All roster percentages cited below are based on Devin Knotts’ projections which are refined and updated throughout the week. Click here or use our Lineup Optimizer to make sure you are using the latest projections before setting your lineups.
KNOW YOUR ENEMIES
If you want to finish at the top of the standings in a mid-to-large field GPP, your roster has to stand out from the crowd. Studying a list of projected roster percentages is a helpful first step, but it lacks the context of how the most popular players fit together under the salary cap.
To gain some insight into how the majority of entrants will allocate their cap space, so you can spend yours differently, let’s think about how the public is most likely to attack roster construction at each position.
Memories of Lamar Jackson’s 45-point explosion on Monday Night Football are still vivid in the crowd’s collective consciousness. Jackson’s $7,400 price tag is reasonable in comparison to Patrick Mahomes II ($8,300) and Kyler Murray ($7,900), which will make him the most popular luxury purchase at quarterback. Those who aren’t willing to spend over $7K at quarterback are most likely to chase favorable matchups with Matthew Stafford ($6,700) or Joe Burrow ($6,300). Taylor Heinicke ($5,800), playing opposite Mahomes in a game with the highest over/under on the slate (55.5 points), is the easiest quarterback to fit into common builds.
Flip the Build: Assuming Jackson and Mahomes are the expensive options most of our opponents want to use, Murray, Justin Herbert ($7,300), and Dak Prescott ($7,100) are high-ceiling pivots who should have reduced roster percentages compared to most weeks. The crowd is correct on dialing up Stafford, Burrow, and Heinicke in the mid-range, which doesn’t leave much in the way of leverage at the position. It might be reaching a bit due to the 44.5-point game total in Raiders at Broncos, but you could consider Derek Carr ($5,600). Denver has a stout defense, but they traditionally struggle to defend tight ends and have been susceptible to speedy wide receivers in recent weeks. Darren Waller and/or Henry Ruggs III could help Carr to surprising numbers in a game that has some potential to go back and forth.
There is plenty of running back value on the main slate for a second consecutive week. As a result, one of two common roster builds will emerge. Some will pair an underpriced back with a stud, most likely Austin Ekeler ($7,900), who enters Week 6 on a heater. Just as many will pluck both of their running backs (and sometimes a Flex) from the $5K-$6.5K range. Darrell Henderson ($6,000) stands out as an exceptional value with LA visiting the Giants as 10-point favorites. D'Andre Swift ($6,300) and Jonathan Taylor ($6,600) are also modestly priced in compelling game scripts. Bargain-bin injury fill-ins Devontae Booker ($5,400), Darrel Williams ($4,900), and Khalil Herbert ($4,600) will appear frequently in lineups that allocate more cap space to the quarterback and wide receiver positions.
Flip the Build: With popular running backs in each salary tier, there isn’t necessarily a way to spend differently than our opponents, but we can shift the focus to pivot plays with similar salaries. Ezekiel Elliott ($7,100) and Aaron Jones ($7,300) have perceived poor matchups, which should hold them to about 10% rostered (or lower in Jones’ case). Each player has an overall RB1 finish in their range of possible outcomes. If we believe there is potential for high scoring in the Broncos at Raiders game, Josh Jacobs ($5,900) would likely be involved. When games stay on script, Latavius Murray ($5,800) is the Ravens’ lead back. Murray provides massive leverage on the chalky Baltimore players and can be used as a run-back in Herbert stacks.
Davante Adams ($9,000) will be the first name many entrants click this week after he broke the slate with 200+ receiving yards in Week 5. At $500 more than his previous season-high salary, however, he’s tough to fit under the cap along with pricy quarterbacks and running backs. The huge total in the Kansas City at Washington game, and the popularity of Heinicke will boost Terry McLaurin ($7,100) towards the top of the percent-rostered charts. Rosters that use Adams or McLaurin at WR1 are likely to include mid-to-low-priced receivers in the remainder of the lineup. Jakobi Meyers ($5,500) fits the bill, as do Tee Higgins ($5,300), Michael Pittman Jr ($5,500), and the returning Sterling Shepard ($5,000).
