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:
- After a predictably low-scoring Week 15, we’re once again faced with a slate containing only a single game -- Pittsburgh at New Orleans -- with an over/under above 50 points (53). We can expect the crowd to chase a few key players from the Steelers and Saints, but unlike last week, there are other respectable offenses in exploitable matchups. Many of your opponents will also look to Dallas and Indianapolis when building their cores. Each team is implied to score at least 27 points and expected to win handily. New England and LA (Rams) also have high team totals but have underperformed in recent weeks. Players from the Patriots and Rams project to provide leverage on the field due to recency bias.
- Andrew Luck ($6,200) stands out as the most appealing option in the top-pricing tier at quarterback, with Dak Prescott’s ($5,700) matchup against Tampa Bay inflating his ownership in the mid-tier. Collectively, they should tie up about 25% of ownership at the position. Those who don’t spend up to Luck or Prescott will most often punt with Nick Foles ($4,700) at home against Houston. The substantial savings Foles provides in a great on-paper matchup will cause common roster construction to diverge.
- Running back roster rates will be close at the top, as usual. The public will want plenty of Ezekiel Elliott ($9,000), Christian McCaffrey ($8,800), and Todd Gurley ($9,200), all of whom have favorable matchups. Perhaps McCaffrey and Gurley slip a bit due to concerns about the former’s replacement quarterback and the latter’s knee injury, but it’s unlikely unless we receive news ahead of lock they’re due to play limited snaps. We can add Saquon Barkley ($7,900) to this group as well after DraftKings overcorrected his price following just his second sub-20 fantasy point game of the season.
- Squeezing in two of the top four running backs is difficult without spending down to Foles at quarterback. Lineups with Luck and Prescott will require more balance due to the high prices of their stacking partners. Those who spend over $6K at quarterback will be eyeing Nick Chubb ($7,300), Joe Mixon ($7,100), and Dalvin Cook ($6,900) in the upper-middle tier or coming down to Jamaal Williams ($5,400), Tevin Coleman ($4,800), or Elijah McGuire ($4,700) at lower salaries to leave room for a top wide receiver.
- The most sought-after option above $8K at receiver should be DeAndre Hopkins ($8,600), who is coming off a 42-point explosion and faces Philadelphia’s injury-decimated secondary. He’ll share significant ownership at the top with Michael Thomas ($8,100), JuJu Smith-Schuster ($8,000), Amari Cooper ($7,500), and T.Y. Hilton ($7,100).
- Regardless of which route the masses take at RB1 and RB2, common roster construction dictates saving cap space on at least two wide receivers. Robby Anderson’s price ($4,500) has been slow to adjust following consecutive games with 17+ fantasy points. He’ll be chalky along with Alshon Jeffery ($5,300), who showed out last week (27 fantasy points) in Foles’ return to the starting lineup.
- We’re coming off one of the worst weeks for tight end fantasy scoring in recent memory, which means entrants will pay a premium for a “safe” option at the position. Zach Ertz ($5,900) and Eric Ebron ($5,700) pair neatly with two of this week’s most popular quarterbacks, which all but locks an expensive tight end into this week’s stock roster build. Starting your lineup with a tight end below $4K is an easy way to differentiate your lineup from the pack.
- Only $1,000 separates the top-10 options at defense/special teams.Ownership will be flat as a result, with most entrants picking on the worst offense they can find. The LA Rams ($3,200), Browns ($3,000), and Dolphins ($2,700) all fit the bill, making it a good week to either spend way up or way down at defense to stray from the masses.
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