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Josh Allen is a key piece in the best guillotine league strategy.

Best Guillotine League Strategy

By Lenny Pappano | Updated on Thu, 18 Apr 2024 . 2:28 PM EDT
  1. What is a Guillotine League?The 8 basics to making sure you don’t face the Guillotine
  2. Target Players With High FloorsFocus on consistency vs. breakout potential
  3. Be Extra Cautious About Injuries & Other Risk FactorsUse a tool that predicts injury probability
  4. Create a Budget to Master Your FAABHow to attack free agency like an expert
  5. Use Technology to Gain a Competitive EdgeAll of the tools you need to dominate your Guillotine league

Where to Step Into the Guillotine Arena

This is not a paid endorsement. But the reality is there are a limited number of places to play Guillotine.

So if you’re ready for a higher level of fantasy football thrill, Guillotineleagues.com is the place to check out. Even if you don’t have 17 friends to play with, you can get with random fantasy football players who are also looking to play Guillotine. 

Let’s highlight some Guillotineleagues.com guidelines:

  • League Size: 18 teams kick off the season.
  • Prize Pools: You can join a regular Guillotine league between $30 to $100 – where the last three teams who have not been chopped qualify for a prize. If you really want to test your luck, you can join the “SuperChop'', a high-stakes version of guillotine where you compete against 143 different teams. In this version, entry fees range from $50 to $250, resulting in thousands of dollars worth of prizes!
  • Format Options: Choose between two different formats – Last Man Standing or Final Four. Last Man Standing is pretty self-explanatory. But for the Final Four format, the remaining 4 teams enter a playoff, where there is no more chopping. The team with the highest cumulative score from weeks 15-17 is declared the winner!
  • Draft Types: You have the option of a 60-second, 2-hour, or 6-hour timer for a 14-round draft.
  • Roster Construction: Your starting lineup consists of 
    • 1 QB
    • 2 RBs
    • 2 WRs 
    • 1 TE
    • 2 FLEX (RB/WR/TE)

Key Insights: Guillotine leagues are all about weekly survival and adapting to a unique mindset and strategy. Players who are reliable point scorers on a weekly basis are the most valuable.

How to Execute This Strategy:  Use a draft tool that can highlight players with high floors – instead of going for players with high ceilings (breakout candidates).

What is a Guillotine League?

A Guillotine league is a unique and thrilling twist on traditional fantasy football. Your head is on the chopping block every week… If your team finishes with the fewest points in your league – in any given week – you face the guillotine!! 

Let's break down the main rules of Guillotine leagues:

One Team is Eliminated Every Week

There is no head-to-head play in Guillotine. Instead, every week, the lowest-scoring team is eliminated from the league. This process continues until only one team remains. That lone team to avoid the guillotine is the champ!

Player Pool Recycles Every Week

When a team is eliminated, their players are released back into the free-agent pool. That creates a whole different vibe (frenzy!) in free agency, since top player talent becomes available every week.

Survival Strategy

Your focus here is simple – avoid being the lowest scorer each week. That means prioritizing consistent and reliable players over high-risk, high-reward options.

Now that you have a grip on the basics of Guillotine leagues – let’s outline some core strategies.

 

Core Strategies for Guillotine Leagues

Check out these 8 quick-hitting strategies for Guillotine league. We’ll expound on these later, as well as introduce a couple more.  For now – here’s your basic introduction:

Adopt a Guillotine Mindset

If you’re like most fantasy owners, you’re all jacked up on draft day to put together a team of studs, gonna-be studs, and hope-to-be studs. Competing in Guillotine requires a different mindset. You want the boring, the consistent, the tried-and-true point scorers. That’s the secret sauce in Guillotine.

Target Players With Late-Season Byes

Players with later bye weeks can give you a big edge. That’s because early bye weeks are more challenging in Guillotine formats. Basically, you want a larger pool of available players early in the year – and then deal with bye weeks after you’ve had the chance to bolster your roster through free agency.

