The whole idea behind this piece of content is that it is unique. Specific content and strategies for the “non-main slate” contests are very rare in the DFS industry and most players who enter them are casual players or doing so on a whim after their main slate entries had things go wrong, and they want something to root for or to chase their losses during the late games. Edges are getting harder and harder to find in DFS as information gets better, projections get sharper, and the field gets more experienced. These smaller slates present a clear opportunity and advantage for those that focus on them, as most players will just take their thoughts from the main slate and approach these lineups the same way without considering how much having seven to nine fewer games (depending on the week) changes the strategy.
On a week like this with four games in the “Afternoon Only” slate, and three of them being higher total games of the day, there can be great value in building lineups for these slates and then using them in tournaments on the “Main Slate.” The idea here is that it naturally condenses your player pool and increases your chances of being unique even if those games are all going to be popular. Despite how popular ARI//KC, LV//LAC, and GB//MIN look like they will be, in addition to the cheap NYG pieces and Derrick Henry, it will be very rare for lineups to be made without any players from the early games, especially with how many great values that will be hard to resist. As a matter of fact, the lineup I had used for a big win on the “Afternoon Only” slate would have also won several of the big main slate tournaments that week. When there are only two or three late games and they aren’t very high total games, this strategy can be less viable. However, the TV networks usually want to have high-profile teams playing during the late window so on most weeks this is at least a viable consideration. The rest of the “late” games are usually West Coast teams, and this year both the AFC West and NFC West are pretty loaded with talented offenses, which should keep this as a viable strategy.
Ownership will be higher for pretty much every player on “short slates,” just because there are fewer players to choose from. This will be especially true for “chalky” players from the main slate. This means getting these players right is even more vital than on the main slate. There are fewer alternatives to choose from so if they have a big game and you aren’t on them it is much harder to find other ways to make up those points. This also means it is easier for lower-owned players to pay off, as there are fewer players at their position that they need to have “fail” for them to be worth the risk.
Correlation is even more important than on the main slate because the useful fantasy games that pay off for the slate are likely to be clumped up from the same games. I always make lineups with a game stack (QB + at least one pass catcher + at least one opponent) and then one or two “mini-correlations” from other games.