NFL Monday Night DFS - Week 7

Well Friday night wasn't the successful night we had hoped (unlike previous Fridays this month) but Saturday and Sunday were huge with a 1st place victory on FanDuel (FD) for Game 4 of the World Series and another 1st place victory on DraftKings (DK) for the NFL afternoon/evening slate. I simply cannot get enough of this DFS excitement so we will try to keep the money train rolling tonight in an interesting matchup. Initially I was kind of turned off when I saw that the Rams would be hosting the Bears on Monday Night Football (MNF). The Rams are defintely a former shell of themselves when they made it to the Super Bowl two years ago but they are 4-2 and play in arguably the toughest division in football. The Bears are quietly 5-1 and boast a very strong defense. What also dawned upon me is that both QBs in tonight's game won NFC titles in 2017 and 2018 so we are getting two QBs who know how to win games and have experienced recent success. With this current pandemic, 2017 and 2018 seem like eons ago!

But back to football! The NFL Showdown slate for Sunday Night Football (SNF) was an easy one to select good players. Take your pick between Tyler Lockette or DK Metcalf (with the former clearly having a much better game). Both Russell Wilson and Kyler Murray tore it up. Christian Kirk was an obvious value play. Same could be said about Carlos Hyde. When you have two dynamic offenses square off (and rather weak defenses on each side), it's not terribly challenging to identify good players but the challenge is always the salary cap restraint and what I like to call "the paradox of choice".

For MNF, I think we will have a more difficult time in identifying who can go off tonight. Rostering at least one QB is a must and if we can roster both of Jared Goff and Nick Foles, that would help since we know we are getting guaranteed points. The problem is that the RBs and WRs for both teams have not been consistent. Check out the past DraftKings scores this season for the highest priced RBs and WRs on tonight's slate (starting with Week 1).

Allen Robinson II: 12.3, 6.3, 31.3, 26.1, 19.0, 10.3
Cooper Kupp: 8.0, 14.0, 28.7, 17.7, 11.6, 4.1
Robert Woods: 20.9, 11.3, 21.4, 9.8, 17.1, 14.0
David Montgomery: 8.4, 21.7, 7.4, 10.7, 18.9, 13.7
Darrell Henderson Jr.: 0.6, 20.1, 22.0, 4.7, 21.8, 9.2
Jimmy Graham: 11.5, 2.8, 24.0, 7.3, 12.3, 8.4

For those who have some fundamental knowledge of statistics, here are their standard deviations.

Allen Robinson II: 8.86
Cooper Kupp: 7.85
Robert Woods: 4.44
David Montgomery: 5.28
Darrell Henderson Jr.: 8.62
Jimmy Graham: 6.57

Who ever said you don't need math in real life! My students love telling me that! If only I can be as open with my DFS success with them as I am with those who read my articles!

Looking at the standard deviatons above, we can see that each of the core RBs and WRs for tonight have been wildly inconsistent. Seriously, their DraftKings scores are all over the map. I would not suggest playing cash games for the MNF slate. GPPs are the way to go. Still, who do we pick? This is when I lean on the Advanced Sports Analytics (ASA) site for support. The link is below.

There are many tools you can use on the ASA site and I would love to hear how some users have used their tools for DFS success. One tool that has helped me is the Player Correlation app. I will show the results for the correlations for Jared Goff and Nick Foles down below.





You will see that Goff correlates very well with Kupp and Henderson. In fact, Kupp and Henderson correlate well with each other with a coefficient of 0.34. As for Foles, he has only been with the Bears for a few games so the sample size is small (unlike Goff who has spent his entire 5 year NFL career thus far with the Rams and has had the same head coach for 4 of those 5 years). Still, we can glean some insight from this correlation analysis. Allen Robinson is no doubt a stud WR and Foles can help him get great numbers tonight. However, the Bears are on the road and the Rams are decent at defending WRs. Where the Rams pass defense really shines is shutting down the slot WR position. If you have not read ESPN's Mike Clay's WR/CB shadow report, you should. The Rams allow the least fantasy points to slot WRs this season. Meanwhile the Bears are in the top 10 in most fantasy points allowed to the same position. Typically Kupp lines up in the slot for the Rams while Anthony Miller is that guy for the Bears.

With that said, I am not to keen on any Bears players except Nick Foles and most likely I will make Henderson or Kupp my Captain on DK and perhaps MVP on FD. Goff will be the popular choice as Captain/MVP but we will want to somewhat go against the grain. Plus Goff will eat up too much salary on DK given that Captains are priced up by 50% of the normal DK salary. Still, we are rostering Goff and we will want to combine Goff with Kupp and Henderson given the strong correlations as well as the rush/target shares for Kupp and Henderson. You can make a case for Goff as MVP on FD since the scoring for WRs on FD is not as generous as it is on DK. However, Kupp can be a beast with DK scoring since he was a PPR monster last year. During the 2019 season, Kupp had 7 games of at least 10 targets. So far Kupp has had one such game so something tells me that he can erupt tonight in much the same manner hat Lockette did last night on SNF. The sample lineup below has Kupp as Captain for DK. I am also throwing in Gerald Everett and Josh Reynolds on DK given that they both correlate well with Goff and that Tyler Higbee might miss tonight's game with an injured hand.

We will go with Foles on DK but will have to avoid Foles on FD since there won't be enough salary to include him with our Rams trio of Goff, Kupp, and Henderson unless you are willing to completely punt the last spot with a $5K player. Punting is an interesting strategy. Foles averages 15.26 points on DK. Another route you can take is roster Graham (a solid choice given that opposing tight ends correlate well with Goff) and then add Sam Sloman, the placekicker for the Rams. If we are anticipating a convincing Rams win for MNF (after all, they are the home team on national TV in their shiny new staidum), the the placekicker can correlate very well when the core players for his team's offense pops off. Graham's and Sloman's combined FD average is 15.39 points which is a tad higher than Foles' FD average. Sometimes the margin between 1st and 2nd place in a GPP, and ultimately thousands of dollars, can be razor thin so I am not sure if I feel the need to roster Foles when I can get two players who will wind up outscoring the combination of Foles and some no-name player who won't even see the field tonight. Furthermore Graham seems to be more consistent than Robinson and Foles had a penchant to throw to his tight ends while with the Eagles.

Here are some sample lineups for both DK and FD. Don't expect a shootout like SNF between Seattle and Arizona but it's nice to have some sports on tonight with a break in the World Series and all of the crazy political talk. Be well everybody!