Thursday, Sep 5th
Monday, Sep 9th

The Scroll Week 13

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    THE SCROLL


    The DFS Slate

    (In One Central Space)


    Meet The Team


    Angles

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

    OWS Fam!

    What a week we have ahead of us.

    But first! — what a week we had behind us(!!!).

    ANOTHER Week For The Ages

    This is the third or fourth weekend of the season that has been in contention for “one of the biggest OWS weeks ever” (and we’ve only had a couple weeks all year in which OWS wasn’t peppering the tops of the leaderboards!).

    I saw some discussion in the OWS Discord this week about how much smaller OWS is than some of the other DFS sites out there (you know how it is: the masses just want to be handed fish, which isn’t exactly our style) — making it even more incredible that this was the third time already in 2023 that OWS has taken down The Slant (a contest that typically has around 20,000 entries!). We also took down the Flea Flicker (over 50,000 entries) and had two of the top 10 spots in the Milly Maker. Making all of this even more impressive is the fact that this barrage of OWS pennants came from a wide range of different OWS users (for example: six of the top 10 spots in The Slant were occupied by OWS pennants…from five different users!).

    I counted over 60 users that I shouted out on X(witter) this weekend for their binks and big finishes — and that’s only a portion of the screenshots that came in, and doesn’t even account for all the OWS members who don’t play with the pennant as their avatar, or don’t drop their big wins on X or in the Binks channel.

    As I’ve been saying since early in the season: ‘The craziest thing of all is that this is completely sustainable.’

    As I’ve also been saying since early in the season: ‘If it hasn’t happened for you yet, keep knocking on the door. Look around you. Your time is coming.’

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    What Do We Do With Week 13?

    My, oh my (oh my, oh my).

    I’ve talked this season about the importance of “processing information without judgement” — of understanding that “what we have” is simply “what we have.” It’s not “good,” or “bad,” or “ugly,” or anything else: it’s simply the playing field for the week in question, and it’s the playing field everyone is working with, and it’s up to us to solve the puzzle better than our competition is solving the puzzle.

    All of this is true.

    But this is the first week of the season where I’ve found myself battling to throw off the thundering thought of, “Wow — this is an ugly slate!”

    The “Good”

    (Even though “whatever it is” is what it is, and there is no such thing as ‘Good’…)

    Dolphins (29.75) at Commanders (20.25)

    It’s no secret that the Commanders are the worst pass defense in the league. They rank 32nd in DVOA against the pass, and in addition to allowing the third-most passing yards per game, they have allowed five more passing touchdowns than any other team. As if this weren’t enough, the Commanders’ offense has the third-highest pass rate over expectation (PROE) — which further pushes the overall aggressiveness of their game environments. This spot is obvious — yes. This spot is also really attractive.

    49ers (24.75) at Eagles (21.75)

    This is a “take the over” spot — with regards to how we can attack it in DFS — as we have two of the most aggressive-minded teams in the NFL squaring off with important implications for playoff seeding on the line. (The Eagles are two games ahead of the 49ers, but still have a game at Dallas next week.) Only one defense faces a higher PROE than the Eagles. That defense is the 49ers. Wheels up on potential upside.

    Broncos (22.0) at Texans (25.5)

    Somewhat humorously (to me, at least), the implied team totals peg this game in the same range as the game directly above (and there could be edge this week in the fact that projection systems and optimizers will probably treat each game similarly) — but if you’re looking for a “sneaky” spot that could join the others, we have a Broncos defense that still has some potential flaws, taking on Bobby Slowik, C.J. Stroud, and the magical Houston Texans. If the Texans are scoring, Sean Payton’s Broncos can probably keep pace.

    The “Bad”

    (Even though “whatever it is” is what it is, and there is no such thing as ‘Bad’…)

    The Lions (25.0) should put up a nice score against the Saints (21.0), but in the chess match of “how do we go about winning this particular game?” Detroit will have eyes on the fact that New Orleans is likely to be missing all three of Chris Olave (concussion), Rashid Shaheed (quad), and Michael Thomas (I.R.) — compelling them to be less aggressive than they might otherwise be.

    The Chargers (23.25) shouldn’t struggle too mightily with the defense of the Patriots (17.25), but same as the Lions, the game plan for the Chargers is likely to account for the fact their opponent will probably have a difficult time making a whole lot happen on offense.

    The Buccaneers (21.25) have had a steady offense all season, but they are taking on a Panthers team (15.75) that both A) does a good job making life difficult on opposing passing attacks, and B) can’t ever get anything going on offense. This is yet another spot in which the favored team isn’t likely to be pushed into a truly high-scoring output.

    The Steelers (23.25) racked up 400 yards of offense last week in their first game without Matt Canada (after failing to crack 400 yards in 45 games with Canada — LOL), and are now taking on the Cardinals’ beatable defense — but the Steelers allow the fifth-fewest points per game, and even with Kyler Murray back, the Cardinals have continued to show why they entered the season as the favorites for the number one pick in next year’s draft. Pittsburgh unveiled a more aggressive offensive mindset against the Jake Browning-led Bengals and will certainly continue that approach this week, but it’s fair to question how far that will truly take them. (That said: this game is potentially on the borderline of the “Good”/”Bad” categories.)