Flip the Build: We’ll see how much steam he picks up as we get closer to Sunday, but Amon-Ra St. Brown ($4,200) has the makings of a value play who also adds leverage in lineups that don’t include Swift. With Tyrell Williams still sidelined and Quintez Cephus out with a broken collar bone, Jared Goff will have little choice but to pepper St. Brown with targets. Sticking with our Raiders at Broncos theme, Courtland Sutton ($6,200) is dominating targets in Denver and correlates nicely in contrarian Las Vegas stacks. At the high end, we’re overdue for a DeAndre Hopkins ($7,800) ceiling game. Hopkins looked healthy last week and could be poised to right the ship against a Cleveland defense that gets squashed by enemy WR1s on a weekly basis. Jut make sure he's recovered from the illness that held him out of practice through Thursday.
Similar to Lamar Jackson, Mark Andrews ($5,200) would cost at least $500 more had his monstrous Monday night performance (44.7 DraftKings points) come before salaries were released for Week 6. Recency bias will make him the preferred stacking option in Jackson lineups. Most rosters without Andrews are likely to pay down at the tight end position. Jared Cook ($3,200) and Ricky Seals-Jones ($3,000) profile as obvious punt plays for stock roster builds.
Flip the Build: Travis Kelce’s salary ($7,100) is equivalent to the WR9, which qualifies as a bargain this season. Provided the stinger Kelce suffered on Sunday night against Buffalo checks out OK, building lineups around him will get you moving in a different direction than the crowd. Darren Waller ($6,600) is as cheap as he’s been all season and can also be used to cut chalky builds. Noah Fant ($4,800) and Tyler Higbee ($4,400) are priced in No Man’s Land, yet each is affordable relative to their respective ceilings.
CAN YOU TRUST THE CHALK?
The term chalk in sports betting refers to the heavily favored side of a bet. In DFS tournaments, these are the most popular players on the slate. Identifying and taking a stance on the chalk is an important part of tournament strategy. If you fade a chalky player, and he fails to deliver on his scoring projection, your lineups become positioned to pass a large chunk of the field in the standings. But when a player the crowd loves meets his lofty expectations and you choose to avoid him, your lineups can quickly get buried.
If you are entering multiple lineups, deciding whether to play or pass on chalky players is non-binary. The overall roster percentage of your lineup, how the player correlates to the rest of the lineup, and the size of the tournament you are entering all provide needed context.
Some suggestions on how to treat this week’s most popular players:
Lamar Jackson (vs. LAC, $7,400, 14% rostered)
There isn’t much more to say about Jackson that wasn’t covered in the quarterback breakdown above. He’s coming off a virtuoso performance in prime time and deserves to be priced alongside Mahomes and Murray. Whether or not you should play him as heavily as your opponents depends on how you see the game against LA playing out. If you expect Justin Herbert and co. to put pressure on Baltimore to score, you’ll want to be overweight on Jackson. In the three games in which the Ravens have allowed at least 25 points, Jackson has run the ball 12, 16, and 14 times, respectively. And despite the stellar passing performance on Monday night, rushing is where Jackson’s upside lies. Given how well Herbert is playing recently, the odds of a high-scoring game are at least equal to Jackson’s percent-rostered projection. Make him a core piece this week.
Darrell Henderson (@NYG, $6,000, 19% rostered)
Henderson emerging as LA’s bell-cow seemed unlikely following the team’s preseason trade for Sony Michel, but here we are. As long as he’s able to start and finish the game, we can safely project Henderson for a 90% snap share, two-thirds of the rushing workload, and nearly all the receiving work out of the Rams’ backfield. In addition to the reliable opportunity, the implied game script (LAR -10) and matchup both favor Henderson. The Giants defense has allowed three running backs to exceed 100 yards on the ground through five games. While you shouldn’t avoid Henderson entirely, matching the crowd’s enthusiasm is a dicey proposition. He has yet to reach a 3x multiple of his current salary this season, and several other higher-ceiling, lower-rostered backs are available in his price range. If it appears on Sunday morning that Henderson is the clear chalk at running back, fade him relative to the field.
Terry McLaurin (vs. KC, $7,100, 17% rostered)
McLaurin has been on the receiving end of 33.5% of Taylor Heinicke’s aimed throws in the two games since Logan Thomas has been out of the lineup. While 11 targets didn’t result in much fantasy production in a Week 5 showdown against Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore (the eventual NFC defensive player of the week), we shouldn’t hold the lack of production against McLaurin, who has exceeded 30 DraftKings points twice already this season. The Chiefs don’t have a Lattimore in their defensive backfield as evidenced by the downfield production they’ve allowed to Marquise Brown (10-6-113-1), Mike Williams (9-7-122-2), and Devonta Smith (10-7-122-0) this season. If you trust the Vegas total of 55.5 points in this game, McLaurin belongs in at least 20% of your lineups if you’re multi-entering and warrants strong consideration if you’re only making a single lineup.
