Sam’s GPP Plays & Matchups Breakdown – NFL Week 1 - DFS Karma
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Sam’s GPP Plays & Matchups Breakdown – NFL Week 1

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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. 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. This article will be focused around listing the Top 10 projected owned guys by each position on both DraftKings and FanDuel and weighing what chalk I will be eating, my general thoughts on the slate, and listing my leverage/pivots by position as to where we can differentiate ourselves on the main slate. 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!


In general, I think the position that I’m most willing to eat the chalk is at QB. Why? For the most part, no QB ever reaches insane ownership like CMC or a cheap backup RB who’s named the starter where we’re talking 40% or higher ownership, as most QBs never reach above the 20% mark, or even 15%.

As mentioned above with all the value presented to us on both sites, I think there a ton of viable QB options both as a pay up and for value that have similar ceilings that we want to win a tournament.

Justin Herbert

Karma Position Rank: 5

DK Proj. OWN%           5.8%
FD Proj. OWN%            9.2%

Kirk Cousins

Karma Position Rank: 11

DK Proj. OWN%           2.6%
FD Proj. OWN%            2.0%

Jameis Winston

Karma Position Rank: 7

DK Proj. OWN%           7.3%
FD Proj. OWN%            5.5%

Running Backs

Derrick Henry

Karma Position Rank: 3

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

Alvin Kamara

Karma Position Rank: 4

DK Proj. OWN%           8.0%
FD Proj. OWN%            7.3%

Eli Mitchell

Karma Position Rank: 18

DK Proj. OWN%           3.1%
FD Proj. OWN%            2.9%

A.J. Dillon

Karma Position Rank: 20

DK Proj. OWN%           5.0%
FD Proj. OWN%            7.2%

Chase Edmonds

Karma Position Rank: 16

DK Proj. OWN%           3.9%
FD Proj. OWN%            6.5%

Wide Receivers

Davante Adams

Karma Position Rank: 3

DK Proj. OWN%           10.0%
FD Proj. OWN%            12.4%

Mike Williams

Karma Position Rank: 16

DK Proj. OWN%           4.9%
FD Proj. OWN%            14.0%

DJ Moore

Karma Position Rank: 6

DK Proj. OWN%           12.0%
FD Proj. OWN%            15.7%

Rashod Bateman

Karma Position Rank: 36

DK Proj. OWN%           7.7%
FD Proj. OWN%            10.0%

Christian Kirk

Karma Position Rank: 22

DK Proj. OWN%           10.7%
FD Proj. OWN%            12.6%

Elijah Moore

Karma Position Rank: 20

DK Proj. OWN%           3.1%
FD Proj. OWN%            2.7%

Tight Ends

Darren Waller

Karma Position Rank: 2

DK Proj. OWN%           7.8%
FD Proj. OWN%            2.7%

Gerald Everett

Karma Position Rank: 9

DK Proj. OWN%           3.8%
FD Proj. OWN%            1.9%

Austin Hooper

Karma Position Rank: 14

DK Proj. OWN%           1.7%
FD Proj. OWN%            1.0%

GPP and Ownership Overview

Overall, don’t fade someone just because of ownership and don’t try to make your whole roster contrarian. There’s a ton of value at all positions and I think the most likely route I’ll go is fading the super cheap RBs and maybe the chalk defenses, or only play one cheaper RB in one lineup and pivot elsewhere to not have a chalky lineup(s).

I think it always make sense to stack the popular games, but if playing 3-5 lineups, or even 20, try out a leverage stack. I think many, including myself, get caught up in trying to target games and stacks based on what “should” happen but rather what “could” happen that most of the public won’t target. There’s always an edge as 90+% of DFS players will base stacks off of Vegas totals and good/bad defenses, but always be looking for games with low combined ownership and grabbing pieces of a game that maybe don’t need a QB stack. If a game has a high Vegas total, sure the game can shootout, but not everyone can explode for 30+ fantasy points as there just isn’t enough plays and touchdowns so try to get different while still attacking the fast paced/high scoring matchups. As I always say, you don’t need to make your entire lineup contrarian, just a couple pieces that differentiate you but keep you in that average cumulative ownership range. Good luck this week!

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