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The Scroll Super Wild Card

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    Meet The Team


    Super Wild Card Weekend

    OWS Fam,

    We decided to shape content around the 4-game slate this weekend. However, Fanduel has broken their contests into Saturday/Sunday slates. So, with that, you can find Fanduel ownership split into two different days while Drafttkings is for the 4-game slate.

    DIVISIONAL ROUND CONTENT
    NFL Edge
    Late Swap
    The Oracle
    Ownership
    End Around
    Willing To Lose
    Mike’s Player Grid
    DFS+ Interpretations
    “The Slate” (Live Friday 6pm ET on Discord)
    (Available Friday night on Inner Circle podcast stream)

    See you at the top of the leaderboards!

    -RotoMaven

    Mike’s Player Grid (All)

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


    Welcome back to my (Mjohnson86) Player Grid. The format will vary slightly from JM’s Player Grid, as we each see things slightly differently and play in slightly different contests, but should complement his thoughts and content very well for those looking to build their lineups for the week. The format of this article will likely evolve as the season progresses but should provide a lot of value. Enjoy!!


    The Core

    This is a list of players that stand out to me at each position from using my “Checking the Boxes” criteria outlined in my course you can find in our Marketplace. This list is a starting point, from which I build out lineups using game theory and roster construction concepts (which we will also touch on) with the mindset being to find the best plays with big ceilings. Low ownership is a bonus, but not a must. This section will focus primarily on three positions – running back, tight end, and defense – as the other two positions (quarterback and wide receiver) tend to have more dependent tendencies which I try to attack from other angles (which we will get into in the other sections). I like all of these plays on all sites unless otherwise noted:

    Running Back ::
    Travis Etienne

    Checks every box. Talent, volume, matchup, game environment.

    Saquon Barkley

    One of the most talented backs in the league playing in a dome and the highest game total of the weekend.

    Austin Ekeler

    Ekeler’s role has been managed a bit down the stretch this season, but in the playoffs with the season on the line I fully expect him to be the focal point of the Chargers offense. Ekeler had six multi-touchdown games this season and nine games with six or more receptions.

    James Cook

    If we think the Bills dominate the Dolphins here as the point spread implies, Cook should benefit immensely. Cook averaged 6.7 DK points per game this season, but he averaged 12.5 points per game in the four games the Bills won by 10+ points since their Week 7 bye. Cook has carved out around a 40% role down the stretch for the Bills and if they do dominate a Dolphins team playing without Tua Tagovailoa then Cook has a good chance of 15+ touches and a game in the 15-20 point range.

    Elijah Mitchell

    Mitchell looked healthy and effective last week in his return from injury. The 49ers should have a run-heavy attack and have shown they will lean on Mitchell to ice games and preserve CMC when they have a lead.

    Jeff Wilson

    In Week 17, the Dolphins trailed most of the game against the Patriots. Wilson and Raheem Mostert combined for 15 targets in that game and 34 Draftkings points. While the matchup is certainly daunting, the potential game flow here could easily lead to Wilson piling up catches and points if Mostert is inactive with his broken thumb.

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    End Around (Sat)

    Hilow is a game theory expert (courses at Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and Northwestern) and tournament champion who focuses on mid/high-stakes single-entry/three-entry max

    MACRO SLATE VIEW::

    First off, there is a shockingly straightforward way the field seems to be expected to be putting rosters together this weekend, with a clear chalk build developing through expected ownership numbers. Next, the field seems completely lost (or maybe the expected ownership algorithms are just completely lost) in how to handle the Mike Williams situation, who is labeled as a true game-time decision after picking up an injury while being foolishly played in Week 18 by Chargers coach Brandon Staley (#fakesharp). Consider these two micro-level decision points to be the two primary decision points on the slate, and we’ll go further in depth on each of these situations below.

    RESTRICTIVE CHALK VS EXPANSIVE CHALK::

    Quick explanation: restrictive chalk is an expected highly owned piece that restricts the maneuverability of the remainder of your roster while expansive chalk is an expected highly owned piece that allows for higher amounts of maneuverability on the remainder of your roster. Classifying various forms of chalk as either restrictive or expansive allows us to visualize what it means for roster construction on a given slate and how restrictive a certain player might be, meaning more of the field will look similar from a roster construction standpoint with that piece.

