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Sam’s Conviction Column – NFL Week 10

Intro

There are certain types of contests on both DraftKings and FanDuel (as well as other Daily Fantasy Sites) where ownership, across any sport, is not something to focus on, i.e. head to heads, double ups, 50/50s, or a contest with less than 20 entrants; however, when playing large field GPP tournaments and gunning for that $1 million prize, or even just a top 10 in a contest of 100k+ entrants, ownership is IMPERATIVE when constructing your rosters. While I would never make the argument that ownership is everything, or the most important aspect of playing/winning DFS, I think many more people than we think overlook it and fall into groupthink more often than they should as a fear of “a cheap guy going off” or playing someone at 50% or more projected ownership to ensure not getting dusted by the field. Again, in cash games or very small field tournaments, I get that idea, as playing an obvious backup RB who’s locked into an every down roll and 20+ touches and is the min $4,000 on DraftKings and is going to be owned by 45 of 50 players in a tournament… yes, I would probably play him since you have just about 0% chance of cashing if he goes off. The last thought to keep in mind, and perhaps the most important, is being contrarian does not mean making a lineup of 9 guys less than 5% owned… that is not by any means optimal and not a +EV strategy in any DFS sport. What I like to do each and every week is use a strategy by one of the pioneers of DFS Football, Adam Levitan (check out their stuff at EstablishTheRun because their team is very, very sharp), which is figure out my ACO, or “Average Cumulative Ownership,” on all my tournament teams. To calculate that is simple, add up all 9 players ownership, and divide by 9 and look to target somewhere in the range of 9-16% (16% is the absolute max that I will have) for your whole team. If CMC is going to be 35% owned, that doesn’t mean an auto fade, it just means you have to differentiate elsewhere because his ceiling is insane and he’s not someone to fade just because “he’s chalk.” That’s enough rambling, let’s get to the picks!

Links to other content!

Week 10 Cash Process

Projections Portal

NFL Game Theory

Ben’s Week 10 Breakdown! (Article) >>> Coming Soon

Core Plays

 

QB

Tom Brady

Karma Position Rank: 2

DK Proj. OWN%            7.5%
FD Proj. OWN%            10.6%

Why? → We may finally get a week where people realize they should be playing Brady but he still won’t be the highest owned QB despite a reliable 40-45 pass attempts per game, no matter the score/matchup, and facing a defense in WFT that has given up the most fantasy points per game to QBs and 2nd most to WRs thus far this season. Brady leads all QBs on the slate in air yards per game (just under 370), pass attempts per game (43), is 5th in points per drop back (per PFF), and 2nd in Net Adj. Yards/Attempt.

Dak Prescott

Karma Position Rank: 1

DK Proj. OWN%            10.5%
FD Proj. OWN%            9.9%

Why? → Dak could end up being the highest, or almost certainly top 3, owned this week but it’s justified given his efficiency and the matchup with the Falcons. The Cowboys carry the highest implied team total on the main slate (31.75) against a Falcons defense that ranks in the bottom 3rd in the league in EPA/Play, EPA/Drop Back, and fantasy points relinquished to QBs through their first 8 games. Despite the Cowboys going run heavy in several games after a passing fiesta in Week 1, Dak still ranks 3rd of QBs on the slate in air yards per game (319) combined with 3-6 carries for 12-15 yards with his legs.

Matt Ryan

Karma Position Rank: 8

DK Proj. OWN%            4.7%
FD Proj. OWN%            3.1%

Why? → On the other side of the ball, Matt Ryan can be incredibly frustrating, but I don’t mind a bet on volume + game environment + leverage off probably the most popular QB on the slate (at least on DK). Ryan averages 40+ drop backs per game and despite a high rank in Pass DVOA, the Cowboys defense has given up the 4th most fantasy points on average to QBs so far and despite Ryan’s near-zero mobility, the Cowboys rank around the middle of the league in Adjusted Sack Rate along with the 3rd lowest pressure rate in the league.

Carson Wentz

Karma Position Rank: 5

DK Proj. OWN%            5.5%
FD Proj. OWN%            3.5%

Why? → There’s been quite a few games this season where Wentz has looked nothing short of horrendous; however, he’s now thrown for 2 or more TDs in 6 straight games with only 2 total INTs in that span (in one game vs. the Titans) and has scored 20 or more fantasy points in 4 of those 6 games. Yes, there is some concern about the game environment and maybe Wentz isn’t forced to throw very much, but the Colts quietly carry the 4th highest implied team total on the slate with the Jags ranking 9th/7th/10th most points given up to QBs/WRs/TEs, respectively.

