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The Scroll Week 8

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    Week 8 Angles

    OWS Fam —

    Welcome to a very full Week 8!

    In a strange scheduling quirk, the NFL has given us a random week in the middle of the season with no teams on bye. There are also no London games, and there is no double-MNF setup, which gives us a full 13 games on the Main Slate — only the second time all season we have had a true, full slate (Week 1 being the other instance).

    Even with only six teams missing from the Main Slate, we have some marquee offenses and names out of play, with the Bills (Josh Allen // Stefon Diggs), Chargers (Justin Herbert, Austin Ekeler, Keenan Allen), Lions (Amon-Ra St. Brown), and Raiders (Josh Jacobs, Davante Adams) in primetime games.

    Before we take a look at some of the key offenses in play, and some of the key implied team totals, it’s worth taking a moment to reflect on some of the things we’ve seen over the last two weeks of football, including:

    >> The Browns beating the 49ers in Week 6

    >> The Jets beating the Eagles in Week 6

    >> The Bears embarrassing the Raiders in Week 7

    >> The Colts moving the ball and scoring 38 points against the Browns defense in Week 7

    >> The Ravens destroying the Lions in Week 7

    >> The Patriots beating the Bills in Week 7

    >> The Vikings beating the 49ers in Week 7

    On the one hand, this is a reminder that anything can happen on any given Sunday in the NFL. But more importantly (or, at least, more to the point), this is a critical reminder that our perceptions of NFL teams are often shaped by what they do through the first few weeks of the season, but in reality, NFL teams continue to develop throughout a season, and “who a team was” is not always the same as “who a team is.” Every year, we have instances of a team that had a really rough couple weeks (or a really good couple weeks) in a particular area early in the season, only for things in that area to change dramatically as the season moves along. That team is no longer “who they were,” and yet, the public’s perceptions have already been locked in place.

    Similarly, every year, we have instances of players who have a really rough couple weeks (or a really good couple weeks), and it can take until the end of the season (if ever) for the public to change the way they see that player.

    The NFL is dynamic. Teams aren’t even fully aware of “who they are” until around this point in the season. And one of our greatest edges around this stretch of the season is a willingness to be open-minded, and to establish for ourselves who these teams and players are right now, in this particular season, and to attack slates accordingly. Year in and year out, this tends to be one of our best stretches of the season at OWS. Let’s lock that in once again!

    With so many teams on the Main Slate (26 in all), we have more teams than normal implied to score north of 24 points — though as we have grown accustomed to in this current wave of “how defenses and offenses match up with one another in the NFL,” even these higher implied totals should be talked about against a backdrop of “defense” or “defense-minded game environments.”

    The Cowboys are implied to score 25.75 at home against the Rams, but the Rams are 6.5-point underdogs, announcing to us that the likeliest outcome for this game is something shy of a shootout.

    The Dolphins are implied to score 28.25 at home against the Patriots, but the Patriots are 9.5-point underdogs, announcing to us that the likeliest outcome for this game is something shy of a shootout.

    The Eagles are implied to score 25.0 on the road against the Commanders, but the Commanders are 6.5-point underdogs, announcing to us that the likeliest outcome for this game is something shy of a shootout.

    The Ravens are implied to score 26.25 on the road against the Cardinals, but the Cardinals are 8.5-point underdogs, announcing to us that the likeliest outcome for this game is something shy of a shootout.

    The Chiefs are implied to score 26.5 on the road against the Broncos, but the Broncos are 7.0-point underdogs, announcing to us that the likeliest outcome for this game is something shy of a shootout.

    The 49ers are implied to score 25.25 at home against the Bengals, but the Bengals are 5.5-point underdogs, announcing to us that the likeliest outcome for this game is something shy of a shootout.

    Outside of these six teams, every team on this slate is implied to score 23 or fewer points, with half the teams on this slate (13) implied to score 20 or fewer.

    With all of that said…well, firstly, this is nothing new. Every week in the 2023 season has been like this. And secondly…in spite of the fact that every week in the 2023 season has been like this, we have had 47 instances already this year of a team scoring 30+ points(!). Said differently: on average, we have had 6.7 teams per NFL weekend scoring 30+ points(!), with the list breaking down as follows:

    5 – 49ers
    4 – Dolphins
    3 – Jags // Cowboys // Eagles // Lions // Bills
    2 – Colts // Seahawks // Commanders // Broncos // Texans // Chiefs // Bears
    1 – Rams // Chargers // Packers // Giants // Saints // Bengals // Jets // Browns // Ravens

    Some of those teams are not a surprise, of course, but what about the Colts, Commanders, Broncos, and Bears getting there twice? What about the Giants and Jets getting there? And what about the teams that haven’t gotten there yet…but probably will surprise us at some point in the near future?

    Every week, there are going to be surprises on the Main Slate — and every week, we can expand our play beyond the “logical,” looking beyond “what’s likeliest to happen” and focusing, instead, on “what could viably happen?”

    It’s a good week for winning.

    Let’s go out there and do it!

    The Clock Is Ticking:

    Last week, when the Angles email went out, there were 187 spots remaining in Props Insider.

    One week later, there are only 97 spots remaining.