    The Colts (22.0) are taking on a Titans team (21.0) that has allowed only two opponents all season to top 24 against them (Cleveland, 27; Jacksonville, 34), and that runs such a conservative offense that opponents are never compelled to go full “foot on the gas” mode in this matchup.

    The Rams (21.5) are taking on the tremendous defense of the Browns (18.0), and should be compelled to play somewhat conservatively if they have a lead, given both the quarterback issues of their opponent and the ferocious nature of the defense they’ll be facing.

    Basically, this category gives us plenty of “games that could produce a nice DFS score or two, but are unlikely to get too exciting, and may not produce any tourney winners.”

    The “Ugly”

    (Even though “whatever it is” is what it is, and there is no such thing as ‘Ugly’…)

    The Falcons (18.25) are playing the Jets (15.75).

    It is what it is…

    But it is pretty ugly.

    The Setup

    In terms of DraftKings pricing, this slate gives us some very attractive options at the top, some “wide range of outcomes” options in the middle, and not a lot to love at the bottom — creating a very interesting setup for roster construction.

    As always, there is a path to the top of the leaderboards.

    It’s up to us to find it.

    It may be one of the rare times you’ll hear me concede that a slate is, in fact, “ugly” — but that doesn’t make it any less fun.

    Lots to dig into throughout the weekend.

    I’ll see you on the site soon.

    Hopefully I’ll see you in Props Insider.

    And I’ll see you at the top of the leaderboards on Sunday!
    -JM

    The Workbook

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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::

    Forget everything about this slate and join me on a quick journey. Forget the game totals. Forget the expected ownership numbers. Forget who your favorite plays are. Let’s start with what’s important this week. The median game total value is up again compared to the previous three main slates. That means we’re likely to require a higher raw score to ship GPPs this week. That is truth number one. Accept it as gospel because it absolutely must influence the way we construct rosters this week. The next inflection point of this slate is Zack Moss, but not in the way you’re probably thinking right now (more on this below).

    Now let’s turn our attention to the game totals and pick out what is truly important, with one eye kept firmly on our first point above. Yes, there are four games in our “magic range” of game totals, which for this year is about 45.0 and higher (down from about 47.0 and higher last year). These are the games we should be looking to account for on each slate this season because scoring is so hard to come by. But if we look at which teams are expected to approach four touchdowns worth of scoring (which for this season is around a Vegas implied team total of 26.0 points), we see that only one team carries an implied team total over 26.0 points (Dolphins). Enter inflection point number three. We must account for the Dolphins on this slate.

    The remaining three teams with implied team totals approaching four touchdowns are the Lions, Texans, and 49ers. Of those three teams, which one is in the game environment with the best chances of turning the slate on its head? It’s the 49ers at the Eagles. This is inflection point number four, with particular attention paid to the 49ers. If we played out this slate 100 times, the situations that influence GPP-winning lineups most often would be Zack Moss, the Dolphins, and the 49ers-Eagles game. This should govern the starting point of our roster construction this week. From there, we start to consider the next teams on the pedestal, or hierarchy, of importance (Texans and Lions) before searching for individual, or one-off, plays. Thus, our tightest player pool at quarterback would look something like Jalen Hurts, Tua Tagovailoa, and Brock Purdy, with C.J. Stroud and Jared Goff on the fringes.

    I wanted to use this space this week to explore a repeatable process for narrowing down a player pool, which has been a hot topic of discussion in recent weeks. The process leads to the plays, not ownership, not groupthink, not perception. Process.

    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.

    ZACK MOSS

    The top point-per-dollar expectation since Week 3. It’s as simple as that. How we handle the extreme chalk with Zack Moss is going to be more important than simply asking ourselves, “Should we play Moss at extreme ownership or fade him?” This game is not about ones and zeroes, it’s much more complex than that. So, how do we play Moss on rosters that include him and how do we maximize leverage on the rosters that don’t?

    RACHAAD WHITE

    Rachaad White struggles in the area that the Panthers defense struggles to defend (on the ground) and excels in the area that the Panthers defense does well in defending (targets to running backs). White can obviously find his way into multiple touchdowns in this spot, but that’s exactly what we’ll need for a GPP-worthy score from Mr. White this week.

    TYREEK HILL

    The player with the most explosive plays on the team generating the most explosive plays against the defense giving up the most explosive plays through the air. Checks out. Tyreek Hill is in a glorious spot for elite production in Week 13.

    CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY

    I was honestly shocked to see Christian McCaffrey coming in with the levels of expected ownership he is garnering at present. The Eagles face the highest pass rate over expectation this season and have largely suppressed opposing running back production. That said, McCaffrey is on a different planet than the other backs in the league and is always capable of piercing 100 yards on the ground and/or through the air and carries the most valuable red zone role in the league. He is also playing in the game environment with the best chances of developing into something we had to have this week.

    JAVONTE WILLIAMS

    As JM pointed out this week, there isn’t a massive difference in the expected workloads of Javonte Williams and Zack Moss this week. The field has identified that truth successfully, it seems. That said, Williams is a guy I’d personally be more comfortable playing at lower ownership considering the other backs on the slate.

