Thursday, Sep 5th
Monday, Sep 9th

The Scroll Week 9



    The DFS Slate

    (In One Central Space)

    Meet The Team


    Happy Thursday!

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

    In This Week’s Angles Email:

    1. A couple critical announcements

    2. Week 9 Slate

    Critical Announcement 1a:

    The Good News: we’re up an astounding 35+ units in our Props Insider packages.

    The Bad News: success leads to growth, and too much growth can be a bad thing for subscribers — with unwanted attention from sportsbooks following.

    With that in mind, we have decided to A) combine our NFL and NBA props packages for the 2023/2024 seasons, and to B) limit the number of subscribers we’ll be accepting.

    If you want to lock in your spot for the 2023/2024 season early, you can grab a special discounted price here.

    Critical Announcement 1b:

    In order to put a bit of a check on 2022 growth, we’re going to be bumping up the (apparently WAY too-low) price on 2022/2023 NBA Props Insider, from $299 to $499.

    We wanted to give the OWS Fam a few days to still pick up Props Insider at the original, lower price, so we’ll be putting this price bump into effect on Tuesday, 11/8. If you’ve been on the fence about NBA Props Insider (pro tip: we’re approaching $3k in profit, through the first two weeks of the season!), this is a great time to jump in.

    The Lay Of The Land ::

    Week: 9

    Total Main Slate Games: 10

    Slate Overview:

    Every week lately, the Binks channel on OWS Discord has seen a steady flow of OWS users posting big finishes, in spite of pretty much NONE of these weeks having “a totally clear edge” available on them. The edge, instead, has been that each week lately has been uniquely different from the weeks around them, allowing “nimble” DFS players to find small ways each week to maximize EV, and creating a situation in which a community of “nimble” DFS players (i.e., the OWS Fam) is always producing members who are hanging out near the tops of the leaderboards. And here we are again — Week 9 — with another uniquely different slate.

    The “story of the slate” last week was that you probably needed to A) nail the best options from the large pool of sharp running back plays, and to B) nail the potential “one game” that could significantly outscore all the others.

    The “story of the slate” this week will take more complete shape as we approach the weekend, but we can already start identifying a few elements, at this point in the week, that will create unique aspects for us to play around with.

    Same as last week, we are missing both Mark Andrews and Travis Kelce (Zach Ertz is the highest-priced tight end on both DraftKings and FanDuel, for goodness sake, with nine total targets across his last two games), and same as last week, we are missing many of the quarterbacks who are typically battling for our attention at the top of the price range, with Jalen Hurts playing on Thursday night, Patrick Mahomes playing on Sunday night, Lamar Jackson playing on Monday night, and Russell Wilson on bye (*jokes*).

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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


    There are four games with a total between 48.0 and 49.5 points on this slate with no game over 50.0 and six games with a game total between 40.0 and 46.0 points. Breaking that down further, there are three games with a game total between 43.5 points and 47.0 points, which is typically the range that carries a wider range of potential outcomes. Furthermore, the state of the quarterback position is basically “Josh Allen and everyone else,” while the state of the tight end position is “who the hell knows?” Finally, the field seems to be most certain at the running back position, which should tell us most of what we need to know about the slate itself, particularly considering the macro shift in focus amongst fantasy players away from running backs and towards pass-catchers this season. That should provide us with ways to generate smart leverage by identifying underowned spots with upside, without introducing suboptimal plays. Let’s dive in!


    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.


    Neither restrictive nor expansive chalk. One of the biggest things we look for at running back is changing roles or expanding roles. Etienne started the season seeing no more than 53% of the offensive snaps over the first six weeks. With the James Robinson trade, Etienne has seen snap counts of 80% and 79% over the previous two weeks, handling running back opportunity counts of 19 and 27 in those two games. All he’s done with the increased workload is break 100 yards and score a touchdown each week. The on-paper matchup is far from ideal, yielding a below-average 4.27 net-adjusted line yards metric, but the Raiders have allowed 27.0 DK points per game to opposing backfields and Jaguars running backs have outperformed their offensive line, scurrying to a massive 5.46 yards per attempt as a team this season (ranks second in the league behind only Seattle).


