Our NFL Premium Package is Now Available for the 2022 season! Get full access to our best bets, given out early in the week, in real time: sides, totals, player props, and more, all in one place, through the end of the Super Bowl.
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 15’s article.
Quarterbacks: Patrick Mahomes (KC) – $8,400 v SEA (8.3% projected rostership)
Patrick Mahomes ($8,400 / 8.3%) is playing at an MVP level right now but should we really expect anything else when he’s done this his entire career? Mahomes is averaging 27.9 DraftKings points per game this season. The only quarterback averaging more this season is Jalen Hurts with 28.0 DraftKings points per game. Mahomes has topped the 30-point threshold seven times in 2022 including just last week when he scored 35.7 DraftKings points. He’s also in one of the juiciest game environments on the slate. The combined total of this game is currently 48.5 points which is the highest on the slate. It’s even better given the context that many of these games will have extremely low combined totals due to inclement weather. The Kansas City Chiefs also currently have the highest implied team total on the slate at 29.25 points. Mahomes is the reason for such a high total. The Chiefs are also not a very strong running team and prefer to pass as much as they can so it’s very likely that even if they get out to a huge lead and start to run the ball heavily to burn the clock, Mahomes was the main reason they got out to such a huge lead in the first place.
This play isn’t as much about leverage as it is about a guy being way, way too low-rostered. Mahomes is the best quarterback in the NFL and is in one of, if not THE, best game environments of the week, especially given the context of the bad weather. There’s no reason that he shouldn’t easily be one of the chalkiest quarterbacks on the slate. That being said, there is some game leverage to be had here. Jerick McKinnon ($5,900 / 12.1%) and Isiah Pacheco ($5,700 / 9.6%) aren’t going to be super chalky individually but combined they are going to be well over 20%. Had that been one person, we would consider that extremely chalky so the Chiefs running back position I consider pretty chalky this week. McKinnon is especially on a tear right now scoring over 30 DraftKings points in two straight games now. He is definitely a more viable piece to stack with Mahomes but I’d venture to say less than half of the people who play McKinnon will also play Mahomes. Pacheco will be far fewer given his lack of passing usage. When stacking Mahomes my favorite piece to use is Travis Kelce ($8,000 / 8.9%). Kelce is the best tight end in the league and gives a massive edge on the rest of the tight end field. He’s averaging an absurd 21.0 DraftKings points per game. In addition to Kelce, JuJu Smith-Schuster ($5,800 / 11.9%) and Jerick McKinnon ($5,900 / 12.1%) are both good pieces to put in single or double stacks of Lawrence lineups.
Stacks to Consider: Patrick Mahomes + Travis Kelce + Kenneth Walker III / Patrick Mahomes + JuJu Smith-Schuster + Noah Fant / Patrick Mahomes + Travis Kelce + JuJu Smith-Schuster + DK Metcalf
Other Quarterbacks to Consider: Geno Smith (SEA) – $5,800 @ KC (7.3%), Josh Allen (BUF) – $8,500 @ CHI (6.9%)
Running Backs: D’Onta Foreman (CAR) – $5,300 v DET (8.6% projected rostership)
This recommendation admittedly doesn’t feel good at all. D’Onta Foreman ($5,300 / 8.6%) has been on a rough slide lately after his hot start. He’s scored 9.4 DraftKings points over the last two weeks combined. That includes a 0.9-point performance last week. This week doesn’t seem to get much easier either at least on paper. The Detroit Lions have been the fourth-toughest defense for running backs to face according to our Betting Predators model. They’ve been especially tough lately as teams have basically abandoned the run and resorted to throwing against their porous secondary. The thing is, Foreman is still getting a ton of usage. Last week was a bit of a fluke but before that, he had seen at least 20 carries in four of the previous six games. The Carolina Panthers are a team that has become one of the most run-heavy teams in the league so I expect them to try to establish it early and often here to help keep the Lions offense off the field. This game has a 43.5-point combined total. Normally that’s not something to target as it’s more of an average total but with so many extremely low due to the weather, it’s actually a nice total on this slate.
