Point/Counterpoint: Week 14 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 14 short slate strategy!
We covered all our favorite plays in our main point/counterpoint this week. And noted that it’s a 10-game slate with 7 divisional match-ups. I personally outside of the Vikings/Lions game and struggling to see a ton of points this week. Let’s just say I’m concerned the RedZone channel may be having to do a lot of filler material!
For early only, we have 7 games (six of the seven being the divisional match-ups) and 3 games for the afternoon only slate. So for early only, how will you handle the Vikings/Lions game that will clearly be the chalk? You could fade or just take a piece or two that isn’t as chalky. Or you could overstack it. I may do some of both strategies to cover my bases. How about you?
Then what other stacks will you focus on for early only?
There is no question that the Vikings-Lions game will be chalk on the 1 pm slate, it’s looking like many of the key skill guys from that game will be 20%+ owned in the main slate. They could end up 40% or more in some cases for early only. I think overall we will see that game overstacked, while I’ll do that sometimes, other times I want to pivot away. Originally I liked the Jags-Titans game, but if Trevor Lawrence is out that makes me like it less. C.J. Beathard might not be a terrible play, but I just don’t know if I trust him to get there and bring along some of his weapons. I also imagine that Huntley ends up pretty chalky on this slate. I know he had some major games last year, but these Steelers vs Ravens games rarely become high scoring, regardless of who is at QB.
I think when I do pivot off the Vikes vs Lions, I will pay up to be contrarian. As much as I don’t love the spots for Josh Allen, Jalen Hurts, or Dak Prescott they all have incredible upside. Each QB can put up 30+, and they might see relatively low ownership. Of the three I think my favorite option is Prescott. We’ve seen Dak get there in 2-3 quarters before and we know that Dallas has the weapons to score at will against the Texans. I also think Dak will be lower-owned as most will just want to jam in the Dallas defense and not want to play Prescott with that. I also like Allen and the Bills to get some revenge against the Jets in front of their home crowd. Burrow is a strong play as well, and I will look to double-stack him a couple of times in early only. Though I don’t see myself running it back with anyone.
What do you think of targeting the top QBs to get away from the chalk builds?
I agree with all your takes. For early only, I think to be unique I’ll have a lot of the skill positions but not Kirk Cousins or Jared Goff. I’ll use skinny stacks with ASB, Jefferson, Swift, Hockentson, etc. And I’ll have a couple early only lineups that fade that game or only have one player because we’ve seen the high totals fail many times before.
I like your idea of paying up to be contrarian. It feels risky at their cost, and for Hurts, Burrow, and Prescott most likely not being pushed, but I like that idea. You don’t have to run back unless it’s a really cheap piece like Isiah Hodgins or Chris Moore. In Josh Allen stacks, I do like the runback of Garrett Wilson. I’m not jumping off this week, especially in a likely negative game script.
I also like paying down at QB to allow you to jam the studs. I don’t mind CJ Beatherd (if he plays), Tyler Huntley, or Kenny Pickett at home against the Ravens’ secondary. The studs it allow me to pay for that I’m prioritizing in early only slates are Derrick Henry, ASB, Justin Jefferson, Ja’Marr Chase, AJ Brown, and Mark Andrews. Honestly, I’m still ranking their priority. Lately, I’ve been getting the values right for short slate, but not the pay-up options correct. Very frustrating, so I want to try to get this right this week.
Do you agree with my early only pay-up options and how would you prioritize them? Do you agree with my values?
Moving to afternoon only, who are your stacks and core plays?
I’m not too sold on paying down at QB, we’ve just seen too many of these weaker offenses/QBs fail to deliver time and again. Too many offenses are playing too conservatively and it’s not even allowing for the opportunity for 20+ DK points (which you’d need to compete). Huntley does have the rushing upside, but I’m also guessing he carries a bit of ownership as well. If there is a QB I’d pay down for on the early slate, it would probably be Ryan Tannehill. He’s only $5,200, and he’s hit 19 DK points three times and 23 points one time. So 4 times in 10 games he’s probably hit about the lower end of what we’d be hoping for. Not great, but at least we’ve seen it in the past from him. Also, the Jaguars’ secondary is just bad. Got to think the Titans try to get their offense back on track after last week’s debacle.
I might be lower on the Lions/Vikings game as a whole for early only. When I’m not overstacking that game, I might focus more on just getting a more balanced all-around line-up. For me, the top priorities are Chase, Henry, and A.J. Brown, in games where I’m not stacking the chalky game. I also want to ensure I’m not over-exposed to Andrews, despite it being a good match-up on paper. I want to use this short slate to pivot off some of my builds for the main slate.
As for the cheaper options, I’m on board with all of them. I’ll add the Titans pair of Robert Woods and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine as they will play every snap with Burks out. It’s not pretty, but Westbrook-Ikhine did break a slate a couple weeks ago, and that was against a top defense like the Broncos.
For the Afternoon slate I’m planning on going way overweight on the Carolina-Seattle game. I worry about the Chiefs putting up major points against the Broncos’ defense, particularly if there isn’t pushback. And the 49ers vs the Bucs game is tough to predict with a rookie QB starting in San Fran.
I know there are a lot of big names in the other two games, but the Carolina-Seattle game could be the best fantasy match-up. Seattle’s offense is good and it’s also very condensed, particularly if Kenneth Walker can’t play. Carolina’s offense isn’t really good, but two guys are underpriced with strong workloads in D’Onta Foreman and D.J. Moore. With how shaky the Seahawks’ defense has been this season, this could very much be a back-and-forth game.
Outside of that game, I probably will try to fit CMC in my line-ups. I also love the price difference between Kittle and Kelce. Unless the Chiefs do put up 4-6 TDs, I don’t know if Kelce can pay off his price on this type of slate.
As for values, I think at running back, Foreman, Travis Homer (if Walker is out), and Latavius Murray are all decent plays. At wide receiver there isn’t much, D.J. Moore is a great price. Also, Kendall Hinton is super cheap and Courland Sutton is out. Tight end does offer some cheaper pivots off Kelce/Kittle (though Kittle’s price is tough to pass up). Greg Dulcich and Noah Fant are both getting decent work. Cade Otton will likely have Cameron Brate back, but he might have earned Brady’s trust. He could be low-owned and still see 4-6 targets.
I agree with all your other early only thoughts except we don’t agree on which cheap QB we like outside of some Huntley exposure. If you did play Tannehill, I’d just play him with a cheap Chig Okonko and the jam in studs. While the Jaguars’ secondary is awful, so are the Titans’ receivers without Burks. I think they’ll give Derrick Henry all the workload he can handle and he’s destroyed the Jaguars in the past. He’s also destroyed my lineups the last couple of weeks, so hopefully, he doesn’t let me down again this week.
For afternoon only, I agree I’m focusing on the Seahawks/Panthers game and then fitting in CMC and some of those value plays. To be unique, I may take a shot or two on a Russell Wilson stack (gross). If all QBs on the afternoon only slate are average (and they can be if the Chiefs don’t nuke the slate), then he could be viable with what he allows you to do with your salary. Maybe this is because I had a really high finish earlier in the season with Wilson’s one decent game this season.
I think we have some good strategies here for both early and afternoon only slates. Good luck this week!