    We’re sitting at over $10,000 in Props Insider profit so far — and last year, we made over $9,000 in NBA alone.

    You don’t have to follow the sports; you just have to follow the bets!

    These final spots won’t last long.

    Grab a spot with a Month pass and see what it’s all about!

    I’ll see you in Props Insider soon.

    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

    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::

    Yes, there are no games on the Week 8 slate that carry a game total of over 50 points. Yes, scoring is down around the league. Yes, this slate feels overwhelming and ambiguous. But beyond those top-level feels introduced from the slate itself, we must realize that there are zero teams on bye this week and 26 teams in play. From a pure law of probabilities perspective, that immediately means that the score required to ship GPPs this week is likely to be much higher than in previous weeks due to the sheer number of teams and players on the slate. More chances for outlier production, probabilistically speaking, are likely to lead to more players with outlier production when all is said and done. Why is that so important here? It means that every player that we place on rosters this week must carry a clear path to 30+ DK points in their range of outcomes because somebody is likely to capture a roster full of 30+ fantasy points and ship GPPs on this slate. That is the most important theoretical aspect of this slate and something we must keep in mind as we build this week. What’s more, the field is likely to struggle with these methods after four consecutive slates where 230-235 points was winning large field GPPs.

    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.

    ALVIN KAMARA

    RESTRICTIVE CHALK. Alvin Kamara holds a 37.1 percent targets per route run rate against Cover-3 this season. The Colts play from Cover-3 at the highest rate in the league on defense. Kamara is pacing to set an NFL record for targets in a season at running back. Kamara has missed three games due to suspension. Kamara reached 29.3 DK points last week – without finding the end zone. 30+ DK points are well within his range of outcomes against a Colts team that breeds solid game environments due to their offensive success, elevated pace of play, and underperforming defense. Play Alvin Kamara.

    TREY McBRIDE

    EXPANSIVE CHALK. If we combine the fantasy involvement and production of Zach Ertz and Trey McBride this season, we would be left with what amounts to the TE4 on the season. That profile now rests on McBride’s shoulder alone after Ertz was placed on injured reserve earlier this week. Even so, the Cardinals carry the second lowest Vegas implied team total on the slate and have scored more than their Week 8 implied total once since Week 3. Remember the importance of 30+ fantasy point potential this week. McBride scoring 30+ fantasy points in this slot would be more like a 99 percent outcome than an 80 percent outcome!

    FALCONS D/ST

    EXPANSIVE CHALK. Man, the chalk defense that has the best point-per-dollar median projection on the slate. We know the drill here – median projections mean very little to us at defense due to the highly variant scoring at the position. That said, it’s hard to argue against the top point-per-dollar play at the position on the slate. Just understand that there are defenses that carry as much, if not more, upside from a raw points perspective, including the Ravens, Eagles, Jets, Chiefs, and potentially even the Vikings.

    BREECE HALL

    NEITHER RESTRICTIVE NOR EXPANSIVE CHALK. Breece Hall in $100 less than Bijan Robinson, has a higher median projection than Bijan, and has a higher 80 percent outcome than Bijan. Hall is objectively a better on-paper play than Bijan. And yet, both players are projected for about the same ownership in Week 8. Statistically speaking, if both players have a similar price and similar ownership expectation, but one player has a range of outcomes that far exceed the other, there is inherent leverage to playing the player with the more robust range of outcomes.

    ZAY FLOWERS

    NEITHER RESTRICTIVE NOR EXPANSIVE CHALK. Zay Flowers has three games this season with double-digit targets and no game with more than 11 looks through the air. The first game came in Week 1 with Mark Andrews on the sideline. The second and third instances of double-digit targets came in both Baltimore losses. Mark Andrews will play in Week 8 and the Ravens are favored by 9.5 points on the road in Arizona. The path to 30 DK points for wide receivers includes nine to ten receptions, 100-110 yards, and a touchdown, with an additional touchdown removing the need to crack the 100-yard receiving bonus. That profile likely makes up only five percent of Flowers’ range of outcomes here, meaning he can return 30+ DK points in this spot, but it is much more unlikely to happen than other players that have 20-25 percent of their range of outcomes in the 30+ DK points realm.

    ISIAH PACHECO

    NEITHER RESTRICTIVE NOR EXPANSIVE CHALK. Look, I get it, play running backs against the Broncos. Even so, Pacheco averages 14.3 carries and three targets per game. With a profile that lacks clear paths to upside through the air, he will require 100 yards and two touchdowns on the ground to return a viable GPP-worthy score here. Can he return those numbers on 14-16 carries and two to three targets against the Broncos? Sure, he can. Does it represent a solid portion of his range of outcomes here? Nope! Remember, a 13-game slate means we absolutely must have every player on our rosters hold clear paths to 30+ DK points!

    BIJAN ROBINSON

    NEITHER RESTRICTIVE NOR EXPANSIVE CHALK. I was talking about this with Jordan Vanek on the Cover 5 show Friday, and he brought up that the DraftKings pricing algorithm was exploited this week after Bijan Robinson saw one offensive snap and had one carry for three yards in Week 7. Objectively, Bijan is probably the first instance of a player being priced this far below median projection since Puka Nacua earlier in the season. Even so, his opponent, the Tennessee Titans, has allowed just 3.6 yards per carry and the matchup yields one of the lower net yards before contact values on the slate. Bijan has seen five or more targets in all but one healthy game which helps to bolster his median projection, but the sledding could be tough to unlock legitimate 30+ DK point upside in this spot.

