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Author's Note: Every week, millions of people play daily fantasy sports (DFS) in hopes of making a lot of money. The quickest way to do that is by entering guaranteed prize pool (GPP) tournaments. There are countless tournaments with different payout structures on different websites, but the idea remains the same: try to create the perfect lineup, or at least something close to it. In this weekly recap article, we'll take a closer look at winning lineups from the biggest prize tournaments in DFS, specifically the DraftKings "Millionaire Maker," and the strategies and tactics that were used to win.. We'll also take a look at how the 'chalk' (popular plays) and 'leverage' (contrarian plays) did, and reflect on those. This should give us a good idea of trends and takeaways to implement moving forward, all in our pursuit of that perfect lineup.
The Week 6 "Perfect Lineup"
When looking at this week’s perfect lineup there are a few things that jump out. The first thing is the Cincinnati Bengals stack of Joe Burrow to Ja’Marr Chase. This is a trend that is going to be very typical considering the strong positive correlation between a quarterback and his pass catchers. This is exactly why stacking is so important. We’ll continue to monitor this in the coming weeks, but it’s very likely that it will happen most weeks. The second thing that jumps out is that there is really only one true “chalky” play: Stefon Diggs at 25.4% rostership. Diggs was the second-most popular play at wide receiver behind only Tyler Lockett. Chase could be considered “chalky” as well at 14.8% rostership and the eighth-most popular wide receiver play. That being said, he was the only other player in the perfect lineup rostered in at least 9% of lineups. The third thing that is very noticeable is that the flex is a wide receiver. In addition to that, the wide receivers were the better pay-up options. In the DFS Predators: DraftKings Week 6 Tournament Strategy podcast we talked about how we felt it was better to pay up at running back this week considering paying down at running back was going to be so popular. That turned out to not be the case, although the pay-down running backs in the perfect lineup were not the popular pay-down running back choices. Looking ahead to next week, we’ll see if these trends stick moving forward.
The Week 6 Winning "Milly Maker" Lineup:
The Week 6 Chalk
Heading into the slate, we expected running back rostership to be heavily concentrated into about four players and that is mostly what we saw. Between Eno Benjamin, Rhamondre Stevenson, Kenneth Walker III, and Darrell Henderson they saw a cumulative 125% rostership. Benjamin and Stevenson particularly stuck out at 46.1% and 39.5% respectively. Benjamin was a massive bust scoring only 9.50 points. By doing so, he essentially busted nearly half of all the lineups in the contest. Stevenson was perfectly fine scoring 25.10 points. Both Walker III and Henderson had respectable games with 19.00 and 13.20 respectively. Aside from Benjamin, the only running back to truly bust was Jeff Wilson Jr. but he was rostered on only 9.4% of rosters. At wide receiver, there were only two that topped the 25% threshold and they were Diggs and Lockett. Lockett, like Benjamin, was a massive bust scoring only 3.70 points and busting 30% of lineups in the process. Diggs was awesome with 33.80 points and showing up in the perfect lineup. There were 10 more wide receivers that showed up on at least 10% of rosters. The most notable of those was Chase who scored 35.20 points and showed up on both the perfect lineup and the million-dollar winning lineup.
When looking at quarterbacks, Josh Allen checked in as the “chalkiest” play on 24.8% of rosters. He certainly didn’t disappoint scoring 30.36 points. Only two other quarterbacks were even rostered on at least 10% of teams and they were Geno Smith and Tom Brady at 16.5% and 13.2% rostership respectively. Both were busts as Smith only scored 12.68 points while Brady scored 13.72 points. At tight end, Zach Ertz was the most popular play at 17.9% rostership. He was fine but nothing special as he scored his typical 14.00 points. Only Mark Andrews and Travis Kelce checked in above 10% rostered at 15.9% and 11.7% rostership respectively. Both of them performed very well as Andrews scored 26.60 points while Kelce scored 22.20 points. All three of these tight ends certainly were worth rostering, especially given the landscape of tight end.
The Week 6 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. As previously mentioned, Benjamin and Stevenson were the most popular plays across all positions. 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. Heading into the week we mentioned Jakobi Meyers as a great leverage play off of Stevenson. The process was correct as Meyers was only around 4.6% rostered but the results weren’t as he only put up 10.00 points. The same goes for Marquise Brown as he was less than 15% rostered but only produced 11.80 points. Brown was a great leverage play in that he provided leverage off both Benjamin as well as the very popular Rondale Moore. The second way to gain leverage would be to play a different running back in the same price range. This turned out to be vital this week with Deon Jackson. He was only 8.5% rostered but showed up in both the perfect lineup as well as the Milly Maker lineup. Jackson was also the top scoring running back on the entire slate and was only 8.5% rostered. Playing him instead of Benjamin proved to be a critical move for hitting big.
Two of the best price-point leverage plays at wide receiver turned out to be Brandon Aiyuk and JuJu Smith-Schuster. Both were direct leverage plays to the extremely popular Lockett in the same salary range and both produced in a big way as Aiyuk scored 28.30 points and Smith-Schuster scored 25.30 points despite being less than 4% rostered each. Both of them were in the winning Milly Maker lineup while Aiyuk was also in the perfect lineup. Two leverage plays that came through that I recommended in my article last week were Mark Andrews and Joe Burrow. Andrews ended up becoming a bit more popular as the week moved on and more value plays opened up at running back and wide receiver but he finished as the highest-scoring tight end on the entire slate with 26.60 points. Burrow, however, stayed fairly unpopular at only 4.5% rostered. He became a vital play as he was part of both the perfect lineup as well as the Milly Maker winning lineup. Other successful recommendations included Christian McCaffrey (22.80 points - RB4 / 1.9%), Leonard Fournette (22.10 points - RB6 / 7.8%), and George Kittle (16.30 points - TE5 / 6.1%). 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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