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:
- Two of our favorite teams for fantasy points -- the Chiefs and Rams -- are off the main slate, which shines the spotlight on Atlanta at Houston and it’s slate-high 48.5-point over/under. Many will also look to Arizona at Cincinnati (47.5) in an up-tempo matchup between two of the league’s worst defenses, and hevy ownership should also settle on home favorites, particularly the Cowboys and Eagles.
- Without Patrick Mahomes II on the main slate, we should see extremely flat ownership rates at quarterback. Deshaun Watson ($6,700) will likely be the most popular option but isn’t easy to fit under the cap along with this week’s running back and wide receiver chalk. The same goes for the always popular Lamar Jackson ($7,100). As a result, we should see significant ownership concentrate on Watson’s counterpart this week, Matt Ryan ($5,900). Other medium-priced options who fit more comfortably in common builds include Carson Wentz ($6,100) against the Jets’ dismal pass defense and Dak Prescott ($6,000) in a bounce-back spot at home against Green Bay.
- Get ready for a top-heavy week at running back, especially after Christian McCaffrey ($8,700) and Austin Ekeler hit as expensive chalk in Week 4. While Ekeler is no longer a high-equity option due to Melvin Gordon III’s return, McCaffrey, Alvin Kamara ($8,600), Dalvin Cook ($8,300), Ezekiel Elliott ($8,300), and David Johnson ($7,500) each have enticing matchups. Expect at least two of these players to appear in most of your opponents’ lineups, with Kamara the most likely to draw the short straw from an ownership standpoint. Heavy spending at running back should create buying opportunities in the middle price tier, where Joe Mixon ($6,100), Derrick Henry ($6,000), and Aaron Jones (if Jamaal Williams sits) are in good spots.
- Assuming Falcons at Texans is the game everyone chases, DeAndre Hopkins ($7,800) and Julio Jones ($7,700) are two reasons why the most common rosters won’t include three running backs over $7.5K. The savings to make it all work will have to come from at least two wide receivers spots. Will Fuller V ($4,500) becomes a likely candidate (despite his lack of production) due to Kenny Stills’ injury and his association with the Texans’ offense. Another option is Cincinnati’s Auden Tate ($3,500), who has performed reasonably well over the last two games and should see more targets with John Ross sidelined. Mid-priced receivers -- and balanced lineups in general -- should provide leverage this week.
- It’s not easy to spend at tight end and the absence of Travis Kelce and George Kittle on the slate further encourages minimal spending at the position. Austin Hooper’s price ($4,500) has been slow to rise despite his cumulative TE2 season-to-date production. Below Hooper, Tyler Eifert ($3,300) should be way higher-owned than he has any right to be due to how well enemy tight ends have performed against Arizona. Paying all the way up to Zach Ertz ($6,000) or Evan Engram ($5,800) won’t necessarily be contrarian, but it will force you to build lineups differently than the field.
- DST is another tough spend on this slate, but significant ownership will still find its way to pricy options like New England ($4,300), Chicago ($3,800 in the Khalil Mack revenge game), and the Eagles ($3,700). The most common lineups, however, will feature a team defense at $3K or below. Tennessee ($3,000) and Carolina ($2,600) stand out as home favorites facing inexperienced quarterbacks.