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 Kyler Murray, Cardinals ($38)
WR DeAndre Hopkins, Cardinals ($30)
WR Christian Kirk, Cardinals ($18)
WR John Brown, Bills ($13)
Kyler Murray is 4for4’s top value across all positions but that also means that he will be the most popular quarterback, likely by a wide margin. While none of the primary starters on either side of the ball will carry a very low rostered percentage, given the 56-point over/under, some of the pass-catchers may not be as popular as they should be in such a good spot. There are so many wide receivers in good scenarios with similar salaries this week, they’ll cannibalize each other’s rostered rate.
On the Arizona side, Christian Kirk is coming off of a huge game while Hopkins saw just three targets last week. Recency bias will have Kirk and Hopkins in a similar number especially if Tre’Davious White plays, as he would likely shadow Hopkins. As we’ve seen this season, though, White can be beaten by top-end talent.
John Brown’s salary is egregiously low considering how concentrated the Bills passing game is between him and Stefon Diggs when both are active. Despite Brown’s low salary, he probably won’t be as popular as Diggs. All starters are worthy of tournament consideration in this likely shootout but those that heavily stack this game should make sure to be extra contrarian in other spots in their lineups.
QB Derek Carr, Raiders ($27)
WR Henry Ruggs, Raiders ($14)
WR Nelson Agholor, Raiders ($16)
WR Jerry Jeudy, Broncos ($14)
The Raiders are one of six offenses with an implied total of at least 28 points and explosive offenses such as the Bills and Seahawks will be in games that should shoot out. That will leave most of the players on both sides in this game with low rostered percentages, despite their high scoring expectation and relatively low salaries. The latter note is especially intriguing as most game stacks will include high-salary quarterbacks and pass-catchers. By stacking the Raiders, lineups will naturally have a contrarian build by paying up for studs elsewhere.
The Raiders haven’t thrown a ton but Derek Carr has been one of the more efficient fantasy passers in the league, tied with Josh Allen for the seventh-most fantasy points per pass attempt. Teams have thrown against the Broncos at the third-highest rate in neutral game script and Denver ranks 24th in 4for4’s schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. Using Agholor and Ruggs is a leverage play off of Darren Waller, who should be one of the more popular tight ends in play this week. The Las Vegas wide receiver duo has combined for just under 55% of the Raiders air yards over the last month.
Running it back with Jerry Jeudy gives this lineup massive upside. Jeudy has seen double-digit targets in two straight games, accounting for at least 25% of team targets in both contests. In that span, he leads the league in total air yards.
Contrarian Plays to Target
RB Miles Sanders, Eagles ($28)
In his first game back from injury, Miles Sanders figures to be relatively unpopular if for nothing else than people want to make sure that they can trust him before rostering him — that makes him the perfect tournament play. Sanders is one of two backs to account for at least 70% of backfield touches and the Eagles are favored against a Giants defense ranked in the bottom 10 in schedule-adjusted points allowed to running backs.
WR DJ Chark, Jaguars ($18)
Chark was a great tournament play last week and even though he returned tournament value, he won’t be as popular as he should be — again, there are a ton of great wide receiver plays and the Packers have a great secondary. Over the last month, Chark is third in target share and has seen half of the Jaguars air yards; with Jake Luton under center last week, Chark saw 35% of the targets. The Packers will be a popular team to stack this week, making Chark a great run-back option or standalone leverage play.
TE Austin Hooper, Browns ($17)
Like Miles Sanders, DFS players may feel some trepidation about rostering the Browns tight end in his first game coming off an injury. With Odell Beckham Jr. sidelined for the year though, Hooper could return to an even bigger role than the 25% target share he was seeing in the three games before the bye. The over/under in this game has dropped five points since it opened so there may not be many popular players here and those who are will likely come from the Houston side of the ball.
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.
As has been the case in recent weeks, some of the top values early in the week could be gone by the time Sunday rolls around if certain players are active. As of this writing, the most notable situations to monitor are the Cardinals, Seahawks, and Texans backfields.
Cash Game Plays
QB: Kyler Murray, Josh Allen, Deshaun Watson, Tua Tagovailoa
RB: Mike Davis, Duke Johnson, Chase Edmonds, Alvin Kamara, Aaron Jones, James Robinson
WR: Davante Adams, Stefon Diggs., John Brown, Jerry Jeudy, Diontae Johnson, Terry McLaurin, Brandin Cooks, Jarvis Landry, Christian Kirk, Cooper Kupp
TE: Darren Waller, Dallas Goedert, Evan Engram, T.J. Hockenson
DEF: Packers, Saints, Raiders, Lions
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.