Larejo is a mid-stakes tournament mastermind who specializes in outmaneuvering 150-max players with a small number of entries
Have you ever seen a dog running in circles just chasing its tail over and over again? It’s funny to watch because we know the dog is not going to get to its tail. We know what the dog doesn’t know at this moment: the tail is connected to the dog’s body. Playing solely GPPs in DFS can feel a lot like being a dog chasing after something we may never get. But we really, really should try hard not to be the dog.
Most of us lose a lot in DFS. I personally lose many more weeks than I win. And yet, while I try to be “willing to lose,” losing still stinks. And of course, after a losing week, when we spend any time reflecting on the slate, it’s so simple and provocative to say in hindsight things like, “never playing that guy again” or “this player has no ceiling” or “how did I not play the player who broke the slate?!” These are normal reactions. But they skew the heck out of our thinking on the next slate.
I don’t really consider myself a content producer in this industry, despite producing this article weekly on OWS. But as a person who makes predictions about the NFL, there is no more frustrating feeling than being a week early or a week late on a player. Sometimes the data is there, we see signs and matchups pointing in our direction, and we’re able to identify the role that may burst, and then sometimes in a one-game sample, it just takes another game to come to fruition. And what I’ve learned is simply this: stick to your plans and have patience.
Think about where you’ve lost already in DFS this season. And go back to those wells. If your thing is always attacking the Lions, then get after it again this week with the New York Giants. If your thing is always one Viking, keep it coming. If you’ve played Justin Fields the previous two weeks, don’t stop now. Do you always isolate pass-catching RBs and never play a RB or TE in the flex? Then keep on, keeping on. My guidance to you this week is to stay the course. This season has been quite the chalk-heavy ride, with a lot of the best players with high ownership crushing every slate. If you haven’t benefited from this well yet this season, I wouldn’t start now. Because just when you change sides, the pendulum will swing back in the other direction.
Don’t chase your tail! Continue to sharpen your edge and stay there. Wait for your variance to strike, and it will always strike when you least expect it to. Let’s dig into a few scenarios where we can welcome the variance this week . . .
You know what people hate to do? Leave all of their running backs out of the early window of games. Last season, I likened playing more players in the late games vs. the early game to being out in the DFS GPP streets either hunting or being hunted. I, for one, will always prefer to be hunting. That means, at times, saving most of your players to wait until the late games to kick off. And this week, with only three of 11 games kicking off late (LV/DEN, CIN/PIT, DAL/MIN), outside of Cowboys and Vikings game stacks, it should be unlikely that many rosters will be out there hunting during the late window. I don’t love the idea of ignoring a complete wave of games, though I understand why it’s contrarian, so I’m planning to meet this strategy halfway this week. I’ll be playing three running backs on most of my rosters, with all the backs playing in one of these three games.
As we look at these three games, we have four viable running backs on this slate. Five if you count whichever cheap RB gets the Denver carries. But the four I am talking about are: Josh Jacobs ($7,500), Joe Mixon ($7,400), Tony Pollard ($6,500), and Dalvin Cook ($8,000). Jacobs should be the focal point of a Raiders offense that continues to feed him (21 carries, eight targets last week). Mixon’s ownership will likely be diminished despite his 58-point DK game last time out because A) people don’t generally want to be points-chasey and B) the over/under is modest (41) in a game this week at Pittsburgh. Pollard has been dominant the last few weeks and is still underpriced considering his ceiling, even if Zeke Elliott returns. We have ample data on Pollard being able to hit a ceiling with limited touches, or we can play the Zeke decoy card and hope Tony still gets most of the work. Finally, Dalvin has topped 26 DK points in three of his last six games and comes into the game of the slate, against a Dallas defense that Green Bay just showed the league how to beat (by running the ball and keeping the game close). I’ll be doing my best to play RB in the flex this week, and utilizing three of these four in each lineup.