Thursday, Sep 5th
Monday, Sep 9th

Willing To Lose 14.23

Larejo is a mid-stakes tournament mastermind who specializes in outmaneuvering 150-max players with a small number of entries

“Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful.”

This legendary quote from the Oracle of Omaha (Warren Buffett) is as applicable in investing as it is in just about any facet of life. Without getting too deep into its meaning, the simple way to understand this statement is to stop following the crowd. It’s typical when things are going well that the thing will seem invincible (can’t lose, lock it in, etc.). And it’s typical when things are going poorly, that the thing will seem out of the range of possibilities (unlikely, don’t bet on it, etc.) It’s one thing to read Buffett’s quote and agree with it, and see how it makes sense. It’s another level to actually practice it. It’s hard to go against a crowd or any conventional wisdom. It feels like swimming against the current, and none of us want to invite more challenges into our lives. Nor do we want to put ourselves on an island to be exploited if we take a differing viewpoint. It’s risky, and we’re all risk-averse by nature. But in reality, it’s fun to be different and to think and act differently. We’re all unique, after all, and for that reason, we should all strive to be memorable in everything we do. Who cares what the right way is to do something? Challenge yourself to ignore conformity, and do things your way.

In our DFS world, the crowd is our competition. We have sharp ownership projections, sharp minds to project groupthink, and sharp angles we create to land on leverage plays. What’s awesome about this, as we’ve stated many times before, is that we have so much information now that we know what the deal is with certain players and what others are thinking about them. Conformity (chalk) forms no matter how big or small a slate is, and this sets us up with opportunities to either go with the crowd or against it. Sometimes it all makes sense, sometimes it doesn’t, but as long as we’re not getting swayed by the greedy or fearful ways of the crowd, our lineups are built for first place.

Cooper Kupp or Austin Ekeler

Among my lineups this week, I’m planning to include one or both of these players in all of them. In keeping with this week’s theme, it’s safe to say the public is fearful of both Kupp and Ekeler at the moment. Kupp has most thinking he’s being hampered by a lingering injury and may be over the hill (articles like this are being written about him), while Ekeler is getting trashed on social media by everyone, and his head coach has gone public saying they’ll look at giving other running backs some work. For these two, if this were two months ago, we’d be sprinting to play them at their current DK prices. But this week, it just feels wrong to play an aging wide receiver and a running back who ranks in the bottom ten of all running backs in explosive carry percentage.

But with each of Kupp and Ekeler, there are also reasons to believe. I referenced their DK prices above (Kupp is $7,400, Ekeler $7,600) but both are at season-low prices. You know I am a sucker for that (to be fair, Warren Buffett would like this too). Taking Kupp for a second, he draws a very difficult matchup this week with the Ravens (first in yards allowed per pass/second in pass defense DVOA). While they have mostly avoided the game-breaking scores to WRs, Baltimore’s defensive strategy allows for the short-yardage throws. This allows slot and underneath receivers to rack up receptions quickly. The four best performances from wide receivers this season against the Ravens came from Keenan Allen (14/106/0), Amon-Ra St. Brown (13/102/0), George Pickens (6/130/1), and Tee Higgins (8/89/2). This version of Kupp mostly resembles Keenan and ARSB, but the point here is the Ravens will cede work to wideouts, likely will deliver a game script that forces the opposition to pass (Rams are seven-point ‘dogs), and if the weather is poor in Baltimore, Stafford may be looking for some trusted hands in Kupp early and often. Additionally, both Kyren Williams and Puka Nacua (even though he’s banged up) should draw more ownership than Kupp. It is the perfect week to play this man.

Back to Ekeler, don’t go searching for advanced statistics to tell you why you should play him, they don’t exist. The only reasons to lean into Austin this week are the relative condensity of the Chargers offense (especially if Palmer doesn’t return), and his matchup with the Denver Broncos. The LA Chargers offense has not been running well lately. But when it does, it usually runs on Keenan and Austin (did I just quote a TV commercial slogan? Feels like I did.) Despite HC Brandon Staley’s comments this week, installed as home favorites, Ekeler may actually be in a very favorable position this week. Denver’s run defense ranks 31st overall and is 32nd in yards allowed per carry. That helps offset Ekeler’s anemic YPC (3.5) this season. He is also aided by the fact that the Broncos rank fifth in receptions given up to running backs. Others are fearful here with his coach’s comments but if the Chargers win will it be because of Josh Kelley, or would we want to bank on Ekeler being the engine of the offense (alongside Keenan, likely).

Zack Moss + Joe Mixon

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