DraftKings Wild Card Slate Breakdown
The 2018 fantasy football season has come to a close, but we can still get our fix in with over the next few weeks with these condensed playoff slates. The overarching theme of this article will be GPP focused. On a short slate, one or two players can decide the entire slate. When that's the case, I like to play strictly tournaments with a portfolio of players, rather than one cash game lineup that can get destroyed by one-player variance.
- I've added bumped up my exposure to David Moore and the Texans pass-catchers with Malik Turner and Will Fuller out. Obviously Hopkins and Stills stand to see the most benefit, however DeAndre Carter, Keke Coutee, and the tight ends could also be the beneficiaries.
Be sure to check back before the start kickoff at 4:30 EST on Saturday for updates and additional roster construction thoughts.
- Core Plays - These players will have the highest ownership in my player pool. Usually, they'll be a mix of my favorite high-floor and high-upside players.
- Contrarian Plays - These are generally players who may be going overlooked or usually have volatile fantasy production. They will be sprinkled into lineups around the core plays to make them a bit unique.
- Short slates are not all about value - With so few players in the pool, there will inevitably be a ton of overlap in lineups which naturally leads to a high variance slate. For this reason, it makes sense to focus on GPPs. (Putting your tournament lineups in small 50/50s, however, can be a nice way to hedge if you are not playing any cash games.) Rather than building a lineup with the best point-per-dollar plays, owners should consider game flow scenarios and build lineups that follow a logical narrative relative to those scripts.
- Consider non-traditional lineup builds - On short slates, there are some lineup construction strategies to consider that would never make sense on a full slate. Some examples are playing more than one running back from the same team in a lineup, rostering one or two players against your defense, and leaving salary on the table. It’s going to be tough to find contrarian stand-alone players—look for other ways to be unique.
- There is leverage to be had at the “onesies” - Full slates will rarely have any quarterback, tight end, or defense in more than 15%–20% of lineups in large-field GPPs. On slates such as this one, players at those positions could exceed 50% ownership in even the largest fields. This presents a rare opportunity to be contrarian at positions where ownership is usually quite flat.
- Stick to a (relatively) small player pool - It’s tempting to try to cover all of your bases when the player pool is so small but that will only dilute your good reads. Narrow in on a small core with your favorite off-the-board plays and be way overweight on those players. Coupled with strong correlation plays, this is how to build a profitable portfolio on a short slate.
- Don’t forget about late swaps - If your lineups are slanted towards game stacks, especially for the earlier games, it’s imperative to see where you stand when the final game starts. If you only have one player left and someone ahead of you has the same player, the only way to win is to swap, even if it’s to a player with a lower projection. Additionally, if you have lineups that absolutely tanked on Saturday, pivoting to lower-owned stacks or individual plays on Sunday could salvage you a min-cash.
The Bills' passing game looks like it actually may catch some ownership, and for good reason. Josh Allen ($6,500) has been a reliable fantasy quarterback, eclipsing 20 DraftKings points in five of his last seven games (not including Week 17's one series). The Texans rate out as a bottom-five defense in terms of schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed (aFPA) to offenses, and bottom 10 to virtually every individual position in aFPA as well. Both John Brown ($6,000) and Cole Beasley ($5,800) rate out as top-five plays on the entire slate in our value metric and they are actually second and third in point-per-dollar value. The Bills faced an absolute gauntlet of secondaries over the back half of the season which severely depressed Brown's numbers. Their starting offense faced the likes of the Broncos, Cowboys, Ravens, Steelers, then sat against the Dolphins. The Bills could absolutely explode in this game offensively as they finally have a decent matchup. I will have plenty of Josh Allen stacks with his pass-catchers. Dawson Knox ($2,900) could be the key to unlocking value at other positions. The Eagles tight ends, as well as Jared Cook, should gobble up the ownership so Knox will make your lineup a bit unique.
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