WEEK 9 ROSTER BREAKDOWN
Reminder: I always write my initial diagnosis of my roster right before games kick off, in order to capture my honest thoughts on the build. Here are those thoughts.
Second reminder: this is my DraftKings roster, as that’s where the majority of my play goes; but the breakdown of thought process is beneficial for all sites and styles of play.
Week 9 was a strange week for me, for a pair of reasons.
Firstly: as most of you could likely assume — I’m a pretty “low-emotion” person (if emotions are a roller coaster for some, they’re more like a pleasant stretch of highway for me, with only small rises and dips; I never get too excited about “exciting things,” which can be a bit boring, but the tradeoff is that I don’t get too down when things in life swing the other way); and generally speaking, I’m fairly optimistic and positive as well. But on Monday evening at the start of Week 9 — absolutely out of nowhere — I got hit with a strange wave of depression. It was entirely illogical, and it had nothing to do with anything in particular; it just sort of showed up, and I just had to fight through it.
Many of you probably noticed that the NFL Edge was completed late in Week 9 (end of Thursday, rather than start of Thursday). That was the reason why. Each game felt like something of an insurmountable task until I got started — which made the whole process take about a day longer than normal.
Obviously, none of that is comfortable to talk about or write about or share, but I think there is value to putting that out there.
When I sat down to read the Edge on Friday, I was concerned that I would feel it was a sub-par offering — but I was pleasantly surprised (and relieved) to read it and feel like it was one of the best NFL Edges we had put together yet. I’ve been really proud of the ways in which the NFL Edge has been developing and growing lately, and this became especially noteworthy when I started looking back on Week 8, at the end of Week 9.
When I recorded my roster breakdown after Week 8, I was thinking too much about the fact that my main team performed poorly, and that Jameis performed poorly; and I failed to truly appreciate the fact that in addition to my main team (where about 70% of my money was), I had 46 teams in play in large-field tourneys (Milly Maker, etc.). All I did on those teams was build off the Player Grid, with upside in mind. And incredibly, five of those 46 teams (11%) finished in the top half of the top 1% of large-field tourneys (with the Jameis dud on four of those teams). Once I took a moment to think about it, that stood out to me as truly remarkable.
Which brings us to the other thing that was strange for me about Week 9: I’m becoming better and better at “trusting myself” and realizing that the research really is as good as it is; and in Week 9 — if I took a stand and decided to not “force” things, but to instead just trust what the research showed — there were very few players I felt truly certain about. It was just that sort of week.
And so, in Week 9 I did something different. I took some pressure off myself by deciding that I was only going to roll with “one team” if I managed to narrow things down more than expected during the second half of the week.
As it turned out, I ended up with nine teams in the $333 Wildcat (which is not unusual for me), with three of those teams going into the $777 Checkdown. I also mixed and matched some multi-entry play — messing around with various Upside elements from the Player Grid. And I trusted that if we played out this slate a hundred times, this would provide my best shot at profit on this slate.
And so, here is the closest thing I had to a “Main Team,” as these were the main players I built most heavily around in higher-dollar contests:
26.02 – Ryan Fitzpatrick (5 of my 9 Wildcat teams; 2 of my 3 Checkdown teams)
33.10 – Kareem Hunt (100% of my Wildcat/Checkdown teams)
6.30 – Adrian Peterson (4 of my 9 Wildcat teams; 100% of my Checkdown teams)
19.90 – Cooper Kupp (100% of my Wildcat/Checkdown teams)
5.80 – D.J. Moore (100% of my Wildcat/Checkdown teams)
10.70 – Emmanuel Sanders (3 of my 9 Wildcat teams; 2 of my 3 Checkdown teams)
21.30 – O.J. Howard (100% of my Wildcat/Checkdown teams)
33.60 // 3.30 – In this spot, I had a fairly even split of Ingram and Kamara
5.00 – Broncos (4 of my 9 Wildcat teams; 2 of my 3 Checkdown teams)
Other “main players” I mixed in:
21.18 – Cam Newton
19.90 – Todd Gurley
10.40 – Phillip Lindsay
2.30 – Tarik Cohen
26.40 – Brandin Cooks
11.40 – Sammy Watkins
10.30 – Tre’Quan Smith
28.90 – Travis Kelce
6.00 – Chiefs
8.00 – Jets
Typically, this is where I would detail how I narrowed things down to the final Main Build — but this week, anyone who spent time on the site in Week 9 can see how these players ended up on my builds.
I typically wrap up my roster recap right before kickoff — but by that point in Week 9, I hadn’t slept for about a day, so I took a short nap and wrote this up at halftime of the early games. It’s been a good start for my core, with game flow turning against Adrian Peterson (a known risk, of course), but with most of the other items looking solid.
Time to settle in and see how the rest of this day shakes out.
This sets up as a great week for Main Slate play, with 11 games to choose from, and with plenty of top offenses available on the slate — a rarity for this time of year, when bye weeks and flex scheduling can eat into the available options. With the offenses of the Cowboys, Giants, and 49ers taking up three of the four slots in the primetime games, and with the Broncos and Ravens among the teams on bye, we have a slate that gives us the Chiefs, the Patriots, the Bucs, the Falcons, the Saints, the Bengals, the Chargers, the Packers, and the Rams. Unsurprisingly, only two of those nine teams have been installed with early-week Vegas-implied team totals below 27.0 — and those teams are the Patriots (26.5 at the Titans) and the Bengals (24.5 at home against the Saints).
Furthermore, only two of these offenses (the Saints and Bengals) are playing each other, which creates seven spots in which opponents will likely be forced to open things up on the offensive end in response to the high-scoring offense they are facing — which is how we end up with a slate on which 10 of 11 games carry an Over/Under of 45.0 or higher, with five of those games sitting at 50+.
This brings two things immediately to mind, as we begin to dive in:
1) Recognize that points will be scored in these games on Sunday afternoon, and you will need to have some upside on your roster in order to outpace the field.
2) As with any week, ownership is likely to congregate in a handful of places. On a week like this — with plenty of good spots for offense on the slate — you will likely be able to land on a few plays that carry plenty of upside and low ownership by simply ignoring ownership projections and using the research to think for yourself. As always, I encourage you to narrow down your own favorite plays before ever looking at ownership projections. This is the type of week in which this can be especially valuable, as you will likely find on Saturday afternoon — when you finally glance at projections — that you are on a few plays that it appears the bulk of the field will be overlooking. Think for yourself first, and watch as the other elements fall into place.
With that :: let’s get started!