Welcome to the 2019 version of The Ambush, as I will walk you through a weekly article covering the NFL DFS Landscape for the Main slate each week. This article is not only intended to help YOU the reader out with your NFL DFS enjoyment for the week, but it’s also my Bible that I will rely upon each week to do my lineups, contest selection, bets, GIFs, angry twitter rants or whatever else I need for that given weekend of NFL action. You can expect this article to come out on Saturday’s as Friday nights are my grind time (… no, not that kind of grinding, cmon people …) to get this article done and ready for the weekend. I’m a big CFB player so Saturday’s are reserved for watching college football (or doing actual life stuff), but I will then come back to my article on Saturday night and make sure all my lineups and entries are set before eventually going to bed for the evening. You can expect me to not want to change a single thing on Sunday’s and I’ll likely not even want to answer any questions you have on Sunday’s.
If you want the best time to get your lineups done, it should be Saturday night’s when you are reading this article.
Here’s a recap of what this article will cover.
- This article will cover plays that I am using on my MAIN lineup & what that is being entered into.
- This article will cover plays that I am using on my SECOND tier lineups & what contests those are being entered into.
- This article will cover plays that I am using on my THIRD tier lineups & what contests those are being entered into.
- This article will cover my favorite weekly BETS for the weekend games.
- This article will cover who I feel is chalk and how it should be addressed.
- This article will cover all my NFL thoughts in one spot.
What are The Ambush plays? These are my plays that I feel warrant the most attention for a given week. It’s a mix of three types of players/teams each week. We’ll cover the stud you gotta have no matter what. We’ll cover the contrarian pivots. We’ll cover my favorite games/stacks of the week.
The first thing we must do each Week is understand the landscape of the slate and any injury or weather or miscellaneous information that we need to monitor from the time this article comes out (Saturday’s) until lock on Sunday at 1PM EST.
Stuff To Monitor
Injuries and Playing Time Concerns
I have factored in the major injuries into my recommendations and normally I will only list the ones that really matter to my plays, but there’s a few worth noting this week, including ….
- Damien Williams OUT for KC
- Devin Singletary OUT for BUF
- Alshon Jeffrey likely OUT for PHI … Although they say GTD
- Rashaad Penny could sit which boosts Carson’s expected usage. Nothing that big here though.
- Monitor Houston offensive line injuries. Although honestly I think if they are out it only forces Watson up.
- 50% Rain in Seattle for Saints and Seahawks, but nothing heavy.
Projected Ownership (Mixed Between Sites)
|HIGHEST OWNED||Kyler Murray
|SECOND TIER OWNERSHIP||Jameis Winston
Chris Godwin/Mike Evans
All ownership projections are based upon single entry and 5 entry max tournaments.
Look for Nelson Agholor and Greg Olsen to be EXTREMELY popular options on DK this week. A full PPR site with near min priced options will drive their ownership through the roof even in tournaments.
MESSAGE OF THE WEEK
Instead of saying what the Theme or Trend of the week is I wanted to officially label this section of my article something that aligns with the message that I am trying to get across. Here is where I am giving you my overall summary of the landscape for not only DFS purposes but also how the NFL and the games are likely trending for the upcoming weekend. I believe heavily that NFL is a flow sport meaning that we have ups and downs and there are many factors for this which as we go through the season you’ll start to notice. Like, there’s a reason why Quarterbacks are better in the early/mid part of the season than late in the year (weather) and there’s a reason why flags are called early in the year and not late in the year (I’ll go into that more below), but this is the spot where we sit down and I give you the pep talk for the upcoming slate and prepare you for what is about to happen. So I am going to deliver my best Message of the Week to you.
DONT EAT THE CHEESE
CHALK vs UPSETS … To me there is no middle ground this week. I came into this week projecting that this would be a week when Vegas cleans up house on the general public as I went through my thoughts on Monday/Tuesday on each game and then looked at the Vegas lines and the totals with a little shock and head tilt. There’s traps out there and this is a week when I think we see folks get a little too cute and put a little too much stock into a small sample size of two games to determine what teams to attack.
Every NFL season is like growing up into adult hood. You start off with a ton of build up to that day when you are going to graduate high school and then turn 18. Along the way you are looking forward to that experience of when you first felt a tinkle in your pants because you got touched by a person of the opposite sex (you know, like when you saw contests in the lobby for week 1 way too early), and then you had your first taste of beer (that first lineup you put in) or the time you first got to drive a car (Week 1). Everything seems perfect and easy. This is going to be great you say, nothing can stop me now.