RB

Tier 1

Christian McCaffrey

Karma Position Rank: 9

DK Proj. OWN%            5.7%
FD Proj. OWN%            5.5%

Why? → We need to take a moment to appreciate how lucky we are to be getting a low-owned CMC in Week 10 of the fantasy football season. After missing several games, CMC returned last week in a limited (planned by his coach) fashion, playing on 49% of the snaps and getting 14 rush attempts + 5 targets… in half the game. The matchup is a tough one, but when it comes to a player with this kind of usage/explosiveness, I’ll take the lower ownership because in the 2 games this year where he played the full game, CMC averaged 23 rush attempts and 7.5 targets… and that was when Darnold wasn’t playing like a pop warner QB.

Dalvin Cook

Karma Position Rank: 4

DK Proj. OWN%            11.7%
FD Proj. OWN%            15.4%

Why? → I have no idea what is going on with this Dalvin situation (legal issues), but I do think he ends up playing and he may have the best matchup of any RB on the slate (maybe tied with Najee). The Chargers rank dead last in EPA per Rush this season, dead last in Rush DVOA, and 6th to last in fantasy points given up to RBs (28 DK points, 25 FD points), and now get Dalvin and his 80+% weighted opportunity share. Dalvin has seen 75% of the Vikings rush attempts inside the 5, he leads all RBs on the slate in rush attempts per game combined with a semi-safe floor of 3-5 targets to go along with them. Dalvin is the ultimate leverage of Najee, who’s elite play in his own right, but could be double his OWN%.

Najee Harris

Karma Position Rank: 1

DK Proj. OWN%            18.2%
FD Proj. OWN%            15.4%

Why? → I do normally try to not list just the obvious/chalk plays but Najee truly can’t be ignored in this spot. I have him projected for the highest floor of RBs this week (13.5), which makes sense given him 18-20 rush attempts per game, 6.5 targets per game, 85% of the rush attempts inside the 10, 6-7 High Value Touches (“HVTs”; per Ben Gretch) per game, and a matchup with the Lions, who have given up 31.2 DK points per game to RBs (28.5 FD points). I’m not sure what else we need to look at, but JuJu is out for the season and Claypool is likely to miss this game as well… he’s a lock in cash and elite play in all formats.

Tier 2

Michael Carter

Karma Position Rank: 16

DK Proj. OWN%            7.3%
FD Proj. OWN%            9.4%

Why? → From an elite matchup to one that couldn’t really be worse, Carter should go ultra-low owned, but when looking at his last 3 games (when Mike White came in), he has 25 targets and before he left the game due to injury last week, was on pace for 3 straight games of a 70+% snap share. Despite the very difficult matchup, as the Bills have only allowed between 13-15 fantasy points a game to RBs so far, per PFF, the OL/DL matchup is actually around middle or slightly above average. You probably wouldn’t guess it, and I sure didn’t, but in the receiving game, Carter has the 4th most missed tackles forced (per PFF) of all RBs this season.

Leonard Fournette

Karma Position Rank: 7

DK Proj. OWN%            12.0%
FD Proj. OWN%            11.7%

Why? → Coming off a poor game versus a strong Saints rush defense, I expect Fournette to get somewhat lost in the shuffle. The matchup isn’t nearly as strong as the Bucs pass offense vs. the WFT pass defense, but Fournette continues to play 60+% of the Bucs RB snaps (Bernard/RoJo each playing around 15-20%) with 4.8 targets per game, including 5 or more targets in 5 of his last 6 games. His outcomes are more volatile than most given how Brady is so pass heavy/spreads the ball, but Fournette has nearly 60% of the Bucs RZ carries, 64% of the carries inside the 5, and has the 8th highest weighted opportunities/game of all RBs on the slate.

Tier 3

Javonte Williams

Karma Position Rank: 14

DK Proj. OWN%            3.5%
FD Proj. OWN%            5.3%

Why? → I just can’t even with the Broncos and Melvin Gordon. Javonte Williams, yes him, is tied with Nick Chubb for the MOST missed tackles forced this season (35; that’s also on 25 less carries). Despite a near even split with Gordon, I think Williams carries much more upside and because the backfield situation, will never be high owned. He slightly edges Gordon in HVTs (30 vs. 29), leads him in % of carries inside the 5 (46% vs. 36%), and before last week’s blow out against the Broncos, Williams had seen 3 or more targets in 6 straight games.

