DraftKings Divisional Round Slate Breakdown
The 2019 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.
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.
- Pay very close attention to the status of the Vikings' wide receivers, if one or both sit that obviously bumps up the rest of their active pass catchers, including Kyle Rudolph, Irv Smith, and Bisi Johnson. Additionally, that would probably mean the Vikings take a more run heavy approach as well.
- Will Fuller makes the entire Texans' passing game a bit more enticing. Darren Fells actually performs better with Fuller on the field and Jordan Akins off, and that's exactly what will happen today. Chiefs' Chris Jones will be inactive too, so that's a boost to Watson and the offense as well as he led the Chiefs in sacks this year.
Believe it or not, I have quite a bit of interest in the Vikings' offensive skill players. The 49ers defense struggled to close out the season, allowing nearly 30 points per game since Week 13. The Vikings passing game showed its face in multiple spots in last week's winning lineup and I wouldn't be surprised if it did the same this week. I don't think stacking multiple pieces of this offense with Kirk Cousins ($5,700) is the answer as there may not be enough plays or pace to this game for it to be the game you need to stack. However, I do think we can take pieces of the Vikings offense as one-offs. I was way off-base about Adam Thielen ($6,200). Despite seeing a ton of Marshon Lattimore, Thielen turned nine targets into a 7/129 line and you needed him to be in your lineup to have the nuts. I also like taking a dart throw with Stefon Diggs ($5,600). It's the classic pivot spot. We all know what Diggs is capable of when he sees targets and all of the ownership will shift to Thielen in this one. Obviously I wouldn't recommend playing them together since I doubt I'll be using much Cousins, though I will have stand-alone pieces of both receivers. Kyle Rudolph ($3,400) remains a credible red zone threat. He racked up seven targets last week and at his current salary represents solid value. The 49ers rank 18th in aFPA to wide receivers and 12th to tight ends. This isn't as scary matchup as it looks and there is leverage in having exposure to the Vikings passing game.
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