    Neither restrictive nor expansive chalk. Stevenson looks great to the casual box score watcher, surging for 20.1 or more DK points in five of his previous six games. Damien Harris missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday with an illness before getting in a limited session on Friday, keeping the door open for him to be available on game day. That said, he now appears to be recovered from a hamstring injury that had him limited or out for three consecutive weeks, as he returned to a 41% snap rate share in Week 8. We should tentatively project Stevenson for the minimum 62% snap rate share he has seen following Ty Montgomery’s injury in Week 1, with a wider range of expected usage than others near his pricing. The Colts have allowed just 3.99 yards per running back carry this season and the game environment should be a gross, grind-it-out type game, denting the top end of Stevenson’s range of outcomes in the process.


    Restrictive chalk. Ekeler was limited in practice on Thursday with an abdomen injury before returning to a full participant Friday, meaning he shouldn’t have any limitations on Sunday. Mike Williams, Keenan Allen, and Donald Parham are out, while DeAndre Carter popped up on the injury report on Friday with an illness. The extent of Carter’s illness is not yet known, but we’ve seen the flu be particularly nasty this season (see Davante Adams in Week 8), introducing further uncertainty amongst the pass-catching corps in Los Angeles. That could theoretically leave Josh Palmer, Michael Bandy, and Gerald Everett as the top non-running back pass-catchers for the Chargers against the sieve-like Falcons defense. As in, there is a legitimate path for Ekeler to lead the slate in targets at all positions. I want exposure to that.


    Neither restrictive nor expansive chalk. Look, Joe Mixon is seeing elite usage but that’s about where the positives end. On the season, he has scored a full 25% fewer fantasy points than expected behind one of the league’s poorer offensive lines. What’s been most concerning to me is the film, as his lack of burst and confusing routes leave a lot to be desired. Speaking of his routes, he is running routes similar to how Derrick Henry is being used, with mostly bump-and-escape, run six to seven yards downfield, and present his numbers to the quarterback routes. We saw what that leads to against the Broncos last week, basically presenting opposing linebackers with a squared-up target with his back turned. NFL linebackers are not missing that tackle, I’m sorry, I don’t care who it is.


    Restrictive chalk. Jacobs can be considered in the same tier as Christian McCaffrey and Saquon Barkley, at least as far as team opportunity share goes. Furthermore, the Raiders offensive line is blocking to the league’s top adjusted line yards metric and Raiders running backs are averaging a massive 5.40 yards per running back carry. The return to health of Davante Adams should keep the Jaguars honest here after the Saints were able to simply stack the box to slow Jacobs down a week ago.


    Restrictive chalk. The Packers rank second in the league in adjusted line yards, while their running backs are combining to rush for 5.03 yards per running back carry. They now face a Lions defense largely unable to stop a sneeze. I tentatively expect A.J. Dillon to be more involved from a snap rate perspective this week after maxing out at a 49% snap rate over the previous month of play, but the per-touch upside for Jones should be considered amongst the top on the slate.


    Expansive chalk. Higbee has seen his snap rate slip over the previous two games after starting the season with no fewer than 93% of the offensive snaps over the first five games. Since then, Higbee has seen snap rates of 78% and 69%, once in a convincing victory over the Panthers and once in a lopsided loss to the 49ers. His playing time and usage appear to be a change in offensive design from Sean McVay, with Brycen Hopkins taking on a larger role as a blocker. The return of Van Jefferson has shifted the offense entirely away from 12-personnel. Basically, McVay appears to be changing the dynamics of the offense in an attempt to save the season, leaving more uncertainty than the field is giving credit for here.


    Expansive chalk. Evan Engram’s participation in the Jaguars offense has progressively increased as the season has moved on, reaching a peak at a 93% snap rate in Week 8. The man is going to be involved. The problem is that Christian Kirk, Zay Jones, Marvin Jones, and Evan Engram all hold similar underlying metrics, as far as team target market share, targets per route run rate, and air yards share. To think there is certainty here is a bit misguided, in my opinion. That said, Engram makes a lot of sense on a slate like this where the position is filled with uncertainty.