    RHAMONDRE STEVENSON

    Another back with a solid expected workload in a non-ideal spot. That seems to be the theme of DFS in 2023.

    FALCONS D/ST

    I get it, play the defense against Tim Boyle – it makes sense. The Falcons have done a solid job at suppressing overall offensive production this season but have been atrocious at generating turnovers (just 12 turnovers through 11 games played). Boyle surely increases the odds of multiple turnovers, but there are better shots to take at defense this week, at least on paper.

    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


    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 :: $6.0K

    Sam Howell
    Zach Moss
    Javonte Williams
    Greg Dortch
    Jahan Dotson
    Tyreek Hill
    Brevin Jordan
    Elijah Moore
    Buccaneers

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    Sunday Morning Update:

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    Blue Chips

    Cheetah

    Tyreek Hill has been the most consistent fantasy scorer in the NFL this year, with eight of his 11 games going for 25.8 or more DraftKings points (for sake of comparison: Christian McCaffrey only has four such games). Furthermore, Hill’s “down” games have come in predictable spots: vs healthy, early-season New England; vs healthy, early-season Buffalo; and vs the stout wide receiver defense of the Chiefs. The Commanders have been the league’s most generous pass defense, with notable WR games against Washington as follows :: Marvin Mims, 2-113-1 // Stefon Diggs, 8-111-0 // A.J. Brown, 9-175-2 // D.J. Moore, 8-230-3 // Drake London, 9-125-0 // A.J. Brown, 8-130-2 // Devonta Smith, 7-99-1 // Tyler Lockett, 8-92-1 // Darius Slayton (LOL), 4-82-1 (in just over three quarters). In terms of “how Tyreek fits into my thinking on this slate from a strategy perspective,” I would encourage you to listen to the Angles Pod. In terms of “how he fits into my player pool,” he’s an absolute Blue Chip this week.

    “Light Blue” Chips

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    Build-Arounds

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    Building Blocks

    Command Stations, 1.
    Howell + Samuel + Dotson + Tyreek
    Story:

    “It’s a Samuel + Dotson kind of week”

    Why It Works:

    Samuel + Dotson = $8.7k in receiver salary. If you think of them as “an $8.7k WR,” the numbers look much better than you might expect. Across their last eight games, their ascending DK numbers have been: 2.6 // 12.8 // 14.2 // 15.8 // 24.5 // 30.9 // 32.2 // 35.0. For context, Justin Jefferson scored 28+ in 9/17 games last year (this is 3/8 for Samuel/Dotson), with four games of 2.5 to 7.8 points(!), and four games in the 10-20 range. Ja’Marr Chase played 12 games last year, and topped 30 points only four times, topping 20 points only one other time, and scoring under 15 five times. Said differently: “Samuel + Dotson” hasn’t been too far off the 2022 production expectations of Ja’Marr or Jefferson (with one of the keys being the role these two have in the red zone :: 6 targets inside the 10 for Dotson // 5 targets inside the 10 for Samuel…compared to only two for McLaurin). Throw in Howell and Tyreek, and you have a full package in place.

    How It Works:

    If this stack hits, you’ll be well on your way to a first-place finish, as the combinatorial ownership should be somewhat low, and the raw ceiling is high.

    POTENTIAL DOWNSIDE:

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

    Command Stations, 2.

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    Bink Machine

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

    Rest-Of-Season Bink Machine

    Only $59!

    100% Tyreek

    Want to go 100% Tyreek!? (As noted in the Angles Pod: I may be doing that myself.) Here’s how you force this in the Bink Machine. “Minimum exposure: 100%!”

    Howell Doubles

    If I’m playing Howell, I’m playing Howell doubles. It’s tough to know who will hit if Howell hits…but we do know that, at these price tags, it will probably be two guys. This rule says, “On 100% of Howell rosters, play two pass catchers with him.”

    Howell Bring-Backs

    If I’m playing Howell, I’m playing bring-backs (duh!). This rule says, “On 100% of Sam Howell rosters, play one to two bring-backs.”

    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 ::

    Howell || Tua || Purdy || Hurts || (Possibly Russ || Stroud; I’ll have them in large-field; I may or may not have them on tighter builds)

    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 ::

    Important to start this section by talking about Zack Moss, who will likely be near or above 50% ownership in most contests. Moss is not a terrible play by any means. His workload at that price is impossible to ignore and even an “OK” game can keep you on track to win a tournament. That being said, the Titans defense is very good against the run and the Titans have played far better at home this year and their games rank last in combined plays per game. There are paths to the game disappointing and Moss only scoring 8 to 14 points. In that scenario, how do we separate? My Running Back pool this week will focus on players with explosive ceilings. Not just guys in good spots, but those who I think can drop 30 and dust off Moss even if he has a solid game.

