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.
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- Cam Newton
WR- Brandin Cooks
WR- Chris Godwin
TE- Rob Gronkowski
FLEX- Laviska Shenault Jr
D/ST- Houston Texans
After Cam Newton's 2021 starting debut for the Carolina Panthers when he scored over 26 DraftKings points, including over 10 points on the ground alone, he was priced at just $5,600 last weekend. In Week 12, taking on the struggling Miami Dolphins, Newton and the Panthers checked in as slight one-point favorites. The betting market's relative confidence in Carolina combined with Cam Newton's known rushing upside to complement modest passing production made Newton an underpriced quarterback target. Additionally, Newton's correlation with Christian McCaffrey, the number-one priority on the slate in cash games, further boosted the quarterback's cash-game viability in Week 12. Overall, Cam Newton made his way into 40-percent of lineups in the GIANT $2,120 50-50 on DraftKings. While the results were lackluster, the process behind rostering a cheap dual-threat quarterback in a solid matchup was sound.
Darrell Henderson is a weekly favorite for sharp NFL DFS players in cash games as one of the league's true bell-cow running backs. At $5,800 in Week 12, Henderson was unignorable in a matchup against the Green Bay Packers, who rank 27th in the NFL in rushing DVOA allowed this season. The Los Angeles Rams entered this matchup as two-point favorites, which would typically allow the favored side to increase its rushing volume to milk late in the game. Also, the loss of Robert Woods was another factor that could lead the Rams' offense to a more run-heavier approach in a game the betting market data implied they should win more often than not. Darrell Henderson was also rostered by 40-percent of players in the GIANT $2,120 50-50 on DraftKings, proving that sharps continue to have a soft spot for underpriced running backs that rarely leave the field in favorable matchups.
Christian McCaffrey was featured in last week's Sharp Core. While the final stat line was horrific due to an injury that allowed him to play just 36-percent of the team's offensive snaps, McCaffrey was a staple of sharp cash game lineups, as shown by his 80-percent rostership mark in the GIANT $2,120 50-50 on DraftKings last weekend. Below, in italics, is the forward-looking analysis that was used to project him as a Sharp Play in Week 12.
- Christian McCaffrey is 100-percent back. After missing a handful of games earlier in the season due to a hamstring injury, McCaffrey has put together back-to-back games with at least 24.9 points on DraftKings. This season, McCaffrey has scored at least 24.7 DraftKings points in every game he started and finished. The only thing that can stop the NFL's most consistent and productive fantasy running back is injury, which is effectively unpredictable. Paying top dollar for Christian McCaffrey at $9,000 on DraftKings is one of the easiest moves for building cash-game lineups that we have seen all season.
Brandin Cooks was also featured in last week's Sharp Core. Unlike his injured counterpart, Cooks turned in a respectable performance against the lowly New York Jets. 50-percent of players in the GIANT $2,120 50-50 on DraftKings plugged Brandin Cooks into their cash-game lineups in Week 12, and he kept those teams alive on a weekend that featured a nearly-unbelievable amount of chalk busts. Below, in italics, is the forward-looking analysis that was used to project him as a Sharp Play in Week 12.
- Brandin Cooks is gifted an exceptionally soft matchup this weekend at home against the New York Jets, who rank 32nd in the NFL in DVOA allowed against the pass this season. The Texans' home stadium, NRG Stadium, is a dome that will comparatively boost the efficiency of the passing game compared to the other games being played outside in the harsh weather conditions that post-Thanksgiving football typically features. Next, Tyrod Taylor is back at quarterback for Houston, a massive upgrade over Davis Mills, the rookie that filled in while he missed time due to a hamstring injury. Although Cooks's numbers were unimpressive last weekend against the Tennessee Titans, there is reason to expect a substantial rebound in Week 12 in a more favorable environment for the passing game. Buy low on Brandin Cooks, Houston's clear-cut number-one receiver at $5,800 on DraftKings this weekend, as a bounce-back performance should be in store.
Chris Godwin was rostered by 70-percent of players in the GIANT $2,120 50-50 on DraftKings in Week 12. Nearly three-quarters of the field was to Godwin last weekend due to his consistent floor of production and fantastic playing environment. In Week 12, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers headed up north to take on the Indianapolis Colts inside the dome of Lucas Oil Stadium. As mentioned in previous iterations of The Sharp Report, targeting passing attacks playing inside during the winter months is a sharp strategy due to the lack of adverse weather impacts. Additionally, according to the betting market, this matchup was projected to total approximately 53 points, a tally 4 points higher than the next-highest total on the DraftKings main slate of games. Godwin was the receiver-of-choice from Tampa Bay's offense due, in part, to his strong floor of production recently-- he had hauled in at least six passes in each of his last four games leading up to this matchup with at least 57 receiving yards in each game. The ceiling of production that accompanied this floor was also a major factor in his selection. Godwin recorded multiple games with 8 receptions, 110+ receiving yards, and a touchdown during that 4-game stretch. A $7,000 price tag was not enough to scare the sharpest NFL DFS players away from Chris Godwin in such a favorable playing environment against the league's 20th-ranked pass defense, according to DVOA allowed.
Week 13 Sharp Core
Build Week 13 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: Jamaal Williams
Jamaal Williams has spent most of the 2021 season as second-fiddle in Detroit's backfield, as the Lions have relied heavily upon D'Andre Swift thus far. Still, despite maxing out at 49-percent of Detroit's offensive snaps before Swift left last Thursday's game early due to injury, Williams has averaged about 9.3 DraftKings points per game this season. Now, with Swift sidelined due to the shoulder injury that took him out of last week's game in the first half, Williams is an elite option to build cash-game lineups around at just $5,400. It is no secret that the Detroit Lions predominantly play from behind, which typically suppresses a running back's fantasy value. However, the team has produced one of the league's most consistent fantasy running backs in the league this season due to Jared Goff's penchant for throwing the ball to players coming out of the backfield. In short, no game script should be able to ruin Jamaal Williams's fantasy value this weekend. Williams should be the first player plugged into cash-game lineups on DraftKings in Week 13 against the Minnesota Vikings, given his exceptionally affordable price tag and stable role in the Lions' plan of attack, both on the ground and through the air.