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Sam’s Conviction Column – NFL Week 11

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 11 Cash Process

Projections Portal

NFL Game Theory

Ben’s Week 11 Breakdown! (Article) >>> Coming Soon

Core Plays

 

QB

Lamar Jackson

Karma Position Rank: 3

DK Proj. OWN%            7.3%
FD Proj. OWN%            11.6%

Why? → Things are always subject to shift, but I currently have Josh Allen // Patrick Mahomes // Derek Carr // Cam Newton all projected for higher ownership than Lamar. What a world. Lamar is 3rd amongst QBs on the slate in points per drop back (PFF), carries a Top 2 or 3 ceiling of all QBs (and all other positions for that matter), and despite being known as more of a runner (I am guilty of saying that), he’s averaging the 3rd most air yards per game (323) this season. The Bears D is around average, but after a horrific TNF game and facing a defense that has given up the 6th most points on average to WRs thus far, I LOVE the leverage off Mahomes and company in tournaments.

Dak Prescott

Karma Position Rank: 4

DK Proj. OWN%            5.9%
FD Proj. OWN%            5.3%

Why? → I actually expect this ownership to increase in what should be one of the chalkier DFS games of all time; nevertheless, Dak may carry a slightly lower ceiling than Mahomes given the KC pass volume, but Dak should have no trouble picking apart a KC defense that’s been shredded by just about everyone, giving up the 2nd most points on average to QBs combined with the 2nd worst adjusted sack rate on the slate (3rd worst in the league). The Cowboys are the highest scoring offense in the NFL currently and given the -expected- game environment, I feel like it’s more likely than not we see them ramp up the passing as they have against other pass-heavy offenses this year in order to keep up.

Joe Burrow

Karma Position Rank: 8

DK Proj. OWN%            5.1%
FD Proj. OWN%            7.1%

Why? → When we look at “Pass Rate over Expectation” (shoutout to ETR for a nicely done table wit this info), the Bengals rank 17th over the full season in terms of pass rate compared to their “expected pass rate” yet rank 7th over their last 4 games. The Raiders defense can certainly be had, and Burrow is coming off is first game of the season without at least 2 pass TDs. The Bengals typically run a slower-type of offense, in terms of seconds per play (FootballOutsiders), but as the Bengals have moved more and more pass heavy, I love the leverage we get off of the KC/DAL game as well as the Raiders 22nd ranked Pass DVOA defense.

Derek Carr

Karma Position Rank: 9

DK Proj. OWN%            8.0%
FD Proj. OWN%            5.5%

Why? → On the other side of the ball, Carr makes for a high upside option that should get “some” ownership but not a ton despite the above-average pass matchup. Carr ranks 4th among QBs on the slate in terms of air yards per game (318), 2nd in deep ball attempts per game, and coming off his 2 worst performances this season (2 games without Henry Ruggs), I think the ownership should be held in check. The Bengals sport a below average defensive line and Carr should hopefully look to the uncoverable Darren Waller to get back on track.

RB

Tier 1

Christian McCaffrey

Karma Position Rank: 1

DK Proj. OWN%            15.1%
FD Proj. OWN%            9.6%

Why? → CMC racked up 161 yards from scrimmage last week on 23 total touches, which included catching all 10 targets, 95 rush yards, and he scored 26.1 DK points despite resting the entire 4th quarter and getting 2-3 TDs leeched from by his teammates. I have him projected for 15% on DK and even if that rises to around 20%, he’s such a smash play with no other player on the slate getting that kind of usage.

D’Andre Swift

Karma Position Rank: 4

DK Proj. OWN%            15.1%
FD Proj. OWN%            16.4%

Why? → I hope that Swift’s ownership isn’t high because people expect another 33 rush attempt, 6 target game this week… because, well, that isn’t happening. However, with Jamaal Williams still not practicing, a possible backup QB playing for the Lions (LOL as if that matters), and his heavy involvement in the offense, Swift once again carries a very safe floor with mega-tournament upside. 6-7 targets per game, good for 17% of the team targets, a league-leading 60 High Value Touches (“HVTs” per Ben Gretch) on the season (6-7 per game), and 19-20 weighted opportunities per game leads me to, as usual, LOVE Swift this week.

Tier 2

Ezekiel Elliott

Karma Position Rank: 7

DK Proj. OWN%            4.4%
FD Proj. OWN%            4.7%

Why? → It’s always interesting to see a popular play in a large shootout game go unowned as the masses gravitate to the passing game; however, Zeke, while volatile in terms of his range of outcomes, is still getting some of the most usage of any RB in the league. The Chiefs can’t stop the pass, yes, but they also have a below average defensive line against what is arguably a top 5 offensive line in the Cowboys. When we look at “Green Zone” touches, i.e. touches inside the 5, Zeke trails on Jonathan Taylor (Zeke with 10, Taylor 16), and we know the Cowboys are more than fine with turning to the run game and giving Zeke 18-22 touches. Do I prefer the pass portion of this game more? Sure, but Zeke at 5% is awfully enticing for such a high total.

