Sam’s Matchups, Stacks, & GPP Breakdown – NFL Week 5 - DFS Karma
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Sam’s Matchups, Stacks, & GPP Breakdown – NFL Week 5

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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. Miles Sanders doesn’t have the ceiling of other feature RBs, but with a decent amount of pOWN likely to come on the Eagles passing attack, Sanders offers solid leverage on a team with the 3rd highest implied team total… Hurts eats into his rush attempts but Sanders has doubled the snap % of any other RB (around 60% vs. 29% for Gainwell) and ranks 9th amongst RBs on the slate in Weighted Opportunities per game (14.5)
  2. The Cardinals defense has been horrendous, to say it nicely… they also have allowed the most targets per game to TEs thus far (9.5 per game) and Dallas Goedert has run a route on 91% of Hurts’ drop backs, ranks 3rd among TEs on the slate in Yards/Route Run (per PFF; 1st is Pat Freiermuth, 2nd Tyler Higbee), has seen 20% of the RZ targets, and his ownership should be kept in check by I assume a very chalk Tyler Higbee (currently project him for 20-23% pOWN%)
  3. Both teams through 4 weeks are in the Top 5 in plays per game (ARI 1st 73/game; PHI 5th 71.3/game)
  4. This team needs DeAndre Hopkins back badly… I’m fine stacking up Hurts/Eagles without a run back because Kliff Kingsbury is a fake sharp and a terrible coach
  5. Hollywood Brown’s ceiling remains high due to heavy volume (26% target share) but his upside could be limited by Darius Slay (don’t think he’ll shadow but should be on Hollywood more than anyone)



Key Takeaways:

  1. Despite a sluggish start due to a multitude of injuries, in the first game with both Evans/Godwin in the lineup Brady posted a Top 4 QB fantasy finish in Week 4
  2. The Falcons this year rank 4th to last in the league in EPA/Play allowed on defense; 2nd to last in EPA/Rush allowed
  3. Rachaad White’s role is growing, no doubt about it, however the Bucs were trailing last week the entire game; this week, the Bucs are 10 point favorites and Fournette has still average 80% of the snaps over the first 4 weeks, handled 71% of the rush attempts, 13% of the targets, and 15.9 weighted opps. per game (6th on the slate); he should be owned but probably for good reason
  4. Tyler Allgeier has some appeal at only $4,700; however, the Bucs will most likely (or at least should) sell out to stop the run and make Mariota throw… which if watching last week, is not great for the Falcons; large field GPP play only for me
  5. With Pitts ruled OUT, I expect Drake London to be even more of an alpha in the offense, but I expect his ownership to get steamed up with the Falcons 1) expected to be trailing and 2) no other pass options for Mariota… London is a good play but I would try to get different when I play him and not play him as a one off
  6. Brady spreads the ball a ton… what does that mean? Most QBs it’s unlikely that they can get 2 WRs in the same game enough of a ceiling to win a GPP but Brady is one of the exceptions…
  7. (6a): Cade Otton is the min price, Cameron Brate is out, and Otton ran a route on 80% of Brady’s drop backs after Brate left last game for 4 targets/3 receptions/29 yards



Key Takeaways:

  1. Alvin Kamara is the cheapest he’s been on DK since Week 9 of 2017 (if my historical database is correct) in an offense that’s likely missing Winston, possibly Michael Thomas, and facing a Seattle defense that’s given up 7.5 targets on AVG to RBs (46 yards given up on average)/ranks 2nd to last in the league in EPA/Play allowed
  2. Fun fact that has no predictive value: Kamara’s last 2 meetings against SEA he’s up 36 and 37 DK points
  3. Lockett is getting a ton of buzz as he’s only 5600 and Geno has been gifted the ability to run pass plays under Pete Carroll (still in shock over this)… plus, DK Metcalf should see more of Lattimore; this seems like a pay up to be contrarian spot with Metcalf $1300 more with a higher ceiling/explosiveness but tougher coverage… if playing Geno I would stack one of them, not both, and if it’s Lockett I would try to get different elsewhere and not run it back with Olave
  4. Speaking of Olave, he’s shaping up to be one of the higher owned WRs on the slate and if MT misses again, he’s hard to avoid (at least in cash) at that price point and usage; even with Andy Dalton under center, Olave still saw 26% of the targets, kept his high aDOT (season aDOT = 19.3), and 45% of the air yards
  5. I still think Juwan Johnson is in play as he’s only $3k, hasn’t popped off for much of anything yet, but is still the leading TE in terms of routes/usage, running a route on 67% of drop backs this season vs. 22% for Trautman/7% for Taysom; this week he’s get a matchup with Cody Barton who when covering TEs has given up the most fantasy points/route this season and yielded an 88% (!!) catch rate to opponents



Key Takeaways:

  1. While most lineup to play Josh Allen/Jalen Hurts or drop to Brady, Herbert is left in a dead zone of pricing that could lead to under 5% ownership; Herbert ranks 6th in drop backs per game (per PFF) and the Cleveland Defense has looked like swiss cheese along with numerous injuries
  2. Austin Ekeler finally popped off for a ceiling game last week and comes into Week 5 as the leader of all RBs on the slate in Weighted Opps. per game (18.9), High-Value Touches per game (7.5), and now facing a CLE team that ranks 3rd to last in EPA/Rush allowed through 4 games; of note, with Keenan out, Ekeler and Mike Williams are tied for target share leaders
  3. If Keenan misses and Palmer is at all limited, I DO think that DeAndre Carter is not a bad WR to stack up with Herbert as Herbert spreads the ball more than just about anyone; Carter is only 3900, has near the same aDOT as Mike Williams (12.1 vs. Big Mike aDOT of 13.2)
  4. A bit surprising to see Chubb garnering next to no ownership after last week’s big game… he’s expensive and we know about the lack of a passing role but 1) we know the upside, 2) the Chargers are 5th to last in EPA/Rush Allowed, and 3) worth noting that Chubb has run a route on 41% or more of Brissett’s drop backs in each of his last 3 games; Hunt leads Chubb in target share but only by 1-2 a game, while Chubb sees double the rush attempts and 4 more weighted opps per game compared to Hunt
  5. David Njoku has run a route on 82% or more of Brissett’s drop backs in each of his last 3 games, has the highest Yards/Route Run on the team (1.79; per PFF) and is seeing 32% of the team’s RZ targets/25% of the end zone targets



Key Takeaways:

  1. Devin Singletary has fully controlled the Bills backfield over the last few weeks; in Week 4, Singletary played on 87% of the snaps, saw 55% of the rush attempts, and ran a route on 79% of Allen’s drop backs; with Crowder OUT, Knox OUT, and McKenzie looking very iffy, there’s room to expand on an already solid 5.3 targets/game and the 3rd most HVTs/Game of RBs on the slate (5 per game)
  2. In a game that they’re a 14 point favorite, at home, and the highest implied team total on the slate, Allen is the only one projecting for high pOWN% with Diggs at around 10-12% (I expect more like 15%); stacking this game with or without Allen is sharp and by using Singletary/Davis/Quintin Morris (backup TE)/McKenzie or Shakir if McKenzie out, we get access to what should be a Bills offensive onslaught at low ownership… food for thought
  3. Building on the above, some of my favorite ways to play this game are Allen/Singletary/Davis, Allen/Davis/Morris, Singletary/Davis/Pickens
  4. If McKenzie does miss, there’s a chance Shakir is in line for an every-down role at only 3200
  5. Kenny Pickett should be an upgrade from Mitch (how could he be worse), but the Steelers still play slow (only averaging 58.5 plays per game vs. BUF 68.8 per game) and facing a stiff BUF defense; all this to say my interest in the Steelers skill players is low with the exception of George Pickens
  6. Pickens has run a route on 90% of drop backs this season and has a higher target share, aDOT, and Air Yards share vs. Chase Claypool; still only 4300, we’re betting on big plays not the volume of someone like Diontae Johnson


GPP Leverage/Low Owned Plays

Teddy Bridgewater: The drop off from Tua to Teddy could be exaggerated because at least in my opinion, they’re not all THAT different… Teddy is only 5400 and facing a non-imposing Jets defense, to say the least, who ranks 3rd to last in both EPA/Play allowed and EPA/Drop Back allowed; Teddy’s ceiling is Top 7 or 8 on the slate and he’s one of the cheaper QB options

Rashaad Penny: Normally RBs coming off big games get steamed up but that doesn’t seem to be the case with Penny who I am projecting for around 5-7% ownership as of this writing… 3 of his 4 games this year Penny has seen 67% or more of the team snaps, 50% or more route participation, and while the pass game work is lacking, has explosive upside and ranks Top 15 of all RBs this year in Missed Tackles Forced (12 on 49 attempts; per PFF)

Justin Jefferson: It appears that all of Kupp/Diggs/Hill/Deebo will be 10+% owned minimum… and then we have Justin Jefferson projected for 6% ownership when he’s playing in a dome against a bad defense on top of seeing 10.5 targets a game, 30% of the RZ targets, 83% of the end zone targets, and nearly 40% of the air yards… seems like a good pivot to me given the enormous ceiling he has… (see Week 1 or Week 4 of this season for reference)

Jaylen Waddle: Don’t see Waddle on the injury report going into Sunday and he’s 1300 less than TyScum and projecting for 4-5% less ownership… we’ve seen the ceiling and Waddle is hardly a “WR2” in this offense but rather a “WR1b” at worst; 32% of the team’s air yards, 8.5 targets per game, and should shred the garbage corners that the Jets are rolling out

Brandon Aiyuk: Hard to trust any pass catchers not named Deebo in the SF offense, but with Jimmy back under center, Aiyuk has, and should, see similar or increased target volume; averaging 5.8 targets per game, 25% of the RZ targets, and 32% of the air yards, I think Aiyuk is a solid WR pivot at what should be next to no ownership and a cheap price; interesting to see that Aiyuk has actually run more routes than Deebo this year (and has run more in each of their first 4 games)

Tyler Conklin: Wasn’t sure if he would keep up the volume with Zach Wilson instead of Flacco, but Conklin through 4 weeks trails only Elijah Moore in terms of total routes run for the Jets; Conklin has run a route on 79% of the Jets’ drop backs, is seeing the 2nd highest target share on the team (behind Garrett Wilson), and facing a Miami team that has yielded the 4th most targets to TE this season (8.8 per game)

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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