Sam’s Matchups, Stacks, & GPP Breakdown – NFL Week 10 - DFS Karma
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Sam’s Matchups, Stacks, & GPP Breakdown – NFL Week 10

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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. 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 ACO, 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 breakdown!


Key Takeaways:

  1. The Jags aren’t “great” by most (probably any) measure, but Trevor Lawrence is only $5400 on DraftKings on a week where the matchups are meh, the value is lacking, and in a game script I would say is likely to be favorable with the Jags playing catch up against the stout Chief’s offense
  2. Both of these teams rank in the Top 10 of both situation-neutral pace and plays per game through the first 9 weeks
  3. What is probably not surprising is the Chiefs ranking 1st in the league in EPA/Play and EPA/Drop back on offense; however, the Jags rank 10th in EPA/Play and 7th in EPA/Drop back against a KC defense that isn’t bad but is closer to average than anything
  4. Per Brandon Thorn of ETR, the Chiefs have the 3rd ranked OL in the league vs. the Jags 8th ranked DL; the Jags quietly have the 8th ranked OL facing the Chiefs 14th ranked DL
  5. Since the departure of James Robinson, Etienne has seen 80% of the snaps in Weeks 8-9, 77% of the rush attempts, and 100% of the short down & distance and 2-minute drill snaps (per Dwain McFarland; PFF); the Chiefs have surrendered 9.1 targets per game to opposing RBs (most in the NFL)
  6. JuJu doesn’t have the enormous target share of other top WRs in the league but has consistently seen 5-8 targets in an offense that has the highest PROE in the NFL; JuJu has finished as WR7/WR4/WR8 in the last 3 weeks (season long)
  7. With the pricing this week, it’s hard to love a stack with guys like Mahomes/Kelce/JuJu as it costs 43.4% of your total salary but I think using Mahomes with cheap JAX WRs or Lawrence with KC WRs/TE is an interesting way to get exposure to this fast-paced/highest total game on the slate



Key Takeaways:

  1. It’ll cost you nearly 50% of your salary, but the stack of Tua with TyScum/Waddle is combining for nearly 54% (!!!) of the targets for the Dolphins this season
  2. Similar to the JAX/KC game, a potentially interesting way to get exposure to the high ceiling receivers is to either fade Tua or play Brissett (doesn’t feel great) with TyScum and/or Waddle to save salary and hope Tua isn’t a Top 3 QB on the slate
  3. In the first game with Jeff Wilson Jr. on the team, Mostert’s snaps dropped to 46% from a season average of around 60-65% and only saw 41% of the team’s rush attempts (tied with Jeff Wilson); Wilson is interesting for tournament’s, but this is a downgrade for sure for Mostert and make’s Wilson risky with unknowns on how splits will go moving forward
  4. The Miami defense is quietly terrible… nothing to sugar coat there as the rank bottom 10 in the league in EPA/Play and EPA/Drop back on defense while ranking in the Top 10 against the rush; nevertheless, Chubb is matchup-proof and should always be played/is always viable for a slate-breaking performance as the Browns have the 2nd ranked OL through the first 9 weeks vs. the Dolphins 18th ranked DL (Per Brandon Thorn; ETR)
  5. The Browns defense has looked slightly better recently but on the season are still dead last in EPA/Rush on defense and 5th worst in EPA/Play
  6. DPJ is projecting to be somewhat chalky as a salary relief option of only $4300 on DraftKings; the aDOT is solid at 10.9, a 19% target share, 25% air yards share, and running a route on 94% of Brissett’s drop backs… in cash? It may be fine, but I don’t have much interest in tournaments at 12-15% or more ownership; the Miami defense isn’t great but they’re average/slightly above average in limiting explosive pass plays on defense and even in a potential catch-up mode game script, the Browns offense doesn’t pass enough to get me on board… (29th in PROE; 4th lowest in the league)



Key Takeaways:

  1. After playing 2 solid games for the first time and setting an NFL record in rushing last week (for a QB), Justin Fields now gets the worst defense in the league and should be mega chalk in cash games and heavily owned in tournaments
  2. The usage for Fields, especially rushing, is elite; over his last 4 he’s averaging 12+ rush attempts per game, 102 rush yards per game, and in turn, his last 4 weekly finishes (Season Long) are QB9/QB5/QB5/QB1… not bad!
  3. My only concern for Fields is that his offensive line/most of his receivers/David Montgomery (not Herbert) still are not very good and as such the Bears have remained extremely run heavy (running on 50% of their plays; 3rd most in the NFL) and unless he has blow up rushing games each week (possibly, I suppose), it’s hard to see that mega ceiling hitting again on top of the expected ownership probably being too high
  4. In Chase Claypool’s first game with the Bears last week he ran a route on 79% of Fields’ drop backs, a 13% target share, 20% of the air yards, and an aDOT of 10.4; I expect his role to continue to grow and he’s only 4800 this week against the Lions bad defense that includes the 5th worst slot coverage in the NFL (Claypool runs around 70-75% out of the slot)
  5. The Lions show up in Chicago after a BIG OL VICTORY against the Packers (who suck so bad) without TJ Hockenson (traded), DJ Chark (IR), Josh Reynolds (not practicing), and a lot of uncertainty about Swift’s weekly role…
  6. While the Lions defense is awful, the Bears defense is not far behind… the Bears rank 10th worst in EPA/Rush allowed, 3rd worst in EPA/Drop Back allowed, and 4th worst in EPA/Play allowed on defense
  7. ASRB has busted as chalk the last 2 weeks after being chalk in Week 7 and getting hurt; however, he ran a route on 95% and 100% of drop backs in Weeks 8 & 9, respectively, target shares of 26% & 43% in those games, and a 31% Targets/Route Run rate (PFF), one of the best in the league… the volume and talent is consistent and very strong and the ceiling games will be there each and every week
  8. Kalif Raymond should be sliding in as the de facto WR2 where he’s run a route on 91%>95%>97% in Weeks 7-8-9 yet has only average around a 15% target share in that span… I still think Raymond is a solid punt option as the role has remained strong and with their putrid defense, we can expect the Lions to be in a passing game script for most of the matchup



