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The Scroll Week 14

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    The DFS Slate

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    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!

    Welcome to something you’ve probably gotten used to by now: a Week 14 slate with low scoring expectations and a lot of spots that seem easy to “cross off the list right away.”

    We’ll get to that in a moment; but first…

    Props Tops $15,000(!)

    NBA Profit: $2,226

    NFL Profit: $1,476

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    Does OWS make money when you join Props Insider? Of course! That’s part of the reason we push this. But the coolest thing about Props is that the benefit, on your end, is clearly demonstrable, on a short timeline. Not EVERY week is profitable; but when you stack the weeks up…well, look at those numbers above! If you’re in a state with sports betting available, you’re losing money by not being in there.

    You don’t have to follow the sports!

    You just have to follow the bets.

    Week 14 Angles

    Frankly, the breakdown of Props profit is more exciting than the Week 14 Angles (even if you’re not a Props Insider member!), as this week is something of an encapsulation of what this season has offered us.

    Just to give a few examples…

    The Buccaneers have a healthy quarterback (hooray!) and some weapons that can put up big games…but they are playing a Falcons team that has allowed the seventh-fewest points per game.

    The Lions have scored 26+ points in seven of 12 games on the year (including four of their last five), but they are implied to score only 21.5 this week in a game at Soldier Field that’s expected to have windy and “weathery” conditions.

    The Jags are typically a team we can lean on for points, but they just lost Trevor Lawrence, and now they are traveling to take on the Browns, giving them an implied team total of only 14.0. On the other side of that game, the Jags’ defense typically tilts opponents to the air, and given the lapses in “point prevention” we sometimes see from the Browns, there might have been some fun angles to play around with for game scenarios of “Jags scoring points and Browns having to pass through their concentrated weapons to keep pace,” but the injury to Lawrence has put a big dent in that.

    The Texans have been one of our favorite offenses all season, but they are taking on the Jets.

    The Vikings and Raiders boast some explosive, high-priced weapons, but both teams are quarterbacked by backups.

    Even the presence of the Bills on this slate comes with the caveat that pricing isn’t adjusted for matchup, and they are implied to score only 22.5 against a Chiefs defense that has allowed only two opponents all year to top 21 points (with no team topping 27).

    On and on it goes — leaving us with an 11-game slate that provides us with only five teams(!) implied to crack a lowly 22.0 points, and with only one team(!) implied to top 25.0.

    The Bills and Chiefs are set to match up in a real-life gem, but with Kansas City topping 27 points only three times on the season and Buffalo holding all but two opponents to 25 or fewer points, the implied team totals in this one are not what we would have expected in the past, with the Chiefs implied for 25.0 and the Bills (as mentioned above) implied for 22.5.

    The Chargers are implied to score 23.25 against a Broncos team that has recently held Houston, Buffalo, and Kansas City (twice) below this number (while the Chargers themselves have failed to top 20 points in three consecutive games).

    And on and on it goes…

    There are, however, glimmers of hope from an “upside” perspective.

    The Ravens are implied to score only 23.75 against a pesky Rams defense, but the Ravens had topped 30 points in five consecutive games before a disappointing outing against the Chargers in Week 12, and they are coming off a bye that should have them rested and ready to go. The Rams have held all but two opponents to 24 or fewer points, but the Cowboys scored 35 offensive points against them, and the 49ers scored 30.

    The 49ers have been nearly unstoppable when fully healthy on offense, scoring 30+ points in eight of nine games around their mid-season lull (while scoring 27 in the other), and they are taking on a Seattle team that they beat 31-13 on the road just two weeks ago.

    We also have the Colts somehow implied to score only 20.5 at Cincinnati, in spite of the fact that the Bengals rank 22nd in points allowed, and the Colts have scored 27+ in five of their last six games. The Colts have also given up 28+ points six times this season, and as Jake Browning showed on Monday night, this Bengals offense isn’t automatically dead without Burrow.

    Maybe the weather in Chicago will clear up enough for that game between the Lions and Bears to play to the upside (31-26 when they played in Week 11).

    And of course, we can keep in mind that when two teams with really good quarterbacks get together, there is always potential for fireworks. Are the Bills and Chiefs overpriced against “what would happen most of the time if we played out this slate over and over again?” Almost certainly. But does this mean this game is incapable of taking off? Absolutely not!

    On top of that, there are going to be some fun angles to play around with this week with regards to both “overlooked players” and “the field allocating too much attention to players who can get them a respectable score, and not enough attention to players who can get them a had-to-have-it score.”

    There will be surprises on Sunday, there will be news and developments throughout the week — and through it all, we’ll be building our thoughts toward a sharper pool and strategy than our competition is working with.

