Sam’s Matchups, Stacks, & GPP Breakdown – NFL Week 11 - DFS Karma
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Sam’s Matchups, Stacks, & GPP Breakdown – NFL Week 11

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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. Justin Fields is averaging 115+ rush yards per game/12+ designed rush attempts per game over his last 4… those stats have resulted in weekly (PPR season-long) finishes of QB5/QB5/QB1/QB1… wow
  2. Fields brings a sky-high ceiling but my only pause is a) the ensuing chalk (probably 15-20% or higher in SE/small field) and b) playing a team that is extremely run heavy and plays very slow, Fields’ opportunities may be quite limited… of note, it could be a result of playing non-rushing QBs, but ATL has faced an above average pass attempts/game and been torched by the pass but have yielded less than 10 rush yards/game to QBs this season and less than 3 rush att./game
  3. These 2 teams rank 2nd to last and dead last in PROE through the first 10 weeks and both defensive units rank bottom 5 in EPA/Rush, EPA/Drop Back, and EPA/Play on defense
  4. With Khalil Herbert put on IR, there is a chance that Monty gets fed carries/targets in the Bears run-first offense, but with their horrendous OL and how Monty has looked this season, I will look elsewhere especially if Monty is chalky (20%+)
  5. On the ATL side of the ball, the backfield is opportuning as a 3-man rotation and therefore makes all of them full fades for me with no clear indication of who could get the bulk carries/get the RZ or inside the 10/5 yard carries
  6. The most attractive piece on the ATL side (relatively, at least) is probably Kyle Pitts, who’s averaging just under 6 targets per game, 26% of the team’s targets, and 25% of the EZ targets; however, the Bears have only surrendered 5.2 targets/32 receiving yards per game to opposing TEs this season
  7. The last piece to note is while many of us (me included) expected Claypool’s role to increase as he adjusted to the new team, he ran a route on only 30% of Fields’ drop backs, compared to 40% in Week 9, and only saw 2 targets compared to 6 targets in Week 9



Key Takeaways:

  1. I heard this comparison on a podcast this week and thought it was worthy of writing up: Kirk Cousins ranks 26th in PFF Passer Grade this season when under pressure vs. 12th when kept clean… so far this season, the Cowboys have pressured the QB on just under 30% of snaps (2nd in the league); the last time Cousins faced similar types of defensive pressure was against the Eagles in Week 2, the Vikings only loss, where Kirk was pressured on 16/50 drop backs (32%) and finished with 1 TD/3 INTs/a PFF passer rating of 51.7 (27th rank out of 32 that week)
  2. Despite being known somewhat as a “run heavy” team, the Cowboys have passed at a 60% clip in 4 games with Dak this year, which averages out to around 33/34 drop backs per game
  3. Through their first 9 games, the Vikings have given up the 4th least amount of fantasy points/game to RBs and rank 5th in EPA/Rush allowed on defense, yet rank more middle of the pack in EPA/Drop back on defense (13th); further, the Vikings have given up the 3rd most fantasy points/game to opposing WRs, 6th most to opposing QBs, and the 10th most to opposing TEs
  4. In more recent weeks, the Cowboys rush defense has looked suspect as they rank 21st (of 32) in EPA/Rush on defense over the full season but rank 24th over their last 4 and 31st in their last 2 games… small sample size, yes, but it does make for an interesting play in Dalvin Cook who is quite expensive ($8,000 on DK; 3rd most expensive), but has explosive upside (as we saw after a mostly bad game last week until an 80 yard TD run in the 4th), which bodes well against the Cowboys, who have allowed the 3rd most explosive rush plays over the full season (per Sam Hoppen; 4for4)
  5. With tight pricing across the board again this week, it will be tough to make full game/team stacks and feel comfortable with the rest of the lineup; however, even if using neither QB, playing a mini-stack of Lamb/JJ could be popular and will cost you 33% of your salary cap (on DK), you are also getting 2 WRs that could combine for the 22-25 target range and could combine for a ceiling of the 65-70 point range… JJ is expensive but Lamb is certainly underpriced
  6. I like some tertiary pieces (maybe the wrong word… I like the non-obvious studs) such as Michael Gallup, priced at only $5,100 on DK and seeing 5 targets/game and 23% of the team’s air yards; Dalton Schultz, at least to me, seems to finally be over his injury, as he’s now seen targets of 5/6/8 over his last 3, and ranks behind only Mark Andrews and Kyle Pitts in terms of Targets/Route Run (per PFF; rank amongst starting TEs)
  7. JJ is the obvious alpha play and there’s no need to argue for/against him because he just made the single greatest catch in NFL history last week (seriously… IMO it’s #1 ahead of Odell’s);Adam Thielen is interesting leverage, potentially, off the popular pieces as he’s only $5,500 on DK and seeing 7.2 targets per game, 28% of the team’s air yards, and is 2nd on the team behind JJ in EZ targets



Key Takeaways:

  1. Week after week there’s talk about how bad the Lions defense is… and it’s bad; Barkley should basically run for as many yards as he wants depending on how many carries he gets… if he gets 25-30, he could break the slate and that is well within the range of outcomes
  2. Daniel Jones is so hard to trust and I always am “tempted” to play him (somewhat) but the upside is more often than not capped; however, the Lions have allowed 6.3 rush attempts/game, 41.3 rush yards/game to opposing QBs this season (both most in the league); while Jones doesn’t have the rushing upside (or attempts) of the likes of Hurts/Lamar/Fields, he is averaging just over 42 rush yards/game on 3-5 attempts/game
  3. It’s hard to trust anyone on the Giants that isn’t named Barkley, but Darius Slayton has finished as a Top 30 WR on the week (PPR season-long; per Dwain MacFarland, PFF) 3 consecutive weeks, seen a 24% target share, 25% air yards share, 29% EZ target share, and sporting a healthy aDOT of 13.3! What all this means is that yes, he’s boom/bust without question, but his Yards/Route Run (per PFF) is huge at 2.26 (for reference; Slayton is 5k with a 2.26 Yards/Route Run and the next best is Chris Olave at 2.29 who is priced at $6,800) giving him a big ceiling/floor combo at what should almost always be very low ownership
  4. If removing the 2 games he got injured, ARSB has run a route on 95% of Goff’s drop backs this season for a 33% target/route run share (enormous) and 25% overall target share as the undisputed alpha of the Lions and I have no confidence that Fabian Moreau can cover him whatsoever… if Goff can get him the ball, ARSB has a mega-ceiling
  5. Kalif Raymond is someone I have played 3-4 times this season and it would appear he is only in the game to run wind sprints… Raymond has run a route on 92.5% of drop backs this season that has only resulted in 31 total targets so while I think he’s a viable cheap piece to use in a stack, he’s not appealing to me as a one off and neither is anyone but ARSB
  6. Lastly, not sure what Dan Campbell and the Lions coaching staff are trying to do (or not do), but apparently Swift is on a permanent snap count and Jamaal Williams still seems to get every single goal line/<5/<10 carry, making both of them stay away pieces for me with the lack of clarity and both cannibalizing each other’s potential fantasy points


GPP Leverage/Low Owned Plays

Kenny Pickett: The Steelers have looked blah this year and Kenny Pickett has looked better in each game but not great; a few things to note are first, the Steelers have had a pretty brutal schedule, two, the return of TJ Watt is a massive difference for obviously the DL (probably a top 5 or so DL in the NFL) and in turn should help the offense playing less catchup each game; Pickett may be shaky still, but has great pass catchers in Diontae/Pickens/Pat Freiermuth; the Bengals defense has looked above-average this year but have recently put Chidobe Awuzie on IR and have a very beatable secondary with dusty Eli Apple and supporting cast… a lot of risk but on a tight pricing slate, Pickett is a solid cheap with upside option in what should be a good game script

Antonio Gibson: The Commanders have been set on using Brian Robinson ever since he returned in Week 6 despite not posting very encouraging or efficient numbers in his first 6 games (3.1 Yards/Carry; -0.13 Rush EPA/Carry; both per Sam Hoppen at 4for4) vs. Gibson averaging just over 4 yards/carry and a Rush EPA/Carry of 0.09; nevertheless, Gibson still remains the prime RB for targets while McKissic is out as Gibson has seen 3+ targets in every game but 1 this season, and that’s with 8/10 weeks McKissic active… the Texans rush defense has been destroyed (to put it nicely) all season so although I bring up the split backfield, I think there is room for both guys to potentially get there or for Gibson to still have a solid opportunity to hit 3/4/5x value given his receiving usage and High-Value Touches (“HVTs”; per Ben Gretch); Gibson is averaging 4.6 HVTs per game, good for 6th amongst RBs on the slate vs. Robinson averaging 1.7; further, Gibson ranks 12th on the slate amongst RBs in Wtg. Opps per game (13.2) vs. Robinson’s 10.5 per game; of all RBs in the NFL with at least 20 carries this season, Gibson ranks 8th in % of his touches that are High-Value (32%)

Tyler Boyd: The Steelers should continue to look better on defense with the return of T.J. Watt but they can still be beaten (rather easily) through the air and particularly in the slot; the PIT defense has given up the 6th most fantasy points/game to slot WRs this season (16.3) as their primary slot corner, Arthur Maulet, has given up the highest catch rate on the team (76%); overall, the Steelers have given up the 2nd most WR fantasy points/game this season and Boyd has had a terrific year with an average of 5-6 targets per game, 21% air yards share, 15% of the EZ Targets (that stat is always with Ja’Marr Chase; in the first game without Chase, Boyd had 100% of the Bengals EZ targets), and a price that’s most likely too expensive and should lead to relatively low ownership

George Pickens/Pat Freiermuth: Since the departure of Chase Claypool, Pickens has continued his high route participation %, albeit still only resulting in a 16% target share/26% air yards share, while Freiermuth saw a 27% target share in the first game with Claypool out along with a huge 23% targets/route run (PFF; Dwain MacFarland); I like targeting Pickens in a game script like this where I expect they’ll be trailing as he’s not a target monster, but has shown plenty of big-play ability this season with an aDOT of 13.4 and with little threat to his role, should continue to run a similar amount of routes as Diontae

Foster Moreau: The Raiders clearly suck but Foster Moreau remains around the same price range and over his last 3 games with Waller out has run a route on 89% of Carr’s drop backs and seen 17 targets (just under 6 per game) in that span; the Broncos, while also terrible, still have a strong defense and in particular a strong pass defense; however, their weakest coverage is against TEs, where they’ve given up 7.8 targets/55 rec. yards per game (3rd most of any defense on the main slate); Moreau ranks 2nd on the team behind Davante in Targets/Route Run %, has seen the most Play-Action targets of any LV pass catcher (per PFF; Dwain MacFarland) over the full season, and since Renfrow/Waller went to the IR has seen 4 RZ targets/2 EZ targets

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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