Sonty's Single Entry Series: NFL Week 13

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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 different from mass-multi-entry play in that we’re firing a single bullet. Yet, the common flaws are usually that 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 their contests.

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 ownership.

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

STACKS

CHALK — Jaguars

This chalk makes sense. JAX travels to DET to play in a dome at a time where a lot of games are being played in colder weather and the stack is cheap. Trevor Lawrence should easily drop back 40 times in this one. Christian Kirk has 10, 7, 9, 12, and 9 targets since Week 7; Zay Jones has 10, 3, 5, 10, and 15 over that stretch. This offense has consolidated and — again — they’re all too cheap.

The problem is that there’s nothing esoteric about all of this. Everyone knows that the DET defense stinks and that the dome will elevate the offenses. Everyone knows that the JAX defense stinks , so this should be a shootout.

We should love the Jags. We should want to stack Lawrence with Kirk and/or Jones and we can easily bring it back with Amon-Ra St. Brown. But, as always, we don’t have to.

We need low-owned one-offs in our lineup when we stack this way. We really need to be conscious of it, as to not cap our ceiling to min-cashing.

PIVOT — Lions and Bengals

The simple way to pivot off of the JAX stack is to use the same guys and swap Jared Goff in for Lawrence. JAX is 30th in pass defense DVOA, while DET is actually 19th. Goff isn’t as good as Lawrence and Jamaal Williams owns the usage inside the 10, but Goff is projecting really well per-dollar.

Goff+St. Brown with Kirk or Jones can twist the story line in our favor.

KC is always a great play. Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce are all-time greats with a slate-breaking game total (52.5). Their 27.5 implied total says to stack them up when underowned, but it’s really expensive when you figure that there isn’t a cheap bring back from the CIN side. What we can do instead is take this same approach and swap Mahomes for Joe Burrow. We save some money, nab ourselves a little negative game script action, and get even lower ownership.

Even better, KC doesn’t force turnovers. Everyone knows this, so Burrow has to be licking his chops and ready to gamble — especially if Ja’Marr Chase returns. With or without Chase, Tee Higgins is an excellent play. Without Chase, Hayden Hurst provides a double-stacking option with Higgins.

Again, we can play Mahomes-Kelce-Higgins, but then, it’s really hard to stay cheap with the rest of our lineups without getting chalky.

LEVERAGE — Chargers

This is frickin’ nuts.

LV is dead-last by an extremely wide margin in pass defense DVOA. Every offense torches them. And here we have the pass-happiest opponent facing LV, and they’re gonna go significantly under 5%.

Justin Herbert is a stud who could drop back 50 times in this shootout (LV is only a -1 favorite). Keenan Allen is healthy; Austin Ekeler can be stacked as the most-receivingiest back (yeah, I made that up) in the league; and Joshua Palmer has 17 targets and a 41.8% air yards share over the last two weeks with Allen back and no Mike Williams.

LAC is 29th in run defense DVOA, so we can run it back with Josh Jacobs on the gamble that he scores fast, but we really should try to get Davante Adams in there at lower ownership. LAC’s pass defense doesn’t really matter enough to stop Adams.

For the ownership and projection, we should love the LAC stack more than any other this week.

QUARTERBACK

PROJECTION and LEVERAGEJalen Hurts, Lamar Jackson, and Justin Fields

For the record, I always correlate my QB, but if we can run any guys naked, it’s Jalen Hurts, Lamar Jackson, and Justin Fields, as all will be under-owned. There are pros and cons to all three.

Hurts’ downfall has been that PHI gets up so much that he doesn’t have to run. Only a -4.5 favorite here, though, Hurts will have to run, so his ceiling is elevated. The downside is that he’s really expensive in a week where we can get low ownership for less money.

Jackson projects very well, but is also expensive. I struggle to see him running much as -9.5 favorites. BAL should handle DEN without breaking a sweat, and Jackson is usually the one sweating.

Fields (shoulder) is off of the injury report, so we’re to assume he’s all good. If there’s anyone we can run naked — like, one guy in the NFL — it’s Fields because he adds almost nothing in the passing game. That said, we were seeing a lot of high-value looks to Cole Kmet, and I love that we can cheaply stack Fields with Kmet and cheaply run it back with Christian Watson, then do whatever the hell we want with our lineup. But, damn, we ask him to do so, so much with his legs that he needs 15 carries.

RUNNING BACK

FADEDavid Montgomery and Dameon Pierce

David Montgomery is fine. With Fields in, he’s averaging 15.3 opportunities per game. That’s fine in real life. But this isn’t real life. This is fantasy. And in fantasy, 15 or even 18 low-value opportunities isn’t gonna cut it at ~30% ownership.

