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
Honestly there isn’t a ton this week that we have to worry about.
- Joe Mixon … Likely sits and if he does an even bigger boost to Giovani Bernard and Tyler Boyd
In terms of playing time, this is where the noise comes in and screws everyone else up. We should know ahead of Sunday what the likely playing time is going to be, but everyone gets flipped by some late breaking news around Noon on Sunday mornings when maybe a RB is said to be starting ahead of another or will get “x-y” touches. This is honestly a measure of your discipline each week. I rarely pivot with such news and I feel you shouldn’t either.
Nothing of significance
|HIGHEST OWNED||Nobody really||Kamara, Jacobs||Tyrell Williams
|SECOND TIER OWNERSHIP||Lamar Jackson||Breida (DK)||Cooper Kupp
|Evan Engram||Bears||Rams, Raiders|
THEME OF THE WEEK
Welcome to the week of confusion… Everyone will overreact to what they saw in week one and load it up too much to drive them away from what they felt was going to be the way things were in week 1. Honestly in the first 4 weeks of the season is where we see the worst takes in DFS because so many thoughts were wrong in Week 1 (ahem, I must say mine werent, okay, moving on….) and now they try to adjust for that and overcompensate too much only to eventually balance out by the time there is enough sample on the current season. Will there be a bunch of cheap WR that go off again this week? Probably not. Should we assume every game that went one way in week 1 is gonna be that way in week 2? Absolutely not. Stick to your pre-season thoughts this week but the key is finding the 10-20% that we can glean from week 1 and use for this week. In other words, reset the noise back to what you thought of everyone prior to last week and then make a SLIGHT adjustment off that thought.
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
- 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.
- F Yahoo! They now made their big tournament which was the best in the industry a 150 entry max tournament. Go pound sand Yahoo! and have fun with a horrible fantasy business model switch there.
- I hate this slate on DK because of the full PPR and min priced guys. They’re forcing you into stars and scrubs but once again DK is where I take a 3 lineup approach.
- Main lineup here on FD with heavy cash and single entry exposure mostly.
THE AMBUSH PLAYS
I am in love with a stud running back who is at home and should get 50% of his teams volume against a mediocre team. Okay, so I may have mixed in the exact scenario here to justify Barkley but they’re all very valid reasons for loving him this weekend against the Buffalo Bills playing their second straight game in the Meadowlands. Sheperd out will continue to draw ownership over to Evan Engram here but Barkley is the best way for the Giants to try and get an early season win through the passing game. Last week I loved McCaffrey because he had a good pass catching spot against the Rams and while Alvin Kamara has that as well he also has to deal with many other passing options to eat ownership. Barkley? Not so much and he is being VERY overlooked this week. I’ll be pairing him with Kamara on my main lineup this week.
As for Alvin Kamara, not much to say here as he has been the key asset for the Saints against a very good Rams pass rush but I fear Jared Cook’s addition is going to slightly eat into him this week and this smells of a Latavius Murray screen pass as Kamara is used as a decoy going one direction and the screen pass comes back to the opposite side while they let the Rams pass rush get up-field. Trust me, there are two plays that are going to be in the Saints playbook in this game. The fake swing pass to Kamara and come back to the screen to Murray is one and the fake pass left, play-action to Kamara, come back to the TE down the seam inside the 20 is the other staple play that’s coming out this week for the Saints. Oh wait. I just went full Sean Payton playbook porn on you to completely go a long way of saying that Kamara isn’t smashing a 40 to make him the #1 play this week but Barkley? Yeah. 2 TD game incoming with 150+ all purpose yards and 7+ catches. No fade people.
AMBUSH PLAY #1: Barkley and Kamara, which is not going to be the chalk build at RB.
HEY LOOK, IT’S JOHN CANDY!