    Tier 1
    • Raheem Mostert – While everyone focuses on the Dolphins passing attack and their elite spot along with the return of De’Von Achane, Mostert is in a terrific spot. A home favorite on the team with the highest implied total of the week. The Commanders defense is “better” at defending the run than the pass, but the Dolphins could also just easily drop 40+ and Mostert is the lead back.
    • Bijan Robinson – Bijan finally had his breakout game but his price barely moved. An elite talent who I believe is going to go on a tear down the stretch. He was second on the team in targets last week, had a huge bump in red zone usage coming out of the team’s bye week, and touched the ball on 5 of their first 7 plays to start the game. 
    • Jahmyr Gibbs – The Saints defense is beat up pretty badly and has been torched by some running backs recently, including Bijan just last week. This game should be up in pace and Gibbs is the explosive type of back who can post a separator score.
    • Derrick Henry – The “Big Dog” isn’t what he once was, but he could be as good once as he ever was. From the perspective described at the start of the section, Henry fits the mold perfectly. Him breaking off a couple of big runs and dominating the game is the clearest path to the Colts offense failing and Moss posting a mediocre score.
    tier 2
    • Jaylen Warren – Explosive back who has a similar skill set to Kyren Williams, who just destroyed the Arizona defense. Pittsburgh’s offense also has the arrow pointing up right now.
    • Christian McCaffrey – It’s CMC.
    • Rachaad White – One of the best workloads in the league and facing one of the league’s worst run defenses.
    • De’Von Achane – Slightly scary play after he had a dud in his last comeback game, but fits the mold of a huge upside and explosive player. One of him or Mostert should have a big game here.

    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 slate has two standout games in Mia // Was (49.5) and SF // Phi (48). It also has two not-quite as-appealing, but still strong game environments in Den // Hou (47) and Det // NO (47).
    • After the top four games, there isn’t another total on the slate above 42.5. That game is Ind // Ten, which is somewhat interesting, but clearly behind the top four game environments.
    • There is a large gap on this slate between the top and bottom game environments
    • Injuries will play a key role this slate, as they tend to later in the year. There are several mispriced players with the most notable being Zach Moss ($4,600) who wasn’t priced up on DK for Jonathan Taylor’s absence.
    • Zach Moss is a great play on paper and has already shown that he is capable of smashing in the lead role, but he’s expected to be mega chalk (over 50% owned) and he has a tough matchup, creating strategic reasons to consider fading him in large field play.
    Pawn – WR Jameson Williams ($3,300)

    There are several injury “free squares” who were considered for this spot. Zach Moss ($4,600), Jordan Bevin ($2,500), and Saints pass catcher of choice come to mind. While they’re all strong value plays and I’ll have exposure to them in my lineups, they are expected to be relatively chalky, with Moss potentially being the highest owned player on a main slate this season. If you’re looking for a place to be different at salary savor, Williams is a good option. He has played over 50% of the snaps since the Lions bye, cresting at 60% the past two weeks. Lions OC Ben Johnson said this week that Williams has earned the opportunity for reps, which should mean we finally see Williams in the full-time role he was drafted to fill. The dude can fly and has plus size. There is no reason a player of his caliber on a good offense should be priced near the salary minimum if he’s going to be used as a full-time player. Williams is going to have a big game before the end of the season and will never be this cheap again. I’m going to have MME exposure to Williams, with a good chance he makes some of might tighter builds, even if it’s a little too risky for my single-entry lineup.

    Knight – TE Trey McBride ($4,900)

    Why doesn’t McBride’s price increase? He has seen 9 // 7 // 9 // 5 // 14 targets in the past five weeks which is elite usage for a TE and strong usage for a WR. He’s produced DK scores of 13 // 9.3 // 24.1 // 5.2 // 25.5 in those games so it’s not as if he isn’t capitalizing on the opportunity. Yet, here we are, with another week of him being priced below $5,000. The matchup isn’t anything special, but the Cards are +6.5 road underdogs. That means they’ll probably be losing, which creates passing game volume. McBride is currently listed as questionable, but after practicing Thursday and Friday in a limited fashion, it appears more likely than not that he plays. Keep an eye on late injury reports, but if he’s full go and continues to be priced like a mid-range TE, I’m going to ride McBride.  

    Bishop – RB Rachaad White ($6,300)

    I wrote this game up for the Edge and covered White in that space. I don’t want to retrace my steps too much, but he can’t be left out of this article, since he will be a staple of my lineups this week. This is more about White’s matchup than him as a player.  White has consistently underwhelmed in efficiency metrics, but he is one of the few feature backs left in the NFL and this week he gets the run funnel Panthers. White has averaged over seven more carries in the Bucs wins than in their muti-score losses. There is a good chance he gets the most carries of the season this week, which gives him a lot of potential for 100 yards and a score on the ground. The Panthers are good against RBs through the air, but White has had a steady passing game role all season and he’ll probably still see a handful of targets. White has a high floor and more upside than he has most weeks. Play him with confidence.

    Rook – WR Michael Pittman ($7,100)

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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

    A Rolling Stone Gathers Moss

    Zaccheus Malik Moss is obviously the story of the week. Many of you may think an MME degenerate like me would be pulling a fade. Nah. The projection is just too good. I’ll be taking the free square in about 70% of my lineups. Taking on a player of this immense popularity adds additional importance to the correlation and ownership numbers of the players we add around him. 