    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 :: $6.1K

    Derek Carr
    Isiah Pacheco
    Dameon Pierce
    Chris Olave
    Josh Downs
    Kendrick Bourne
    George Kittle
    Brandon Powell
    Vikings

    Join The Bottom-Up Build Contest On DraftKings!

    Buy-In:

    Free

    Rules:

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

    Prizes:

    1st Place = 250 Edge Points + Rare Blue Name Tag in Discord
    2nd Place = 100 Edge Points
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    4th Place = 50 Edge Points
    5th Place = 25 Edge Points

    *1 Edge Point = $1 in DFS courses on OWS

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    Sunday Morning Update

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    Blue Chips

    CMC

    Much is made about George Kittle’s splits when Deebo is in the lineup vs out of the lineup for the 49ers offense, but CMC has also seen his ceiling spike when Deebo has missed games, with two of his three best games as a member of the 49ers coming on weeks Deebo missed. The Bengals rank 27th in DVOA against the run and 25th in adjusted line yards, and the 49ers are likely to lean heavily on CMC in this spot. As always, he’s unlikely to burn you for playing him, and his chances of pushing north of 30 DK points are higher than normal in this spot.

    “Light Blue” Chips

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    Build-Arounds

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    Building Blocks

    What Everyone Is (Not) Doing
    Darnold + Kittle + Higgins
    Story:

    “Production from these offenses comes in the NEXT most likely way.”

    Why It Works:

    Darnold will be popular, but it seems most people will be on Aiyuk or CMC as the stacking partner, and most people will be on Chase as the bring-back. This allows us to place the same bet the field will be placing (“The 49ers’ offense without Deebo produces a really nice score from someone, and the Bengals pass the ball a lot in this spot”), through different players than the field will be betting on.

    How It Works:

    If this stack hits, it’s not only adding points to your roster, but it’s taking away points from your competition. This is an ideal setup in DFS, making this a potentially powerful stack. The 49ers have faced the third most WR targets and allowed the third most WR catches (ninth most yards), as teams bias their offense toward the air in this matchup (while Cincy already ranks second in the NFL in pass rate over expectation). If it’s Higgins instead of Chase this week, and if Kittle has one of his monster non-Deebo games, you’ll be way ahead of the field.

    POTENTIAL DOWNSIDE:

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

    Not Yet Dead?

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    Bink Machine

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

    Eagles Perform To expectations

    I’m not yet sure exactly how I’ll be attacking this week’s slate, but one idea I’ve played around with is grabbing exposure to the Eagles offense across a large chunk of my rosters. In the following rule, the Bink Machine is instructed to have exposure to this pool on 80% of rosters.

    “On at least 80% of rosters, include one player from this pool”

    49ers Perform To Expectations

    I’m not yet sure exactly how I’ll be attacking this week’s slate, but one idea I’ve played around with is grabbing exposure to the 49ers offense across a large chunk of my rosters. In the following rule, the Bink Machine is instructed to have exposure to this pool on 80% of rosters.

    “On at least 80% of rosters, include one player from this pool”

    Pickens + Jags

    George Pickens can hit without a Jags pass game piece hitting…but his chances of hitting rise if a Jags pass game piece is hitting…and the chances of a Jags pass game piece hitting rise if Pickens is hitting. This rule would ensure that at least 80% of my Pickens exposure would be paired with one of the Jags receivers.

    “On at least 80% of Pickens rosters, include 2 players from this pool” (Pickens being one of those players)

    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 ::

    Hurts || Mahomes || Lamar || Howell || Ridder || Mac || Carr || Darnold

    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
    • Tony Pollard – Pollard’s season has been up and down, but when you look deeper at the results you can see that he’s a potential steal right now. The Cowboys have only had three games this season where the game was within two scores heading into the 4th quarter. In those games, Pollard’s weighted-opportunity (carries + 2*targets) counts are 29, 29, and 41. The Cowboys are 6-point home favorites this week against the Rams 24th ranked run defense.
    • Alvin Kamara – Kamara’s usage has been insane since his return, averaging 36.75 weighted opportunities per game due in large part to his huge role in the passing game. Colts games tend to have a lot of plays and points (5 of their 7 games this season have had combined point totals of more than 50), so this could be the game where Kamara erupts.
    • Jonathan Taylor – The Saints run defense has a tough reputation, but they’ve been only average this year while facing a pretty average schedule of rushing offenses. This is the lowest I can remember seeing JT’s salary and if Zack Moss misses this game then he might be the best play on the slate.
    • D’Andre Swift – The lead runner on a top-3 offense, Swift can get it done in multiple ways. His weighted opportunity counts over the last four games are 21, 38, 29, and 22.
    tier 2
    • Isiah Pacheco – Great matchup and reasonable salary for the lead RB on the team with the highest implied total on the slate.
    • Bijan Robinson (DK-only) – Awful matchup and game environment, but his price is laughable. I was hoping he would be lower-owned after last week’s debacle, but it makes sense why he’s not. Tennessee has a tough run defense, but Bijan should catch several passes and he can get there in a variety of ways.
    • Breece Hall (DK-only) – Similar to Bijan, the game environment is really bad. That being said, Hall’s talent and volume in a decent matchup make this price tag a little ridiculous. Wouldn’t play him on Fanduel, where his salary is close to Kamara/Pollard.
    • Christian McCaffery – Have to mention him as he has a great matchup on the ground and Deebo Samuel is out. I probably won’t end up with much of him because of his price tag and the opportunity cost, but he’s highly likely to post a score in the 20s with a 30+ point game not being hard to imagine.

