I started playing DFS on DraftStreet in 2013. For the next six years, I primarily played cash games because I was in love with the slow, methodical grind, along with the safety that comes from playing a format where you only have to beat one other person or roughly half the field if you’re in 50/50s or double-ups.
Nowadays, I’ve decided to pull the ripcord on the safety net so that I could seek out more upside.
The hardest part of switching to GPP only? Getting comfortable with losing … a lot more often. However, with proper game selection and bankroll management, all you need is one or two nice scores to be in the black when the season ends.
One of my favorite ways to find these plays is by using the Minimal Tournament Model that I created late last year.
Additionally, our Lineup Builder is the perfect tool to use when hand-building your small-field GPP lineups. Otherwise, our Lineup Optimizer may be more your speed if you like to enter multiple lineups into tournaments.
Anyway, each week I’ll be discussing various one-off plays you could target to fill out the rest of your tournament teams after you’ve settled on your stacks and core plays.
Note: I primarily play on DraftKings, so that’s where this analysis will focus.
NFL DFS Running Back Leverage Plays
As of Saturday morning, it looks like most ownership is going to condense around Saquon Barkley, Darrell Henderson, Leonard Fournette, and Joe Mixon (among others).
They’re all solid plays, but there are some leverage spots if we are looking to pivot away from these guys. For starters, Jonathan Taylor has the highest ceiling in my projection inputs, and he may come in around 9-11% owned. Taylor picked up right where we left off last year — garnering 31 carries and seven targets in Week 1.
Taylor has one of the strongest Leverage Scores in our Player Models.
Most builds are going to start with Barkley + Henderson, so Christian McCaffrey could go overlooked this week. CMC has the second-highest ceiling projection with my inputs.
The Cardinals-Raiders game figures to be popular — especially Derek Carr and Davante Adams. This situation makes Josh Jacobs and intriguing leverage play off the Raiders’ passing game. My main concern is Jacobs’ role in the passing game is lacking, but he is projecting with a top-10 ceiling this week.
Leverage pool: Jonathan Taylor, CMC, Josh Jacobs, James Conner, Nick Chubb, Jeff Wilson
NFL DFS Wide Receiver Leverage Plays
I almost never get this player correct, but Deebo Samuel has the third-highest ceiling with my inputs. His target volume isn’t always the highest, but the 49ers aren’t afraid to give him carries, and he still saw eight targets last week in terrible playing conditions. This could be a nuclear spot against Seattle. I am just hoping the targets can hit the 7-10 range (which is probably a big ask).
For those who don’t know, FantasyLabs subscribers now have the option to purchase Derek Carty’s THE BLITZ from our Marketplace. Projections from One Week Season and Establish the Run are available if you’re a subscriber to those specific sites (our optimizer is a separate add-on feature).
You can also combine them to create your own aggregate projections:
I wrote up Terry McLaurin last week, and he sucked out with a long touchdown after he went 2-58-1 on just four targets. However, this spot vs. the Lions is incredible for him. Ideally, we’d get more than four targets out of him, but he’s projecting with a top 12 ceiling and will be low-owned this week. Curtis Samuel is also intriguing if you want the salary relief.
With most DFS players looking to Tyreek Hill after his 12-target outing in Week 1, Jaylen Waddle will go virtually un-rostered. Waddle’s ceiling projection projects within 1.5 points of Hill’s but will be 5x lower owned. These are the perfect leverage spots to look for — similar projections and far lower ownership.
The Hill/Waddle situation is very similar to Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton. They both project within a few points of each other, but Sutton will be far lower owned.
Leverage pool: Deebo Samuel, Terry McLaurin, Jaylen Waddle, Curtis Samuel, Courtland Sutton
NFL DFS Tight End Leverage Plays
Tight end is always gross. But Kyle Pitts seemingly feels like a leverage play every week. He has one of the best ceiling projections, but his ownership will be in the single digits.
With so much ownership condensing on Davante Adams, Darren Waller steps in as a leverage play as well in one of the best game environments on the slate.
T.J. Hockenson had a solid 19% target share in Week 1, and a 24% target share on routes run. Overall, he’s projecting with a top-five ceiling.
Leverage pool: Kyle Pitts, Darren Waller, T.J. Hockenson