Chalk I’m On → Jonathan Taylor // Austin Ekeler // James Conner // D’Ernest Johnson

Chalk I’m Off → Devin Singletary (if Moss is out) // Aaron Jones

WR

Tier 1

Mike Evans

Karma Position Rank: 2

DK Proj. OWN%            12.0%
FD Proj. OWN%            15.2%

Why? → Evans was a smash play even without any injuries, but now AB will most likely miss, Gronk will most likely miss, and Godwin is very questionable. Without injuries, Evans has seen 32% of the Bucs air yards, 18% of the targets, and a massive aDOT of 14.9. I think he’ll end up popular, especially if Godwin is out, but with Diontae Johnson/Keenan/DK Metcalf right next to him, his OWN% probably won’t reach the optimal given his upside and ceiling potential (I have Evans projected for the 3rd highest ceiling of WRs on the slate behind Davante/Keenan).

Michael Pittman Jr.

Karma Position Rank: 4

DK Proj. OWN%            14.8%
FD Proj. OWN%            12.0%

Why? → Pittman was much too cheap a few weeks ago and even at $1000 more than that on DK, he’s still only the 17th highest priced WR (on DK; he’s tied for 11th most expensive on FD) as the clear alpha on the Colts. Pittman is averaging 7.5 targets per game, 31% of the Colts air yards, 22% of the team targets, and 30% of the team’s RZ targets. In the last 5 weeks, in PPR scoring, Pittman has finished as the WR14/WR8/WR2/WR12 in 4 of them and again, he’s not even a Top 10 most expensive WR on either site.

Cole Beasley

Karma Position Rank: 24

DK Proj. OWN%            10.1%
FD Proj. OWN%            8.2%

Why? → It will probably end up being unsustainable, but it’s worth mentioning that Beasley has 24 targets over the last 2 weeks. For the full season, Beasley has a very respectable 7.9 targets per game, which is good for 20% of the team targets along with nearly 16% of the RZ targets. Beasley doesn’t have the same explosive upside/slate breaking ability that his counterpart Diggs has, or other top WRs on the slate, but especially in full-PPR like DK, he has a very solid floor and can smash value if he keeps seeing consistent targets and/or RZ targets.

Tier 2

Amari Cooper

Karma Position Rank: 12

DK Proj. OWN%            10.7%
FD Proj. OWN%            8.0%

Why? → After Amari posted his worst game since Week 3, and as mega-chalk no less, I expect his ownership to stay pretty in check despite the popularity of Dak and the great game environment/Vegas total. Yes, I am slightly concerned as I’ve been reading about all the injuries he’s been going through; however, 1) I feel like Amari is always hurt anyways, and 2) the Cowboys should be trying to get back on track with the passing game this week. Only 2 catches for 37 yards last week, but Amari still saw 5 targets and for the season is averaging 7.4 per game, 30% of the air yards, and 24% of the team’s RZ targets.

Jerry Jeudy

Karma Position Rank: 27

DK Proj. OWN%            5.2%
FD Proj. OWN%            4.6%

Why? → Per Ian Hartiz at PFF, and this was quite interesting, in 3 games with a healthy Jerry Jeudy, Teddy has targeted Jeudy 19 times, Tim Patrick 12, Noah Fant 11, and Sutton 9. Given the target shares, with Jeudy averaging 6.3 per game, he feels way underpriced against what I believe is a very overrated Eagles defense. I think Sutton should see more of Darius Slay along with Bridgewater looking more to Jeudy given the much lower aDOT compared to Sutton (Jeudy aDOT = 8.6, Sutton aDOT = 16.6).

Zach Pascal

Karma Position Rank: 30

DK Proj. OWN%            3.0%
FD Proj. OWN%            2.5%

Why? → Plenty of risk here, especially if the Colts go very run heavy, but if we remove the game he got hurt, Pascal has seen 5 or more targets in every game this season and 21 targets over his last 3 games. Clearly the #2 to Pittman, Pascal still has a 17% target share, 20% air yards share, and a 28% RZ target share. He is much riskier than his counterpart Pittman, but vs. this aforementioned poor defense, a route rate of 93% (per PFF), and at a cheap price point doesn’t need to score 30 points to hit serious value.

