My Retro of Week 7 (10/25/2020)

For the longest time I’ve commented on how my weakest DFS trait is my refusal to review the prior week’s successes and failures.  This “refusal” I speak of tends to be more time-centric, and truthfully the reviews are often looked on as a personal burden.  I mean, who isn’t exhausted after tossing many a miner’s pick repeatedly into the air, sniffing, and licking the edge of the axe in what feels like hours and hours of canvassing the vast terrain consisting of articles, podcasts, chats, text messages, and conversations.  Sigh…I’m tired already! Channeling one’s Yukon Cornelius is no easy weekly feat.  We find no better warmth, however, than the uncovering of tasty nuggets post-lock!  But as you and I will most certainly find, not all nuggets are made of peppermint!

Slate lock affords me some benefits, the first is that which allows me to catch up on my to-do list and family obligations which I’ve put on hold.  Second, I’m allowed to mentally set aside all process-driven convictions and welcome the lack of “noise” between my ears.  But as DFS players, do those convictions truly get put to rest?  We pick up our phone periodically…okay, maybe at a greater cadence than periodically...to monitor our DFS lineup(s) ebb and flow with the day’s progression.  How is that FFPC team accruing points, especially after having dropped 49ers RB Wilson, only to find out later that week that the Packer’s Aaron Jones is a true GTD.  More importantly, how are our lineups performing with the looming afternoon games?  And what, if any, roster swaps need to be completed to keep our team(s) in play?  Well, we certainly can’t let a showdown slate pass without some interest.  And the same bodes for the Monday night game as well.  Now only if I can make it through the 4th quarter without falling asleep (which I’m finding to be more the case than not these days).  Upon waking up Tuesday morning, I see which waiver wire targets can be scraped up.  Maybe it’s only then we get a brief albeit necessary reprieve from all things fantasy sports.  Unless you decide to jump in on that World Series Game 6.  And don’t forget on Wednesday to make it a priority to scan the wire for practice participation (who is or isn’t injured - if they are, to what degree), and who you need to prioritize come that night’s FAAB lock.  But you know what that means?  Less than 24 hours until the Thursday night game.  A new week, a tabula rasa if you will, where it’s no coincidence that you find yourself with a clean slate.  Ah, the joys of fantasy football!!

Now, let’s not kid ourselves, but a review??  Seriously, I’m sitting here wondering the need to torture myself.  Really now, do I need to experience the weekend’s venture again?  Do I really have the stomach for it?  A not so great DFS weekend coupled with my first FFPC loss leaves this venture less than desirable.  And really, who really wants to read about how my weekend went.  Those remotely interested can logically deduce the outcome by my lack of social #screenshot participation. But here I am, third paragraph in, and I’m still proceeding with this review – my first written review for the world to witness.  And while the story may sound similar to that of others, it’s often the results which differ.

Truthfully, this review was inspired by the greater community of players who share a common love of fantasy sports, primarily that of DFS.  Furthermore, this review is in response to those who find the process arduous, but more importantly, non-profitable.  For as much time and effort I put in each week, I can safely say that most weeks are not quite profitable for me either.  And this article’s purpose will be to highlight those deficiencies and failures throughout the 2020 NFL season.  Am I a glutton for punishment?  Not really.  But I am a glutton for game theory, who is striving to strategically pivot when necessary and apply the appropriate leverage accordingly.  And if you can tell by the tone of the article so far, I haven’t leveraged or pivoted worth a damn in what was just Week 7 of the NFL.

Before I dig into that lineup, it may warrant a quick discussion on my #2020dfsgoals (one of the many hashtags I use on Twitter – one you’ll see associated with this post as well).  I liken the challenges of DFS to that of cracking the Da Vinci Code, but one that has the ability to be financially rewarding.  Well, let’s not kid ourselves.  A fair exchange for my time and effort would suit me fine, but is that what I’ve really set out to do?  Not one to be content, I’ll keep rotating the dials until they unlock the DFS cryptex.  Until that happens, though, you have the privilege to read about my single-entry exploits for the remainder of the year (hashtags may or may not be included).  And for that, I thank you in joining me along for the ride!  LFG!!!!

Week 7  NFL $300K Red Zone $50 Single Entry (DK)

I share with you my botched lineup!

QB: D.Watson (27.16 ftps @ $6800; 8.8% owned)

Along with the CLE@CIN game, I really was onto the HOU@GB matchup as an early candidate for game stacking.  Although I could have easily went Rodgers, I felt there was more opportunity with my perceived game script.  A porous GB run defense would benefit not just HOU running back David Johnson but could be exploited easily by a mobile quarterback such as Watson.  Feeling the Texans would be playing from behind, Watson would rely on both his arm and legs to extend the offensive drives. Additionally, I would go on to stack this game, and we'll see those pieces shortly.  Worthy QB note - I originally had Burrow as my QB, but pivoted to Watson.

RB: C.Carson (5.10 fpts @ $6400; 12.8% owned)

Ah, Carson.  The injury ruined what could have been a nice game.  I had originally thought to stack R.Wilson with Carson, but decided to fade the chalk and leverage the running game.  He was able to compile 5 rushes for 34 yards, as well as 1 catch for 7 yards before exiting the game with an injury.  As his replacement, Hyde had success as well, with 15-68-1 rushing and adding 3 receptions for 8 yards.  Arizona had been allowing the 9th most RB rushing/receiving yards, and Carson would dominate the touches at the position.

