Wild Card NFL DFS Saturday Slate Breakdown
Considering the total is five points higher and stacking options are cleaner, I expect we'll see higher overall ownership in the Raiders and Bengals game. The perceived lack of upside paired with the frigid temperatures reported in Buffalo will keep folks away from the ancillary pieces in that game, especially on the New England side. Josh Allen will carry massive ownership, driving up the popularity of his pass-catchers, so stack with caution. Let's dig in.
For those used to playing full slates, consider these potential adjustments or listen to this DFS MVP theory segment on playing short slates:
- Short slates are not all about value - With so few players in the pool, there will inevitably be a ton of overlap in lineups which naturally leads to a high variance slate. For this reason, it makes sense to focus on GPPs. (Putting your tournament lineups in small entry 50/50s or multipliers, however, can be a nice way to give your lineups a floor). Rather than building lineups with all of the best point-per-dollar plays, consider game flow scenarios and build lineups that follow a logical narrative relative to those scripts—strategies such as full onslaughts are very much in play.
- Consider non-traditional lineup builds - On short slates, there are some lineup construction strategies to consider that would never make sense on a full slate. Some examples are playing more than one running back from the same game or team in a lineup, rostering one or two players against your defense, and leaving (lots of) salary on the table. It’s going to be tough to find contrarian stand-alone players—look for other ways to be unique.
- There is leverage to be had at the “onesies” - Full slates will rarely have any quarterback, tight end, or defense in more than 15%–20% of lineups in large-field GPPs. On slates such as this one, players at those positions could approach 50% ownership in even the largest fields. This presents a rare opportunity to be contrarian at positions where ownership is usually quite flat.
- Stick to a (relatively) small player pool - It’s tempting to try to cover all of your bases when the player pool is so small but that will only dilute your good reads. Narrow in on a small core with your favorite off-the-board plays and be way overweight on those players. Coupled with strong correlation plays, this is how to build a profitable portfolio on a short slate.
- Don’t forget about late swaps - With no overlap between games, this slate may offer the biggest edge of the year when it comes to late swap. Teams that are contrarian early have an especially big edge with the ability to swap off of popular players in late games if they are doing poorly or stay on chalky players if their early contrarian plays hit. For more information on late swap theory, listen to this DFS MVP segment.
Raiders @ Bengals (-5); O/U 48.5
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