Special to Yahoo Sports
Whether you are playing in the biggest tournament of the week on Yahoo or prefer to play in smaller GPPs, there are some general positional strategies that you can implement in any size tournament. These concepts include stacking, finding pivots off of popular players, and looking for leverage in other spots. While it’s important to implement these into your lineup-building approach, the foundation of any tournament lineup is a solid core — usually players you would use in cash games.
Stacks To Target
QB Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs ($40)
RB Darrel Williams, Chiefs ($17)
WR Mecole Hardman, Chiefs ($13)
WR Terry McLaurin, Washington ($27)
This game will feature some of the highest rostered rates of the week but it’s a spot that’s worth leaning into while being contrarian elsewhere in your lineup. Both teams have implied totals of at least 24 with Kansas City projected to score almost 31 points, the highest mark on the slate.
Those numbers may not be high enough.
Every team has exceeded their implied total against the Chiefs this year and four of five teams have gone over against Washington — combined, the two teams have allowed opponents to score 81 points over their implied total.
Pairing Mahomes and Hardman allows lineups to attack a Washington defense that ranks last in 4for4’s schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks and 31st against wide receivers but 10th against tight ends. Washington’s perceived strength against tight ends isn’t a reason on its own to fade Travis Kelce but Washington’s weakness against the deep ball helps break the tie — only two defenses have allowed more completions on passes of 15+ air yards. If Tyreek Hill ends up playing, Hardman will be a contrarian way to attack this game while saving salary; if Hill is out, Hardman could see well over 25 percent of Kansas City’s targets.
Including Darrel Williams in the stack helps save salary with one of the better value plays of the week as Williams steps into the majority of backfield work with Clyde Edwards-Helaire sidelined. As 6.5-point favorites, Williams should have a chance at a run-heavy game script late with touchdown upside throughout the game.
Running it back with Terry McLaurin — one of three players with a target share over 30% and air yards share over 40% — capitalizes on a defense that has already allowed six different receivers to go over 15 Yahoo points. As big underdogs with Antonio Gibson banged up, Washington could be throwing more than usual. Be sure to monitor McLaurin’s status, however, since it was reported he’s dealing with a hamstring injury.
QB Lamar Jackson, Ravens ($33)
WR Marquise Brown, Ravens ($17)
WR Keenan Allen, Chargers ($23)
There’s a trend in point projections that goes largely unnoticed and is a huge inefficiency in the totals market: Games where the home team is the underdog are typically lower-scoring than games where the home team is favored, and those games consistently hit the under more than the over. This week, the teams with the three highest implied totals are involved in such games. The Ravens are not in one of those situations and project for 27 points in a game with a 51.5-point total.
Lamar Jackson has as high of a ceiling as any quarterback regardless of the matchup, but his salary is $7 lower than the QB1 on the slate and behind five other quarterbacks. Only one quarterback who has taken the majority of his team’s snaps is averaging more fantasy points per snap than Jackson. Despite the Chargers’ good numbers on defense, they rank in the middle of the pack in fantasy points allowed per pass attempt.
Marquise Brown’s usage has bordered on elite but fantasy managers may get a discounted rostered rate with rookie Rashod Bateman likely making his season debut. Stacking with Keenan Allen instead of Mike Williams makes this lineup especially unique. While Williams has dominated fantasy scoring, Allen leads the team in targets, red-zone targets, and is tied with Williams for the team lead in targets inside the 10.
Although Washington/Kansas City has the highest total of the week, Baltimore/LA may be the most fantasy-friendly game environment.
Contrarian Plays to Target
TE Darren Waller, Raiders ($24)
Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews figure to be popular high-salary tight ends, making Waller a great salary pivot in a game that will likely go largely overlooked. According to 4for4’s Breakout Receiver Model, Kelce is the only active tight end with more expected points over the last three weeks than Waller but the Raiders tight end has underperformed that usage by quite a bit. The matchup is tough against the Broncos but this is a tremendous leverage opportunity in a week where sentiment on the Raiders couldn’t be lower.
WR Allen Robinson, Bears ($16)
No one is excited about any aspect of Chicago’s offense right now but one thing that has changed with Justin Fields under center has been their propensity to throw deep. Although Darnell Mooney has out-targeted Robinson this year, ARob has been the target of 30% of Fields’s deep targets. Even before the Jaire Alexander injury, the Packers were susceptible to the deep ball — and without Alexander, Ja’Marr Chase showed us just how badly this secondary can be exploited last week.
It would be a surprise to see Robinson on more than 2% of rosters this week, assuming he plays; Robinson has a history of playing through injuries. He can be used as a mini correlation play with Davante Adams or as a one-off in a unique salary tier.
Cash Game Strategy
With Derrick Henry off the slate and Christian McCaffrey questionable, there is plenty of salary for a high-level quarterback who fits into a relatively balanced roster build. The most premium pay-up options are at wide receiver and tight end this week.
QB: Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes, Taylor Heinicke, Carson Wentz
RB: Jonathan Taylor, Devontae Booker, Khalil Herbert, Darrell Henderson, Darrel Williams, Austin Ekeler
WR: Davante Adams, Cooper Kupp, Marquise Brown, Michael Pittman, Brandin Cooks, Terry McLaurin, Darnell Mooney, Courtland Sutton, Ja’Marr Chase, Keenan Allen, Mike Williams
TE: Travis Kelce, Mark Andrews, Hunter Henry, Ricky Seals-Jones
DEF: Rams, Packers, Colts
TJ is a former full-time poker player who has been playing fantasy football for more than a decade. After online poker was outlawed, TJ ended his poker career and dedicated himself to fantasy football. His background in poker statistics and analytics translates to success in both daily and season-long fantasy football.
More from 4for4.com: Players to stash ahead of Week 6
Listen to the Yahoo Fantasy Forecast