    Quick side note: The ownership threshold to make this section moves up to 40% (from 20% on a full slate) with there being only two games on the Saturday slate!

    CHRISTIAN McCAFFREY

    CMC against a defense that is stout versus opposing wide receivers, on a run-balanced team, in a game where the 49ers are listed as 9.5-point favorites, against an opponent ranked towards the bottom of the league in DVOA against the run – yea, checks out.

    TRAVIS ETIENNE

    Fifth most breakaway runs this season against a Chargers defense allowing one of the highest explosive run rates in the league – priced down to $6,000. Checks out.

    AUSTIN EKELER

    The team is potentially without one of its top pass-catching options (Mike Williams). Ekeler led the league in targets at the running back position and the Jaguars ceded the most targets to opposing running backs this season. Checks out.

    KENNETH WALKER

    The 49ers surrendered the fewest rush yards and only seven total touchdowns to opposing backfields this season, en route to allowing the fewest fantasy points per game to running backs. Kenneth Walker had just three games with more than a modest three targets this season. If you could explain this one to me like I’m five, that would be great.

    ZAY JONES / CHRISTIAN KIRK / EVAN ENGRAM

    The perceived value on this slate is almost entirely residing with the Jacksonville pass-catchers, as you will see all of Zay Jones, Christian Kirk, and Evan Engram on this list of chalk pieces. The Chargers held the league’s highest early-down blitz rate over the second half of the season yet still managed a below average 19.8% pressure rate. They were forced to play elevated rates of man coverage because of the elevated blitz rates. Christian Kirk was, by far, the most effective Jacksonville pass-catcher against man coverages this season, seeing over 33% of his total targets against the primary coverage scheme. The lowest target rate against man coverage of the three was Evan Engram at 22.7%. Finally, Zay Jones was far more effective against zone coverages, seeing more than 64% of his targets and scoring four of his five touchdowns against zone this season.

    KEENAN ALLEN

    Keenan is almost a lock to see double-digit looks should Mike Williams miss this contest, the latter of whom has been designated a true game-time decision. Jacksonville utilized above average zone coverage rates this season and Keenan had an absolutely ridiculous 91% catch rate on targets against zone this season.

    49ers D/ST

    The top option at defense for the Saturday-only slate.

    CHALK BUILD::

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    Willing To Lose (Sat)

    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!

    Geno Smith + DK Metcalf + Tyler Lockett

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    The Oracle

    The Greatest “Cheat Sheet” In DFS

    Each week in The Oracle, OWS team members will take on the key strategy questions from that week’s slate :: sharing their thoughts on how they plan to approach these critical elements from a roster-construction, game theory, and leverage perspective.

    Wildcard Weekend Topics

    1. Third Time’s A Charm

    2. Learning From The Past

    3. Contest Selection

    4. Low Owned/Value

    5. “That was so obvious, how did I not see it?”


    1. Third Time’s A Charm

    The Question ::

    The playoffs are supposed to be the most competitive games of the year. However, in this opening weekend three of our six games currently have spreads of nine points or more and those spreads could continue to grow based on impending injury news. Those games are::

    • 49ers -10 vs. Seahawks
    • Bills -13 vs. Dolphins
    • Bengals -9 vs. Ravens

    While all of those spreads seem appropriate, we should also acknowledge that those spreads imply a 50% chance of a game going either way of that number and that all of these are the third divisional matchup which can often add some variance to outcomes as teams learn and adjust from past games. 

    Of these three games, which game (if any) do you think has the best chance of being a much more competitive game than the point spread would indicate? This is not necessarily a question of “can they cover”, but rather do you think any of those three underdogs has a chance to truly put a scare in their opponent?

    The Answers ::
    Xandamere >>

    I think it’s the Seahawks. The Dolphins and the Ravens are both playing with backup quarterbacks who have not looked at all competent this season, and while anything is possible, I think those offenses are likelier than not to struggle here. The Seahawks, however, have a very capable offense with all of their core personnel available, and while the 49ers offense really hasn’t missed a beat as they’ve gone from their starting QB to their second stringer to their third string Mr. Irrelevant, there is at least some additional risk here with an offense helmed by Brock Purdy.

