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.
Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter with any questions, comments, or concerns regarding this article or anything else tangentially related to fantasy football.
QB- Jalen Hurts
RB- Chuba Hubbard
WR- Cooper Kupp
WR- Rashod Bateman
WR- Hunter Renfrow
TE- Mike Gesicki
FLEX- Chris Godwin
D/ST- Arizona Cardinals
Last week, 80-percent of sharp NFL DFS players in the GIANT $2,120 50/50 on DraftKings prioritized fitting Darrell Henderson into their cash game lineups. Henderson is a repeat feature in this article, as his DraftKings price lags far behind where the sharpest NFL DFS players believe it should be. Henderson, a true bell-cow running back in a high-scoring offense, is locked into one of the most valuable roles in fantasy football. Last weekend, when over two touchdowns favored the Rams against the putrid Lions, Henderson's $6,600 price tag was perplexingly low. The only hesitation for some may have been pairing Henderson with Cooper Kupp, a receiver from the same offense that may correlate negatively. However, this pairing can be viewed as a method of diversification for a cash game lineup. Many players within the Rams' high-octane offense are fantasy-viable assets every week. In Week 7, Cooper Kupp and Darrell Henderson were the standout options in the DraftKings player pool, and rostering them together in cash game lineups would capture a large portion of the Rams' offensive output, both on the ground and through the air.
In sum, fitting Henderson into cash lineups at just $6,600 was a no-brainer for sharp NFL DFS players. Henderson checked all of the boxes in Week 7 as an affordable bell-cow running back whose team was heavily favored.
Darren Waller's status became increasingly cloudy throughout the week, as he appeared on the injury report with new injuries seemingly every day. Saturday night, reports came in that stated Waller's status for Week 7 was very much in doubt due to a slew of leg injuries, providing more clarity than the "Questionable" injury designation throughout the week ever did. Around the time the slate locked, confirmation came through that Waller would not play in the team's matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles, which freed up a large chunk of targets for Las Vegas's other receivers. Hunter Renfrow, the high-volume slot receiver, was the most viable cash-game option from the bunch, and at just $4,800, he was a strong cash game option.
Hunter Renfrow's popularity in high-stakes cash games serves to prove how important keeping up with injury news-- primarily on Twitter by following people like Adam Schefter-- is for NFL DFS. Also, maximizing the value of late-swap helped here, as Renfrow played in the late set of games, kicking off around 4:00 PM ET. When possible, ensure that a player from your original lineup with a 4:00 PM ET kickoff (or the latest available kickoff on any individual slate) is slotted into the FLEX position to ensure maximum optionality and flexibility when there is late-breaking news.
Chris Godwin was a beneficiary of some injury news last week when it was confirmed that Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski would not play once again. Godwin is a player with a substantial track record of commanding significant volume through the air, and despite a few erratic performances recently, sharp NFL DFS players had confidence that he would return to form in Week 7. This confidence was based on both the soft matchup ahead of him, as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were expected to throttle the Chicago Bears, and the depleted receiving corps that the Bucs would be fielding. Additionally, Godwin's price dropped to just $5,900 on DraftKings after going four straight weeks without a touchdown, which made for a perfect buy-low opportunity. Tampa Bay's offense has been exceptionally pass-heavy this season, especially in the red zone. Without Rob Gronkowski, one of the league's premier red-zone pass-catchers, suiting up, this made for a perfect opportunity for Chris Godwin to end his drought and find the end zone, making his modest $5,900 price tag far too low.
Overall, Godwin was rostered by 80-percent of DFS players in the GIANT $2,120 50/50 on DraftKings last week due to his lack of competition for targets, massive talent, and falling price tag.
Cooper Kupp and Rashod Bateman were featured in last week's Sharp Core. Below, in italics, is the forward-looking analysis used in last week's article to project each player as a sharp play for Week 7.
- Cooper Kupp
- The top-end wide receivers have been exceptionally popular building-block pieces in cash-game lineups this season. This week, the wide receiver of choice will likely be Cooper Kupp against the Detroit Lions. Kupp and the Los Angeles Rams currently have the highest team total on the slate, at over 33 points, which should afford Kupp with plenty of scoring opportunities on the afternoon. Additionally, this matchup will take place in Los Angeles, inside the dome of SoFi Stadium, which should help the Rams' already efficient passing attack reach new heights against an inferior opponent. Cooper Kupp has commanded at least 10 targets in every game this season, and there is no reason to expect that to end this weekend when he grades as the top wide receiver on the slate at $8,400 on DraftKings.
- Rashod Bateman
- Rashod Bateman made his NFL debut last weekend against the Los Angeles Chargers after missing the early portion of his rookie campaign due to a hamstring injury. Bateman, a first-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens in the 2021 NFL Draft, immediately stepped into a starting role on the outsider for the team, partially due to an injury that sidelined Sammy Watkins. The rookie's numbers were encouraging last weekend, when he played 65-percent of Baltimore's offensive snaps and commanded a target on over 27-percent of his routes in his first taste of NFL action. A run-heavy game script due to an unexpected blowout limited Bateman's raw receiving totals, as he tallied 4 catches on 6 targets for 29 yards through the air, but all of the underlying predictors of success are present here. Rashod Bateman costs just $3,400 this week when the Baltimore Ravens have a 27.5-point team total as they play host to the Cincinnati Bengals, providing the strongest point-per-dollar value of any bargain bin wide receiver on the slate.
Week 8 Sharp Core
Build Week 8 cash game lineups around the Sharp Core. The players featured below are selected using the same processes and research that the sharpest NFL DFS players use. The results for these selections over the last 3+ seasons have been strong, with documented success across every position and price range.
This article will be updated later in the week as more information becomes available leading up to kickoff. Be sure to follow me on Twitter, where I will send a tweet to notify everyone whenever I update any of my articles here at FootballGuys.
Sharp Core Feature #1: Darrell Henderson
Expect Darrell Henderson to feature heavily in sharp NFL DFS lineups for a third consecutive week in Week 8. Despite a consistent bell-cow role that has caught the eye of sharp DFS players week-in and week-out, DraftKings lowered Henderson's price to $6,500 this weekend against the Houston Texans. Unsurprisingly, the Los Angeles Rams are expected to beat the Texans by over two touchdowns this weekend, which could foster a run-heavy game plan for the favored side. There is no reason to believe that Darrell Henderson's role in the Rams' backfield is going to change any time soon, making him an elite cash-game option this weekend at $6,500 with massive expected volume against one of the league's worst defenses.
Sharp Core Feature #2: D'Andre Swift
Surprisingly, Jamaal Williams was ruled out early Sunday morning, which will force D'Andre Swift to shoulder a heavier workload in Detroit's backfield. Swift already led the Detroit Lions in both rushing and receiving fantasy points scored this season, and now without Williams in the picture he is poised to erupt. Earlier this week, head coach Dan Campbell said that he wanted to get the ball into the hands of D'Andre Swift more, and now the perfect opportunity has presented itself. Williams was previously the number-one complementary running back in Detroit's backfield. However, with Williams sidelined, the D'Andre Swift show will be in full effect against the Philadelphia Eagles.