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 9 Topics
1. Somethings Fishy
2. Range of Outcomes
3. Defining “Chalk”
4. Floating Plays, Week 9
5. “That was so obvious, how did I not see it?”
1. Somethings Fishy
The Question ::
Usually these questions are focused on broader topics, but this week I want to discuss a specific team – the Miami Dolphins.
The Dolphins have had a weird season with a new coach and some new players, the Tua concussion situations, and some wild games. The Dolphins have played only four games this season where Tua started and played the entire game (you could argue five if you want to count the Bills game, but he pretty clearly got a brain injury in the 1st half and was playing a top-3 defense in the league in ridiculously hot weather). In those four games, the Dolphins are 4-0 and two of those games were “meh” games with a 20-7 win over the Patriots and a 16-10 win over the Steelers. The other two games absolutely blew the slate away in shootouts with the Ravens and Lions.
The “core” of the Dolphins offense this year has been Tua, Tyreek Hill, and Jaylen Waddle. The price tags of all of them have risen significantly throughout the year and the trio now costs $22.6k on Draftkings. However, even at that price tag they need 90.4 DK points to be on a 4x pace and they have reached totals of 101 and 132 DK points in two of the four full, healthy games they’ve played together. This week, they play a Bears defense that ranks near the bottom of the league, just gave up 49 points to the Cowboys, and has traded away two of their best defenders in the last two weeks.
Given what this group has done to the slate in two of their four weeks together, I think how you approach them this week is a key decision point. This question is about the Dolphins for this week and in general::
- Do their ceilings and matchup outweigh any potential ownership worries this week?
- Were those crazy spike weeks just a function of “perfect storms” coming together? Or with their explosiveness and concentrated target share is this something that you think we will see regularly from them going forward and right now they could actually be, dare I say it, underpriced?
The Answers ::
I don’t think the Dolphins are a team that you “must” account for this week. The game has a middling total (and the Dolphins team total is 25 – fine, but not elite), the Bears play slow and thus could reduce play volume if they’re able to sustain drives, the Bears D (though it has traded away some assets) has only allowed 30+ points once on the season. The thing working in the Dolphins favor is the explosiveness of their weapons (i.e. big ceilings are possible here) and the amazing concentration of target volume that Hill and Waddle possess.
I think the Dolphins are fine. I like Hill (especially), I like Waddle, and I could totally see stacking this game as a viable path. I’m going to aim to be overweight on Hill, Waddle, and Tua in my builds this week, but I don’t see this as a “at least 1 Dolphin on every roster” kind of spot.
I agree with X that you don’t have to have a “one Dolphin on every roster” rule this week, but I do think that this game is one you have to consciously consider when building your rosters. The fact of the matter is that their concentration, explosiveness, and matchup are such that it can absolutely break you if you don’t play it. There are very few of those situations that we can say that confidently about prior to games kicking off in a given week. I am surprised to see the low ownership projections on Tua and Waddle specifically, but I guess that’s just pricing psychology doing its thing as they are more expensive than they used to be so the field thinks its a bad deal. I do think those ownership numbers end up somewhat higher than expected, however.
As for the season outlook, I think most people are not fully appreciating what is happening here. The speed of the players and scheme fit is incredible. The Dolphins are pushing the ball downfield and getting these guys in space. Their ability to make plays on long throws, take short throws and rack up yards after the catch, and rack up volume is truly unique.
From Mike: “I do think that this game is one you have to consciously consider when building your rosters. The fact of the matter is that their concentration, explosiveness, and matchup are such that it can absolutely break you if you don’t play it.”
This is how I see this game — and I also think that Xandamere’s answer is instructive for us here. X sees the entire world exactly the way a strong DFS player should see DFS. What I mean by that is: there is a very natural “way of seeing things” that lines up naturally with DFS, and while there are lots of ways to “build oneself into a strong DFS player,” having that natural view of the world is obviously the easiest way to get there. Xandamere — like most of the sharpest DFS players — will trust the signals that can be counted on to point us in the right direction over time, and those signals this week tell us that this is not a game environment to treat differently than any other. At the same time, we can ask ourselves if the signals are “somewhat wrong” here.
