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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 8 "Perfect Lineup"
When looking at this week’s perfect lineup there are a few things that jump out. The first thing is the “naked” Justin Fields. Normally we talk about how important stacking and correlation is but that’s not always the case and wasn’t the case this week. Playing Fields “naked” means without any of his pass catchers. It is usually much more viable with running quarterbacks like Fields. The second thing that jumps out is that it was another week where the perfect lineup had a lot of chalky pieces in there. Tony Pollard was by far the most popular player at any position on the slate and came through in a big way with 36.7 points. This was the perfect case of Pollard being “good chalk” that you should be eating. D.J. Moore, D’Onta Foreman, and DeAndre Hopkins were also extremely chalky as all three were over 20% rostered and three of the top-ten most rostered players at any position. Alvin Kamara was somewhat chalky too checking in around 12.5% rostered. The third thing that jumped out to me was the fact there was almost no correlation at all this week and even saw some negative correlation between a running back and wide receiver from the same team and a running back with a defense. This was also another week with a running back in the flex. It made sense this week with how much great value there was at running back.
The Week 8 Winning "Milly Maker" Lineup:
The Week 8 Chalk
Heading into the slate, we expected running back rostership to be heavily concentrated into one players and that is exactly what we saw. Tony Pollard checked in at a massive 51.0% roster rate. He smashed as well going for 36.70 points and was in both the perfect lineup and the winning Milly Maker lineup. Raheem Mostert (23.2%), Derrick Henry (22.6%), and D’Onta Foreman (22.0%) all checked in over the 20% threshold. While Henry (38.80) and Foreman (34.80) both smashed, Mostert was a bust as he only scored 7.70 points. At wide receiver, there were five players that broke the 20% threshold. Tyreek Hill (28.8% / 34.50), D.J. Moore (27.6%, 30.50), Jaylen Waddle (23.5% / 33.60), and DeAndre Hopkins (21.6% / 36.90) all smashed as chalk wide receivers. Chris Olave (28.7%) was the only one to bust with only 10.20 points. This week almost all of the chalky wide receivers were busts.
When looking at quarterbacks, Tua Tagovailoa checked in as the “chalkiest” play of the slate by far at 21.2%. It made sense considering the matchup against the Lions. He performed well for all those that picked him by scoring 32.18 points. It was good enough to be in the winning Milly Maker lineup. There were no other quarterbacks to break the 10% roster threshold this week. At tight end, Irv Smith Jr. was the most popular play at 17.5% rostership. He was a bust as he finished with only 6.80 points this week. Only Mike Gesicki and T.J. Hockenson checked in above 10% rostered at 10.5% and 10.1% rostership respectively. Both of them were solid as Gesicki scored 12.80 points and was one of the best point-per-dollar tight ends this week while Hockenson scored 11.00 points himself. Gesicki was a featured recommendation in this past week’s DFS Tournament Strategy article so make sure to keep checking out each week’s article for more must-have tips and plays.
The Week 8 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, Tony Pollard was the most popular player 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. This would lead us to believe that CeeDee Lamb would then become a great leverage play off of Pollard. The process was correct as Lamb was only around 4.4% rostered. The results were solid as well as he scored 18.80 points. While it was a good game, it wasn’t the huge performance we would hope for and Pollard still had the huge game so it didn’t quite work out how we would hope. The second way to gain leverage would be to play different running backs in the same price range. Like last week, this wasn’t the way to go as not only was Pollard in both the perfect lineup and the winning Milly Maker lineup, but had you chosen to try to leverage Pollard with any of Raheem Mostert, Eno Benjamin, or Dameon Pierce, you would have been upset by the results.
As previously mentioned, four of the five most popular wide receivers not only had good games but they absolutely SMASHED. This basically kills all leverage plays, especially at the same price point since so many people rostered those players and they did so well that if you didn’t have them, you were basically dead. That being said, had you chosen to play A.J. Brown as pricepoint leverage off of DeAndre Hopkins, you wouldn’t have been upset. Brown was very close in salary and was the highest-scoring wide receiver on the slate as he put up 42.60 points and was only rostered on 8.7% of rosters. Rondale Moore ended up as another solid leverage play this week checking in at only 2.3% rostered and scoring 23.40 points. One leverage play that came through in a big way that I recommended in my article last week was Christian McCaffrey. He wasn’t in either the perfect lineup or the winning Milly Maker lineup but he was the RB2 with 40.26 points and only rostered in less than 10% of lineups. Other successful recommendations included Kirk Cousins (24.48 points - QB6 / 8.7%), Derrick Henry (38.80 points - RB3 / 22.6%), Cooper Kupp (22.90 points - WR7 / 9.3%), and Dalton Schultz (13.40 points - TE4 / 3.7%). 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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