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 $1,060 50-50 on DraftKings.
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QB- Lamar Jackson
RB- Ezekiel Elliott
RB- Austin Ekeler
WR- Tyreek Hill
WR- Hunter Renfrow
WR- Amari Cooper
FLEX- Dallas Goedert
D/ST- Kansas City Chiefs
Ezekiel Elliott is one of the league's highest volume running backs, and at $7,000, fitting him into cash-game lineups was a high priority for the majority of sharp NFL DFS players last weekend. Elliott had tallied at least 20 total touches in 5 consecutive games and scored at least 18.9 DraftKings points in 4 out of his last 5 outings entering last week's game. The Dallas Cowboys entered Week 9 as 10-point favorites over the visiting Denver Broncos, which typically leads to a very run-heavy game plan for the favored side. In addition to his significant rushing volume, Elliott commanded nine and six targets across his two outings leading to last weekend's game. This substantial uptick in receiving volume made Dallas's number-one running back an especially enticing option on DraftKings, as his fantasy production through the air projected to provide a notable boost to his floor and ceiling of fantasy production. Ezekiel Elliott had numerous viable paths to paying off his $7,000 price tag last weekend, thanks to his impressive production profile. This production profile included substantial volume via both the run- and pass-game, combined with a 50-point game total, the second-highest number on the main slate of games, as the cherry on top. Ultimately, Elliott made his way into 92.5-percent of lineups in the GIANT $1,060 50-50 on DraftKings last weekend, the highest mark of any player on the slate.
Austin Ekeler was featured in last week's Sharp Core. Below in italics is the forward-looking analysis that was used to project Ekeler as a sharp play in Week 9. When the dust settled, 65-percent of lineups in the GIANT $1,060 50-50.
- In Week 9, Austin Ekeler and the Los Angeles Chargers head to the East Coast to take on the Philadelphia Eagles. Ekeler is one of the league's best pass-catching running backs, and in recent weeks his receiving floor of production has done a fantastic job of buoying his fantasy production. Since Week 2, Ekeler has posted at least 8.4 DraftKings points via receiving production alone in every game, tallying at least 4 receptions and 48 yards through the air in 5 out of 6 games. This weekend, he faces off against a Philadelphia defense whose weak link is its linebackers. Expect Austin Ekeler to humiliate Philadelphia's lackluster linebackers in coverage, providing a massive floor of production to go along with his rushing volume. At $7,900, Ekeler will not come cheap in Week 9, but he is one of the most likely players on the slate to pay off his price tag this coming weekend.
Tyreek Hill was Week 9's buy-low wide receiver of choice for sharp NFL DFS players. Last week, against the Green Bay Packers, Hill's price dipped below $8,000 for the first time this season. Hill's price dropped due to his uncharacteristically-erratic production this season. Entering Week 9, Hill had surpassed 22.5 DraftKings points in four of his outings (including both a 40-point and 50-point game) and under 15 DraftKings points in his other four outings. Leading up to Week 9, Hill's role in Kansas City's offense had also been a bit unusual, with an abnormally low weekly average depth of target (aDOT) marks compared to previous seasons. This season, sharp NFL DFS players have consistently bet on highly talented pass-catchers regressing to the top-end levels they sustained in years past. In Week 9, Tyreek Hill fit that bill, as 70-percent of players in the GIANT $1,060 50-50 fit him into their cash-game lineups at $7,900, his lowest price of the season thus far.
Leading up to Denver's Week 9 game against Dallas, Noah Fant landed on the COVID/Reserve list, forcing Albert Okwuegbunam, nicknamed "Albert O" dating back to his college days at Missouri, into the starting spot at tight end. Okwuegbunam, a receiving-oriented tight end with lackluster blocking abilities, stood out as the top overall value play on the slate at just $2,600. Earlier this season, Okwuegbunam played more than 50-percent of Denver's offensive snaps in two games, and he commanded at least four targets in both of them. Additionally, Albert O's matchup in Week 9 boosted his projected fantasy value substantially. The Broncos entered this matchup against the Cowboys as 10-point underdogs, which would presumably boost the team's passing rate by a significant margin in a game expected to amass 50 total points, the second-highest mark on the slate. Lastly, playing inside the dome of AT&T Stadium shielded the passing attack from any harsh weather conditions that November football may feature outdoors. When the slate locked, 90-percent of sharp NFL DFS players in the GIANT $1,060 50-50 locked Albert Okwuegbunam into their respective cash-game lineups at tight end in Week 9.
Week 10 Sharp Core
Build Week 10 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: D'Ernest Johnson
The Cleveland Browns' backfield has been ravaged by injuries this season. Earlier in the year, Kareem Hunt went down with a calf injury that will keep him sidelined this weekend. Then, Nick Chubb and Demetric Felton landed on the COVID/Reserve list earlier this week, leaving D'Ernest Johnson as the team's only healthy running back on the active roster last week. Three weeks ago, in Week 7, D'Ernest Johnson started for the Browns in a similar situation against the Broncos when Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt both missed out. Johnson tallied 22 carries for 146 yards and a touchdown on the ground to pair with 2 receptions for 22 yards through the air against the Broncos, posting 27.8 DraftKings points and smashing the salary-implied expectations of his $4,800 Week 7 price tag. This week, against the New England Patriots, Johnson is similarly priced at just $4,700, a number he should once again surpass with ease. Sharp NFL DFS players will lock D'Ernest Johnson into their Week 10 cash-game lineups, as he is the free space of the week given his role as the run-heavy Browns' starter and bottom-dollar price tag.
Sharp Core Feature #2: Mark Ingram II
Two weeks ago, the New Orleans Saints lost their starting quarterback, Jameis Winston, to a season-ending ACL injury. Last week, in Trevor Siemian's first start for the team under-center, the Saints ran the ball 23 times despite playing from behind for almost the entire game. Of these 23 carries, Alvin Kamara, who was playing through injury, handled 13, Mark Ingram II handled 9, and Alex Armah handled 2. This week against the Tennesse Titans, Mark Ingram II is slated to shoulder the bulk of the load in the backfield, as Alvin Kamara was ruled out on Friday afternoon.
Trevor Siemian's penchant for throwing the ball to his running backs bodes very well for Ingram's fantasy viability. Last week, Siemian threw 12 passes to his running backs, including 5 to Ingram, who played just 34-percent of the team's offensive snaps in the game. Now, in a larger role, just Mark Ingram II's floor of fantasy production through the air makes him a viable running back option at the modest price of $4,500 on DraftKings. Add Ingram's expected rushing volume into the equation and he instantly becomes one of the strongest plays on the slate. Look for sharp NFL DFS players to roster both Mark Ingram II and D'Ernest Johnson at running back this weekend, which will allow top-end options to slot into cash-game lineups elsewhere.