Short Slate Tips
If your goal is to finish at the top of a large-field tournament on the upcoming four-game playoff slates, you’ll need to push GPP game theory to the max when constructing lineups. Some helpful bullets to get you thinking in the right direction:
- The leverage you gain on the field by exploiting ownership percentages is amplified on short slates. Whereas on a normal slate, a chalk-play like Ezekiel Elliott typically tops out around 30% rostered, we should expect his ownership to land in the 60-70% range this week. The takeaway, however, is not to fade Elliott in 100% of your lineups and pray he busts so you can instantly pass half the field. In fact, if you’re entering multiple lineups, 60-70% exposure is probably the right idea. If Elliott gets hurt or is held in check, your lineups without him have legs. But on a four game slate, there simply aren’t enough players with Elliott’s 15-point floor and 40-point ceiling to risk zero exposure. With a stronger-than-usual chace you’ll need Elliott to have a shot at winning, putting him in about two-thirds of your lineups eliminates the risk you’re drawing dead with all your buy-ins if he has a huge game.
- While fading the chalk completely when multi-entering is rarely the right move, entering the same type of roster most of your opponents are has zero chance at first place on a short slate. In all likelihood, you’ll need two or three players in each lineup that are less than 10% owned to have a chance at a meaningful payday in a large field.
- Focus on unique roster construction. Build lineups that feel safe -- then tear them down and make new ones where you allocate more cap space to the opposite positions. Try full game stacks, playing a tight end in the flex, or anything else you consider a viable strategy for making your lineups stand out in a sea of carbon copies. Just make sure the roster you constructed still has a high enough theoretical ceiling before clicking the submit button.
- Don’t be afraid to leave salary on the table. With ownership at least as important as projections on a short slate, leaving $500 or more unspent is a path to uniqueness most people won’t take. Unlike normal weeks, coming well short of the cap doesn’t necessarily mean you’re sacrificing points.
- Use the Vegas lines to inform projected ownership. We won’t have the luxury of Steve Buzzard’s ownership projections to guide us this week, but we can usually assume players from favorites will be higher-owned than their underdog counterparts. Sites like TheSpread.com let you dive deeper by showing the percentage of public bets on each team and how the lines have moved since they opened. Generally speaking, the higher percentage of tickets on a team, the higher-owned their players will be. And sometimes you can spot how sharp bettors are leaning when reverse line movement occurs. The sharps are fallible like everyone else but identifying who they like more than the public can at least get the contrarian wheels turning in your brain.
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