NFL Reid Option: Week 8
Each week, Sammy Reid will break down each position in detail, pinpointing his favorite plays at various salary ranges. Who should we be focusing our core on this week? Read below to find out!
I used to sell timeshares.
It was my first job after Black Friday – the day that online poker was shut down by the government. Even though it happened more than six years ago, I remember that day like it was yesterday. It started like any other day: I played a four hour session in the morning, then took a three hour break in the afternoon for lunch and football practice (we took flag football way more seriously than grown men reasonably should). When all that was done, it was time to fire up the computer and get ready for the prime evening session – and that’s when the day became far different than any other. When I logged into the poker client, there were no lobbies, no games filling, no nothing. There was but one thing on my screen: A seizure notice headed by the seals of the FBI and the Department of Justice. My jaw dropped and my heart dove into my stomach; I knew immediately that everything had changed.
I remember that my friends took me out to some restaurant for dinner and drinks that night to try to make me feel better, but it didn’t work. The reality that my career had been stripped away from me was setting in, and even worse, I quite foolishly had a large portion of my net worth tied up on Full Tilt Poker. I spent most of dinner trying to shake the shell-shocked haze that had wrapped itself around me, but I couldn’t. My mind raced with questions: Would I ever be able to play poker again? Would I ever see my money again? Could I be prosecuted for playing? There was only one thing that I knew for sure: I needed to get a job – stat.
Two weeks later, I began working as a sales rep at a timeshare resort in East County San Diego. You probably don’t know much about timeshare, but let me assure you that it’s one of the seediest possible industries you could possibly imagine. No one attends a timeshare presentation because they want a timeshare; instead, they are bribed with gifts – free concert tickets, free vacations, etc – the majority of which don’t work when the client tries to eventually use them. In exchange for the bribe, couples have to sit through a 90-minute sales presentation, most of which actually end up going for two and a half hours, minimum. Zero percent of those people walk in wanting to buy a timeshare, yet nearly 15% of them walk out having spent five figures on a product that they could go home and buy for $1 on eBay because so many people are trying to get rid of them.
Like any boiler room, the work environment bordered on farcical. Hundred dollar bills were thrown in the air in sales meetings for the reps to fight over. Managers snorted chopped-up norco pills in the bathrooms. Sex between employees was commonplace and often happened during work hours. One sales rep had a personal rule that if he sold two deals in a week, he treated himself to an entire weekend in a suite at a Tijuana hotel that stood between two Mexican brothels (he sold two almost every week). In the two years I worked there, an ambulance had to be called to the resort no less than half a dozen times for one reason or another. Once, it was because a norco-snorting manager had a heart attack in the middle of the sales floor (he lived).
As sales reps, we didn’t sell timeshare – we sold dreams. Timeshares were worthless; dreams were priceless. 90% of our sales pitch was showing how much better life could be, how many more memories you could give to your children, how much better your marriage would be if you vacationed every year.
When the wife would want to buy but the husband didn’t, we were trained to tell the husband, “Take out your wallet and hold it up in one hand. Now take your wife’s hand, and hold it up in the other … Now drop the one that you care about less.” It was shameful. But at the time, we justified it as pushing them towards something that would ultimately make their lives better.
It wasn’t all bad, of course. We certainly made very good money, and more importantly I learned a lot of lessons that have been important in life, not just in sales. One of them was the concept of C.A.N.I. – Constant and Never-ending Improvement. It was often accompanied by the saying, “if you’re green, you’re growing and if you’re ripe, you’re rotten”. These phrases embodied the concept that you always needed to be in the mindset of being new and trying to constantly improve and get better, because the moment you think you have it all figured out is the moment you’ve failed.
This is true in all aspects of life, Daily Fantasy included. I can’t stress to you how important it is to constantly be seeking out new information, new ways to analyze players, and new ways to improve your process. The rest of the field is getting sharper by the day, and we need to get sharper just to keep pace. I probably don’t need to tell you that there is more than one big-name pro in DFS who won millions in the early days of DFS and is now considered a fish in the high-stakes games because his game has stayed stagnant throughout the years.
Personally, I’ve done a ton of work to improve my game this season, and it’s shown in the results. I now pay way more attention to positional archetypes in relation to cash game and tournament plays, as opposed to just “good player/good matchup” analysis. Air Yards and Market Share are newer metrics that I’ve incorporated heavily into my analysis, and it’s really improved my understanding of WR opportunity. Sometimes, it can be something as simple as learning how much stronger the relationship is with the point spread than with home/away splits when it comes to choosing a DST.
