By TJ Hernandez, 4for4
Special to Yahoo Sports
Whether you are playing in the biggest tournament of the week on Yahoo or prefer to play in smaller GPPs, there are some general GPP strategies that you can implement in contests of any size. These concepts include stacking, finding pivots off of popular players, and targeting players that won’t be on many rosters.
While it’s important to implement these into your lineup-building approach, the foundation of any tournament lineup is a solid core — usually players that you would use in cash games.
Stacks to Target
QB Russel Wilson, Seahawks ($36)
WR DK Metcalf, Seahawks ($24)
WR Tyler Lockett, Seahawks ($22)
WR CeeDee Lamb, Cowboys ($21)
To finish on top in the Baller, a roster needs correlation beyond just a traditional QB/WR stack — both Baller winners in 2020 have used at least four players stacked with another player from the same game. This Seattle-Dallas stack targets what should be the highest-scoring and most popular contest of the week but adds a unique element by playing both of Seattle’s primary wide receivers together.
Six different Seahawks have scored a receiving touchdown already so the perception is that Russell Wilson spreads the ball around too much to double stack. In reality, Seattle has one of the most concentrated passing attacks in football with Metcalf and Lockett combining for just under 82% of team air yards, the highest rate in the league. With that high concentration of yards, touchdown variance will break their way and it could happen simultaneously.
Virtually every starter in this game is worthy of tournament consideration but Lamb deserves to be singled out as the Cowboy to use on the other side of Seahawks stacks. Per SportsInfoSolutions, Seattle’s defense has allowed the most completions (33) and the third-most yards per attempt (11.0) to slot receivers, where Lamb has lined up 90% of the time.
QB Matthew Stafford, Lions ($31)
WR Kenny Golladay, Lions ($21)
WR DeAndre Hopkins, Cardinals ($35)
There’s a good chance that Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins end up as the most rostered players at their position in the Week 3 Baller, presenting a huge leverage opportunity on the other side of the ball. Arizona’s defense has yet to be exploited but that’s been as much of a function of who they have played as how they have played.
Kenny Golladay is trending toward playing on Sunday. Golladay’s return will aid in Stafford’s efficiency spiking to 2019 levels but the uncertainty surrounding Golladay’s health should keep both of their rostered percentages in check. Running it back with Hopkins lets fantasy managers get exposure to a Cardinals offense in one of the best spots of the week. This game has an over/under of 54.5 and both offenses rank in the top 10 in offensive pace, according to Football Outsiders.
RB Austin Ekeler, Chargers ($23)
WR DJ Moore, Panthers ($22)
In addition to traditional quarterback stacks, a huge percentage of Baller winners have used another correlation play or a secondary stack. Often this secondary stack is a running back with his team defense or with a pass catcher from the opposing offense. The Panthers look like a defense to target with as many skill players as possible but the Chargers are a team that I would rather use single players from than as a primary team to stack.
Austin Ekeler was out-touched by Joshua Kelley last week but Ekeler was more efficient with his touches, totaling 148 yards on 16 carries and four catches. The timeshare in the LA backfield should benefit GPP players since it will keep the rostered percentages of both Ekeler and Kelley in check.
DJ Moore has had as big of a role as any receiver in the league but hasn’t yet had the big game to show for it. His 30.1% target share ranks fifth in football and only three players have accounted for a higher percentage of their team’s air yards. That kind of unrealized opportunity is exactly what to look for in a large-field tournament.
Contrarian Plays to Target
RB Derrick Henry, Titans ($34)
Players coming off of weeks where they busted as the chalk are often good post-hype GPP targets, especially when they are high-volume running backs. As a favorite against a Vikings team that just allowed Jonathan Taylor over 100 yards and a score, this is a spot where Henry should be one of the more popular players on the slate but will probably only end up in about 10%-15% of lineups.
WR T.Y. Hilton, Colts ($19)
Speaking of Jonathan Taylor, he will probably be one of the most rostered players in the Baller with Indianapolis favored by 11 against the putrid Jets defense. Hilton will be somewhat popular in his own right but nowhere near the 30%-40% rostered rate we could see on Taylor, making Hilton a great leverage play. Although Hilton has seen fewer than 20% of the Colts’ targets, his 14-yard average depth of target has resulted in a 38.6% share of air yards, a top-10 rate across all positions.
TE Tyler Higbee, Rams ($22)
The Rams have been one of the fastest-paced offenses in the league through two weeks and the Bills passing attack is as efficient as any, making this a game worth stacking. John Brown is dealing with a foot injury, making it unclear who to target on the Bills side for now, but with Robert Woods likely getting the Tre’Davious White treatment, this is a great spot for Higbee to continue the hot streak that he started last week.
Cash Game Strategy
The backbone of my cash game approach is 4for4’s proprietary value metric, which goes beyond simple point per dollar projections. That value calculation extends to a player’s odds of hitting cash game value based on their implied volatility according to their floor, median, and ceiling projections.
Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes are off the main slate, putting a premium on the high-end, dual-threat passers that are available. There is enough value at the pass-catching position to pay up for three workhorse running backs. Fantasy managers willing to pay all the way down for a receiver could get as many as six stud players in a cash lineup this week.
Cash Game Plays
QB: Kyler Murray, Cam Newton, Russell Wilson
RB: Jonathan Taylor, Miles Sanders, James Conner, Kenyan Drake
WR: DeAndre Hopkins, Diontae Johnson, Jerry Jeudy, K.J. Hamler, Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf, CeeDee Lamb, Julian Edelman, Terry McLaurin, Adam Thielen
TE: Dalton Schultz, Mo Alie-Cox, Logan Thomas, Darren Waller
DEF: Buccaneers, Browns, Colts
Follow TJ on Twitter @TJHernandez
More analysis from 4for4: Bankroll Management
TJ is a former full-time poker player who has been playing fantasy football for more than a decade. After online poker was outlawed, TJ ended his poker career and dedicated himself to fantasy football. His background in poker statistics and analytics translates to success in both daily and season-long fantasy football.