    It might be a lower-scoring week, but that doesn’t change the goal: outmaneuver the field on our way to the top of the leaderboards.

    I’m looking forward to it!

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

    Hopefully I’ll see you in Props Insider soon (Week Passes only $39!!!).

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

    The Workbook

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

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    Around The Industry

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

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

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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::

    If we use the same process to narrow down our player pool as we did last week, we’ll find (once again) that the field seems to be struggling to identify what is important on this slate. First off, the 49ers carry a Vegas-implied team total that is more than five points higher than any other team on the slate (29.75). Yes, Vegas implied team total is not the end all, be all of our decision-making process, but the 49ers have such a high hit rate of scoring 30 points or more under current conditions that we can have a fairly high degree of confidence in this one. Rule number one – we must account for the 49ers.

    Next up, let’s turn our attention to ownership. There are three players expected to garner more than 30 percent ownership on this slate – Zack Moss, Browns D/ST, and Christian McCaffrey. On most slates, there are one or zero players expected to be on more than 30 percent of the rosters in play, and this week gives us three. Since McCaffrey was accounted for already in rule number one and since defensive scoring is the most variant of any position, we don’t need to account for them here. Rule number two – we must account for Zack Moss.

    Finally, there are three game environments that carry the best chances of turning into something you had to have on a slate riddled with poor expected game environments. Those three games are Bills-Chiefs, Lions-Bears, and Colts-Bengals. Rule number three – we must account for the Bills, Chiefs, Lions, Bears, Colts, and Bengals.

    Before we continue, I do want to emphasize the fact that just because we’ve identified the places we must account for on this slate does not necessarily mean we have to play players from each of those situations on every roster. As we saw last week, sometimes we account for these spots through leverage and sometimes we account for them by playing them – these are simply the spots with the greatest chances of influencing the slate.

    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

    NEITHER RESTRICTIVE NOR EXPANSIVE CHALK. Zack Moss saw 19 carries and three targets on 94 percent of the offensive snaps last week in the absence of Jonathan Taylor. Taylor has been ruled out for the second consecutive week, leaving Moss with a likeliest range of outcomes of 22-25 running back opportunities in a matchup with a Bengals team allowing 4.8 yards per carry, 1.56 yards allowed before contact, and 22.3 DK points per game behind 11 total touchdowns to opposing backfields this season.

    BROWNS D/ST

    EXPANSIVE CHALK. The field is showing us a couple of things with the extreme levels of ownership currently expected on the Browns defense. First off, we should expect the field to be looking to save salary at the position this week due to the relative absence of projectable value pieces. Secondly, the field might find it difficult to react to late-week news this week as Trevor Lawrence is actually listed as questionable after suffering an ankle injury late in the team’s Week 13 loss.

    CHRISTIAN McCAFFREY

    RESTRICTIVE CHALK. The running back with the most valuable role and workload playing for the team with the highest Vegas implied team total. It makes sense why Christian McCaffrey is expected to garner extreme levels of ownership on a slate devoid of top-end environments.

    RASHEE RICE

    NEITHER RESTRICTIVE NOR EXPANSIVE CHALK. Rashee Rice has seen his route participation rate increase in consecutive weeks and is coming off of 19 targets over his previous two games, appearing to finally introduce some level of consistency from the Kansas City wide receivers in the process. I won’t fight this one, Rice is a solid on-paper play considering he plays in the top expected game environment of the week on a pass-first offense that will now be without their top running back.

    BIJAN ROBINSON

    RESTRICTIVE CHALK. After starting the season not seeing elite-level volume, Bijan Robinson has seen 22 running back opportunities or more in three consecutive weeks. The fact that he plays for a team averaging just 18.8 points per game puts a slight damper on this situation, but Robinson is a fine on-paper play this week.

    CLYDE EDWARDS-HELAIRE

    EXPANSIVE CHALK. Clyde Edwards-Helaire became the top “projectable value” piece on the slate after Isiah Pacheco was ruled out. If you read that as a ringing endorsement to play Edwards-Helaire, you would be mistaken. To me, that speaks to the lack of projectable value on this slate and not to the viability of Edwards-Helaire, who is likely to cede green zone touches to Jerick McKinnon and is still susceptible to losing work to someone like Deneric Prince. 

    KEENAN ALLEN

    RESTRICTIVE CHALK. It might surprise you to hear that Nico Collins was the first pass-catcher to go for more than a modest 59 yards against the Broncos during their recent 5-1 stretch. And it isn’t like they played a string of bottom-feeder offenses, they did this against the Packers, Chiefs, Bills, Vikings, Browns, and Texans. That does not necessarily mean Allen can’t or won’t succeed here, just that the micro matchup is far worse than most will realize going into the slate.