    Chalk Build::

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    Relative Value Breakdown

    Dwprix is a research expert at OWS, with focuses on NFL Edge Matchups and the Relative Value Breakdown

    Better Play on Draftkings or Fanduel?

    Week 9

    Pricing can change the value of a play between Draftkings and Fanduel. Recognizing what plays are better values on each site based on scoring rules and points per dollar can create a sizable edge when building rosters. Here are Week 9 players that are best utilized on Draftkings or Fanduel.

    Justin Herbert: FD $7.8k, 13.0% // DK $7.2k, 14.4% // Value on Fanduel

    Herbert’s price has dropped on Fanduel from $8.4k to start the season to $7.8k this week. He’s the third highest priced QB on Draftkings, but only the sixth on Fanduel. This week he gets the Falcons, who have given up the third most Fanduel points to QBs (fourth most on Draftkings). Herbert topped 20 Fanduel points in three of the first four games, but hasn’t since. His price drop reflects this but he’s due to bounce back.

    Joe Burrow:  FD $8.5k, 14.2% // DK $6.6k, 13.2% // Value on Draftkings

    Burrow is the second highest priced QB on Fanduel. He’s only the fifth highest priced QB on Draftkings, where the 300-yard passing bonus is in play every week for him. This week Burrow has the highest salary multiplier based on his price and his average production this season (3.7x), even higher than Josh Allen (3.5x). 

    Aaron Jones:  FD $7.8k, 13.0% // DK $7.4k, 14.8% // Value on Fanduel

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    JM’s Player Grid

    JMToWin is a high-stakes tournament champion (Thunderdome, Luxury Box, Game Changer, Wildcat) who is focusing this year on single-entry/three-entry max

    OWS Fam ::

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

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

    The Grid ::

    Bottom-Up Build

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

    Blue Chips

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


    :: 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


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

    Angles Pod

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    Bottom-Up Build

    Full breakdown (of what this is, and what the thinking is behind these players) can (and should) be found in the Angles Pod (above).

    Correlated Bottom-Up Build
    DK Salary Remaining :: $6.3K

    Trevor Lawrence
    Austin Ekeler
    Travis Etienne
    Davante Adams
    Van Jefferson
    Terrace Marshall
    Evan Engram
    Donald Parham

    Join The Bottom-Up Build Contest On DraftKings!


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

    150 Edge Points (good for two free DFS Education courses!) + ‘Discord Blue’ color in Discord!

    Join Here – Contest 1

    Join Here – Contest 2

    * With the BUB becoming more popular, we’ve set up two contests. ONLY ENTER ONE. The best score between the two contests will be credited with the win! *

    Blue Chips

    Austin Ekeler

    I could probably leave this space blank. You know Ekeler is a sharp play, and you know why. But Papy’s writeup on Ekeler in the NFL Edge perfectly sums up this play, so I’ll post the full writeup here:

    Austin Ekeler ($8,800) – Ekeler deserves his own subheading because he has been unlike any other player this season. The RB1 overall in total PPR points, despite having had a bye, and the vast leader in PPR points per game, he has been the RBs answer to Deebo Samuel, seeing WR-like target totals, including 12/16 in his past two games. The crazy part is he might have more upside. His season target totals have mostly come with Mike Williams healthy, which won’t be the case this week. It’s wild to think, but Ekeler’s role might still be expanding as well. He has played 61% of the snaps on the year, but he saw 77% of the snaps last week. If one of the “tweaks” the Chargers make coming out of their bye is using Ekeler as every down player, watch out. If you want to try and poke holes, you could say that his numbers are buoyed by an unsustainable eight touchdowns in his past four games, but this isn’t likely to be the game he slows down. Ekeler is the most expensive RB on the DK slate by $1,000, but he’s still underpriced. RB and WRs have posted “must have” stat lines against the Falcons all year, and Ekeler is a “Running Receiver.” I’ll almost assuredly have exposure to Ekeler on my tighter builds this week. 

