Thursday, Dec 8th
Bye Week:
Saints
Colts
Commanders
Packers
Bears
Falcons

Thanksgiving Slate Strategy

StatATL is an OWS Fam grad who had multiple tournament wins last season that included a large field showdown for MNF and a $50,000 SE win. This season Billy has been hammering short slates.

Every year the Thanksgiving slate provides us with a unique opportunity to leverage our understanding of both game theory and roster construction with the objective of reaching the summit of a GPP leaderboard. Luckily, for the OWS community, the same strategy and theory we utilize week in and week out is even easier to execute on a short slate. With that in mind, let’s highlight a few key concepts and misnomers:

  • On a small slate like this, one of the biggest mistakes our competition will make in terms of roster construction will be thinking about certainty or safety (what’s likeliest to happen) and building around that. It’s essential to realize that if you construct your entire roster with what is most likely to happen in all three games, you will be highly duped and won’t win much even if your lineup finishes first.
  • It’s also critical to remember that we are not building to maximize points, but instead are constructing each roster with how to maximize our chance to get first place. Wait, what? Are you saying I don’t want to try to score the most points??? While that seems counterintuitive, what I mean is we should approach each roster with a certain game script in mind, taking a similar approach to how we think and build for Showdown contests.  
  • Additionally, we need to evaluate what each lineup is betting on. For example, let’s look at the Bills vs Lions game since Vegas (and a majority of the field) thinks THE MOST LIKELY outcome is a high scoring affair. If Buffalo/Detroit plays out as a 35-28 game, where eight or nine offensive TDs are scored, it’s almost guaranteed that an Allen (or Goff) stack will be optimal. So, if you are making lineups without these two at QB, be mindful of what this game playing out differently would mean as you construct the rest of your roster. 
  • Finally, keep in mind that you don’t have to be different everywhere – some highly owned players will end up in the optimal. 
Slate Overview

What I like best about this year’s slate is that the most dynamic game is first. While this game will likely be the most owned game due to its perceived “fantasy goodness,” it has many tributaries on how it can play out on a one-game sample size. Players who are willing to embrace some uncertainty and leverage late swap will likely be at a competitive advantage.

In previous years, JM has mentioned the top outputs from each of the six teams in terms of their points scored. Why is that important? Since there are only three games, capturing the players who put up 20+ point scores is going to be as critical as ever, as there may only be a few of them on the entire slate. As always, we are not just picking players we like, but are constructing a roster that works together. With that in mind, below are some key skill position players from each team, with their top scores thus far this season. This is a good measuring stick of who is capable of a had-to-have-it score. For reference on how important capturing a 20-point score is, there are only 11 skill position players (excluding QBs) across all six teams that have at least TWO games all season eclipsing the 20-point ceiling:

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