|Player||Pos||Opponent||Salary||Proj. Ros %||Comment|
|Patrick Mahomes II||QB||@WAS||$8,300||11%||You know the drill by now. Requires every-week exposure.|
|Taylor Heinicke||QB||KC||$5,800||9%||QB roster % not a big deal, but Heinicke-McLaurin stacks will be overplayed.|
|Austin Ekeler||RB||@BAL||$7,900||18%||Hard to argue with 2019 CMC usage. Wouldn't fade him.|
|D'Andre Swift||RB||CIN||$6,300||16%||One of the best roles in fantasy football, but is it a pass-heavy script?|
|Davante Adams||WR||@CHI||$9,000||19%||Can't argue with Adams on any slate. Weekly three-TD upside.|
|Michael Pittman Jr||WR||@IND||$5,500||14%||Easy fade at inflated roster %.|
|Tyreek Hill||WR||NYG||$8,500||16%||Check on quad injury, but warrants heavy exposure if he plays.|
|Mark Andrews||TE||LAC||$5,400||19%||Fading Andrews one of the easiest ways to arrive at a unique build.|
|Indianapolis Colts||DST||HOU||$3,500||10%||Davis Mills has not turned a corner despite decent showing vs. NE.|
You won’t necessarily be sneaking the players in this section past your opponents. But their roster rate and scoring projections are misaligned with the probability they can help you to a first-place finish. Play them at a higher rate than the field when multi-entering and consider them as pivot options off similarly-priced chalk plays if the overall roster percentage of your lineup is too high.
Ezekiel Elliott (@NE, $7,100, 9% rostered)
Elliott seems to show up in this section every week. He never gets too popular because the crowd likes playing Prescott, CeeDee Lamb, and Amari Cooper, and Elliott hasn’t shown quite as high a ceiling as other top-tier running backs, such as Ekeler, Christian McCaffrey, and Derrick Henry. A road game against New England isn’t a desirable spot for the Cowboys, but given how well the team has played on both sides of the ball, it wouldn’t be shocking if they overwhelmed Mac Jones and relied on Elliott to salt away an easy win. Don’t rule out 100+ all-purpose yards and multiple touchdowns for Elliott just because this game is being played in Foxborough. Both the Cowboys and Patriots are not the same teams we remember from years past.
D.J. Moore (vs. MIN, $7,300, 11% rostered)
Moore had his worst game of the season (8.8 DraftKings points) in roughly 15% of Fantasy Football Millionaire lineups in Week 5. The floor game should give us a modest roster percentage discount on this year’s overall WR7 despite his terrific home matchup against the Vikings. Minnesota’s defense has stiffened up against the pass, but only on the surface. Their last two opponents -- Detroit and Cleveland -- employ two of the most talent-deficient wide receiver rooms in the league. In the Browns’ case, Odell Beckham Jr got open numerous times downfield, only to be missed badly by Baker Mayfield. While Vikings at Panthers doesn’t profile as a game to stack (46-point over/under), Moore stands out as a fantastic one-off play who adds leverage against McLaurin at about the same salary.
Tyler Boyd (@DET, $5,300, 7% rostered)
Our opponents love to target Detroit’s defense, which means we’ll see plenty of Cincinatti stacks. Ja'Marr Chase’s production through the first five games of his career puts him on a historic pace, which will make him the most common correlation play in Joe Burrow lineups despite the rookie’s rising salary. Tee Higgins has the lowest price of the Bengals’ big-three receivers, so we should expect to see him used plenty of lineups as well. That leaves Boyd as the leverage play on his more popular teammates. Like Moore, Boyd is coming off a poor game, which should suppress his roster percentage even further. While his weekly ceiling isn’t quite as high as Chase’s, it's at least as high as Higgins’ due to Boyd’s steady involvement in the offense.
