Point/Counterpoint: Week 13 Short Slates
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 13 short slate strategy!
For short slates in Week 13, I think I’m going to play some extra Early only slates so I live on a slate without having decide between multiple amazing games to stack and tons of studs. The afternoon only will be particularly difficult with Chiefs/Bengals, Chargers/Raiders, and Dolphins/49ers in three of the four games.
So I want to run more Early only lineups. And for Early only, I will be paying up for running back (Nick Chubb, Derrick Henry mostly), paying down for QB/WR stacks and filling out the rest highly correlated.
What about you, will you be running extra early only lineups this weekend? What will be your strategy for early only?
I do think both Chubb and Henry stand out among the early slate, but I do like the idea of maybe only focusing on one of them and paying up at a WR spot as well. Justin Jefferson, A.J. Brown, and Amon-Ra St. Brown are all just too good for me to not focus on. People will worry on Jefferson’s match-up, but honestly, he’s probably match-up proof at this point. Both Brown and St. Brown are in really good match-ups to go along with their ability to take over a game.
Overall I will probably ignore the top 3 QBs here. I’m guessing Jalen Hurts will be massively over-owned in this slate. He’s got a tremendous floor, but not sure I love the ceiling versus the Titans. I don’t think they will allow him to run around on them as much. Lamar Jackson kinda got there last week, but it’s been rough for Jackson and this Ravens offense. They simply don’t look right. Though the Broncos as a whole aren’t as good as we expected, their defense has played well. They are 3rd in the league in yards and points allowed. They have only given up 20 or more points in 3 games this year, and only one of those went for over 24. Finally, while it seems that Justin Fields is healthy enough to play, I have a tough time playing a QB with a separated shoulder. Are they going to run him as much with that kind of injury? Even if they attempt to, one bad hit and he will be out of the game.
For QB I will mainly play Trevor Lawrence and Mike White. Kirk Cousins might be a guy I take a couple shots on as well. He hasn’t shown a ceiling yet this year, but he could give you mid-20’s DK points at $5,700. Lawrence and White are a bit riskier, but I like their match-ups and upside. They could crash and burn for 15 DK points, or they could put up 28-35 points.
Agreed with the early only QBs, and as you know from the main slate article, I’ll add Kenny Pickett against that awful Falcons pass defense. Everyone is going to play Jaylen Warren (if Harris is ruled out and he’s ruled in). Why not play a cheap QB stack (Pickett/Pickens) at virtually no ownership and still stack up studs around it?
UPDATE: Najee Harris is in. Still like Pickens/Pickett stacks.
This almost worked for me in Week 8 when everyone was playing QB Sam Ehlinger to play studs around him. At 4 pm, I played Taylor Heinicke and Terry McLaurin and no ownership and still stacked studs around them. I came very close to winning a late slate tournament that week. While it’s a risk, I’m comfortable going back to that kind of strategy for ownership leverage.
I will take a shot or two with Jalen Hurts/AJ Brown stacks in single entry for early only. Now for other early only core plays. I mentioned RB Jaylen Warren could be chalk depending on injury news. I have some interest of course, but I will be playing a lot of Henry and Chubb.
I also agree with prioritizing receivers like Justin Jefferson, ASB, and AJ Brown (in that order). Who are your other core RB and WR for the early only slate?
I like Pickens as an option, but I don’t know if I will include Pickett. If feels like he’s probably capped at low 200 passing yards and maybe 2 TDs even in a strong match-up. I think this game will be similar to the Commanders vs Falcons game where both teams run 40 times.
My other core RBs are going to be Aaron Jones, Travis Etienne (assuming he’s healthy), and Brian Robinson. I also like David Montgomery as the Packers have struggled against backs all season. With Justin Fields dealing with an injury, I imagine they will try to feature Montgomery. It looks like Najee Harris will play, so I will probably take some shots on him as well. Overall though Aaron Jones and Brian Robinson Jr. are my favorites of this group of backs. Jones smashed the Bears earlier this season, and Chicago’s defense has only gotten worse. Robinson is Washington’s back in situations where they are ahead of the game, and the Giants defense I think is beatable. I also like that Robinson got a few targets last week, that trend could continue if Gibson isn’t 100%.
