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When it comes to building a DraftKings lineup there is a particular art form to it. It becomes even more nuanced when you are building specifically for tournaments. There is a common misconception that you must pick these crazy, long-shot lottery ticket type picks. In reality, that’s not even close and actually a terrible way to go. You can still play plenty of the popular or “chalky” plays. They are popular for a reason and that reason is that they project very well and seem very likely to hit their projection. You can still play these but only a few of them in each lineup at a maximum and mix up the exposure throughout multiple lineups. Mixing those “chalky” plays into the same lineup as good leverage plays and great stacks is the ideal way to go to create a well-built tournament lineup. The entire roster build itself is really the true key to creating great tournament lineups.
This week’s tip will be explaining the difference between cumulative rostership and product rostership. On the surface, it is very straightforward. For cumulative rostership, you will simply just add up all the roster percentages to get a total. For product rostership, you will instead multiply all the roster percentages. For example, if you had chosen four players all of who have a 20% roster percentage, the cumulative rostership would be 80%. The product rostership would then be 0.16%. Now if you would choose four players, two of whom have a 35% roster percentage and the other two of whom have a 5% roster percentage, they would also have an 80% cumulative rostership. However, this group would have a 0.03% product rostership. This indicates that the second build will create a much more unique lineup. When building tournament lineups, the lower the product rostership the more unique a lineup will be even if the cumulative rostership is the same or slightly higher. For more tips on leverage and contest selection, make sure to check out Week 13’s article.
Quarterbacks: Geno Smith (SEA) – $6,200 v CAR (7.4% projected rostership)
Geno Smith’s ($6,200 / 7.4%) shocking breakout year has been the biggest surprise of the season so far. He’s averaging 20.6 DraftKings points per game this season and has topped the 20-point threshold in four straight games now. His 20.6 DraftKings points per game are the ninth-most among all quarterbacks this season. Props to anyone who had Geno Smith being a top-ten QB on their 2022 bingo card. The combined total of this game is currently 43.5 points. That’s not one of the best but not one of the worst either. The spread is close as the Seattle Seahawks are four-point favorites with a solid 23.75 implied team total. Kenneth Walker III ($6,800 / 12.5%) is questionable to play this week after jamming his ankle. If Walker III can’t go, the Seahawks will likely rely much more heavily on Smith, considering all their backup options at running back are both mediocre at best and banged up. The tight spread and context of this game make this a sneaky spot for a good game environment, much to the benefit of Smith.
Usually, the best way to get leverage at quarterback is game leverage. This week with Smith, pricepoint leverage is the main leverage to be had. As previously mentioned, Walker III might miss this game and won’t be too chalky even if he plays due to the uncertainty around his ankle injury. That makes it so that Smith won’t give as much game leverage as if Walker III was completely healthy. By playing Smith, you can get a quarterback in the same salary range as a couple of the chalkiest options on this slate. Jared Goff ($5,600 / 17.5%) and Kirk Cousins ($6,100 / 15.5%) are shaping up as the two chalkiest quarterbacks on the entire slate. When stacking Smith my favorite piece to use is Tyler Lockett ($6,500 / 6.7%) is my favorite piece to use. Lockett is averaging 16.6 DraftKings points per game this season. He’s scored double-digit DraftKings points in every game but two this season including six straight games now. Lockett is also coming off a monster 30.8-point performance. In addition to Lockett, there are a few other viable stacking pieces for the Seahawks. DK Metcalf ($7,100 / 5.8%) and Noah Fant ($3,100 / 3.3%) are both good pieces to put in single or double stacks of Smith lineups. If Walker III ends up playing, he could be an interesting piece to stack with Smith considering his roster rate will be suppressed due to the injury concerns and most of the people who do put Walker III into their lineups won’t do it stacked with Smith.
Stacks to Consider: Geno Smith + Tyler Lockett + DJ Moore / Geno Smith + DK Metcalf + D’Onta Foreman / Geno Smith + Tyler Lockett + Noah Fant + DJ Moore
Other Quarterbacks to Consider: Joe Burrow (CIN) – $7,000 v CLE (10.5%), Tyler Huntley (BAL) – $5,500 @ PIT (1.9%)
Running Backs: D’Onta Foreman (CAR) – $5,400 @ SEA (8.8% projected rostership)
Sticking in that same game, on the other side of the ball D’Onta Foreman ($5,400 / 8.8%) has been surprisingly productive since Christian McCaffrey ($8,500 / 9.6%) was traded from the Carolina Panthers to the San Francisco 49ers. Foreman has been a journeyman plodder for most of his career and has dealt with a torn achilles. Most running backs haven’t been able to come back from that injury but Foreman has done pretty well recently. He’s topped 100 rushing yards in four of six games as the starter. In that same span Foreman is averaging 16.2 DraftKings points per game and this week he gets a juicy matchup. The Seattle Seahawks have been the fourth-easiest defense for running backs to face according to our Betting Predators model. They’ve also allowed the second-most DraftKings points to running backs on the season and even allowed Cam Akers to have a great game last week so that’s saying something. As previously mentioned, the combined total of this game currently sits at 43.5 points. That’s not an extremely high total but not one to avoid either. Foreman is dealing with foot and rib injuries so that’s something to keep an eye on but he should be good to go come Sunday.
