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 can 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:
- All eyes will be on Baltimore at Kansas City and its slate-high 55-point over/under. Lamar Jackson ($7,000) and Patrick Mahomes II ($7,600) are the first and second-ranked quarterbacks on DraftKings through two weeks. Despite their rising salaries, the duo should combine for about 20% of the total quarterback ownership on the slate.
- Salaries have begun to adjust to this year’s data, however, and it’s difficult to build balanced rosters that include Jackson or Mahomes. Dak Prescott ($6,500) saves a bit of cap space in a cakewalk matchup at home against the Dolphins. Further down the list, Kyler Murray ($5,800) appears underpriced relative to his performance in a pair of tough matchups to open the season. Both will be chalky, but due to DraftKings’ tightly-clustered quarterback pricing, just about any quarterback outside of Jackson and Mahomes won’t force a shift in the common roster construction.
- Running back will be top-heavy this week, with Ezekiel Elliott ($8,900) and Dalvin Cook ($7,800) the first two players most entrants will attempt to build around, followed closely by Austin Ekeler ($7,200). Christian McCaffrey ($8,700) should be up there too, but he’s a little tougher to gauge due to the impact of Cam Newton’s injury on the Panthers offense. Fellow top-tier running back Saquon Barkley ($9,100) should see reduced ownership due to his RB1 price point and the unknowns surrounding rookie quarterback Daniel Jones.
- Builds that include one of Jackson, Mahomes, or Prescott, along with two running backs priced over $7,000, will be in search of wide receiver value. Nelson Agholor ($3,600) is coming off a 27.7 point performance in a nationally televised game. With DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery both expected to scratch, he profiles as (risky) mega-chalk. Other receivers who fit with heavy quarterback and running back spending include Emmanuel Sanders ($4,800), Larry Fitzgerald ($5,100), Christian Kirk ($5,000), Calvin Ridley ($5,300), and John Brown ($5,500). There is leverage to be gained this week by building lineups around a core of wide receivers priced around $6,500 and above.
- If we assume the crowd will attack mid-priced receivers, there is room left over for Zach Ertz ($5,700), George Kittle ($5,600), or Mark Andrews ($4,600) in stock builds. Andrews, in particular, should get piled on due to his correlation with Jackson and consecutive 28-point performances to open the season. Travis Kelce ($7,100), on the other hand, is a luxury purchase many entrants will pass on outside of Mahomes stacks. It is as good a week as any to chase Kelce’s ceiling in tournaments.
- Picking on the Dolphins offense will be popular after the New England DST practically put teams over the cash-line by themselves in Week 2. The Cowboys ($4,300) are next up against Miami but are cost-prohibitive. It’s the same story with the Patriots ($3,800), who haven’t given up a touchdown yet this season and face Luke Falk and the overmatched Jets in Foxboro. Both defenses will be chalky, but their salaries are tough to squeeze in on a slate with tighter pricing. Don’t be surprised to see Minnesota ($3,300 at home vs. Oakland) or teams facing inexperienced quarterbacks -- Tampa Bay ($2,900), San Francisco ($3,200), and Arizona ($2,700) -- appear just as frequently in the most common lineup construction.