Greetings Earthlings, I have decided to descend from the heavens to give unto you the secrets of the DraftKings life.  And by ‘descend’ I mean ‘go down a flight of stairs’ and by ‘from the heavens’, I mean from the second floor of my house.  It’s hot up there right now!  I’ll just type this down on the coolest floor of the house, thank you very much.  If you’re not familiar with the baseball side of Razzball, well you’re probably just a football junkie through and through.  I’m fine with that.  But I did do a similar write up this year for the MLB side of this Daily Fantasy Sports universe so if you by chance did read the Primer and the Pumped editions, you might see some cross over.  Yes, I might even be copying and pasting whole paragraphs.  But you can’t plagiarize yourself, can you?  Who would object?  You won’t see me hauling myself to the principle’s office by my own ear…unless it leads to YouTube hits, of course.  I’m all about the cash money!  The point being is that though the sports are different, the similarities are still there in terms of knowledge base.  Since this will be for people who aren’t familiar with DraftKings or the idea of Daily Fantasy, I want to do a quick reach out in the intro to those who are here for just the important parts.  First important part: sign up for DraftKings through that link there.  First time depositors get a free entry into the week 1, $100K Play Action Tournament.  If you already have an account, well send your friends on over to sign up through us as well.  The second important part is DK will be the lead article Wednesday Mornings throughout the season so tune in for the fun.  Thirdly, if you’d like to know what got my motor running about DraftKings and how to get the strategy down, @BalesFootball has a fantastic e-book series available on Amazon called ‘Fantasy Football For Smart People’.  I strongly suggest it even if you’re a seasoned veteran in the Daily Fantasy biz.  And with that, I’m spent!  Let’s get down to the getting down and cover some ins and outs of the DraftKings world for 2014 Fantasy Football…

What Is Daily Fantasy?

I’m sure plenty of you are familiar with the concept so I’m not gonna spend too much time or detail here.  Daily Fantasy is exactly what it sounds like – you can join a league for the week, not play the next week, or play the next week and not the next one after that…it’s your world, baby!  Unlike a regular league where you draft your team in August and then make free agent moves and trades as you progress through the season, you are given a salary to fill a line up card for the day of play (well, actually you can sign up for a league as soon as DK prices the players involved, most times days in advance).  Basically, you get to draft a new team every night but because everyone can own the same players, you don’t have to waste time waiting for Jay Wrong to go get his 5th glass of Makers Mark – and it’s only the 3rd round – or for Tehol to finish his full body shea cocoa butter massage.  Nope, you just stroll into the DraftKings lobby, find a contest that interests you, fill out your lineup, save and move on.  Yur dun, son.  So basically, if you don’t have the time to keep up with the toils of a fantasy football season but still love to play it, here’s your sweet spot.  You can come and go as you please.  Set a lineup when you want, don’t when you don’t have time.  And since we’re on the subject of ‘what is’ we might as well give you the ‘how to’ here as well.  So here’s your standard info regarding Daily Fantasy Football over at Draftkings.

Glossary

To be clear with you all, there’s a lot of gambling terminology (fade, bankroll, etc) that might be of use.  There’s also a lot of investing jargon (ROI, Bullish, etc) that also can get tossed around in this arena.  I’m really only going to touch on a few things that I feel are helpful rather than blasting you with a million of them.  I’m like the sex ed teacher for 5th graders, really.  If you want to expand your knowledge because you kinda get into this thing over time, well there’s this book I mentioned above…

DFS – Common acronym for ‘Daily Fantasy Sports’.  Many daily fantasy sports players on twitter will give out their opinions/talk about their woes for the night with a #DFS on their tweet or in their bio.  It’s a good way to surf twitter and find follows you think are useful.

Freeroll – It’s a league that you can join for free that has a cash prize.  The key part is the free part.  It’s the part you should like da mostest.

GPP – Guaranteed Prize Pool.  There’s a lot of types of leagues offered at DraftKings.  Some of them give out the prize pool they present whether the league fills or not.  This means that even if the pool is for 1500 but only 1200 enter, the payout structure stays the same.  Thus the ‘prize’ is ‘guaranteed’ regardless of being a full ‘pool’ or not.  Don’t think I can break it down any further than that.

High-Low – Also known as ‘stars and scrubs’.  Fairly self-explanatory.  Paying heavy on studs in your lineup and then filling in the rest of your lineup with low-priced plays/bargain bin players as opposed to a more balanced roster.