The nice part about playing Foreman this week is that he provides both pricepoint leverage as well as game leverage. The best usually comes in the way of game leverage so let’s start with that. DJ Moore ($5,500 / 16.6%) has had an up-and-down season but is coming off a nice 23.3-point performance and his salary is still cheap. That’s going to make him one of the chalkiest wide receivers on the slate and probably about twice as many people will choose to play Moore over Foreman. There is also some pricepoint leverage to be had. D’Andre Swift ($5,800 / 17.1%), Isiah Pacheco ($5,700 / 14.6%), and Latavius Murray ($5,200 / 12.4%) are all looking to be fairly chalky this week, especially Swift. All three are very close in salary to Foreman so using Foreman instead of one of them can give nice leverage off of those lineups. When correlating Foreman this week, my favorite option is Tyler Lockett ($6,500 / 6.7%). As previously mentioned, Lockett is having a great year averaging 16.6 DraftKings points per game. Like mentioned with Geno Smith, DK Metcalf ($7,100 / 5.8%) and Noah Fant ($3,100 / 3.3%) are the two other viable stacking pieces with Foreman as well.
Stacks to Consider: D’Onta Foreman + Tyler Lockett / D’Onta Foreman + DK Metcalf / D’Onta Foreman + Geno Smith + Tyler Lockett + Noah Fant
Other Running Backs to Consider: Dalvin Cook (MIN) – $7,300 @ DET (13.5%), Saquon Barkley (NYG) - $8,000 v PHI (7.8%), Christian McCaffrey (SF) – $8,500 v TB (9.6%)
Wide Receivers: Ja’Marr Chase (CIN) – $7,900 v CLE (13.1% projected rostership)
I certainly had my skepticism about how effective Ja’Marr Chase ($7,900 / 13.1%) would be coming off a serious hip injury but he looked basically back to normal in his first game back. Last week he caught seven of his eight targets and turned them into 97 yards. Chase had two straight 35-point performances before going down with that hip injury that forced him to miss more than a month. He hasn’t scored less than 10.8 DraftKings points in any game this season. This week he gets a solid matchup against the Cleveland Browns. The Browns are middle-of-the-road against wide receivers this season but will have their hands full with Chase and this Cincinnati Bengals offense in this one. The overall game environment is the more enticing part of this matchup. The current combined total is 47.5 points which are the second-highest on the slate. The Bengals have a 27-point implied team total right now. That’s currently the third-highest implied team total on the slate. That’s a great environment to be in, especially given the context of the slate.
Chase is a bit more heavily rostered than what I’d usually use in this section but he should be far more heavily rostered. On top of that, the game leverage to be had here is some of the best on the entire slate and his ceiling is as high as any player. The combination of these three things makes him easily one of the best tournament wide receivers this week. Joe Mixon ($6,900 / 22.1%) is looking like he will be one of the chalkiest running backs this week, assuming he returns from concussion protocol. It’s possible that nearly twice as many people put Mixon in their DFS lineups instead of Chase making Chase a perfect leverage piece off of those Mixon lineups. There is also some pricepoint leverage to be had with Amon-Ra St. Brown ($7,800 / 23.6%) looking likely to be the chalkiest wide receiver (and maybe overall player) on the entire slate, and rightfully so. I love St. Brown as well but playing Chase gives you a lot of leverage off St. Brown lineups as well. Both Mixon and St. Brown could check in as THE two chalkiest players on the entire slate and that would make Chase a great leverage piece even if he comes in between 10-15%. There are a few different correlated plays to use with Chase but my favorite is Amari Cooper ($6,200 / 8.3%). Cooper is coming off a rough game but should see a lot of targets in this one and he torched the Bengals for 26.1 DraftKings points the last time they faced off. In addition to Cooper, Nick Chubb ($7,800 / 4.4%) and David Njoku ($3,900 / 4.6%) are also viable correlated plays as well.
