Point/Counterpoint: Week 3 Short Slate Strategies

Daily Fantasy

By Megan Shoup and 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 let’s talk Week 3 short slate strategy!



Not only is the Main slate loaded this week, but the Early Only slate is loaded with many of the highest total games on the slate. I know both of us are interested in the Bills/Dolphins, Lions/Vikings, and Commanders/Eagles games, but now we need to think about the Early Only strategy.
For some builds, I may flip the script/build and play higher-priced RBs, since most of my Main slate teams I’ll be paying down at RB. But I think I’ll continue to go overweight on those three games. What is your Early Only strategy this week?



The short slate is going to be interesting this week for the early side. Like last week the best games could be in the 1 pm window. All three of those shootouts are highly interesting and then you have three other stud QBs in Lamar, Mahomes, and Burrow that all can go off. Patrick Mahomes was the best fantasy QB in week 1 and Lamar was the best fantasy QB in week 2 and no one is going to play these guys. Joe Burrow is also in a nice spot versus a Jets defense that has struggled to start the year. The Bengals’ offense needs to get right and this could be the game that happens. Also, I could see the Jets offense putting up more points than either the Patriots or Colts at this stage. I think this is where I might utilize some of the guys who I won’t play in the main slate, but take a shot or two on them here in a short slate.

As for flipping the build, I probably won’t do it from the perspective of paying up for JT, CMC, or Henry. Dalvin Cook, D’Andre Swift, and Joe Mixon will be options for me. Running backs, particularly expensive running backs have been a bust so far this year, but there are some spots where I think it’s worth the risk. Cook and Mixon will be popular, but Swift might scare people off since he was on a pitch count last week. If he’s healthy he’s one of the most explosive players in the league. I don’t know I might just be too scared of these expensive backs, but can you make a case for any of the $8K+ backs?



I agree with you that I generally like spending up for Cook, Swift, or Mixon in the Early Only slate. But I may take a couple of shots at McCaffery. I just don’t see how the Panthers don’t find a way to utilize him more, and they obviously need to in a tough divisional matchup. So CMC is the only big spend-up RB I’ll play.

I definitely like Bengals or Burrow stacks in Early only. I think that will get overlooked both for the Main and the Early slate. I also like the idea of going way overweight on one high total game and running it back with another high total skinny game stack. It’s hard to do with pricing but I’m going to try. The two games I’d overstack are Bills/Dolphins and Vikings/Lions.
For the Afternoon Only, I think a lot of people will stack up the Rams/Cardinals game. While it’s a high total game, both offenses haven’t wowed me so far this season. The most wild thing this week is we have a rematch of the 2021 NFC Championship game and a matchup of the two GOATS in quarterbacks Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. And nobody is talking about them or that game…zero! What may be interesting is a Rodgers stack and run it back with a chalky Lenny Fournette. Then you can still get Kupp and fill in solid pieces. What do you think about that concept?
And James Conner is a game-time decision so that should be a fun nightmare for Sunday afternoon. Are you going to have exposure to Darrell Williams or Eno Benjamin if Conner is out?



For the afternoon slate, I do like playing Kyler and Marquise Brown a lot and even running it back with Kupp. I know that will be a popular start to a build, but I’m willing to get unique elsewhere. Kyler hasn’t even played well yet this season and he still has 20 plus points per game. With the Cardinals possibly without Conner, Kyler could go back to being the goal line option like he was in 2020. Brown hasn’t had a big game yet either, but a lot of the peripherals are there. Snap %, routes run, air yards, etc. If a couple of those hit, he could go off in a big way. If the Kyler/Brown stack hits I think it has a real chance to set you apart from all the other stack options on this slate. I won’t really be on Williams if Conner is out as I worry about the game script, but Benjamin could contribute enough in the passing game that he’s probably still an option.

As for the match-up between probably the two best QBs of all-time, I’ll do at least one line-up with this concept. If this game gets going, the leverage which you get at a super low-owned Rodgers or Brady is quite interesting. I will probably go the Rodgers’ side as well, especially since Lazard is off the injury report and the rest of his receivers are a little banged up. I really like Lazard in this match-up. I know Tampa has a good secondary, but Lazard had a 90% snap share last week, even with tweaking an injury. I think Rodgers really tries to get him going this week. From the Tampa side, it’s tough to get excited about anyone but Fournette. I might take a shot at Russell Gage even though he’s still a bit banged up. With no Mike Evans and Julio probably missing the game, Gage could get featured. I also think with him running most of his routes in the slot, it will be harder for Green Bay to try to take him away as Brady’s safety outlet.

The real X-factor for this slate has to be the health of the Chargers on offense. Keenan Allen might be back, but Justin Herbert‘s status seems like it’s up in the air. If Herbert plays I really like Mike Williams and Gerald Everett.  I feel better about Christian Kirk if Herbert’s playing as well on the other side.

How will you approach the Chargers/Jaguars game on this slate?



The fact that Herbert is still questionable makes me less interested in this game in general. If he ends up playing, I’ll probably have a little exposure but I’ll still have hesitation just not knowing how limited he will be. Though if Herbert plays, I do think that game stack will be low-owned because most will have reservations too. So that’s an interesting angle to play it.

Overall I’m much more interested in being overweight in the Bills/Dolphins and Lions/Vikings game in the Early slate. For the afternoon slate, I’ll wait on the injury news, but I will have at least one Rodgers/Packers/Bucs game stack for some ownership leverage. If the two GOATs find a way to put points on the board, despite a bumpy start to their offenses so far, then I’ll get massive leverage.



What do you think of these strategies for short slates Week 3 DFS on DraftKings?


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