The Sharp Report Week 12

An in-depth analysis of the best DFS NFL players and what they deem most important in the lineup-building process.


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.


TEAM #1:

TEAM #2:


Saquon Barkley

Saquon Barkley, one of the most talented rookies in recent memory, headlined the running back position in Week 11. Barkley was the most expensive running back on the entire slate, but this premier matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense led to a hefty 66.67 percent of players in the BIG $1,065 50/50 on FanDuel locking him into their cash lineups.

Barkley and the Giants played host to the pitiful Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense in Week 11. A matchup with the Bucs defense seems to be the perfect cure for any offensive troubles this season, as even the underachieving New York Giants were projected to score nearly 30 points (via the betting markets.) Saquon Barkley is heavily involved in New York’s offensive attack regardless of the game script but as 3-point favorites this weekend, the stars were aligned for a heavy dose of Saquon Barkley on the ground to preserve the lead.

Why Saquon Barkley?

  • Bell-cow running back for his team
    • Heavily involved in rushing and passing attack
  • Elite matchup against Tampa Bay's weak defense

Ezekiel Elliott

Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas Cowboys battled the Atlanta Falcons in a Week 11 matchup of teams desperate for wins down the stretch. Elliott, for $8,400, was one of the most expensive running backs on FanDuel's main slate, but that did not deter sharp players from building around him in cash lineups. In the BIG $1,065 50/50 on FanDuel, 66.7 percent of players made sure to fit Ezekiel Elliott into their lineups

This past week the Cowboys went into Mercedes Benz Stadium to take on the Atlanta Falcons and their 31st ranked run defense (in DVOA.) Ezekiel Elliott, much like Saquon Barkley, is the focal point of Dallas’ offensive attack regardless of the game script. Elliott has had at least 20 touches in 3 straight games as well as in 6 out of the last 7 games this season. Ezekiel Elliott’s volume is as stable as it comes in the NFL, and his $8,400 price tag reflects that. The primary difference for Ezekiel Elliott this week that led to his inclusion in exactly two-thirds of sharp cash lineups is the matchup. Just one week prior, in Week 10, Nick Chubb had a career day against this Atlanta Falcons posting 176 yards and a touchdown. Ezekiel Elliott was primed for success in this matchup with such a weak run defense, and ultimately he delivered for the sharps.

Why Ezekiel Elliott?

  • Bell-cow running back for his team
    • Heavily involved in rushing and passing attack
  • Elite matchup against Atlanta's poor run defense

Corey Davis

Tennessee went into Indianapolis for an AFC South showdown of teams jockeying for position within the divisional race as well as the wild card race. On the heels of a stunning domination of the New England Patriots, Tennessee hoped to follow up that strong performance with another upset of the Colts. Corey Davis was a critical piece of the Week 10 victory over New England and was forecasted by the sharps to play a large role in Tennessee's offense yet again in Week 11. At $6,200 Davis was relatively easy to fit into NFL DFS lineups and ultimately 70.8 percent of the sharpest DFS cash players rostered him in the BIG $1,065 50/50 on FanDuel.

Corey Davis has clearly established himself as the top-dog in Tennessee’s passing game. Since Delanie Walker went down with an injury early this season, Corey Davis has been targeted on almost 30 percent of all pass attempts in Tennessee’s offense. He has also dominated the passing game in terms of air yards by accumulating nearly 40 percent of the team’s total air yards. Davis’ price has increased slightly over recent weeks and last week he came through for fantasy players with his 2nd 100-yard game of the season along with a touchdown. This matchup was projected to be a close battle between divisional rivals. Approximately 1-point was the expected margin of victory for Indianapolis in this game projected to total 50 points between the teams. This type of game script would typically favor the underdog’s (Tennessee) passing attack, increasing Corey Davis’ potential volume. This past week, against the Colts’ improved defense, the sharpest NFL DFS players hoped for Davis to once again convert his high-volume role into fantasy production at just $6,200 on FanDuel.

Why Corey Davis?

  • High-volume wide receiver at a medial price
  • Favorable projected game script for Tennessee's passing game

Kenny Golladay

Kenny Golladay has been a favorite of the sharps in the weeks following the trade of Golden Tate. When a heavily-involved receiver such as Tate leaves an offense the targets and production must shift elsewhere. In Detroit's case, Golladay has stepped up as the number-one candidate to fill the void left by Tate. In Week 11, another injury to a Detroit pass-catcher led to Golladay's emergence as one of the top wide receivers for cash games. At $6,400, Golladay's price point simply did not align with the important role he was needed to play for Matt Stafford and the Detroit Lions.

In Week 11, the Detroit Lions were left without Marvin Jones Jr, Jr. due to injury, which further depleted an already shallow wide receiving corps. Throughout the 2017 season along with the first half of this 2018 season, Kenny Golladay has established himself as one of the emerging young stars at the wide receiver position. Golladay has commanded the lion’s share of targets and air yards in Detroit’s offense following the departure of Golden Tate via trade. In this clash with the Carolina Panthers, the Detroit Lions were slight 4-point underdogs, which typically leads to a game script heavily favoring the passing game.

Why Kenny Golladay?

  • Increased volume without the other top receiving option (Marvin Jones Jr, Jr.)
  • Favorable projected game script for Detroit's passing game

Next week's sharp play

Jameis Winston

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have decided to make yet another change under center, going back to Jameis Winston following a few poor performances from Ryan Fitzpatrick and the offense as a whole. Tampa Bay takes on San Francisco at home in Week 12 and Tampa Bay is actually favored for a change. As 3.5-point favorites in a game currently projected to total a slate-high 54 points, Tampa Bay's offense is expected to light up the scoreboard this week. Jameis Winston costs just $7,500 on FanDuel, which is remarkably low for Tampa Bay's starting quarterback. It remains unclear who will be in charge of the play-calling duties for Tampa Bay, but at this price it may not matter. San Francisco's below-average pass defense coupled with the extremely high forecasted score of the game will likely lead to Jameis Winston being the most-rostered quarterback (and potentially player overall) in the BIG $1,065 50/50 on Sunday's main slate.

bonus sharp play

Gus Edwards

Melvin Gordon III III is apparently going to try to give it a go this afternoon despite being hampered by a hamstring injury. Had Gordon been unable to go, Austin Ekeler likely would have been an extremely popular running back option to save some money on this week's FanDuel main slate, but that did not come to fruition. Instead, Gus Edwards is likely to be one of the most popular salary-savers on the slate. Alex Collins will not be playing on Sunday for the Ravens, and all signs point towards this being Gus Edwards' backfield (along with Lamar Jackson.) The matchup against the Oakland Raiders is one of the best on the slate, and for just $5,300, the sharpest cash-players on FanDuel will likely flock to Edwards to save some salary.


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

Week 11: Dion Lewis- 3.7 FanDuel points (0.6x value)/4.2 DraftKings points (0.9x value)

  • 29.2 percent rostered in BIG $1,065 50/50

Week 11: Saquon Barkley- 34.2 FanDuel points (3.9x value)/38.2 DraftKings points (4.4x value)

  • 66.7 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!

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