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.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, at $7,600, provided relative salary relief at the quarterback position in Week 10. At this price, Fitzpatrick’s forecasted production significantly outpaced the expected production for a player of this price tag. 76.9 percent of players in the BIG $1,065 50/50 went with the Tampa Bay quarterback in Week 10 as they hoped to capture a bit more of the Fitzmagic the veteran possessed during his white-hot start to the 2018 campaign.
Why he was a projected sharp play:
Ryan Fitzpatrick has been nothing short of spectacular to start this season. Even in his weaker days, Fitzpatrick has managed to post respectable fantasy outputs. Under Tampa Bay's new play-caller, Todd Monken, the Buccaneers' passing game had taken a remarkable step forward in 2018. This past weekend, the Bucs faced off with the Washington Redskins and their weak pass defense. In Week 10, Fitzpatrick's sub-$8,000 price tag coupled with the incredible volume and efficiency under offensive coordinator Todd Monken led to Ryan Fitzpatrick being the most-rostered quarterback in high-stakes cash games.
Why Ryan Fitzpatrick?
Underpriced quarterback at home in a matchup projected to total over 50 points.
Top-ranked quarterback in David Dodds’ H-Value projections.
Note: As always, this article is predicated around the process used by the sharpest NFL DFS players, and not the results. In this situation, it is worth noting that head coach Dirk Koetter announced after the game that he had resumed play-calling duties for Tampa Bay. Had the public been privy to this information before kickoff, Ryan Fitzpatrick’s projections may have changed and he may or may not have been a popular play amongst sharps.
Dion Lewis, the emerging number-one running back in the Tennessee Titans’ backfield, was rostered by 65.4 percent of players in FanDuel’s Week 10 BIG $1,065 50/50. Ultimately, an unexpected game script led to increased utilization of the Titans’ other running back, Derrick Henry, but the process behind rostering Dion Lewis was sound.
Dion Lewis emerged a week ago on Monday Night Football against the Dallas Cowboys as the top-dog in the Titans’ backfield when the offense is firing on all cylinders. Lewis carried the ball 19 times against Dallas and also hauled in all 4 of his targets throughout the game. There is no debate here: Dion Lewis is the pass-catching running back in the Titans’ offense. Lewis is arguably one of the best pass-catching running backs in the entire NFL, which certainly increases his fantasy value on a weekly basis. In Week 10, the Titans were nearly 7-point underdogs against the New England Patriots, which typically would lead to a pass-heavy game flow for the home underdogs. This expected pass-heavy game flow would have maximized Dion Lewis’ fantasy value, however, the game did not play out as expected. In the end, Lewis amassed 22 total touches (20 carries and 2 receptions), which is far more than would be expected out of a running back priced at just $5,800. Even if those 22 touches did not directly translate into fantasy production, the process behind this play was sound. Dion Lewis provided the salary relief required to roster other top-end options at running back.
Why Dion Lewis?
Pass-catching running back as an underdog.
Significant increase in snap count and touches in recent games without any price adjustment.
Why he was a projected sharp play:
Melvin Gordon III III has been one of the most consistent fantasy producers at any position this year, but his shockingly high level of production has been overshadowed by the likes of Todd Gurley and Alvin Kamara lighting up the scoreboard with regularity. This weekend, Melvin Gordon III III and the Los Angeles Chargers head to Oakland to take on the reeling Raiders. Jon Gruden has seemingly made the dreaded decision to blow up the current roster and attempt to launch a full-scale rebuild. Hopefully, for Raiders fans, he tries to do so with players under 28 years old this time around. Last week, the San Francisco 49ers picked apart the Oakland defense with Nick Mullens under center. With all due respect to Mullens, a 3rd string quarterback making his first career NFL start does not put up 31 points on a quality defense. Oakland's season is headed down the drain at this point, and it is seemingly just a matter of how badly they crumble down the stretch. Will the team tank for a top pick in the draft? Or is the combination of Jon Gruden and that group of players simply just not good enough to compete in the NFL? Time will tell, but while that all gets sorted out, guys like Melvin Gordon III III, the bell cow running back in LA's offense, will continue to dominate. Gordon contributes both through the air and on the ground, and he has a nose for the end zone. Gordon has found the end zone 7 times this season and averages 5.4 yards per carry. He is an elite fantasy option, and for nearly $2,000 less than Todd Gurley ($10,800 vs. $8,900), he comes at a significant discount from the top-priced running back.