Ultimately, this recommendation is all about that sweet game leverage you can get here. Nobody is going to want to play Foreman in a tough matchup with how bad he’s been lately. I’m betting that his current 8.6% projected rostership is going to drop even further before Saturday. On top of that, teammate DJ Moore ($5,500 / 12.9%) is very likely to see that roster rate spike before Saturday given his combination of talent, salary, and sweet matchup. When both of those things happen, Foreman will become a very intriguing leverage play that also gives you salary relief. The other factor stemming from that salary relief will be that he forces you into a different build from the chalky builds that will see both Christian McCaffrey ($8,800 / 27.3%) and Derrick Henry ($8,600 / 24.5%) as extremely chalky. By playing Foreman, you not only get leverage off Moore, but also allows you to spend up at other positions that most people won’t be able to when playing McCaffrey and/or Henry. When correlating Foreman this week, my favorite option is Amon-Ra St. Brown ($7,800 / 11.2%). St. Brown has been a monster this year averaging 18.8 DraftKings points per game and is in a nice spot this week. The only other viable stacking options for the Lions are D’Andre Swift ($5,500 / 9.6%) and DJ Chark Jr. ($4,200 / 1.6%). Jamaal Williams ($5,200 / 2.1%) is also an option although not a great one in my opinion as you will be crossing your fingers and praying for multiple touchdowns to make it worth it.
Stacks to Consider: D’Onta Foreman + Amon-Ra St. Brown / D’Onta Foreman + D’Andre Swift / D’Onta Foreman + Jared Goff + Amon-Ra St. Brown + DJ Chark Jr.
Other Running Backs to Consider: Joe Mixon (CIN) – $6,900 @ NE (8.9%), D’Andre Swift (DET) - $5,500 @ CAR (9.6%), Isiah Pacheco (KC) – $5,700 v SEA (9.6%)
Wide Receivers: Adam Thielen (MIN) – $5,300 v NYG (7.6% projected rostership)
Adam Thielen ($5,300 / 7.6%) has definitely started to decline this season. He’s averaging 11.9 DraftKings points per game this season which is his lowest mark in a healthy season since 2015. That being said, he has still had some good games this season and is a threat for multiple touchdowns any given week. He also plays in a great Minnesota Vikings offense with a subpar defense. This week he gets to play in one of the best game environments on the slate. The current combined total is 76.5 points, the second-highest on the slate. It’s especially good considering how many extremely low totals we have on this slate. This game is also being played in a dome so weather won’t be a factor and it gives a nice boost to both passing offenses. On top of that, the New York Giants secondary is not a unit to fear. All of these things combined with Thielen’s salary put him in a great spot, especially given the context of the slate on the whole.
With Thielen we’re looking at another spot to get amazing game leverage. Both Justin Jefferson ($9,300 / 16.6%) and Dalvin Cook ($7,200 / 16.7%) are going to be two of the chalkiest players at their respective positions on this slate. There won’t be many people that play both of them together so there will be potentially 30% or more of lineups that have at least one of them in there. That means by playing Thielen instead, the idea being that if Thielen has a big game it could give you leverage over 30% of the field. That’s huge when it comes to trying to take down a tournament. There is also some pricepoint leverage to be had with all of DJ Moore ($5,500 / 12.9%), Darius Slayton ($5,200 / 15.5%), and JuJu Smith-Schuster ($5,800 / 11.9%) looking likely to be some of the chalkiest wide receivers on the entire slate. There are a few different correlated plays to use with Thielen but my favorite is Saquon Barkley ($7,900 / 16.4%). Barkley is a bit chalky himself but is a workhorse in a great matchup and should be used early and often and using him along with Thielen is a nice way to correlate while keeping the cumulative ownership down. In addition to Barkley, Darius Slayton ($5,200 / 15.5%), Isaiah Hodgins ($4,100 / 9.0%), and Richie James Jr. ($3,900 / 13.5%) are also viable correlated plays as well.