    ELIJAH MOORE

    EXPANSIVE CHALK. Elijah Moore is a fantastic on-paper value saver on this slate . . . if Joe Flacco starts for the Browns and if Amari Cooper is out. Dorian Thomspson-Robinson cleared concussion protocol, but head coach Kevin Stefanski has yet to announce whether he or Flacco will start on Sunday. The Cooper situation appears more certain after he managed only one limited session on Friday, indicating he had yet to make it to the final stages of the concussion protocol.

    CHALK BUILD::

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    JM’s Player Grid

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


    OWS Fam ::

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

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


    The Grid ::

    Bottom-Up Build

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

    Blue Chips

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

    Build-Arounds

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

    Building Blocks

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

    Bonuses

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


    Sunday Morning Update

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    Bottom-Up Build

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

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

    Josh Allen
    Zack Moss
    Javonte Williams
    Gabe Davis
    Cedric Tillman
    Xavier Gipson
    Isaiah Likely
    Clyde Edwards-Helaire
    Texans

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    Blue Chips

    Zack Moss

    Last week, I spent a lot of time highlighting the ways in which Zack Moss could fail, and the ways in which you could use this “potential for failure” to your advantage. While I also, of course, highlighted how he could succeed (and still played plenty of him myself), the fact that he was playing a top-two run defense was more than enough to make us think twice about jumping on board at such high ownership.

    This week, however, the bullish case for Moss remains (he played 67/71 snaps last week and had every running back touch; in his games without JT, or with JT being eased back in, he has touch counts of 22 // 32 // 18 // 25 // 21), but now — instead of playing a top-two run defense — he’s playing a bottom-five run defense. Given how thin this slate is, and the floor/ceiling range Moss provides, I could end up with 100% Zack Moss this week.

    “Light Blue” Chips

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    Build-Arounds

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    Building Blocks

    “Once Again”
    Fields + DJM
    Story:

    “Once again, Fields + DJM proves to be a strong connection.”

    Why It Works:

    Lately, this pairing has ranged from “not hurting you” to “being what was required to win a tourney.” Especially on a slate this thin, this type of range is wildly attractive.

    How It Works:

    This won’t be a totally unique stack, which means that rosters with this stack will still need to do something different elsewhere; but this stack does have a high enough ceiling to be “the piece you had to have,” which makes it a really nice starting point for any tournament build.

    POTENTIAL DOWNSIDE:

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

    Maybe This Way?

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    Bink Machine

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

    if london, evans

    The Falcons have gone far out of their way lately to hide their QBs, and teams have been less scared to run on the Bucs of late. London will be popular this week, and he can post a nice game without seeing lots of volume, but in order to be a tourney-winner (a “had to have it” piece), he will almost certainly need the game environment to develop in such a way that the Falcons are forced to the air. We aren’t looking for “nice scores” when we build a roster. We are looking for “tourney winners,” which means that if you are rostering London, you are placing a bet on him being a tourney-winner…and if you are placing that bet, you should consider completing that bet by rostering the guy who would probably be instrumental in making London a tourney-winner.

    “On 100% of London rosters, play both players from this pool.”

    If Pittman, Chase or Mixon

    Same thought process as the London play, above. Pittman can hit for 20ish points without game environment cooperating, but at his price tag, you want 30 to 35, and in order for him to do that, he’ll probably need a ton of volume. Pittman will likely need someone on the Bengals hitting in order to develop into a true tourney-winner.

    “On 100% of Pittman rosters, play exactly TWO players from this pool.” (Pittman, plus one of the two Bengals)

    If Keenan, Sutton or Javonte

    Same as both rules above. Want to play Keenan? You probably want to bet on the scenario that would lead to him pushing for 17+ targets.

    “On 100% of Keenan rosters, play exactly TWO players from this pool.” (Keenan, plus one of the two Chargers)

    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 ::

    Josh Allen || Fields || Browning

    RB ::

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    A Wrap ::

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

    -JM

    Mike’s Player Grid

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


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


    The Core

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

    Running Back ::

