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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 7 "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 Tyler Boyd. As mentioned last week, this trend will be very typical considering the strong positive correlation between a quarterback and his pass catchers. This is exactly why stacking is so important and of course, it was a Bengals stack in back-to-back weeks. It is very likely that a stack will be in the perfect lineup for more weeks than not. Joe Burrow is on fire right now so we’ll see if he can keep it up next week as he’ll likely be even more popular in tournaments next week. The second thing that jumps out is that, unlike last week, there was a ton of chalk in this lineup. The most notable of them are the running backs Josh Jacobs and Kenneth Walker III. They were the two most popular players on the entire slate at any position. It usually doesn’t work out that way that the most popular players are also in the perfect lineup. When it does happen, though, it is usually at the running back position. Sometimes it’s a good thing to eat the chalk, especially when it comes to the running back position. The third thing that is very noticeable is that the flex was a running back this week. All three running backs put up over 31 DraftKings points this week. Another big difference from last week was whereas last week the wide receivers were the better spend-up options, this week every other position was more of a spend-up while the receivers were the value options. In this week’s DFS Tournament Strategy article, I mentioned George Kittle as a great tournament option and that came through in a big way as he was in the perfect lineup this week. Looking ahead to next week, we’ll see if some of these trends stick moving forward or revert back to more of what we saw last week.
The Week 7 Winning "Milly Maker" Lineup:
The Week 7 Chalk
Heading into the slate, we expected running back rostership to be heavily concentrated into two players and that is exactly what we saw. Kenneth Walker III, and Josh Jacobs both saw more than 40% rostership. Both players smashed as Walker III scored 31.8 points and Jacobs was even better with 39.5 points. By doing so, it made it so that both were nearly necessary as we saw both in the perfect lineup and Jacobs in the winning Milly Maker lineup. Leonard Fournette was really the only true running back bust as he scored 4.60 points for 11.1% of rosters. At wide receiver, there was only one that topped the 25% threshold and that was the player we expected, CeeDee Lamb. Lamb showed up across 26.6% of lineups and was more of a bust than not as he only scored 10.6 points, sinking most of those lineups in the process. This week almost all of the chalky wide receivers were busts. The only one that wasn’t was Ja’Marr Chase who put up 36 points and was the fourth-most popular wide receiver at 15.5%.
When looking at quarterbacks, Joe Burrow checked in as the “chalkiest” play on 17.0% of rosters. Despite that, he performed up to par with 42.24 points and showed up in both the winning Milly Maker lineup and the perfect lineup. It makes sense that he was the chalkiest considering his performance last week and his stacking options. Only Dak Prescott was even rostered in more than 10% of rosters and he ended up being a bust with only 12.28 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 Cade Otton and Foster Moreau checked in above 10% rostered at 12.0% and 11.2% rostership respectively. Otton returned solid value with 10.40 points whereas Moreau was a bust with only 5.80 points.
The Week 7 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, Walker III and Jacobs 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 Davante Adams as a great leverage play off of Jacobs on the DFS Predators podcast. The process was correct as Adams was only around 8.6% rostered but the results weren’t as he only put up 17.50 points. That’s certainly a good game but he didn’t have a monster game and leverage Jacobs the way we had hoped for. The same goes for D.K. Metcalf as he got hurt and busted any lineups that used him as leverage off of Walker III. The second way to gain leverage would be to play different running backs in the same price range. This certainly wasn’t the way to go this week considering both Walker III and Jacobs were in the perfect lineup so playing a different running back in the same price range wasn’t advantageous this week, even if they were solid.
Two of the best price-point leverage plays at wide receiver turned out to be Mike Evans and Terry McLaurin. Both were direct leverage plays to the extremely popular CeeDee Lamb and Tyler Lockett in the same salary ranges and both produced well as Evans scored 18.60 points and McLaurin scored 18.30 points despite being less than 9.4% and 4.0% rostered respectively. Two leverage plays that came through that I recommended in my article last week were Derrick Henry and George Kittle. As previously mentioned, Henry was in the winning Milly Maker lineup with 19.80 points while Kittle scored 21.80 points and was in the perfect lineup. Other successful recommendations included Daniel Jones (31.78 points - QB2 / 1.9%), Austin Ekeler (36.70 points - RB2 / 11.9%), and George Kittle (15.80 points - TE2 / 6.9%). 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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