    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.

    Derrick Henry/Titans DST 

    Henry stacked with the Titans D is the obvious leverage play from Moss. You could paint the picture of Tennessee moving the ball and Henry scoring early, burning a bunch of clock, and forcing Indy into a pass-leaning plan. Gardner Minshew proceeds to turn the ball over, etc. IF Moss is going to fail, we might as well pull some levers that exploit this result. 

    My plan was to include a Henry/Josh Downs or Michael Pittman play here but it appears the Colts receivers are coming in at double-digit ownership themselves, rendering my point somewhat moot. 

    So… Will Sonic be running an onslaught (or three) with Minshew/Moss/Pittman/Downs?

    Does JMToWin wear weirdly expensive yoga pants?

    Hell yes, and I’ll be bringing DeAndre Hopkins and/or King Henry back in a couple of those.
    And I need those pants.

    Zack Moss/DeAndre Hopkins

    We’ve seen Nuk hit a massive ceiling from the effortless flick of the Will Levis pass. If this game catches fire, it’s likely to come from this type of push from the Titans side. This could result in a spike in targets for Mr. Moss, which is something we’ll be hoping for once we’ve stuck our neck out and placed it on the proverbial chopping block by rostering Moss. The addition of Hopkins’ potential correlative ceiling at a modest 6.9% ownership helps take our overall chalkiness down to a more palatable level. Don’t worry, we’ll go further in that direction below. 

    Kyren Williams/Amari Cooper

    Kyren broke the slate last week and was priced up from $6600 to $7200. DFS players do not want to come across as donkeys who chase last week’s results. He’s playing the Cleveland Browns who have a nasty reputation. All of this adds up to a bellcow running back being owned at a mere 7% clip. 

    I may be biased because Williams almost won me a million dollars last week, but I cannot resist this spot. 

    Since we’re so concerned with finding contrarian plays to offset our Moss chalk, we might as well throw in the 1.3% owned Amari Cooper. Joe Flacco might be a lot of things, but he has a cannon for an arm, and Cooper makes for nice leverage off Elijah Moore, whom everyone appears confident will be the beneficiary of this quarterback change. 

    WHAT IF Flacco ignites the Browns offense by leaning on the veteran, contested-long ball winner, and the Rams shift into overdrive to keep up? The path of least resistance to score points against the Browns is through the running backs, and in this case, the running back.

    Alvin Kamara/David Montgomery (or Jahmyr Gibbs)

    I’m probably only going to employ this strategy in a handful of lineups because the raw projection just isn’t awesome from an opportunity cost standpoint, but it makes for a good exercise in terms of looking at DFS through an if/then lens.

    At his price of $8200, I think it’s safe to say that Kamara (9%) is unlikely to put up a tourney-winning score unless he has one of his insane pass-catching games. 

    If we feel that the Lions establish it early and run the ball down the Saints throats, the 4.5% owned DMont will make for a nice play opposite AK in the scenario where New Orleans is forced into catchup mode early. AK gets peppered with targets since the Lions are playing to take away any quick-hitting splash plays. 

    If we play the scenario where this game shoots out, then Gibbs/Kamara is an enticing combo. Stuffing your backfield full of targets and touchdown equity in a game that hits 55 total points is generally +EV.

    If we think the Saints play from ahead, I’m not going anywhere near AK. In this scenario, I like the peculiar pairing of Taysom Hill (1.3%) and the Saints DST (1.1%). Hill has smashed twice this year, and both came in decisive wins, one of which featured a 13-point output from the Saints defense. If the shorthanded Saints are to prevail this week, it feels likely that this pairing will be a factor.

    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

    In the marketing and advertising world, there is something called the “Rule of 7” that is generally practiced and understood. It essentially means that any prospect needs to hear an advertiser’s message around seven times (minimum) to remember and understand that message. This got me thinking this week. Here I am writing a weekly DFS article focused on driving home methods of thinking. Mental frameworks to deploy, strategies to think about, and ultimately hope that you (the reader) can make sense of my words and use these strategies to your advantage to win tons of money. That’s the goal. The only problem is that, on average, The Scroll is live for two to four days each week, and then we play the slate, and we move on. How can I expect any reader to have effectively understood my points, and build upon them one by one to create this optimal state of building DFS lineups? Unless you’ve been taking notes this whole time, following me on Twitter, or are a master of self-improvement, it’s likely you could use a recap to bring this thing back together.

    That’s where Week 13 comes in. Some of this is for my own sake, as it’s difficult to even remember sometimes what I wrote in a given week, as we turn the pages quickly and the NFL season progresses. So, below, and please bear with me, is a short recap of the key points I have honed in on in each Willing to Lose this season. You can find any of these in the Archives section, but as we have a third of the season left to play, I felt it’s an appropriate time to walk back through and see if we can’t emerge with a refreshed mind for this Sunday’s slate.

