KNOW YOUR ENEMIES
To place near the top of a large field GPP, your roster has to stand out from the crowd in some way. Knowing which players will command the highest ownership is a helpful first step, but without the context of how those players fit together under the salary cap, it’s difficult to project the type of lineups you’ll be up against most frequently.
Sometimes, the clearest path to creating a unique roster is to allocate more of your salary cap to the positions your opponents are not. To gain some insight into how most other entrants are likely to think as they construct their rosters, with the goal of building yours differently, consider these bullets:
- Three games on the main slate opened with Vegas totals above 50 points -- Philadelphia at New Orleans, Carolina at Detroit, and Tampa Bay at New York Giants. The crowd will look to these games first when choosing their core players.
- Quarterback pricing remains tightly clustered, with only $1,000 separating the QB1 (Drew Brees) from the QB11 (Marcus Mariota). As a result, a combined 25% of the field should have no trouble spending up to either Brees ($6,500) or Cam Newton ($6,200). Those who look to save cap space at quarterback will likely zero in on Eli Manning ($5,200), who draws Tampa Bay’s disastrous defense at home, or Dak Prescott ($5,200) in an equally enticing matchup on the road in Atlanta. If Baltimore rookie Lamar Jackson ($4,700) is named the team’s starter, the complexion of the slate changes significantly.
- Todd Gurley and Kareem Hunt are off the main slate, but there are still tough choices to be made at the top running back tier. Melvin Gordon III ($8,900), Saquon Barkley ($8,700), and Ezekiel Elliott ($8,500) are each in great spots. Alvin Kamara ($8,200) has the highest ceiling at the position in any given week. Christian McCaffrey ($8,000) is on a heater as he enters a plush matchup with Detroit. And Cardinals offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich has revived David Johnson’s ($7,500) value just in time for a home game against the dismal Raiders. This season’s cumulative RB3 -- James Conner ($7,200) -- provides yet another high-end option, though some will be scared off by the opposing Jaguars defense. Expect ownership to be split fairly evenly among the top eight running backs.
- Life would be a peach if it were easy to fit two, or even three, of the aforementioned running backs into lineups, but a dearth of attractive wide receivers in the sub-$5K price range makes rostering more than one a chore. Dion Lewis ($4,800) and Mark Ingram II ($4,700) stand out as running back values, making it more likely we’ll see a common construction that includes Newton or Brees at quarterback, a stud RB1 paired with Lewis and/or Ingram, Michael Thomas ($8,800) or Odell Beckham Jr Jr. ($8,400) at WR1, and wide receivers in the $5K-$6K price range filling in the remaining receiver slots. Kenny Golladay ($5,800) will appear most frequently in these lineups, especially if Marvin Jones Jr isn’t practicing by Friday.
- Zach Ertz ($6,600) is the luxury purchase at tight end this week, but rostering him comes with a steep opportunity cost. Don’t be surprised to see Evan Engram ($4,100) get piled on, despite his general lack of productivity this season, due to his appealing price point and a highly-publicized matchup against Tampa Bay’s sieve-like pass defense.
- No defense/special teams unit is priced above $3,400, and similar to the quarterback position, there isn’t much salary separating options one through 10. Ownership at defense will be flat, but Arizona ($3,100) should lead the way against the laughing-stock Raiders after the Cardinals made life difficult for Patrick Mahomes II in Week 10. Entrants who splurge on two top running backs and a high-priced receiver in the same lineup are likely to turn to New Orleans ($2,100) -- the biggest favorite on the slate -- at just above the site minimum price.
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