Get Ready For Crazy FAAB

In standard fantasy football leagues, free agency is important for filling gaps due to injuries or bye weeks. But the player pool rarely sees the introduction of top-tier talent after the draft – which is common every week in a Guillotine league. That means understanding when to be aggressive in your free agent bidding vs. when to wait for the following weeks. 

Avoid Players with Extra Risk Factors

When building your guillotine league roster, it's crucial to minimize risk. Avoid selecting players who come with additional uncertainties. These risk factors include:

  • Injury Prone Players. Steer clear of players who have a lengthy history of injuries or are coming off a significant injury. Their unpredictability can be a killer.
  • Players on New Teams. Transitioning to a new team can often lead to a slower start or less predictable usage. Again, stay away from this unnecessary risk.
  • Rookies. While rookies can be exciting, they often have an adjustment period to the NFL, which can lead to inconsistent performances.

Don't Stack Teammates

In Guillotine leagues, the goal is to avoid having the lowest score in any given week. Stacking teammates (having multiple players from the same NFL team) can backfire big time if that team has a bad offensive week. So diversifying your lineup across different teams can help mitigate weekly risk.

Pursue High-Level, Consistent QBs

A reliable, high-scoring QB can be the backbone of your Guillotine team. Opt for QBs known for their consistency and ability to score high points regularly. This stability can be a key factor in surviving week-to-week.

Consider Early-Season Schedules (But Don't Overrate Them)

Yeah, it’s worthwhile to look at early-season schedules as you draft. But don't put too much emphasis on this. Preseason strength-of-schedule analysis is speculative at best. Team dynamics change rapidly in the NFL. Focus more on the overall talent and consistency of players rather than their initial matchups.

Handcuffs for Early-Round RBs are More Valuable

In a Guillotine league, having a backup for your top RBs is more crucial than in other formats. If an early-round RB goes down, having their direct backup (handcuff) can provide an immediate performance replacement. That’s going to be more valuable than a high-upside reserve who might not see the field. This strategy helps maintain your team's scoring potential without significant drops.

 

Target Players With High Floors

We’ve already mentioned this strategy – but let’s give it more attention. Focusing on consistent point scorers will give you a strategic advantage in Guillotine leagues.  

QBs on Potent Offenses

QBs who lead potent offenses and have a high number of pass attempts per game are generally consistent fantasy performers. Yes, QBs are generally not high draft picks in most leagues. Same here. But you do want a good one because of their week-to-week consistency.

Some QB stats that create a high floor: 

  • Completion Rate > 65%
  • Pass Yard Per Game > 250 
  • TD to INT Ratio > 2:1 
  • Sacks Taken < 40 
  • QB Rating > 90 
  • Adjusted Yards Per Attempt > 7.5
  • Rush Yards Per Game > 20

Here are several QBs that hit some of these stats in 2023 and can fall to you in the draft:  

  • C.J. Stroud
  • Dak Prescott
  • Brock Purdy
  • Jordan Love
The best guillotine league strategy might include targeting Dak Prescott.

Dak Prescott's week-to-week consistency makes him a nice target in guillotine leagues.

High-Volume RBs

Search for RBs who are given a lot of opportunities (carries + targets). Volume = Consistent fantasy production at RB.

Some RB stats that create a high floor: 

  • Carries Per Game > 15 
  • Yards Per Carry > 4.5
  • Targets Per Game > 3.5 
  • Rush Attempts Inside the 5-Yard Line  > 10

Consider these RBs who fulfilled some of these criteria last season for your target list in Guillotine drafts:

  • Christian McCaffrey
  • Breece Hall
  • Kyren Williams
  • Jonathan Taylor 

High-Target WRs

WRs who are the primary option in their team's passing attack and see a large volume of targets tend to have less week-to-week variance in their fantasy output.

