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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 11 "Perfect Lineup"
When looking at this week’s perfect lineup we got a Jacoby Brissett to Amari Cooper stack. That’s probably the first and last time I’ll be saying that in this spot. Unfortunately, it came a week too late as I had Brissett as a recommended play last week. The second thing that jumps out is that this week the perfect lineup was EXTREMELY contrarian. There were no players above the 10% roster rate threshold. The Washington Commanders DST was the most popular play in the lineup and they only checked in at 6.62%. Only Tony Pollard (5.64%) was even above the 5% roster rate threshold. It’s also extremely interesting to see so much salary left on the board. $1,100 left on the board is the most I’ve seen in a while from a perfect lineup. The third thing that jumped out to me was that it was a week to be pretty balanced in the build. Davante Adams was really the only expensive option in the lineup. Samaje Perine was the type of hail-mary play that almost never comes through but did this week after Joe Mixon left the game with a concussion.
The Week 11 Winning "Milly Maker" Lineup:
The Week 11 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 Gus Edwards was going to sit again threw a wrench into it because it was going to make Kenyan Drake pretty chalky. We ultimately saw four running backs become very chalky and they were Drake (23.2%), Brian Robinson Jr. (22.9%), Saquon Barkley (21.2%), and David Montgomery (21.0%). Montgomery was the only one that came through with 21.10 points. He was even in the winning Milly Maker lineup. Meanwhile, Drake, Robinson Jr., and Barkley were letdowns with only 7.30, 5.70, and 5.50 points respectively. There were seven other running backs that broke the 10% threshold including Rhamondre Stevenson (14.5%), Cordarrelle Patterson (13.4%), Dameon Pierce (11.5%), Devin Singletary (11.3%), Jonathan Taylor (11.2%), Antonio Gibson (11.1%), and Joe Mixon (10.6%). Only Taylor and Singletary performed well with 17.40 and 17.70 points respectively. Meanwhile, the rest of the group were either busts or just mediocre. At wide receiver, there were only two players that broke the 20% threshold. CeeDee Lamb (28.7%) and Stefon Diggs (23.4%) were the chalkiest receivers on the slate, as expected. Lamb was a major bust with only 9.50 points and Diggs was mostly a bust as well with only 14.80 points. Diggs still finish as the WR10 on the slate as it was extremely low-scoring. There were twelve more wide receivers who were rostered in at least 10% of lineups. The most notable of those was Tee Higgins (14.1%) who finished as the WR3 with 26.80 points. Donovan Peoples-Jones (14.4%) also finished as the WR8 with 17.10 points and was in the winning Milly Maker lineup along with Diggs.
For the third straight week, Justin Fields (23.8%) checked in as the chalkiest quarterback of the slate by far, the second chalkiest player at any position, and the only quarterback over the 20% threshold. It made sense considering the last two games and the matchup against the Atlanta Falcons. Fields didn’t smash the way he has recently but he still finished as the QB5 with 23.62 points. Only Josh Allen (14.9%) and Dak Prescott (11.5%) broke the 10% threshold aside from Fields. Allen was a massive bust as he only scored 12.58 points. Prescott, on the other hand, performed fine as he finished as the QB8 with 20.64 points. At tight end, Cole Kmet (18.5%) clocked in as the chalkiest play this week. This was a little bit of a surprise although he was expected to be one of the most popular considering his recent performances and his correlation with Fields. He was a bust as he finished with only 6.50 points this week. Only Dalton Schultz (18.4%), Greg Dulcich (15.2%), and Dawson Knox (11.0%) checked in above the 10% threshold. Schultz and Dulcich were both busts with 5.20 and 7.00 points respectively. Knox, on the other hand, was the TE2 with 14.00 points and in the winning Milly Maker lineup this week.
The Week 11 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. With CeeDee Lamb not only projected to be the chalkiest player on the slate but actually coming in as the chalkiest player at any position, this would lead us to play Tony Pollard as one of the best leverage plays on the entire slate. This was especially true with Ezekiel Elliott returning so people would be shying away from Pollard this week. I mentioned Pollard as a running back to consider in this past week’s DFS Tournament Strategy article and boy did that pay off in a big way. Not only did Pollard show up on only 5.6% of rosters (compared to 28.7% with Lamb), but he was the top scoring running back on the slate and was in the perfect lineup this week. It’s very interesting because this was the exact opposite of last week when Lamb smashed as a leverage play off of a chalky Pollard. These are the types of things that can swing so drastically from week to week in DFS and why understanding leverage and rostership projections are extremely important. The second way to gain leverage would be to play different players in the same price range. This paid off again this week and probably even better as most of the chalky plays were busts in what turned out to be a very low-scoring week. Pollard (5.6%), Samaje Perine (0.1%), Najee Harris (3.9%), and Jamaal Williams (1.4%) were the top-four scoring running backs on the slate with 39.90, 30.20, 27.60, and 24.40 points respectively. Pollard and Williams presented both game leverage as well as pricepoint leverage while Harris was more of a game leverage play. Perine was simply a fluky situation of a backup taking over and producing mid-game.
The best pricepoint leverage off of Lamb proved to be Tee Higgins. Higgins was somewhat chalky himself at 14.1% but that was only on about half as many rosters as Lamb and he scored nearly three times as many points. With Kenyan Drake (23.2%) coming in extremely chalky after Gus Edwards was ruled inactive, it made Devin Duvernay and Demarcus Robinson as great leverage plays in theory. In practice, Duvernay turned out to be a massive bust while Robinson was the one who came through. Robinson finished as the WR4 on the slate with 24.80 points and was in the perfect lineup. One of the best leverage plays at quarterback turned out to be Joe Burrow (9.3%). Heading into the week it was expected that Joe Mixon would be one of the chalkiest running backs. Dak Prescott was also expected to be one of the chalkiest quarterbacks. Playing Burrow gave you both game leverage off of Mixon and pricepoint leverage off of Prescott. He is also easy to stack with three clear options. Burrow wasn’t in the perfect lineup nor the winning Milly Maker lineup but he was the QB1 on the week and was also a featured 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 and had you played Burrow and Burrow stacks, you would have made some good money this weekend. Other successful recommendations included Daniel Jones (29.64 points - QB3 / 9.8%), Jonathan Taylor (17.40 points - RB9 / 11.2%), Tony Pollard (39.90 points - RB1 / 5.6%), Tee Higgins (26.80 points - WR3 / 14.1%), Davante Adams (36.10 points - WR1 / 1.4%), and Chris Olave (24.20 points - WR5 / 2.6%). 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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