Another aspect of DFS that I’ve worked to improve on is the way in which I build my lineups. When I first started out, I would simply open up the site, start plugging in players that I liked to make a lineup, and then tinkered with it throughout the week to try to fit in as many good players as I could. These days, I have a much more streamlined and consistent process: On Tuesday, I begin doing research and creating a player pool, which I enter into an Excel spreadsheet. By Wednesday, I have four to eight players from each position that fill both my matchup and my archetype requirements. I then rank those players while sorting them into primary and secondary play tiers, and then use those lists to build lineups and write this column.
Hopefully I’ve given you some thoughts on how to improve your game, but more importantly I hope I’ve in some small way encouraged you to question your own process and make it a point to always be looking for ways to improve. If you’ve taken anything from this column, it should be the idea that if you’re green, you’re growing and if you’re ripe, you’re rotten … and of course, to never buy a timeshare.
On a typical NFL week I put together multiple cash game lineups across multiple sites which will have significant player overlap. I diversify to hedge on the players I don’t feel as strongly about to reduce variance in a game where it’s inherent. The players I feel strongest about will be in the majority of my lineups – these are my “high exposure” picks. The “moderate exposure” players will be in roughly half of my lineups, and the “GPP” picks are higher-risk, high-reward plays that I believe will be under-owned by the masses. The GPP options listed aren’t the only guys I’ll be using in tournaments, but more so the gems I see as having the best ownership-to-upside ratio on the board.
(As always, all odds listed are accurate at time of writing, and may shift throughout the week. The Reid Option focuses exclusively on the main slate.)
QUARTERBACK – MODERATE EXPOSURE
Andy Dalton vs IND ($5700 DK, $7600 FD, $10,700 FDRAFT) – Dalton fits our cash game archetype as a cheap home favorite who’s team has an implied team total of 24+ points. Of course, that only tells part of the story; the Colts are more generous to opposing quarterbacks than politicians are to corporate interests – they’ve allowed a league-worst 8.9 Y/A and are one of only two teams (along with NE) that are allowing more than 300 YPG to opposing QBs (301). The Bengals actually have the third-highest implied team total of the entire weekend at 25.8 points, meaning that Dalton has both the high floor and the high ceiling we’re looking for in our bargain basement QBs.
Philip Rivers @ NE ($6300 DK, $7500 FD, $11,800) – Imagine the kind of man it takes to father eight children. I’ll tell you what kind of man! A man of virility. A man of power. A man that can impregnate a woman simply by staring into her eyes. A man who is unconcerned that the root of the planet’s problems is overpopulation. A man who can take advantage of a Pats defense that allows 310 passing yards per game to opposing quarterbacks and 8.4 yards per attempt, the second-highest mark in the league. A man who can spread his seed among five different strong receiving threats. Octodad. That’s the kind of man I want to roster.
QUARTERBACK – GPP PLAYS
Cam Newton @ TB ($6600 DK, $7800 FD, $11,500 FDRAFT) – Think of the worst person possible at their job – think Sean Spicer, Ubaldo Jimenez, or Tommy Boy. That’s how bad the Tampa Bay Bucs are at pass defense. Not only are they dead last in pass DVOA and bottom-three in allowing passing yards per game (295), completion percentage (69.4%), and fantasy points per game (22.5 DK, 20.7 FD), they are also awful at pressuring the quarterback (3.2% adjusted sack rate, a full point worse than the next-worst team). This should allow Cam plenty of time to throw the downfield routes that this offense is predicated on, and plenty of room to maneuver on the ground as well. His shoddy performance last week should keep his ownership from getting too high, but don’t forget that he’d averaged 30 DK points per game over his previous three contests. Devin Funchess – who has 8+ targets in five straight games and leads all Panthers wide receivers in Red Zone targets (6) – is my preferred stacking partner.
