Sunday, Feb 11th — Late
Bye Week:
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Afternoon-Only 1.23

Mike Johnson (MJohnson86) has racked up nearly $500,000 in DFS profit as an NFL tournament player with success in all styles of contests

FINDING AN EDGE

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. The biggest win of my career came on an “Afternoon Only” slate in January of 2021, and I hope to share some of my insights on the format to help you attack this niche corner of NFL DFS.

Narrowing Your Player Pool

On a week like this with five games in the “Afternoon Only” slate there can be great value in building lineups for this slate and then using them in tournaments on the “Main Slate.” The idea is that it naturally condenses your player pool and increases your chances of being unique even if many of the games and players project to be popular. Despite how popular MIA // LAC looks like it will be – in addition to some cheap value plays, Jalen Hurts, Broncos WRs, and Kenneth Walker – it will be very rare for lineups to be made without any players from the early games, especially with how many great values there are in Week 1 that will be hard to resist. As a matter of fact, the lineup I used for the big win referenced above would have won several of the big main slate tournaments as well that week. Some weeks, 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 most weeks this is at least a viable consideration.

OWNERSHIP 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. 

Overview

The NFL season is upon us and the afternoon slate is a big one with five games on the docket. Most people will focus only on the Main Slate, only turning their attention to the afternoon games once their first lineups are dust or just from boredom/excitement once the games get going. We can put ourselves in advantageous positions if we plan ahead for these smaller slates, an edge that can play out significantly over time.

QB STRATEGY

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