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 Matt Ryan, Falcons ($28)
WR Calvin Ridley, Falcons ($27)
WR Tyreek Hill, Chiefs ($39)
In a game with an over/under of 54 featuring two of the more pass-heavy offenses in football, two of the three highest-ceiling stacks of this type come from these passing attacks, according to 4for4’s stack value report. The Falcons have a relatively low implied point total as 10.5-point underdogs but stacking the Atlanta side of this game saves a ton of salary compared to the Chiefs side and leverages rostered percentages, which should be heavily on Kansas City.
Over the last four weeks, three quarterbacks have thrown at least three touchdowns against the Chiefs and Kansas City has allowed three 300-yard passers in the last six weeks. Atlanta’s game plan won’t change just because they are facing the Chiefs, since they already throw a ton but they could get more play volume than usual as this is the only game with two teams ranked in the top 10 in situation neutral pace, according to Football Outsiders. With Julio Jones missing practice on Wednesday and Thursday, Calvin Ridley should be in line for heavy volume, even if Jones suits up.
Deciding between Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce always feels like a coin flip but Atlanta is a matchup that favors Hill. SportsInfoSolutions shows the Falcons allowing the most completions and yards on deep pass attempts.
QB Aaron Rodgers, Packers ($40)
WR Davante Adams, Packers ($41)
No duo outside of anyone wearing a Chiefs uniform has a higher ceiling than Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams, especially this week. Green Bay faces a Titans defense that ranks 31st in 4for4’s schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks and 28th against wide receivers in a game with a 55-point over/under and a spread of 3.5 in favor of the Packers. Locking in Rodgers and Adams in the same lineups certainly puts some restraints on salary but that could keep this pairing from carrying an exorbitant rostered rate.
DFS players stacking this game might be tempted to correlate the Packers with at least one Titan but a bring-back play isn’t always necessary and not forcing it here may actually be the contrarian play. Using Derrick Henry makes the stack far too expensive and Green Bay has been one of the best defenses in the league at limiting big games from wide receivers. A two-man stack also allows for creative low-salary mini correlations throughout the lineup to maximize upside while saving salary.
Contrarian Plays to Target
RB Darrell Henderson ($11) @ Seahawks
There aren’t a ton of obvious cheap values on this slate and running back is especially thin near the bottom of salaries with Ezekiel Elliott and Antonio Gibson possibly returning to action. With Cam Akers out, John Paulsen noted Henderson’s upside in this week’s Sneaky Starts column:
“In the five games that Akers either missed ... or played less than 5% of the snaps ... Henderson averaged 15.0 touches for 89.6 yards and 0.40 touchdowns ... Henderson out-touched [Malcolm] Brown in four of those five games, so he looks like a solid start against the Seahawks, who have given up 113 total yards (4.22 YPC) and 1.20 touchdowns on 23.6 touches to opposing backfields in the last five games.”
Despite the value, Henderson should draw a low rostered rate as the public fears a timeshare with Brown.
WR Jalen Reagor ($16) @ Cowboys
Reagor is on the verge of exploding and he offers leverage off of his popular teammates, Jalen Hurts and Dallas Goedert. In two games with Hurts at quarterback, Reagor is averaging six targets per game while in the top 25 in the league in total air yards. Despite trailing Goedert in targets over the last two weeks, Reagor leads the Eagles pass-catchers in expected touchdowns (xTD) and faces a Dallas defense ranked in the bottom 10 in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed to wide receivers. The Eagles’ entire offense has massive upside with Hurts at quarterback in a game with a total of 49.5 and a 2-point spread in favor of Philadelphia.
TE Austin Hooper ($15) vs Jets
The Browns are favored by 10 points and one of three teams on the slate with an implied total over 28 points. Most lineups that target Cleveland’s offense will do so with Nick Chubb, Baker Mayfield, Jarvis Landry, and possibly Rashard Higgins. Hooper offers leverage off of all of those players at a position that is wide open after Kelce and Mark Andrews. New York is a top 10 defense against the run so the Browns may be throwing at an increased rate against a defense that is last in schedule-adjusted points allowed to tight ends.
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.
With Ezekiel Elliott and Antonio Gibson seemingly on track to return in Week 16, the pay-down options are few and far between as of this writing. If either running back has a setback before Sunday, though, Tony Pollard or J.D. McKissic would become top values on the week.
Cash Game Plays
QB: Jalen Hurts, Lamar Jackson
RB: Derrick Henry, David Montgomery, Giovan Bernard, Miles Sanders, Austin Ekeler, Mike Davis
WR: Calvin Ridley, Tyreek Hill, Jarvis Landry, Russell Gage, Jamison Crowder, Curtis Samuel, Rashard Higgins, Diontae Johnson, Davante Adams, Keke Coutee
TE: Travis Kelce, Mark Andrews, Robert Tonyan, Hayden Hurst
DEF: Packers, Browns, Texans
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.