And then you ate the cheese…
And all of the sudden, you have to fucking get a job and actually pay taxes (shit, week 2 is here, I gotta figure this shit out) and then quickly before you know it you racked up a shit ton of debt, got married and now you are sitting around watching Blues Clues or Dora the Explorer (and I don’t mean the version that features her looking for plays from the Dongers Club) on a Saturday night while you drink fucking White Claw and that wet feeling in your pants isn’t because you got touched for the first time but rather because you can’t go 2 hours without having to piss your prostate away…. In other words, that’s what it will feel like when you get to week 9 and you are fucking tired of this shit but you gotta keep going because somehow you’re gonna need to pay for little Susie and Timmy’s college education so that they can get a job working at Lowe’s where they’re responsible for putting Christmas Decorations out in fucking August. (side note: Nothing, and I mean NOTHING wrong with a job at Lowe’s. Just don’t work at Home Depot, f that….)….
So let’s go back to when you were like, oh I dunno, 22 and you decided to eat the damn cheese. Wanna go back and re-do that one part right there? Well, that’s the best analogy I can give you for what we are going into this week of the NFL/DFS season and that is to NOT EAT THE CHEESE. Do you really think that an NFL team after 2 weeks of the season is just going to let whatever weakness they have had continue going forward for the next few weeks? Outside of the Miami Dolphins there is no team that is immediately throwing in the towel from a coaching and strategic perspective. Yeah, the Jets probably have no shot this week against the Patriots and sure the Panthers look completely lost right now but you think Ron Rivera is completely fine letting his team get gashed every way possible without trying to make adjustments? No. Teams will adjust and numbers will change and the challenge right now is dissecting what is real versus what is an actual mirage.
If you avoid feeling forced into eating the bad cheese out there this week and next week then you will likely find yourself having incredible success, or you can sit back and just do what you read for free on Twitter, hear for free on the radio or see the National Media pushing onto you and wind up spending your Saturday afternoons at some kids birthday party eating well done burgers from COSTCO and listening to some guy named Lou tell you about his business idea that is going to revolutionize sports betting — 4TH QUARTER KICKERS ONLY DFS MAN!!!!!!!!!!!!
Theres a ton of contests out there for you to be focusing on rather than just playing what the sites are forcing you to play. A couple things you should be looking for each week are as follows
- Tournaments with less than 1k users in them … I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH THIS WEEK. FACTOR OWNERSHIP IN HERE!
- Tournaments with less than 300 users in them
- Tournaments that pay 10x to first not 50x to first
- Higher paylines (% of people who get paid)
- How much does 10th place get? 20th place?
Focus on not first place but below that. Make sure you are playing a tournament that is one you can win in and will not have a ton of tilt by entering a lineup and having to worry about every single person who scores on the slate. You’ll find that in the long run any tournament that only pays 10x to first is one you will profit in.
- Done with Yahoo! F’Em. Also I am not a FantasyDraft member, nor do I plan on becoming one as I don’t think they are stable financially.
- For low dollar folks, the $9 is always a good tournament, but my personal favorite this week is the $100 SPY, but if you are doing the bottom one listed you better do the other one as well. I bet you any amount of money that the person who wins the smaller one (555 people) won’t win the same amount of money in the big one. The $50k one pays 5k to first. So beat 554 people to win 5k. The bottom one ($200K) pays 5k to 5th. So beat 2218 people to win 5k.
- Lemme explain again. Do you wanna beat 2218 people or do you wanna beat 554? Thanks.
- Better CASH site this week IMO. Let folks play Agholor in cash on FD. Muhahaha…
THE AMBUSH PLAYS
WATSON vs RIVERS … LETS FUCKING GO
It’s here ladies and gentlemen. The first AMBUSH game of the year has arrived and it’s the last game on the slate that will inevitably go into OVERTIME because thats what games in the Chargers Soccer Stadium seem to do. The L.A. Chargers to me need this game badly as they are sitting already one game behind the Chiefs within the division and a loss here would drop them two down early in the year with a very favorable schedule coming up. In other words, no reason for the Chargers to be looking beyond the Texans, who they are much better than all around but both teams come in with some big challenges that pull this game towards being the DFS shootout of the week.
