THE SHARP REPORT
One of the most proficient gamblers that sportsbooks have ever seen, Haralabos Voulgaris, is on record saying the main reason he retired from professional gambling is that he was gradually losing his edge against the sportsbooks. Voulgaris explains that every time he placed a bet, he gave the sportsbook a metaphoric piece to the puzzle that, once solved, would completely erase his edge to the point where he would no longer be a profitable bettor. The same way sportsbooks learned from Voulgaris’ bets and eroded his edge, daily fantasy sports players can learn from their top competitors and eat away at their edge. These top competitors, known as sharps, typically play DFS at a much higher level and for much more money than others. These players normally have very advanced and accurate projection systems that give them their edge over the field. Fortunately, every time they enter a contest the sharp players’ lineups are available to the public to be broken down, analyzed and learned from. The Sharp Report will be a weekly article that uses all available and applicable data to draw conclusions regarding how the industry’s smartest decision makers and their projections systems come to their final conclusions when building lineups. Over the course of the entire season, The Sharp Report’s goal will be to project what the best players in the industry will do in upcoming contests and, in turn, figure out what it is that gives these high-level players their edge over the field.
Throughout each week, more and better information regarding things like player availability, individual matchups, and depth charts will become available. The section of this article projecting which player is likely to be rostered by most of the sharp players next week will be updated by Saturday afternoon each week after all applicable information has become available. If enough data reveals itself that a completely new player is deemed worthy of being mentioned as Next Week's Sharp Play, the original section will appear in red font and the new section will appear in green font. If all available information leads to the same conclusion made earlier in the week, the original section will be changed from black font to green font.
The players analyzed in this article consistently play, and win, in high-stakes contests and are also ranked in the top ten percent in RotoGrinders’ super heavyweight division of DFS players. Players’ names will be omitted from the article, but all lineups analyzed are from the $30K Sun BIG NFL $1,065 30-Man 50/50 on FanDuel.
These are the full lineups entered by two of the sharpest NFL DFS cash-game players in the industry. This week, one of the players cashed in the BIG NFL $1,065 30-Man 50/50 while the other did not. This article, however, is not focused on the results of these two teams, but rather the process that led the DFS players to select the players in their lineup.
TEAM #1: 155.00 points
TEAM #2: 128.50 points
Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers played host to the Atlanta Falcons this weekend in a matchup projected to total over 57 points. Big Ben checked in at $8,400 for this Week 5 matchup, but that price tag didn’t steer the sharpest players away. At the end of the day, 33 percent of the best players in the industry decided on Roethlisberger at quarterback.
Ben Roethlisberger faced off with the porous Atlanta Falcons pass defense in the game projected to amass the most points throughout the weekend. Ben Roethlisberger has some of the most drastic splits in performance between games at home and games on the road. Fortunately for Roethlisberger and the Steelers, this high-profile matchup with Matt Ryan and the Falcons took place in the friendly confines of Heinz Field. Also, the Atlanta Falcons defense allowed over 30 points in each of the previous 2 games leading up to this showdown. David Dodds’ weekly projections reflected this fantastic matchup and ranked Ben Roethlisberger as the number one quarterback in terms of h-value. Regardless of the high price tag associated with Ben Roethlisberger this week, the astronomically high total coupled with Pittsburgh being favored by a little more than a field goal led to Roethlisberger finding his way into many of the best players’ lineups.
Why Ben Roethlisberger?
Quarterback in the game with the highest projected total on the slate on the slightly favored team.
Highest h-value in David Dodds’ weekly projections amongst quarterbacks.
Player with significant home/road splits in production playing at home.
Todd Gurley seemingly fills in for Alvin Kamara in this week’s edition of The Sharp Report. Gurley’s production has not wavered through the first 4 weeks of the season, registering over 20 FanDuel points in every single game. Gurley’s price has only risen up to $9,100 after his red-hot start this season, and at this price a whopping 70 percent of players in the BIG $1,065 50/50 on FanDuel.
Todd Gurley’s start to this season has been one to remember, he has logged at least 20-touches in each of the first 4 games. Gurley has been startlingly consistent and efficient in these touches as well, registering over 1 FanDuel point per touch through the first quarter of the 2018 season. This weekend, the Los Angeles Rams went up north to take on the Seattle Seahawks for a Week 5 road game following a long week (Rams played on Thursday night in Week 5.) The Rams were favored by over a touchdown in this matchup projected to total over 51-points. According to the betting markets, the game favored a run-heavy approach from the favored Rams and, while the game did not play out exactly that way, Gurley’s volume was right on-par with what NFL DFS sharps expected from him. Gurley’s safe (and extremely high) level of involvement in the Rams’ offense warrants a price substantially higher than how FanDuel has priced him throughout the season thus far.
Why Todd Gurley?
Running back for a heavy favorite in a game with a high projected total.
Bell-cow running back for his team.
Rare level of elite and consistent production.
Melvin Gordon III has gotten off to an incredible start this season, averaging over 20 FanDuel points per game. This week, his price rose up to $8,700 on FanDuel as a result of this consistent production. The sharpest players in the industry agreed, however, that the price did not rise enough. Over 63 percent of players in the BIG $1,065 50/50 rostered Melvin Gordon III for nearly $9,000 in their cash-game lineups in Week 5.