    “Light Blue” Chips

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    Building Blocks

    New this year: these are unique player pairings that can be used as foundational building blocks for tournament rosters

    Davante Adams + Josh Jacobs
    Cost: $15.4K DK // $16.9k FD

    “The Raiders score around four touchdowns”

    Why It Works:

    While Jacobs is projected for high ownership, Adams currently projects to see only 5.8% ownership, and very few people who play Adams will be playing Jacobs on the same roster, creating a naturally low-owned pairing

    How It Works:

    In three games before last week (when Adams was playing through a bad flu, and the entire offense crumbled as a result), Jacobs + Adams, who are the clear focal points of this offense, had combined for DraftKings totals of 57.0, 63.7, and 60.0…and this week — against a middling Jacksonville defense — they cost $15.4k combined (meaning that a combined score of “roughly 60” would keep your roster on a 200-point pace). As explored in various places this week :: this building block works in large-field play, but is better-suited to small-field play (I’ll say 2k or fewer entries — though obviously, it’s a sliding scale), as there isn’t a ton of room for additional upside over what they’ve already posted (i.e., this block isn’t likely to be “the reason you win a tourney,” which puts a bit more pressure on your other pieces than you might want in large-field play). But in smaller-field play, in particular, “60 points in-pocket” has immense value, and “4x from 30% of our salary” has immense value. I’ll have some exposure to this block in large-field play, and I’ll be seriously considering it as a core starting point in small-field play.

    I’ll also note that Davante’s FD price is the equivalent of about $6.7k on DK, which is just absurd. All wideouts are underpriced on FD (Justin Jefferson and Cooper Kupp are the equivalent of $7.5k!), but given the touchdown-heavy nature of scoring on FD, the fact that Davante derives much of his upside from TDs, and the fact that Davante TDs are taking away from a more popular player in Jacobs, this is a nice fit as a one-off as well.

    Speaking of one-offs, I’ll also have plenty of one-off rosters of Davante and Jacobs in large-field play, alongside my handful of “building block” rosters.


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

    Taylor Heinicke + Terry McLaurin

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    If Building For Single-Entry // Three-Entry Max

    This is my narrowest pool, which means it’s the pool likeliest to change a bit as I move deeper into builds. If it changes throughout Saturday night, I’ll add an update in this space.

    If I were building for single-entry // three-entry Max, my tightened-up player pool would be:

    QB ::

    Tua || Fields || Herbert || Mariota (with Chargers) || Burrow || Lawrence || Heinicke (with McLaurin)

    RB ::

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    A Wrap ::

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


    Mike’s Player Grid

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

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

    The Core

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

    Running Back ::
    Austin Ekeler

    Ekeler is one of less than a handful of running backs with a truly elite role. His pass game usage is phenomenal, with 28 targets over the last two weeks, and Mike Williams and Keenan Allen will both miss this game, making Ekeler a near-lock for double-digit targets. The matchup is very good here and it would be surprising if Ekeler scored under 20 fantasy points, while having a very good shot at 30.

    Aaron Jones

    For fantasy purposes, targets are worth about 2x what a carry is worth. Using that knowledge, over the last two weeks Jones has “opportunity” totals of 30 and 28. The Packers desperately need a win, have clearly acknowledged Jones needs to be a focal point of their offense, are playing in the highest game total of the week, and are facing the worst defense in the NFL.

    Travis Etienne

    Etienne has a perfect skill set for a running back in fantasy football and has a great matchup against a defense that Alvin Kamara (who is very similar stylistically) just torched. Etienne is being treated as a bell cow and is underpriced for that role and matchup.

    Kenneth Walker

    Talent, volume, matchup, game environment. He checks all the boxes and we probably haven’t seen his best work yet. Walker is now being treated as a top-3 dynasty RB yet is priced this week as the RB11 on Draftkings.

