Draftkings Tennis 7/5: A Very Manic Slate Overview
Manic Monday has a reputation for producing a very entertaining day of tennis. It possesses the perfect mix of both quantity and quality. Not only do we get every single match in the Wimbledon round of 16, but we are getting many close matches and a good number of title contenders (Though, most of them are on the women’s side, thanks to Djokovic the slam trophy vacuum.)
From a fantasy perspective, this will likely be the most compelling slate of the week by a wide margin (in part thanks to the aptly named Strawberries and Cream Special, aka fearmyturtle’s favorite name for a dfs contest). Making it count may not be an easy task. Every draftable player here has a solid amount of matches under their belt and feel tightly priced via the sportsbook and DFS salary markets. With that in mind, allow me to outline a few plays that stand out to me to help you (and myself, honestly) gain a feel for what types of players are available for this slate and how we should approach tomorrow morning.
Format: Player Name (Draftkings Salary, SlateIQ Moneyline Odds at time of posting)
The Elephant in The Room: Novak Djokovic ($11,100,
Everyone’s favorite (?) slam title hog is the very clear headliner of the slate. He’s the best player in the world by just about every performance metric, and it is not at all a coincidence he won both the Australian and French Open titles. He has a few more obstacles to clear before claiming the Wimbledon title, but his hapless opponent Cristian Garin does not appear to be one of them.
Garin is a true blue clay specialist, and he is very fortunate to be here. His draw up to this point has been arguably the easiest on the entire men’s side. His most compelling opponent, Pedro Martinez Portero, is only about an average tour level competitor and was coming off a grueling 3 hour+ match the day before.
Needless to say, this sets up well for Djokovic. We could go into Djokovic’s immense break point upside and how he will probably hold serve rather easily, but really the sportsbook numbers speak for themselves. His match possesses the most favorables implied games total on Draftkings by a wide margin at 27.5. Moneylines of his caliber have also produced ceiling outcomes at a pretty reliable rate, with a median fantasy outcome of an incredible 82 fantasy points.
Overall, working in Djokovic’s salary is not trivial but is very much worth the effort. He likely deserves to be one of the highest owned players on the slate.
Serve Values: Matteo Berrettini ($10,400, -634), Roger Federer ($9,800, -390)
With grass favoring serves and making breaks more difficult, one of the easier ways to get above average fantasy outcomes is by simply drafting players that generate points on serve. Unfortunately for us, Isner and Opelka had early exits here, but we do still have access to some surprising potent servers on this slate.
Matteo Berrettini ($10,400, -634)
First up is Matteo Berrettini. While Berrettini does not ace at quite the level of a guy like Isner, his ace rate for the year still sits at over 14%, which feels astronomical compared to a paltry double fault rate. This has translated to some pretty ridiculous results on Wimbledon’s grass. All-in-all, he has aced his opponents 60 times while picking up only 5 double faults, generating a whopping 21 points on his serve alone. Most exciting of all for Berrettini is that his serving is not necessarily coming at the expense of his return game, where he is often winning sets 6-3 or 6-4 and is not relying on too many tiebreakers to finish his opponents off.
Berrettini’s opponent, Ivashka, is a solid, above average competitor but appears to be outclassed by the top-10 Berrettini. My personal metrics favor Berrettini as about a -570 favorite, right in line with the offered rate from sportsbooks. Expect Ivashka to put up a fight but for Berrettini to win in 3-4 sets with a juicy, serve-boosted median score.
Roger Federer ($9,800, -390)
Roger Federer, GOAT candidate, is a man that needs no introduction. In his prime, Federer had a serve game like Berrettini and a return game like Djokovic, making him one of the most spectacular plays in DFS tennis history. (Alas, we only got to experience a small piece of that prime.) At his age, Federer is not acing at quite the rate that Berrettini is, but his double fault rate remains ridiculously low. All being told, Federer has aced a respectable 33 times during Wimbledon but double faulted a ridiculously low 3 times. The low double faults both improve his median score (you do lose 1 point per double fault), but hilariously also help his ceiling thanks to the juicy 5 points no-DF bonus.
As far as actual match performance goes, Federer has been very impressive as well. While he struggled against the merely solid Mannarino during his opening round, he obliterated the decent Gasquet and won relatively easily over the currently very strong Cameron Norrie. Sonego is not a pushover, but it is hard to see Federer having too much trouble here if he can sustain his current level of play. If lightning can strike again and Federer can hit the no-DF bonus once again, he could even be one of the highest scorers on the slate.
The No-Brainer Value Play: Sebastian Korda ($7,400, -105)
Players unfamiliar with Korda could make the mistake of thinking this is a fair price for the 20-year-old American. I believe that would be a mistake. While the veteran Khachanov is more accomplished and is favored by longer term metrics like Tennis Abstract ELO, both Universal Tennis and my proprietary metrics have been swayed by Korda’s dominant 2021 campaign and consider Korda about a 2-to-1 favorite to beat the elder Russian.
Khachanov himself is no slouch. Indeed, he just beat the solid Tiafoe in straight sets in a match where he actually entered as a slight underdog. Still, with Korda having a stronger 2021 campaign overall and snagging two strong wins over Evans and De Minaur, I am happy to back Korda here, especially at this salary point.