    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
    • The football gods have seen fit to give us a 13 game slate in the middle of the season. Somewhat amazingly, there isn’t a game with a total north of 50. 
    • The highest total games KC // DEN (47), NE // MIA (47), and LAR // DAL (45.5), all of which have at least a touchdown spread. 
    • This is an incredibly unique week in that there are a ton of choices, but no clear game environments to target.  
    • This sets up as a week to forget about totals and look for sneaky shootouts. There are enough games on this slate that at least one of them is going to blow up, and it’s likely to be a game that sails way over its projected total.
    • This is also a great week to try and find games with high upside possibilities, even if those outcomes aren’t the most likely to occur.
    Pawn – QB Kenny Pickett ($4,900)

    Full disclosure, this is not a high confidence play but it fits the spirit of what I mentioned earlier in The Board. The Steelers run a proverbial “middle school” offense and the Jaguars have been good on defense, which makes the most likely outcome another ugly Steelers game where they try to win on defense. But what about a less likely outcome? The Jaguars are a good defensive team but they filter targets to WRs and have given up over 280 yards passing five times this year.  There is nothing about Pickett’s season that should make you want to roster him, but $4,900 is the type of price we see on backup QBs making a spot start. Kenny is still a regular starter, playing at home, and has two clear stacking partners in George Pickens and Diontae Johnson. Early ownership projections show Pickett drawing some interest, and if that’s the case, I’ll look elsewhere, but I can’t see the field being excited to play a QB who is yet to top 18 DK points. If Kenny puts up over 20 DK points for the first time this season, it’s highly likely that this game is over-performing expectations. That’s a good thing because the Jags are also highly concentrated on offense. Etienne // Ridley // Kirk are all good choices as bring back options, with Kirk being my favorite of the bunch.

    Honorable Mention – RB Devin Singletary ($4,400)

    I never include honorable mentions but Singletary deserves to be singled out as a potential tournament gem. He saw 53% of the snaps before the Texans bye and has outplayed Dameon Pierce.  There is a chance the Texans used the bye week to adjust, and Singletary comes out as a 60% plus snap rate player. If that happens, he’s a steal at his price, in a great matchup, with no ownership. There is a lot of risk involved with Singletary, but he is also a great GPP play this week.

    Knight – WR Christian Watson ($5,100)

    Featured as one of last week’s pieces, Watson burned a lot of otherwise nice looking lineups for me. It hurt, but what hurt worse was seeing the ownership on Love + Watson stacks. Projected to be relatively low owned, they were anything but, both becoming chalk. After hurting a large portion of the field, Watson is currently projected to carry under 10% ownership. He has just as much upside this week as he did last week, if not more. The Vikings blitz at the highest rate in the league, and while Jordan Love hasn’t shown he handles pressure well, he has shown that he’s willing to take shots downfield (second in intended air yards). The Vikings have allowed the most catches to WRs in the league, and Watson can pay off his price with one big play. He also pairs nicely in game stacks with Jordan Addison ($5,700) who is too cheap for his role without Justin Jefferson. Watson has shown very little this year, but he’s the type of player who can burn the blitz, and I’m willing to bet this is the week he gets behind the defense.

    Bishop – TE George Kittle ($5,400)

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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

    Take a Stand

    On the last night of a tour, rock bands tend to let all hell break loose. The headlining act will sabotage the opening band’s set with various pranks. On our final night opening for metal legend, Ronnie James Dio, his road crew made a slight alteration to my second guitar. After a super quick exchange of guitars in between songs, I ran back out onstage only to look down at my axe and see a bumper sticker that read “SO MANY MEN, SO LITTLE TIME.” 😳

    What the hell made me think of that today?

    This slate.

    Week 8 offers us 13 games with a plethora of value and ceiling options from which to choose. So many men, indeed. With a slate of this nature comes a danger of spreading your player pool too thin and essentially matching the field on a whole bunch of players. I’m as susceptible to FOMO as the next guy, but this week I’ll be sticking my neck out in a couple of places to try and get a leg up on the field. The good news is I’ll be playing the DraftKings main slate, early slate, and the FanDuel stuff, so I’ll have plenty of exposure to my favorite plays while still applying some leverage in each contest.

    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.

    Jonathan Taylor/Chris Olave

    My gut has been talking to me about Taylor all week. Maybe that’s good, or maybe it means he’ll get injured on the first play from scrimmage. Maybe I ate some bad Chinese food. I’m not entirely sure. But I’m rolling with this game, and I believe Taylor and Olave would be the catalysts should it erupt.