    • Week 1: Simplicity wins
    • Week 2: Build with confidence
    • Week 3: Groupthink makes us stupid, the more you know the less you know
    • Week 4: Instincts make us unique
    • Week 5: It’s ok to change the lens of a slate
    • Week 6: Strive to become a Level 3 thinker
    • Week 7: Win the most when you care the least
    • Week 8: Turning hindsight into foresight
    • Week 9: Goldilocks Principle (not too chalky, not too contrarian)
    • Week 10: Evaluate the Evaluators – consume content with skepticism
    • Week 11: Clear Thinking
    • Week 12: Why data only gives us so much

    The NFL season is long. And it’s getting seemingly longer each year. We have many slates ahead of us, that’s the good news. The even better news is if you have not experienced any big wins this season, just keep showing up. By reading The Scroll each week, and digesting most of the wonderful content here at One Week Season, the odds are in your favor. If I can sum up the 12 articles above into one or two sentences, it’s this: Be yourself when building lineups, trust your training, and just simply relax. DFS is a complex beast and much of winning is out of our hands, but consistency (showing up) will win out by the end of the season. And with that, we welcome in Week 13…

    Kenny Pickett + George Pickens + Pat Freiermuth + James Conner

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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. A Tradition Unlike Any Other

    2. One Game To Rule Them All

    3. The Home Stretch

    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 ::
    Xandamere >>

    To me it’s the Zack Moss/Tyreek Hill dynamic. Moss is projecting as the single best point-per-dollar play we’ve seen the entire season. Hill is projecting for the most raw points we’ve seen from a player all season. They’re both going to be massively owned – especially Moss – and the pricing dynamic between them (Tyreek is the most expensive WR we’ve seen this season, Moss is comically cheap for his role) means they will very often be paired together. How to handle this is one of the key decision points of the slate.

    JM >>

    I’ll echo what Xandamere says, above, about this slate being particularly unique because of the Moss/Tyreek dynamic. There are also some unique components around the setup of the games (I’ve covered my thoughts on this in the Angles Pod — unfortunately, not available via video this week, due to some technical issues, but you can find it on the One Week Season podcast feed), but the Moss/Tyreek situation overshadows all. How we handle this situation will be critical in determining our success this week, which means that if you are playing these two together, you need to recognize how popular this pairing will be, and you need to think about how you are carving out a path to first place somewhere else on your roster. At the same time, you can also recognize that Moss being “comically cheap for his role” and “projecting as a great point-per-dollar play” doesn’t guarantee that he’s going to post a monster game in one of the toughest run game matchups available.

    Here are the BACKFIELD DraftKings scores against Tennessee this year:

    New Orleans: 7.7

    Chargers: 8.1

    Cleveland: 27.3

    Cincinnati: 9.7

    Indy: 40.9

    Baltimore: 12.8

    Atlanta: 16.0

    Pittsburgh: 28.9

    Tampa: 19.5

    Jacksonville: 17.4

    Carolina: 23.0

    Looking through those scores, you get a sense of what the range of outcomes is here (and as noted this week: Moss had a 9-pointer himself with the lead role this year). Moss is likeliest to score 16 to 23 DK points and prove to be a steal, but even those scores won’t kill you if you fade him. He also has potential to go for 27+ and bury you for fading him. He also has potential to score only 8-10 and hurt 50% to 70% of the field.

    I’ll have plenty of Moss this week, but I’ll also have plenty of rosters without him.

    Where I have Moss, I’ll look for another way to get different.

    Where I don’t have Moss, I’ll already be in position to soar past the field if he ends up on the lower end of his range.

    Hilow >>

    The dynamics at play on this slate are unlike anything we have seen this season. If we boil down the slate into what truly matters here, there are four primary governing factors at play – the median game total is higher than it has been in the previous month (meaning we are likely to need higher raw point totals to win GPPs this week), Zack Moss (we have to consider a player expected to be on 50-70 percent of the rosters in play as a primary decision point), the Miami Dolphins (slate-leading Vegas implied team total, more than four points higher than any other team on the slate), and the 49ers-Eagles game (the game with the highest likelihood to develop into something you had to have on this slate). Decisions begin to become a little easier if you break down the slate in this fashion and single out the most important aspects.

    Mike >>

    The Zack Moss/Tyreek Hill situation has been covered pretty deeply already and is obviously critical to this slate. Taking that a step further, the unique thing about this slate is how uncomfortable basically everything else feels. There aren’t many standout spots this week and the couple that there are have clear issues. San Francisco and Philadelphia is a high profile matchup, but those are good defenses and all the players are pretty expensive. The Texans passing game is now priced up and facing a Denver defense that is far more susceptible to the run. The Lions have a good matchup but have struggled a bit recently and there are a lot of questions around whether the Saints can keep pace. You have four games with very questionable quarterback play on one or both sides that threatens to torpedo game environments and bring down all the players around them::

    • The hapless Chargers vs. Bailey Zappe
    • Desmond Ridder vs. Tim Boyle
    • Gardner Minshew vs. Will Levis
    • Joe Flacco vs. the Rams

    All of those “uncomfortable” spots only raise the comfort of the standout plays in Moss and Hill, creating a unique situation where there will be an overwhelming amount of rosters built similarly with those two players but there’s a pretty good chance those rosters are, at the very least, in decent shape. The fact that this is also the last week with a lot of teams on bye, and therefore only 10 games on the main slate, is another factor that really condenses things in a certain direction.