Overlay – In a nutshell, favorable odds for the bettor and not the house.  Say there’s a GPP (see, you’re learning already!).  I’ll give you a personal experience of one such league.  During the Thursday prior to the All-Star Break for basketball, there were a bunch of GPP 50/50 leagues (explained in more detail later) where there were supposed to be 200 contestants in each and the first 100 would be in the money.  But about 20 minutes before tip-off, those leagues were sitting roughly around 115 to 120 per league.  I’m sure you don’t even have to do the math to tell you that placing 100th still giving you money and only competing with about 120 other people gives you a really good shot at making cash back on your bet.  I jumped in on three of them and cashed.  So yeah, overlay: it’s a good thing for you.  Keep abreast of sitches like that.

Stacking – Taking multiple players from the same lineup.  Pretty sketchy approach unless you believe the team is gonna drop a 50 spot on the other guys and that they won’t get pulled before the 4th quarter while doing so.  So basically, only do it when the Dallas Cowboys are on the docket.  More so, you’re simply pairing when you say stacking and you’re pairing the QB with their wide receivers.  Pairing a QB and an RB is typically a major no-no unless you think the game is out of hand by the 3rd quarter and the backup RB is in, running wild down the stretch.  But if you can see that far into the future, just bet on the flipping game.  Sheesh!

League Types

There’s a lot of variations on how to play on DraftKings based on what type of league you play in.  This section should be brief and very straightforward and then we’ll move on to a bit of strategy/approach.  Yes, I know how to be brief sometimes.  It surprises me too.

50/50 – This I alluded to in the overlay definition.  Basically, 50% of the people who put money in cash.  So if the pool is 20 people, then 10 people will double their money (well, minus the 10% DraftKings makes).  So if those said 20 people all put a $1 in each, those first ten make $1.80 (.20 being the 10% going to DraftKings).  I shouldn’t have to tell you but it’s not often you have a 50% chance to cash.  Here’s probably your best place to slowly make your money.

Guaranteed – Any contest can be a guaranteed (GPP – see reference in glossary above if you didn’t read or if you have Memento’s disease).  The main question with guaranteeds is the payout structure, i.e. what percentage of the league cashes.  In a 50/50, 50% of the league cashes.  In a GPP with 3750 contestants and only the top 700 cash, only 18.6% of the league ends in the money.  But again, let’s not forget overlays when keeping these contests in mind.  If the league doesn’t fill appropriately, your chances of being in the GPP lot increases.

Head-To-Head – Yup, it’s exactly what you think it is.  Two gladiators go into the ring and only one comes out.  Did I say 50/50′s were the best?  Well, let’s call it a tie.  Again, you can come close to doubling your money 50% of the time here.

Multipliers – Technically, 50/50s are multipliers too (you’re in essence doubling your money if you win) but multipliers don’t typically take 10% of the winnings from the winners.  For example, in a ‘Triple Up’, the first 24 places get $3 back on a $1 bet from a pool of 80 instead of giving 27 winners $2.70.  The higher you go up the food chain of multipliers, the harder the game gets because fewer cash and the more risk you have to take on in your lineup for upside purposes.  The higher the multiplier, the more likely stacking becomes a viable strategy.

There are also ‘steps’ leagues where you’re building up to a large tournament.  Basically the Mortal Kombat of daily fantasy (TEST YOUR MIGHT).  Then there’s beginner’s leagues which, yeah, I don’t think I need to explain.  The other type of league is a qualifier in which the winner gets a ticket for a big money pot tournament but in the end these leagues really only either have a different payout than what we’ve already covered or are there for you to get your feet wet.  Huge discussion not needed.

Strategy

Ah yes, the moment you’ve all been waiting for.  The part where I’m near the end so I can shut up and you can get on with your day.  Strategy is going to be fairly brief as it ties to some common practices and from what I read of Bales’ book mentioned above.

50/50 and H2H Strategy – Keep it simple.  You don’t need to beat the world with your lineup, you just need to beat 50% of it.  Stacking and/or pairing is ill-advised because you’re not looking for high upside with your lineup, you’re trying to create a solid floor.  It doesn’t matter if you beat your opponent by 50 points or 1, you just need to beat them or enough of them to cash.  A balanced lineup is good here.

Multipliers and Big Tourneys with smaller Payout Percentages – You’re trying to shoot the moon here.  Your balanced approach won’t work.  You need high upside in your lineup everywhere.  The higher the risk, the higher the reward.  Pairing becomes much more ideal.  The opposing defense gives up the 3rd most points to QBs and the 2nd most points to wide receivers?  Well then why not take the QB and his top 2 targets?  Again, it’s a risk but that’s the life of DFS tourneys; you’re looking to maximize your potential not minimize the impact of said risk.

