Larejo is a mid-stakes tournament mastermind who specializes in outmaneuvering 150-max players with a small number of entries
There’s playing DFS tournaments sharply, and then there’s playing tournaments stupid. We’re often balancing these two mindsets so we could also call these different levels of contrarian, but for effect, I will say sharp and stupid as they seem to be natural opposites. The purpose of Willing to Lose every week is to get you to think for yourself, and to embrace risk, but to do it in a limited logical manner. And yet, it’s not always simple to practice this mindset, as I struggle to do it and I write these each week.
I’ll give you a perfect example of the WTL mindset vs. just plain unintelligent building. In this week’s Thursday game, Christian McCaffrey had all the signs pointing to him as the best on paper play. He was coming off a huge game against the Bucs (not an easy matchup) and playing Seattle, who by all metrics ranks as one of the worst five rushing defenses in the league. His backfield running mate, Elijah Mitchell, was spending another week on injured reserve. You could not ignore him. And then, I built a few lineups, threw them into large-field GPPs, and I ignored him. This was the opposite of sharp and the definition of being contrarian for contrarian’s sake. What I did do, however, is play George Kittle at captain everywhere. Why did I do this? Well, CMC was the obvious spot, due to carry the highest ownership on all rosters and the captain slot. Beyond him, the Seahawks passing game, with the concentration and volume always on DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, would be the next place people looked. So with Deebo Samuel expected out, my natural mindset shifted right to the 49ers passing game. My initial thought was on Brandon Aiyuk, but once I saw Kittle priced lower than Aiyuk, he was my play. And despite my Kittle lock button, I just barely cashed my lineups because I did not have CMC.
I realize this revisionist process is not exciting to read as you came here for some Week 15 main slate juice. But I wanted to provide a very small glimpse into how I see things, as the one guy who is really trying to drill home this WTL thought process in every lineup, and on every slate. Of course, a Showdown is fundamentally different and more chaotic than the main slate, but we should all strive to recognize when a lineup is too unique, a lineup is too common (no shot at first place), and when a lineup looks and feels just right. We always want to understand first where the best games are on a slate, who has the best matchups, and then as we always say . . . just tilt that lens a few degrees right or left to see a new angle that has viability. That’s it. We don’t have to search for the less than 1% owned play just because it’s going to be uncommon. But if we do, then we should be building with chalk from there. Find your guaranteed points this week, and embrace the risk to win big.
So much to like and so much to dislike in this player block. But when we combine these four players on a roster, it will have the combination of chalk and not chalk that we are looking for in large field play. This Lions and Jets game is currently carrying an over/under of 43.5 after opening around 50 points. There has been a ton of line movement on this game all week, and with the news now that Zach Wilson is starting over an injured Mike White, whatever ownership was left of this game on the Jets side has effectively evaporated. Zach seems to be more risky than White, but in his last few starts that has been mostly due to the Jets lack of trust in him and willingness to commit to the run to hide him. However, what we do know is the Jets have become more pass heavy in recent weeks, as they have let White throw the ball north of 44 times each of the past two weeks in games against the Vikings and then the Bills. The Lions have given up the most fantasy points to QBs this season and currently rank 21st DVOA vs the pass and 22nd against the run. With Zach’s cheap price, we aren’t asking for much out of him, and more importantly, if the Lions can put up points and force the Jets to trail, he should be slinging it around the yard this week.
If Zach Wilson is forced into 40 pass attempts, Garrett Wilson is primed for another big day. Although this is about Mike White, I loved this nugget from Fantasy Points Data, where we can confidently say Wilson should exploit this Lions matchup in heavy Cover 1. The only issue with Garrett is he won’t be overlooked at $6,000, but we like that. Zach Wilson is one way to stray away from a chalk build with Garrett Wilson, but going to Elijah Moore or Tyler Conklin is another. Moore is underpriced for a wide receiver who is coming off a ten-target, 82% offensive snap rate, but that’s why he may also get steamed this week. Conklin is my preferred secondary pass catcher with a Jets QB in tournaments for his similarly low ownership, and because as poor as the Lions have been against WRs (3rd-worst in fantasy PPG on PFR), they are also bad against TEs (3rd-worst).
The Lions putting up points is the way for this stack to pay off, and if they are able to do that, the highest confidence bet lies with ARSB. JM noted on the Winner’s Circle podcast this week how ARSB’s better production actually tends to come with DJ Chark healthy, and with his 45% slot share, he should move around the formation enough to avoid the strength of the Jets defense, which is the perimeter cornerbacks.