Something that is often discussed in weekly DFS theory and strategy is the “story” your lineup tells. Basically, the idea is to think about what the recap of the day would have to be for each particular lineup to have been the “right” combination of players that gets you to a first-place finish on that slate. As Hilow and Mike discussed on his pod a few weeks ago, these “if-then” statements can be extremely valuable thought exercises and help us see things in a different light than our competition.
At every selection in a draft, there are a variety of reasonable options available, and whatever choice you make also implies some things about the other players you passed on. Similar to price point or positional pivots on a regular DFS slate, we want to be aware of the scenario where your picks are “right.” Everyone understands team stacks, and most of the industry is focusing on late-season correlations and balancing exposures, but very few are actively trying to leverage the decisions made for a particular roster with their later-round picks by using these indirect correlations.
Contest: Puppy 3
Draft Date: August 7th
Round 1, 1.07: Stefon Diggs, WR, BUF – As Mike Johnson recently stated, “Any player with a first-round ADP has a ton to like about their season. The important part is understanding what this selection means for how I will attack the rest of the draft.” This pick is a major bet on a resurgent Diggs season and underperformances of the aging studs around him.
Round 2, 2.06: Saquon Barkley, RB, NYG – After a run on RBs to start the 2nd round, my main decision point here came down to two of the three elite RBs left, Saquon & Aaron Jones (Kamara had already jumped a full round-up by this point in the Puppy 3). I went with the younger player with higher expected usage.
Round 3: Josh Allen, QB, BUF – At this point, nearly identical to Mike Johnson’s Storyboard draft, taking Stefon Diggs 1.07 & Allen 3.06 is first taking the stance that Diggs will return to top-3 WR form in the post-Sanders/Beasley BUF era, and second that Allen will remain a top-3 QB for Diggs to have that happen. I generally prefer to wait on QB a little longer with how much upside some of them currently offer at respective ADPs, but this allowed me to lock up the QB1 of my “story” while only sacrificing one player I was especially upset to lose out on at the spot (Kyle Pitts).
Round 4: Gabe Davis, WR, BUF – Taking Davis here as the double-stack with Diggs/Allen is a bet on Diggs & Davis absorbing most of the volume left over from the Sanders & Beasley departures. This furthers my bet on Allen as QB1, gives me access to the two highest volume players on what I’m betting on as a top league offense, and provides me with multiple avenues to success in the playoffs in the event that each has big games (a la Chase & Higgins of 2021). Players available that closely followed my pick all have ongoing concerns and lack clear leverage points within my current story.
Round 5: Rashod Bateman, WR, BAL – Earlier, I passed on Mark Andrews when selecting Barkley, and this selection says that Bateman is the biggest beneficiary of the Marquise Brown departure and lack of proven receiving talent around him. Andrews averaged nearly 30 yds/g more with Tyler Huntley than Lamar Jackson, and Brown was one of the more productive NFL receivers to start 2021 while Bateman was out. Chris Godwin still has injury performance/timetable concerns, and like Bateman, Michael Thomas also plays in a run-heavy offense except with more receiving talent around him. Bateman’s ADP has also been more stagnant than some of those around him, as selecting Thomas there would lose value against other Puppy 3 rosters who were able to draft him much later. This story is betting on Rashod Bateman taking a big second-year leap to become one of the most productive fantasy receivers in football.
Round 6: Adam Thielen, WR, MIN – Thanks to a consistently secure red zone role, Thielen has provided a good balance between floor and ceiling in his Vikings career. Compared to the other receivers in this range, his offense projects as the most productive through the air and potentially the highest volume under the new HC. With the potential of some of Diggs’s or Davis’s biggest weeks to come at the expense of the other, Thielen’s steadiness mixed with spiked week potential fits in nicely. The next team already had Dalvin Cook, so it prevented them from locking up two-thirds of this offense’s big 3. Thielen provides even more indirect leverage given that Diggs & Barkley have similar ADPs to Jefferson & Cook at the same positions. MIN also faces Barkley’s Giants in W16 to provide some extra correlation.
Round 7: Deandre Hopkins, WR, ARI – Knowing Hopkins carries a six-game ban to start the year obviously means his overall ceiling is capped, but compared to the other players available here, his amount of projected “usable” weeks falls in the same range. This roster’s current WR depth is more prepared to handle an absence from Hopkins early on. After I passed on Conner for Allen in R3, the team drafting next ended up taking both Conner & Marquise Brown, so taking Hopkins also prevented them from acquiring all three of ARI’s top skill players. Not being the biggest fan of the highest RBs on the board, I felt more confident about the RB options I would potentially have with my next pick. With Bateman & Hopkins more likely to find themselves on Lamar & Kyler rosters, this adds another unique combination to a Josh Allen team.
Round 8: Chase Edmonds, RB, MIA –