Here are some WR-specific stats and benchmarks to look at: 

  • Receptions Per Game > 5
  • Yards Per Game  > 60
  • Catch Rate > 60% 
  • Target Share  > 20%
  • Red Zone Targets > 15

Check out these WRs who hit some of these benchmarks last year: 

  • Puka Nacua
  • Nico Collins
  • Keenan Allen
  • Michael Pittman

Heavily Used Receiving TEs

Top-tier TEs typically show consistency. Given the scarcity of elite talent at TE, those who are heavily targeted can provide a steady stream of points.

Some statistics to help you spot a high usage rate at TE: 

  • Targets Per Game > 5.5
  • Routes Run Per Game > 30
  • Yards Per Game > 40
  • Red Zone Targets > 10

Look to grab one of these TEs:

  • Sam LaPorta
  • Trey McBride
  • Evan Engram
  • Jake Ferguson

 

Key Insights: Aim for players who are set up for consistent production via volume. Sift through the vital stats at each position, both pre-season and in-season.

How to Execute This Strategy: Use sites that specialize in statistical analysis (Draft Sharks, Pro Football Focus, Pro Football Reference) to help you filter through different key metrics. Consider creating a list of players, for each position, that meet or exceed the benchmarks listed above – then target those guys in the draft and free agency.

  

Be Extra Cautious About Injuries and Other Risk Factors

While some players are inherently consistent, their fantasy point output can get derailed by injuries. Banking on players who are often on the injury report is risky in fantasy football… but it’s lethal in Guillotine. Here’s how to lower that risk. 

Research Injury History

Examine the player's injury history over recent seasons to identify any patterns of recurring injuries or prolonged absences.

Here are players with a hefty amount of career injuries: 

  • QB: Tua Tagovailoa (12), Joe Burrow (11), Justin Herbert (7), Kyler Murray (7)
  • RB: Raheem Mostert (14), James Conner (14), Aaron Jones (12), Saquon Barkley (10)
  • WR: Amari Cooper (18), Deebo Samuel (17), Keenan Allen (15), Mike Evans (12)
  • TE: George Kittle (12), Evan Engram (9), Dallas Goedert (8), Mark Andrews (7)
The best guillotine strategy is to avoid big injury risks like George Kittle.

George Kittle's lengthy injury history makes him a risky pick in guillotine leagues.

Monitor Offseason Recovery 

Keep a close eye on offseason news about injuries, surgeries, and recovery timelines. Look for clues about how these might impact a player’s production so that you can figure out who's set to shine and who might be hobbling off the field.

Track Preseason Performances 

Tune into those preseason games. Keep an eye on training camp chatter to catch any hints of nagging injuries that might impact production and consistency once the regular season kicks off.

 

Key Insights: Roll up your sleeves and dive deep into players' injury histories. Check out how long they've been in the league… their past scrapes and bruises… and keep an eye on how/if they're bouncing back. 

How to Execute This Strategy: Consider vetting your potential picks by using the Draft Sharks Injury Predictor tool. You’ll get detailed injury risk profiles – based on our proprietary algorithm. It saves you hours of research in identifying guys too risky to have on your Guillotine team.

 

Bonus Tip: Don’t Chase Players Off Age Cliff

Contrary to popular belief, an older player is not necessarily more prone to injury.

(In fact, he might even be less so because he has proved his durability and perfected his maintenance routine over the years.)

But our research on aging curves has signaled some red-flag ages when production drops off – especially at RB and WR. So beware as you draft …

Age 29 is Rough for RBs

Historically, successful RBs have seen a large production dip in their age-29 seasons: from 80+% of their peak production the year before to about 70%.

That happens to be this year for Saints RB Alvin Kamara, whose decreased efficiency in 2023 also signals risk that he’s nearing “the cliff.”

Other prominent RBs in the age danger zone include:

  • Derrick Henry
  • James Conner
  • Austin Ekeler
  • Aaron Jones

We’re not saying they’ll all crash in 2024. But be cautious about drafting them in your Guillotine league.

