Week Five NFL DFS AutoMattek Absolutes
Times have changed in DFS. When I first started writing the AutoMattek Absolutes six years ago, cash games were all anyone wanted to talk about. A majority of players considered themselves cash game grinders and tournaments were secondary to the 50/50’s, head to heads and double-ups.
That is no longer the case. Tournaments are the primary source of discussion and interest for both the casual and serious DFS players. As such, the content has to evolve with time. Throughout the 2019 NFL season, the AutoMattek Absolutes will be a hybrid GPP strategy/individual plays highlight column to help you get prepared for the Sunday main slate of tournaments.
What To Do When You Get Lemons
The NFL slate makers have delivered to us a lemon of a slate. There are no games with a total over 50 and the two highest team totals of the slate (the Patriots and Eagles) are both favored by over 12 points. The “chalk” of the early week looks like Auden Tate, which should be met with a resounding “WHO?” by most of our reading audience. The Houston/Atlanta game is going to draw in a lot of ownership, especially as Kenny Stills is likely to miss that game but the total is only sitting at 49 which is a far cry from a shootout.
So what do we do in these sorts of weeks? I think the instinctual response from many DFS players is just to find comforts. In general, finding places where the public is overconfident is a great way to make money in DFS but even more so in weeks where the reward for that confidence is lower. There is a big difference between game-stacking a Chiefs/Rams game vs a Falcons/Texans game due to the skill level of the teams involved and the nature of play-calling from the coaches.
Before you even start building this week, or reading articles or constructing lineups, I would encourage you to think a little closer about the player pool that you are constructing. What games with a lower total or wider spread have a chance to turn into shootouts? I have my own opinions on that but I imagine that you probably do as well. Finding those spots in weeks with oddly congested ownerships is particularly rewarding, as would taking a big stand on a player or game stack that might be fairly owned but nowhere approximating “chalk”.
Can’t Quit Kyler
If you came to find a column telling you to STOP playing Kyler Murray and their opponents, you came to the wrong place. First, the Cardinals are still on pace to be one of the pass-heaviest teams in NFL history. Murray’s 169 attempts are third in the league; of course, his efficiency is dragging behind but that is not much of a concern to me. The sheer volume is the right place to start building from. This week, there are a few game stacks options that make sense.
With John Ross and Christian Kirk injured, we get three cheap options in our player pool: Auden Tate, KeeSean Johnson, and Trent Sherfield. On their own, these guys are pretty terrible one-offs. None of them really project well at a 90th percentile and Tate, in particular, is going to be more owned than his price tag suggests. One way to combat that with players who are owned despite a mediocre projection is to only use them in game stacks.
Creating that rule automatically means that you are only going to be using Tate in a game stack. In general, I think that is a pretty interesting rule to create when using popular players in your builds. If you aren’t wanting to create a full fade position but only find them in lineups where their full upside is being realized, this is a great way to do that.
The bring backs here are pretty obvious and one of the reasons I like them, even more, this week is: they are all cheap. You can pretty easily fit in two studs with an Arizona/Cincy game stack so if this game sees 150 plays or turns into a shootout, the ceilings on those lineups are going to be absolutely massive.
Are There Any Good Running Backs?
All of the $8,000 and up running backs on DraftKings project reasonably well (CMC, Kamara, Cook, Elliot) but the chances are that you are probably not going to be playing two of them together in most of your teams or if you are, those lineups are less likely to be game stacks. Tournaments are often won by finding breakout days from the mid-tier at running back. There are a few options I see as being better than the bunch.
Jones has been more involved in the passing game this year than our season-long projections at RotoExperts expected but he has also lost a fair amount of work to Jamaal Williams. Williams is not likely to play this week after being stretchered off on Thursday night, though in the NFL nothing is impossible. Davante Adams is also not likely to play in this game which would mean that his wide receiver teammates Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Geronimo Allison are going to be more popular tournament options. That leaves us with Jones who has 1) been a good pass-catcher this year and 2) is backed up by practice squadder Dexter Williams and fullback Dan Vitale. Similar to Wayne Gallman last week, he might just get most of the work for a one week period and see a spike in value.
Look, I do not even like David Montgomery. I don’t think he is particularly good and the team has not seemed like they are super committed to feeding him the ball until last week. The loss of Mitch Trubisky is probably bad for the offensive efficiency of the team but they are still 5.5 point favorites over the Oakland Raiders. Montgomery saw 21 rushing attempts to Tarik Cohen’s fine last week and was targeted five times in the passing game as well. Montgomery now will play as a favorite to the Raiders and we would expect a pretty conservative and ground-heavy game plan for the Bears with Chase Daniel under center. I will be plugging my nose and using Montgomery in MME builds on DraftKings.
I did not want to be this guy. I hate being this guy! However, Miles Sanders is the more athletic and more explosive Philadelphia Eagles running back. The team gave Jordan Howard all of the red zone work last week in a huge game against the Packers and he actually saw more work in the passing game to Sanders big fat ZERO targets as well. If that is indeed the backfield split moving forward, this is going to look extremely stupid.
However, before the massive Howard game, Sanders was the more-used player in the passing game and Darren Sproles complete removal opens up the door for these two to be productive in the same games. The biggest factor at play here is that the Eagles have a 29 total, almost the highest of the week, and I am not sure if any of their players are going to be particularly popular.
Mike Evans Wants To Make You Rich
It is early in the week so this might end up being a popular way to create lineups in which case #NoThanks, but the fact that the Buccaneers again have a lower-ish total of 21 points makes me think that they won’t be one of the three or four most popular stacks. Creating Jameis Winston rules with bring-backs for the Saints of Kamara and Thomas are really interesting. No quarterback has a lower deep-throw attempt rate than Teddy Bridgewater and no quarterback has a higher average intended air yards per pass than Jameis Winston.
To me, this sets up as a great way to build lineups because it keeps my QB pool small (do not have to play Bridgewater) and the Saints/Buccaneers offense is perfectly concentrated.
So help me God, we are going to run O.J Howard back ONE MORE WEEK. If this double-stack ruins me while only one of these guys gets 40, then so be it. Over the long run, you are creating more unique rosters with the double-stack.
On the other side, the rule is obvious:
You could try to get weird and add Jared Cook or one of the Saints secondary pass-catchers to this group but I will not personally be doing that. For a 12-game slate, getting exposure to legitimately terrible plays (I mean, other than everyone on the Arizona Cardinals), is not the preferred method.