The Chargers should have their way here in the passing game and nobody will play Austin Ekeler despite him DOMINATING the first two weeks of the season. I was wrong folks. I was wrong and I cannot believe I doubted Rivers love for Ekeler when I said Justin Jackson was going to be the sleeper here. Jackson will have his games but Austin Ekeler is proving that he is actually the hidden gem in this Chargers offense and Melvin Gordon can just go sit at home as long as he wants. Through two weeks against two decent defenses against running backs Ekeler has gone out and gotten 4 touchdowns and 6 catches in both games for a combined 163 yards receiving. So do not pay attention to rush defense stats with Ekeler because he is immune to that, he is basically the Chargers version of Alvin Kamara right now and is getting the usage to easily justify him being higher priced than he is. He scores and when we play Ekeler we have to love Keenan Allen as well, but eventually Mike Williams is gonna have that 2 TD week that justified his high draft stock price and this week is a money spot for that. All in all, I love all the Chargers this week and that means we’re locking in on Philip Rivers and then spreading the love around.
Do I like Watson as well? Absolutely, I will always believe in Watson but I am slightly bothered that they will try to force the running game against the Chargers who haven’t been great defending it in the first two weeks, but DeAndre Hopkins doesn’t get shutdown by anyone and the Chargers secondary has been thin early on which presents a great spot for Watson and Texans stacks to do well too.
AMBUSH PLAY #1: A stack, yes…. I am going with a STACK. RIVERS, EKELER, ALLEN, FULLER
ANYONE SEEN OJ?!?!?!?!?
Dear OJ Howard,
What would you say it is ….. You do here? Everyone remembers where they were when the OJ Simpson chase happened and I’m sure that anyone who claims to have lived in Los Angeles at the time probably says they were on the freeway and saw the white bronco went by. It’s one of those things that 25 years later ppl wanna say oh yeah I was there! Kinda like everyone saying they were in NYC on Sept 11th or in 25 years everyone will say they had OJ Howard in every contest the day he caught 8 passes for 120 yards and 3 scores after doing jack shit for the first two games. OK, OK. He isn’t going for ANYWHERE near that, but if he and the Bucs do not get it done this week then it’s just not happening for them. Personally I think Greg Olsen is ‘ok’ chalk going up against Arizona who hasn’t done jack shit versus TE all year defensively, but outside of him and maybe Evan Engram there isn’t anything sexy at TE this week.
Newsflash…. I said last week was a 2 TE week and that is a rare thing. Guess what? This week aint a 2 TE week, so we can get away with taking a shot on OJ Howard as our top Tight End in a spot where Tampa should put up 30 points.
AMBUSH PLAY #2: OJ HOWARD AND NOT A DOLLAR MORE AT TIGHT END
JUST WAIT … FOR THE 4PM SLATE OF GAMES
Probably the hardest thing to do with NFL DFS is once you have your picks and plays outlined for the week is to wake up on Sunday morning and not tinker, not put in more lineups and most of all, not put in players who are about to kick-off at 1PM EST as you hear all the news coming in for the early games. Here’s who is active, here’s who is inactive, here’s a sideline report from Ed Werder with the Cowboys and here’s Sal Palantonio with the Eagles and here’s the lovely Diana Russini with, whoever she is with that week and not want to play that game. OH WOW. THE GRASS IN WASHINGTON LOOKS AMAZING GUYS… Okay, nobody actually ever says that but you get the idea right? We have some nice early games on paper, Stafford vs Wentz and Lamar Jackson vs Patrick Mahomes and how do the Patriots not score 50 in the first half and how do I not play Cowboys vs Dolphins and hey Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, maybe yes, I gotta do another lineup!@?@!#@!# No. Stop!
The main plays this week are at 4PM and there’s a TON of good late juice this week that we’re banking our MAIN lineup on having PMR associated with it during the 1PM games. Focus! The late slate of games at 4PM is where you want to be.
AMBUSH PLAY #3: We’ll be dead last at 4 PM and first place at 8 PM
SLEEPER OF THE WEEK
I just want to say that the Saints Defense scored last week thank you very much NFL.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS DEFENSE … Might seem crazy but we got a lot here that really drives me onto this spot. The weather is gonna be heavy rain Saturday and into Sunday in Kansas City which really makes this entire game that much easier to fade for me — although I was fading it when it was projected to be 80 and sunny as well. The Ravens have not faced a competent defense all season long by drawing the Dolphins on the road and the Cardinals making a 1pm east coast start in Baltimore. The Chiefs at home go from being horrendous to well, just bad…. I won’t sugar coat that much, but this is a spot where the defenses have to win this game and not the offenses, so while Lamar Jackson is being hyped up this week, we can take the 3+ sacks, 2+ turnovers and the DST score that the Chiefs defense brings us at almost 0% ownership. It’s either defense vs the Dolphins (which is Dallas) or pay down and pay down with the best leverage spot on the board — CHIEFS D
AMBUSH PLAY #4: KC CHIEFS DEFENSE
WHERE ARE THE FLAGS?????????