The problem with Dameon Pierce is that HOU can’t create or sustain a lead and Pierce’s volume suffers for it. After getting 27 opportunities in Week 9, he had 20 in Week 10, then only 13 in Week 11, and 11 in Week 12. This isn’t a bell cow. This is the bow of a sinking ship.

VALUEZonovan Knight and Kenneth Walker

Michael Carter (ankle) is doubtful. ESPN reports that NYJ will go with a three-headed monster of Ty Johnson, Zonovan Knight, and James Robinson. Those are the leads.

But Knight is the most talented back and we can gamble on talent winning out. The NYJ defense is 4th in DVOA, so NYJ should have the ball a lot. Hell, he’s cheap.

One of the best chalky plays on the slate is Kenneth Walker. LAR doesn’t have anyone through whom they can run an offense. SEA should have the ball a ton and they’re -7.5 favorites. This game script with this head coach against this opponent spells crush for Walker. He’s used all over the field and is averaging 21.7 opportunities per game since getting the bell cow job.

LEVERAGEChristian McCaffrey

Christian McCaffrey is gonna be 1-2% owned in a game where SF should have some positive game script. The only other backs on the depth chart are rookie Tyrion Davis-Price and Jordan Mason. Snore.

SF wants to save CMC for the playoffs, but this will be a hotly contested game, so it isn’t crazy to expect ~30 opportunities for CMC to go buck-frickin-wild.

He’s expensive, but the DET-JAX game stacks are cheap. This is expensive leverage, but the ceiling is through the roof on this leverage.

WIDE RECEIVER

VALUEGarrett Wilson

With competent quarterbacking, Garrett Wilson sees 8-10 targets. Garrett Wilson is way too cheap for that. MIN is 27th in pass defense DVOA, and NYJ will be chasing points, so it’s a prime spot for Wilson. Nothing sneaky here, but if we’re paying up to be contrarian with our stacks, we can use Wilson to get some points-per-dollar. He’s a fantastic salary-saving one-off in the right lineups.

LEVERAGEJaylen Waddle

Holy hell.

Jaylen Waddle is gonna be sub-4% owned.

Since Week 9, Waddle has matched up well against Tyreek Hill. He has 22 targets to Hill’s 23 and 354 air yards to Hill’s 290. We could definitely play Goff+Zay+St. Brown+CMC+Waddle and have some killer upside, stacked correlations, and a lot of money spent on leverage instead of chalk.

TIGHT END

PROJECTION, VALUE, AND LEVERAGETravis Kelce

We don’t have to stack Kelce with Mahomes. At under 15% ownership, we can totally one-off Kelce in the same way we can one-off Walker for a little bit less money. In fact, it’s Kelce’s price that’s keeping his ownership capped. We should pounce on this.

KC is favored in a game with a 52.5-point total and Kelce is looking like the absolute only trustworthy target for KC right now. His volume should be immense. If we’re saving money on stacks, Kelce is right there with CMC and Justin Jefferson (someone we didn’t discuss) and one-offs who can break the slate.

Kelce has 17, 7, 10, and 8 targets since their Week 8 bye. Only Juju Smith-Schuster comes close, and he hasn’t surpassed Kelce in any weeks.

Image Credit: Imagn

This DFS content is a part of our Premium Content Schedule and designed to help you build better lineups on DraftKings, FanDuel, Yahoo!, SuperDraft, and other daily fantasy contest providers. Access NFL Projections, Expert Rankings, Projected Ownership, NFL DFS Picks, and other Data Tools using this content hub. For our world-class optimizer that offers a suite of tools and information designed to help you crush the competition, please head to LineupHQ!

Single entry is a different type of game from cash games, as they’re tournaments with top-down payout structures; and different from mass-multi-entry play in that we’re firing a single bullet. Yet, the common flaws are usually that 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 their contests.

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 ownership.

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

STACKS

CHALK — Jaguars

This chalk makes sense. JAX travels to DET to play in a dome at a time where a lot of games are being played in colder weather and the stack is cheap. Trevor Lawrence should easily drop back 40 times in this one. Christian Kirk has 10, 7, 9, 12, and 9 targets since Week 7; Zay Jones has 10, 3, 5, 10, and 15 over that stretch. This offense has consolidated and — again — they’re all too cheap.

The problem is that there’s nothing esoteric about all of this. Everyone knows that the DET defense stinks and that the dome will elevate the offenses. Everyone knows that the JAX defense stinks , so this should be a shootout.

About the Author

  • Alex Sonty (AlexSonty)

  • Alex Sonty is a professional DFS and poker player, while contributing to RotoGrinders and FanGraphs, as well as serving 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, currently playing high-stakes MLB and NFL cash games and GPPs. He is a Chicago Tribune and SB Nation alum, while holding a J.D./M.A. and L.L.M. from DePaul University.

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