Guillotine League, Week 13: David Johnson Dragging Me Down

In this series, I track weekly progress in my guillotine league. For the main post, covering the league’s details and my overall Bid Low, Bid Late strategy, click here.

It’s a couple of weeks into my league’s two-player endgame, and my team is showing some improvement. Last week I reported that I successfully bid on Gurley and Thielen. This week I loaded up on some more players, most notably Zeke Elliott, Davante Adams and Zach Ertz. As the title of this article boasts, David Johnson, who I added three weeks ago as my second starter after Travis Kelce, is dragging me down, being the lowest-projected starter on my team at 18.2.

Am I bragging? Well, yes! But I’m also offering a testimonial to the success of the strategy that I’ve been writing about on this site. By spending conservatively in the first ten weeks of the season, I’ve been able to add, since Johnson: Saquon, Hopkins, Gurley, Thielen, Zeke, Adams, Ertz, and Evans, while preserving a 160-40 FAAB advantage over the only other player in my league to have any FAAB.

In Week 12, I cruised to a third-place finish with 166 points, close behind the top two teams at 171.4 and 171.1. The standouts were Saquon at 33.2 points and Thielen with 26.5, but Cam Newton (22.5), Sony Michel (22.5), and Julian Edelman (18.4) did nicely as well. My team performed as follows.

My Week 11 Lineup

QB: Cam Newton 22.5
RB: Saquon Barkley 33.2
RB: David Johnson 9.9
WR: Adam Thielen 26.5
WR: DeAndre Hopkins 12.4
TE: Rob Gronkowski 14.6
Flex: Jarvis Landry 6
Flex: Julian Edelman 18.4
Flex: Sony Michel 22.5

Total: 166

Bench: Kelce, Jeffery, Watkins, D. Cook, Boyd, Humphries, Cousins, Edmonds, Gurley, McDonald, M. Brown

The Chop

Lots of great players were chopped in a week with some surprising performances. They included some surefire starters and some players who would have been exciting a few weeks ago: Zeke Elliott, Davante Adams, Mike Evans, Zach Ertz, Austin Ekeler, James White, Eric Ebron, and Kerryon Johnson.

I started with a $254 to $40 FAAB advantage over the other team with FAAB. Turns out I bid too aggressively. I got Zeke for $31, Adams for $21, Ertz for $16, Evans for $13, Ekeler for $6, and White and Ebron for $1 each. My opponent got nobody. Players like Corey Davis,  Jarvis Landry, and Golden Tate are available for free.

I also dropped Tyler Boyd and announced that I will pick him up for $4, hoping that my opponent would be tempted to bid $5. That did not happen, and I picked him up for $4, leaving me with $160, exactly 4x my opponent’s $40 budget.

Deflation

Outlook

Rest of Season

With 5 teams left, it seems clear that there are two teams that are not as good as the other three. I’ve described my team. My competitor that has $40 FAAB has Kamara, Julio, Keenan Allen, Tyreek, Chubb, Aaron Jones, Rodgers, Kittle and Hilton. Another team has Mahomes, Hunt, McCaffrey, Antonio, Beckham, and Diggs. Of the two remaining teams, one is rolling with Michael Thomas and then the likes of Yeldon, Peterson, Cohen and D.J. Moore. The other has Mixon, Breida, Woods, Smith-Schuster, and Cooks.

In a league where teams start nine players, 18 players will start on Week 16. With five teams remaining, an even talent distribution would have 18 ÷ 5 = 3.6 Week 16 starters on their rosters. If we use Fantasydata.com’s Week 16 projections to guess which players those would be, I have nine Week 16 starters on my roster: Cam Newton, Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz, Todd Gurley, Saquon Barkley, Adam Thielen, Davante Adams, Ezekiel Elliott, and DeAndre Hopkins.

My goal, as discussed in last week’s articles, is to get as many as possible of the top 19 starters (19 being the number of roster spots on each team) and try to force my Week 16 opponent to go with players in the 20 – 38 range.

Week 13 Outlook

ESPN gives my team the highest projection at 193.1. Two other teams are in the 160s and two in the low 120s.

The survival calculator says I have a 99.9% chance of surviving, assuming the ESPN projected team points as means, and assuming a standard deviation of 15.

Starting Lineup

My starting lineup will probably look like this.

QB: Cam Newton
RB: Saquon Barkley
RB: Todd Gurley
WR: Adam Thielen
WR: DeAndre Hopkins
TE: Travis Kelce
FLEX: David Johnson
FLEX: Ezekiel Elliott
FLEX: Davante Adams

The lowest projected player here is David Johnson at 17.7, hence the subtitle of this article.

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