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:
- The highest Vegas-implied team totals on the slate belong to the Chiefs (28), Eagles (27.5), Rams (27) and Cowboys (27) but save for Travis Kelce, no players from these teams project to be particularly high-owned. Strangely, it appears there is some leverage to be gained in Week 1 by simply chasing the offenses expected to score the most points.
- Our opponents seem fixated on Minnesota, where Kirk Cousins ($5,500) and Dalvin Cook ($6,000) both look like bargains at home against a Falcons team that allowed 26.4 points per game last season. As usual, it’s easy to project where Cousins’ passes will be aimed. Adam Thielen ($6,800) and Stefon Diggs ($6,700) will both be popular as a result (keep an eye on Diggs' hamstring injury) and Julio Jones ($8,000) will receive an ownership bump due to game stacks, as long as he’s not seriously considering sitting out.
- Tampa Bay is a short favorite at home against San Francisco and the over/under is up to 49.5 points. Jameis Winston ($6,600) should end up the most popular quarterback in the top salary tier and will take Chris Godwin ($6,200) along for the ride. The 49ers, however, are being ignored on the other side of the potential shootout, which makes their every-down players interesting targets.
- Winston aside, the crowd is likely to target quarterbacks in the $6K tier, where Cousins, Lamar Jackson ($6,000), Carson Wentz ($5,700), and Kyler Murray ($5,600) are attractively priced relative to their respective ceilings. Jacoby Brissett ($4,400), who took over for the retired Andrew Luck after Week 1 pricing was released, will also draw some attention at his backup salary.
- Top tier running backs like Saquon Barkley ($9,000) and Christian McCaffrey ($8,800) won’t be forgotten but look for the common roster construction to include at least two running backs in the $6K range. Cook, Nick Chubb ($6,400), Leonard Fournette ($6,100), Kerryon Johnson ($5,800), and Chris Carson ($5,700) all appear underpriced.
- Similar to running back, there is a soft spot for wide receivers in the $5K-$6K range, which could lead to a lot of balanced lineups this week. Sterling Shepard ($5,000), Tyler Boyd ($5,800), Tyler Lockett ($6,000), and Chris Godwin ($6,200) are each in line for at least a 20% share of their team’s targets. Luxury spending at wide receiver will be significant as well, but Jones ($8,000), Beckham ($8,100), and Tyreek Hill ($7,600) figure to cannibalize each other’s ownership. The sub-$5K wide receiver tier is where you can gain the most leverage on the field.
- At tight end, there is Travis Kelce ($7,100) and then everyone else. Most non-Kelce lineups are likely to feature a moderately priced upside play. Evan Engram ($4,800), and Hunter Henry ($3,900) are the usual suspects.
- Expect the crowd to pile on the Ravens DST ($3,800) in a road matchup against Miami’s tank-mode offense. Those without enough cap space to fit Baltimore will flock to one of the heavy home favorites. Philadelphia ($3,600), Dallas ($3,500), Seattle ($3,100), and the LA Chargers ($3,000) stand out. Spending less than $3K at defense will be the exception.
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