    Mike >>

    I am in agreement with Xandamere on this one, seeing the Seahawks as the team most likely to put a scare in their opponent. I don’t necessarily think they will win the game, but I could see a couple different scenarios playing out that lead to an unexpectedly close game. First, with the impending potential weather and field issues the game could have additional variance introduced to its range of outcomes. All it would take is a 49ers DB to slip and give up a big play then a botched snap or fumble leading to a Seattle score to give Seattle a comfortable lead and control the clock, forcing Purdy to play from behind for the first time all year. The other potential scenario I see would be simply that the Seahawks passing game puts it together like the Raiders did against the 49ers two weeks ago and is able to turn this game into a shootout.

    Hilow >>

    I think the short answer is a resounding “NO,” but the team with the best chance at a surprising upset is probably the Ravens – and it’s due to their defense. Baltimore finished the season with the seventh-ranked defense by DVOA, with top 11 marks against both the run and the pass. Seattle ranked 21st in defensive DVOA and are completely overmatched on both sides of the ball against San Francisco while the Dolphins have proven to be a completely different team without Tua this season (Skylar Thompson has a silly-low 4.96 yards per attempt during his last three games in which he played the majority of the game, the team could be without three starters along their offensive line and the top three tackles on the depth chart have yet to practice this week, and Raheem Mostert has a broken thumb). Joe Burrow is going to be chucking the football, has four games with multiple turnovers this season, and the Ravens generated 1.5 turnovers per game this season. If any team were to surprise this weekend, it’s probably them (and it would almost certainly come from their defense). 


    2. Learning From The Past

    The Question ::


    Of the non-divisional matchups in this round, all three of the games feature teams who faced each other during the regular season::

    • Jaguars def. Chargers 38-10 in Week 3
    • Vikings def. Giants 27-24 in Week 16
    • Bucs def. Cowboys 19-3 in Week 1

    What, if anything, are you taking from the first matchups between these teams to help make your evaluations for those games this week?

    The Answers ::

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    Late Swap (Sat & Sun)

    StatATL is an OWS Fam grad who has been hammering short slates and utilizing late swap. In this article, he will help you take advantage of late swap.

    Saturday (2 Game Slate) – Quick Thoughts 

    Pricing feels very loose as DK has set up this two-game slate to be as friendly as possible to casual players. Despite the edge gained from the information learned in the first game, most rosters won’t take advantage of late swap. Remember that despite the soft pricing, once the games start, salary no longer matters.

    The three highest projected owned players are all RBs (CMC, Ekeler, and Etienne), however very few rosters will feature two of them, and even fewer will have all three, despite them being the best on paper plays on the slate. 

    The Seahawks have played the 49ers twice this season and managed only 13 combined points. However, Tyler Lockett had 16 catches on 20 targets for 175 yards. He is projected as the 7th owned WR (reminder this is a two-game slate). #Leverage

    Donald Parham is coming in criminally underowned with Mike Williams out. He’s projected as the 6th highest-owned TE.

    Sunday 3 Game Slate

    Quick overall thoughts:

    The main decision point of the slate comes in the middle game between the Giants and the Vikings. This game is projected to carry far and away the highest cumulative ownership, including the three highest owned overall (Barkley, Jefferson, and Dalvin Cook) as it’s the only game projected to be competitive (within a TD spread).

    I would expect around 75% of the total QB ownership to condense on Allen, Cousins and Daniel Jones, with Skylar Thompson and Tyler Huntley, (both basically unplayable in my opinion), coming in around 10% combined. This sets up for Joe Burrow, who has as high a ceiling as anyone, to be a major leverage play.

    Let’s Dive In:

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    Wild Card Crunch (Sun)

    Super Wild Card Crunch is an Inner Circle (free this week) feature that can be found late on Saturday nights and non-IC members can receive a chunk of the content each week. Mike also posts updated thoughts to Discord on Sunday mornings for Inner Circle members.

    Click here to join Discord for free.

    Chasing History::

    Tyler Boyd has a laughably low salary this week for an every-down player on arguably the most explosive passing offense on the slate. The Ravens defense is elite against the run and funnels opponents to throw the ball at a very high rate. Boyd is healthy and will be on the field often, benefitting from the high volume of passing and the attention Baltimore is sure to send toward Tee Higgins and Ja’Marr Chase.

