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 bold black font. If all available information leads to the same conclusion made earlier in the week, the original section will be changed to bold black 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 GIANT $2,120 50-50 on DraftKings.
The Sharp Lineup
- In Week 2, Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers played host to the Dallas Cowboys. Last season, the Cowboys fielded one of the league's worst defenses, and their Week 1 showing against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers showed no signs of immediate improvement. Here, targeting Justin Herbert, who quarterbacked the favored side in the game expected to amass the most points on the slate, was the optimal cash-game move. Herbert, the second-year quarterback from Oregon, offers elite arm talent and passing production, paired with quality rushing production. In NFL DFS cash games, quarterback rushing volume is the cheat code to unlock both a quality floor and ceiling of fantasy production.
- Both Najee Harris and Chris Carson fit the bill as affordable every-down running backs in expectedly favorable conditions last weekend. Najee Harris played 100-percent of Pittsburgh's offensive snaps in his NFL debut in Week 1, and there is no reason to expect any other running back on Pittsburgh's roster to eat into his role right now. Although his Week 1 fantasy performance was underwhelming, rostering a bell-cow running back as a 5.5-point favorite at just $6,300 is too enticing to pass up.
- Chris Carson was analyzed in last week's edition of The Sharp Report as the second feature of The Sharp Core. The reasons for his cash-game viability entering last weekend were very similar to Najee Harris's. Carson and the Seahawks were home favorites against the Tennessee Titans last weekend, and Carson, much like Harris, shoulders the load for his team in the backfield. At $6,100, the sharp NFL DFS players again gravitated to the affordable bell-cow running back on a favored side.
- CeeDee Lamb was analyzed in last week's edition of The Sharp Report as the first feature of The Sharp Core. Lamb and the rest of the Dallas passing attack, including Amari Cooper, were underpriced for their expectedly high-scoring clash against the Los Angeles Chargers entering last weekend. The Dallas offense is notably pass-heavy under offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, and a potential road shootout inside the new dome of SoFi Stadium would not change that. One interesting roster construction note from last weekend is that many sharps paired Amari Cooper with CeeDee Lamb in the same lineup. Although this type of stacking is not something that players should go out of their way to fit into cash-game lineups, it also is not something to avoid when pricing permits.
- In the first game of the Matthew Stafford era, the Los Angeles Rams lit the Chicago Bears up through the air. Cooper Kupp topped the charts within the Rams offense with 7 receptions for 108 yards and 1 touchdown on 10 targets in Week 1. In Week 2, Kupp only saw a moderate price increase, from $5,500 to $6,000, despite the remarkable showing in his first game alongside his new gunslinger. In Week 2, playing inside the dome of Lucas Oil Stadium, Cooper Kupp and the Rams were expected to light up the scoreboard once again. Rostering the team's number-one pass-catcher with an impressive all-around role in the offense at only $6,000 was a slam-dunk move for sharp NFL DFS cash-game players.
The Sharp Core
Last Week's Results
Both features of last week's sharp core made their way into 70.0-percent of lineups in the Giant $2,120 50/50 on DraftKings, which is a great sign for things to come. Results in Week 2 were much more encouraging than the final tallies posted by The Sharp Core in Week 1.
Lineup Building Note: On DraftKings, it is essential that DFS players treat the FLEX position as a third Running Back position in cash games. Nearly 100-percent of sharp NFL DFS players use three running backs in their cash-game lineups. The variance of running backs is significantly lower than their counterparts at wide receiver and tight end due to the nature of their involvement in the offense. Starting running backs typically get 15-20 scoring opportunities (defined as carries + targets) per game, while starting wide receivers and tight ends may reasonably see 5-12 scoring opportunities per game.
Use a running back in the FLEX position on DraftKings for cash-game lineups.
Sharp Core Feature #1: Chris Godwin, $6,100, Wide Receiver
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will likely be without Antonio Brown this weekend, as he has made his way onto the COVID List ahead of their matchup with the Los Angeles Rams. This matchup between the Rams and Bucs will take place inside the dome of SoFi Stadium, and it is expected to amass a slate-high 56 points in total. Chris Godwin is the premier mid-price pass-catching option on the Week 3 slate of games, thanks to his consistent role in Tampa Bay's passing attack, combined with the expected absence of Antonio Brown. Godwin has compiled 19 targets, 13 receptions, 167 yards, and 2 scores across the season's first 2 games. At such an affordable mark in Week 3, his ceiling far outpaces the typical salary-implied mark, making him an elite option for sharp NFL cash-game players to build lineups around.
Be sure to check back in later in the week for updates including the final features of The Sharp Core.