    Tier 1
    • Zack Moss – Ok, I’ll bite. This week I’m pretty sold on Moss in a better matchup and at a higher salary that is still low relative to his role. 
    • James Cook – Over the last two games, Cook has 44 opportunities (22 per game) and is averaging just under 18 DK points. I expect his game environment to be the best one on the slate and the matchup is great for him on the ground and he could be very busy in the passing game as well. It also wouldn’t be surprising for the Bills to increase his role coming out of the bye week with their season on the line.
    • Bijan Robinson – You’re going to keep seeing him here every week.
    • Joe Mixon – This game has sneaky shootout potential and Mixon is involved in the passing game and at the goal line. The matchup is great and Mixon has 19+ opportunities in four of his last six games.
    tier 2
    • Jahmyr Gibbs – Explosive back at low ownership. Gibbs has had two consecutive disappointing games and faces a Bears defense that has been tough to run on. This could be a spot where he is used more as a pass catcher, however, and his explosive potential is something that I’ll be strongly considering – especially paired with Justin Fields and/or DJ Moore.
    • Christian McCaffrey // Alvin Kamara – Both of these guys are in elite spots this week with great matchups and projected for solid workloads (assuming Taysom Hill is out or limited). I generally don’t like paying up at running back but this week has a unique feel to it so I’ll be considering both of these guys in various builds.
    • Jerick McKinnon // CEH – The absence of Isiah Pacheco means that these two will be manning the backfield for the Chiefs in the most explosive game of the week. Andy Reid said that CEH will be the “next man up”, but I tend to think the Chiefs are just going to put the ball in the hands of Mahomes and throw it 45 times. Both backs are in play this week as low-priced ways to access this game.

    Tight End ::

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    Papy’s Pieces

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

    The Board
    • This week gives us two standout games in Buf // KC (48.5) and Sea // SF (46.5). The first is expected to be competitive while the second has the largest spread on the slate. 
    • The middle of the slate offers three games: Ind // Cin (44), Den // Lac (44), and Det // Chi (43). On the surface, Det // Chi looks like the best game environment of the group but it is also the game most likely to be impacted by weather.
    • There are six games with totals below 42, and ten starting QBs who are either rookies or off-the-bench replacements.
    • This week is expected to be competitive. There are only two spreads above a touchdown.
    • Almost every game has important real-life implications for at least one of the teams. This week will go a long way to determining who makes the playoffs.
    Pawn – WR Jonathan Mingo ($3,600)

    Chris Tabor took over as interim head coach last week having never held a position other than special teams coordinator. It makes sense that he isn’t going to change much and will function as a friendly figurehead who can finish out a lost year. However, it’s not fair to expect him to change absolutely nothing, and the one thing that does appear to be on his mind is getting Mingo more involved in the offense. It always made sense to try and let Bryce Young build chemistry with Mingo, rather than relying on a past-his-prime Adam Thielen who isn’t likely to be around for more than a couple of seasons.  Mingo has been an every down player for a while, but last week was the first time he saw double digit targets. He hasn’t produced a big game yet but he’s priced like a punt and if his role holds, has some floor to go along with his ceiling. I like Mingo this week as a salary saver because he has 30-point upside and is likely to at least get you enough that at his salary he won’t kill you. I don’t plan on actively targeting this game outside of Mingo, which makes him a one-off salary saver for me this week.

    Knight – WR Elijah Moore ($4,500)

    I’ve never been high on Moore for DFS because he’s always felt like a mini-Keenan Allen. He usually occupies a possession role that requires extreme volume to produce a big fantasy score. He also tends to be priced for his consistency rather than his ceiling. This week is different.  Amari Cooper is still technically questionable, but I’m guessing that he sits since most players haven’t been able to clear the NFL concussion protocol in one week. If he plays, that will make me reevaluate using Moore, but if Cooper sits, Moore is in a position to soak up the type of volume he needs to post a strong DFS score at his price. The Browns let Joe Flacco throw 44 times in his first game as a starter and Moore saw 12 of those looks with Cooper in the game. Without Cooper, there is a real chance Moore could see 15 targets in the right game script. The Jaguars will likely be without Trevor Lawrence, which hurts the game’s total, but the Jags defense encourages passing and there is a good chance Flacco throws over 40 times regardless of game environment. Moore has a safe floor at his price and his upside is enhanced by the absence of Cooper. Take the discount on Moore if Cooper sits.  

    Bishop – RB Zach Moss ($5,900)

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    Sonic’s MME Pool

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

    Keep It Simple

    Examining rosters recently led to this one prevailing feeling. Don’t overthink this stuff. 

    When building tournament rosters, sometimes all we need is a stack that has a low-owned piece or two. After that, just play the dudes that you like best. 

    Josh Allen is going to be 3.7% owned? Stefon Diggs is around 5%? Gabe Davis…4%? 

    Ok then. Maybe play your Bills stacks and then gnaw on all the chalk you want. If your QB stack is a bit on the chalkier side, we’ll need to find some upside at a bit of an ownership discount.

