issue we have now is that after so many weeks of having to build strategies based on the way things have been set up, it’s been a while since we had a week like this in terms of how we have to think about expected outcomes. Like Ricky Bobby being interviewed after his first big win, this is an unfamiliar spot that we need to align our thoughts with. With all of that in mind, how are you approaching this week and are there any strategies or approaches that you haven’t used in a while that you think become relevant again with scoring possibly (likely?) to far exceed most weeks we’ve had this season?

    The Answers ::
    JM >>

    The transition back to a week like this one can be a bit challenging, especially if you’ve been in a groove — and have been finding clear edges — in recent weeks. DFS is a bit like H-O-R-S-E, however: you get rewarded if you’re able to hit ALL the shots, and this week is simply a different type of shot to have to hit.

    For starters, I’m leaving myself an opening this week to NOT play high-dollar, small-field, single-entry contests. Late Saturday night or early Sunday morning, I’ll make a decision on whether or not I feel confident I’m finding an edge there, and I’ll roll forward according to my honest assessment.

    In larger-field play, on the other hand, I feel hugely confident in my expected value on a week like this, as the field tends to congregate on “one way to see things,” and I’m typically good at seeing all the different ways a slate could play out. There are a LOT of various ways in which this slate could be higher-scoring than past weeks, which is why I noted early in the week that I felt we would have potential to see some 300-pointers if we had a $60k salary cap. To be clear: things could also play out in such a way that nothing really pops, and it’s business as usual from a DFS scoring perspective. But because I see potential for scoring to pile up in a lot of different places, this gives me a lot of different angles to play around with in large-field play.

    Bringing that back over to SE // tighter builds :: because I see a lot of ways in which points could pile up on this slate, it’s more difficult for me to narrow things down to what I feel is “clearly the best way” to attack this slate on one “Main Build”. With that in mind (again), I’ll still be attacking some 3-max and some mid-stakes single-entry, but may decide that I don’t want a hefty portion of my bankroll for the week tied to one single Main Build.

    In trying to get to that Main Build, my focus is on trying to find the highest-likelihood, highest-upside spots. I recognize that there are a lot of ways this slate could play out to the upside, but what’s the most robust of those potential paths? And how do I take advantage?

    Xandamere >>

    The only major difference for me is it makes me less interested in targeting the lower-total games for game stacks. When the gap between lower-total and higher-total games on a week is something like 7 points…that’s just one touchdown. But when the gap is 10+ points, that makes it less likely that an outlier low game is going to outscore the higher games. 

    This doesn’t mean I’m just X’ing out every individual player from lower total games, because a combination of price, matchup, and scoring concentration can still lead to viable plays coming out of weaker game environments, but the likelihood of a game like BAL/DEN or NYG/WAS or ATL/PIT (a game I actually kind of like!) resulting in a higher final game score than ALL of the three 50+ total games is, while not impossible, low enough that I don’t personally feel like I want to chase after that. 

    Hilow >>

    The process remains the same except I become more selective in my criteria for identifying plays. Explained further, I am still starting macro and honing things in as the week progresses, first identifying top potential game environments before looking for teams with elite ceilings and concentration for potential one-offs. The major difference comes in the selective nature once I’ve gone through that process, in that I place a reduced emphasis on the bottom 80-85% in a specific situation’s range of outcomes, looking to build rosters that have paths to elite-level ceiling – because it is not likely the 220-240 scores we have grown accustomed to seeing take down GPPs is going to hack it this week. 

    Furthermore, and this is directly linked to something JM mentioned earlier this week when he said something to the effect of “if we had $60,000 in salary this week we could see rosters put up 300+ fantasy points,” I want to hunt diligently for pieces, teams, or situations that are underpriced for their range of outcomes this week. This is something that likely falls out of most people’s habit patterns as we inch closer to the final quarter of the season, in that by now players are conditioned to simply look for injury situations for underpriced value (a lot goes into that – everything from psychological aspects to habit patterns to aggressive pricing based on previous production and ownership). To me, there is one specific game environment (yes, the entire game environment) where this is the case on this slate, and there are a couple spots where it is true for individual teams or individual players. 