What was the thing that you couldn’t stop hearing complaining about on Thursday night or even after both Week 1 and Week 2? That’s right, officiating and TOO MANY FLAGS. After the debacle in New Orleans last year with not throwing the flag now we have officials in the first two weeks of the season calling everything they damn well feel like it with Offensive Holding being the biggest issue of them all. This is clear that the league is pushing the officials to over officiate early into the season and wouldn’t you know it we have seen this song and dance before with the officiating only to suddenly disappear and then before you know it games that were once 19-16 suddenly turn into 35-28 games where the defense cannot stop the offense at all because they are too scared of committing penalties while the offense gets every benefit of the doubt (until the playoffs when nothing is called). So this week you can fully anticipate less flags for holding and scoring and offenses to go up with the running games being dominant in some spots.
AMBUSH PLAY #5: GET YOUR STUD RUNNING BACKS AND BET THE OVERS
I will almost always (i.e. 99.9% of the time) do a stack that features a player on the other side who is a WR/TE or sometimes a good pass catching RB. I want that game flow to work in the favor of back and forth shootouts and while that might end up being the dagger some weeks, more often then not it’s critical when your stack is going off in the shootout games. So for people to simply give you a list of a team to stack they are doing you wrong. This isn’t Baseball folks. Correlation Matters!
The first thing we identify with the STACKS are the games that have the best shootout potential and that is driven heavily by two teams that play at a good pace or might be enticed to playing at a good pace. The other spot to target in STACKS which I hear nobody ever mentioning is the 2-minute drill offense and defense. There’s nothing better than a team who scores in the final 2 minutes of a half and then gets the ball to start the 2nd half and marches down the field to score again. If we have an offense who has a known success rate in the 2-minute offense or a defense who has a known liability slowing down teams in the 2-minute drill then that’s a good extra reason to like the game as a stack option.
When considering where to put each game into a tournament we should factor in the volume of chalk associated with the game and the chances that the public perception on how to play it is wrong.
CHALK GAME STACKS
I have ranked in order the top 3 chalky game-stack options this week, but none are my top of list plays as I like a few one offs here and there in those games but none of them are the right plays in big tournaments this week.
Ravens vs Chiefs (FADE)
Outlined this above but outside of a one off being ignored like Sammy Watkins or going to Justice Hill if you think Mark Ingram is gonna miss time again with injury there’s no heavy love for me on this game to use it in our Single Entry or Main Lineups.
Panthers vs Cardinals (FADE)
Ew. Just ew.
AMBUSH GAME STACK
I don’t always go all in on one game, but when I do …………………….. uh. Well, I don’t have anything witty to add to that. But this is the one and only game stack spot that I am writing up as a must play this week. It’s not that other games aren’t also appealing, but I, unlike almost everything else you might read, want to give you 100% success on my picks and the best way to do that is a narrowed approach. Game of the week and possibly the Game of 1st 4 weeks of the season here –>
Houston vs LA Chargers
Chalk Thinking: Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler are drawing plenty of love but nobody will play both of them together which immediately drops each other’s ownership down slightly in my mind and although Allen is being mentioned in a lot of spots he will draw the short end of the draw in my mind with Mike Williams being healthy and there being so many other cheaper and more sexy WR’s out there. Ekeler might be perceived as a potential risky play because the Texans have a good run defense. So all in all, this game IS NOT going to be the top ownership game on the slate and if you are a person who uses ownership to decide where to pivot, then you are on the right game. Now, lets throw that bullshit out the window and focus on the real reason I like this game.
My Analysis: I am not recommending games simply based on ownership. No sir. I recommend games that I project to be shootouts and we have that here in L.A. between the Texans and Chargers. Houston despite having success in week one is NOT a run first team and the Chargers secondary definitely has some injury issues outside of Casey Heyward who as much as he wants to try to stop DeAndre Hopkins will fail short because NOBODY stops DeAndre Hopkins. But this opens up the opportunity for DeShaun Watson behind a banged up offensive line to throw the ball a ton and throw it vertical a ton. Hello, Will Fuller, glad you decided to attend the 2019 season and it’s nice to have you back. But Houston’s dynamic offense is merely the fuel to the fire which is burning inside of Philip Rivers stomach this week. The Chargers MUST find a way to keep pace with the Chiefs in the division and we’re seeing an insane fantasy season before our eyes from Austin Ekeler who is everything people drafted Alvin Kamara, Christian McCaffrey or Saquon Barkley to be. A back who is heavily involved in the passing game and still gets his carries as part of a team who can put up 30 points on anyone. Ekeler is a must start as a home favorite here against a Texans defense that although good versus the run, struggles to cover backs in the passing game. Ekeler, Keenan Allen and Mike Williams should all feast this week in the passing game which brings us to our Quarterback who is throwing for 400 and maybe 500 if this game ends up in Overtime. That’s right. Join the Philip Rivers bandwagon this week.