    2. One Game To Rule Them All

    The Question ::

    Last week the Bills and Eagles game was hyped up as the game of the week and had huge expectations. It did not disappoint. This week we have four games on the slate with totals greater than 45 but lower than 50::

    • DET @ NO (47 point over/under)
    • MIA @ WAS (49.5)
    • DEN @ HOU (47.5)
    • SF @ PHI (47.5)

    After seeing how that game separated and was the turning point for the slate, we have to ask ourselves if any of these games this week have that same potential and if so, which one?

    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 a three game slate this week and one of the games (CLE/LAR) has a lot of questions around it due to the strong Browns defense and Joe Flacco starting. 
    • A lot of really expensive players on the slate between the SF/PHI game, the three main guys on the Rams, and Mike Evans/Rachaad White/Adam Thielen for the Panthers.
    • There aren’t really any comfortable spots where the price tags are cheap, making it necessary to take some risks and be willing to think outside the box. 
    • Chris Godwin is the only major injury question we are waiting for news on. If Godwin is out, it would raise the projections for Mike Evans, Rachaad White, Cade Otton, and Trey Palmer. However, sometimes removing a piece like Godwin can hurt a team and lower their ability to move the ball. That game will be very interesting to see how it plays out and Godwin’s status is something I will be considering around my builds with some lineups taking the value he opens up on the Bucs and other lineups banking on the team/game struggling to find points.
    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 13 offers us a 10-game slate with the chalk roster construction seemingly obvious. From a macro perspective, we are seeing total RB ownership come in around 270%, meaning a vast majority of rosters are likely to play an RB in flex this week. We are also seeing four players projecting for 25% or more ownership (Zack Moss, Tyreek Hill, Christian McCaffrey, and Rachaad White), which gives a strong sense of how the field will construct their builds. We’ll discuss how we can leverage that knowledge more below with one of the two best games of the day coming in the afternoon window.

    Important Early Outcomes to Watch:
    • Zack Moss – The highest we’ve seen all season; Moss is likely to come in around 50% ownership (or higher in SE and small-field contests). He has a tough on paper matchup but is only $4,600. If he goes for 20+ points, he will be hard to win without, but if he fails, rosters without him will have a distinct advantage.   
    • Miami Dolphins – The Dolphins have the best matchup on the slate and possess a very concentrated offense. They have a very small chance of failing so how you account for them (specifically Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, and Raheem Mostert) will be a key decision on the slate.
    • Falcons DST – Atlanta is projecting to be the highest-owned DST unit on the slate, even though the game is in NY and the Falcons season high is 12 DK points. It’s one thing to play a high-owned, chalk defense when they are an elite unit with upside, it’s another thing to roster them when it’s the Falcons at $3,400 on the road… 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):

    $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 13!

    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.

    Keeping with the format change of last week, I am highlighting the stacks I will be targeting this week in drafts, as that is arguably the most important decision for each roster. I’ll also provide some thoughts on other players I’m interested in, and then finish by updating some trending stats for the main contest. Let’s get started!

    The reason we are always preaching “scroll down” is because once ADP forms early in the week, not much changes outside of a couple of guys that are usually related to midweek injury/role news. So, that means many people are drafting the “same way,” falling into similar buckets of player combinations, leaving guys outside that top 36 far less owned relative to those above them for not much more reason than a slightly higher projection. For example, guys like Thielen and Pickens are going almost undrafted right now despite a projection difference of 1-2 points from others in the top 36 getting drafted almost every time. Every week there are some underowned guys that are available at the end of drafts that can help you win a tournament, as the 6-person drafting means you aren’t having to find $3k DraftKings priced players just to be unique.

    Looking at Week 13

    Very similar to last week, the pickings are slim on the main slate. Low totals, lack of elite QBs, injury question marks, etc. all make for a fun slate to keep being unique and scrolling down. Doubling up on MIA and SF offenses is one of my favorite ways to play this Week 13 slate.

    Stacks I’m Targeting:

    6-Person Drafts

    Jalen Hurts + AJ Brown, Devonta Smith vs SF:

    • If Goedert remains out, expect a bump to Smith’s usage in a matchup that filters production to wideouts relative to the other positions. If you’re lucky enough to get a Hurts-AJB combo, jump on it because it won’t happen often. Playing Hurts naked across from 49ers is also a way to play this game, saying the Niners players put up stronger scores but Hurts is still able to outscore Purdy (likely through his legs).

    Tua Tagovailoa + Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, De’Von Achane:

    • If Hill plays, this is an absolute smash spot, making him my 1.01 on the week over CMC. WAS has been one of the worst pass defenses in football and Hill has run wild on the type of coverage they deploy. If unable to get this combo though, MIA should confidently score an abundance of points here, making Waddle and Achane (with his pass-catching role) interesting pairings with Tua themselves. MIA’s offense has a real chance to separate greatly from every other team on the slate, making double-stacks an option as well, especially in the scenario that WAS’s pass-happy offense is able to score some points of their own.