    Mike >>

    For me, the biggest thing is to keep in mind that despite a bunch of games capable of producing a lot of raw production, pricing and salary structures still limit what people are able to do. As such, the field’s behavior becomes somewhat predictable. While correlated bets on game environments and big game/team stacks are almost always not used enough by the field, that will be the case to an even greater extent this week due to the “FOMO” feeling that people will have if building larger stacks. If you build a five player stack from one game you are left with only three roster spots to finish things out. People will naturally want to “get a piece” from each of their favorite spots this week and will be hesitant to zero in on one or two primary spots, giving us an advantage to exploit.


    2. Unlocking The Slate

    The Question ::

    As we discussed in the first question, there are a lot of explosive game environments that are sure to generate attention due to their potential to have their scoring go nuclear. The issue we have is the fact that many of those environments (MIA//SF, KC//CIN, LAC//LV) that are appealing to target and have concentrated usage feature some players with VERY high price tags and/or will be extremely popular (JAX//DET). 

    On a week like this, we often have to find unique ways to find value and build rosters to unlock the slate. What are some cheap value players or unique builds that you are considering that will open up the rest of your roster to load up on the “big guns” from the premier spots?

    The Answers ::

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    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.

    Click here to join Discord for free.

    Fishin’ In The Bay::

    The Dolphins passing game has taken us to the promised land multiple times this season. This week, they face a 49ers defense that is tops in the league against the run and has only faced one true test from a high-end passing game, the Chiefs, which they failed miserably as they surrendered 423 passing yards and 44 total points. The Dolphins appear to be going overlooked due to some games/teams with higher implied totals, but the explosiveness and concentration of their passing attack can’t be understated. Tyreek Hill might be the highest floor/ceiling play on the slate this week and Tua Tagovailoa and Jaylen Waddle are also primed for success. 

    Back To The Well::

    After a big performance in a nationally televised game against the Chiefs, Josh Palmer was a very popular pick last week with Mike Williams sidelined with an ankle injury. The Chargers offense did well but Palmer was unspectacular, posting only five receptions for 56 yards on seven targets. This week, Palmer is in a better matchup at basically the same price yet is likely to see about a third of the ownership he had last week. I think he is primed for a big game against the league’s worst pass defense in a spot where the Chargers are likely to continue throwing at the highest rate in the league.

    Getting Defensive::

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    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. 

    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 the 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

    This week’s afternoon slate is especially interesting with two very high game totals and a third game filled with high profile players, not to mention a Seattle team that is always somewhat popular this season.

    • Let’s start from the bottom. John Wolford is starting for the Rams and will almost certainly be 1% owned or less.
    • After that, Jimmy Garoppolo seems certain to be the next lowest owned QB, and I would expect him in the 3 to 6% range.
    • Joe Burrow will almost certainly be the highest owned QB and should come in around 25-30%. It’s the QBs after Burrow and above Wolford/Jimmy that are tough to break down.
    • Geno has the highest ownership projection on the main slate of the five remaining QBs. That being said, he is playing in the lowest total game on the slate so I could see him being passed by one or two others on the Afternoon Only slate.
    • I would think Mahomes ownership has to at least double on this slate from the main slate.
    • Carr and Herbert should be steamed up a little on the shorter slate, especially Carr due to his low price tag.
    • Tua is kind of the odd man out as he is priced right near Burrow but has a lot more question marks about his matchup and game environment.

    My guess on final ownership:

    • Burrow – 25-30%
    • Carr, Mahomes, Herbert, Geno – 12-20% each
    • Tua – 8-12%
    • Garoppolo – 3-7%
    • Wolford – sub-1%
    Defense Strategy
    • The Seahawks defense will almost certainly be the most popular on the slate and for good reason against a Rams preseason-esque offense.
    • Despite my affinity for the Dolphins passing game, the 49ers defense is probably the best bet on the slate. Miami is going to be without their two starting offensive tackles and unlikely to be able to run the ball, resulting in a high pass rate and a lot of sack/turnover opportunities.
    • As I often suggest, playing defenses from the “premium games” (KC//CIN and LAC//LV) can be quite fruitful. All of those defenses will likely have ample opportunity to make plays, and even if those games are high scoring they can get some turnovers and/or score a touchdown. As a matter of fact, more often than most people realize when there is a game that is extremely high scoring it is an early defensive touchdown that serves as a catalyst.