David Montgomery

Karma Position Rank: 15

DK Proj. OWN%            12.6%
FD Proj. OWN%            9.1%

Why? → Not sure how DK came up with this price as yes, the Bears offense, and team as a whole, suck, but Montgomery’s usage shouldn’t be ignored. When we look at all the RBs on the slate, Dalvin Cook and Alvin Kamara lead the way in opportunity share, but are priced as two of the most expensive options on both sites. Montgomery is the 18th highest price RB on the slate yet is 3rd in terms of opportunity share and facing a Ravens defense that is always perceived as solid but is bottom third in the league against RBs and we know that game script doesn’t matter for Matt Nagy and the Bears when it comes to Montgomery usage.

Tier 3

James Robinson

Karma Position Rank: 16

DK Proj. OWN%            6.1%
FD Proj. OWN%            7.7%

Why? → While not cheap, I put Robinson in this Tier 3 category due to the unknowns with his injury. If we see him go through weekend practices, he presents an amazing leverage play off Swift/Dillon/Conner, who should each be 15-20% owned compared to Robinson, who I don’t see getting more than 5-7%. Robinson has taken a step back this year to due 1) bad coaching 2) Carlos Hyde for some reason having a roster spot and 3) his injury; however ,he is still getting 15-18 touches per game, 10% of the team targets, and 60% of the touches inside the 10 and inside the 5.

Chalk I’m On → AJ Dillon // Myles Gaskin // Michael Carter (“maybe” gets chalky)

Chalk I’m Off → Nick Chubb // Darrel Williams // Alex Collins (if Carson remains out)

WR

Tier 1

Davante Adams

Karma Position Rank: 1

DK Proj. OWN%            20.3%
FD Proj. OWN%            24.1%

Why? → Yes, TyScum is a smash play at a similar price point. Davante comes into a game with 43% of the Packers’ air yards, nearly 35% of the team targets, 27% of the red zone targets, and is now suiting up without Aaron Jones in the backfield. Rodgers sucked last week/didn’t have to do much with Russ sucking considerably more, buy Adams still saw 11 targets and caught 7 for 78 yards… ho hum. He’s due for an explosion game and I wish the Vikings good luck as they have given up the 5th most fantasy points on average to WRs this season.

CeeDee Lamb

Karma Position Rank: 9

DK Proj. OWN%            6.3%
FD Proj. OWN%            6.3%

Why? → WOW! If we get this ownership on Lamb, then we may just break the slate. All the talk/ownership will be on this game but with Lamb only $600/$800 cheaper than TyScum/Adams on DK, only $500 less than TyScum and $400 less than Adams on FD, I get why people side with Adams and Scum. I do. Lamb has established himself as the clear alpha of the Cowboys offense and is 8th in the league in Yards/Route Run (per PFF), is seeing 31% of the Cowboys air yards, and even despite all the mouths to feed in that offense, is seeing 7-8 targets per game, on average with a matchup against the Chiefs Swiss Cheese defense. LOVE IT.

Marquise Brown

Karma Position Rank: 7

DK Proj. OWN%            3.4%
FD Proj. OWN%            4.8%

Why? → The Bears defense isn’t awful, but it’s also been without Khalil Mack and others, leading to them allowing the 6th most fantasy points per game to WRs this season. Over his last 5 games, Marquise Brown has seen targets of 10 // 5 // 14 // 12 // 13 and if he can avoid the old dropsies, he has slate-breaking potential at next to no ownership given his price. Brown has an aDOT of over 12, a target share of 27%, and is next to Lamb as the best leverage WR option on the slate.

Tier 2

Tyler Lockett

Karma Position Rank: 11

DK Proj. OWN%            12.6%
FD Proj. OWN%            10.6%

Why? → I do think the Seahawks make a good game out of this one and while Metcalf most likely holds the larger raw ceiling, Lockett is only 6000 on DK/6800 on FD, and while it seems like he was just running wind sprints last week, he did still see 8 targets with those amounting to 2 catches for 23 yards. I would be willing to bet we don’t get a duplicate performance as Russ has had another week to get healthier and amazingly enough, Lockett AND Metcalf saw the most and 2nd most unrealized air yards last week. Lockett so far this season has a near 38% air yards share and nearly 15% of the team’s red zone targets.