Tier 3

Jakobi Meyers

Karma Position Rank: 23

DK Proj. OWN%            7.1%
FD Proj. OWN%            7.2%

Why? → Meyers continues to let me, and anyone who rosters him, down each week, but he’s now 4800 on DK, 5500 on FD, and has a 27% air yards share/22% target share/17% RZ target share. The Browns defense is strong against the pass, but I expect the Browns offense to put up more of a fight (maybe) than the Panthers and should see Mac Jones and company more pass heavy than the previous week.

Tyler Johnson

Karma Position Rank: 59

DK Proj. OWN%            2.4%
FD Proj. OWN%            0.7%

Why? → Obviously a mega punt here and he’s only in play if AB/Gronk are officially out with an even bigger bump if Godwin misses; however, with AB out, Tyler Johnson has played on 60+% of the Bucs snaps and saw 6 targets last week vs. the Saints. The range of outcomes is very wide, but at this price, one big and/or broken play and he’s smashed value. Brady loves to spread the ball and when he’s on the field, Johnson has run a route on 97% of Brady’s drop backs.

Chalk I’m On → Davante Adams // Diontae Johnson // DK Metcalf // Chris Godwin (if active)

Chalk I’m Off → A.J. Brown // Jarvis Landry

TE

Kyle Pitts

Karma Position Rank: 1

DK Proj. OWN%            10.5%
FD Proj. OWN%            8.9%

Why? → Pitts has really had a rough go of it as the Falcons have no respectable WRs with Ridley out, meaning Pitts and Patterson are the de facto WR1/WR2 for the team. Further, Pitts has faced brutal coverage as teams realize the Falcons lack of depth and have put some of the league’s top CBs on him many weeks. Still, Pitts is the clear #1 TE on the slate with 7 targets per game, 30% of the team’s air yards, an aDOT of 11.9, and has the 3rd highest routes run rate of TEs on the slate (data per PFF; #1 Brate/#2 Firkser??? LOL). All of this tough coverage and a lot of poor play from the Falcons, Pitts has still managed a yards/route run (again, per PFF) of 2.07 and is seeing 21% of the Falcons RZ targets.

Noah Fant

Karma Position Rank: 3

DK Proj. OWN%            4.1%
FD Proj. OWN%            3.7%

Why? → After missing a week due to Covid, Fant returns at a price of 4300 on DK, which is his lowest since Week 3 for some reason, to face an Eagles team that has given up the 2nd most points on average this season to TEs. Fant trails only Hockenson and Pitts in terms of Targets/Game (6.4), good for 17% of the Broncos total targets, plus, he’s seen 25% of the RZ targets thus far this season. I love the spot for Fant regardless, but with Albert O very questionable, Fant could be thrust immediately back into an every-down role at not only a cheap DK/FD price, but sub 5% ownership.

Dan Arnold

Karma Position Rank: 4

DK Proj. OWN%            9.7%
FD Proj. OWN%            7.6%

Why? → God, I love Dan Arnold. What a GOAT. Over his last 4 games, Arnold has seen targets of 8/5/10/7, good for 7.5 a game, and is basically operating not only as the team’s top target but as a WR, similar to the likes of Gesicki and Pitts. Despite the Jags being bad, Arnold is confirmed #notbad and in a game where the Jags are likely playing catchup, Arnold should have ample opportunity against a team that has given up the 4th most points on average to TEs.

Stacks

Stacking has gotten increasingly popular each year as projections, correlations, and infinite amounts of information and stats available; however, in general, “the field” (large field GPPs) still don’t stack nearly enough. Per Mike Leone from EstablishTheRun, the field played double stacks approximately 29% of the time in the weekly milly maker, which double stacks finished in the Top 100 nearly 40% of the time. Going further, the field had a bring back opponent, i.e. QB + WR + WR + an opposing team’s WR/TE (mostly WR) approximately 35% of the time yet lineups with a bring back finished in the Top 100 53% of the time.

The left side of this table shows our 5 stacks and opponents with the Vegas total at open and the current Vegas total along with the team’s QB/RB and then Top 2 WRs (based on DK Price), TE, and the opposing team’s Top 2 WRs (again, based on DK price). On the right side, we can use the stack’s projected points, which for all players and positions can be found here, and provide how much of the salary cap is used, total projected ownership, and finally “OWN% Value”, which evaluates the projected points of the stack compared to the total ownership to see if there is leverage along with upside.

DraftKings Stacks – See below for some of my favorite stack options (click on image to enlarge)

FanDuel Stacks – See below for some of my favorite stack options (click on image to enlarge)

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