    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.

    Justin Jefferson/Davante Adams

    Not exactly a salary saver but this pairing provides alpha receiver upside at an average ownership of just 5%. JJ could have played two weeks ago so I’m operating under the assumption that he is ready to play a full complement of snaps. Josh Dobbs is playing for his NFL career on every snap. Given his well-documented intellect, I think he’ll be trying like hell to get the ball into the hands of his elite playmaker. 

    Adams isn’t just a target earner; he’s a target demander and he has broken slates at low ownership multiple times in his career. In the Milly, I’ll even trot out Jakobi Meyers across from Jefferson on at least one roster. The .5% ownership could be a separator on a winning roster if he manages six catches and a touchdown as he did in Week 12. 

    Kyren Williams/Odell Beckham Jr.

    This game emerging as the game of the week is not high in the range of outcomes, but if sparks fly, these two players are likely candidates for production. 

    The matchup isn’t pretty, but Williams has one of the most voluminous roles in the NFL, and at 5.4% ownership, I’ll be doubling the field and feeling fan-fucking-tastic. 

    OBJ isn’t known as a zone beater, but he does run most of his routes through the areas where Baltimore is most vulnerable. He’s also only $3800 and 2% owned.

    WHAT IF Kyren Williams is featured on successful scoring drives early and, in the absence of Mark Andrews, Lamar Jackson leans on OBJ to make splash plays?

    Ravens aren’t afraid to be aggressive. They just haven’t needed to be very often. I’m fine playing some of the Ravens value pass catchers as one-offs, but more likely to play a Rams player across from them, as Baltimore will be content to stuff the ball into the belly of their three running backs if not pushed by LA’s offense.

    Alvin Kamara/Adam Thielen

    I’m waiting on some news before this one feels like a full green light. Notorious red zone vulture, Taysom Hill is also sporting a Q tag and appears less than likely to dress. If he doesn’t dress he probably shouldn’t take the field. That would be embarrassing and possibly even illegal. 

    Derek Carr’s health is a factor as well because he is far more apt to check down to Kamara than his backup, Jameis “Fuck It” Winston. 

    If things fall into place, Kamara would be in a great spot, and depending on the timing of injury news, his ownership could squeeze to single digits.

    It feels weird to type that Adam Thielen is leverage against Jonathan Mingo but here we are. Thielen (5%) may not have ceded all the inevitable come-from-behind (don’t be nasty) targets to Mingo just yet. With Mingo projected as high as 16% on some sites, I feel queasy about tethering too many of my large field rosters to the youngster.

    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

    “Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful.”

    This legendary quote from the Oracle of Omaha (Warren Buffett) is as applicable in investing as it is in just about any facet of life. Without getting too deep into its meaning, the simple way to understand this statement is to stop following the crowd. It’s typical when things are going well that the thing will seem invincible (can’t lose, lock it in, etc.). And it’s typical when things are going poorly, that the thing will seem out of the range of possibilities (unlikely, don’t bet on it, etc.) It’s one thing to read Buffett’s quote and agree with it, and see how it makes sense. It’s another level to actually practice it. It’s hard to go against a crowd or any conventional wisdom. It feels like swimming against the current, and none of us want to invite more challenges into our lives. Nor do we want to put ourselves on an island to be exploited if we take a differing viewpoint. It’s risky, and we’re all risk-averse by nature. But in reality, it’s fun to be different and to think and act differently. We’re all unique, after all, and for that reason, we should all strive to be memorable in everything we do. Who cares what the right way is to do something? Challenge yourself to ignore conformity, and do things your way.

    In our DFS world, the crowd is our competition. We have sharp ownership projections, sharp minds to project groupthink, and sharp angles we create to land on leverage plays. What’s awesome about this, as we’ve stated many times before, is that we have so much information now that we know what the deal is with certain players and what others are thinking about them. Conformity (chalk) forms no matter how big or small a slate is, and this sets us up with opportunities to either go with the crowd or against it. Sometimes it all makes sense, sometimes it doesn’t, but as long as we’re not getting swayed by the greedy or fearful ways of the crowd, our lineups are built for first place.

    Cooper Kupp or Austin Ekeler

    Among my lineups this week, I’m planning to include one or both of these players in all of them. In keeping with this week’s theme, it’s safe to say the public is fearful of both Kupp and Ekeler at the moment. Kupp has most thinking he’s being hampered by a lingering injury and may be over the hill (articles like this are being written about him), while Ekeler is getting trashed on social media by everyone, and his head coach has gone public saying they’ll look at giving other running backs some work. For these two, if this were two months ago, we’d be sprinting to play them at their current DK prices. But this week, it just feels wrong to play an aging wide receiver and a running back who ranks in the bottom ten of all running backs in explosive carry percentage.