RUNNING BACK – HIGH EXPOSURE
LeSean McCoy vs OAK ($8700 DK, $8400 FD, $15,400 FDRAFT) – Shady has played 15 home games as a Buffalo Bill, and in those games he’s averaged 125.5 total yards per game and has scored 15 touchdowns. This season, he holds a 23% target market share on top of his 18.3 rush attempts per game, basically making him Jordan Howard and Christian McCaffrey rolled into one player. He lines up as a home favorite for the second week in a row (we also know how last week went) against the Oakland Raiders, who are not only a bottom-10 team against the rush but have also allowed the fourth-most receiving yards to villain RBs.
Mark Ingram vs CHI ($7400 DK, $7200 FD, $13,000 FDRAFT) – In his two games since AP got flushed like a used jimmy hat, Ingram has averaged 23.5 rushes, 4.5 receptions, and 130 total yards per game. He gets mad carries, grips of work in the passing game, he’s the man on the goal line, and is a 9-point home favorite. The days of rostering him for $4400 are long over, but he’s a strong play even at his current price.
James White vs LAC ($4600 DK, $4900 DK, $10,300 FDRAFT) – Here’s the point of the column where I do something extremely stupid like try to guess how the Patriots are going to use their running backs. So here goes: Right now, Bill Belichick is thinking about how he’s going to negate the elite pass-rushing tandem of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram and the strong perimeter coverage of Casey Hayward and Trevor Williams. So they’re gonna get the ball out quick and short, meaning lots of Danny Amendola, Rob Gronkowski, and James White. The Chargers have also been much better against the pass (8th in DVOA) than the rush (27th in DVOA), which could spell good things for Dion Lewis as well. Everything considered, however, I prefer White at a cheaper price and far higher target floor.
RUNNING BACK – GPP PLAYS
LeGarrette Blount vs SF ($5100 DK, $6100 FD, $9500 FDRAFT) –
Playa, in cash I’ll pay up at running back and I might just chill
In GPPs I’m the type to roll up Blount like Cypress Hill
He scores tuddies I’ve studied, he gets rough on it
I’ll put some bucks on it, but it ain’t enough on it
Go get in the E-N-D-Z-O-N-E
Nevertheless SF’s a mess, gonna get rolled like a cigarette
So slam him in like it’s a game of ping pong
When he scores I’m gonna take off my pants and beat my chest like I was King Kong
It’s on – Philly gonna drop a 40
13-point homes faves gonna kick ass like they Shinobi
Breathe in that Blount with vacuum lungs
If you got no exposure you hella dum-da-dum-dum
I got 5.1 on it
He’ll get fed with the lead
I got 5.1 on it
Exposure to them Philly Eags
I got 5.1 on it
I wrote him up, I can’t go back
I got 5.1 on it
Partner let’s add the defense staaack
Joe Mixon vs IND ($4700 DK, $5900 FD, $9900 FDRAFT) – The Bengals are clearly in a nut spot as 10-point home favorites against the Colts, and the safest way to gain exposure is through Andy Dalton and/or AJ Green. Then there’s Joe Mixon, who would have a very high beast probability if the Bengals coaching staff had a clue, which unfortunately isn’t the case. Mixon complained about his usage after last week’s whooping at the hands of the mighty Steelers, which may or may not have an effect on his PT this week in either direction. Banking on Mixon by being overweight in GPPs is a strong leverage play off a chalky passing stack and could pay big dividends if the coaches decide to give him extra run here.
Tarik Cohen @ NO ($4600 DK, $5800 FD, $9600 FDRAFT) – Cohen has fallen out of favor with the DFS community (except probably for the guy who won a million bucks rostering him in Week 1) after watching his touch totals read 10, 7, 15, and 1 over the past four games while the Bears have tried to just run it on every single play. As 9-point road underdogs, the Bears are likely to be forced away from their conservative running game into a conservative passing game, which could benefit Cohen greatly. He fits well as the back end of a game-stack with multiple Saints up front.
WIDE RECEIVER – HIGH EXPOSURE
A.J. Green vs IND ($8600 DK, $8500 FD, $15,800 FDRAFT) – Along with Antonio Brown (47%), Green (45%) is the only man in football with an air yards share above 40%. With Vontae Davis struggling and Rashaan Melvin currently looking unlikely to play, AJG should eat against a secondary that per Mike Clay has allowed the third-most fantasy points to perimeter wide receivers.
WIDE RECEIVER – MODERATE EXPOSURE
DeSean Jackson vs CAR ($5100 DK, $6100 FD, $10,100 FDRAFT) – What if I told you that you could have the NFL’s second-leading receiver in air yards, a man that has seen no fewer than six targets in every game this season, a man playing at home against a league-average pass defense, for just $5100 on Draftkings? You’d call me a loon. A nut. A kook. And yet … it’s true.