Vegas Lines – Look into them.  The house wins more often than not.  If Vegas thinks it’s going to be a low-scoring game, maybe netting a defense from said game is your best bet.  If its supposed to be high scoring, snoop around on the defensive inefficiencies of each of the teams and see if you can get those players into your lineup that will be able to take advantage of them.

Build A Quickly Importable Lineup – Even if you’re not joining a freeroll for the day, create two different lineups by clicking…get this…the ‘Create A Lineup’ link on the main lobby page.  Build one for your GPP games and the steadier/safer one for your H2H and/or 50/50 leagues.  And then you wait.  Maybe you’re just waiting for overlay to occur.  Now you have a ready to go lineup to import.

And with that, I’m cashing my chips and going home.  Mmmm, doritos!  Wait, what?  You’ll be seeing my lovely avatar face that’s not my face every day of the week so I don’t want to take the joy of that away from you before the season even starts and we’re about 2000 words in.  So if you feel I didn’t cover something that you’re curious about, you can ask me below and if you wonder if the Lord is against DFS, you can ask him above.  Me, I’ll just be right here where you left me…until week 1 of course…and on Mondays where I’ll still be doing MLB DraftKings…and on the days where I’m covering for others on said MLB DraftKings…or on Razzball Radio whenever.  When the internet ends, I seriously don’t know what’s going to happen to me.  I might die, y’all!  Peace.

  1. big league choo says:
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    Have a 10 team auction with no negative pts and 6 pts for passing tds coming up…Last few yrs ive gone with the strategy of getting cheap QBs Matt Ryan 2yrs ago, Cutler last yr and spending everything on RB/WR. I know QB is deep and i probably could land a rivers or romo for cheap and try the same strategy ive been goin with the last 3 yrs. This yr im leaning more towards grabbing one of the Big Three QBs which will go for about 23 out of 100$ instead of 4 or 5$ for a top 12 QB. Which strategy do you like better?

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      I’d still rather go after a cheaper QB.

      • big league choo says:
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        @Sky: OK…i was really unlucky last yr and almost made the playoffs still…I drafted T rich/Spiller/David Wilson/Colston all complete busts then lost cobb/gronk/vereen for the season and traded away gordon for antonio brown. What a terrible season.

        • Sky

          Sky says:
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          Yeah your QB wasn’t the problem

  2. mguy31 says:
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    Would you trade Rivers & Antonio Brown for Dez or is the upgrade at wide receiver I would be getting negligible? I have Luck as my starter already so I figured I could sell high on Rivers.

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      PPR or non?

      • mguy31 says:
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        standard scoring, 12 team. 1 QB, 3 WR, 2 RB, 1 TE, 1 flex

        • Sky

          Sky says:
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          Go for it

  3. Grant says:
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    Spiller or Stafford as a second keeper, already have Forte. I usually don’t jump on QB’s but not sure if I can ever trust someone from Buffalo. WR’s are all garbage to keep.

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Roll with Stafford, aim to get Spiller back in the draft cheaply.

  4. mcBlunty says:
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    2 questions, separate leagues, appreciate the help as always

    1) long term keeper league, full ppr who would you keep A Foster or A Morris

    2) also long term keeper league can keep 4 of these Brees, Forte, Alshon, Mike Floyd, DeMarco Murray, and Josh Gordon

    Brees and Forte are definites for me, really like Alshon as well, so first if Gordon has his suspension decreased to 8 games, is he worth keeping? if he is not work keeping who do you like better Murray or Floyd

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      1) Morris

      2) Gordon with decrease, Floyd if not. He’s proven he can be elite.

  5. Mike says:
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    Just had first ESPN standard draft
    Had 8th pick..10 team
    My team QB. Kaepernick cutler
    RB Murray,Ellington,bell,pierce,knile Davis
    WR Cobb,Edelman,Tate,Terrance Williams,Wheaton
    TE graham
    K hauschka
    DST. Pats and texans
    Not sure
    Took graham 8th after to RBs manning and johnson went..
    Then took Murray 2nd rd
    Thoughts??

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Assuming you’re required to have 2 DST or that there are max roster positions?

      Not a huge fan of the WRs, personally; they’re good PPR guys but no one on there makes me think you have a bona fide WR1 contender. QB rotation should be good. I’d focus on WRs in the FA pool when the season starts and see if someone surprises and move on. Assuming Bell is Joique? Outside of WRs, team looks solid. Ten team, you’ll have plenty of ability to make moves as you need so don’t hesitate to jump in the FA pool if a viable option shows up at WR.