    HOW I’M APPROACHING EACH GAME

    Be sure to check the NFL Edge game breakdowns for deeper dives into these games, but here are some afternoon specific thoughts.

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    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 twelve total games fall into the late window this weekend, including two of the top three game environments based on Vegas implied totals (KC at CIN and LAC at LV). I would expect high ownership on several players from those games, with Josh Jacobs to be one of the highest-owned players on the slate after last week’s 50+ point outburst.

    Overall, this week’s chalk construction should vary from previous weeks as the value options at RB aren’t as appealing, with only Dameon Pierce projecting for double-digit ownership below $6k. More value could open up in Brian Robinson or Jaylen Warren if Antonio Gibson or Najee Harris were to miss (both questionable at the time of this writing). QB ownership is always less concentrated, and this week I expect both QBs from JAX at DET to be popular due to the high game total and affordability they both offer. That said, if your main bet/stack on a roster is from the early games, such as the aforementioned JAX/DET matchup, 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:
    • Jaguars and Lions skill position players, specifically Amon-Ra St. Brown, Christian Kirk, Zay Jones, and Travis Etienne. All project to be in the top ten in overall ownership. 
    • “Slate Breakers” – unexpected monster performances like Josh Jacobs a week ago
    Price Range Breakdowns (Late Games):

    $7,000 and up:

    • Tyreek Hill – Most expensive player on the slate in a tough on paper matchup, but as we’ve explored on OWS before, the matchup doesn’t take away from the ceiling. I would only use him in a Tua build, but a good way to get contrarian if your early plays flop as he’s projecting for single-digit ownership and can break the slate.
    • Adams / Jacobs – Basically cut and paste from the past few weeks. Over the last month, Adams and Jacobs have combined for an absurd 68% of the offense’s usage (targets plus carries). Renfrow and Waller are both on IR, and Adams currently projects for only 13% ownership, despite exceeding 30 DK points in 3 of his past 4 games.
    • Joe Mixon – Most of the field will build around the TDs in the KC/CIN game coming through the air. Mixon has shown 50 point upside this season.

    $6,000 – $7,000:

    • Metcalf / Lockett – Seattle is one of the more concentrated offenses in the league with a team total of 24 points. Both receivers are projected for single-digit ownership and are strong options to consider if playing catch up after the early games.

    $5,000 – $5,900:

    • Isiah Pacheco – Pacheco offers some of the largest leverage on the slate as the field is certain that both the Bengals and Chiefs will score through the air. Pacheco is only projected for 3% ownership despite KC having the highest Vegas team total on the slate and Clyde Edwards-Helaire on IR.
    • Joshua Palmer – Averaging 9.5 targets over his past five games and Mike Williams is out again. Projected at sub-5% ownership

    Sub $5,000:

    • Marquez Valdes-Scantling – Cheap exposure to the highest projected offense on the slate. He has put up 15 or more points in 3 of his past 7 games.
    • Jauan Jennings – Coming off a season high 6 catch game, a strong consideration if needing a value play in the late window.

    Defense:

    • Seahawks ($3,600) – Priced up where they are likely not to gain too much steam despite taking on projected starter Bryce Perkins, slated to be making his second career start.
    • 49ers ($3,100) – Should carry low ownership and have shown several times this season the ability to produce the top defensive score for the week.
    Stacks/Construction:

    Cincy is my favorite stack to build around in the late window this week, with several value pieces in play from both sides. A full game stack (3 Bengals, 2 Chiefs) is my personal preference if building around these two high-powered offenses.

    If building a stack centered around one of the early games, such as Lawrence/Jags or Pickett/Steelers, remember to account for the two highest games on the slate in the afternoon window (KC at CIN and LAC at LV) by leaving some flexibility to make pivots. If your early bets flounder, I’d suggest moving to lower-owned contrarian plays in these games, such as Mixon, Pacheco, MVS, Adams, or Palmer. If your early stacks smash, look to block the popular plays by rostering/pivoting to some combination of Jacobs, Ekeler, and Walker at RB/Flex, and Moreau or Kelce in the TE slot. 

    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!