It’s championship week. I’ll be up in NYC all weekend for the DraftKings Fantasy Football Championship, with 180 people competing for $10 million.
I’ve written about these championships in the past—including the latest one at the Playboy Mansion—and they’re pretty dope. A lot of free food and drinks, parties, etc. DraftKings is renting out Tao for a welcome party on Friday, which should be a nice opportunity for me to fish for information from other players and for them to tell me to fuck off. I heard Nate Silver will be attending. I don’t know if that’s public knowledge, so don’t tell anyone about it please.
One thing people might not know about these events is how much action there is on the side. There will be prop bets among a lot of the guys for various things—often whose lineup(s) will score more points. There’s also a lot of equity swapping, which is when pros trade a percentage of their winnings to one another to minimize the volatility of a tournament like this with top-heavy payouts. If I win the $2 million, for example, I won’t actually win anywhere near $2 million with taxes and swaps, so don’t come looking to me for a new suit.
Anyway, I have actually done a bit more research than normal this week, so I feel ready to go. Based on my early research, I like a lot of unconventional guys, meaning there’s a strong possibility I roll out a lineup that looks like it was created by someone that knows absolutely nothing about fantasy football—or even worse, Smitty.
DraftKings Week 14 Player to Target
Aaron Rodgers vs SEA $6400
So one thing I should probably point out here that I maybe haven’t in the past is I’m not trying to give you players to target who are obvious values everyone will have. If you want that, here you go: Kirk Cousins, Le’Veon Bell, David Johnson, Jeremy Hill, Odell Beckham, Tyrell Williams, Ladarius Green. Go nuts.
Instead, I’m really looking for the player who’s going to offer the most usable value, i.e. the guy I probably like most relative to others—the player I think is best for using in DFS tournaments based on his value and expected ownership.
For me, that player might be Aaron Rodgers this week. I think some sharp guys are gonna be on the Packers’ passing game a bit. Obviously the matchup isn’t ideal, but that’s priced into their salaries, with both Rodgers and Jordy Nelson coming the cheapest they’ve been all year.
One fear here is that it’s going to be cold in Green Bay—which does have an impact on the passing game—but primarily when it’s also windy, which it very likely will not be this weekend at Lambeau. I also looked up Rodgers’ splits in games below freezing, and he’s scored 25 fucking points per game in his seven contests when the temperature is below 32 degrees. Small sample, but I’m not overly concerned about the weather.
The Seahawks’ pass defense is definitely good, but don’t forget their bulk numbers are typically skewed a bit since they play six of their 16 games against the 49ers, Cardinals, and Rams. After adjusting for opponent quality, Seattle’s defense has given up 1.2 points per game more than you’d expect to opposing quarterbacks over the past year.
DraftKings Week 14 Player to Avoid
Jason Witten vs NYG $3100
A lot of people are going to jump on Witten because of the name and the price. He’s definitely underpriced, but this is sort of a trap in tournaments because what kind of realistic access to a high ceiling do you have with Witten in your lineup? He’s scored 12 fantasy points two times this year and just once since Week 1. It’s a great example of why viewing players strictly in terms of traditional value can be misleading.
I do think the matchup is good because the Giants play a lot of Cover 2 against Dallas to take away Dez as much as possible, and they’re fine leaving the middle of the field open a bit to do it, but you’re still very unlikely to win a big tournament with a player who’s going to score 20 points probably less than 5% of the time, even in this situation.
Bet of the Week
Bears +7.5 vs DET
The Lions’ defense is playing lights out, but their offense isn’t particularly efficient and 7.5 is a big number to cover. Detroit started as a 9.5-point favorite but moved down two points despite getting 67% of public bets, suggesting sharp money is on Chicago. The line move looks large, but if you liked the Bears at +9.5 then you probably still like them at +7.5 with 8 and 9 not be overly significant numbers.
Read of the Week
I think the typical Barstool reader gets a pretty bad rap. The popular opinion is that you’re all racist, sexist, moronic pieces of shit, when in reality, only most of you are racist, sexist, moronic pieces of shit. Some of you are just regular pieces of shit, which is where I like to think I fall.
Anyway, I think the consensus is that visitors to Barstool probably don’t read that much, which is very likely to be untrue. Last week, I recommended Sam Hinkie’s resignation letter as something I thought was worth reading and applying to your life. I made a list of some of my favorite books, and one name on that list Nassim Nicholas Taleb (his book Antifragile has been the most influential for me). He’s kind of a dick, but some of his books have really changed the way I’ve approached not only life, but even more important, gambling.