Fade the DFS crowd with Robinson in Week 1
It is not worth an intelligent man’s time to be in the majority. By definition, there are already enough people to do that. – G.H. Hardy
I’ve been a contrarian for as long as I can remember. When I was 10 years old and “Pokémon” was the coolest thing on the playground, I didn’t even know what it was. Then when it suddenly became uncool, I bought a copy and it became my favorite game of all time. When I was 16 and all of my friends were out going to parties and talking to girls, I was compiling multiple spreadsheets for my upcoming fantasy football draft. When I was 19 and everyone in my dorm was playing beer pong, my favorite drinking game was “Dungeons & Dragons.”
Actually, now that I think about it, maybe I wasn’t contrarian – I was really just a gigantic nerd. Luckily, when it comes to daily fantasy sports (DFS), I’m a gigantic nerd and a contrarian.
“Going contrarian,” or intentionally going against public opinion in DFS, is an essential strategy when playing in Tournaments and Guaranteed Prize Pools (GPPs). The idea is that, by rostering low ownership players, we will have a significant advantage over the rest of the field. If we roster a highly owned player, let’s say 45 percent ownership, and he has a big week, that will only give us an advantage over 55 percent of the field. However, if we roster a player who is owned by less than 5 percent of the field and he has a big game, that gives us an advantage over more than 95 percent of all entries. If we want to have any shot at the high cash rewards GPPs have to offer, we’ll need to diverge from the masses (this week’s DraftKings Millionaire Maker has 570,000 entries) and play with a slightly more risk-seeking approach.
Some of my top contrarian targets each week will be underachieving studs, unknown commodities in good situations, and other under-celebrated value plays. Typically, we’ll be fading the highly touted and “obvious” values, players who have recently been overachieving, and all players in Thursday Night games.
Andy Dalton, Bengals
I’m in so many fantasy leagues this season that I’ve actually lost count, but I’m confident that unless autodrafted, I own Andy Dalton in none. In real football terms, I have drunkenly made the argument that Mohamed Sanu is the better pure passer on more than one occasion. In DFS Week 1, he’s one of my favorite plays. He’s dirt cheap, in one of the easiest matchups of the slate, will be getting back a healthy Marvin Jones and Tyler Eifert, and his ownership percentage might be closer to zero than Robert Griffin III‘s.
While their run defense was average (16th), the Raiders ranked as our sixth-worst team in pass coverage and eighth-worst team in pass rush last season. Dalton’s fantasy value will inevitably be tied to his star wide receiver, A.J. Green, who happens to have our third-highest rated WR-CB matchup this week. Vegas has Cincinnati favored by 3.5 and projects them to score the 11th-most points this week.