For receivers beyond the top guys, I will take some shots at Amari Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones against this horrid Texans defense. Christian Kirk will be one of my highest-owned players, even last week against the Ravens he still saw a good number of targets. He now faces the Lions secondary that is toasted every week. Garrett Wilson is way too cheap, he’ll be chalky, but I love the salary saving and the upside he offers. Lazard and Christian Watson are both too cheap as well against the Bears. Overall though I do want probably 2 of the more expensive ones I mentioned earlier. So whomever else can get me to the studs will find a way into my line-ups.
As we look at the afternoon slate I think the question really is who do you focus on, and how many studs can you get?
I agree with most your core plays for the early only state. Etienne’s injury makes me nervous though. And I’m off the Browns receivers. I need to see Watson after 2 years first and it may take time to get on same page. And I’m all over Nick Chubb. Why wouldn’t Browns ease Watson in and feed Chubb here? That’s the way when I’m playing the Browns, it is only Chubb for me.
You’re right the afternoon only has three games you can target and one unappealing game (Seahawks/Rams). Deciding which game stack and which studs will be key for afternoon only. And then to fit the studs, you’ll have to hit on the right value plays too.
I don’t mind Rams’ RB Kyren Williams or double TE in afternoon only to save money. I also don’t mind one put receiver, but which one?
As for which games and studs I’m prioritizing for afternoon only, I’m going to be very overweight the Dolphins/49ers game for leverage. Sure in single entry, small field I’ll stack up the Chiefs/Bengals or Chargers/Raiders. But stacking up the Dolphins/49ers and hope that is the highest scoring game will be very unique. I know we’re all scared to roster players against the 49ers defense. But why can’t Tua and this Miami offense be like Mahomes the Chiefs offense when they put up 44 points on them in October? Maybe I have too much trust in Mike McDaniel, Tua and these Dolphins weapons, but they’ll be criminally underowned in the afternoon slate and I’m willing to take that risk.
Who are the stars that your prioritizing for the afternoon slate?
Potentially Chubb could be featured, but the Browns might want to ramp up Watson vs a terrible defense that he just so happened to play for. It’s tough to say, I just think Cooper and DPJ are underpriced vs their potential.
I can maybe go double TE, but I don’t know if it is worth using Kyren Williams. I think he maxes around 15 DK points even if he does find the end zone. In a slate where you have guys like Ekler, Jacobs, McCaffrey, and Walker, you could be way behind with that 2nd RB spot. Honestly if there was a cheap back I’d play it would be Jerrick McKinnon. If the Chiefs are behind or in a close game he could see 5-8 targets. On top of that he’s $700 cheaper than Williams, and he’s part of the best offense on the slate.
I like the call of betting on the Dolphins/49ers game to become a shootout. People are going to gravitate more to stacking the Bengals-Chiefs and Chargers-Raiders, but let’s not forget that Miami is 6th in the NFL in points and 3rd in yards and they were without Tua for 3 games. The 49ers are the best defense they faced, but as you mentioned the last time San Francisco faced an elite offense they couldn’t stop them. This 49ers offense is more inconsistent, but their skill group of CMC, Samuel, Aiyuk, and Kittle is impossible to stop. The Dolphins defense has been leaky all season, so I could absolutely see fireworks here.
For me the game I like targeting is the Chargers-Raiders. I think you have two teams with elite offensive weapons facing poor defenses that are depleted due to injury. I really like the Herbert side as the Raiders defense has been one to exploit this year. Play Herbert and two pass catchers (potentially Ekler as one) and run it back with either Jacobs or Adams and you have a great start.
If there is one star that I am prioritizing regardless of the stack I’m making it’s Travis Kelce. He could double the point total of the next closest TE, and could be on par with just about any receiver. Kelce plays his best games when the Chiefs are in a tough high scoring match-up. That is when Mahomes locks in on him and KC draws things up for him.
All great points, I think we have some solid strategies for both early only and afternoon only. Now let’s go make some money! Good luck everyone!