Emmanuel Sanders

Karma Position Rank: 17

DK Proj. OWN%            3.0%
FD Proj. OWN%            4.3%

Why? → After 3-4 piss-poor games in a row, I don’t see many people going to Sanders this week, especially given how Diggs popped off in Week 10 and Beasley being priced below him on both sites. It’s fairly easy to list what I like the most about Sanders this week, 1) the Colts have given up the 4th most fantasy points on average this season to WRs, 2) Sanders ownership will be small given the Tee Higgins/Jaylen Waddle chalk right above his price, and 3) he hasn’t turned in game-breaking fantasy point performances but still has 30% of the team’s air yards and a massive aDOT of 18.4 to go with his 5-7 targets per game.

Tier 3

Jamison Crowder

Karma Position Rank: 39

DK Proj. OWN%            1.7%
FD Proj. OWN%            1.5%

Why? → Are the Jets bad? Very. Is Joe Flacco bad? LOL. We could go on and on, but the bottom line is the Jets have to throw to SOMEONE (right?) and Crowder is seeing 7.2 targets per game, 25% of the red zone targets, and the Dolphins have surrendered the 3rd most points to WRs thus far, compared to an average run defense. Obviously the risk is high, and the floor is uber-low, but Crowder has seen 6 or more targets in every game this season and what the hell to the Jets have to lose, so they might as well let Flacco sling it (LOL Flacco starting).

A.J. Green

Karma Position Rank: 31

DK Proj. OWN%            2.9%
FD Proj. OWN%            3.8%

Why? → I don’t think Hopkins ends up playing in this game, but even if he does, Green has been quietly seeing some strong usage this season. He’s run a route on nearly 95% of Kyler/McCoy drop backs (per PFF) and has seen a 26% air yards share to go along with a surprisingly high aDOT of 12.2 and RZ target share of 23%. If you want some exposure to the SEA/ARI game and don’t want to eat James Conner chalk, Green has a capped ceiling but will be unowned and is capable of a 20 point fantasy performance.

Byron Pringle

Karma Position Rank: 55

DK Proj. OWN%            2.2%
FD Proj. OWN%            1.3%

Why? → Pringle seems like, and I guess is, a dart throw of sorts but last week vs. the Raiders he played the 2nd most WR snaps behind Tyreek Hill. Mecole Hardman seems to have lost the trust of Andy Reid, Demarcus Robinson has been nearly unused most games this season, and Pringle allows you to get a piece of the #1 passing offense in the league (in terms of pass rate over expectation). Will he drop a 30-40 ball on the Cowboys? Almost certainly not, but at only 3400 on DK (5300 on FD), an aDOT of 13+, we don’t need him to do a ton. Over his last 3 games, Pringle has seen 13 targets and put up double digit fantasy points in 2 of those 3.

Chalk I’m On → TyScum Hill // Tee Higgins // Ja’Marr Chase

Chalk I’m Off → Jaylen Waddle // Brandin Cooks // A.J. Brown

TE

Mike Gesicki

Karma Position Rank: 5

DK Proj. OWN%            4.8%
FD Proj. OWN%            4.0%

Why? → Was it awesome putting Gesicki as my showdown CPT last week and watching him see 7 targets turn into zero catches? Not really, but he’s still an elite option each week as a “TE” (WR) and given the matchup and expected low ownership, he’s great leverage off the top priced TEs and should see his usual 6-7+ targets with Tua at the helm and a ceiling that is not far off from TEs like Andrews/Hockenson, etc. that are more expensive and most likely higher owned.

Dan Arnold

Karma Position Rank: 9

DK Proj. OWN%            9.2%
FD Proj. OWN%            5.4%

Why? → This is a conviction plays article, but really it’s a CMC/Swift/Gesicki/Dan Arnold write up. Arnold is essentially a cheaper version of Gesicki at this point, maintaining a 17% target share as a “TE” (again, basically playing WR) and 13% of the red zone targets. Arnold has see 7 or more targets in each of his last 3 games, 5 or more in each of his last 5, and even at 4100 on DK (5400 on FD), he’s still too cheap for his usage.

Cole Kmet

Karma Position Rank: 12

DK Proj. OWN%            7.5%
FD Proj. OWN%            3.0%

Why? → Kmet has had a rough go of it this season, and it’s certainly not at all his fault, but he has asserted himself as a near every-down TE with a 16% target share and 5 or more targets in each of his last 4 games. The Ravens, as mentioned above, are a very overrated defense, and in particular, have given up the most fantasy points per game to TEs this season. Kmet’s ceiling will always be lower than we’d like given the poor Bears offensive line/bad coaching/bad basically everything, but at only 3400 and the Bears possibly missing 1 or 2 of their top WRs, Kmet could be some great value if their O-Line can keep Fields upright.

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 –

Check back Friday for my STACKS/Team Matchups/Slate Simulations article!

FanDuel Stacks –

Check back Friday for my STACKS/Team Matchups/Slate Simulations article!

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