    I’m cool with other Saints as well. Rashid Shaheed (2% owned 👀), Alvin Kamara (unique pairing with two RBs from the same game) and to a lesser extent, Michael Thomas and Juwan Johnson, all possess upside for their respective prices. They won’t all get there, so I’ll play enough Taylor to get each of these guys matched up with him a couple of times.

    I’m hoping Zach Moss is active (but limited) to keep Taylor’s ownership in check. We shall see. 

    Adam Thielen/Nico Collins (or Tank Dell)

    This one is rather obvious but I’m throwing it in here in case you need another confirmation to pull the trigger.

    Here’s how my settings look in Fantasy Labs and Bink Machine:

    George Kittle/Cooper Kupp

    We must always ask ourselves “What’s the clearest path to winning a tournament?”

    Winning a onesie position and racking up raw points at low ownership sounds like a good start, don’t ya think?

    Kupp cratered last week and is now $9000 in a less-than-ideal matchup. But he’s still Cooper Kupp, capable of 35+ points and he’s projected to be around 6% owned. I am IN.

    Kittle’s numbers without Deebo Samuel (miss you 😔) have been widely reported and yet, he’s still projected to be owned in the 4% range.

    “Hey Sonic…are you high? These guys aren’t even in the same game!”

    I know this. But this is my article and I make up the rules. Bite me.

    Ok, fine. Replace Kupp with Tee Higgins and get a 2% owned guy who’s coming off a bye and due for a breakout. Happy?

    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

    “Hindsight is 20/20.” This is among the top five most annoying and frustrating things to hear. Looking back on an event, of course we have perfect vision and think we could have predicted this result! But every time this thought comes across my mind or from someone else, it’s interesting to consider why. Hindsight is always, by nature, after the fact. When an event occurs, we reflect on it and justify why it happened. Hindsight bias (which is where the “perfect vision” comes from) occurs when we look back on past events and think about them as being more predictable than they really were. So the question becomes, when predictions for outcomes don’t play out how we thought they would, were they really predictable in the first place? And to get that answer (scenario-specific, of course) we really have to dive in.

    Hindsight / Insight / Foresight

    There are essentially three states of our brain in how we see the world: hindsight, insight, and foresight. Hindsight looks back, while foresight looks forward, and insight becomes our “ah-ha!” moments that can drive meaningful change in how we alter our actions going forward. The goal for all of us should be creating a tighter, infinite loop that can repeat itself between these three states. This is also where we could argue the saying, you live and you learn comes from. Experiences shape us. In many events in our daily lives, our foresight gives us the context to set our expectations and creates the structure of our thinking in how these events will play out. In shaping those thoughts, insights we’ve learned along the way fundamentally change how we determine most likely scenarios, including expecting the unexpected. And then finally, regardless of outcomes, hindsight allows us to reflect on the why of an event and empowers us to create better frameworks (powered also by our insights) for when the next event is on the horizon.

    You can see now how these states of thinking can affect how we approach daily fantasy sports. A slate is presented to us, we go through our processes and set our own expectations, and combine our foresight with our insights to predict rational outcomes. But what if we consider how scenarios can unfold where our upcoming hindsight can look back and justify exactly why? In The Oracle each week, the team here at OWS always includes a question, “that was so obvious, how did I not see it?!” This is one of the most helpful pieces of content to consume each week in preparing for a slate. It’s one of the rare pieces of forced hindsight we all can draw from. Consider this question for yourself this week. What are those one or two outcomes that don’t look obvious, but could be easily justified come Sunday Night? With this framework in mind, here is how we’ll be Willing to Lose this weekend . . . 

    Calvin Ridley

    I didn’t choose Ridley here, Ridley chose me. Let’s harken back to Week 1, when Ridley dominated the Colts, scored one of the first touchdowns of the 2023 season, and had us all thinking he is going to be THE GUY this year. This strong Week 1 game (8/101/1) came on the heels of a few training camp social media clips showing him looking like he was playing at a different speed than everyone else, too. Ridley looked primed for a massive 2023. Now here we are, in Week 8, and Ridley has popped for only one other 100+ yard receiving game (vs. Buffalo, in London) and he trails his teammate Christian Kirk in virtually every wide receiver metric that matters (targets, targets per route run, 3rd/4th down targets, PPR rank) . . . except one, air yards. Ridley sits at 617 air yards through seven games, while Kirk has 448. With all his yards after the catch, Kirk actually has more receiving yards (474) than air yards, while Ridley sits at just 368. We could dive into how catchable some of Calvin’s targets have been, but if there is any positive regression coming for Kirk or Ridley, it’s going to be for Ridley.

    Ridley is $100 cheaper than Kirk on DK, sitting at just $5,800, his lowest salary of the season. It’s widely known at this point that Kirk is a zone-defense winner. Ridley has more of the pure tools to beat man coverage, and this week the Jags go to Pittsburgh, where the Steelers historically play man coverage at above average rates. Additionally, only the Chargers have allowed more fantasy points to opposing wide receivers than the Steelers this season. We’ve seen massive games from Puka Nacua (8/154/0), Brandon Aiyuk (8/129/2), Nico Collins (7/168/2), and Davante Adams (13/172/2) just to name a few. The only thing holding back Ridley right now is the Jags balanced offensive approach. If you’re playing Ridley, we’re also hoping the Steelers can push the scoreboard, and for that reason, a Ridley and George Pickens stack makes some sense.