Unless you are a complete football noob then you know the reference has to be to the San Francisco 49ers and the Cincinnati Bengals in a re-match of Super Bowl XXIII, only this time neither team is being Quarterbacked by a hall of famer as we have Jimmy Garrapollo and Andy Dalton squaring off. But one would figure to think both sides will be airing it out in this contest enough to warrant making this the pass catching stack game to target for one offs.
Somewhere this week someone is writing about how the San Francisco 49’ers are playing consecutive road east coast 1PM games. Technically that is accurate, but the 49ers are going to wind up having traveled 2,000 fewer miles than the Kansas City Chiefs did but that won’t stop folks from writing up the Chiefs as must plays vs the Raiders, now will it? The 49ers have stayed in Ohio this week in preparation for this game so I expect a good close game between the squads. Tyler Boyd is the must play for the Bengals with Mixon banged up and being able to draw some ideal matchups against a 49ers secondary that to me is an problem unit. On the other side there’s too many WR options to trust for the 49ers and I think they should get the run game going some but that’ll open up a big play or two or four for George Kittle as a fantastic pivot off Travis Kelce chalk. The combination of Boyd and Kittle will dominate the combination of Tyrell Williams and Travis Kelce this week.
AMBUSH PLAY #2: Kittle & Boyd over Williams and Kelce (or play all 4)
DOUBLE TIGHT ENDS
This is a week I am not loving a three headed monster at Running Back and that’s likely to be a very unusual thing as the season moves on but it is what we have presented in front of us this week. One thing I can easily see value in is rolling out 2 tight ends this week because Travis Kelce, George Kittle, Evan Engram, TJ Hockenson, Darren Waller, Jared Cook, Mark Andrews and even Kyle bleeping Rudolph all stand out as good plays. With Kelce you basically have their #1 WR in my mind and Kittle is my favorite TE of the group but there’s good value below all of them as well and enough to warrant rolling 2 TE even on your main lineup this week. Just don’t go two cheap Tight Ends.
AMBUSH PLAY #3: Double Tight Ends, 12 Personnel!
SLEEPER OF THE WEEK
Saints Defense / ST … This game is not last years regular season meeting when the two teams got engaged in an EPIC Superdome Shootout. Nor is this game the last game in California when the 2017 Saints came in and struggled early in a loss to the Rams while Goff was very efficient. Jared Goff has actually been decent versus New Orleans in his three starts versus them but none of them were exceptional and in each case he started slower and slower through each game. Marcus Williams had a fantastic game for the Saints minus one play on Monday night and the Saints game plan this weekend against the Rams is about as clear as day on defense. Sit back in the secondary and dare the Rams to run Gurley 15+ times or just rely on Brown who won’t do any damage against a Saints front that gets David Onyemata back at DT. They missed him big time vs the Texans and he’s actually a better run stopper than Sheldon Rankins who remains out with an Achillies rehab timeline. The Saints defense not only will sack Goff 3+ times they’ll get two turnovers and this is the week the Saints Special Teams SHINES in the kick return game with a special teams TD. The Rams WR are chalky because of “targets” and perceived good match-ups but communication will be good in the secondary for the Saints and the run-D gets a huge boost here.
AMBUSH PLAY #4: Saints Defense Scores and for anyone playing the small 4PM only slate they are your contrarian D.
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 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.
- Chiefs at Raiders
- Saints at Rams
- Seahawks at Steelers
AMBUSH GAME STACKS
1) Jacksonville at Houston
Everyone thinks Houston defense grades out well against a rookie Quarterback, however Minshew proved last week he is comfortable throwing the ball a ton and the Houston secondary is down right atrocious. I believe Houston is an 8-8 team at best and they are going to be involved in a ton of shootouts this year and we saw that Monday night in New Orleans and no reason to think it won’t continue here. Nobody is talking about Watson and his passing attack but outside of Ramsey the Jaguars secondary looks very vulnerable and Hopkins has scored in 3 of his last 4 vs Ramsey so there’s no reason to shy away there either but the plays I love in this game are Will Fuller and either Westbrook or Chark.
