Sunday, Feb 12th — Late
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Willing to Lose

By: Larejo



Larejo is a mid-stakes tournament mastermind who specializes in outmaneuvering 150-max players with a small number of entries

The best part about playoff DFS is the lack of games. We’re no longer tasked with breaking down upwards of 10 games. Instead, we’re left with some small slates as we have this Saturday and Sunday, with two and three games, and still massive prizes to be handed out. I love small slates (and I’m coming around on Showdowns), because it is an opportunity to wrap my mind around all the players, matchups, and game environments, and feel really good about leaving no stones unturned. 

But, let me throw some caution to the wind here: this leads to overthinking. In the same way we will overanalyze a big meeting, an upcoming interaction, or a deadline we have to hit, when the volume of things to consider goes down (and our minds can have more direct focus), anxiety goes up. And when anxiety rises, you guessed it, we desire comfort even more! This is the antithesis of what we want in building GPP lineups, especially on small slates.

SATURDAY’S LANDSCAPE

By Friday, you’ll likely be able to tell me the final scores in both of the Seahawks and 49ers previous matchups this season. You’ll be able to tell me how Christian McCaffrey fared in those matchups, who was injured for both teams in those games, and how many average points the 49ers have scored in Brock Purdy’s starts this season. You’ll tell your friends how the Chargers run defense is terrible, how Joshua Palmer should be the likely beneficiary if Mike Williams does not play, and why Trevor Lawrence is underrated, having thrown 15 touchdowns to just two interceptions since Week 10. All of these data points will be consumed, and then consumed again, and we’ll all become experts before kickoff. Because with fewer games to care about, we may as well slice and dice these slates up as much as possible with the time we have.

And then on Saturday, and again on Sunday, we’ll see an unlikely outcome. I can’t guarantee it, that would be too easy. But I can say it’s likely we’ll see something unlikely. Maybe it’s the 49ers losing, or simply not covering the spread due to a terrible Purdy performance. Maybe it’s Travis Etienne finally breaking out for 150 rushing yards and leading the Jags to a win. Maybe it’s Brandon Staley actually making calculated decisions that work in a football game. You never know! But what I do know is this . . . the playoffs won’t play out how we think they will. There are always surprises in store for us. That’s why we watch.

So, as you’re building lineups this weekend, my guidance is simple (and the same as always): Let it fly. Shoot from the hip. You have got nothing to lose!


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GENO SMITH + DK METCALF + TYLER LOCKETT

A Seahawks stack? In this economy? The Seattle implied point total is a lousy 16.25, as of this writing. That is uninspiring to say the least. However, what we despise in expected points, we may come around to with some other simple data points. First, this trio has volume and expected game script on their side. Yes, the 49ers defense are savages, ranking second against the run and fifth against the pass. In two matchups this season, Geno has been forced to throw the ball 30 and 44 times, respectively. In this game, with the 49ers expected to get out to a lead, it’s safe to say the Seahawks should be trailing and forced to pass. I’m willing to bet here that Geno throws the ball more than Purdy, so then we’re matching up Geno vs. Lawrence and Justin Herbert in our Saturday lineups. I have no problem with either of them, but you’ll get lower ownership with Geno.

I also mentioned volume, which is king in fantasy football. There is no more condensed target tree left in these playoffs than Metcalf and Lockett. Marquise Goodwin and Will Dissly are on injured reserve. Laquon Treadwell played 7% of the snaps in Week 18. Metcalf (26%) and Lockett (21%) have hogged targets all year, and both parlayed those targets into 1,000+ yard seasons. We’re talking about a team that throws the ball to their wide receivers 60% of the time (16th in the NFL) and is likely only going to throw to DK, Tyler, and Noah Fant in this game. Maybe a sprinkle of Colby Parkinson, but that’s it. If Geno throws to his wideouts 60% of the time in this matchup and slings it 40 times, we’d be looking at 24 potential targets for these two gentlemen. I like this volume, target condensity, and likely game script.

CMC + AUSTIN EKELER

Fantasy football’s top two running backs are on this slate. On DK, they combine for $16,600 in salary. Not many lineups will be on this “team jam them in.” But this might be a prudent move to make on this two-game slate, and here’s why . . . because fantasy football’s top two running backs are on this slate!

It’s no secret we’ll get sizable, respective ownership on both guys. And while it’s likely we’d get lower ownership on rosters with both, to me, if we can fit them into a roster on this two-game slate, we should do it. If we’re playing the overall ownership game, jamming both in will require A) punting a few other positions (hold that thought) and B) passing on Justin Herbert and Keenan Allen (side note: we’d have no issue typically passing on Keenan, but if Mike Williams doesn’t play, and with the ceiling he’s shown the last few weeks, this is all of a sudden difficult).

The comfort we seek in lineups is to play good players but also keep it reasonable. Most rosters should have one of these players in there. We can differentiate juuuust a bit, and keep the ceiling if we play both. And now for the uncomfortable stage of building a lineup with CMC and Ekeler…

JAMYCAL HASTY + DONALD PARHAM JR.

I was thinking about how the Jaguars could attack the vulnerable Chargers run defense in this game, and I harkened back to last weekend when I watched the Jaguars barely beat the Titans while I rostered Travis Etienne. And let me tell you, Hasty was on the field way too much for my liking. In fact, he played 49% of the offensive snaps to Etienne’s 55%, in a must-win, close matchup. Here we are one week later and we’re faced with the thought of how the Jags will deploy their running backs. I don’t know how much Hasty will play, but he’s been in the 40% range the last few weeks, and he just also may be the Jags preferred pass catching back, with games of five and six catches at points this season, while ETN hasn’t topped three in any game.

Do you know who else was playing around 40% of the offensive snaps as a preferred pass catching back on a somewhat decent (ok, better than average) NFL offense? Jerick McKinnon. In Weeks 13-18, here are his percentage of snap counts with KC: 47, 57, 62, 47, 48, 37. And in Weeks 14, 15, and 17, he put up tournament-winning box scores. I bring his name up here to compare him to Hasty, and while Hasty doesn’t have the same explosive offense to draw from, he will be on the field a bunch, is natural leverage off everyone’s favorite frustrating player in ETN, and especially in a trailing game script, just needs to break off one big one.

Donald Parham is a different case. He’s finally healthy, he caught a touchdown in Week 18, he’s a top red zone target for this Chargers team, and . . . wait for it . . . he played more offensive snaps last week than Gerald Everett. The logic here is basic as it gets: the price is right for a player who could catch two touchdowns, in a week where he won’t be the highest owned tight end on his own team. His likelihood of having more than 50 receiving yards is slim, so it’s certainly touchdown-dependent, but he’s an unheralded option to benefit from Williams’ likely absence (or presence as a decoy) while helping us fill in a roster spot where we need to save salary. 


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OWS Free Members Have Access To:
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  • Critical stats and trends for key fantasy players in every game
  • Weekly overview of the unique elements in each week’s slate
  • Key pricing notes for DraftKings and FanDuel
  • Inactives Email (Sunday, around 11:45 AM Eastern)