    Josh Jacobs

    If we went “Men In Black” on the field and erased everything from last week when the Raiders completely fell apart, what would the perception of Josh Jacobs at $7,300 be? Three consecutive 30+ point games and elite usage. This is a non-prohibitive matchup and the Raiders are likely to get Jacobs back up to his 22-25 touch range he had prior to last week’s disaster.


    • Rhamondre Stevenson – He is a home favorite running back and Damien Harris missed the full week of practice. Stevenson has had “opportunity counts” of 30, 27, 29, and 29 in his last four games. Rhamondre looked Mac Jones in the eyes and told him “look at me, I’m the captain now” for this Patriots offense.
    • Antonio Gibson/Deon Jackson:: Gibson’s role and usage have improved recently and JD McKissic will miss this week, leaving Gibson for all of the passing down work. His price is still low and he is an explosive player that could easily play 65% of the snaps if the Vikings passing game goes off as I expect. Gibson is a “with MIN passing game” option for me. Jackson has smashed when given the chance this season, and with JT ruled out and Hines traded he should get all the run he can handle this week. The Patriots run defense has struggled and the Colts will almost certainly look to use Jackson heavily as a receiver again, giving him a safe floor and a very strong price considered ceiling, even as a road underdog with a low implied team total. Jackson is a “unique with Rhamondre” or “have to find salary to fit pricey game stack” option for me.
    • Joe Mixon – Mixon is a tough one for me this week. His price on Draftkings is lower than it has been all year and he is absolutely due for some touchdown regression at some point. However, this Bengals offense is playing on a short week and looked dreadful without Ja’Marr Chase on Monday night. Likewise, the Bengals have been trending so pass heavy of late that it’s hard to see a true ceiling from Mixon outside of the touchdowns all flowing through him. I can’t rule him out just yet, but in a fragile spot with a questionable ceiling at high ownership, it’s going to be hard for me to pull the trigger. I’ve laid out some pretty strong cases for all of the backs listed above, which makes it hard to justify Mixon.
    Tight End ::

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    Sonic’s MME Pool

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

    OWS FAM! 

    Tight DK pricing and RB chalk has created an ownership vacuum, sucking ownership away from some WRs that are capable of had-to-have-it scores. 

    Just a few:

    Gabe Davis (1.4%)

    Mike Evans (4.2%)

    Jaylen Waddle (4.0%)

    Davante Adams (5.5%)

    Allen Lazard (4.2%)

    Tyler Boyd (4.7%)

    I may create a rule of “at least one” of these guys. 





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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

    Whenever we get weeks where the chalk hits at a high rate, I think to myself, “damn, the ‘field’ is sharp.” What if this is our new reality in DFS? As we say all the time, there is a reason that chalk is chalk. Good matchups, good players, and all the information we can devour on Twitter telling us about expected performance. And this year, we’ve had more weeks than I can remember where not only are the higher-owned players hitting at a very high rate, but they are also coming in higher-owned than the projection models have them! It’s been wild, and of course detrimental to some DFS players who don’t tend to flock with the crowd.

    Playing Chalk

    Well, here’s what I’ve learned over the past few weeks: fading ALL of the chalk is just plain stupid. We get weeks with obvious value plays, we get weeks with running backs getting steamed left and right, and we have weeks with stud wide receivers going against decimated defenses, and in those weeks, like every week, we should be embracing logic but finding ways to do so through our own unique path. Think of it as researching a slate, reading content, and feeling comfortable with your process, but instead of flipping the lens close to 180 degrees, we just tilt the lens we are operating through 45 degrees or sometimes even less.

    We don’t want to be everywhere the chalk resides. But, with just little tilts here and there, we can let the research help us. Real examples of this can be playing a WR2 in a matchup where a secondary is missing top cornerbacks and the WR1 is expected to be highly owned (think Jaylen Waddle last week vs. Lions). Another method could be diving right into the highest projected Vegas total games and overstacking the field on them. The efficient lines drive the plays to the game but your unique build could win first place. What about a double stack of two running backs against a terrible rushing defense just because we know the team should have a high chance of finding success on the ground? And lastly, coupling a high-owned quarterback plus pass catcher stacks with lower-owned pass catchers on the same team or the opposing team. To sum this all up and how it really comes to life in DFS in the simplest way – find out where the chalk will be, and then just simply be you. 