Josh Doctson vs DAL ($3900 DK, $5200 FD, $7400 FDRAFT) – This week’s pricing came out before MNF, so it hasn’t taken into account that Doctson took over Terrelle Pryor’s role as the starting X receiver for the Redskins. Even if he didn’t have a strong matchup against Dallas’s weak secondary, the 2016 first-rounder would be a value simply by virtue of being on the field for 84% of Washington’s snaps, as he was last week. In fairness, head Coach Jay Gruden said this week that the Redskins would “play the hot hand” at X, and Doctson did not light the world on fire with his new opportunity (3-39 on five targets), so while I wouldn’t consider him a lock, I do believe he’s the top value at his price point.
WIDE RECEIVER – GPP PLAYS
Alshon Jeffery vs SF ($6700 DK, $6600 FD, $12,000 FDRAFT) – Carson Wentz will be one of the most popular tournament QBs this week (and for good reason), and people are going to try to stack him up all sorts of ways. My top option here is Jeffery, who ranks 4th among WRs in air yards, and who is actually cheaper than TE Zach Ertz this week. He rates to draw Dontae Johnson, SF’s weakest starting CB, on a plurality of his routes.
Marquise Goodwin @ PHI ($3900 DK, $4900 FD, $7000 FDRAFT) – Pierre Garcon is the 49ers target monster, but quietly Goodwin has racked up 24 looks over the past three weeks while tying Garcon for the team in market share air yards (29%) on the season. The 5’9 Goodwin has lined up on the left on 52% of his routes, where he would to match up with the slower 6’0 Jalen Mills, Philly’s worst corner by fantasy points allowed per route run. While Goodwin will never be a big red zone threat, his deep speed gives him strong splash play potential, considering the matchup and likely game script.
TIGHT END – MODERATE EXPOSURE
Jimmy Graham vs HOU ($4600 DK, $6400 FD, $9700 FDRAFT) – Graham has 6+ targets in every game but one this season, and his seven targets inside the 10-yard line lead all NFL tight ends and only Dez Bryant (8) has more in the entire NFL. Graham’s $4600 price tag on DK is the lowest it’s been all season, and his high TD probability (SEA also has a 25.5-point implied team total) gives him the edge over similarly priced players.
Jack Doyle @ CIN ($3400 DK, $4900 FD, $750 FDRAFT) – In spots where I’m going cheap at TE, Doyle stands out as the top value. He’s tied for 2nd among all NFL TEs in team target share (22%) and as 10-point road underdogs, the Colts rate to have to throw a bunch in this game. Not only is Doyle better than the other TEs at his price point on DK, he’s better than every WR there too, giving validity to a 2-TE lineup construction.
TIGHT END – GPP PLAYS
Rob Gronkowski vs LAC ($7100 DK, $8400 FD, $12,800 FDRAFT) – Sometimes, the juice is worth the squeeze.
DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS – MODERATE EXPOSURE
Seahawks vs HOU ($3200 DK, $5100 FD, $6000 FDRAFT) – Obviously, getting up to the Eagles or Bengals is ideal, but I never go out of my way to break the bank for DST. On Draftkings the Seahawks look like an underprice; sure, Deshaun Watson has been a gangster thus far, but going into the Hawks Nest is a whole lot different than home games against the Browns and Titans. With Seattle installed as a 5.5-point home favorite and Houston’s implied team total sitting at a paltry 20, Seattle sits in a strong matchup position against a team that has allowed the 2nd-highest adjusted sack rate (10%) in football.
DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS – GPP PLAYS
Patriots vs LAC ($2400 DK, $4500 FD, $5500 FDRAFT) – Are the Patriots a good defense? Well, does a bear crap in a toilet? No, but the Pats are 7.5-point home favorites against the QB who leads the NFL in interceptions since the beginning of last season. And frankly, bears should learn to be more civilized. The reality is that the Pats have allowed just 12.7 PPG with seven sacks over their past three contests (
TB, NYJ, vs ATL) after taking it on the chin for the first month of the season and when it comes to punt DSTs, the point spread reigns supreme.
Thanks for reading, everyone! Let’s go make some money in Week 8.
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