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 ($40)
WR DeAndre Hopkins, Cardinals ($37)
WR Christian Kirk, Cardinals ($17)
WR DK Metcalf, Seahawks ($28)
Don’t expect either passing game to go overlooked in this contest that features an over/under of 56 and a spread of just -3 in favor of the Seahawks. As we’ve consistently seen throughout the season, though, a stack doesn’t have to be completely off the radar to win the Baller. The unique element here is that most lineups that use two receivers from the same team will look to the Seattle side — Christian Kirk is more of a contrarian addition, although he and DeAndre Hopkins both see roughly 29% of Arizona’s air yards when active.
Kyler Murray is in an especially good spot to show his passing ceiling, which is why the Cardinals double stack is enticing. According to SportsInfoSolutions, Murray averages 8.2 yards per attempt against zone coverage compared to 6.1 yards per attempt versus man. Seattle plays zone coverage at the second-highest rate in the league.
Running a Cardinals stack back with Chris Carson ($26) instead of a Seahawks pass-catcher can be an uncommon approach to stacking this game, as well.
QB Aaron Rodgers, Packers ($32)
RB Aaron Jones, Packers ($39)
WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Packers ($16)
WR Will Fuller, Texans ($22)
With the highest game total of the week (57) and a spread of just -3 favoring the Packers, this could be the most popular game to stack this week, but there are ways to differentiate a lineup. One of those options is to pair Green Bay’s quarterback and running back, a tournament tactic that should be used sparingly but that can theoretically corner all of the scoring from an offense.
Unlike many quarterback-running back teammates, Aaron and Aaron should have some positive correlation as Jones is heavily involved in the passing game, tied for fourth in the league across all positions with five targets inside the 10. Pairing Rodgers and Jones with Davante Adams is almost impossible because of salary restrictions but including Marquez Valdes-Scantling instead of Adams with Rodgers only adds an extra layer of uniqueness to the lineup. Also, be sure to double-and-triple check Aaron Jones’ status for this game, as he was a surprise addition to the injury report on Friday.
Will Fuller is actually second on Houston in targets, behind Brandin Cooks, but Fuller averages just under 100 air yards per game compared to 74 for Cooks. That upside should be realized with Deshaun Watson throwing against Green Bay’s zone coverage, as Watson averaged a league-leading 10.6 yards per attempt against zone.
There isn’t a starting skill position player in this game who isn’t worthy of tournament consideration.
QB Drew Brees, Saints ($28)
RB Alvin Kamara, Saints ($43)
WR DJ Moore, Panthers ($18)
The Panthers funnel fantasy points to running backs more than any other defense, ranked first in 4for4’s schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks and wide receivers but 31st against running backs. With the Saints’ 29.25 implied point total, Alvin Kamara should be one of the most popular backs of the week, despite his exorbitant salary.
Although Carolina is good at defending the pass, Drew Brees and Kamara correlate well together, and pairing the two without another New Orleans pass-catchers should be an uncommon roster build. Kamara already leads all running backs in target share (26.2%) and his target rate doubles against zone coverage, which the Panthers play at the highest rate of any defense, according to SportsInfoSolutions. No defense has surrendered more catches to running backs than Carolina.
DJ Moore is one of six players who have seen at least 40% of his team’s air yards and he is coming off of a game where he saw 40% of his team’s targets, pushing his season share above 24%. He has one of the easier matchups of the week against cornerback Marshon Lattimore who has allowed 70% of balls thrown his way to be caught and has given up three scores already, despite playing just four games.
Contrarian Plays to Target
RB Devin Singletary, Bills ($18) @ Jets
Buffalo is favored by 13.5 against a Jets defense that ranks 27th in fantasy points allowed to running backs after adjusting for strength of schedule. Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs should be rostered at a relatively high rate but most DFS players will shy away from Singletary because of Zack Moss’s presence. With Moss back last week, Singletary saw nearly 70% of the backfield work.
WR DJ Chark, Jaguars ($22) @ Chargers
Chark may get the squeaky wheel treatment after bemoaning the Jaguars passing offense following Sunday’s loss to Detroit, although there’s only so much grease to give — the Jaguars receiver saw 14 targets in Week 6. His matchup is appealing against a defense that is great at stopping the run but has struggled against the pass, and this game has sneaky shootout potential because of that.
TE Hayden Hurst, Falcons ($13) vs Lions
This game will be one of the more popular games of the week to stack but Hurst will be overshadowed by Atlanta’s primary receivers, Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, as well as Kenny Golladay and T.J. Hockenson on the other side. With so many players who should see a double-digit rostered rate, Hurst provides massive leverage in game-stacks or as a one-off play.
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.
Salaries aren’t as wide open as they have been in recent weeks so cash game players may have to make sacrifices that they may not be used to making. In weeks when salaries are tight, it’s often best to pay down at the most high-variance positions, especially tight end and defense.
Cash Game Plays
QB: Deshaun Watson, Joe Burrow, Aaron Rodgers
RB: Kareem Hunt, Mike Davis, Ronald Jones, Todd Gurley, Alvin Kamara, James Robinson, James Conner
WR: DJ Moore, Terry McLaurin, Keenan Allen, Will Fuller, Kenny Golladay, Tee Higgins, Stefon Diggs, Robby Anderson, Tyler Lockett, Jamison Crowder, Tyler Boyd
TE: Rob Gronkowski, Darren Waller, Hunter Henry, Logan Thomas
DEF: Bills, Chargers, Cowboys
Follow TJ on Twitter @TJHernandez
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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.