Welcome to the NFL Big Three! This article is going to look at the NFL daily fantasy sports main slate and go over three different areas: Stacks, important players, and value pieces. There will be three additions to each area as we look to give you the best preparation for the week ahead. Hopefully, you find this info valuable no matter your skill level and we can find consistent success through the season!
Models and disclaimer
The majority of the information that I’m going to be using in these articles is based on freely available information that you can find yourself, but there will also be information and data that is pulled from the models at my daily fantasy sports site which look to use predictive algorithms to find valuable info in important stats.
Of those models, I’ll be looking at things like a range of outcomes dataset, expected touchdown rates, as well as aggregated yardage calculations which pull together a lot of predictive info to create more manageable statistics about every player in the league. Using a model that creates a range of outcomes rather than a single median projection is much more applicable to sports and is something that I encourage any stats or analytics nerd to pursue, and it’ll be the basis of a lot of the decisions I make here.
All in all, The data here tries to look forward and get an idea of the best spots to attack.
Green Bay Packers: Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams, Robert Tonyan
On a slate with just four teams available, it’s important to weigh a couple different things in your choices before making a decision.
How expensive is the stack in regards to the others available?
Is there an upside to be had that can match the others? How much ownership is going to be concentrated on this stack that might leave others under the mark? For this specific set of games, my inclination is that the Chiefs and the Bills both have disproportionately more ownership than the Packers and the Buccaneers, and the Packers will be even lower than the Bucs because of the price involved between the two. The Packers, of course, project pretty well here and should be just as highly coveted as the Bills if not more so.
The main stack of Rodgers, Adams, and Tonyan has a combined projection of 63.75 (Second best on the slate) along with having a 34.40% chance to be the highest-scoring combination. They are underpriced mainly because of Tonyan, who is the second-highest priced TE but is still less than half the price of Travis Kelce, and the combination will make up the majority of the passing touchdowns in any given game for this team. Yes, the Chiefs and the Bills could have a much more explosive game, but the consistency and talent between Brady and Rodgers has just as much upside and I would argue higher medians than focusing on the others. Pairing the best WR on the week and forcing difference by taking Tonyan instead of Travis Kelce makes this an extremely attractive stack in GPPs that matches the upside of others with less ownership involved.
Travis Kelce: Play
One of the only decisions that you have to make for this weekend in terms of roster construction, leverage, and upside of your lineups is going to come from playing or fading Travis Kelce. He’s the single most polarizing player on this slate because of the canyon between him and the other tight ends on this slate, so it’s important to think through what it means to have him or not.
The reasons why you play him are simple: He projects for 10 fantasy points more than any other player at his position, has an 83% chance to finish as the top at his position, and a 10.60% chance to finish as the top player overall on the slate (including quarterbacks), and he is the main correlation piece to the highest upside stack available. The downside of playing him is simply logistical, as taking the most expensive player on the slate is going to hinder your ability to roster other equally expensive dudes. On a slate-like, this with so few games and so few opportunities to be truly different, one of the easiest ways to gain relative leverage on the field is to fade the highest owned play, which could very well be Kelce. So here’s the play: If he is going to be the highest owned player on the slate, you should fade him and play one of the high upside WRs instead. If he is going to lag behind the likes of Tyreek Hill or Stefon Diggs, then you should lock him in and punish those who don’t. In cash games (50/50s and H2Hs), he’s a very obvious lock and load, but pay attention to ownership projections across the industry for your exposure in GPPs.
Stefon Diggs: Fade
Stefon Diggs has been the most consistent wide receiver in fantasy all the way through the year, with no games under double digit fantasy points and surging through the playoffs with strong performances three weeks straight. Because of this, and because the Bills and Chiefs will be the most popular game, I’m going to think that Diggs ends up extremely popular at this price point. The reason why I consider him a key value is because he is the cheapest of the “premium” receivers (Adams, Hill, and Diggs) and projects way better than any of the three Buccaneers wideouts at the same time.
The problem for me here is that people underestimate how good Andy Reid is in the playoffs and my guess is that he tries everything he can to take away Diggs as the main threat. Especially with John Brown, Cole Beasy, and Gabriel Davis all being healthy, there’s going to be a lot of other routes for the Bills to take if Diggs ends up getting bracketed or double-teamed the majority of this game. And that wider target tree is another thing that Diggs has to deal with that Hill and Adams do not. The Packers and Chiefs are very secure in where the targets are going on their squads and don’t really have other high volume options available outside of their superstars, whereas the Bills have shown a willingness earlier in the season to spread the love quite a bit. Because of the matchup, the target tree, and the upside of the other premium guys, I’m going to want to fade Stefon Diggs on this slate. Fade.