    Out Of The Shadows::

    We have seen James Cook make some big plays and demonstrate his burst and ability at several points this season. This Sunday, the Bills are heavy favorites and Cook is in a position to show the world what he’s capable of. The Bills tend to lean more heavily on Cook in games they have bigger leads in, so his role should grow and the Bills could have a lot of scoring opportunities. The Bills have very realistic Super Bowl aspirations so they would seem less likely to put Josh Allen in harm’s way near the goal line. Cook could easily burst out of the shadows of his older brother, Dalvin, and the Bills “starter’ Devin Singletary.

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    Willing To Lose (Sun)

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

    Following the same theme as Saturday’s WTL edition (scroll up!), I’d like to share a brief story about overanalyzing a small number of games on a short slate.

    One summer evening this past year, I decided I was going to get into some MLB DFS action. It was rare I would have the time to research the slate, and I had been tapering off my MLB play recently before this particular slate, so I had some reading I needed to do. I went to a popular DFS site where I had a subscription and read through their analysis game-by-game (I think around six to eight games total) to get a feel for how I would want to build lineups. In MLB, we’re always looking to stack offenses (usually up to the max), so in addition to identifying those stacks, I was also digging into which pitchers to use, trying to find underpriced bats, etc. In other words, I was spending the proper amount of time to understand the slate, and as I wasn’t tapped into MLB each day before this, letting a content provider guide me on my journey. When I was finished, I felt comfortable. I knew the good plays, I knew which teams were in the best stackable matchups, and I knew where I could find value. I was ready to enter lineups . . . and then I finished (from what I remember) dead last in this tournament! Literally, I could not have done worse. Our gut reaction when this happens is . . . WTF? I spent the time, got my feel, and made a great lineup. But, as variance in baseball often does, the offense I chose did not show up, the value didn’t deliver, and the pitchers underperformed. Ho-hum. This was hardly the first time that a lineup I built after spending ample research time finished horribly. And on the flip side, I’ve had plenty of lineups that do very well when I spent no more than five to ten minutes building them. 

    Here’s the point: less is more with analysis on these short slates. You know these teams. You know these players. You’ve seen which ones have ceilings, you’ve seen where matchups have busted, and you’ve seen these coaches make head-scratching decisions. You know the Bills. You know the Dolphins without Tua. You know the Bengals and Ravens. And including the Giants and Vikings, you have literally seen them play before at least once. Trust your instincts. Trust your process. Don’t predict the future solely based on the past (we’ve talked about before why that’s a lazy way to do this). But do realize, we have seen some indicators we can use to our advantage in every week of NFL football this season.

    Meet the Daniels: Jones + Bellinger

    At this point, I simply imagine Daniel Jones screaming from the mountaintops Russell Crowe-style, “ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED!” Can this man do any more (other than winning people loads of money in the Best Ball streets). Jones needs a lot less explaining on how and why he’s a great play in this game: A) The Giants just had a ton of success in the passing game just three weeks ago in this same matchup (334 passing yards), and B) Brian Daboll is just a mastermind at maximizing what he is good at (quick throws and rushing the football). Jones is likely to draw ownership on the Sunday slate, as both he and Kirk Cousins are underpriced for their matchup and expected game total.

    The more interesting Daniel to me on this slate is Bellinger. He’s one of my favorite players, if only because the poor guy suffered a gruesome eye injury about halfway through his rookie season, and it’s just great to see him recover and back on the field. The popular narrative right now, however, is how great a Giants stack will look with Jones + his cheap pass catchers. Yet, it’s all love for Richie James Jr., Isaiah Hodgins, and Darius Slayton, and no love for Bellinger. I get it, the Vikings secondary is exploitable, and while guys like James, Hodgins, and Slayton have all had ten-target or two-touchdown games, Bellinger has not topped 42 yards in a game and has not popped for more than one TD, either. In short, he’s been a player without a ceiling.

