When I was a kid, I had to ride with my dad to his veterinary calls at, like, 5 in the morning. As a reward for those shenanigans, he would often buy me Variety Puzzle books to do in the car.
(Yes, I was a nerd from the jump.)
Anyway, these books had all sorts of puzzles in them. (Hence "Variety.") One that I recall was a change-a-letter game. You'd start with a four-letter word, like "FOOT," with a few blanks, then another word, like "BALL" -- they loved themes -- and you'd have to connect them by changing a letter at a time to make a new word at each step.
So for that example, it'd be:
That sort of thing. Silly game, took two minutes. But I'm runnin' it back today as I build my FanDuel rosters for this weekend.
Last week, I built five FanDuel rosters for five different contests, then changed each of the five rosters at a couple different spots, making 10 entries.
It failed miserably.
Then I thought about it. They say, if a team has two quarterbacks, it really has no quarterbacks, because someone needs to shine above the field. Well, if I was entering five or 10 FanDuel rosters I liked, then how much could I really like any of them?
The best way to play this game is to find a couple of situations you particularly like in a given week. Maybe it's a running back who has seized a job, maybe it's a trustworthy receiver, maybe it's a team facing the Jaguars. It's always a team facing the Jaguars. But instead of coming in with five different rosters, all of which I kind of like, the better bet is to find the key guys that I really like, and work with them. Now, I'm playing change-a-letter, so basically I can pick a couple guys at each slot to cover in case I screw up.
This strategy means that, if I'm right, instead of grabbing a couple different small profits, the tweaks could theoretical land on one elite roster. The downside, of course, is that, if I'm wrong about my quarterback, my whole week could go in the tank. That's why it's crucial to pick a player you're sure will do well, and not just pick a player because the salary looked acceptable.
(Before I get to my rosters, we're doing another SB Nation FanDuel tournament this weekend, so come on and join that. I decidedly did not win last week, so there was some "beat that guy" satisfaction to be had.)
On to the rosters, where I can explain a bit further.
Like I said, I love a team playing the Jaguars. At home. When they should be "angry." With some weapons hurt, so the other weapons get used more heavily. Which is how I wound up with Andrew Luck, Trent Richardson, T.Y. Hilton and Coby Fleener on this roster. By scrimping on Isaiah Crowell, I could also invest in Randall Cobb. And the injury to Brandin Cooks should help Kenny Stills' value.
The Browns have been crazy-frustrating with their running backs, though. Maybe trusting Crowell wasn't smart, so I tried:
Same thing, only Crowell and Cobb are out, and Justin Forsett and Percy Harvin are in. Forsett's salary has yet to get even close to his production, and Harvin now gets a neutral-site game instead of a road one. Everything else is the same.
Of course, maybe I went too Colts-heavy. Which led me to:
In this one, Luck and Richardson are out. Drew Brees comes in at quarterback, and by saving a little there, I could go up to Denver weapon C.J. Anderson at running back. Bonus: I can pair Brees with his weapon, Stills.
Is that enough to pair Brees with, though? Maybe more:
Jimmy Graham! Hey, buddy. Investing in a premier tight end forced me to downgrade to the cheapest possible kicker and defense, which is a loss, but not a big one. I also had to come down a bit at running back, but Ryan Mathews is healthy now, and if he had been healthy all along he'd be more expensive anyway.
Only a couple guys have stayed throughout, and if I'm really playing change-a-letter, I need to switch everything, so:
Now I'm a little more balanced at receiver, going from expensive Hilton and cheap Stills to a unified group with Odell Beckham Jr. and Reggie Wayne.
See? All the way from "FOOT" to "BALL," changing a spot or two every step along the way. I really like these rosters, too, capitalizing on (a) home games, (b) underpriced entities and (c) Jacksonville. It's fun.