Stacks to Consider: Ja’Marr Chase + Amari Cooper / Ja’Marr Chase + David Njoku / Joe Burrow + Ja’Marr Chase + Tee Higgins + Amari Cooper
Other Wide Receivers to Consider: Tee Higgins (CIN) – $7,000 v CLE (11.9%), Jerry Jeudy (DEN) – $5,400 v KC (3.4%), Tyler Lockett (SEA) – $6,500 v CAR (6.7%), Chris Godwin (TB) – $6,700 @ SF (4.7%)
Tight Ends: Mark Andrews (BAL) – $6,500 @ PIT (4.5% projected rostership)
Mark Andrews ($6,500 / 4.5%) has had a rollercoaster season in 2022 so far. He started the year out on fire scoring at least 22 DraftKings points in four of his first six games before getting banged up. At that point, he was in the conversation for joining Travis Kelce ($7,600 / 9.9%) as a truly elite tight end to the same magnitude. While Andrews is still considered elite, he’s fallen a tier below Kelce in that conversation. Since being injured, he’s missed a few games and hasn’t scored more than 12.3 DraftKings points in the last five games he’s played. This week Andrews will also be without Lamar Jackson which might seem like a bad thing at first glance, but upon a deeper look, might not be too bad. Jackson is definitely better than Tyler Huntley ($5,500 / 1.9%) but Huntley force-fed Andrews last year. In the games Huntley started, Andrews had a 28.4% target share and averaged 91.8 receiving yards per game. He also averaged 20 fantasy points per game in those games. The matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers isn’t ideal from a game environment standpoint but the Steelers are much easier to beat through the air than on the ground. With The Baltimore Ravens having a decimated wide receiver corps, Huntley should lean heavily on Andrews in this one.
As we usually talk about, tight end isn’t always the main spot to get leverage. With Andrews this week, there isn’t a ton of game leverage or pricepoint leverage to be had. The nice part is that pairing him with Huntley gives you a very low-rostered pairing with a very nice ceiling, especially for the salary. It’s also always optimal to play studs in tournaments when they are coming in with very low rostership. There aren’t many tight ends that can break a slate but Andrews is one of them. If he has one of his patented 25+ point games, he may push you to a tournament win if you play him when nobody else is. There are a few different options for correlated plays but my favorite is Diontae Johnson ($5,100 / 7.9%). Johnson has experienced a rough season but is still seeing a nice amount of targets on a weekly basis. He’s talented enough to turn those targets into nice production any given week. Najee Harris ($5,800 / 12.5%), George Pickens ($5,000 / 9.7%), and Pat Freiermuth ($4,500 / 7.8%) are all good options as correlated plays as well.
Stacks to Consider: Tyler Huntley + Mark Andrews + Diontae Johnson / Mark Andrews + Pat Freiermuth / Tyler Huntley + Demarcus Robinson + Mark Andrews + Diontae Johnson
Other Tight Ends to Consider: Pat Freiermuth (PIT) – $4,500 v BAL (7.8%), Dalton Schultz (DAL) – $4,400 v HOU (7.9%)
In terms of choosing a defense/special teams, generally, it is the last position I fill. There are, however, a few rules to follow when doing so. The first rule is that you should rarely, if ever, play a DST in the same lineup as the quarterback or running back they are facing. There is a strong negative correlation between them and you are building a lineup in which you want every piece to hit its ceiling. The second rule is to target defenses with high pressure rates and/or are facing offensive lines that allow high pressure rates. More pressure creates more opportunities for sacks and turnovers, which is where the defensive touchdowns come from. Those defensive touchdowns are needed to hit ceiling outcomes. The third, and perhaps more important rule is to try your best to avoid the popular or “chalky” defenses of the week. Defensive scoring is so random and variant that it makes it extremely unpredictable. It’s usually much better to get leverage and lean into that unpredictability and use game theory for the sake of being different.
Important Note: These rules are much more critical in larger-field GPP tournaments. As the field gets smaller, it becomes less crucial to stick strictly to these rules.
Sample Large Field Tournament Lineup
QB – Tyler Huntley ($5,500 / 1.9%)
RB – D’Onta Foreman ($5,400 / 8.8%)
RB – Derrick Henry ($7,900 / 19.4%)
WR – Diontae Johnson ($5,100 / 7.9%)
WR – Tyler Lockett ($6,500 / 6.7%)
WR – Zay Jones ($4,700 / 9.2%)
TE – Mark Andrews ($6,500 / 4.5%)
Flex – Jerry Jeudy ($5,400 / 3.4%)
DST – Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($2,900 / 9.3%)
Cumulative Totals – ($49,900 / 71.1%)
Product Rostership – .000000002248%
Sample Small Field Tournament Lineup
QB – Geno Smith ($6,200 / 7.4%)
RB – Joe Mixon ($6,900 / 22.1%)
RB – D’Onta Foreman ($5,400 / 8.8%)
WR – DK Metcalf ($7,100 / 5.8%)
WR – Tyler Lockett ($6,500 / 6.7%)
WR – DJ Moore ($5,500 / 16.6%)
TE – Greg Dulcich ($3,400 / 26.5%)
Flex – Amari Cooper ($6,200 / 8.3%)
DST – Jacksonville Jaguars ($2,700 / 1.8%)
Cumulative Totals – ($49,900 / 104.0%)
Product Rostership – .00000003675%
Make sure to tune in next week to see the best plays and stacks for tournaments for Week 15!
By Rob Norton
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