FanDuel Divisional Round Slate Breakdown
FanDuel has broken up the Divisional Round into two main slates, Saturday Main and Sunday Main, with smaller prize pools for the Saturday-Sunday slate. The following will focus on the main slates and there are some slight salary differences between the main slate and the two-day slate. For those used to playing full slates there are some adjustments to consider:
- 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.
- Being underweight on a player does not mean having zero exposure, especially on slates this small.
The Divisional Round kicks off with what is expected to be the lowest-scoring game of the week but also the most obvious leverage spot on Saturday. Lamar Jackson will dominate ownership at his position but having lineups built around another quarterback is the easiest way to be contrarian on this short slate. With San Francisco’s defense as close to 100% healthy as they have been in months, Jimmy Garoppolo ($7,900) is my preferred option here in a game where the 49ers are favored by a touchdown. Jimmy G. has accounted for three of the 40 highest FanDuel scores by a quarterback this season—only Jackson and Deshaun Watson had more top-40 games in the regular season. Dedicating 20%-30% of Saturday-only lineups to the 49ers quarterback in hopes of capturing that ceiling should help offset the fact that the 49ers pass-catchers should challenge the Ravens’ receivers for the most popular on Saturday.
Minnesota finished the season ranked 27th in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed (aFPA) to wide receivers this season. While George Kittle ($7,300) will be the most popular play on this side of the ball, stacking Garoppolo with Emmanuel Sanders ($5,800) or Deebo Samuel ($6,600), as well, could lead to a relatively low-owned team stack.
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