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.
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On the heels of a tough outing against the Denver Broncos in Week 9, Dak Prescott's expectations were high in Week 10 against the Atlanta Falcons. Prescott's 2021 campaign has been thoroughly impressive, as he had posted at least 21 DraftKings points in 5 out of 7 games entering Week 10 and at least 25 DraftKings points in 4 out of 7 games. Last weekend, Dallas's matchup against Atlanta was expected to total 55 points, the highest mark on the Week 10 main slate of games. In addition to the sky-high total this game had on the betting market, the Falcons have sported one of the NFL's weakest defenses in recent seasons, and 2021 is no different. The Atlanta Falcons rank 31st in the NFL in total DVOA allowed to opposing offenses, and they are a defense sharp NFL DFS players have targeted all year, especially in dome games, like this Week 10 matchup.
Below, in italics, is the forward-looking analysis that was used in last week's edition of The Sharp Report to project both D'Ernest Johnson and Mark Ingram II as Sharp Plays for Week 10. Ultimately, both players made their way into at least 90-percent of lineups in the GIANT $2,120 50-50 on DraftKings.
- 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.
Since being traded to the Jacksonville Jaguars, Dan Arnold has been a staple of sharp NFL cash-game lineups. Arnold's usage in Jacksonville's offense rivals that of the top producers at tight end. Since being traded, Arnold has posted target-share numbers on 24-percent, 12-percent, 19-percent, 27-percent, and 20-percent across his last 5 weeks with Trevor Lawrence under center. Puzzlingly, Arnold's price had only increased from $3,000 to $3,500 across that span of games, making him the premier bargain-bin tight end in Week 10. Tight end has repeatedly been a position that sharp NFL DFS players have opted to save salary at in cash-game lineups this season. Aside from Travis Kelce, the top tier of producers at the position have been unable to maintain the high-end production levels required to warrant expensive price tags. This season, down the stretch, DFS players should continue to hunt for value at tight end, where DraftKings has been very slow to adjust prices upwards.
Chase Edmonds went down with a multi-week injury in Week 9, which forced James Conner into a near-every-down role in Arizona's backfield. In his first taste of this bell-cow role in Kliff Kingsbury's offense, Conner shined as he posted 40.3 DraftKings points with 96 yards on the ground, 77 yards through the air, and 3 touchdowns. Still, after this breakout performance, Conner cost just $6,300 on DraftKings in Week 10 against the Carolina Panthers. Time and time again, sharp NFL DFS players have targeted underpriced bell-cow running backs for their cash-game lineups, and Week 10 was much the same. Conner made his way into 70-percent of lineups in the GIANT $2,120 50-50 on DraftKings thanks to increased playing time, an affordable price tag, and a soft matchup last weekend.
Week 11 Sharp Core
Build Week 11 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: A.J. Dillon
A.J. Dillon fits the same bill that D'Ernest Johnson, Mark Ingram II, and James Conner did a week ago. Dillon is poised to step into the starting spot in Green Bay's backfield after Aaron Jones went down midway through last week's game with an injury that will keep him sidelined for a few weeks. In Jones's absence, A.J. Dillon posted 66 rushing yards, 62 receiving yards, and a pair of scores. This week, Dillon is poised to assume the starting role in Green Bay's backfield against the Minnesota Vikings, when the Packers are 2.5-point favorites, which typically fosters a run-heavy offensive approach from the victors. At $6,200, Dillon's situation in Week 11 is a near-perfect match to James Conner's situation in Week 10, when almost three-quarters of the field in the highest-stakes cash-games locked Conner into their lineups. Don't overthink this selection, and build Week 11 lineups around Green Bay's new number-one running back.