By Sean Weymouth
When you are looking at a 2 game slate of games, normally, you can attack with value and if you know your Ps & Qs find strong value, paired with studs in a contrarian enough way to cash.
However today’s two game slate is an entirely different animal. With all four teams vying for a trip to the big game – every stud is viable, every side has a path to victory, everybody is everything.
So I thought share some of my core strategies with you on how I am looking at this 2 game slate. My first advice to you is that with every lineup you build, you tell a story. For instance if you think the Chiefs dominate today and assume Patrick Mahomes ($7,700) goes off then follow that narrative – last week it was Travis Kelce ($7,100) with 3 touchdowns and running back Damien Williams ($7,000) who helped our Mahomey find his way. If you choose this path and play all three you will be paying down in nearly every other spot which, may end up being the more popular way most players build a lineup and suddenly those cheap players are chalky chalk chalk. Personally i would look at this Chiefs narrative a little differently. I see the Titans steamrolling Derrick Henry ($8,700), especially with Chief’s run stopper Chris Jones sitting, all day. This will keep Patrick and company off the field for longer stretches, so that when they are on the field they need to strike quick – and that is Tyreek Hill’s ($7,200) specialty. So a contrarian way to get your Chiefs domination storyline would be to start with Mahomes and leave off Williams and Kelce instead stacking Patrick with Tyreek and another pass catcher such as Sammy Watkins (4,600), Demarcus Robinson ($4,400) or Mecole Hardman ($3,900). I think Watkins will be very popular today at that price so I’m leaning more toward Robinson or Hardman, but that is just me. Anyway, back to this narrative build – the savings you have from pivoting from Kelce to Hill and Williams to a secondary pass catcher will allow you a more balanced build where you may be able to get 2,3 or 4 mid level studs which really can open your opportunity to cash.
To wrap this up, in my above scenario Derrick Henry ($8,400) needs to be in my lineup as the anchor of Mahomes opposition, but also the Chiefs Defense ($3,200) should be in the lineup too, if the the team is going to dominate at home in Arrowhead – the Loudest stadium in the league. Paying up at Defense alone is a contrarian approach today for sure, by the way.
So that is my advice. Find a storyline in a game and build using that storyline. There will be a lot of players in contests today that will stuff studs in and find the cheapest options to match them with which not only makes the cheaper players very Chalky but also the overall type of lineup as well. If you can build a narrative it can help you have a more balanced lineup and I think that approach will make a difference for you in your contests.
When selecting cheap player options to run along with your studs, you need to be more careful than just looking at price and raw points. I lean on most recent performances heavily in the playoffs when considering players with cheaper price tags. We have seen time and time and time again a team’s playoff hero not being a featured player but a guy who stepped up. So when you get into your $2,500 – $4,000 player range – take a look at targets received (or snaps for RBs) across this playoff run. Don’t just look at raw points. If a guy hasn’t been targeted in 4 weeks, I’m likely fading. But if I guy has seen 3-4 targets a game for 2 or 3 games straight, I’m more apt to keep him in my player pool because if he gets that 3-4 targets and one goes for a long TD, you just likely got a great return for a cheap player and you may also get enough of a difference from another more popular play who is having a dud game. So be mindful of Playoff Magic with these lesser known, inexpensive plays and make sure they also fit with the story your lineup is telling. Plus guys, if you are playing a tournament you are looking for Ceiling scoring from the players and not the floor. What better place for a guy to have a Ceiling Game by the way than in a championship game. So agai look into your cheaper options today further than just price and raw points.
Which brings me to one more thing to warn about with “cheap” plays. Say for instance you are building a lineup dominated by Forty Niners because you think the Niners dominate, but also including some Packers too. You end up having $3,000 left and there is Adam Humphries ($3,000) of the Tennessee Tiant’s sitting there. It feels good, you feel good, you click and save. You are so confident about your SF strategy you know you are gonna cash.
Then Adam Humphries puts up a goose egg.
and now you enter into the SF/Green Bay matchup. With a 0.00 you have to overcome and with one less active player than any of your competitors who had the same or similar idea as you from a game selection standpoint. So be smart with your cheap picks and if you have a San Francisco wins big narrative going, don’t sleep on a cheap option within that narrative like Matt Brieda ($3,400) who if the Niners do blow out the Pack, could have a significant role in the 4th quarter. Or if (god forbid) either Coleman or Moestert get hurt and have to sit mid way in the third quarter, suddenly you have Brieda in your lineup at 1% ownership. So what I am saying is that not only should you look beyond price and raw points with your cheap players, but also do your best to also choose cheaper players that are following the narrative of the rest of your lineup.
I don’t think I need to tell you who the players are today and from a player ownership perspective, I don’t think you need to be a rocket scientist to figure out the players that will be in 70%, 60%, 50% of lineups you compete against. Creating a narrative driven, balanced lineup with smart choices for inexpensive lineup builders may be the difference you need to cash today. I hope this helps.
Any questions? Help and advice – I’m on Twitter today @delrayboston hit me up!
And as always – good luck in your contests!