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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 12 "Perfect Lineup"
When looking at this week’s perfect lineup we got a Trevor Lawrence to Zay Jones stack with a Josh Oliver runback. While a Lawrence stack makes sense, Oliver only made his way onto .03% of rosters so that was highly unexpected. The first thing that jumps out is that this week the perfect lineup left $2,000 on the table! That’s a huge amount and the most I remember ever seeing. The second thing that jumps out was that it was much chalkier than most weeks and especially last week. While last week there were no players above the 10% roster rate threshold, this week saw Tee Higgins (24.36%), Garrett Wilson (14.80%), and James Conner (10.40%) all break that mark. Even Chris Godwin (8.75%) was on more rosters than the chalkiest piece from last week. The third thing that jumped out to me was that it was another pretty balanced week in terms of the build. It paid off to pay up at defense as well as Miami Dolphins DST was one of the most expensive options. Josh Jacobs was the only player above $7,000 to make his way into the perfect lineup this week.
The Week 12 Winning "Milly Maker" Lineup:
The Week 12 Chalk
Heading into the slate it was expected that running back rostership would be heavily concentrated into three main players. That is exactly what happened on this slate. Jeff Wilson Jr. (54.45%), Rachaad White (44.44%), and Kenneth Walker III (28.26%) were the main chalky running backs this week. White ended up being the best of the group with 19.90 points and finishing as the RB7 on the slate. Walker III wasn’t too far behind with 16.90 points as the RB9. Wilson Jr. looked like he could be on his way to a nice game but unfortunately left with an injury. He did score 12.20 points before departing. There were five other running backs that broke the 10% threshold including Latavius Murray (15.00%), Michael Carter (13.97%), Samaje Perine (13.39%), Austin Ekeler (10.69%), and James Conner (10.40%). Ekeler, Conner, and Perine all performed well with 25.00, 25.00, and 19.30 points respectively. Conner was in both the perfect lineup and the winning Milly Maker lineup. Meanwhile, Murray was mediocre and Carter was a bust before getting injured himself. At wide receiver, there were only two players that broke the 20% threshold. Tee Higgins (24.36%), Keenan Allen (22.17%), and DeAndre Hopkins (20.77%) were the chalkiest receivers on the slate. All three had good games and scored more than 15 points but Higgins was the best with 27.40 as the WR3. He was good enough to be in the perfect lineup this week. There were eleven more wide receivers who were rostered in at least 10% of lineups. The most notable of those was Garrett Wilson (14.8%) who finished as the WR4 with 26.40 points and was in both the perfect lineup and the winning Milly Maker lineup. Treylon Burks (13.1%) also finished as the WR9 with 17.00 points and was in the winning Milly Maker lineup along with Wilson.
This week we saw quarterback rostership be a bit more spread out than in recent weeks but Joe Burrow (15.54%) checked in as the chalkiest quarterback on the slate. Burrow had a fine game with 18.00 points but was only the QB10 on the slate. Geno Smith (14.39%), Tua Tagovailoa (13.85%), Justin Herbert (10.87%), and Patrick Mahomes (10.33%) all broke the 10% threshold aside from Burrow. That was up from last week when only three quarterbacks broke that threshold. Herbert was the best of the bunch with 28.76 points as the QB2. At tight end, Mark Andrews (17.4%) clocked in as the chalkiest play this week. It made sense as his salary was down due to a recent injury and there were plenty of great, cheap running back plays this week. He was a bust as he finished with only 11.00 points this week as the TE8. It could be worse but considering the salary, it was a big disappointment. Only Travis Kelce (16.84%) checked in above the 10% threshold aside from Andrews. Kelce finished as the TE3 with 15.70 points which is certainly good but a little disappointing for “Travis Kelce” standards.
The Week 12 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 Jeff Wilson Jr. and Rachaad White projected to be, by far, the chalkiest players on the slate that would lead us to the group of Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, Chris Godwin, and Mike Evans as amazing leverage plays. Early in the week, Godwin and Evans didn’t look like leverage plays but as soon as Leonard Fournette was ruled out, White became extremely chalky and flipped Godwin from a chalky play to a great leverage play. 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. It is also why monitoring news every day becomes so crucial. The second way to gain leverage would be to play different players in the same price range. This wasn’t as successful this week considering the chalky running backs did well and the running backs that truly smashed weren’t in the same salary range.
The best pricepoint leverage off of Wilson Jr. and White proved to be Brian Robinson. Robinson was extremely contrarian as he was on less than 1% of rosters. He finished with 23.50 points and was the RB4 on the slate. With the running back rostership being so heavy into two or three guys and with Tee Higgins (24.36%) and Keenan Allen (22.17%) being so chalky, it actually flipped Austin Ekeler (10.69%) from early week chalky player to great leverage play. He came through, as he usually does, with 25.00 points as the RB2 on the slate. One of the best leverage plays at quarterback turned out to be Trevor Lawrence (2.06%). Heading into the week it was expected that Travis Etienne would be one of the chalkiest running backs. Playing Lawrence would give you direct leverage off of Etienne. Although Etienne lost a bit of steam with the late rise of Wilson Jr. and White, Lawrence was still very contrarian. He wasn’t in the winning Milly Maker lineup but he was in the perfect lineup and was the QB1 on the week with 28.94 points. Lawrence 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 Lawrence and Lawrence stacks, you would have made some good money this weekend. Other successful recommendations included Justin Herbert (28.76 points - QB2 / 10.97%) and D.K. Metcalf (20.00 points - WT7 / 10.39%). 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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