    Josh Allen + Stefon Diggs + Isaiah McKenzie + Bills D

    This heading could have just as well read: A Sure Thing Played in a Unique Way Saving Salary with a Defense. The Buffalo Bills are 13-point favorites this week at the New York Jets. Their implied team total is over four touchdowns. For all intents and purposes, they have looked like the Super Bowl favorite (calm down, Eagles fans) and they happen to be catching the Jets at a time when it seems like regression will be hitting. The Jets looked lost and overmatched last week against a Patriots team that just wanted to beat them by three points. Without Breece Hall, stud O-lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker, and WRs Corey Davis and Elijah Moore (effectively), they just had nothing. That is not going to fly this week against the soaring Bills boasting the best offense and defense in the league.

    From an early glance at ownership projections, I was surprised to see Josh Allen ranking as the highest-owned QB. I don’t think he’ll end there as salary rules all in DFS, but even against a reputable defense by advanced metrics (8th in DVOA vs. run, 8th in DVOA vs. pass), this feels like a week where Allen can cruise to 30 fantasy points. The Bills think it’s nice to try to run the ball, and the reason why they had success last week was due to Green Bay’s porous abilities in that area (GB is 31st DVOA against the run), so in this matchup, it’s unlikely they reproduce that success on the ground. That brings the production back to Allen, and despite the prices on him and Stefon Diggs, it’s likeliest these two find success yet again here this week.

    And while you didn’t come to this article for me to tell you to play the top-owned QB with his alpha receiver, the way I want to get unique is to add in the cheap salaries of Isaiah McKenzie ($4,900) and the Bills defense ($4,300). McKenzie hasn’t wowed us lately with his box scores, and we know he did sustain a concussion a few weeks back, but he’s playing over half the snaps in a game where the Bills should try to get him going in creative ways. I say that because when teams are this good, they want to keep everyone happy and start to share the wealth. We’ve seen Gabe Davis blow up, Diggs is almost every week now, and McKenzie is the next guy they need to start getting going in the slot.

    The added bonus in playing McKenzie with Diggs and Allen, along with the Bills defense, is this is just a Milly Maker-type play (that I’ve been beating the drum on for two years – sup Tony Pollard, Jamal Agnew), with the double bonus of McKenzie taking a kickoff return to the house. Think of the Bills defense here as a salary saver and your perspective changes dramatically. Instead of paying down at defense, we pay up but do so in the manner of exposing us to this implied total, while also gaining an extremely low-percentage play of a double leverage score, and do this all against a decimated offense trotting out possibly the worst QB in the league.

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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 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 ::
    Xandamere >>

    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.

    Mike >>

    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.

    JM >>

    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.

    Hilow >>

    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 ::

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    Sunday Crunch

    Sunday Crunch is an Inner Circle feature that can be found late on Saturday nights and non-IC members can receive a chunk of the content each week. Mike also posts updated thoughts to Discord on Sunday mornings for Inner Circle members.

    You Like That?!?!?::

    This is the first game for Kirk Cousins in Washington since he was their starting quarterback in 2017. He is facing a “pass funnel” defense that ranks 2nd in the NFL in run defense DVOA and 28th in pass defense DVOA by Football Outsiders. His top weapon, Justin Jefferson, has been dynamite this season but hasn’t caught a touchdown since week 1 – something that is sure to correct itself soon. Cousins also added a new weapon this week in TJ Hockenson, who is unlikely to have a big game himself but his presence should only improve the outlook for Cousins and the passing game as a whole. Cousins is moderately priced, has a clear stacking partner, a great matchup, and will be sub-3% owned. This is a great stack (and perhaps also include KJ Osborn and Terry McLaurin or Antonio Gibson) with upside and uniqueness, that allows you to play any of the popular RBs on the slate without worry.

