Thursday, Sep 5th
Monday, Sep 9th

Willing To Lose 7.23

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

Have you ever won a bet you never made? Me too. I’m undefeated. Why does this happen so often? It’s because we have the intelligence to make snap judgments based on instincts, and frankly, without money on the line, we simply don’t care as much about the outcome. There’s an old saying (mostly applicable to relationships) that the “person who cares the least, wins the most,” but I’ve found this to be true in many other aspects of life. When you lower your expectations and loosen the pressure you put on yourself (or feel from others) to be perfect, things tend to get easier.

Think about it. When you really want something, what happens to you? This object that occupies your mind causes you to overthink the situation. You likely lose some sleep over it as you analyze the decision or event from every angle and it ultimately creates a sort of paralysis in your mind, that this thing you want is the most important thing ever. But, when we’re able to play it down in our minds and treat it just as any other event, then we actually remain calm. We keep our minds clear of clutter. We keep our rationality, maintain decisiveness, and boost our performance. These are important traits to have on hand at all times. And they are all a product of caring less!

It’s easy to get pulled into the pressure and the needs of what we want and get away from this core concept (in my words) of staying loose. But I’d be willing to bet that you are at your best when you are loose, and with the training and experiences you have had (no matter the subject area), you can perform well when you aren’t in your own head. These concepts apply in the same exact fashion when making sports predictions. Understand you have good instincts and stop worrying about every single angle and possible outcome. You won’t be able to cover every square. We preach here (on OWS) all the time about how you should build for YOU! And this week, that means loosening up. You have training already on how to build winning DFS lineups. This week, build those lineups, enter the contests, and switch up your game-watching routine to do something a bit more productive on Sunday. Try caring just a bit less when building and when tracking your rosters, and see what happens. Maybe this will be your week!

Non-Chargers // Chiefs Overstacks

We talked earlier this season about how overstacks (5+ players in the same game) in any given matchup could be more viable than ever. With scoring down yet again across the NFL, this is an unnatural move for any DFS roster builder. Seeing implied team totals hovering somewhere in the low 20s and game totals expected in the low 40s doesn’t exactly scream “stack it up!” But, any time a strategy is viable, yet uncomfortable, we should be flocking to it.

The game that jumps off the page this week (at face value, not via expected totals) is the Chargers and the Chiefs. We can reasonably expect this to be the most “game stacked” matchup on this slate. However, if we avoid building our rosters like this, and overstack another game, we can take advantage of two separate leverage points: 1) be in the minority by overstacking to begin with, and 2) jump all the Chargers and Chiefs stacks should that game fail. We always want the 1-2 punch with our rosters. And if this strategy hits this season (spoiler alert: it will; remember Ravens // Dolphins and Lions // Seahawks last season), then I always want to be early to deploy a strategy that others will chase the following week. 

As for the games to target, there are two that stand out to me: Lions at Ravens and Cardinals at Seahawks. Taking Detroit and Baltimore first, one of the matchups I look for in any potential shootout is a game that can produce a high combined pass rate over expectation (PROE). These teams both play at a slow pace, but the key questions to identify in expected pass rates are: will they have any luck running the ball, and will the other team score points? Well, the Ravens rank 7th DVOA against the run and the Lions run defense ranks 3rd in DVOA so both offenses should struggle on the ground. And on the other side, these are two offenses ranking in the top half of the NFL. The problem is, however, that these two teams also boast strong pass defenses as well, and overall these defensive units can be a problem. 

However, as Hilow appropriately called out in his NFL Edge analysis of this game, the Lions will dictate this game environment as the more adaptable offense. And in their matchup with the tough run defense of the Buccaneers last week, they deployed their highest PROE of the season. They didn’t have success on the ground early, so they put the ball in Goff’s hands and got after it. This week, they also likely won’t have much success on the ground, but now are down David Montgomery, have a hobbled Jahmyr Gibbs, and could be missing their starting left guard again in Jonah Jackson. Despite the Ravens strong pass defense, the Lions may need to attack in a similar fashion to last week.

On the other side of the ball, the Ravens have not really been pushed much this season to have to throw the ball. The Lions represent the most talented offense they’ve faced yet this year (HOU, CIN with injured and immobile Burrow, IND, CLE, PIT, TEN) so their defensive metrics may be a bit misleading despite not allowing more than 24 points all season. If the Lions have success, will Todd Monken decide to unleash Lamar? The Lions actually rank as the league’s 4th-highest pass funnel, allowing +6.2% PROE (h/t Jake Tribbey of Fantasy Points) so Lamar’s volume is expected to be strong here. The Ravens like to run the ball of course, but still don’t have the feature back they want, and if they will likely be passing more often in this matchup, both Zay Flowers and Mark Andrews possess a nice combination of floor and upside with Lamar. These three Ravens with Amon-Ra and another Lion is a player block not many will be on (or switch Lamar with Goff and his pass catchers while bringing back Zay and Andrews).

Cards // Seahawks

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