RB: J.Conner (14.10 fpts @ $6700; 3.7% owned)

I really liked the leverage of Conner vs the anticipated Steeler passing attack, as noted by his ownership.  Conner’s point total was diminished by a TD called back due to penalty, and a 1 yard TD vulture by Snell shortly thereafter.  Even though he was not part of a game stack, I felt like my process led me to a smart play despite the end results.

WR: D.Adams (47.60 fpts @ $4900; 28.6% owned)

Thank you, sir, may I please have another round of chalk!  This play doesn’t need much explaining.  When Aaron Jones was not available for the game, it was easy to set and forget Adams.  On top of that, I coordinated it with my game stack.  Add that fact the Packers were embarrassed last week by Tampa Bay, I knew Adams would deliver this week.

WR: T.Higgins (18.80 fpts @ $5300; 7.9% owned)

Another play I had targeted earlier in the week included Higgins stacked with Burrow.  I felt he would be overlooked in what would also be a high scoring game.  I felt Higgins would be able to get 4x his value at low ownership.  Although he did well, he didn’t do BOYD well.  Oh well…

WR: B.Cooks (13.00 fpts @ $5200; 12.1% owned)

Cooks played a part in my game stack.  I liked pairing him with Watson, and a pivot off of Fuller (who I felt would be covered by PFF’s top-ranked Packer CB Alexander).  Fuller finished with 3-35-1…the one TD coming late in the game.  I also felt Cooks was finally being utilized with the recent coaching change, coming alive the last couple of games, and would be heavily utilized in a game script that had them playing from behind early.

TE: D.Fells (0 fpts @ $4100; 8.4% owned)

Well, at least there were 8.4% of us who got skunked.  Green Bay was allowing the 5th highest success rate to TEs, and felt Watson would utilize him in the red zone as he has the last couple of weeks and no Akins to split time with.  Over the last two games, Fells posted a line of 8-142-2.  In retro here, the stack with Fells can only be called as cute.  Probably my second worst play.

FLEX: J.Jackson (10.50 fpts @ $4900; 3.5% owned)

I felt the Chargers were utilizing Jackson more, and that Jacksonville would be the perfect opportunity to get reps in a game they should be winning rather easily.  Well, that really didn’t transpire as I had planned.  Can’t offer too much on this, and in hindsight, maybe this was my worst pick of the day.  I’m really wondering why I went with Jackson now – how did I come to roster him and how did I see a vision where he could give me 4x.  Still not sure.  And I’m sure you all are scratching your heads as I am.

DST: Titans (6.00 fpts @ $2500; 1.1% owned)

When it comes to defense, I typically target those that offer the ability to generate pressure.  Such pressure should provide an increased opportunity for sacks, interceptions, and fumbles.  Big Ben, while on the road, has been known to have not so great of games, and felt the Titans would be stronger vs the Steelers.  3 interceptions were nice, but I really was hoping for more.

End Results

Total Points:    142.26

Place:                5128th

Finish:              24.78%

What I Liked

It’s easy to gravitate to the things that went well with the lineup.  Six of my plays felt solid, which targeted games I felt that had high-scoring potential.  Adams and Watson were successful parts of the game stack.  Conner had opportunities but he also had the misfortune of missing out on two TDs. The Carson injury hurt what could have been a productive game and leverage off the passing game.

What I Lacked

Ain’t no lie, there were some bad picks in that lineup.  Not being able to identify a clear path to 4x for both Fells and Jackson was decisive loss for me in my process.  In retro, both felt more like GPP darts in hopes of catching lightning in a bottle (see what I did there, Jackson??).  If this were a MME contest, I could justify the plays.  Guess what?  This was a Single-Entry play.  My bad process led to bad results.  Nothing else more to say.

What I Learned

I learned that I still have a lot to learn.  More frustrating is the fact that I started out the year with two nice weeks, only to fail to show up over the last couple.  Either I’m pressing too hard or getting too cute with my plays.  But more particular to the single-entry play is my observation on my fellow participants tendencies.  Chalk isn’t as chalky as I would think it to be, and ownership is more spread out than I would have anticipated.  I’m also observing in single-entry that having multiple chalk players is advantageous as long as you pick and choose your leverage spots mindfully.  In other words, don’t get so unique that you destroy any and all floors of your picks.  Finally, another thing learned was my failure to stick with my original assessment of the weekend’s opportunities, in which I had the following rostered players:  Burrow/Higgins/Hunt + Gibson/WAS.  Would that have guaranteed a better result?  My lineup may have still sucked, but it also may have let me down a different construction path.

Botch or Botched???

In conclusion, this lineup was completely BOTCHED!!!  That’s right, there’s just no way to sugar coat this.  I implore you learn from my mistakes, of which there were a few, and generate some more fruitful lineups.  Keep asking yourselves how you see each player hitting that 4x you need, and what is the path for them to get there.  Also, keep building rosters until you are comfortable with the feel of how the slate can play.  This may take numerous builds, but be assured that with each build, you can become more comfortable in finding price points that offer value, with prime leverage spots awaiting to be taken advantage of.

Later…