Larejo is a mid-stakes tournament mastermind who specializes in outmaneuvering 150-max players with a small number of entries
You know the overwhelming feeling you get when you start to build your rosters? Who do you slot in first? What game stacks? Should you start with QB or RB or WR? What about top-down or bottom-up? Well, I won’t be getting that feeling this week and I hope you’ll join me.
There’s a psychological game playing out this week with the discrepancies in expected game totals between the 1 pm (early) and 4 pm (late) games. You’ve likely learned by now that the four late games all carry Vegas over/unders north of 50 points, while all nine of the early games are under 50 points. What’s your move? There are two ways you can go with this slate, in my opinion. You can zig against the zags and find those early games which turn into shootouts (at what is expected to be light ownership), or you can lean into the zags and follow the points expected in the late games by building your rosters in a different way than your competitors.
In the Angles email this week, JM talked about uncovering “different” or “contrarian” plays and “building stronger rosters that have leverage, correlation, and are invisible.” A play can be invisible for many reasons, but as we’ve said before, it’s important to realize why a play is actually visible. These players, games, and matchups are strong enough that we can make safe projections, with a sense of what the floor and ceilings look like.
The old me would have taken a few early games and stacked them up, feeling proud about my collective lack of ownership once games locked. Even if those stacks hit, chances are by the late window, I’ll feel helpless as my rosters sit there and get passed by one, two, three, 100, 200, 900 lineups. I have played enough DFS in my time to say I am confidently leaning into the zag this week. I am only going with game stacks in the late games. I won’t be ignoring the early games, but I am going hunting there for simple two-player stacks or “one-off” plays to complete my rosters. For this week, I would much rather hunt than be hunted.
How do I plan on majoring on the late games, with all the ownership coming their way? Simple…by overstacking. Every roster I build this week will have at least a five-player game stack. Some will have six. I know many of you will think this is crazy (It lowers the ceiling! Negative correlation!) but we’ve seen Milly Maker wins (hi, Cubsfan) and top-10 finishes (my best ever) with these major “over-stacks.” It puts more pressure on nailing those last three or four roster spots but you put yourself in a position to guess less, and correlate more. You just need to find the right correlations. By going into a week willing to lose, there’s also value in knowing how you will lose given different outcomes. For me, that scenario is if an early game goes over 60 points.
Why save the best for last? Ownership will be very high on this game. Full stop. I’ve seen on two sites now we have six players in the top 15 in ownership projections (Amari Cooper, Keenan Allen, CeeDee Lamb, Ezekiel Elliott, Dak Prescott, Justin Herbert). To me, this means you don’t want to fill in any of these guys as a single roster spot without a strong correlated stack accompanying them. Unless you are stacking an off-the-board game like Patriots and Jets, it’s likely that will be a negative expected value play for most.
As I noted above, if leaning into this game, the question is how to build differently than the field? Let’s list out the player pools. Using offensive snap percentages from Week 1:
The most common five-player stack from this game should be: Dak, Cooper, Lamb, Ekeler, Allen. Differentiate from there.
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