Chalk Thinking: Houston Defense will be popular for no good reason.
Ownership Range: 2-5%
Stack 1: Watson-Fuller-Hopkins-Westbrook/Chark
Stack 2: Minshew-Westbrook-Chark-Fuller
2) Buffalo Bills vs NY Giants
Should be a close game which really benefits the Giants in my mind as Barkley gets that volume that justified him as the top overall pick in all seasonal leagues this week. He’s in a spot for 30 touches in this game in my mind with Shep being out and while people think its Engram who gets the boost I really like Barkley as the Giants best weapon for obvious reasons — because he is fucking good. For the Bills though, they’re the team who wins and they’re the team who has the best match-up as we should go back to Josh Allen and his triple threat option with those 3 receivers in Brown, Beasley and Zay Jones. Yeah, they’re all below average options but they’ll have their way with the Giants. Who’s covering Beasley??
Chalk Thinking: Game has a low total so it won’t be stacked in Single Entry spots at all.
Ownership Range: Very Low
Core Stack: Allen, Beasley, Barkley
3) San Francisco vs Cincinnati
I love Kittle and I love Boyd, so if you wanna go full here I wouldn’t be against it by adding one of the QB (Jimmy G lower owned) and 2 skill guys on both sides. Looking for Deebo Samuel to start to emerge for the 49ers and I expect Ross’ utilization to remain good just not as good as Boyd
GAME/TEAM STACK FADES
- Seahawks at Steelers
THE FULL AMBUSH RANKINGS
Nothing at all against Patrick Mahomes but he’s the classic guy that headlines all the ‘free’ articles that you’ll come across this week because nobody wants to actually make a stand and say despite him facing the Raiders that he isn’t the guy you have to have at Quarterback. It’s often a position that lacks heavy chalk and it’s often a position that you cannot make up with better performances at other spots. The floors are high with Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen both in good rushing spots this weekend, so they’re two of my top choices.
However, you will not find a bigger fan of Deshaun Watson than me and despite some good rushes from Carlos Hyde on Monday I am not buying into Houston being able to run the ball consistently this year but I love their WR and they should shred the Jaguars Secondary the same way Sammy Watkins did last week. Love Watson this week at low ownership to beat out Mahomes for higher priced QB’s.
- Deshaun Watson … He is as good as Mahomes just without the offensive line.
- Lamar Jackson
- Josh Allen
VALUE PLAY: Gardner Minshew II
The slightly contrarian move at RB is to pay up for 2 or even 3 RB’s. We have some very volatile value plays across the board this weekend but we also have some people chasing mid range running backs like Austin Ekeler who isn’t in as good as a spot this week. Josh Jacobs on the other hand is someone that I am buying into heavily as I see him having a Cadillac Williams type rookie season.
- Saquon Barkley
- Alvin Kamara
- Kerryon Johnson
- Sony Michel
- Josh Jacobs (DK Value)
- Justice Hill
Juju, Boyd, Cooper are way above the rest of the field. Some contrarian consideration was given to Nuk Hopkins and Davante Adams but they gotta score twice to really pay off as low owned plays and I just don’t see it for either this week.
- Tyler Boyd
- Juju Smith-Schuster
- Amari Cooper
- Will Fuller
- Dede Westbrook
- Tyrell Williams …. Heavy chalk, not a bad spot either.
- Cole Beasley
- Chris Conley
Really like this position this week and wouldn’t hate going two guys here but if you are going two your #1 TE should be one of these top five options this week.
- George Kittle
- Travis Kelce
- Jared Cook
- Mark Andrews
- Evan Engram
VALUE PLAY: Kyle Rudolph
- STEELERS … Forgot to add them in here earlier . Love their FD price.
STRAIGHT UP UPSET PICK:
AGAINST THE SPREAD PICKS:
- Texans/Jags OVER
- Seahawks/Steelers UNDER