“I shouldn’t have played Adrian Peterson in 80% of my lineups.”
“Why did I let James convince me that Ted Ginn, Jr. was the sleeper of the week?”
“I loved Cam Newton this week, but Chris argued with me for 15 minutes about how he was going to score single digits this week and I chickened out and audibled off him and he scored 28!!”
“Why did I have to read that article that suggested Josh Brown at kicker?? He ruined my lineups with his 1 pointer!”
If you begin to take DFS seriously on any level, the amount of parallels between its strategy and some of the life lessons we’ve learned through the course of our lives is peculiar. Most of us belong to some form of a group that play Fantasy sports in various iterations. At the very least, we have a group of friends that are just sports fanatics. There will be members of our group that are simply ‘better’ at DFS than the rest of us. They play higher stakes, play on more sites, and put in volume we can’t even imagine. They have been successful in past competitions and are replicating that in DFS.
We begin to develop an unhealthy symbiotic relationship with these people. We may feel we have to run our entire lineups by this person. We might hang on to nuggets of information received and apply too much weight to them when creating our lineups. Maybe we get upset when our ‘big brother’ put a ton of lineups into that Thursday contest because he found out the weather in the TNF was going to be a torrential downpour and a team’s defense had a hugely positive matchup, but he didn’t bother to call us and tell us the information.
He might’ve taken a hot steamy barrage of knowledge dump on our ‘play of the week,’ even though we have been researching that matchup meticulously all week. He told us last week that that minimum priced WR was going to go off, and he did, so we take this week’s sleeper for granted but don’t do our own research and he bricks on us. He doesn’t care what our opinion is on this week’s gameflow in the Dolphins Patriots game is. He lays out all the statistics and game theory that prove his information is superior, but never mentions the 2 key offensive line injuries for one team and the linebacker returning from injury for the opposing defense. We know these things, but he’s just so adamant so we must be wrong since he puts 20 entries into the Sunday Million and we are grinding $2 100 man leagues.
If you have ever experienced any of these scenarios or these thoughts have ever lingered in your brain, it’s important to remember the following: if you are going to invest time and/or money into ANYTHING, ultimately you can only be responsible for yourself. Your strategy might be the polar opposite of your friends. Any advice given or received is coming from a biased point of view. You may prefer playing small field GPPs, while the friend you rely on as a crutch for information and affirmation exclusively plays cash games. He might have a stable of weekly go-to picks at RB, because he knows what their price is going to be every week while you are exclusively looking at matchups trying to find value.
The point of all of this is to just remind you to have faith in your own abilities. You are the one doing the research. You are the one investing your own time, and your own money. If you did an extensive amount of research on Amari Cooper one week and decide you are going to hammer him in your lineups despite what is perceived publicly as a negative matchup, you don’t need to confirm your analysis with anybody. You’ve already done the research, you already have your reasoning. One of the worst things that can happen to your lineups is someone talking you off of a play you thought was going to be a 4x value town bomb, only to have that player do exactly what you thought he was going to do except his point total is have zero impact on your lineups. You only have yourself to blame for not trusting your process.
There are very few away favorites this week, but there are favorable totals and big home favorites, allowing us to isolate a few plays that will be high reward low risk.
Bankroll Lock of the Week – Adam Vinatieri – IND – $5,000
Variation Audible – Josh Lambo – SD – $4,700
Punt of the Week – Greg Zuerlein – STL – $4,600
Hide Your Kicker, Hide Your Points – Matt Bryant – ATL – $4,900
Week 6 was what I would consider a successful week for the model, even though one of our picks stank the joint up. Our Bankroll Lock of the Week was Brandon McManus. At $4,800 he was the 4th highest scoring kicker of the week (tiebreaker to FDPP$) with a total of 14 points and owned at 11.7%. He went 2 for 2 on XP’s and 4 for 5 on FG’s, missing his first of the year. A kicker with his range on an anemic offense but a defense that will consistently provide good field position, expect to see McManus as a top pick several more times this season. Our Variation Audible was 10% owned Josh Brown, putting up pathetic 1 of 1 for XP’s and no FG’s attempted. This pick went against the model in several ways, but this pick was due to my overestimation of the Giant’s week to week potential, and underselling an Eagles team that has been highly inconsistent so far this season. Our Punt of the Week was redeeming, min priced Matt Prater getting us 13 at 1.9% owned.
Week 6 Scoring
Away favorites continue to perform well, and the model is continuing to trend towards consistency. The golden barometer is Week 9 projections, as this marks the midway point of the season. I found it interesting that the 3 highest % owned kickers this past week were from each of the different price brackets.