    Simplifying the Slate – 4 PM (ET) Only Rosters

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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 8 Topics

    1. A Tradition Unlike Any Other

    2. Tight End Frenzy

    3. Narrowing Your Player Pool

    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 >>

    There are probably a number of directions I could go with this answer, but here’s what stands out to me:

    Week 8…and 13 games on the slate.

    This might seem like “Just the way it is.” I.e., “Okay, sure, there are 13 games in the middle of the season, but it’s not like 13-game slates are unique. We have them at the beginning and end of the year each year, so what does it matter where on the calendar they fall?”

    But there are not very many DFS players who are TRUE bubble players. Most rely on others — to some extent — for their research, and for thoughts and ideas and angles they can balance off their own. On top of that, most researchers and content providers in this space A) have routines that don’t expect there to be 13 games on a main slate in the middle of the season, and/or B) play more than one DFS sport, which has NBA at the forefront of their minds at this point in the year.

    Again: this is not the only unique component of this slate, and I’m sure that X and Hilow and Mike will be covering different angles than this…but I do think this is an interesting angle to think about, as so much of the field’s thoughts tend to be shaped by the research and thinking that’s taking place under the surface on the research/content side of this space. Is this research and thinking going to be as sharp this week as normal? Are some thoughts and spots and angles going to go a bit overlooked? This is something to consider as you go through your own process/builds this week.

    Xandamere >>

    There’s no “big game,” that one game with the highest total that stands above the others and becomes a focal point for decision-making on the slate. The highest total game we have this week is just 47, and in addition, of the highest total teams on the slate (Miami, Kansas City, Baltimore, Dallas, and Philly are the teams with totals over 25), they all have at least a 6.5 point spread, so nothing really points to “this is likely to be a shootout” for any game on the slate. 

    Because of this, I think people are going to struggle with how to approach the slate. While game stacks trying to find the one game that goes off are entirely viable (as always – and overstacks are even more viable this year, as we’ve touched on multiple times), another way in which we can take advantage of the field is just to…not have a bring back. All the teams mentioned above are capable of putting up fantasy-worthy scores without the other team pushing them (Baltimore and Philly a little less so, but even so we’ve still seen them hit without their opponent succeeding). Since most people get stuck on the “QB stack plus a bring back” rule, if the highest-scoring team on the slate wins in a blowout, we’re likely competing against fewer other rosters from that game as most stacks will have a bring back and will thus be dead.

    Hilow >>

    The most unique aspect of this slate is the fact that we’re coming off of multiple slates in a row with one primary game and teams on bye, which has really condensed ownership and roster constructions. In Week 8, we don’t have either of those pieces, which is likely to lead to a more spread out slate. I’ll be looking to really condense my core players and build around those pieces.

    Mike >>

    The most unique thing about this slate in my eyes is the fact that, on such a big slate with 13 games, there are no games with point totals over 47 while the four teams (MIA, KC, PHI, BAL) with the highest implied team totals are in game scripts that they theoretically should control. There has been a lot of discussion in the DFS industry about “bring backs” over the last year or so and whether or not they are optimal. There is also often a view by a lot of the field that teams that may blow out their opponent are not necessarily great targets because they could take their foot off the gas for a portion of the game. This week feels like a spot where one of those teams is going to score five offensive touchdowns and produce tournament winning scores while not bringing anyone from the opposing side with them. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a double stack involving the QB and two skill players from one of those teams at the top of the leaderboard and, for that matter, the defense could come along for the ride as well. 


    2. Tight End Frenzy

    The Question ::

    The tight end position has had quite the swing of ups and downs this season. After several weeks of limited production, last week got interesting with Travis Kelce dropping 38 points and Darren Waller and Mark Andrews both scoring in the 20s at reasonable price tags. This week we have a plethora of options and as Sunday draws closer it feels like getting this position right is going to be extremely important as it’s highly unlikely that it’s just a week where “no tight ends really did that well, so it doesn’t make you or break you”. On this week’s slate we have::

    • Travis Kelce coming off a season-best game facing a team he torched two weeks ago, but at an $8,400 salary.
    • Mark Andrews, TJ Hockenson, George Kittle, and Darren Waller are all key cogs in their team’s offense and in good matchups. They are all priced between $5,200 and $6,400 – so high enough that they won’t have overwhelming ownership and low enough that if one of them has a spike week, you’re likely going to need them.
    • Dallas Goedert and Evan Engram are another tier down in the mid $4k range. Engram has seen at least seven targets in six straight games while Goedert has a terrific matchup and offensive environment.
    • Taysom Hill’s role continues to grow as a receiving tight end and we know he can break a slate.
    • Jake Ferguson and Trey McBride are cheap options who should get volume.

    With all of that considered, how are you going about addressing this position, and do you have a preferred range and/or specific players you’re targeting this week?

