Point/Counterpoint: Strategies for Week 2 Short Slates

Daily Fantasy

By Megan Shoup & Steve Shoup:



We both like to play Short Slate in NFL daily fantasy. The Early Only and Afternoon Only slates give you opportunities to play differently than you play on the Main slate.

I use it as an opportunity to do the following: 

-Hedge – get exposure to players I didn’t play in the Main slate

-Be Contrarian – stack up a game that people aren’t stacking as much

-Differently lineup construction – short slates you can do different lineup constructions than I typically would on Main. Whether it’s stars and scrubs, overstack a game, or play 2 TEs, it’s an opportunity to be unique with your lineup build.

So what’s your favorite aspect of short slates? And let’s start with Early Only! What stacks or concepts do you like for Early Only this week?



I agree, I like how the shorter slates can allow you to try different strategies and open up exposure to players that you might not have been on originally. I think each week there can be some differences in how you should look at the shorter slates.

For Early Only this week, of the 7 games 3 of them I’m not interested in TB/NO, NYJ/CLE, and NE/PIT for the main slate. Outside of a few value plays, I probably would have very little exposure to these 6 teams. In the early slate though I think I will expand my interest into at least some of these games. Nick Chubb wasn’t someone I loved in Main, but here in a smaller slate, he is someone I think I will look at as a 2nd tier RB. Pittsburgh’s receivers are all so cheap that I will probably take some shots with them as well.

A couple of other things stand out for me in the early slate. I will be massively overweight to the Commanders/Lions game. It’s a game getting some buzz, but I think it probably won’t get the total ownership it deserves. This game could see 50+ points and has some legitimate stars. The Dolphins-Ravens and Jaguars-Colts will probably be the other games I’d look to stack.

This might be crazy, but I might fade the Giants-Panthers game. In the main slate, I’m interested in Saquon Barkley, Christian McCaffrey, D.J. Moore, and even Robbie Anderson. I’m okay if Barkley is 25% owned in main or CMC is 15-20% owned, but these guys will get steamed up for a shorter slate. Barkley could be 45-50%, and CMC and Moore might both be over 30%. That’s a lot of ownership tied into two pretty poor offenses. Carolina managed only 47 offensive plays and 260 yards of offense. The Giants were only slightly better on several plays with 53 and had 394 yards of net offense. There are a lot of ways that this game ends up with fewer than 40 points scored and under 600 total yards. It’s scary since Barkley and CMC can win slates, but if you fade this game you will be very unique.



I agree with your points on how to look at short slates. For Early Only, I am also going to be massively overweight the Commanders/Lions game, and then Dolphins/Ravens and Jaguars/Colts. It feels crazy to fade Barkley, CMC, or DJ More, but I agree with you that you could get massive leverage if you fade that game in Early Only and if it ends up low scoring. I think I will also pretty much fade the Saints/Bucs game on for the early slate since I think that will gain more steam as Sunday gets closer.

What about the 4 p.m./Afternoon Only slate? My initial take is to look into onslaughts of Bengals, Rams, Broncos, and Raiders with very little “run back”. I think the 4 p.m. games could be a lot more one-sided. The common build will be to full game stack the Cardinals/Raiders. I may do that in a single entry. But for the bigger Afternoon Only tournaments, I like more one-sided onslaughts, and combining (where salary allows) more of just the favorites. What are your thoughts on that concept for the Week 2 Afternoon Only slate?

NOTE:  WR Michael Pittman Jr. was ruled OUT for Sunday. This opens up some value plays on the Colts for Early Only. 



For the afternoon slate, I do think it’s a bit different, as the only game that I can see a true shootout is the Raiders/Cardinals. As we saw last week though there weren’t a lot of good matchups where you did need to do a full game stack. So if you do take a stand on say the Raiders/Cardinals game and only play Vegas players that will help you be a bit more unique.

Another thing that I think I will do to change my lineups is fade Trey Lance. Lance appears to be popular in the main slate, so I imagine he will be steamed up considerably in the short slate. Long-term Lance has incredible upside, but that was a rough start to his career as the 49er’s starting QB. Yes, the weather was terrible, but Lance just didn’t look comfortable versus a poor Chicago defense. Seattle’s defense on paper doesn’t look great, but they did play well in week 1. If I will pay down in the short slate at QB, I’d much rather go with Marcus Mariota for $100 less, and probably far less ownership.

Overall at QB, I plan on just being massively overweight on Russell Wilson and Derek Carr, with some Kyler Murray and Matt Stafford sprinkled in. Where I don’t know what to do is how I want to build the rest of my line-up. There are some good RB (Mixon, Javonte, Conner, Henderson) and WR (Kupp, Adams, Chase, etc) plays on this slate, but it’s tough to decide what to prioritize. What do you like better, a strong RB approach, a strong WR, or just a balanced line-up?



Yes, I think I will have more one-sided combos in Afternoon Only than game stacks, and hope that makes me more unique.

I agree with you on QB Trey Lance, I’ll be fading him as well. And guess what? They are expecting bad weather for the 49ers game this week too. Not a time I’m going to jump on at high ownership. I think the Mariota pivot is a great call. But I also will be overweight on Wilson and Carr.

How to prioritize the rest of the lineup is tough, so I’ll probably do different builds prioritizing different positions or an even more balanced lineup. If I had to choose and what I think I’ll have the most of in Afternoon Only slate is spending up on the WR position. I love Kupp, Adams, Broncos WR, and Brandin Cooks, so I think I’ll have the most builds with WR priority.

I think there are some cheap viable RBs and TEs to make it work. What do you think? Is there one team over any in the Afternoon Only slate that you could see doing an onslaught?



Yeah, finding value is tougher on this slate. I love Darrell Henderson‘s price but he will see massive ownership (though I’m not sure I mind that much). I’ll probably stay away from the 49ers offense in general, even though the backs are all priced down. For me, the key for a value RB is probably finding the correct Texans back. Rex Burkhead dominated snaps and usage in week 1, but the coaching staff has said they want to get Pierce more involved.

WR I don’t mind taking a look at a cheap Cardinals WR (A.J. Green or Greg Dortch) with Rondale Moore likely out again. Nico Collins and Noah Brown are other cheap WRs that I will probably utilize.

As for an onslaught team, I think two stand out. The Cardinals in that shootout game offer a top QB and RB in Murray and Conner, and you can add in a quality WR in Marquise Brown. Also, there are really cheap options at WR, and Ertz is very affordable. The other more appealing option is the Broncos with a Russ, Javonte Williams, and Sutton/Jeudy stack. Albert O also can be added in as a cheaper TE option.


What do you think? What are your favorite values for Early Only and Afternoon Only?



Related Articles

DraftKings Short Slate Survey – Conference Championship

After Steve's massive wins on the Thanksgiving 3-game slate and the Early Only short slate on in Week…

Read More about DraftKings Short Slate Survey – Conference Championship

Divisional Playoffs Short Slate Survey

After Steve's massive wins on the Thanksgiving 3-game slate and the Early Only short slate on in Week…

Read More about Divisional Playoffs Short Slate Survey