As the NFL season winds down to the three final games of the year
with the two remaining conference title games and the big game on
February 7th, DFS players looking to continue building their bankroll
are faced with the choice of playing football games with small player
pools, or migrating to other games like basketball, hockey, golf,
While I am sure there is some merit in playing those other games,
I have little knowledge of those sports and all of them except
for basketball are painful as heck for me to watch, so I will
stick with football for two more weeks until baseball starts.
For those owners who agree with me on playing short-slate football
DFS over other options, there are a few new things to consider
when building your lineup.
The first and most obvious fact is that with a player pool of
only four teams and two games, the chance of you finding that
GPP sleeper that no one else chooses is much smaller than in a
normal 16-game slate. You may hit on a breakout play like Jaron
Brown having a big game against the Panthers, but a small player
pool increases the probability that other owners will also make
If you are playing in large contests with hundreds of thousands
of other DFS players, the divisional round forces you to go even
deeper. Perhaps a home run play like J.J. Nelson ($2,000 on DraftKings)
catching a deep pass from Carson Palmer may be the way to go.
In cash games, it is important to to allocate your budget on
a few players that are the most likely to deliver points regardless
of the cost. Ownership percentages of players like Gronk against
Denver (11th most points to opposing tight ends) will be sky high,
but you will still want to invest in him because you want a high
floor of production that will keep to close to your opponents.
In both types of contests, only four games to choose from means
that stacking is almost a must for most owners. Just be sure that
you don’t stack a team with a quarterback that struggles,
as it will sink the remaining players in the stack. For this reason,
I am avoiding Broncos players against the Patriots due to the
fact that the I think Peyton Manning has the best chance of delivering
a stinker, especially considering his history of playing against
Belichick defenses in cold weather.
Conversely, I think the Patriots stack against the Broncos is
a great option, even though the Denver-D has been solid this year.
While I don’t think Talib and Harris will play as soft of
coverage against the Patriots like they did against the Steelers,
Edelman will log close to ten catches underneath and Gronk will
be able to exploit the Denver linebackers.
I also think that Steven Jackson will find it tough to run against
the Broncos front seven, forcing Brady to throw more short passes.
The Broncos allowed the 8th-most catches to running backs this
season, which could bode well for James White owners in one point
per catch formats like DraftKings.
Good luck this week and thank you for reading this column over
the course of the past four months. I was able to build my bankroll
up a few hundred dollars using the principles discussed each week.
Hopefully things worked out just as well for you in your contests.
The following winning roster is from a head-to-head contest against
an opponent who picked Peyton Manning as his quarterback.
Of the eight quarterbacks in the divisional series, Carson Palmer
and Tom Brady seemed to have the highest floor that I search for
when building a head-to-head roster. Both players were at home,
but I liked the defensive matchup the Cardinals had against the
Packers, and I thought that Packers had a decent shot of scoring
points against Arizona now that the Green Bay offensive line is
Both assumptions proved to be correct as Palmer threw for 349
yards and three touchdowns. Although he did throw two interceptions,
Palmerís big game compared to Manning scoring only 10 was
the main reason I won.
The important thing to keep in mind is that I went for the player
with the highest floor while my opponent went with what I assume
was a high ceiling play. In head-to-head games like this, always
go for the high floor guy at quarterback.
Perhaps I rode the David Johnson train one too many weeks. While
I wasnít expecting a 47.9 point game like he delivered Week 15
against the Eagles, a 21 point game similar to what he did at
home against Green Bay week 16 seemed like a baseline floor.
Instead, the rookie from Norther Iowa managed only 35 yards and
a 2.3 yard per carry average, and was not as active in the passing
game as I had hoped. 13 points isnít terrible from a cheap
play, but I spent a hefty $6000 on him and was not pleased with
C.J. Anderson and his $3700 price tag made me fill better about
Johnsonís short comings. Anderson rushed for 72 yards on
15 carries, including the game-winning TD run late.
Thomas was an expensive play based on his production this season.
I read into the fact that this was the first game his mom would
see in person since her release from jail, and I assumed that
it would lead to Thomas having a big game for the Broncos.
A case of the dropsies, something that has plagued Thomas this
season, cost him a few big plays and more fantasy points from
my team. Luckily Floyd managed to score two touchdowns from Palmer
and Lockett caught a deep TD pass late against Carolina.
Motivational games like this one and revenge games like Andre
Johnsonís two TD game against Houston earlier in the season can
work out in your favor. They can also blow up in your face. Unfortunately,
it was the latter for me with regards to Thomas playing for his
The small player pool forced me to consider only two expensive
options in Gronk and Olsen, or a cheap upside play like Heath
Miller against Denver. The other options seemed like too much
of a stretch for a head-to-head game.
Gronkís injuries, whether real or made up shenanigans from
Belichick, made me a bit nervous to go with him, and although
Miller against Denver seemed logical based on Benís shoulder
injury and the need to dump off passes, I went with Olsen. He
seemed due for a big game based off of his recent contests and
the Seahawks struggled against him earlier this year.
File this pick under the read too much into it folder, similar
to my pick of Thomas playing in front of his mom. The chance of
this being Lynchís last game as a Seahawk was high, as Seattle
may move away from his large contract due to Lynchís age
and the emergence of Rawls.
For that reason, I had a hunch Lynch would deliver a solid game
against even a tough defense like Carolina. That hunch proved
to be dead wrong with 20 yards and 5.5 points. But and least it
did not cost me the win.
Defense: Denver Points: 6
I went with Denver based on the fact that I knew Big Ben was
ailing with a shoulder injury and Antonio Brown was out with a
concussion. The gamble here is that I assumed Ben would aggravate
the injury, forcing the Steelers to play the turnover machine
otherwise known as Landry Jones.
Of course, Ben played the whole game and played well, and the
Broncos did not get a shot at Jones.