Why Melvin Gordon III III?
Bell cow running back for his respective team.
Running back on a heavy favorite in a game projected to total 50+ points.
Kareem Hunt, even priced at $9,000 in Week 10, was rostered by 80.8 percent of players in the BIG $1,065 50/50 on FanDuel. As Kansas City’s bell cow running back, the hefty majority of sharp NFL DFS players used Hunt in a dream matchup against Arizona.
Kareem Hunt and the Kansas City Chiefs were favored over the Arizona Cardinals by a stunning 16.5 points in their Week 10 clash. Kareem Hunt, as one of the main contributors to one of the NFL’s most prolific offenses ever, has established himself as an elite fantasy option for NFL DFS cash games. FanDuel increased his price up to the $9,000 mark in Week 10, but that was not enough to deter the sharpest cash-game players from locking him into their respective lineups. As 16.5-point favorites, the expected game script favored an extremely run-heavy attack for Kansas City, which heavily favors a running back as talented as Hunt is. Hunt had posted at least 15.9 FanDuel points in each of his last 7 games, and this week projected to be no different. While Hunt may not have paid off his $9,000 price tag in large part thanks to the general underperformance of the Kansas City offense (relative to expectation) as well as a Spencer Ware touchdown at the goal line when he lined up as a fullback, Hunt was still one of the sharpest plays in Week 10 NFL cash games.
Why Kareem Hunt?
- Bell cow running back in one of the NFL's most prolific offenses
- At home as an extremely heavy favorite in a game projected to total nearly 50 points.
next week's sharp play
This feels like cheating. Using one of last week’s sharpest plays as this coming week’s sharp play just does not feel right. For that reason, keep an eye out for another weekend update to the article including a second projected sharp play for Week 11 cash lineups.
In Week 11, Dion Lewis finds himself in a very similar situation to the one he did last week. Aside from the switch from the home side to the away side in this clash between the Titans and Colts, the matchup is quite similar. Tennessee enters the game as a 2-point underdog to Indianapolis, and once again this type of game flow should favor a receiving running back like Dion Lewis. Lewis’ price increased by just $100 on FanDuel this weekend, and once again the price tag does not reflect his forecasted level of involvement in Tennessee’s offense. Since the team’s bye week Lewis has played 84 percent and 75 percent of snaps in each of the two respective games. Dion Lewis has clearly taken hold of the number-one spot on Tennessee’s depth chart and the volume associated with that role exceeds that of a typical $5,900 running back. Look for Lewis to make a repeat appearance in next week’s edition of The Sharp Report, as he should find his way into the majority of lineups amongst the sharpest NFL DFS players once again.
Bonus Sharp Play
Rounding out the DFS backfield this week with Saquon Barkley will likely be one of the most popular moves amongst sharps on FanDuel. His matchup with Tampa Bay, amongst other factors, makes him the clear number-one option in the backfield
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 0oints (4.45x value)/35.9 DraftKings points (6.19x value)
- 86.7 percent rostered in BIG $1,065 50/50
Week 7: Todd Gurley- 28.6 FanDuel points (2.80x value)/30.6 DraftKings points (3.12x value)
- 85.3 percent rostered in BIG $1,065 50/50
Week 8: Tyler Boyd- 24.1 FanDuel points (3.54x value)/31.6 DraftKings points (4.72x value)
- 20 percent rostered in BIG $1,065 50/50
Week 9: Kenny Golladay- 6.9 FanDuel points (1.11x value)/8.4 DraftKings points (1.52x value)
- 53.3 percent rostered in BIG $1,065 50/50
Week 9: Cam Newton- 21.18 FanDuel points (2.46x value)/21.18 DraftKings points (2.31x value)
- 66.7 percent rostered in BIG $1,065 50/50
Week 10: Melvin Gordon III III.- 25 FanDuel points (2.8x value)/27.50 DraftKings points (3.1x value)
- 84.6 percent rostered in BIG $1,065 50/50
Week 10: Ryan Fitzpatrick- 15.74 FanDuel points (2.1x value)/19.74 DraftKings points (3.3x value)
- 76.9 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!
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