Key Takeaways:

  1. This game has a lot of unknowns with Josh Allen looking like the wrong side of questionable after not practicing the last 3-4 days in a row…
  2. Per Brandon Thorn of ETR, the Vikings have the 16th best OL facing the 3rd ranked Bills DL
  3. If Case Keenum gets the official start, I still have interest in Diggs because 1. DUH, 2. he’s an alpha and 3. isn’t reliant on the deep ball as someone like Gabe Davis is, who I will full fade if Keenum is under center
  4. The Bills are not (and shouldn’t be) a run heavy team but if Allen misses, we have Singletary at $5,600 on DraftKings with a backup QB and a better role than his price would indicate; does he have the enormous upside of Henry/Saquon/CMC? Most likely not; however, Singletary ranks 6th on the slate amongst all RBs in High-Value Touches (“HVTs”; Ben Gretch) per game, 11th in Wtg. Opportunities per game (13.1), and in the scenario Allen misses, the Bills free up about 20-25% of the rush attempts that were going to Allen, not to mention 75% of the <5 yard-line rush attempts
  5. Cousins on the road is probably an overblown narrative, but at the same time, he really does seem to play considerably worse on the road vs. at home… nevertheless, given the Bills defense and the potential game script, I don’t have as much interest in Cousins
  6. I do have interest in Hockenson, who in his first game with the Vikes ran a route on 84% of drop backs and saw a 27% target share; Jefferson is still the dominant alpha and should be played always (30% target share/41% air yards share LOL), but Hockenson is the 2nd most expensive TE on the slate and I doubt many at all will go there with Kelce the clear best TE play and others choosing to go expensive or full punt


GPP Leverage/Low Owned Plays

Jonathan Taylor: Taylor has been practicing in full and maybe shoots up in pOWN% over the next few days, but man… currently sitting at 4-5% ownership, at $7,500, facing a Raiders team that’s given up nearly 30 points a game to RBs, and Nyheim Hines was traded + Deon Jackson has been ruled out… oh and Ehlinger is their QB with Jeff Saturday now “calling plays” for the team… Taylor is in a spot where he could see 25-30 touches

Courtland Sutton: The Broncos have looked pretty lost thus far, but after their come from behind win against the Jags and a bye to get guys healthy, I have “higher” (relative) hopes than a few weeks ago; in that vein, Sutton is now priced $100 cheaper than Jerry Jeudy after Sutton’s last 3 games of weak target shares (13%/20%/17%) along with the emergence of Greg Dulich taking targets at the TE position… I have interest in Sutton as a high-upside pivot as he was the go-to guy for Russ through the first 5-6 weeks and the underlying usage has hardly changed: 96% route participation through their first 8 games (Jeudy 81%), 24% target share over the full season, 32% of the air yards, and an impressive 39% of the EZ targets… the game script could be bad, but the Titans present the 3rd best rushing defense in the league (in terms of EPA/Rush allowed) but are towards the average against the pass, possibly creating more opportunities for Sutton at a cheap price/low ownership

Darius Slayton: Stats and box scores can definitely be misleading, but it’s certainly noteworthy that Slayton is priced at $4,600, $100 less than Wan’Dale Robinson, but has seen 38% of the Giants’ air yards this season, 5 targets per game, and run a route on 92.1% of drop backs (Wan’Dale 90.6%); Robinson I think, at least in the long-run, is the better WR and will/should be the WR1, but as it sits Slayton has maintained a large aDOT of 14.0 for the season, commanding a majority of the team’s air yards, and I don’t worry much about the corpse of Kenny Golladay returning…

Mack Hollins: Mack GOD is back in play… $4,200 and the Raiders just put Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow on the IR… the Raiders as a team suck and continue to blow leads behind (maybe) bad play calls and a bad Derek Carr… the Raiders can be bad but Mack showed his ceiling ability several weeks ago with numerous injuries to the team and is in a similar spot against the Colts… with Renfrow active prior to this week Hollins was averaging 5-7 targets a game for a 16% share, 25% of the air yards, and has run a route on 93.2% of drop backs

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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