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Author's Note: Every week millions of people play daily fantasy sports in hopes of making a lot of money. The quickest way to do that is by playing in guaranteed prize pool (GPP) tournaments. There are countless tournaments with different payout structures but the idea remains the same: create the perfect lineup. In this weekly recap article, we'll take a closer look at winning lineups and their strategies and tactics. We'll also take a look at how the "chalk" and "leverage" plays did and reflect on those. This should give us a great idea of the top trends and takeaways to implement moving forward in our pursuit of that perfect lineup.
The Week 10 "Perfect Lineup"
When looking at this week’s perfect lineup we got the same stack as we saw in last week’s perfect lineup: Justin Fields to Cole Kmet. On this past week’s podcast, we talked about how Kmet was such a great tournament play and a nice way to use a chalky Fields and boy did that turn out great. Fields single stacks are going to be extremely popular moving forward considering the insane fantasy points he’s putting up right now. The second thing that jumps out is that this week there weren’t too many chalky pieces in this week’s perfect lineup. Only Fields, Kmet, and Vikings DST were even over the 10% roster rate threshold. It’s also extremely interesting to see the chalkiest DST in the perfect lineup. With DST scoring being the most variant on a weekly basis, it’s generally better to play the less chalky DSTs but that certainly wasn’t the case this week. The third thing that jumped out to me was that it was a week to pay up at running back and down at tight end. We mentioned this multiple times on the podcast as well that there weren’t too many great value options at running back so paying up at the position was likely best and saving salary at tight end was ideal too with so many great cheap options. This was very much a “stars and scrubs” type of build.
The Week 10 Winning "Milly Maker" Lineup:
The Week 10 Chalk
Heading into the slate it was expected that running back rostership would be heavily concentrated into a core group of players. That mostly held true although the late-breaking news that Ezekiel Elliott was likely going to sit again threw a wrench into it because it was going to make Tony Pollard extremely chalky once again. We ultimately saw four running backs become very chalky and they were Travis Etienne (27.7%), Saquon Barkley (26.5%), Pollard (25.8%), and Dameon Pierce (21.5%). Barkley and Pollard came through in big ways as the RB4 and RB6 with 26.00 points and 24.8 points respectively. Barkley was even in the winning Milly Maker lineup. Meanwhile, Pierce and Etienne were letdowns with only 13.20 and 10.30 points respectively. There were three other running backs that broke the 10% threshold including Derrick Henry, Alvin Kamara, and Jeff Wilson Jr. but only Wilson Jr. performed well with 25.30 points while Henry and Kamara were busts with 8.70 and 7.50 points respectively. At wide receiver, there were three players that broke the 20% threshold. JuJu Smith-Schuster (27.1%), Donovan Peoples-Jones (22.6%), and Christian Kirk (20.4%) were the chalkiest receivers on the slate. Kirk was awesome with 34.50 points as the WR4. Peoples-Jones performed admirably for his salary with 14.90 points. Smith-Schuster, on the other hand, was a huge bust after leaving with a concussion with only 5.30 points. There were ten more wide receivers who were rostered in at least 10% of lineups. The most notable of those was Amon-Ra St. Brown who finished as the WR8 with 25.10 points.
For the second straight week, Justin Fields checked in as the “chalkiest” play of the slate by far at 29.4% and the only quarterback over the 20% threshold. He was the most popular player across all positions. It made sense because of the monster game he was coming off and the matchup against the Detroit Lions. Fields absolutely SMASHED once again by scoring 43.38 points and leading the way among all quarterbacks. Fields now has an absurd 89.1 points over his last two games. It was good enough to be in the winning Milly Maker lineup and the perfect lineup for a second straight week. His salary is certainly going to see a big spike again but it seems very likely he’ll be one of the chalkiest quarterbacks once again next week against the Atlanta Falcons. Only Patrick Mahomes (17.3%) and Tua Tagovailoa (14.1%) broke the 10% threshold aside from Fields. Both were great as Mahomes finished as the QB2 with 35.14 points and Tagovailoa finished as the QB4 with 23.40 points. At tight end, Greg Dulcich was the most popular play at 24.8% rostership. This was expected after he started his NFL career with three straight double-digit point performances with underlying usage metrics that were some of the best at the tight end position. He was a bust as he finished with only 2.10 points this week. Only Travis Kelce (16.0%), Cole Kmet (14.4%), and Foster Moreau (11.9%) checked in above the 10% threshold. All three of them played great as Kelce was the TE2 with 20.10 points, Kmet was the TE1 with 23.40 points, and Moreau was the TE6 with 13.30 points. Kmet was in both the perfect lineup and the winning Milly Maker lineup along with teammate Fields.