Stacks to Consider: Adam Thielen + Saquon Barkley / Adam Thielen + Richie James Jr. / Kirk Cousins + Adam Thielen + T.J. Hockenson + Darius Slayton
Other Wide Receivers to Consider: Isaiah Hodgins (NYG) – $4,100 @ MIN (9.0%), Marquise Goodwin (SEA) – $4,300 @ KC (9.4%), Brandon Aiyuk (SF) – $6,300 v WAS (5.9%), Stefon Diggs (BUF) – $8,500 @ CHI (5.6%)
Tight Ends: Noah Fant (SEA) – $3,400 @ KC (5.3% projected rostership)
Noah Fant ($3,400 / 5.3%) has come alive lately. He started out the season with five straight single-digit point performances. Fant only scored more than 10 points once in the first eight weeks and that game was 10.5 DraftKings points. Since then he’s topped 14 DraftKings points three times including twice in the last three weeks. Fant saw five and six targets in those two games. This week against the Kansas City Chiefs he could have more work on his plate. Be careful as he’s dealing with a knee injury but if he plays, he should benefit from Tyler Lockett’s absence. As previously mentioned with Mahomes, this game environment is great especially given the slate context. The Seattle Seahawks are big underdogs as well so they should be dropping back to pass early and often in this one to keep up with the high-powered Chiefs. That should help Fant’s target volume even more.
This is another great spot to get some good game leverage. Usually, it’s tough to get game leverage at the tight end position but this week it’s fairly easy with Fant. DK Metcalf ($7,100 / 16.6%) is going to be one of the chalkiest wide receivers on the slate and rightfully so. He’s a great talent and will also benefit from Lockett’s absence and being in the same environment as Fant. But that’s the thing, at least three times as many people will use Metcalf even though Fant is talented enough to produce in a big way in this same environment. Using Fant is a great way to get leverage on all the Metcalf lineups. There are a few different options for correlated plays but my favorite is Travis Kelce ($8,000 / 8.9%). As previously mentioned, Kelce has been incredible this year with 21.0 DraftKings points per game and he is projecting under 10% rostership. On top of that, most people tend to shy away from playing two tight ends in the same lineup so it is a good way to get a unique lineup build. Jerick McKinnon ($5,900 / 12.1%), Isiah Pacheco ($5,700 / 9.6%), JuJu Smith-Schuster ($5,800 / 11.9%), as well as stacking with Geno Smith ($5,800 / 7.3%) are all good options as correlated plays as well.
Stacks to Consider: Geno Smith + Noah Fant + Jerick McKinnon / Noah Fant + Travis Kelce / Geno Smith + DK Metcalf + Noah Fant + JuJu Smith-Schuster
Other Tight Ends to Consider: Chigoziem Okonkwo (TEN) – $3,500 v HOU (6.3%), Travis Kelce (KC) – $8,000 v SEA (8.9%)
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 – Geno Smith ($5,800 / 7.3%)
RB – Saquon Barkley ($7,900 / 16.4%)
RB – Jerick McKinnon ($5,900 / 12.1%)
WR – CeeDee Lamb ($7,500 / 14.1%)
WR – Adam Thielen ($5,300 / 7.6%)
WR – Brandin Cooks ($4,900 / 1.7%)
TE – Noah Fant ($3,400 / 5.3%)
Flex – DK Metcalf ($7,100 / 16.6%)
DST – Atlanta Falcons ($2,200 / 7.0%)
Cumulative Totals – ($50,000 / 88.1%)
Product Rostership – .00000001625%
Sample Small Field Tournament Lineup
QB – Patrick Mahomes ($8,400 / 8.3%)
RB – Dalvin Cook ($7,200 / 16.7%)
RB – Jerick McKinnon ($5,900 / 12.1%)
WR – DK Metcalf ($7,100 / 16.6%)
WR – Richie James Jr. ($3,900 / 13.5%)
WR – Jahan Dotson ($3,900 / 11.7%)
TE – Travis Kelce ($8,000 / 8.9%)
Flex – Noah Fant ($3,400 / 5.3%)
DST – Philadelphia Eagles ($2,200 / 7.0%)
Cumulative Totals – ($50,000 / 100.1%)
Product Rostership – .0000001452%
Make sure to tune in next week to see the best plays and stacks for tournaments for Week 17!
By Rob Norton
Want to have direct access to our network of Betting Predators handicappers? Sign up for our FREE Discord channel to get 24/7 direct access to our handicapping team, as well as our community of sharp bettors
Want an easy to find all of our Betting Predators content in one place? Sign up for our free newsletter, Substack and receive a weekly roundup on everything we've published (FREE + PREMIUM), and all that we're up to throughout the week. We promise we'll never give your email address out for advertising purposes.