    But anyone who reads these articles knows I am a sucker for players who play. One of the worst feelings is when you have a player on your roster, and all you seem to do is watch him on the sideline. But even as I was digging around to see if there was any leverage to be had, I was shocked to see how high Bellinger’s snap rates have been lately. He returned from his eye injury in Week 13 and played 97% of the offensive snaps. In week 14, he played 61% but was injured and left the game. In the following three weeks, his snap shares were: 98%, 99%, and 89%. He then rested in Week 18. We’d like to formally welcome the Giants TE1 to this party! He is going to pop one of these games. The Vikes have given up touchdowns to tight ends in each of their last two games (Kmet, Tonyan), and they are overall an average matchup for the position. Give me the popular environment, with the underowned player, who will be in the huddle every single play.

    KJ Osborn (+ Justin Jefferson – Kirk Cousins)

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    The Gauntlet Strategy

    Published on 12/30 before Week 17 was played

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    Overview 

    • Six player snake draft comprised of 10 rounds in a Best Ball tournament format
    • Teams are made up of 10 total players with a starting lineup of 5 players – 1 QB, 2 WR/TE, 1 RB, and 1 Flex
    • (4) Round structure with only the top team advancing out of a group of (6) the first two rounds, followed by a group of (8) in the round aligning with the conference championships. 157 teams in the Super Bowl with $100K up top.
    • Getting out of the first round is crucial but difficult if drafting 3 or more from a bye team (currently the Buffalo Bills and Philadelphia Eagles).
    • Like a Milli-maker on DK, the payout structure is extremely top-heavy. 

    The final two bullets bring up an interesting dilemma as the two bye teams are the most likely to make the conference final and Super Bowl but drafting several of those players hampers your chances of getting out of the first round. 

    To win, you will likely need (at least) five players to reach the Super Bowl. This incentivizes stacking your lineups to consolidate around a few teams you are hoping can make deep playoff runs, however, an aggressive stacking strategy has its trade-offs. If you prioritize stacking elite contenders, such as the Bills or Eagles, this will likely have you drafting some poorly projected depth players to round out your team. Someone in your first pod/round will likely have drafted studs on wild card teams and while they will have an uphill battle to win the whole tournament, these teams will have a leg up on getting out of the first round.

    If you consider stacking both bye teams you are drawing dead to advance, and even stacking one bye team significantly hurts your odds of getting out of the first round. However, the tournament is very top-heavy, so we will discuss below some of the strategies to best balance these predicaments and try to thread a very thin needle.

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    Roster Composition:

    From a 10,000-foot view, stacking is critical as you want to try to set yourself up to build around multiple teams (ideally 3 or 4 total) with at least one from each conference. 

    Since your lineup must consist of 1 QB, 1 RB, 2 WR/TE, and 1 Flex, I think there are three builds to consider when approaching your draft, but before we hop into that, let’s start by discussing QB allocation:

    Quarterback Strategy:

    In general, QB DFS scoring is the flattest of any position and I think there is a strong case to be made for both of the following compositions:

    Single QB build:

    In a single QB build, the bet you are making is that QB’s team makes it to the Super Bowl. Knowing how important correlation will likely be, I would try to ensure you can draft at least two other players from that same team, whereas four total is likely ideal (for example QB, RB, WR, WR/TE). 

    In drafts where you can pull off a single QB build, I think a 4-3-3 (four players from one team, three players from another, and three players from another) or 4-2-2-2 build is optimal, with at least 4 other players coming from the other conference to your stack (more on this later). Since the contest is so top-heavy, I think that single QB builds offer the most upside as you get more options at the other positions, however, this strategy is only realistic if you don’t draft a QB with a 1st round bye.

    Double QB build:

    This is a less risky strategy to employ as all your eggs aren’t in one basket. If drafting a QB from one of the bye teams (Buffalo and Philadelphia at the time of this writing), a second QB is essential. In a double QB build, ideally, you are to end with a 3-3-2-2, 4-3-3, or 4-4-2 roster composition. If one of your stacks is around a team with a bye, I think there is merit in considering a high-upside player from a one-off team (a 4-3-2-1 build). This player may get eliminated in the first round, but hopefully, they help you enough to advance.

    3 (or 3+) QB build:

    In my opinion, a triple QB build is not a composition you want to consider as it limits your exposure to the other required positions.