|Player||Pos||Opponent||Salary||Proj. Ros %||Comment|
|Dak Prescott||QB||@NE||$7,100||5%||Vegas is not expecting the Cowboys' offense to slow down in NE.|
|Josh Jacobs||RB||@DEN||$5,900||9%||Price pivot on Henderson. Pass-game usage increased last week.|
|Antonio Gibson||RB||KC||$6,500||10%||KC awful vs. RBs. Use him to run-back Chiefs stacks that don't have McLaurin.|
|Robert Woods||WR||@NYG||$6,100||10%||Finally showed up in Week 5. Wouldn't be shocking if he outscored Henderson & Kupp.|
|Courtland Sutton||WR||LV||$6,200||8%||Dominating targets and air yards in Denver.|
|Darnell Mooney||WR||GB||$4,300||6%||GB beyond banged up at cornerback. Robinson dealing with injury.|
|Dalton Schultz||TE||@NE||$4,900||6%||Keeps getting the easy looks while defenses are worried about RBs and WRs.|
|Carolina Panthers||DST||MIN||$2,900||5%||Road spot in CAR has the makings of ugly Cousins game.|
These players are flying below the crowd’s collective radar and will therefore give you the greatest leverage on your opponents if they outperform expectations. Depending on the field size, it will usually take at least one or two players from this tier for your lineup to finish in the top one percent of GPP entries.
Keep in mind, however, that the path to success for these players is somewhat limited, or else they wouldn’t be contrarian. Using more than two together in the same lineup will come at the expense of maximizing projected fantasy points. And if you’re multi-entering, it doesn’t take much exposure for these players to gain you an edge on the field. A 5% rostered player only needs to appear in two out of 10 lineups to give you four times more exposure than your opponents.
DeAndre Hopkins (@CLE, $7,800, 4% rostered)
Hopkins has operated at less than 100% since Week 1, but he appeared to finally turn a corner in last week’s win over the 49ers. His nine targets were a season-high and the nine-yard touchdown he caught from Kyler Murray was a vintage Hopkins beauty. Mike Williams was listed in this space as a contrarian play last week due to how terrible Cleveland’s defense is at limiting enemy WR1s. Assuming Hopkins doesn’t have COVID and is able to play, he’s next up to feast on a Browns secondary that was lit up by Williams (16-8-165-2), Justin Jefferson (7-6-84-1), Brandin Cooks (14-9-78-1), and Tyreek Hill (15-11-197-1). Keep an eye on the Friday practice report. If Hopkins is out, A.J. Green and Rondale Moore become intriguing plays.
Noah Fant (vs. LV, $4,800, 5% rostered)
We’ve established the Raiders at Broncos game is our favorite for a shootout the crowd doesn’t see coming, so it shouldn’t surprise to see Fant in this space. With the majority of entrants either targeting Andrews, spending all the way up to Kelce, or punting with Jared Cook/Ricky Seals-Jones, Fant’s $4,800 salary and lack of Week 5 production should depress his percent-rostered. It was only two weeks ago that Fant commanded 10 targets against Baltimore and scored 16.6 DraftKings points. The opportunity for big plays should be there against the Raiders, who have allowed 64% more PPR fantasy points to enemy tight ends than league average over the previous three games.
Latavius Murray (vs. LAC, $5,800, 2% rostered)
The Chargers have a strong defense overall, but only five teams have allowed more fantasy points to opposing running backs this season. If the Ravens can keep the ball away from Justin Herbert with their defense and ground game, they will. And if they’re successful, Murray will hog the work in Baltimore’s backfield. The last time the Ravens played in a neutral game script, Murray handled 62% of the snaps and 64% of the rushes. His odds of piling up 18-20 touches and falling into the end zone a couple of times (at the expense of Jackson, Andrews, and Marquise Brown) are greater than the 2% his roster percentage implies.
|Player||Pos||Opponent||Salary||Proj. Ros %||Comment|
|Derek Carr||QB||@DEN||$5,600||2%||His weapons can float him to another 25+ point outing.|
|Teddy Bridgewater||QB||LV||$5,700||4%||Bizarre conviction that LV @DEN will be high scoring.|
|Chase Edmonds||RB||@CLE||$5,600||5%||Keep an eye on Friday practice. If active, has PPR friendly role.|
|Robby Anderson||WR||MIN||$4,800||4%||Target volume was there in last two. Rhule making effort to involve him.|
|Amon-Ra St. Brown||WR||CIN||$4,200||6%||Last man standing in WR room. Possible he ends up more popular than this.|
|Zach Pascal||WR||HOU||$4,400||2%||Pittman leverage has multi-TD game in range of outcomes.|
|Hunter Henry||TE||DAL||$3,900||4%||Has completely taken over TE pass-catching role. Plus matchup.|
|Green Bay Packers||DST||@CHI||$3,600||4%||High upside price pivot off IND DST.|