    Brock Purdy + 49er(s) @ PHI:

    • Purdy can realistically be stacked with any 1 or 2 of his teammates here, as the offense is so concentrated between these 4 main skill players that this environment can provide multiple big scores. We should expect an uptick in pass attempts against this PHI defense that has been crushed through the air in 2023, with Aiyuk and Deebo having the best matchups to exploit. Pairing Purdy with two 49ers is something not enough drafters will do and is a strong way to get unique without sacrificing upside on this slate.
    12-Person Drafts

    Baker Mayfield + Mike Evans vs CAR:

    • Mike Evans last 6 games vs CAR: 9:96 / 7:104:1 / 6:77:1 / 6:89:2 / 9:96 / 10:207:3
    • While CAR have been easier to attack on the ground, secondary injuries have continued to leave them vulnerable through the air as well. Almost all of the aforementioned Evans games came with Brady quarterbacking, but Evans has still shown this year he can put up big scores with Mayfield at QB. Evans has 3 games over 22 fantasy points this year and could very well add another here. Mayfield is unlikely to be the top scoring QB on the slate, but given the lack of many strong options this week, he can certainly put up the type of score in the later rounds that helps you win.

    Derek Carr + Chris Olave, Alvin Kamara vs DET:

    • Olave’s major questions regarding availability due to concussion protocol could hold his ADP down all week and he is certainly riskier because of this. But if he plays, he should once again dominate targets (MT and Shaheed out) against a defense that has been really struggling against the pass. Whether or not Olave plays, but surely even more if he doesn’t, Kamara should see plentiful targets in a game NO will likely trail. Our evidence this season in those games points to Carr dumping it off all day to Kamara, which is exactly the kind of game script and environment that raises Kamara’s fantasy ceiling.

    Others to Target

    Adam Thielen @ TB:

    • Well, last week certainly didn’t go as hoped, with TEN blanketing Thielen all day long while the CAR offense continued to struggle. Reich has since been fired, leaving a lot of questions of what to expect of this offense down the stretch. Thielen has been Young’s best target all year, and while TB could certainly clamp down this offense as well, their pass defense still leaves a lot to be desired. Taking anyone from this offense comes with a lot of risk, but given that he’s going undrafted and has already demonstrated considerable ceiling this year, he will be someone I look to take when I want a WR at the end of drafts (especially across TB players).

    Michael Pittman, Josh Downs @ TEN:

    • TEN shut down the CAR offense and blanketed Thielen last week, but a more capable IND offense should be able to once again find success in this matchup via their WRs that continue to dominate targets from Minshew. Pittman’s target count in the last 5 games reads 14, 5, 13, 8, 12. Outside of the games he dealt with injury mid-game, Downs has recent target counts of 6, 8, 6, 9, 13. It’s certainly possible IND will find success against this defense through Zack Moss again, but the pass defense of TEN is still the weaker spot and without Taylor, the usage should be even more concentrated on this offense.

    Rachaad White vs CAR:

    • CAR continues to get picked on on the ground, setting up another strong matchup for White to take advantage of as the leader of this backfield. White has just one game all season (11 vs DET) with less than 16 opportunities (att+tg).

    Jaylen Warren, George Pickens vs ARI:

    • ARI continues to be a defense that can be attacked on the ground and through the air, setting it up for at least one of the PIT players to have a strong game here. Najee Harris has not relinquished his share of the backfield with solid play, but a week after Warren drafters were disappointed, the matchup is even sweeter vs ARI for him to pop for some big runs. Pickens gets a much easier matchup than he had last week vs CIN, and it’s clear removing Matt Canada is an overall plus for this offense given the performance last week. The main concern is going to be Pickett’s attempt volume due to ARI’s glaring weakness on the ground, but this is a great spot for Pickens to pop at extremely low ownership.
    Tight Ends:

    Dalton Schultz vs DEN:

    • Lost some route participation in Brevin Jordan’s return last week, but his matchup sets up much better than the HOU WRs.

    Pat Freiermuth vs ARI:

    • Fresh off his best game in quite a long time, he gets another great matchup in a spot PIT should have plenty of ways to score.

    Juwan Johnson vs DET:

    • Injuries aplenty among the NOR WRs, and he has seen 15 targets over the last 3 weeks. Strong red zone threat, good matchup, likely elevated passing game script.

    Notable Stats

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

    1st place performance:

    • 33 of the 48 teams had at least one flex player score 30+ half-PPR fantasy points
    • 20 of the 48 teams had all flex players score at least 20+ half-PPR fantasy points
    • 44 of the 48 teams had all flex players score at least 15+ half-PPR fantasy points

    Stacking and Correlation:

    • 28 of 48 had a QB paired with just one teammate
      • WR (21), TE (5), RB (2)
    • 7 of 48 had a QB stacked with two teammates
      • WR-RB (4), WR-WR (2), WR-TE (1)
    • 5 of those 35 QB stacks had a runback (Opposing player)
    • 47 of 48 had at least one game correlation
    • 14 of 48 had two different game correlations

    FLEX usage:

    • 158 of 240 top-5 rosters have had two RBs, meaning they chose RB at FLEX over WR and TE.
    • 81 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!