Mistakes I’ve made in NFL DFS the last Two Seasons: Part 2 – The Field is Sharper
As you read from Part 1, I need to make improvements to my NFL DFS game to get back in the green! I am determined to find my mistakes and make improvements for the 2022 season. Part 2 identifies not so much a mistake by me, but a key issue and how I will address it.
Issue/Mistake #2: The Field is Sharper:
When I started playing NFL DFS in 2013, mostly on DraftStreet back then (wow that makes me feel old), there were not many content sites. At least I didn’t know of many. Year after year, more quality content and subscription websites have been added. Which is awesome! We hope Fanspeak.com will be a new, valuable DFS resource for you this season!
But what that did is make the field a lot sharper. In the past, you could find leverage with ownership, stacking, and simply hidden gems that would help vault you to the top of a leaderboard. With the amount of good content, now that leverage is much smaller.
One example is Will Fuller. In 2017, you could play him coming off a dud week and he was a stud the next week at sub 10% ownership. Just two years later, in 2019, Will Fuller puts up a dud. What does the field do the next week? Play him in the bounce-back spot. And even though he erupted with 14 catches 217 yards and 3 TDs, he was 40+% owned if I remember correctly. That’s just one example of the field getting sharper and the edges we once had getting smaller.
Answer: When they zig, I zag (in a smart way):
Obviously, the main key is identifying what I think is good chalk vs. bad chalk. If it’s good chalk (like 2019 Will Fuller), you need to play him. But I need to not be afraid to make stands. So here are a few ways I can make smart stands:
When there is confirmation bias on a player or a concept that I don’t agree with, I need to go way underweight or even fade that player. Again, this is only if I think it is bad chalk or a concept I don’t agree with.
-Use Ownership in the Right Context:
To follow up on that, I need to use ownership in the right context. I can’t just say this player is 30% owned, I’m fading him. Or this player is 5% owned, I have to play him. If I like the player that week based on my research, then go overweight on his ownership. If I don’t like a player, go underweight or fade a player. I think it’s more important about how I feel about a player that week, not the actual ownership number.
-Stacking and “Bring Backs”:
I believe in stacking. But I don’t believe in forcing “bring backs” from the other team or overstacking if the situation does not warrant that strategy. Too often during the last two years, I forced the “bring back” or overstacked a team because it is a very common strategy that is discussed in a lot of content. And for specific games, slates, and field sizes, it absolutely makes sense! But for the field sizes I play, I need to make sure the concept of the stack and “bring back” makes sense.
When Jonathan Taylor scored 5 TDs against the Bills last season, you did not want Josh Allen or any Bills players in that game stack.
If a lot of DFS players are holding spots for late swap, maybe I shouldn’t be afraid to be overweight on 1 pm players to gain some leverage. If the 1 pm slate has some shootouts or Jonathan Taylor 5 TD performances, then I want as much access, and I may get those early players at lower ownership.
I’m sure I’ll want some access to the 4 pm slate, especially depending on the teams playing. But I’ve been burned by saving too many spots for what I think are going to be 4 pm shootouts that turned out to be 4 pm duds.
-Pivoting to Lower Owned Receiver from Same Team:
If a lot of analysts are really high on a wide receiver and the other receiver in that offense is projected to be lower owned, they may be worth a look.
Last season, I remember a week that everyone was high on Mike Williams. Do you know who had the much better game and much lower ownership? Keenan Allen. This concept isn’t going to work all the time. Again, if I indeed think Mike Williams is good chalk, I need to go with it. But I also need to dig deeper and make sure the other stud receiver in that offense doesn’t have the same opportunity at lower ownership.
-Pivoting to Low Owned Defense Against High Owned Quarterback:
If a lot of analysts are very high on a quarterback, and I see a path to failure, then I need to fade the QB and play the defense at most likely low ownership. That way I’m gaining leverage in two ways.
This worked for me in the 2019 season opener. Most analysts were very high on Jameis Winston (still with the Buccaneers at the time) to start the season. I knew Winston can put up big numbers, but I also knew he was mistake-prone and pushed the ball down the field a lot. The Bucs were playing the 49ers and the 49ers put a lot of resources into their defense that offseason with Nick Bosa, Richard Sherman & company. Winston threw 1 TD and 3 INTs and the 49ers were the low-owned defense you wanted to play.
None of these points or strategies are meant to be critical in any way. I know the field is sharper because of all the amazing content out there. And again, I hope Fanspeak will add to that valuable content this season. But no analyst, site, or service is always right. So I need to use their analysis and resources to help make my own decisions. But I can’t be afraid to make my own stands to continue to find leverage in this very competitive DFS landscape.
-Part 2 – The Field is Sharper
-Part 3 – Information Overload Paralysis
-Part 4 – Building Lineups Too Late
-Part 5 – What Type of DFS Player am I?