WRs Don’t Like Turning 32

Age 32 (and beyond) has been similarly challenging for productive wideouts. The precise fall-off has differed by WR archetype, but the range of ages 32-34 has often delivered steep declines.

Big-name wideouts in that range this year include:

  • Davante Adams
  • Keenan Allen
  • DeAndre Hopkins
  • Tyler Lockett

These guys come with elevated risk in your Guillotine league.

 

Create a Plan to Master Your Free Agent Acquisition Budget (FAAB)

Pace yourself when it comes to spending free agent money. You need to apply strategic planning and foresight when budgeting your FAAB. Here are some ways to become a free agency expert.

Conserve Your Resources Early

Start the season by conservatively managing your FAAB, saving your financial firepower for later in the season when more impactful players become available. (This seems counterintuitive for a Guillotine strategy, but you want the ability to grab some marquee players in October and November.)

Allocate Percentages Wisely

Reserve 60-70% of your budget for acquiring high-level players who can anchor your roster. The remaining 30-40% of your budget should be reserved for acquiring lower-level players who provide depth and flexibility to your roster.

Track Competitors' Budgets

Stay informed about your opponents' FAAB to strategize your bids effectively, especially in competitive bidding scenarios.

Be Aggressive in the Endgame

If you're in a strong position late in the season, shift to a more aggressive bidding strategy to secure players who can clinch you a Guillotine league championship.

 

Key Insights: Master your FAAB by saving early and spending late, allocating the majority for impact players that can offer consistent production, and observing rivals' spending to refine your approach.

How to Execute This Strategy: Designate 60-70% of your FAAB for key players who will be the cornerstone of your team, while reserving 30-40% for adding depth. Monitor your rivals' FAAB spending habits by regularly checking the league's transaction history or FAAB report. Use that insight to adapt your bidding tactics effectively.

 

Use Technology to Gain a Competitive Edge

Yes, you’re going to need some tools and technology to implement your Guillotine League strategy. Here’s what we think makes sense. 

Live Draft Sync & Draft War Room

This tool will live-draft sync to your Guillotine league. And the Draft War Room uses an algorithm to recommend players based on your league rules and positional scarcity. So you get player recommendations in real time during your draft.

Player Floor and Ceiling Projections  

The Draft War Room shows you the players with the highest floor projections. You want consistency over potential. Tried and true veterans over rookie prospects and younger talent. You’ll be able to see which players fit those benchmarks at just a glance. 

Injury Risk Tool

You need a tool that can quantify the injury risk of every player. Based on a scientific algorithm and accurate injury history. This will be crucial to winning your Guillotine league. 

Free Agent Finder

Since there will be an influx of free-agent talent every week in your Guillotine league, you’ll need a tool that automatically syncs to your league to find the most valuable players for your specific team needs. 

  

Frequently Asked Questions About Guillotine Leagues

What is Guillotine league strategy?

Guillotine league strategy is based on building a team that won’t be eliminated for having the lowest score in your league in any given week. The first rule to this strategy is simple: Draft a team of consistent point scorers, as opposed to potential breakout players with bigger risk.

How do you use FAAB in Guillotine league?

Using Faab in Guillotine leagues is no different than any other fantasy league that uses FAAB and blind bidding. But Guillotine leagues require more strategic thought since the team that is eliminated every week has their players thrown back into the free-agent pool.

How much to bid in Guillotine leagues?

How much you bid in guillotine league free-agent bidding depends on a few factors. Among them – what are your team needs; what talent is available in any given week; and how much money do you want to save for later in the season? 

Who to draft in Guillotine league?

The best players to draft in Guillotine leagues are consistent point scorers. As a position, that means you typically want a top-tier QB. A player like Bills QB Josh Allen has been a Guillotine league stud the past few seasons. High-volume RBs and big target earners at WR and TE also gain value in Guillotine leagues.

 

 

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