Sam’s GPP Plays & Matchups Breakdown – NFL Week 3 - DFS Karma
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Sam’s GPP Plays & Matchups Breakdown – NFL Week 3

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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!


Key Takeaways:

  1. This game won’t be “sneaky” by any means but with how expensive most of the pieces are the cumulative ownership of the respective stacks may come in lower owned than the field expects
  2. Both teams through 2 weeks are in the Top 3 in PROE (Pass Rate over Expectation); Bills are #1/Dolphins #3
  3. Both teams are Top 7 or better in Rush DVOA
  4. TyScum + Waddle are currently combining for 60% (SIXTY!) of the targets; put a different way, while rostering both of them will cost $14,400 on DK (29% of your cap), you’re essentially getting 1 player that should/could see 23-28 targets


Key Takeaways:

  1. The Vikings have the HIGHEST implied team total on the slate (29.5)… higher than both BUF/KC
  2. Over his last 8 games (2 this season/last 6 in 2021), Amon-Ra St. Brown is averaging 26.4 Fantasy Points per Game (PPR) with 7 of those 8 20+ points and his “worst” output 15.1 points… he’s underpriced still
  3. The Lions may still be “bad” but they’re also not “that bad” in terms of having a Top 5 (or Top 3) offensive line and they have solid weapons on offense… that matters because through 2 games the Vikings are 3rd to last in EPA/Play on defense, 5th worst in EPA/Rush, and 8th worst in EPA/Dropback on defense…
  4. Justin Jefferson’s receiving splits vs. the Lions last year (2 games): 18/306/1 on 22 targets
  5. My favorite way(s) to attack this game are Kirk/Dalvin/JJ (if you have the salary), Kirk double stack, or Dalvin by himself and hope that he gets back on track and pair with Amon-Ra/Swift/Hockenson
  6. Low-owned GPP thoughts: DJ Chark is boom/bust but has a similar ceiling to Hockenson and will be 1-2% owned


Key Takeaways:

  1. KC is riding high and IND feels like they’re at rock bottom (despite only 2 games)
  2. In games where they are favored by 5+ points, the KC has *historically* (not always) gone more run heavy
  3. The Chiefs have looked good against the run thus far, but JT is not like most backs and could be 5% or less owned
  4. As I mentioned on the pod with Ben, paying for TE should be contrarian this week and with Kelce at 7900 it feels way too expensive; however, Kelce is the only player that we KNOW is getting consistent targets
  5. If stacking this game, I like grabbing different receivers and mixing and matching (MVS/Hardman/JuJu) while on the other side of the ball, if last week was any indication, Pittman is the target monster and logical runback in game stacks


Key Takeaways:

  1. Cooper Kupp’s target share is astounding and doesn’t appear to be going down anytime soon
  2. I had to double check the stats, but Kupp + Higbee combine for a 64.5% target share through 2 games (!!!!!!)… I thought Higbee was bad chalk last week and was clearly wrong as he saw 10 targets and seems to be Stafford’s 2nd favorite receiver through the first 2 games (similar to Waddle/Hill, we can project Kupp/Higbee to combine for somewhere between 23-28 targets)
  3. My favorite way to stack this game is to play Kupp and/or Higbee and run back with someone like Greg Dortch or Hollywood Brown as Stafford “can” have big ceiling games but I would rather bet on others around him but still capture where nearly 2/3 of his targets are going
  4. The highest projected owned player in this game is… Tyler Higbee? Shocking but true… yes, Cooper Kupp is expensive but his ceiling is so much higher than anyone else which leads me to believe he could actually be underpriced

GPP Leverage/Low Owned Plays & Stacks

Joe Mixon: Through 2 games, Mixon leads all RBs on the slate in Wtg. Opportunities per game (23), High-Value Touches per game (7), Rush Attempts (46), and facing a Jets team that just got crushed by Nick Chubb and ranks 31st in EPA/Play on defense; Mixon has accounted for just under 80% of the team’s rush attempts, 71% of the team’s RZ carries, and should have some of, if not the highest, amount of touches of any RB on the slate

Austin Ekeler: Ekeler is always priced for more of his ceiling/higher range of outcomes, similar to Aaron Jones, which almost always leads to low pOWN% (currently projected for 7% ownership on DK) despite his heavy involvement in the Chargers’ game plans, particularly the pass game; Ekeler is averaging 7 HVTs per game, just under 19 Wtg. Opps. per game; the downside of Ekeler is he’s only handing around 54% of the team’s rushes, but he’s seen 7 targets per game through the first 2 (good for an 18.5% target shrare) and facing a Jags team that’s given up the 4th most receptions/yards to RBs through the first 2 games

Hunter Renfrow: 2 fumbles last week (1 of which he got a concussion from) has everyone hating his guts; however, Renfrow is still seeing 22-23% of the team targets (good for 8.5 per game) and only 5500 against a horrendous Titans defense that is riddled with injuries; per PFF, Renfrow has by far the best slot WR matchup as the Titans against a dusty trio, and more specifically, their slot corner Ugo Amadi

if Renfrow is out >>> I love a cheap Mack Hollins play if Renfrow is out (DNP on Friday) at near stone min 3300 on DK where he’s run a route on 94% of Carr’s dropbacks and received a 12% target share (good for 4-5 targets a game)

Zay Jones: Has run a route on 92% of Lawrence’s drop backs through the first 2 games and seeing 6.5 targets a game (19% target share) in what should be a tough matchup against a strong LAC defense; Zay has seen 23% of the team’s RZ targets and although WR/CB can definitely be overrated, we saw Bryce Callahan, the Charger’s slot corner, shut down JuJu in week 2 and Christian Kirk is definitely viable to struggle in the same spot… Zay is boom/bust but has a much higher ceiling than those WRs around him at the 4k price tag

DJ Chark: I view Chark in a similar way to Zay Jones in that he’ll be a forgotten man in a game that I think many will want to stack; Chark has run a route on nearly every drop back of Goff’s (98.5%), seen 35.6% of the team’s air yards, and averaging around 6 targets a game… he’s not the same caliber as guys above him, obviously, but with Amon-Ra $2100 more expensive at 15-20% ownership, Hockenson 15-20% ownership, that leaves Chark probably 3% or less owned with a high ceiling; with a high aDOT of 17.6 he will fail a lot of the time, but I love chasing that ceiling in GPPs in a good game script/high total

Treylon Burks: The Titans need to figure it out and should be in a competitive game where they’re supposed to throw against a decent offense in the Raiders; Burks has increased his snap share in each game this season, is seeing 30% of the team’s air yards, and running a route on 97% of Tannehill’s drop backs thus far; still a very risky role, Burks should be low owned and I want to play him before I think he has an inevitable blow up game soon enough

Marcus Mariota: I really wish the game script was better but Mariota is very cheap (5500 on DK) for someone who has not looked terrible over the first 2 weeks and playing a garbage Seattle team… Mariota is 2nd on the slate in rush attempts by QB (second to Hurts), averaging 35 drop backs per game, and should have solid opportunities against a Seattle defense that is dead last in EPA/Dropback on defense this season and 29th in EPA/Play on defense; he doesn’t (obviously) possess the ceiling of guys like Lamar/Mahomes/Hurts but he’s averaged 18.6 PPR/Game over his first 2 and allows us on a tough week for value to jam in the top WR/RB studs

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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