    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
    • There are 13 games on the Main Slate this week so ideally we would get five games in the afternoon window, but I’m not going to complain about four.  
    • I suggested last week the strategy of making lineups featuring *only* players from the Afternoon Slate and putting them in the Main Slate. Larejo also mentions this strategy in his “Willing to Lose” article this week. Limiting your player pool is always a tough task in a week with so many options so this strategy takes some of the guesswork out of it for you. It will have a certain level of natural uniqueness to it and includes two of the top projected offenses on the slate (KC and BAL) as well as a high-profile game between the Bengals and 49ers.
    • No major injury news that we are waiting on as Brock Purdy was cleared on Saturday and Kyler Murray was not activated.
    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 8 offers us a full 13 game slate for only the second time all season. With several high-powered offenses in good spots, the biggest takeaway compared to the previous two weeks is that we can expect twice the number of 30-point scorers this week. This should lead to a higher score (likely close to 250 points) being required to take down a larger tournament. More on this below, but several of the most popular plays don’t have 5x salary multipliers as part of their realistic range of outcomes, and thus I would expect a larger than normal portion of the field to be dead for first before the games even kick-off. Let’s talk about how we can exploit this error below.

    Important Early Outcomes to Watch:
    • Mid-priced RBs; specifically, Alvin Kamara, Breece Hall and Bijan Robinson – Projection models have these as the best on paper values at RB, and as such, each is likely to garner around 20% ownership. Since half the field is likely to roster one (or more) of these RBs, accounting for how they do is critical.
    • Cheap TEs – This may not stand out as an important outcome, however, what might be the worst chalk of the entire season, Trey McBride is projecting as one of the two highest owned players on the entire slate at $2,800. Since he’s playing late, and we know a vast majority of the field doesn’t late swap, how other pay down TEs perform is important to note.
    • Slate Breakers, such as Ja’Marr Chase’s 55.2 DK point performance in week 5.
    Price Range Breakdowns (Late Games):

    $7,000 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 8!

    If you are new to this contest or just want to get a bigger picture of the first two years of the contest, here is my review of the top Battle Royale rosters in 2021 and 2022.

    For this week, I’ll be hitting on some of my thoughts on each position and updating some trending stats. Let’s get started!

    Looking at Week 8

    Much deeper slate than Week 7, with 26 teams available to grab players from. This will likely bring the top score back up to early-season levels compared to some of the last weeks. TDs in this format are the biggest drivers of scoring, making it extra necessary to ensure you’re drafting players with multi-TD upside in their range of outcomes.

    QB:

    Notable QBs missing from the slate: Josh Allen, Justin Herbert, Justin Fields, Jared Goff

    Top 6 QBs by ADP: Patrick Mahomes, Jalen Hurts, Lamar Jackson, Tua Tagovailoa, Joe Burrow, Trevor Lawrence

    Notes:

    • CJ Stroud @ CAR: While the matchup is attackable on the ground and HOU preference will likely keep Stroud from a significant boost in pass attempts, CAR has been dealing with secondary injuries all year and recently got picked apart by Goff and Tua from the pocket on just 28 and 31 pass attempts respectively. On a week in which QB feels a little uncomfortable after the top 3 guys, Stroud can put up a strong score with one of his several reasonable stacking partners.
    • Derek Carr @ IND: While this could be a place in which you keep betting on a situation to work out and it just never does, it’s still hard to ignore how much skill position talent this offense possesses. Carr is a feasible option at the end of drafts given the potential for this game environment to play out above expectations. IND’s style of defense makes Kamara one of my favorite stacking partner with Carr, but Olave and Thomas are options as well given how IND has been attacked by WRs.
    • Kenny Pickett vs JAC: JAC has already allowed four 300-yard passers, and 12 QB TDs in 7 games. JAC has the pieces to push PIT in this game environment, and with JAC tougher to attack on the ground, it opens up opportunities through the air for Pickett. This will be the most favorable matchup he’s had all year to this point, and both his top WRs are expected to play.
    RB:

    Notable RBs missing from this slate: Austin Ekeler, Josh Jacobs, David Montgomery, Jahmyr Gibbs

    There are strong RBs available at every point in drafts this week, so it’s really about what kind of passing game areas you’re attacking and then fitting in which RBs are available around that decision.

    Notes:

    • Alvin Kamara @ IND: Defense sets up perfectly for how Kamara is used in the passing game, and the run defense has been much weaker this year for the Colts so far. There’s slight concern for how much his backups get worked into the game plan, but I’m betting on the Saints to want to keep force-feeding their most effective player the ball.
    • Breece Hall @ NYG: Hall has really started to find his form from pre-ACL tear, and now catches a defense that has been gashed on the ground by several RBs. Hall is one of the most explosive players in the game, and in a matchup that favors NYJ desire to run the ball, he sets up very nicely here.
    • D’andre Swift and WAS: Swift has a final round ADP despite one of the highest usage rates at the position so far in 2023. Losing touches to Hurts around the goal line is part of why he struggles to reach the bigger scores, but his volume in a favorable game environment makes him a strong bet in the last round of drafts.
    • Dameon Pierce @ CAR: Some concern over Singletary involvement, but this matchup is as good as it gets on the ground, and it’s a massive improvement over what Pierce has faced recently. Final round ADP for a guy with two games already over 20 carries in his easiest matchup of the season.
    WR:

    Notable WRs missing from this slate: Stefon Diggs, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Keenan Allen, DJ Moore, Davante Adams, Jakobi Meyers, Amon-Ra St. Brown

    This is a beautiful week to scroll down at WR, with many questionable situations in the middle of drafts at WR, and many interesting ones going overlooked. There are several WRs with big ceilings that have been frustrating drafters recently and as a result, have fallen way down in drafts. One of the easiest ways to be unique in these contests is to find these low-owned guys that still carry high ceilings, and this week provides plenty.

