I’ve been doing some research on optimal lineup construction, and I’ve really started to buy in more and more to the idea of unbalanced teams. I mean ‘unbalanced’ in a couple different ways.
One is cap allocation. How often do we see one top WR, one second-tier guy, and one cheap option in lineups? I think it’s natural to want to create a balanced lineup, though not always optimal. A specific week of NFL and certain values will dictate the best strategy, but in general, I think there’s a lot of value in potentially being unbalanced. One of the reasons for that is being contrarian; you can potentially create a really unique lineup without actually buying in on any super low-value contrarian plays, and being unbalanced is one way to do that because it’s unlikely to run into many lineups with three stud WRs, for example.
The other way I’m thinking of being unbalanced is in terms of ownership; it seems like there are often a lot of “semi-contrarian” lineups that end up trying to sort of decrease ownership a tad and still maximize value for the most part, and that middle ground I think might be the worst spot to be. Instead, I’ve been thinking of how useful it might be to pair a couple very clear low-ownership options with chalk. You’re likely securing the top values, but then trying to differentiate your lineup with just a couple contrarian selections mixed in.
I think that extreme type of approach – one of risk-minimization on one end and extreme risk-seeking on the other – is probably better than trying to “have it all” with each individual selection and create balance with your lineup.