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 Josh Allen, Bills ($35)
WR Stefon Diggs, Bills ($31)
WR John Brown, Bills ($20)
WR Tyler Lockett, Seahawks ($30)
This game has the highest over/under of the week (55) with a spread of just 3 in favor of Seattle, indicating that there is upside on both teams for fantasy purposes. Targeting the Seahawks offense in DFS is a given at this point but stacking their games on either side is a profitable strategy. Seattle games have averaged nearly 63 total points this season and they have held their opponents below their implied point total just twice.
Josh Allen’s recent struggles should keep his rostered percentage somewhat in check but he finally has John Brown at full health and a Bills double stack is very much in play against a defense ranked last against quarterbacks and wide receivers in 4for4’s schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed metric.
Buffalo’s defense has allowed the ninth-fewest completions on deep balls (15+ yards downfield) but the 10th most completions to slot receivers, giving the edge to Tyler Lockett over DK Metcalf, but every starter is in play in this game for DFSers playing multiple lineups.
QB Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers ($33)
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, Steelers ($22)
WR Diontae Johnson, Steelers ($21)
Pittsburgh is favored by two touchdowns and is projected to score 28 points. Much like the Chiefs last week, if the Steelers get up by enough to sit their starters late, their players have likely done plenty at that point to hit their fantasy ceilings. Only three offenses throw at a higher rate in neutral game script, so if it does get to that point, there’s a good chance it was largely because of a big game from Ben Roethlisberger.
Since Roethlisberger spreads targets relatively evenly, his pass-catchers will likely cannibalize each other’s rostered percentage but it’s still worth targeting the receivers who figure to be in the fewest lineups. Chase Claypool should be the most popular Steelers wide receiver this week but it’s Smith-Schuster who has seen at least a quarter of target in back-to-back games while Johnson has 10+ targets in three of the four games that he’s played at least 70% of snaps.
The Cowboys offense is such a mess that you could make a strong argument that it’s not even worth running it back here but we should note that Michael Gallup led the team with 12 targets last week and gets the softest one-on-one matchup against cornerback Steven Nelson. Nelson has allowed the most yards and fantasy points per target in a Pittsburgh secondary allowing the third-most schedule-adjusted points to wide receivers.
QB Deshaun Watson, Texans ($35)
WR Will Fuller, Texans ($23)
WR Brandin Cooks, Texans ($17)
WR DJ Chark, Jaguars ($20)
Deshaun Watson has been as good as any quarterback in the league since Week 4, throwing for 300+ yards and multiple touchdowns in each of his last four games. Much of that success has been due to the fact that he hasn’t had to face a tough front seven since Week 3. Jacksonville has one of the worst pass rushes in the league and they rank 30th in schedule-adjusted points allowed to quarterbacks.
During Watson’s hot streak, he’s concentrated targets to Will Fuller and Brandin Cooks, a duo that has combined for nearly half of the targets over the last month. In that span, Cooks’s 27.3% target share is the seventh-highest mark in the league. While Cooks has seen more volume, Fuller offers upside with more downfield and end-zone targets.
It’s risky rostering any Jaguars pass-catcher with Jake Luton making his first start but that logic will also keep players like DJ Chark’s rostered rate low. Since Week 4, Chark has been given nearly a quarter of Jacksonville’s targets and only eight players have a higher share of team air yards in that span. His volume and high target depth make him a great correlation play against a Texans defense ranked in the bottom 10 against wide receivers.
Contrarian Plays to Target
RB Derrick Henry, Titans ($35)
In a perceived tough matchup, Derrick Henry could see his lowest rostered percentage of the season but that’s the perfect time to target a player who is a near-lock for 20+ touches and could break off 90-yard touchdowns at any moment. According to SportsInfoSolutions, the Bears allow explosive runs at the highest rate in the league and are the worst defense in the league against zone-blocking run schemes, Tennessee’s preferred blocking method.
WR Jerry Jeudy, Broncos ($16)
Jeudy is in such a good spot that he’s worthy of cash game consideration but he will likely go largely ignored in DFS. This game will go overlooked as one of the better games to stack with two defenses that opponents throw against at some of the highest rates in the league. Jeudy is coming off of his first career 10-target game and gets arguably the best individual matchup for any receiver this week, lining up primarily against Kendall Sheffield. The Falcons corner is the only Week 9 starter ranked in the bottom 10 at his position in both target rate and fantasy points allowed per route.
TE Rob Gronkowski, Buccaneers ($19)
The Sunday night hammer is very much in play this week with the Saints and Bucs in the late window. New Orleans is the only team that has allowed their opponent to go over their implied point total in every game and their defense has been especially bad against tight ends, ranked 27th in schedule-adjusted points allowed to the position.
Gronk has had some nice games but he’s on the verge of a blowup. He is one of two tight ends averaging at least five targets per game with an average target depth over 10 yards and he is tied for the league lead in end zone targets at his position.
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 was the case last week, cash viability will largely be determined by who is available in the Seattle backfield. If Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde are both out, DeeJay Dallas is the top value of the week.
Cash Game Plays
QB: Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson, Josh Allen
RB: Chase Edmonds, James Conner, Dalvin Cook, James Robinson, David Johnson
WR: Julio Jones, Terry McLaurin, Robby Anderson, DJ Moore, Will Fuller, Mike Evans, Brandin Cooks, Jerry Jeudy, Keenan Allen, Stefon Diggs, Russell Gage
TE: Travis Kelce, Hayden Hurst, Rob Gronkowski, Darren Waller, Noah Fant
DEF: Vikings, Texans, Falcons, Steelers
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.