In Week 5, Gordon and the Los Angeles Chargers battled with the Oakland Raiders in an awkward home game for the Chargers (the Raiders may still dominate Los Angeles.) Through 4 games, Gordon tallied at least 23.1 FanDuel points in every game except one. This weekend the Chargers were expected to win by 5.5-points, a situation that typically leads to a run-heavy approach from the favorites. Through the first four weeks of the season, Melvin Gordon III ranked second amongst running backs in total targets, behind only Alvin Kamara. The Oakland Raiders rank in the bottom third of the NFL in DVOA allowed to running backs through the air, giving the sharpest players in the industry one more reason to look to Melvin Gordon III for yet another week of top-end production.
Why Melvin Gordon III?
Elite pass-catching running back against a defense that struggles to defend running backs in the passing game.
Running back on a favored team in a game with a high projected total.
Bell-cow running back for his team.
Kenny Golladay, a previously unheralded prospect out of Northern Illinois University, has quickly established himself as a premier piece of (arguably) the best wide receiver trio in the NFL for the Detroit Lions. In Week 5, the Lions faced off with the Green Bay Packers at home in the dome of Ford Field. The Detroit Lions were favored by 1-point in the matchup projected to total approximately 50-points between the teams.
Kenny Golladay commanded nearly 33 percent of the total air yards in the Detroit Lions offense through the first 4 weeks of this season. Golladay has proven to be one of the top deep threats in the NFL through the first 16 games of his career. His price, at just $6,300, is not reflective of the role he was projected to play in a high-scoring affair with Green Bay. Golladay has used his elite size and strength to excel in and around the end zone as well. He has registered 5 targets inside the 10-yard line already this season, 8th most in the entire NFL. As one of the league’s top deep threats and red zone targets, Golladay is one of the few players in the NFL to combine two of the traits that offer the highest fantasy ceilings each week. In Week 5, over 43 percent of players in the BIG $1,065 50/50 on FanDuel rostered Golladay, and they were rewarded for it.
Why Kenny Golladay?
Wide receiver at home in a game with a high projected total.
High share of team’s total air yards at a middle-of-the-road price.
The second-year receiver out of the University of Pittsburgh has recently emerged as one of Andy Dalton’s top options through the air for the Cincinnati Bengals. In Week 5, Boyd’s price rose slightly to $6,300 against the Miami Dolphins. The price increase, however, did not deter over 46 percent of players in the BIG $1,065 50/50 from rostering Boyd on FanDuel.
Believe it or not, Tyler Boyd was the most targeted receiver in the Cincinnati Bengals offense through the first four weeks of the NFL season. The fantasy community took notice and Tyler Boyd has made his way into The Sharp Report for the second time this season. Boyd and the Bengals faced off with the Miami Dolphins as 6-point favorites in Week 5. As previously mentioned, Boyd’s price rose slightly following his surprising start to the season, but even $6,300 is not enough to steer players away from a receiver that has averaged 9 targets per game thus far. Xavien Howard is a budding star in the Dolphins’ defensive backfield, but he was expected to have his hands full shadowing A.J. Green throughout the day. This left Tyler Boyd matched up with Bobby McCain, a substantially weaker cornerback, throughout the course of the game. Tyler Boyd was poised for another week of high-usage in the Bengals offense in their Week 5 matchup as 6-point favorites at home.
Why Tyler Boyd?
Wide receiver at home in a game with a high projected total.
Team’s other top option at WR facing an elite cornerback that tends to shadow.
Player underpriced for his consistent role in the offense.
NEXT WEEK’S SHARP PLAY
Jameis Winston will finally make his return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' starting lineup this weekend against the Atlanta Falcons. Winston is stepping into the same offense that turned Ryan Fitzpatrick into an elite fantasy quarterback for three weeks. One reason to believe that this sudden offensive outburst may be a sign of things to come is the team's new play caller, Todd Monken. Monken is in his third year as offensive coordinator for the team, but he assumed the play-calling duties for the first time in Week 1 of this season. The matchup this weekend against the Atlanta Falcons is projected to total over 57 points, and just last weekend Ben Roethlisberger was the quarterback of choice for some of the sharpest minds in NFL DFS when they built their cash games. Look for Jameis Winston to find his way into the bulk of the sharpest cash lineups on FanDuel in Week 6, barring any late news!
Why Jameis Winston?
- Underpriced quarterback in a matchup with a high projected game total.
- Top quarterback in David Dodds' h-value rankings.
- Facing a weak pass defense that has failed to contain opposing quarterbacks throughout the season.
PREVIOUSLY PROJECTED SHARP PLAYS:
Week 2: Christian McCaffrey- 20.9 FanDuel points (2.8x value)/30.9 DraftKings points (4.4x value)
0.0 percent owned in BIG $1,065 50/50
Week 3: Corey Clement- 9.0 FanDuel points (1.6x value)/10.5 DraftKings points (2.4x value)
16.7 percent owned in BIG $1,065 50/50
Week 4: Giovani Bernard- 23.6 FanDuel points (3.7x value)/25.6 DraftKings points (4.1x value)
86.1 percent owned in BIG $1,065 50/50
Week 5: T.J. Yeldon- 22.2 FanDuel points (3.42x value)/26.2 DraftKings points (4.7x value)
33.3 percent owned in BIG $1,065 50/50
Thanks all, and if you have any feedback or recommendations for future versions of The Sharp Report feel free to send me your thoughts and follow me on twitter @ThaGreatZambino!