Jonathan Bales is a DraftKings Pro and the author of the Fantasy Sports for Smart People book series, most recently Fantasy Football for Smart People: How to Win at Daily Fantasy Sports.
“Doing nothing is better than being busy doing nothing.”
– Lao Tzu
In my ongoing quest to merge daily fantasy sports with topics really only I care about until I whittle down my group of readers to the point that it’s just my mom posting my articles on Facebook, I decided to start this one off with a Lao Tzu quote.
Week 1 was pretty horrific for me, as is evident by the sheer volume of empty Lunchables in my trashcan right now. Part of being in the daily fantasy sports industry full-time is making sure you eat right to maintain a sharp mind, so I always want to keep my macros in check, and what better source of protein than five thin slices of processed ham?
Now might be the time when a lot of DFS players start to panic. So many DraftKings contests overlayed in Week 1—and I still got just manhandled—so what the hell did I do wrong? Changes need to be made, right?
The topic I write about perhaps more than anything is evolution and always adapting in a changing daily fantasy landscape—it really is vital to take a scientific approach to the game that allows for improvement—but change isn’t inherently valuable; change for the sake of change isn’t going to help you get better as a daily fantasy player.
I’m going to be busy this week, but the hope is I won’t be “busy doing nothing.” I certainly made some mistakes in Week 1 that need to be correct, but for the most part, my time is going to be spent assessing Week 2 and basically doing my normal thing. Part of being a profitable DFS player is understanding when your process sucks versus when it’s probably pretty good and you just got unlucky; I do think my process is one that will lead to long-term success, and I do want that process to constantly evolve, but the results from a single week of NFL action aren’t going to tell me much about how that should happen.
Some Scattered Thoughts on Week 2
Now is the portion of the article when I just type whatever is in my brain at the moment. I probably won’t evne sepell check this becuse I watn it to eb more ogranic.
- The timing on DraftKings’ pricing is always interesting because, since it’s put out on Sunday night, it doesn’t incorporate anything from the Sunday and Monday night games. That means pretty much every single Cowboys player is underpriced, especially the receivers with Dez Bryant being out. It’s a really interesting situation because I’m not really in love with any of Cole Beasley, Terrance Williams, or Jason Witten in general, but they’re clear values at their current price tags—and Dallas is likely going to need to sling the ball around a bit in Philly.
- Week 1 was the week of the tight end. Due to recency bias, I have a feeling we’re going to see way more tight ends used in the flex in Week 2. I’m probably not going to be using that strategy just because of a lack of upside for those players relative to receivers. Especially with Travis Kelce out of the Sunday player pool and Gronk facing the league’s best defense against tight ends, the TE/TE approach is probably going to be over-utilized this weekend.
- Every week, I run through DraftKings’ pricing and just sort of see who naturally stands out to me. Then I consider the guys who didn’t and try to figure out if they didn’t jump because of something concerning—such as a lack of projected opportunities—or because of some sort of bias I might have from which others could suffer, too. I talked about recency bias, which is a big one this time of year, but the act of considering not only which players you like and hate—but why you like or hate them—I think is a generally smart practice.
- With the way the week is setting up, I think it’s going to be one where the value is away from the high-priced receivers. That creates an interesting tournament philosophy because 1) those guys offer so much upside and 2) outside of Julio Jones, most of them tanked last week, which could lower their GPP ownership in Week 2. What I’m saying is I don’t have any idea how much exposure I’ll have to the top wide receivers this week, so this blurb is basically useless.
- I think a lot of people will be on Chris Ivory because of his two-touchdown performance last week. SO many people already rostered him, and then he rewarded them, which almost always increases ownership. I won’t be on him. He’s a seven-point dog on the road. Here’s how running backs on those teams performed last year:
- Overall, running backs on seven-point underdogs have scored nearly one point per game lower than DraftKings salary-based expectations. It would be one thing if Ivory caught the ball, but he’s seen only 10 targets in his last 10 games. Ten!
My Could-Miss Pick of the Week
Justin Forsett is my could-miss pick of the week. Reasons I like him:
- Ravens a six-point favorite.
- Forsett still offers value even if Baltimore gets down because of his pass-catching ability, so he’s safe
- Saw seven targets in Week 1
- Coming off a down week, so I expect lower tournament ownership than what he should see
- Oakland has allowed 1.3 PPG above what you’d expect to running backs over the past 12 months (based on their DraftKings salaries)
- Same price as last week in a much more difficult matchup
- So hot right now