Sam’s Matchups, Stacks, & GPP Breakdown – NFL Week 7 - DFS Karma
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Sam’s Matchups, Stacks, & GPP Breakdown – NFL Week 7

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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. The Seahawks are surrendering 25.1 DK Points/Game to opposing TEs… no other team has given up more than 19 points per game on average to that position (stats wise, they’re giving up around 8 targets/70 yards/0.7 TDs per game to TEs)
  2. The SEA defense ranks 3rd to last in EPA/Play allowed on defense, 3rd to last in EPA/Drop back allowed, 25th (out of 32) in EPA/Rush allowed
  3. Speaking of the rush defense, the Seahawks have given up 116 yards rushing/5. 8 targets/42 yards receiving to opposing RBs on average through their first 6 games
  4. On the SEA offensive, Geno has shown to be more than capable, ranking 4th in Fantasy Points per drop back of all QBs on the slate (per PFF) and the offensive as a whole ranks 5th in EPA/Play and 4th in EPA/Drop back
  5. Kenneth Walker doesn’t have the established role and/or pass game work (as of yet, at least) as Ekeler, but the Chargers defense have given up 115 rush yards/0.83 TDs/6 targets/32 receiving yards on average to opposing RBs this season
  6. I have a lot of interest in Chargers stacks here but I know I won’t be alone in that… I love the idea of stacking Herbert with Ekeler who is my #1 rated RB on the slate with his 8.2 targets/game, 21.3 wtg. opportunities (1st on the slate) per game, and 7.7 HVTs (High Value Touches; Ben Gretch, formally of CBS) per game
  7. (6b) It remains to be seen if Keenan plays, but without him the last 5 games, Mike Williams/Ekeler have combined for a 41% target share while Lockett/Metcalf on the SEA side have combined for a 52% target share
  8. The only 3 man team stack I have projected for a higher ceiling than Herbert/Ekeler/Mike Williams (or Keenan) is the stack of Burrow/Ja’Marr Chase/Higgins (Burrows stack projected for 5 points higher ceiling and costs $700 less)




Key Takeaways:

  1. Since returning to action in Week 4 for the Cowboys, Michael Gallup has run a route on 94% of Cooper Rush’s drop backs (per PFF); in 7 healthy games with Dak last year (excluding Week 1/Week 18), Gallup ran a route on 94% of drop backs and averaged 6.9 targets per game… I don’t think we’ll see him $5,100 again
  2. CeeDee Lamb could be the highest owned WR on the slate but it is warranted as he’s only the 8th most expensive WR facing a DET defense that’s been shredded by every position (given up the 3rd most DK Points per game to QBs, 2nd most to RBs, 8th most to WRs, 7th most to TEs) along with Lamb seeing 10 targets a game, a near 40% air yards share, and a 2.11 yards/route run (per PFF), good for 7th best among WRs on the slate
  3. I’ll fire up Amon-Ra St. Brown with confidence (as everyone should…) as the Dallas defense is elite but St. Brown is a GOD combined with a very winnable matchup in the slot with Jourdan Lewis
  4. It feels awful, and there is very clear downside, but Ezekiel Elliott is going to continue to be part of this offense whether we like it or not… seeing 15-18 rush attempts per game, around 2 targets, and as mentioned above, facing a DET defense that’s given up 30.3 DK points on average to opposing RBs
  5. When looking at correlation for stacks, per my good friend at 4for4 (SAM HOPPEN), Dak’s most correlated teammate is CeeDee Lamb followed by Zeke… put another way, I think that’s a very interesting way to stack up the Cowboys without going double WR but still rostering players with the highest TD equity/highest ceilings
  6. Both of these team rank in the Top 6 in seconds per play (situation neutral) thus far this season (DET 6/DAL 5)



Key Takeaways:

  1. To remove any risk of burying the lead… CMC to SF. WOW. Not sure how it’ll play out but certainly interesting and I’m excited to watch Shannahan claim CMC and then give Tevin Coleman the goal line work with Jeff Wilson blocking and CMC on the bench… will be fun times
  2. The Chiefs rank 1st in EPA/Play on offense, 2nd in EPA/Drop back, and 12th in EPA/Rush through their first 6 games
  3. Both teams have held opposing running backs to a very low 75 yards or less on the ground, on average, but both have been very susceptible to receiving RBs with KC yielding a whopping 10.3 targets/62 receiving yards per game to RBs while SF has allowed 7.2 targets per game to the same position
  4. The SF defense (and offense) has been wrecked by injuries but should be getting Nick Bosa back this week on defense along with Trent Williams at LT (very important)
  5. The presence alone of CMC makes Deebo/Jeff Wilson Jr. a difficult situation to attack; I’ll go back to George Kittle who started the season doing almost exclusively blocking yet has now upped the tempo with an average of 6.3 targets per game, a 19% RZ target share, has run a route on 85%+ of drop backs in 3 of his 4 games, and facing a KC defense that’s yielded 7.5 targets/0.7 TDs/46 receiving yards to opposing TEs; of note, KC’s LB who should be on Kelce (Willie Gay Jr.) has given up a 94% catch rate this season and 0.48 fantasy points/route (worst in the league among TE coverage)
  6. If stacking Mahomes, he will be low owned (again), but deciding who to stack him with aside from Kelce is tough without another true alpha after TyScum left… I would use either MVS who had a poor week in Week 6 but maintains an aDOT of over 10, 5-6 targets per game, and has run a route on a higher % of drop backs than JuJu who I will avoid as despite the box score last week still only saw 5 targets (1 of which was a near 50 yard busted play)




Key Takeaways:

  1. Despite a sluggish start to the season and some questionable coaching decisions by Zac Taylor, the Bengals rank 6th in the league in EPA/Drop back through the first 6 weeks
  2. Burrow is 7th in the league in drop backs/game (42.7; per PFF), has finished as a top 6 or better weekly fantasy QB in 3 of his last 4 games (again, per PFF), and the Bengals rank 5th in PROE over their first 6 games
  3. Of all qualified players (target/rush minimums), Mixon ranks dead last in fantasy points per game vs. expected fantasy points per game; i.e. he has underperformed/ran bad/got unlucky/etc. etc. more than any other play thus far and it certainly feels (and looks) like some positive regression and big blow-up spot is coming
  4. (3b) Mixon is averaging 19.6 wtg. opportunities per game, 2nd on the slate behind Ekeler, 2nd most HVTs per game (6.5), again behind Ekeler, and if ownership stays in check (currently around 15%) he represents a piece you can stack with Burrow and a WR or play in a mini stack as people (I would assume) flock to the passing attack
  5. The Falcons are averaging 27.7 drop backs per game, dead last in the league, 31.3 rush attempts per game, 2nd highest in the league, and this side is mostly unappealing to me with the exception for maybe Drake London in a game stack who is much too cheap for someone averaging 7.3 targets per game, 32% of the air yards, and 27% of the RZ targets




Key Takeaways:

  1. Maybe this is a popular take and I’m just unaware, but this feels like a game that could pop off with how bad/injured both of these defenses are; the Ravens rank bottom 12 in the league in EPA/Play, EPA/Rush, EPA/Drop back on defense while the Browns rank dead last in EPA/Rush allowed, 2nd to last in EPA/Play allowed, and 8th worst in EPA/Drop back allowed
  2. He may feel expensive, but definitely significant that Nick Chubb is going to be under 5% owned, has explosive upside, and the Browns are #1 in the league in EPA/Rush on offense
  3. I assume he’s fine to play and Mark Andrews this season has a 33% target share… yes 33%, which actually ties him with CeeDee Lamb for highest individual target share for any player at any position on the main slate; that goes along with a near 40% RZ target share, a 2.32 yards/route run (per PFF), by far the highest of all TEs, and has historically shredded the Browns in most of their divisional games
  4. Despite what many may think of Brissett, he has been far from the problem for the Browns; the Browns rank 7th in the league in Drives that end with a TD (25%)
  5. Amari Cooper has been on a tear with a 35% air yards share, 9.2 targets per game, 32% of the RZ targets, and the Ravens have given up the 4th most points on defense to the WR position thus far
  6. I don’t need to tell you Lamar Jackson is good… but he carries an unmatched ceiling on this slate compared to every other QB with 8-10 rush attempts per game to go with 34-38 drop backs per game
  7. I think DPJ and David Bell are very risky but interesting punts; the Ravens slot corner has been KILLED (Damarion Williams) this season, surrendering 3 TDs, a 76% catch rate, and 11.4 yards/reception


GPP Leverage/Low Owned Plays

Dak Prescott: Maybe I’ll end up wrong on ownership, but it looks to me like Dak is going to be around 7% owned max… the concerns are obvious: first game back, Mike McCarthy is an idiot, etc, etc.; however, this Lions defense is horrendous, the Cowboys need to be aggressive to attempt to keep pace with the Eagles, and with Gallup back to health, it’s easy to forget that a very similar offense last year was the highest scoring in the NFL with Dak hucking the ball all over the field

Derrick Henry: Not sure I write up the Big Dog more than 1-2 times a year, but his ownership seems to be in check (around 10%) with most opting for the chalk Jacobs/Kenneth Walker combo; I wish the receiving role was better, but Henry has at least seen around a 37% route participation through their first 5 games (bye last week), ranks 1st among RBs on the slate in rush attempts/game, 8th most wtg. opportunities per game (16.9), and my projected 3rd highest ceiling for the main slate RBs

Travis Etienne: Oh he’s back again in the write-up… only 5400 against what I believe is a very overrated and overachieving Giants team, Etienne has seen 10.4 wtg. opps. per game even with James Robinson back there as he out-snapped the latter for the 5th straight week in Week 6, set a season high route participation (59%) and over the last 3 weeks has played 95% of the 2 minutes or less snaps for the Jags

Robert Tonyan: Tonyan saw his highest route participation of the season last week (74%) and turned it into a 27% target share (11 targets in total); of all TEs on the slate, Tonyan is tied for the highest route run % (95.1%) with Mark Andrews, has the 4th highest targets/route run (per PFF), and is quietly the TE9 in fantasy PPR scoring this season with the thin GB WR core right now

Davante Adams: It’s weird to call Adams a “leverage” or “low owned play” but he fits the bill perfectly this week as I have him projected for around 6-7% ownership as the most expensive WR and while we know the mega ceiling he carries, I love the play as direct leverage off of what could be a 30-35% owned Josh Jacobs… Darren Waller looks like he’s on the wrong side of questionable, Hunter Renfrow is slightly banged up, and I’m not sure what Lovie Smith is hoping happens when any of Stingley/Nelson/Desmond King try to cover Adams…

Terry McLaurin: This carries a ton of risk, but when looking at Terry’s games last year with Heinicke at the help, he averaged over 8 targets per game on top of the fact that Dotson/Dyami Brown look very, very questionable for their Week 7 game with the Packers; the matchup isn’t great with Jaire Alexander, I assume, to cover him as much as he can, but the volume should undoubtedly be there and Terry could end up only 1-2% owned

Zay Jones:My weekly declaration to play Zay Jones… 7.4 targets per game, 23% of the RZ targets, has run a route on 94% of Lawrence’s drop backs; Kirk is the clear WR1 in JAX but Zay does carry a higher Targets/Route Run than Kirk (22% vs. 19%), has seen more EZ targets (31% vs. 19% for Kirk), and is dirt cheap at only 4400 where he doesn’t need to explode to hit value but rather rack up receptions on the PPR-friendly DK scoring

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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