This article was updated at 11:40 am on on 11/24/18.
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:
- The Chiefs and Rams are on a well-deserved bye week and the fantasy-friendly offenses of the Saints, Falcons, and Packers are off the main slate. We’re left with an uncharacteristically low (for 2018) two games with an over/under above 50 points -- Miami at Indianapolis and San Francisco at Tampa Bay. Most entrants will look to the home favorite in each game when choosing their core players. Other teams with implied totals over 25 points that will attract significant attention include the Chargers (28.25), Eagles (26), and Patriots (27.75).
- Andrew Luck ($6,400) and Jameis Winston ($6,000) will be the most sought-after quarterbacks. Both are priced as top-5 options, but they won’t be tough to fit due to DraftKings tightly-compacted quarterback salaries. Very few people will consider a quarterback priced below $5,500. Contrarian stacks built around a cheap signal-caller should offer greater leverage than usual.
- The Arizona Cardinals have allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season, which means Melvin Gordon III ($8,600) will be in high demand, especially since the Chargers (-12) are the biggest favorites on the slate. But there is also an unusual amount of running back value to entice the crowd this week. Nick Chubb ($6,300), Marlon Mack ($5,500) and Matt Breida ($5,700) are high-upside players in ideal matchups, and Week 11 breakout Gus Edwards ($4,400) warrants consideration with Baltimore hosting Oakland as a double-digit favorite (especially if Alex Collins scratches). Many lineups will include three of the aforementioned backs, with Gordon plus two value-plays likely to be the most common combination.
- EDIT: ESPN reported Gordon is a game-time decision due to an aggravation of his hamstring issue. If he is forced to sit, Austin Ekeler ($3,700) will become the highest-owned running back on the slate. His low price (even for a backup) alters the complexion of the slate. Entrants can now either spend up for two high-priced running backs, two high-priced receivers, or use more of their cap to pay up to a premium tight end.
- A lineup with Luck/Winston, Gordon, and a pair of $5-$6K running backs leaves room for one top-tier wide receiver. Odell Beckham Jr ($8,800) should top the most wish lists due to his matchup with the injury-depleted Eagles secondary. Mike Evans ($7,700), and T.Y. Hilton ($6,500) will also be popular as the obvious stacking partners for Winston and Luck, respectively. Value plays below $5K at wide receiver are few and far between for a second straight week. Look for D.J. Moore ($4,600) to appear frequently in this week's stock roster builds, especially if Devin Funchess is ruled out.
- It was announced O.J. Howard would miss the remainder of the season after Week 12 salaries were released, leaving Cameron Brate ($3,600) underpriced as the main pass-catching tight end in one of the league’s most productive passing offenses. Zach Ertz ($6,400) and George Kittle ($6,200) are intriguing high-end options, but rostering either of them means less spending at RB1 or WR1, which will make many of your opponents hesitate.
- We have one defense priced up at $4,000 (Jacksonville), but only $1,000 separates the next 10 choices. The Jaguars will be popular in Josh Allen’s return for the Bills, and the Ravens defense will draw a crowd at home against the lowly Raiders, but ownership at DST should be fairly flat. Percent rostered should barely be a factor in your decision-making process when choosing a defense this week.
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