Ownership Range: Game stack will be around 5%
Stack 1: Rivers, Ekeler, Allen, M.Williams, Fuller
Stack 2: Watson, Ekeler, M.Williams, Hopkins, Fuller
FULL AMBUSH RANKINGS
With everyone looking to roster pretty much every option on the slate I am here doing what I do and that is narrowing it down for the guys who I am on and not trying to justify a million plays for you. I have 100% confidence each of these players gets you a score that is good enough to take something down.
- Philip Rivers
- DeShaun Watson
- Josh Allen … With Singletary out he also gets a rushing boost.
- Jameis Winston … I dont think he throws for 300 yards this week. Therefore I am not on him as high as the others.
VALUE PLAYS: There’s lots of value spots this week with new QB’s making starts and Mason Rudolph is the top one among this bunch, but how do you not play Taysom Hill people???? OK, that’s a joke. Save Taysom for the showdown next week on SNF.
- Mason Rudolph
You should without question pay up for atleast 1 RB this week and Austin Ekeler is my #1 play on the board. It’s not chasing, he is for real having the season that he should be having in a great offense for Running Backs. Zeke, Kamara, Johnson and CMC round out the other studs to consider this week slightly ahead of Dalvin Cook who gets a good game flow but I don’t envision him busting that big one this week.
- Austin Ekeler … Top RB for me.
- Ezekiel Elliott … Zeke should get 25 touches this week, average 5 yards per touch and score a TD. That’s a pretty solid floor.
- Alvin Kamara … The idea that Brees being out hurts AK41 and MT is comical. Who do you think the Saints are gonna focus on to get their offense going? Josh fucking Hill? Don’t be stupid people. Kamara was 50%+ last week and now he will be 8% at best. Play him.
- David Johnson … Like him to get just over 100 combined yards and a score, nothing amazing but pretty solid and should catch 4+ passes.
- Christian McCaffrey … See AK41 notes. And then ask yourself, huh. Why am I playing CMC with Kyle Allen but not AK41 with Teddy Bridgewater? Thanks.
- Dalvin Cook … Between Cook and Zeke … Who ya playin? That’s your $10000 question this week. Fit in Zeke if you can, then pivot down to Cook. Or fade both
VALUE RB … Only play value RB on DK
- Justice Hill (DK)
- Frank Gore (DK)
- Ito Smith (DK)
FADES — Barkley, Jones, Patriots RB, Carson … I am making a stand here and not going Barkley among the other top RB on this slate.
Most weeks on FD I would encourage you to stay in the 5k to 6k range, but with value at QB and also some FLEX value out there at RB as well we can spend up for atleast one WR this week if you decide to go against the balanced lineup approach. Focus on the guys who likely get the red zone targets like Mike Williams, Nuk, Evans and Mike Thomas. Do not overlook Thomas and Ju-Ju this week.
- Keenan Allen / Mike Williams
- NUK Hopkins / Will Fuller
- Mike Evans / Chris Godwin … Evans gets the TD, Godwin gets the PPR volume. Play appropriately based upon the site you are on.
- Josh Gordon
- Sammy Watkins
LOW OWNED STUDS WHO SCORE TOUCHDOWNS AND GO OVER 100 YARDS
- Mike Thomas
- JuJu Smith-Schuster
- Larry Fitzgerald
- DK Metcalf
- Travis Benjamin (DK) … $3000 on DK in the game I have a lot of love for. Giddy up.
FADES…. Nelson Aghololor, All the Lions, Hell, everything about this damn game. Value WR have been the key this season and should remain that way in many weeks, but a 40-60% owned value WR is not going to be the reason you win in my mind.
Do not spend above these guys. No need to chase Ertz and Kelce IMO.
- OJ Howard
- Evan Engram
- Greg Olsen
That’s it, that’s the list.
- Dallas Cowboys
- Minnesota Vikings
- Kansas City Chiefs
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
STRAIGHT UP UPSET PICK:
- Pittsburgh Steelers
AGAINST THE SPREAD PICKS:
- Colts -1.5
- Bucs -6
- Steelers +6.5
- DET/PHI UNDER
- KC/BAL UNDER
- HOU/LAC OVER
- CIN/BUF OVER
- NYG/TB OVER