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, both players cashed in the BIG $1,065 50/50 on FanDuel. 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.
JAMEIS WINSTON (Last week's analysis used to forecast this week's chalk)
Jameis Winston finally made his return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' starting lineup last weekend against the Atlanta Falcons. Winston stepped 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 was projected to total over 57 points, and just 2 weeks ago, Ben Roethlisberger was the quarterback of choice for some of the sharpest minds in NFL DFS when they built their cash games. Winston's price offered relative
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.
TODD GURLEY II
Todd Gurley is assuming the void left by Alvin Kamara in The Sharp Report. Todd Gurley's price only rose $400 after last week when he was rostered by 70 percent of players in the BIG $1,065 50/50 on FanDuel. This week, Gurley and the Rams faced off with the Denver Broncos, and given the other running back options on the slate, Gurley was certainly a priority for the best players in the industry when they were building lineups.
The Los Angeles Rams went into Denver to take on the Broncos at extreme altitude in Week 6. This was the first NFL game this season that truly had the winter-feel to it. The temperature was in the 20s throughout the game, and snow was a possibility throughout the matchup. Fortunately, snowy conditions cleared out before kickoff and the game was able to be played in clean, albeit cold, conditions. Typically, in games involving precipitation of any kind, the rushing attacks for each side play a larger and more effective role in offenses. The Rams also entered this matchup as seven-point favorites over the Broncos, and games decided by this many points tend to feature enhanced rushing attacks as well. Gurley had yet to be kept off the scoreboard, scoring at least one touchdown in every game this season and at $9,500, Gurley finding the end zone yet again was a bet that the sharpest NFL DFS players were willing to make.
Why Todd Gurley II?
- Consistent volume as the only running back seeing significant snaps on the team.
- Running back on a team that was heavily favored.
- Unmatched ability to find the end zone week-in and week-out.
Joe Mixon and the Cincinnati Bengals faced off with against the struggling Steelers defense in Week 6 of the 2018 NFL season. Mixon's price rose slightly to $7,500 this week, but that mid-range price was not enough to steer the top NFL DFS players to other options, as Mixon projected for one of the highest workloads on the slate.
The Steelers' defense has been little more than a welcome mat to the end zone through five games this season. In Week 6, the Bengals hosted the Steelers as slight favorites in a game projected to total about 50 points between the teams. The Bengals' backfield has rarely been at full-strength this year- Joe Mixon missed multiple games due to a minor knee surgery, and now Giovani Bernard has missed games due to a knee injury of his own. When one of the running backs is unavailable for Cincinnati, that typically has meant a high-volume role for the other was on tap. This week projected no differently: Joe Mixon is the only running back that the Bengals coaching staff is comfortable giving the ball to when Giovani Bernard is unavailable. Mixon's projected workload, matchup, and mid-level price all played major roles in nearly three-quarters of the field rostering Mixon in the highest-stakes cash games.
Why Joe Mixon?
- Facing a weak defense at home as slight favorites.
- Other viable running back is unavailable for the game.
- Mid-priced player expected to see the volume unmatched by many of the highest-priced players.
Tevin Coleman has been the long-term fill-in for the injured Devonta Freeman throughout the start of the season, and this week was no different. Coleman led the charge in the Falcons' backfield as they took on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the friendly confines of Mercedes Benz Stadium. Coleman had a friendly matchup as 3-point favorites at home in a game projected to total about 57-points between the teams. For $6,300, Tevin Coleman's value led over 73 percent of players in the BIG $1,065 50/50 on FanDuel to roster him.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers rank in the bottom-third of the NFL in DVOA allowed against the rush. Tevin Coleman, in another game without Devonta Freeman, was poised to get the lion's share of work in the Atlanta backfield in a game projected to total about 57-points. In a game projected to feature this level of scoring, there is typically enough fantasy production to go around in both respective offenses. Stacking in cash inherently accompanies a certain level of risk, but the prices for the most featured players in the Tampa Bay and Atlanta offenses, it was tough to get away from. Tevin Coleman's projected volume in this matchup, at home as three-point favorites, far exceeded his measly $6,300 price tag. This weekend, Coleman's expected workload in a favorable matchup was enough to entice over 73 percent of players in the BIG $1,065 50/50 to roster him on FanDuel.
Why Tevin Coleman?
- Other viable running back was unavailable for the game.
- Mid-priced player expected to see far more volume than anyone else at a similar price.
- Running back in a good matchup on the favored team in the projected highest-scoring game on the slate.
The top NFL DFS players in the industry certainly were not with the #NeverJulio movement this weekend. Juliio Jones lined up across from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' secondary, one of the weakest in the NFL. Over 90 percent of players in the BIG $1,065 50/50 on FanDuel deemed Jones to be worth his steep price tag in such a fantastic matchup, and for good reason.
Julio Jones against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense that ranked dead-last in DVOA against the pass was a match made in fantasy football heaven. The aforementioned #NeverJulio is a hashtag is used in jest on twitter because of Julio Jones' inability to find the end zone. Most of the sharpest players argue that Julio Jones is due for positive regression in this regard, and that the touchdowns will come in due time. While Calvin Ridley has been the big-play receiver in the Falcons' offense to this point, the consistent percentage of total team targets Julio Jones has commanded was reason to believe he would pay off his $8,500 price tag. This matchup against Tampa Bay was projected to total 57 points between the two teams, the highest total on the main slate. Getting one of the NFL's most talented wide receivers against one of the NFL's worst defenses in a game that was projected to shoot out was enough for more than 90 percent of sharp players to roster Julio Jones in cash games in Week 6.
Why Julio Jones?
- Elite talent matched up with the worst pass-defense in the NFL.
- Positive touchdown regression impending.
- Top wide receiver in the projected highest-scoring game on the slate.
Next week's sharp play
Todd Gurley II
There's no need to get cute here. Todd Gurley II's price has risen above $10,000 on FanDuel this week, but he will likely be one of the highest owned players amongst sharps. The Rams take on the San Francisco 49ers as 9.5-points favorites in a battle between 2 of the sharpest offensive minds in the NFL. The game is projected to total over 52-points between the teams, and Todd Gurley will likely play a large role in this offensive outburst. Cooper Kupp has played a large role in the Rams' red zone offense in a variety of ways. Kupp, unfortunately, is expected to miss a few games with a sprained MCL (which he somehow played through in their last game against Denver.) Kupp's absence may lead to an increased role (if that is even possible) for Todd Gurley in and around the end zone. Look for Todd Gurley to be the go-to running back for the best NFL DFS players when they build their cash lineups in Week 7, barring any late news.
Why Todd Gurley II?
- Unmatched production floor.
- Only viable running back on a heavily favored team.
- Potentially increased usage in and around the red zone without one of the team's main options in that area.
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 rostered 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 rostered 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 rostered 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 rostered in BIG $1,065 50/50
Week 6: Jameis Winston- 32.9 FanDuel Points (4.45x value)/35.9 DraftKings points (6.19x value)
- 86.7 percent rostered 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!