    But with each of Kupp and Ekeler, there are also reasons to believe. I referenced their DK prices above (Kupp is $7,400, Ekeler $7,600) but both are at season-low prices. You know I am a sucker for that (to be fair, Warren Buffett would like this too). Taking Kupp for a second, he draws a very difficult matchup this week with the Ravens (first in yards allowed per pass/second in pass defense DVOA). While they have mostly avoided the game-breaking scores to WRs, Baltimore’s defensive strategy allows for the short-yardage throws. This allows slot and underneath receivers to rack up receptions quickly. The four best performances from wide receivers this season against the Ravens came from Keenan Allen (14/106/0), Amon-Ra St. Brown (13/102/0), George Pickens (6/130/1), and Tee Higgins (8/89/2). This version of Kupp mostly resembles Keenan and ARSB, but the point here is the Ravens will cede work to wideouts, likely will deliver a game script that forces the opposition to pass (Rams are seven-point ‘dogs), and if the weather is poor in Baltimore, Stafford may be looking for some trusted hands in Kupp early and often. Additionally, both Kyren Williams and Puka Nacua (even though he’s banged up) should draw more ownership than Kupp. It is the perfect week to play this man.

    Back to Ekeler, don’t go searching for advanced statistics to tell you why you should play him, they don’t exist. The only reasons to lean into Austin this week are the relative condensity of the Chargers offense (especially if Palmer doesn’t return), and his matchup with the Denver Broncos. The LA Chargers offense has not been running well lately. But when it does, it usually runs on Keenan and Austin (did I just quote a TV commercial slogan? Feels like I did.) Despite HC Brandon Staley’s comments this week, installed as home favorites, Ekeler may actually be in a very favorable position this week. Denver’s run defense ranks 31st overall and is 32nd in yards allowed per carry. That helps offset Ekeler’s anemic YPC (3.5) this season. He is also aided by the fact that the Broncos rank fifth in receptions given up to running backs. Others are fearful here with his coach’s comments but if the Chargers win will it be because of Josh Kelley, or would we want to bank on Ekeler being the engine of the offense (alongside Keenan, likely).

    Zack Moss + Joe Mixon

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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 14 Topics

    1. A Tradition Unlike Any Other

    2. The Moss Ultimatum

    3. Above the Rest

    4. Floating Plays

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


    1. What makes this particular slate particularly unique?

    The Question ::

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

    The Answers ::
    JM >>

    I actually really like this week. It feels like a “light week of work,” in terms of prep for my rosters, as I currently only have three quarterbacks on my “tight build” list, and I have a running back who may be locked onto 100% of my rosters. I see a lot of high-ceiling plays coming in with low ownership and a lot of “high-confidence, but relatively low-ceiling” plays coming in with high ownership. I don’t mind having a losing DFS weekend (we all have to play with that mindset, after all), so I don’t mind it when a week like this turns against me: the higher-risk, high-ceiling swings all miss, and the “high-confidence, but relatively low-ceiling” plays end up being the better way to build. That happens, and it’s fine. But what also happens sometimes is that those “high-confidence, but relatively low-ceiling” plays hit their middling range on a huge number of rosters, while the low-owned plays with legitimate “separator ceiling” hit on our rosters. When this happens, we’re competing against a much smaller group of rosters, with a much clearer path to a first-place finish. Of course, this specific component is not particularly unique (we see weeks like this multiple times each season), but pairing a week like this with a couple spots where my list is really tight is a very nice setup. With a broad list AND a need to hunt through higher-risk, higher-ceiling plays, you can end up in that situation where your higher-risk, higher-ceiling plays hit, and you nevertheless finish out of the money, because you got your other plays wrong trying to guess across a broad range of viable players. Since I have a relatively tight range of viable players, I end up with a greater chance of the math working in my favor if the higher-risk, higher-ceiling plays pay off this week. This isn’t the “Josh Allen vs Philly” week or the “cheap Tank Dell” weeks, etc., where we were just huge favorites to have a big weekend as a community; but this is a week in which the path to first place appears very clear, and if things break a particular way, we can be positioned to take advantage.

    Xandamere >>

    That there isn’t a single game I’m really excited to play. Most slates there are a couple of games that I see as the clear best spots – on this slate, every game has some kind of reasonable knock against it. BUF/KC is the highest total game, but KC’s offense has been underwhelming all year and their defense is elite. SF/SEA could easily be a blowout. Lots of low total games. The list goes on. I think the term “ugly slate” is often overused…but this feels like an ugly slate to me. 

