Just like with the PPR running backs we have some marginal changes — Calvin Johnson moves into second, Kelvin Benjamin and Martavis Bryant moved up, etc.
But for the most part we’ve handled quite a bit of wide receiver talk in our previous posts this week, mostly in the standard wide receiver projections. Today I was considering making the PPR projections the first ones I do and making the standard projections the secondary thing. I think most leagues have moved on to at least some form of PPR format by now.
I only play in a couple and we’ve been in those leagues since Barry Sanders, Steve Young and Michael Irvin were in their primes. I hope we never change. That’s kind of why I default to the standard projections instead of PPR, in case you were wondering.
Speaking of wondering (or wandering because I feel like I could float off topic easily right now) you may not know what it means when I say contrarian. I mean, I’m sure you know the word, but I’m not sure if you grasp all of the details about contrarian picks when it comes to daily fantasy sports.
Again, this is something I hope to cover in it’s own post in better detail in the future.
When I refer to a player as contrarian or as a potential contrarian play it means it’s a player not a lot of other owners will roster. Drafting this way, usually only in GPPs (see the PPR running backs post if you’re not sure what a GPP is) has a couple benefits.
Let’s use players from this week as an example. I will have Dez Bryant in a lot of lineups and I assume he’ll be owned in at least 40% of leagues this week.
There are a couple different ways we can be contrarian here. We can pick a player of similar cost who will be less-owned due to matchup or recent performance. We can go further down the list allowing us to build a stronger overall starting lineup. Or we can keep Dez and try to pair him with players nobody else is going to think about pairing him with.
If Bryant has a monster game and he’s owned by 40% of people in a contest where only the top 10% win, it’s going to be difficult for those teams to stand out and move into that top 10%.
If you play enough DFS, you’re going to find that you end up with a core set of players each week. That core will be accented by other plays. Typically when you have a player like Dez this week who is going to have a monster game, owners will build a core that allows them to Dez all the time. That means they’ll have to pick a sleeper running back, maybe skimp on tight end a bit, etc..
Then we end up with a bunch of lineups that are very similar AND our opponents also end up with a bunch of lineups that are similar to ours.
That’s why we have to play the meta, have to break our unwritten rules and cut against the grain. So, you want a lineup where you tell yourself “No Dez, under any circumstances.” Then you might want a lineup where you put Dez, Calvin Johnson and Antonio Brown together and figure out the rest.
During that figuring out part you’ll find a hidden gem or two that may or may not hit, but if they do you are playing for big bucks while the other 40% of players who started Dez are trying to figure out what they did wrong even though they had a respectable score.
Being contrarian weakens your chance of reaching a respectable score, but it also should increase your chance at a very high score. If only the top 10% cash and the real goal is to finish in the top 1%, a respectable score is meaningless.
Building a contrarian lineup should feel painful. It should feel like you are breaking rules, because you are. But if you do your research and have a good reason for every player you pick it will increase your chances of winning life-changing money.
UPDATE – JAN. 3
I have a few more notes from the Steelers-Ravens game that really need to be addressed.
1. Haloti Ngata is expected back for the Ravens which means their run-stuffing defense got stuffier.
2. Troy Polamalu is expected back for the Steelers, whose defense can use all the help it can get.
3. Weather is expected to be bad — 100% chance of precipitation with high winds. This is typically only a bad thing for kickers and for some passing games. Ben Roethlisberger is a mudder. Joe Flacco doesn’t like the Super Bowl being played in cold weather, but he did throw 13 TDs and only 5 interceptions with two rushing touchdowns in November and December.