Said differently: (IMO) Xandamere is very right, and so is Mike; and while their thoughts overlap plenty here, they also diverge in a few places where they are both also right.
The signals tell us that we don’t have to treat this game any differently than others; but given the concentrated nature of the Dolphins’ offense and the fact that they have an offense designed to score from anywhere on the field — with players who fit perfectly into what they’re trying to do — this is also an offense we want to A) play in MME every single week, regardless of matchup or expected game environment, and B) keep in mind each week on tighter builds.
I’m currently expecting to get my feet wet with an optimizer for the first time this week (building 150 large-field rosters!), and my current expectation is to have somewhere around 50 of these rosters with Fields at QB. A lot of these will have Waddle and/or Hill bring-backs. This is effectively a way of saying, “I believe Fields is underpriced and has more upside than people realize, and if Fields is hitting, it’s likely in a game environment in which Hill and/or Waddle are also hitting — which also probably means Tua is hitting, but given the price gap between Fields and Tua, I believe I can get a similar (or better) score from Fields if this game takes off, at a lower salary.” (I’ll also, of course, be strongly considering this setup on my tighter builds, including my Main.)
Outside those 50ish builds, I’ll have a bit of Hill and Waddle, but almost all of my exposure will be confined to those Fields builds. Basically, I’ll be playing this as :: “I think this game is very interesting, given how I feel about Fields and the Bears offense right now, and given the upside this Dolphins offense can have in unexpected spots; but I’ll also expect that if this game doesn’t take off, no high-priced individual pieces will be posting “had to have it” scores.
I’m actually going to disagree with my bros here a bit. Written as succinctly as possible – the 2022 Dolphins, to me, are equivalent to the 2021 Vikings. “Always one Viking” is now “always one Dolphin.”
Tyreek Hill 2022 – 33.6% target market share and 36.7% targets per route run, with a 41.1% team air yards share.
Jaylen Waddle 2022 – 22.6% target market share and 25.1% targets per route run, with a 26.2% team air yards share.
Justin Jefferson 2021 – 29.9% target market share and 28.5% targets per route run, with a 43.9% team air yards share (led the league).
Adam Thielen 2021 – 21.0% target market share and 22.8% targets per route run, with a 26.5% team air yards share.
Hill and Waddle are outpacing last year’s Vikings duo through almost half of the season. Hill has seen 12 or more targets in every Tua full game, amassing 38 receptions for 544 (lolz) yards in those games, or 136 yards per game. Waddle has seen 38 targets in those four games, putting up 27 receptions and five touchdowns. This is just such a concentrated offense, and they are leaning so far into the pass with Mike McDaniel and Tua in at quarterback, that I want to be ahead of the field with how I view (and handle) this offense for the rest of the season.
2. Range of Outcomes
The Question ::
This week there are four games with a total of at least 48 points, but none have a total over 50 points::
- Packers @ Lions – 49.5
- Chargers @ Falcons – 49.5
- Seahawks @ Cardinals – 49.5
- Raiders @ Jaguars – 48
The rest of the games on the slate have totals of 45 or less and/or are likely to be very one-sided. Given what we know about game environments and how finding spots that separate from the field is so important and can help you get several spots on your roster right at once, it is likely that one of these four games could be the game that litters the top of leaderboards. While these games all have similar over/unders, that simply means that Vegas views it as “50/50” bets that the game ends up on either side of those numbers. However, the range of outcomes across these games is likely very different.
- Which of these games do you think has the widest range of outcomes? (Could spike for 60+ points but could also be a 20-16 dud)
- Also, which of these games do you think has the most narrow range of outcomes? (unlikely to “fail” completely, but unlikely to exceed the total by 10+ points)
The Answers ::
Thanks for hanging out with us in The Oracle this week
We’ll see you at the top of the leaderboards this weekend!