    Hilow >>

    The biggest contributor to this uniqueness of this slate is information, and we’re likely to see the field placed broadly into two buckets regarding that information this week. First, the people that crave more information. Those people are worried about weather and the multitude of questionable players, in addition to those ruled out late in the week. Then there are those that are likely to be overwhelmed by information this week with so many moving parts. Being able to take all that information in, parse it accurately and intelligently, and then make the best decisions is likely going to be a massive contributor to expected value on this slate.

    Mike >>

    For me, the unique thing about this slate is how much I love a spot that feels obvious to me but, based on current ownership projections, is going overlooked elsewhere. Josh Allen has the potential to blow the slate away again here and the Chiefs ruling out Isiah Pacheco increases the chances of this game turning into a true shootout with both teams slinging it all game. Usually when we have these spots that I expect to have a chance to score 70+ points with both teams throwing it all over the field, it is a spot that is garnering heavy ownership and attention from the field. I’m sure there will be more interest in Buffalo than the projections are currently showing, but having the game I am focusing on being lower on the list of priority for the field is unique to this week.


    2. The Moss Ultimatum

    The Question ::

    We knew entering Week 13 that Zack Moss at $4,600 was going to be extremely popular. He was projected for ownership in the mid-50% range but the growing use of “Sims” and optimizers in the industry along with the desire by the field to fit Tyreek Hill in lineups while he was facing the league’s worst pass defense pushed Moss all the way up to the 70% ownership range in large-field MME play while he got up in the 80% range in some smaller field and higher dollar tournaments. 

    Obviously we have the benefit of hindsight now, and Moss turning in a bad game creates some bias in itself, but with the information we now know what are your thoughts on Moss as a play? A player in that spot at that price tag, if you know the ownership is at that extreme of a level would you play him? I think this extreme example can be a great opportunity to learn and grow for all of us, so I’m curious to hear the different takes on this.

    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.

    Week 14 Slate
    • Back to a four game slate and we are blessed with a potential shootout in the Bills/Chiefs game.
    • The 49ers have one of the more dependably predictable offenses in the league this week and it is highly unlikely the winning lineup doesn’t have at least one 49ers player on it.
    • MIN/LV has playmakers on both sides of the ball and an aggressive, blitzing Vikings defense facing a rookie quarterback.
    • DEN/LAC is likely to have a questionable pace and conservative offense, but on the four game slate, several players become appealing at their price tags.
    • One of the more critical spots on the slate will be the tight end position, where there are four of the best raw plays on the main slate at prices of $5,500 or higher that are likely to draw heavy ownership. It is likely that 75% or more of the field uses one of these tight ends, giving us two options if we want to try to be unique – play two of them or pay down for a lower owned piece and a different roster construction.
    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 14 offers us a unique 11-game slate since 4 of 5 teams with the highest implied team totals are in the late window. While “mega-chalk” only appears to be forming on Zack Moss (and to a lesser extent Christian McCaffrey), this is setting up to be a week where potentially allocating more PMR / roster spots than usual to the late games might prove to be the optimal way to build. We’ll discuss this and the important outcomes from the early games to monitor more below.   

    Important Early Outcomes to Watch:
    • Zack Moss – For the second week in a row, Moss projects to be the highest-owned player on the slate. Moss severely disappointed last week with only 7 DK points, but is in a much better matchup this week.    
    • Lamar Jackson and Justin Fields – Rushing QBs offer slate-breaking upside and it’s been a while since we had several on an early slate. Due to their matchups, a 30+ point score from either is more likely than usual and will need to be accounted for.
    • Browns DST – Cleveland is projecting to be the highest-owned DST unit on the slate by a wide margin against Jacksonville with QB Trevor Lawrence listed as questionable and WR Christian Kirk already ruled out. The Browns are a strong defensive unit however they have allowed 61 points the past two weeks to the Rams and Broncos (not exactly offensive powerhouses), while only accounting for 1 sack and 1 turnover during those two games.
    • 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 14!

    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 new format change, 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. 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 14

    Big-name QBs are back here, but they come with questions themselves. Mahomes and Allen play against each other in a game total lower than normal for this matchup, and Lamar gets another ugly weather blowout potential spot. Meanwhile, the QB with the highest team total on the slate is going in the last round often (Purdy)! It’s always important in this contest to have a stack, but there are also a lot of strong one-off plays this week as well that have lower-upside QBs, so I’m unlikely to do much over-stacking or forced correlation. Keep scrolling down for that overlooked upside!