    Notes:

    • Nico Collins, Tank Dell @ CAR: Even with Noah Brown back, with Woods out, these two are favored to have at least one strong performance between them against this struggling secondary. Basically, all the HOU weapons are in good spots here (Schultz and Pierce too), but I still probably prefer one of the WRs for stacking with Stroud if betting on a big passing day.
    • Devonta Smith and WAS: While Smith has been quiet recently, he’s always a threat to put up a monster day with his downfield ability. WAS faces one of the highest aDOTs in the league, and Smith’s ADP has finally fallen to where it only takes a final-round pick to add him. Smith combined with one of the first-round WRs is one way to leverage AJ Brown’s ADP, as the two are unlikely to hit their ceilings together. He’s easily stackable with Hurts.
    • Garrett Wilson @ NYG: One of the most frequently targeted players against the blitz, something which NYG does a lot. Strong share of passing volume, positive matchup, and going end of drafts despite averaging 10 targets a game in the five Zach Wilson starts.
    • George Pickens, Diontae Johnson vs JAC: No Freiermuth, attackable secondary, and on the opposite side of a strong JAC offense. Half-PPR hasn’t typically been the best format for targeting Johnson, but one of these WRs should put up a nice score here and are easily stacked with Pickett or on the opposite side of JAC pieces.
    • Drake London @ TEN: Defense weak against WRs, and undergoing fire sale after shipping off safety Kevin Byard. ATL’s offensive volume is always tough to bet on, especially on the road, but London is getting great usage for someone going nearly undrafted.
    • Calvin Ridley @ PIT: PIT plays less press coverage, which benefits Ridley and gives him a chance to get back on track. PIT has been getting thrashed by WRs all year, and Kirk has finally passed Ridley in ADP, making Ridley even lower-owned than normal after several weeks of hurting drafters.
    • Tee Higgins @ SF: SF has allowed some strong WR performances, and Chase is going at the top of drafts while Higgins is going undrafted. He’s further removed from his rib injury, fresh off a bye week, and carries multi-TD upside in this offense.

    TE:

    Notable TEs missing from this slate: Sam LaPorta, Dalton Kincaid, Cole Kmet

    I can see the argument for Travis Kelce or CMC at 1.01 this week, and it likely depends on how you feel about the later TEs. Both positions have solid depth this week, with plenty of RB spots to like and with essentially all the elite TEs available here. CMC paired with Pacheco or Rice is probably the best way to leverage Kelce given that a lower ceiling for Kelce is likely to benefit those other two the most directly.

    Notes:

    • Dallas Goedert @ WAS: WAS really struggling with big-bodied targets, and PHI has really got him more involved in the passing game of late.
    • George Kittle vs CIN: No Deebo Samuel always leads to an uptick in usage for Kittle, and the matchup presents as easier for him than Brandon Aiyuk.
    • Dalton Schultz @ CAR: More involved in the offense of late; this game environment could play above expectation if CAR is able to score better coming out of Bye with a new play-caller.
    • Kyle Pitts, Jonnu Smith @ TEN: TEN defense just shipped out the best secondary player, and both of these TEs have been getting decent usage of late. Not a super attractive game environment, but the passing game is fairly concentrated.

    Underowned Combos:

    • Patrick Mahomes + Isiah Pacheco
    • Jalen Hurts + Devonta Smith + Terry McLaurin
    • Christian McCaffrey + George Kittle + Tee Higgins
    • CJ Stroud + Tank Dell/Dalton Schultz + (Adam Thielen)
    • Dak Prescott + Tony Pollard + (Cooper Kupp/Puka Nacua)
    • Kenny Pickett + George Pickens + Calvin Ridley/Travis Etienne
    • Derek Carr + Alvin Kamara + (Jonathan Taylor)
    • Jordan Love + Christian Watson + Jordan Addison

    Notable Stats

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

    1st place performance:

    • 30 of the 43 teams had at least one flex player score 30+ half-PPR fantasy points
    • 19 of the 43 teams had all flex players score at least 20+ half-PPR fantasy points
    • 39 of the 43 teams had all flex players score at least 15+ half-PPR fantasy points

    Stacking and Correlation:

    • 23 of 43 had a QB paired with just one teammate
      • WR (17), TE (4), RB (2)
    • 7 of 43 had a QB stacked with two teammates
      • WR-RB (4), WR-WR (2), WR-TE (1)
    • 5 of those 30 QB stacks had a runback (Opposing player)
    • 42 of 43 had at least one game correlation
    • 13 of 43 had two different game correlations

    FLEX usage:

    • 146 of 215 top-5 rosters have had two RBs, meaning they chose RB at FLEX over WR and TE.
    • 68 of the other top 5 rosters all used WR at FLEX, meaning last week’s fifth place finish with Kelce + Andrews was the first instance of double-TE to ever finish top-5.

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