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Battle Royale 3.23

Lex is a matchup researcher who focuses his play on Underdog’s Battle Royale contest

Welcome to Week 3!

If you are new to this contest or just want to get a bigger picture of the first two years of the contest, here is how to access my article reviewing 2021 and 2022 top rosters:

OWS → Archives → The Scroll Archives → Week 1, 2023 → Battle Royale (at bottom) (or click the link)

This was an atypical weekly preview as it was more of a primer for the contest than about anything Week 1 specific; so if you’d like to access it, then that is the easiest way to do it.

For this week, I’ll be showing the top rosters of Week 2, updating some trending stats, and hitting on some of my thoughts on each position. Let’s get started!

Reviewing Week 2

ScoreQBRBFLEXWRWRTE
137.50MahomesBarkleyHigginsKeenanEvansAndrews
135.76AllenCMCHigginsKeenanEvansAndrews
135.20HerbertBarkleyNacuaKeenanEvansAndrews
135.10HerbertBarkleyHigginsKeenanEvansKelce
134.30HerbertCMCHigginsKeenanEvansAndrews

Notable Stats

1st place performance:

  • 25 of the 38 teams had at least one flex player score 30+ half-PPR fantasy points
  • 16 of the 38 teams had all flex players score at least 20+ half-PPR fantasy points
  • 34 of the 38 teams had all flex players score at least 15+ half-PPR fantasy points

FLEX usage:

  • 129 of 190 top-5 rosters have had two RBs (67.9%), meaning they chose RB at FLEX over WR and TE.
  • The other 61 top 5 rosters all used WR at FLEX, meaning there has yet to be a single roster to place top 5 using double TE.

Stacking and Correlation:

  • 22 of 38 had a QB paired with just one teammate
    • WR (17), TE (3), RB (2)
  • 4 of 38 had a QB stacked with two teammates
    • WR-RB (3), WR-WR (1)
  • 4 of those 26 QB stacks had a runback (Opposing player)
  • 37 of 38 had at least one game correlation
  • 13 of 38 had two different game correlations

Looking at Week 3

QB:

Notable QBs missing from slate: Jalen Hurts, Joe Burrow, Matthew Stafford, Daniel Jones

Top 6 by ADP: Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, Justin Herbert, Kirk Cousins, Tua Tagovailoa

Notes:

  • All 6 of the top drafted QBs (+ #7 Trevor Lawrence and #8 Dak Prescott) have team totals of 26+ points
  • Mahomes is still the toughest to stack, as he doesn’t always make it back after taking Travis Kelce. I would otherwise want to pair him with TJ Hockenson and Mark Andrews given that a big Mahomes score means it’s unlikely Kelce completely duds.
  • Lamar plays a home game against a team far easier to pass on than run and has at least two great stacking partners in Andrews and Zay Flowers.
  • Herbert and Cousins play in the most attractive game on the slate and are both easily and frequently stacked with their pass-catchers, so an important thing will just be to make sure to differentiate with the way you play them (i.e. paired with their RBs or the other QB’s RB).
  • Anthony Richardson is questionable with a concussion, but you can get him in the last round and his legs keep him in play every week.
  • This is not the typical spot I’d want to take Jared Goff but if so I’d probably want to use him in a full game stack with potentially two Lions and a Falcon.
  • Deshaun Watson has not looked good, but gets a pass funnel defense right after losing Nick Chubb, and he can rack up points on the ground as well. I’d want to pair him with Amari Cooper and probably even Derrick Henry if this game environment were to truly compete with the other strong ones on the slate.
RB:

Notable RBs missing from this slate: Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, Josh Jacobs, Joe Mixon, D’Andre Swift

Top 10 by ADP: Tony Pollard, Bijan Robinson, Travis Etienne, Derrick Henry, Jahmyr Gibbs, Kenneth Walker, James Cook, Raheem Mostert, Austin Ekeler, Brian Robinson

Notes:

  • Pollard is seeing unbelievable usage through two games and now faces a below-average team and the 2nd highest team total on the slate. Considering the guys missing on this slate, Pollard should be one of the top 3-4 players taken in every draft.
  • The Cook ADP confounds me. He lost significant red zone usage to Murray and Harris, and got more than half of his yards in the 4th Q up 3 TDs, with a 36-yard scamper with Kyle Allen at QB being his best play of the season. He doesn’t have the TD equity or touch share to be worth drafting in a normal 6-man BR contest, and I will be fine missing out on him the same way I was with Devin Singletary.
  • Mostert is benefiting right now from injuries to the two other main pieces of the MIA backfield, but still not getting the kind of usage we prefer to have with no real passing game role. I am fine not being a part of the random (and few) weeks Mostert might break a long one (like this past Sunday night). He has much more value in the 12-man drafts.
  • Josh Kelley and Alexander Mattison are both coming off bad weeks, but are still expected to be the lead backs in the game with the highest total (54!). Every single draft sees both QBs, both top 2 WRs, and TJ Hockenson drafted, yet for some reason these RBs are both being overlooked.
  • Isiah Pacheco is the lead RB for a home team implied for 30 points in a matchup with a bottom-tier defense. He has the same upside concerns as someone like Mostert due to a questionable passing game role, but he’s the most reliable KC skill player to put up points after Travis Kelce.
WR:

Notable WRs missing from this slate: Davante Adams, JaMarr Chase, Tee Higgins, AJ Brown, Devonta Smith, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, Puka Nacua

Notes:

  • Justin Jefferson and Tyreek Hill should be the top two picks in every draft right now. Slate is missing most of the receivers with comparable ceilings, and having Mark Andrews and TJ Hockenson in good spots as well gives a bump to these two over Travis Kelce.
    • One interesting way to play these guys is to pair them with the other guy’s teammate. For example, JJ with Waddle, Mostert, Smythe / Tyreek with Hockenson, Addison, or Mattison. If one is separating from the other, it’s more likely due to one of the other’s teammates scoring points than the offenses failing in their respective spots.
  • Ceedee Lamb, despite being in a great spot matchup-wise, is someone I will be okay missing out on. The Cowboys are large favorites, and given how DAL has treated these spots under McCarthy, Lamb would have to be extremely efficient to make up for a lack of volume in this projected game environment (plus the return of Brandin Cooks). I think the preferred way to play him is with Marquise Brown, as he’s the only one I see as being able to push DAL to pass more.
  • It’s not quite the same as last week given that MIN is much more attackable on the ground than TEN was, but as long as Ekeler remains out, Keenan Allen maintains an elevated target rate and higher TD-equity. The most attractive game environment on the slate and overall lack of elite WR options keep him firmly in play.
    • I do still personally prefer Mike Williams in this contest, however. Allen seems more likely to draw coverage from Byron Murphy, and Williams’s downfield role lends itself to more ceiling games. He also comes at a cheaper cost by ADP in these drafts.
  • ATLs defense is showing signs of improvement and uses a style of coverage that St. Brown has been targeted less frequently against; plus St. Brown is dealing with a turf toe injury. Since the start of last year, St. Brown’s only scores of 17+ points have come in games of 36-27, 31-30, 25-28, and 40-14, Given the ball-control nature of how these offenses play and the low game total, St. Brown is probably best only played with an ATL weapon this week.
  • Amari Cooper gets a home matchup against a pass funnel defense that has already given up big days to WRs through two weeks. One of the top-5 highest ceilings on the slate at WR.
  • Zay Flowers gets a home matchup against one of the weakest secondaries in the league, fresh off two weeks in a row of being torched by multiple WRs.
    • Flowers is another interesting leverage pairing with Kelce or Hockenson, as he and Andrews are more likely to negatively correlate for ceiling games here.
TE:

Notable TEs missing from this slate: George Kittle, Darren Waller, Dallas Goedert, Pat Freiermuth, Tyler Higbee

Top 6 by ADP: Travis Kelce, TJ Hockenson, Mark Andrews, Evan Engram, Sam LaPorta, Hunter Henry

Notes:

  • I want one of the top 3 guys on 90-100% of my rosters this week. All 3 are in good matchups on teams implied for 30, 27, and 26 points. I will be looking to leverage each one of the 3 with the others’ teammates when it makes sense.
    • Kelce → Flowers, Addison, Mattison
    • Andrews → Jefferson, Addison, Mattison, Pacheco
    • Hockenson → Flowers, Pacheco
  • Any of the remaining TEs selected should probably almost always be leveraged with guys that negatively correlate with the top 3 TEs given the incomparable ceilings. I would also be looking to game-stack them if possible.
  • With injuries to David Montgomery and St. Brown, and with the style of defense ATL plays, LaPorta can put up a decent score here. 
  • Kyle Pitts week?? Lions just lost starting safety CJ Gardner Johnson, they already lack good coverage players overall, and Pitts has been playing all over the formation on offense. Feels gross, and you probably only want to play with any Lions pieces (improved game environment), but none of these other TEs are going to feel comfortable.
  • Durham Smythe has 10 targets so far and his teammate Jaylen Waddle is questionable to play. Can be used to get leverage off Tyreek, or to double down on the MIA passing attack with a Tua double stack.
  • Juwan Johnson always comes with 2-TD potential, even if the target share has been weak to start 2023.
Underowned Combos:
  • Mahomes + Kelce + Flowers + Mattison
  • Lamar + Andrews + Jefferson/Mattison/Pacheco
  • Lamar + Flowers + Kelce/Hockenson
  • Cousins + Jefferson + Kelley + (Flowers)
  • Cousins + Mattison
  • Herbert + Keenan/Williams + Mattison + (Kelce/Andrews) 
  • Goff + Gibbs + LaPorta + Robinson/Drake London
  • Richardson + Flowers + Kelce
  • Watson + Cooper + Henry
  • Prescott + Pollard

Hope this helps you get started with the contest and ship that first place! Good luck everyone!