The Week 10 Leverage
Now that we have recapped the “chalky” plays and identified who they were, we can look at which plays represented the leverage plays off of those and how they performed. This is a very important process because knowing how to properly utilize leverage plays is crucial to becoming a better tournament DFS player. There are two main ways to gain leverage. The first way is to play one of their less popular teammates instead. This is a great way to gain leverage because they are directly negatively correlated in the sense that any stats that one gets are stats the other isn’t getting Had the news of Ezekiel Elliott been known more in advance, that would have likely pushed Tony Pollard to become the chalkiest player on the slate. Even still, he was the third-most-popular running back play and the sixth-most-popular player at any position. By using same-game leverage would have led us to use CeeDee Lamb as a great leverage play off of Pollard. This process was correct as Lamb clocked showed up on less than 4% of rosters. The results were amazing as well as he scored 41.00 points and was the WR1 on the slate. Lamb was in the perfect lineup. This is exactly what you’d hope for when playing a leverage piece like this. Pollard also smashed as well and so did tight end Dalton Schultz who made for a great leverage play too as he was under the 5% threshold. Dak Prescott double stacks with both Lamb and Schultz were a great way to build leverage stacks this week in tournaments. The second way to gain leverage would be to play different running backs in the same price range. This paid off much better this week as chalky plays like Derrick Henry, Alvin Kamara, Travis Etienne, and Dameon Pierce all disappointed. Saquon Barkley and Pollard both came through as chalky plays and Barkley was in both the perfect lineup and the winning Milly Maker lineup. However, pricepoint leverage came through in a huge way this week. Jonathan Taylor (9.6%), Dalvin Cook (1.3%), and Aaron Jones (2.0%) were the top-three scoring running backs on the slate with 27.30, 26.60, and 26.60 points respectively. Cook was the featured running back in this past week’s DFS Tournament Strategy article. I also mention every week in the article and on the podcast that you should be playing any stud running back who is checking in under 10% because they can overcome any matchup and that’s what we saw here with these three guys.
With three wide receivers checking in above the 20% threshold, let’s take a look at the leverage plays off of them. The best pricepoint leverage plays off Christian Kirk and JuJu Smith-Schuster was Gabe Davis. Davis scored 21.30 points and was only on 3.2% of rosters. The rest of the pricepoint leverage plays off of those guys were busts really and Kirk was a guy you wanted to play as he was in the winning Milly Maker lineup. The best pricepoint leverage plays off of Donovan Peoples-Jones turned out to be Christian Watson (2.4%) and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine (0.1%). Watson finished as the WR3 with 35.70 points and Westbrook-Ikhine finished as the WR5 with 31.90 points. Neither was in the winning Milly Maker lineup (since they were so obscure) but both were in the perfect lineup. Ultimately the best way to go, as we see more weeks than not, was to get leverage by playing off of popular running backs. Had you done this, it would have led you to CeeDee Lamb who was the top scoring wide receiver on the slate despite being on less than 4% of rosters. He was in the perfect lineup this week and was also a recommended play in this past week’s DFS Tournament Strategy article. Make sure you are reading that every week as there have been plenty of great recommendations including many players like Lamb who were in the perfect lineup and/or the winning Milly Maker lineup. Other successful recommendations included Trevor Lawrence (20.96 points - QB7 / 9.0%), Dalvin Cook (26.60 points - RB2 / 1.3%), Saquon Barkley (26.00 points - RB4 / 26.5%), Aaron Jones (26.60 points - RB2 / 2.0%), Davante Adams (30.60 points - WR6 / 5.0%), and CeeDee Lamb (41.00 points - WR1 / 4.0%) and Darnell Mooney. Had you used these guys, especially in the same lineups, or been overweight across all your builds, you probably had a pretty good day.
By Rob Norton
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