    Draft Strategy:

    Three team build:

    As discussed above, correlation is key in these contests and can be achieved by building stacks of players from the same team. When drafting, a strategy I like is to start with either an Elite QB and his alpha pass catcher (Allen and Diggs for example), or two elite pass catchers such as two of Chase, Jefferson, or Lamb with your first two picks. Why I like these three is that based on the current ADP, you are likely able to get one of their QBs at the 3/4 turn – Something like Chase, Lamb, Mixon, and Prescott. From there you could either shift to two pieces from another team with your next two picks, something like Mike Williams and Keenan Allen, or snag a secondary option from one of your earlier round stacks, such as Zeke / Schultz or Tyler Boyd. In a build like this, I think the ideal composition is 4-3-3. 

    Four team balanced build:

    If one of the teams you’re building around is the Eagles or Bills/Chiefs (depending on who gets the one seed in the AFC), a draft that produces an allotment of 3, 3, 2, 2 is also a strong approach. You are playing somewhat shorthanded in round one with (3) players on bye, but if you can get out of the first round with the (7) other players, your chances of advancing are improved compared to the average team advancing.  

    For example, if starting something like Josh Allen/Justin Jefferson (assuming Buffalo bye), I think it’s optimal to wait until later rounds to scoop up additional Bills players as you will need to focus on options playing in the first round, as well as another QB, before continuing to load up on players with a first-round bye. From this start, you could go Dalvin Cook in the 3rd, Cousins in the 4th, and come back around with Gabe Davis in the 5th. In the 6th, mark your territory by starting another stack (potentially around Miami, Jacksonville or Tampa).  

    Another example of a four-team build could be something like this:

    1st round – CMC 

    2nd round – Diggs

    3rd round – Pollard

    4th round – Prescott

    5th round – Aiyuk

    6th round – Singletary

    7th round – Purdy

    8th round – Gallup 

    9th round – Henry

    10th round – Burks

    (Or two Jags like Etienne and Zay Jones with your final two picks).

    This provides a 3-3-2-2 configuration that gives you the viability of five in the Super Bowl if the 49ers or Cowboys advance from the NFC and the Bills or Titans advance from the AFC. 

    Four team with onslaught build:

    One of the more aggressive approaches I’ve taken is a 5-2-2-1. I’m referring to this as an onslaught build, and I think it offers immense upside if things break your way. The key is to try and build around one of the non-bye teams with your 5 player onslaught with your other 2 “stacks” coming from the opposite conference. If executed to perfection, this approach also allows you to likely snag two players from a bye team. Like a 4-3-3 build, this construction provides access to 7 players in the Super Bowl if things play out in your favor. This could also be built as a 5-3-2, but I think if drafting early, I’d rather take on the risk of a one-off player from a non-guaranteed team as the value of getting them several rounds early is worth the risk and will help you get out of the first round.

    Based on the current ADP, an example of this 5-2-2-1 construction would be:

    1st round – Chase

    2nd round – Burrow

    3rd round – D Smith

    4th round – Mixon

    5th round – Goedert

    6th round – Schultz

    7th round – Boyd

    8th round – Gallup

    9th round – Z Jones

    10th round – Irwin

    Drafting early vs drafting late: 

    The key difference between drafting early versus drafting late (after week 18) is around the certainty of both who the playoff teams are as well as around seeding and the byes. As of this writing (before week 17), 5 AFC teams have secured playoff berths (Bills, Chiefs, Bengals, Ravens, and Chargers), and 4 NFC teams have also punched their ticket to the postseason (Eagles, Vikings, 49ers, and Cowboys). With the uncertainty around these five remaining spots, drafting early allows you to take on some risk on players who may not make the playoffs but can be drafted much later due to this fact. A player like Tyreek Hill, who will likely become a second or third-round pick if the Dolphins secure a playoff spot, is going around the 6th-7th round of drafts I’ve done. Other season-long ‘studs’ such as Barkley and Henry are going even later… If you can handle the risk/reward element of drafting early, I’d recommend embracing some uncertainty later in your draft.

    I hope this article helps you in drafting your Gauntlet teams! Feel free to send me a DM in Discord if you have any questions or want to chat strategy. Happy New Year OWS Fam!