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:
- There are two games on Saturday this week, bringing the main slate back down to 11 games for the first time since Week 12. It’s projected to be an unusually low-scoring slate by 2018 standards, with only one game -- New England at Pittsburgh -- implied by Vegas to exceed 50 total points. As a result, we can expect the crowd to pile on Patriots and Steelers as core plays, particularly Ben Roethlisberger ($6,600), JuJu Smith-Schuster ($8,000), Tom Brady ($5,900), and Rob Gronkowski ($5,800).
- Outside of Roethlisberger and Brady, quarterback ownership will be flat as a board. In terms of raw projections, there is very little separating the third-highest priced option at the position (Andrew Luck) from the tenth (Aaron Rodgers). About three-quarters of the field will look to avoid the drop-off after Dak Prescott at $5,500, giving bargain quarterbacks more leverage than usual.
- The crowd’s first reflex will be to jam in Saquon Barkley ($9,400) and Ezekiel Elliott ($9,000) but a lack of value in the lower tiers at running back, wide receiver, and tight end will make it difficult (though not impossible). More entrants will favor a balanced approach at running back where Joe Mixon ($6,100), Dalvin Cook ($6,500), and Jaylen Samuels ($5,200) are each priced attractively in terrific matchups.
- Whether you use Mixon and Cook together or pair one with Barkley/Elliott, top-priced wide receivers aren’t exactly easy to squeeze into this week’s stock roster build. Smith-Schuster -- coming off his second 35+ point performance in the last three games -- should be the most sought-after receiver at $8,000 or above. But cap constraints dictate significant wide receiver ownership will concentrate on mid-priced players like Corey Davis ($5,600) and Tyler Boyd ($5,700), as well as sub-$5K options like Dante Pettis ($4,400) and even the Buffalo wide receivers in an appealing matchup against Detroit.
- Tight end looks about as top-heavy as it has all season. After George Kittle ($6,300), Eric Ebron ($5,900), Gronkowski, and Jared Cook ($5,600), the position all but dries up. Spending up at tight end will be the move for most, which makes fitting in the top two running backs -- Barkley and Elliott -- even more difficult.
- No defense is priced above Jacksonville at $3,400, which essentially means your opponents get to pick whichever defense they like most. The heaviest ownership should settle in the $3K tier where Baltimore ($3,000), Chicago ($2,900), Buffalo ($2,800), and Atlanta ($2,700) figure to lead the way.
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