  6. sange76 says:
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    12 team 1/2 PPR keeper

    Keeping Kaeperick rd7 and Zac Stacey rd 14
    4th pick
    Ideal draft start would be other teams going QB early and I get big 4 RB,top WR (Marshall, J. Jones)and Julius Thomas

    Now, chances of that actually going down are just decent but wouldn’t bet my house on it…
    what’s my backup plan? A lot of lower WR1’s are already keepers (Brown, Nelson, Cobb)

    Top 4 RB, Slipping RB like Doug Martin, TE/WR or
    Top 4 RB, WR (keenen Allen, V. Jax), TE/RB (Spiller, Ellington)or
    Top 4 RB, jump on Thomas rd 2, WR (A. Johnson, Cruz)

    Thanks for the input!

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Confused about the WR part. Don’t see that as an option. Are you saying Julio Jones and B-Marsh will be available? I’d rather not be taking an RB if those are the choices. Those other two WRs are a better value. Perhaps I’m not reading it right.

      • Sange76 says:
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        @Sky:

        Yes, in a perfect draft for me, jones or marsh slip into the late 2nd round and I can go top rb and top we first two picks. Cobb, Nelson and brown are all off the board as keepers. So I just am not sure which direction to go in rd 2 and 3 if a major wr isn’t there for me…go rb again, lower wr like Allen or VJax, or snag the last elite TE?

        • Sky

          Sky says:
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          Ok…who are the ‘top 4 RB’…it’s a keeper so I can’t assume. Without that info it’s really hard to gauge how to view your situation; I’d draft Julio over some RBs, maybe even B-Marsh. Not trying to be difficult, but ‘top 4 RB’ doesn’t give enough info when it’s not a redraft setup.

          • Sange76 says:
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            @Sky:

            No worries brother, I know keeper questions are complicated since every league varies. Appreciate the time.
            I’m looking at one of Charles, McCoy, AP, and Forte in rd 1….and then the decisions start…

            Other Major keepers that would be top 30 picks are lacy, manning, lynch, Nelson, brown, Cobb, gronk, alshon Jeffery, josh Gordon.

            • Sky

              Sky says:
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              Perfect, now I understand. I’d go with the third option, then. Think JT keeps his gains and then some this year.

  7. Steve says:
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    Had 6th pick in 10 team standard
    Took Lacy …..
    QB Brady and Luck
    RB Lacy,Murray,J bell,pierce,fred Jax
    WR Cobb,K Allen,Tate,t Williams (Dallas),Wheaton
    TE earth and Rudolph
    DST. SEA
    K Gould
    Could only have 5 RB and 5wr

    Think i am ok
    Thoughts?

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      This is a lot of drafts for one day. You sure it’s not just a mock? Your WRs still look weak, especially for a standard. RBs look nice but not sure I’d want PPR guys like Cobb/Tate leading my WR team if its a standard. Rest looks decent. Good upside in Ertz/floor in Rudolph.

  8. Steve says:
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    Aaron Rodgers and Ellington OR
    Luck and demarco Murray
    Which side you like better??
    Thx!
    10 team standard

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Luck/Murray

  9. Bilbo says:
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    12 team league – Standard Scoring

    I have D. Thomas and Z. Stacy
    I keep one of the following (Round I get him)

    AJ Green (4th Round)
    Alshon Jeffrey (6th Round)
    Julius Thomas (9th Round)

    Your thoughts?
    Thanks in advance.

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Tough…I wanna say Alshon but I’ll go Green there; great way to start your draft with 2 of the top 5 WRs this year.

  10. weeklyheadache says:
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    Hey Sky,

    Where are you comfortable getting Tate, West in 12 team nonppr if drafting today?

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Like Tate in the 7th on. He’s being relegated to an RB3 at this point, I think there’s good value there. West I want to see going after the 10th for me but I don’t mind if he fell to me in the 9th (depending on what the rest of my team looks like up to that point).

  11. Hans says:
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    Sky! Need some draft pick trade advice. 14 team standard league…would you rather have your first 7 picks as

    5, 24, 38, 47, 62, 79, 88

    Or

    22, 24, 26, 38, 41, 62, 79

    Essentially was offered my 5, 47, 88 for his 22, 26, 41

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Rather just stand pat

  12. Mike says:
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    A little off topic, but I saw something I keep doing in my mocks, and I’m hoping for some feedback…

    In a 1pt PPR, when I pick somewhere in the 4-6 range, I find I’m going with Lacy in the 1st, Jordy in the 2nd, and Cobb in the 3rd.

    Crazy to take my top three guys all from the Packers?

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Not really worried about stacking guys from one team as long as the offense is good. I’m off Cobb this year a bit, though; think he should be going lower than the 3rd.

