FanDuel & DraftKings NFL DFS Week 15 Saturday Slate Breakdown

Dec 15, 2023
Week 15 Saturday 3-Game Slate Breakdown

On a short slate, it’s usually wise to favor GPPs and avoid or limit cash games. With so few players on the slate, there is more overlap between lineups than on the main slate, which leads to much more variance—exactly what we are trying to avoid when grinding cash games.

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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 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 same team in a lineup, rostering one or two players against your defense, and leaving 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.

Saturday Showdown Slates: Vikings at Bengals | Steelers at Colts | Broncos at Lions

Jump to Ownership Projections

Vikings @ Bengals (-3.0); O/U 40.5

Game Notes

  • With Josh Dobbs as the starting quarterback, the Vikings ranked 24th in total EPA per play and 20th in explosive pass rate. Nick Mullens will get the start on Saturday but could have a short leash.
  • Alexander Mattison is out. In Week 14, Ty Chandler handled 15 touches compared to just two for Kene Nwangwu. Chandler is the preferred pay-down value running back on the slate but may lack a ceiling, along with the rest of Minnesota’s offense.
  • T.J. Hockenson has the best on-paper matchup of the slate as the Bengals give up the most schedule-adjusted points to tight ends.
  • Over the last three weeks, Jake Browning ranks seventh among quarterbacks in fantasy points per game. His 4.7-yard average throw depth, however, ranks 37th out of 38 quarterbacks with at least 20 attempts in that span, suggesting regression may be coming. Minnesota allows the fourth-fewest schedule-adjusted fantasy points to quarterbacks.
  • In Browning’s three starts, Bengals running backs have accounted for 19% of team targets. Chase Brown had 11 touches last week while Joe Mixon has played fewer than two-thirds of team snaps in three of the Bengals’ last four games. The Vikings surrender the second-fewest schedule-adjusted points to running backs but have allowed the seventh-most receptions to the position this season.

Ownership and Leverage

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