Hidden Gems. Week 2 Underdog Battle Royale DFS Value Picks.
We got off to a nice start last week after unearthing one massive Hidden Gem in Brandon Aiyuk, who popped off for 28.9 points.
Aiyuk was such a deep sleeper that he didn’t even appear in any of the Top 10 lineups for the Week 1 Battle Royale contests (Tyreek Hill and Calvin Ridley littered the top of the leaderboard).
As we shift to Week 2, many of the same game theory principles we discussed in the Week 1 piece continue to apply:
- Be willing to scroll down at the onesie positions (QB and TE) because the projection difference between QB6 and QB12 and TE6 and TE12 is too small to justify the field exposure gap (100% vs. sub 10% in many cases)
- Drafting the least popular contributor on a condensed offense (like Aiyuk in the Niners) not only gives you a big advantage on the field when they hit, but also gives you leverage when their more popular teammates fail (like Aiyuk vs. Deebo Samuel and George Kittle in Week 1)
Normally for this piece, I’ll hit on one Hidden Gem for each position, but Week 2 presents an interesting strategic angle surrounding a single game that I want to explore. Let me explain…
The Game Stack Approach: Seahawks @ Lions
We know stacking is important across virtually every fantasy format (a Tua to Tyreek stack took down last week’s Battle Royale), but there can also be diminishing returns to over-stacking in large-field contests.
When we need to beat 56,000+ other entries like we do in Battle Royale this week, we need to be near-perfect across our entire lineup, which often requires selecting the right one-off pieces from individual games.
But every once in a while the stars will align for one game to soar well beyond any expectations and be *the* game you need to win tournaments.
Well, the Seahawks and Lions tilt this week provides us with all of the necessary ingredients for a blow-up spot:
Not only does this game have the second-highest total on the slate (47), but we have a history between these two teams combining for track meets:
- In Week 17 of 2021, these two teams combined for 80 points. Russell Wilson threw for 4 TDs. DK Metcalf caught three of them. Rashaad Penny rushed for 170 yards and 2 TDs. And Amon-Ra St. Brown went 8-111-1 on the comeback.
- Then last year in October, they faced off again and combined for 93 points. Yes, you read that correctly. 93. Penny dominated again with 151 yards and 2 TDs. Jamaal Wiilliams went for 108 yards and 2 TDs. T.J. Hockenson had an eye-popping 179 yards and 2 TDs.
While it will be hard to bank on another 80+ point explosion between these two squads, the pieces are in place for it to happen.
Dec 19, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown (14) celebrates after a touchdown catch during the second quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Both of these offenses like to play fast (Seattle was fourth in situation-neutral pace in Week 1, per Pat Thorman) and they both have a tendency to give up explosive plays (Lions games averaged a league-high 51.8 points in 2022).
The Field Doesn’t Want To Stack This Game Up (But We Should).
Even better, the Battle Royale ADP landscape gives us plenty of unique avenues for attacking this game.
Here are the current field exposures for all of the relevant skill position players:
- Amon-Ra St. Brown (100%)
- Sam LaPorta (51%)
- Jahmyr Gibbs (67%)
- David Montgomery (9%)
- Jared Goff (7%)
- D.K. Metcalf (98%)
- Kenneth Walker (38%)
- Tyler Lockett (9%)
- Jaxon Smith-Njigba (4%)
- Geno Smith (4%)
That leads us to my favorite way to attack this game:
Goff (7%) with Laporta (51%) & ARSB (100%) or GIbbs (67%) + a Seahawks WR or RB
Laporta is the key to making this all work because the TE position is such a gross, low-scoring cohort on the whole and can benefit greatly from a game environment with a points bonanza.
Even though he didn’t stuff the box score against the Chiefs, the rookie’s underlying usage was extremely bullish:
The key to making these game stacks work is to sprinkle in some of the Hidden Gems who are currently being drafted in less than 10% of contests.
Based on the current field exposures, it’s clear the field prefers to attack this game with one-off pieces (St. Brown and Metcalf, specifically), while steering clear of game stacks with the QB.
Even though LaPorta is being drafted nearly 50% of the time, he’s currently being stacked with Goff in less than 2% of contests across this current sample of data provided by Chad Maschke:
Because Goff is going overlooked, it means we can immediately make our Laporta lineups more distinctive by pairing them together. You can then mix and match them with virtually any other combo of Lions and Seahawks players and ensure that your lineup will be relatively unique to the rest of the field who isn’t scrolling down to the other marquee players in this matchup.
This dynamic allows you to eat chalky plays like ARSB and Metcalf, or push the contrarian envelope even further with true hidden gems like Montgomery and JSN.
One note: I don’t mind firing up some Geno builds too, but I would much prefer to play it through the Goff side at QB because 1) the Seahawks have a couple of key injuries on the offensive line 2) I want to correlate the TE with my QB and Noah Fant is a less attractive option.
Here is an example of how a game stack roster can shake out:
I brought this one back with two Seahawks, but feel free to attack this game with anywhere from 3-5 players so you give yourselves multiple outs to winning if the game gives us another encore of their 2021 and 2022 tilts.
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