  13. Allan says:
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    Hey Sky, I’m in a 14 team non ppr league and lucky enough to be keeping Lacy in the third. If I get one of the top picks should I go ahead and get another stud running back or get a guy like Calvin Johnson or Jimmy Graham?

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      I’d take Mega or Graham there.

  14. Sange76 says:
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    12 team .5 ppr keeper
    Keeping kaepernick rd 7 and Zac Stacey rd 14
    4th pick

    Better rd 1-2. This is what’s pretty much the guys I’m looking at, especially in rd 2 after keepers

    Forte, Keenan Allen/or vjax or
    Calvin, Ellington/ or maybe Doug Martin if he slips.
    I figure Julius Thomas would be there in rd 2 as well as an option if need be as well in any scenario.
    Basically, is it better to go RB rd 1 and best wr/te after or is worth grabbing Calvin 1st and then a lower tier RB?
    Thanks again.

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      @Sange76: Calvin for me.

  15. Allan says:
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    Just finished drafting, 14 team league non ppr.
    QB: Aaron Rodgers, Andy Dalton
    RB: Eddie Lacy, Ryan Matthews, Danny Woodhead, Devonta Freeman, Stephan Taylor
    WR: Demaryus Thomas, Kendall Wright, Michael Floyd, Kelvin Benjamin, Kenny Stills
    TE: Kyle Rudolph, Zach Ertz
    D: Rams K: Dan Bailey
    Thoughts?

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      @Allan: That looks like a great team for a 14 teamer. Like Floyd and Kelvin there in a non ppr. Devonta Freeman looks more and more like he’s gonna be a steal. Nice work!

  16. Mike says:
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    I have my draft tomorrow. It’s a 14 team CBS league PPR, 3 WR, Start 12 players with a minimum of 4 bench players and maximum 11. I’m new to the league and taking over as an expansion team.

    Here is the starting roster I have and the spots left to fill.

    qb- rodgers
    rb- AP
    rb- D’Angelo Williams
    wr-Edelman
    wr-Maclin
    wr-
    te-
    flex-
    k-
    dl-
    db-

    I don’t have much to spend. I have about $110 left of $260 to spend. I’m thinking of going after a stud top receiver that is left (marshall, green, andre) and maybe a 10-15 WR and RB and just picking the bottom of the barrel for TE and IDP players.

    What do you think…I’d love some help with strategy. There are really no good RB’s left and because it’s a 3 wr league I’m thinking of loading up there

    Mike

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      @Mike: Makes sense to me. Go for it.

  17. Dave says:
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    Have 9th pick in a full PPR and Forte might fall to me, should I take him and then get a great receiver four picks later or do I take like Dez/Demaryius at 9 (any receiver after Calvin will be available) and grab Montee Ball four picks later?

    Thanks Sky!

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      @Dave: I’d go DT/Ball

  18. paul says:
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    #3 pick, .5 PPR

    AP or Forte? thoughts?

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      @paul: Forte is my RB1 this year so I’d go that route.

  19. Anthony says:
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    Hey Sky, I have a keeper question for my 10 team ppr league. I have the 10 pick in a snake draft and can only keep one of these 3 guys. Who would you keep? Thank you

    Lacy in the 2nd
    Leveon Bell in the 8th
    Jordan Cameron in the 12th

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      @Anthony: If your draft is soon, keep Lacy. Bell should fall in drafts due to DWI. If the dust settes prior and you know the suspension is short, go Bell.

  20. Comatose says:
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    Hi Sky,

    Looking for some feedback on my 12-teamer, standard. Already ran it by Jay+, but another opinion couldn’t hurt. Thanks.

    QB – RGIII
    RB – DeMarco
    RB – Mathews
    WR – Dez
    WR – Alshon
    WR – Cordarelle
    TE – Ebron or Celek
    FLEX – Lamar Miller
    K – Dawson
    D – Stream/Steelers (v. CLE) right now
    BN – Khiry
    BN – Dri Archer
    BN – Mike Wallace
    BN – Odell
    BN – Randle
    BN – Rivers
    BN – Marquise Lee

    • Comatose says:
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      @Comatose: To add to this, fantasy thoughts on Archer? I just dropped Streater for him because I’m low on RBs.

      • Sky

        Sky says:
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        @Comatose: All about opportunity. Archer could get one and run with it. Good pick up.

        Not huge on your TEs. Think you’re gonna be streaming a lot at that position. Like the RBs and WRs. Good bench depth. Should be solid minus the TE production.

  21. Are you gonna post your PPR rankings, Sky?

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Jay Wrong is running the show this year so it’s all his baby. Maybe next year him and I work together on them but for now, he’s the man. Well he’s ALWAYS the man, but you get what I’m sayin.

Comments are closed.