    Stacks I’m Targeting:

    Justin Fields + DJ Moore, Cole Kmet vs DET:

    • DET’s defense continues its struggles and now gets a rematch with Fields who has run for 383 yards and 2 TDs in his last 3 games vs DET. Both Moore and Kmet carry upside here, with Kmet coming at a much bigger discount due to the TE depth on this slate. The path to this game reaching its upside is through Fields’ legs and his main two weapons scoring, pushing DET to be more aggressive.

    Brock Purdy + 49ers vs SEA:

    • This could essentially be highlighted almost every single week, but there’s probably no offense guaranteed for fantasy production more than this one each week. The 49ers skill players are all getting drafted pretty highly, but Purdy is coming at a discount, likely somewhat influenced by his one down week recently coming against SEA on Thanksgiving. SF still put up points in that game, and SEA is still notoriously a tough place to play, making a home game in clear weather Santa Clara a great spot for another big day for this offense.

    Justin Herbert + Keenan Allen, Austin Ekeler vs DEN:

    • This is a lower confidence but lower ownership play that still comes with a strong ceiling in a dome game with potential for plenty of points. DEN has surely significantly improved on defense, but Herbert is an elite QB with a very concentrated group of weapons. This being one of the dome games on the week makes it more attractive, as well as the likelihood Payton and Russ on the other side are able to score on this struggling Chargers defense. Herbert is free in the last rounds this week coming off down weeks in tough matchups, but comes with strong upside, is highly correlated with his two best players, and can be cheaply stacked with Everett in 12-person drafts as well.

    Others to Target:

    Chris Olave, Alvin Kamara @ CAR:

    • CAR continues to be very attackable on the ground which sets up well for AK, as another “receiving-strength” back in Rachaad White still found plenty of success here a week ago. And with CAR’s continuous secondary injuries, along with NOR’s own injuries, Olave should continue to be fed targets here inside the dome. I do think both of these guys are plenty valuable without Carr, but if you find yourself in need of a QB in the final round, he’s in play to finish off the roster.

    Zack Moss @ CIN:

    • Much easier spot for Moss coming off the disappointment vs TEN. CIN’s defense has been struggling of late and is very attackable on the ground. Like Mixon on the other side of this game, Moss should be expected to dominate touches for IND once again. This kind of volume expectation at the end of drafts makes Moss very appealing. 

    Bengals vs IND:

    • Jake Browning has proven capable of running the CIN offense, making the Bengals still targetable in this spot vs a mediocre defense. Joe Mixon has a great matchup on the ground and is just the 10th RB taken in drafts despite a major role on the ground and through the air. IND has improved since early season, but can still be hit hard by WRs, and Chase remains one of the best even with Browning at QB. Chase currently goes behind St. Brown, Keenan, and DJ Moore, all of whom need far more to go right to capitalize on their upside than Chase does.

    Elijah Moore vs JAX:

    • Moore comes with Flacco history in NY and led the league in air yards in Week 13 during Flacco’s first 2023 start. Now Amari Cooper is in danger of missing the game, Moore sets up as CLE’s WR1 against a defense susceptible to WR production, and yet he’s still going as just the WR31 on the week.
    Tight Ends:

    Especially with Schultz looking to miss another week, I’m trying to leave almost every draft with one of Kelce, Hock, LaPorta, Kittle, and Kincaid.

    Dalton Kincaid @ KC:

    • A lot of strong TEs on the slate, and he faces the best matchup of the BUF weapons. Discount due to questions regarding Knox’s return, but still comes with the same upside as the other “elite” guys here and can be easily stacked late with Allen.

    Brevin Jordan @ NYJ

    • Saw an uptick in usage without Schultz, and now with the Dell injury they will continue to need his pass-catching chops. The weakest spot of the Jets defense has been versus TEs all season long. 

    Notable Stats

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

    1st place performance:

    • 34 of the 49 teams had at least one flex player score 30+ half-PPR fantasy points
    • 21 of the 49 teams had all flex players score at least 20+ half-PPR fantasy points
    • 45 of the 49 teams had all flex players score at least 15+ half-PPR fantasy points

    Stacking and Correlation:

    • 29 of 49 had a QB paired with just one teammate
      • WR (22), TE (5), RB (2)
    • 7 of 49 had a QB stacked with two teammates
      • WR-RB (4), WR-WR (2), WR-TE (1)
    • 5 of those 36 QB stacks had a runback (Opposing player)
    • 48 of 49 had at least one game correlation
    • 15 of 49 had two different game correlations

    FLEX usage:

    • 160 of 245 top-5 rosters have had two RBs, meaning they chose RB at FLEX over WR and TE.
    • 84 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!