Sonty's NFL DFS Single-Entry Strategy: Week 2

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Single-entry is a different type of game from cash games, as they’re tournaments with top-down payout structures. And they are also different from mass-multi-entry tournaments, in that we’re only able to fire a single bullet. Yet, the common flaws are usually that a large chunk of the field puts cash-style lineups into single-entry spaces — not enough correlation or leverage; or the field will over-leverage for the size of that specific single-entry contest.

Whether or not we build a chalky lineup or a contrarian lineup is a flawed approach. We wanna maximize the projection in our lineup without absorbing too much ownership. So, we’ll have higher-owned players, and we’ll have lower-owned players. The key is that we’re making good plays while differentiating from the field.

In this space, we’ll take a look at the higher-projected plays and discuss how to use these chess pieces to maximize ROI, using projection with correlation and leverage. The most important dynamic we see at play is that the chalk absorbs far more ownership than in MME contests from the middle tiers of pOWN%.

First, we’ll look at stacks; then, we’ll go position-by-position.

NFL DFS Picks: Sonty’s Single-Entry Strategy for Week 2


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CHALKJosh Allen to Stefon Diggs

The Bills were terrible in Week 1, but this is pretty simple.

They have the highest implied total on the slate (27.75) and they have a long history of being allergic to running the football. If they’re gonna score a ton and throw a ton, Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs are in excellent spots to break the slate.

Last week didn’t not-happen, but we might be getting an ownership discount because of tilt bias among the field. This stack will be the most-owned, but remember that the field doesn’t stack enough, so the actual ownership product of Allen-Diggs with Davante Adams could stay low for how bad the Bills looked in Week 1, the fact that Josh Jacobs will catch ownership and negatively correlates with the Bills stack, and the price tags of these three great players.

I’m of the mind that we don’t have to play this, and I’ll say why later in this piece. Frankly, with an 8.5-point spread and the Raiders’ implied total under 20, we don’t need to run it back because the Raiders don’t have to be good for the Bills to keep throwing.

PIVOTPatrick Mahomes to Travis Kelce

The Chiefs’ implied total is only 0.25 lower than the Bills.

Patrick Mahomes is a better QB than Allen.

Travis Kelce is projected really closely to Diggs.

Mahomes is currently projected for about half the ownership of Allen.

There is also chatter that the Bills will incorporate the run game a lot more this season through James Cook. I don’t believe it, but the smart football people say so. Whereas the Chiefs are only 3.5-point favorites over the explosive Jags offense.

The Bills stack is great for a damn near guaranteed beatdown, but the Chiefs will be on top of a fast-paced shootout. For the ownership, in single-entry where the enhanced Bills ownership could push Mahomes down to 5%, give me the higher ceiling in the Chiefs stack.

LEVERAGEJustin Herbert to Mike Williams

I don’t think we need to go here in single-entry fields of, I don’t know, under 2,000 entries. I think we can stick with the Bills or Chiefs and let other people make the mistakes of deviating from the two best stacks or posting cash lineups.

But we do need to get a little more creative in the huge-field, single-entry contests. The Chargers aren’t in a great game environment against the slow Titans, but they’re highly competent, as is reflected in their 24.25 implied total.

Whether Austin Ekeler is in or out, Justin Herbert is gonna get his volume and the Titans aren’t much of a pass defense. Herbert’s efficiency will be highly correlated with Keenan Allen, but he just doesn’t get touchdowns, so I like pivoting over to Mike Williams for leverage and ceiling.

Allen carries the better projection, but Herbert spreads it around enough for Williams to be more than relevant. Williams has the better touchdown upside.

I will note that we should really like the Jaguars, Lions, and Niners too. All three are higher scoring on the week, most notably the Lions, implied at 26.00. The Jags are in that shootout with KC at home. The Niners have a 25.75 implied total against a truly horrid Rams defense. We’ll touch on these teams’ WR1s later in this piece.


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About the Author

Alex Sonty (AlexSonty)

Alex Sonty is a professional DFS and poker player and also serves as a part-time political science professor in Chicago, IL. He’s been playing fantasy sports since 1996 and entered the DFS realm in 2014, pivoting from high-stakes cash games to mid-stakes MLB and NFL tournaments in recent years. He is a Chicago Tribune, SB Nation, and FanGraphs alum, while holding a J.D./M.A. and L.L.M. from DePaul University. Follow Sonty on Twitter – @AlexSonty