The Entire Middle ($6,200$8,600, +173 to -198)
I am only half-joking here, which is why the slate gets really complicated. As I said before, there are a LOT of close matches on this slate, which results in quite a few options in both the value and midrange salary brackets. I believe just about all of them are capable of winning and putting up a decent score, and should also be relatively low owned thanks to the vast amount of options. Thus, combining several players in this tier along with Djokovic and/or a big server or two seems to be the default build option. I will try to keep these brief for the most part, as I believe most of these matches will be competitive.
Madison Keys ($8,600, -198) vs. Victorija Golubic ($6,200, +173)
Keys has a solid serve ratio for a WTA player and has naturally enjoyed Wimbledon’s grassy conditions so far. As a -198 favorite for the solid price of $8,600, she appears to be poised to be the chalk play of the slate. This is great and all, but I would like to remind everyone not to sleep on Golubic. The 28-year-old veteran has been having herself a surprisingly exciting season, which seems to have only picked up on the move to grass.
Keys and Golubic will enter the match with a 5-1 record during this grass swing with a somewhat comparable sampling of opponents. Both Universal Tennis and I have Golubic pegged as only around a +110 underdog, which makes her a tempting leverage play even if Keys is definitely the preferred core and cash option.
Cori Gauff ($7,800, -120) vs. Angelique Kerber ($7,000, +100)
I could definitely see Kerber being higher owned here due to her very impressive grass season so far and Gauff’s reputation for double faults, but I would like to caution that the 33-year-old Kerber has played a somewhat high 10 matches since mid-june and that Gauff hasn’t double faulted more than 5 times a match during the entire grass swing so far. Perhaps Kerber still has some value here regardless, but do not neglect Gauff if you are mass entering.
Ajla Tomljanovic ($8,000, -120) vs. Emma Raducanu ($7,200, +100)
Raducanu’s stunning Wimbledon run and favorable salary vs. odds will probably make her higher owned than Tomljanovic, but I still feel like the veteran is the better player here (beating Cornet and Ostapenko back to back is no easy feat) and is more than capable of paying off her salary during a W.
Karolina Pliskova ($7,600, -114) vs. Liudmila Samsonova ($7,500, -106)
Karolina Pliskova might look like a value here due to her reputation and solid grass performance so far, but Samsonova has gone an exceptional 8-0 this grass season and honestly has a case to be a favorite here with Pliskova’s overall level of play dropping in 2021. Pliskova’s double fault woes this season have also shifted Pliskova from easily a plus DFS server to merely an average to above average one.
Iga Swiatek ($8,000, -147) vs. Ons Jabeur ($7,100, +127)
Swiatek is definitely the better player overall of the two and seems to finally be finding her footing after a fairly unremarkable start on the grass season. Still, Swiatek is more suited and experienced on clay than grass, and I could definitely see Jabeur as a coinflip or better here.
Karolina Muchova ($8,300, -158) vs. Paula Badosa ($6,700, +138)
While Swiatek performs better on clay, Badosa is downright a clay specialist. She has fared well for herself by getting to the round of 16, but I think Muchova’s solid serve and above average quality of play are going to be problematic for her.
Elena Rybakina ($6,400, +145) vs. Aryna Sabalenka ($8,700, -165)
I am sure where to put Sabalenka, since she just falls out of my arbitrary $8,600 goalpost. Sabalenka should be rightfully low owned since she costs more than Keys, has worse odds, and can have double fault issues. She is exceptionally talented and could blow Rybakina out on a bad day, so I would not necessarily cross Sabalenka out for mass-multi entry play. That being said, I have been more impressed overall with Rybakina’s results on grass this season and think she makes a lot of sense as a salary saver.
Denis Shapovalov ($8,100, -143) vs. Roberto Bautista Agut ($7,000, +123)
This is a really awkward spot for daily fantasy, as I favor Shapovalov to win the match, but he might be the worse DFS play of the two regardless because of the double fault concerns. Still, Shapovalov can still roughly break even on serve fantasy points on a good day, especially if he can find a way to beat Bautista Agut in straight sets. Don’t sleep on him.
Basically all of the expensive and mid-range plays are in play for GPP play. Players that are +200 or greater tend to be a little shakier in a vacuum, but can be wonderful for saving salary and being contrarian if they have the right angles. Here are a few that potentially warrant ownership for me.
Barbora Krejcikova ($5,600, +210)
It’s no secret that WTA is usually the route to go when punting, as even a +210 underdog can take a match in straight sets if they run well and their opponent does not play at their best. I think the possibility is definitely there for Krejcikova, as Barty has not dominated her opponents as much as she could have considering her normally elite level.
Lorenzo Sonego ($5,400, +319)
Federer has done exceptional rounds 2 and 3, but Sonego can definitely push him if Federer regresses to his round 1 form. Thanks to his very low double fault rate, Sonego should still put up a serviceable score even if he needs 4 or 5 sets to finish the job.
Hubert Hurkacz ($4,500, +552)
Hurkacz has been very dominant his first three rounds, winning all of his matches in straight sets easily. Medvedev is the obvious better player, but he definitely showed some chinks in his armor when needing 5 sets to beat the (admittedly in very fine form) Marin Cilic.