    To The Moon(ey)::

    Darnell Mooney has had a 29% target share over the last five weeks. This week, the Bears face a Dolphins offense that is primed to run wild on the skeleton defense the Bears are trotting out after the trade deadline. The Bears just added Chase Claypool as another weapon whose presence should draw some attention from defenses away from Mooney but who is unlikely to have a huge role in his first week with the team. If this game turns into a track meet, you can get WR1 usage in a high scoring game facing the 29th-ranked pass defense in the league, all for $4,700 on Draftkings and at likely sub-10% ownership.

    Getting Defensive::

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

    There will be no Afternoon Only article this week due to the small 2-game afternoon slate. My expertise and successes have been primarily in 3 to 6 game slates. 2 game slates are closer to a Showdown feel than the usual short slate stuff and I wouldn’t feel right writing an article where I’m basically guessing on a lot of things. I have included a couple of extra afternoon-only specific thoughts in the Edge DFS Interpretations.

    Underdog Under Owned

    Week 9

    The goal of this article is to present you with information and strategy about a different-style DFS tournament that is currently filled with an inexperienced field of entrants. Due to Underdog’s main customer base of Best Ball players, there are many people approaching this tournament in a suboptimal way. So let’s take advantage!

    New to Underdog? Use this link to receive up to $100 matched on your first deposit

    Brief Review of Previous Data

    This section will just be to track some top-five lineup trends that may help you in constructing your roster.

    • In 18/26 weeks, there have been at least four QB-teammate stacks in the top-five rosters (13 of 18 were QB-WR)
    • 2022 QBs + teammate in top-five: Joe Burrow (10/10) // Lamar Jackson (9/10) // Josh Allen (5/9) // Patrick Mahomes (5/5) // Jalen Hurts (4/4) // Tua Tagovailoa (2/2) // Jared Goff (1/1)
    • Every 2022 QB to make a top-five roster has scored four-plus touchdowns, except for Allen in Week 4 (four teams, two touchdowns) and Tua in Week 8 (one team, three touchdowns)
    • Of the 130 top-five rosters, 94 have had two RBs (72.3%)
      • This means a 1-2-2-1 roster construction
    • Amount of weeks (of 26) these TEs have appeared in the top-five in at least one lineup (though usually more): Andrews (11) // Kelce (10) // Hockenson (five) // Kittle (five)
    Looking at Week 9

    Even with ADP shifting over the course of the week, we can get a pretty solid idea of who is going where early in the week, and what players are being left off the board that might provide overlooked winning upside.


    Notable QBs missing from this slate: Jalen Hurts, Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, Dak Prescott, Russell Wilson

    • There is a big gap between Josh Allen and the rest of the QBs this week. 

    QBs with upside outside the top-six drafted:

    • Trevor Lawrence: Lawrence has already scored 25 fantasy points twice this year, and is now facing a defense giving up the most fantasy points per game to opposing QBs. He can be paired with Kirk, but probably makes the most sense with either Etienne or Engram (both RB & TE missing all the big dogs this week).
    • Justin Fields: Fields has 45+ rush yards in six straight, with 230 in the last three games alone. Lamar & Josh Allen combined for 166 yards and a touchdown on the ground vs Miami in Weeks 2 and 3. He’s posted fantasy point totals of 17, 19, 24, and 26 points over the last month, and now faces a defense ranked 25th in overall DVOA (29th against the pass). Fields has been best unstacked, but can be played opposite the Miami skill players, which is a bet on him to outscore Tagovailoa (due to his rushing prowess).
    • Aaron Rodgers: Rodgers has scored between 19-31 fantasy points in five full games vs. Detroit with Matt LaFleur as head coach, and now gets a 2022 Lions defense that has already allowed 25+ fantasy points to Jalen Hurts, Carson Wentz, Geno Smith and Tua Tagovailoa this season. Allen Lazard has not shown huge fantasy upside in his career and is dealing with an injury, so Rodgers is best stacked with Aaron Jones or Robert Tonyan (which works out nicely considering the state of the RB & TE positions this week).

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