Bankroll Lock of the Week – Adam Vinatieri – IND – $5,000 – The Colts are home favorites (-4) hosting the Saints and having the highest total of the week at 52.5. This game is also being playing in a dome, against an away team that plays their home games in a dome as well. If you watched the Patriots-Colts game last week, you could have a variety of takes from that game. My takes were as follows: the Colts will run the ball if the game script is in their favor, the Colts still have weapons to move their offense, and their defense appears to be bottom tier. Save a bobbled catch by Julian Edelman that resulted in a pick 6, this game easily could’ve turned into the stomping Vegas predicted it to be. While the Saints offense is trending upwards, their defense is nowhere near the caliber of the Patriots, being a bottom 10 pass defense and the 30th ranked rush defense.
The Colts are averaging 3.7 RZ Scoring Attempts their last 3 games, converting those to TD’s at a 66.6% clip. While not a favorable conversion number (we want it lower, much lower if possible), we have the benefit of a healthy Gore and a game script that leans towards the run. The Colts are converting on 3rd down at 40.48% over their last 3 games, which is a huge plus for us being in that pocket of 38-42% we prefer to have. Given a top tier QB in Luck with healthy weapons, it’s not unreasonable to think a few drives will stall out on the opponent’s side of the field on a 3rd and 4. His last 3 game scores are 3 (Pats), 11 (@ Texans), 12 (Jags). Given the struggles in the first 2 weeks of the season, I would understand the trepidation in rostering Vinatieri. However, since Luck has come back and shown he is capable of throwing TD’s and moving his offense, I have faith that the Colts will have more possessions than normal due to both teams being above average on offense, and middling to bottom tier on defense.
Aggressive Ceiling – 20 Floor – 8
Variation Audible – Josh Lambo – SD – $4,700 – Finally, Lambo is priced where I thought he would be in Week 3. The Chargers are home favorites (-4) hosting the Raiders with a total currently at 47. With favorable Vegas numbers and a weather report currently showing no precipitation, we have a good initial setup. Everybody is aware of Rivers throwing the ball 65 times last week in a loss at this point, and I’m pretty sure we know of the Chargers injuries (particularly to the OLine). This game has all the potential of a shootout, but with that brings the Chargers’ lack of a run game. San Diego are 29th in rushing, while first in passing. Oakland Defense is ranked last in passing, but 3rd in rushing defense. A common theme amongst our picks is when a kicker’s offense’s strength is going up against a defense’s weakness and vice versa, kicker’s tend to project very favorably.
San Diego are converting 3rd downs at a sweet 37.21% clip over the last 3 games, while Oakland is allowing offense’s to convert at a 43.48% clip. San Diego is averaging a healthy 3.7 RZ Scoring Attempts a game, converting 54.55% of those to touchdowns. Accounting for a projected increase in possessions due to the nature of the offenses, there should be more 3rd down plays that don’t convert due to volume. Both teams are relatively healthy, but if the Chargers RB’s continue to fumble the ball, we will see them moving the ball through the air. We love when teams that can’t run the ball well have great passing offenses, because even a 62% completion percentage QB will stall drives. I think Lambo makes for a great GPP play this week due to his price rising and there being decent $4,600 and under kickers available.
Aggressive Ceiling – 18 Floor – 6
Punt of the Week – Greg “The Leg” Zuerlein – STL – $4,600 – The Rams are hosting the Browns as favorites (-6.5) in a game with a lowish total of 42. This is a punt that’s not really a punt in my eyes. With the emergence of Gurley’s dominance, the Rams no longer have to be a game managing offense. They can finally compliment their defense instead of relying on it. With Gurley being a chalk of the century pick this week against a Browns run defense giving up 150 yards a game this season and 140 over their last 3, I feel like you can confidently roster both of these guys as well as the Rams defense in a “contrarian stack.”
Gurley has yet to score a touchdown in his 2 week breakout, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen this week. What it does mean is that St. Louis can’t finish their drives in the air. This should open up as the weeks continue due to the run game, but the Rams are averaging 164.7 yards per game passing over their last 3, good for 31st. They are only averaging 3.3 RZ Scoring attempts per game, but are converting to TD at a favorable 40%. These stats point to a game flow where Gurley runs the ball into opponent territory quickly due to the good field position attained by the defense, followed by a stall on 3 & 4 leading to a FG for Zuerlein. The offense is only averaging 16.8 PPG, but with a team total ~24 and a QB who can’t find any of his skill players, I am banking on stalled drives as opportunities for Zuerlein and expect a huge week for a low priced guy.
Aggressive Ceiling – 15 Floor – 6