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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 9 "Perfect Lineup"
When looking at this week’s perfect lineup we got back to that sweet correlation we love to see. Justin Fields to Cole Kmet with a correlated Tyreek Hill is a thing of beauty. That’s a great way to start building a lineup most weeks so it was nice to see it in the perfect lineup. The second thing that jumps out is that it was another week where the perfect lineup had a lot of chalky pieces in there. Justin Fields (14.2%) and Joshua Palmer (32.2%) were both the most popular players at their respective positions. Joe Mixon (12.2%), Kenneth Walker III (13.6%), Tyreek Hill (14.9%), and the New England Patriots DST (10.2%) were all over that 10% threshold and all four were among the top eight most popular plays at their respective positions. The third thing that jumped out to me was the fact that paying up at wide receiver this week and getting the middle 6k value running backs was the way to go. This was somewhat expected as most of the great value running backs were all in that 6k range and were going to be very chalky which is ultimately what happened and it came through. The interesting part of this, though, was that even though the chalky running backs all mostly smashed, the perfect lineup ended up being a double tight end build. This isn’t something that usually happens and I doubt we’ll see it too often in the perfect lineup.
The Week 9 Winning "Milly Maker" Lineup:
The Week 9 Chalk
Heading into the slate, we expected running back rostership to be heavily concentrated into a core group of players and that is exactly what we saw. Two players, in particular, were expected to clearly lead the way and they did Rhamondre Stevenson checked in at a massive 40.5% roster rate and Travis Etienne was nipping at his heels at 39.3%. Both of them performed admirably as Stevenson scored 16.00 points and Etienne racked up 29.60 points. Aaron Jones (24.8%) and Austin Ekeler (24.1%) were the other two over the 20% threshold. While Ekeler had a great game with 25.10 points, Jones was a bust as he only scored 6.50 points and got banged up in the process. There were five other running backs that broke the 10% threshold including Joe Mixon and Kenneth Walker III who were both in the perfect lineup as well as the winning Milly Maker lineup. At wide receiver, there were only two players that broke the 20% threshold. Joshua Palmer (32.2%) and DeAndre Hopkins (20.9%) were the chalkiest receivers on the slate. This was somewhat expected as we mentioned on this past week’s DFS Predators podcast that wide receiver rostership was expected to be pretty flat this week. Palmer performed well with 21.60 points whereas Hopkins was a bit underwhelming at 13.60 points. While there were only two wide receivers who broke the 20% threshold, there were nine more who were rostered in at least 10% of lineups.
When looking at quarterbacks, Justin Fields checked in as the “chalkiest” play of the slate by far at 14.2% and the only quarterback over the 10% threshold. It was a bit unexpected because while Fields was expected to be one of the chalkier plays Josh Allen and Aaron Rodgers both entered the week with higher rostership projections. Fields absolutely SMASHED by scoring 45.72 points and leading the way among all quarterbacks. It was good enough to be in the winning Milly Maker lineup and the perfect lineup. At tight end, Evan Engram was the most popular play at 22.3% rostership. Engram picked up a ton of steam late in the week because he was projected to be around 7% rostered when I wrote this past week’s DFS Tournament Strategy article. He was a bust as he finished with only 1.80 points this week. Only Robert Tonyan and Gerald Everett checked in above 10% rostered at 12.7% and 11.6% rostership respectively. Tonyan was expected to be pretty chalky but Everett caught some extremely late steam as he was projected to be under 8% even as late as Friday night. Both of them were busts as Tonyan only scored 5.90 points and Everett only had 8.60 points himself.
The Week 9 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 Christian Kirk would then become a great leverage play off of not only Etienne but also Engram, both of whom were among the most popular at their position. The process was correct as Kirk was only 10.0% rostered compared to 39.3% for Etienne and 22.3% for Engram. The results were great as well as he scored 21.10 points and was in the winning Milly Maker lineup. This is exactly what you’d hope for when playing a leverage piece like this. The interesting part was that Etienne also smashed too but since Engram was a massive bust, it made Kirk an even better play. 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 Etienne awesome but so were Mixon and Walker III and both of them were in the same price range and chalky as well. All the chalky running backs in that price range were awesome and should have been played. Had you tried to get different with any of Leonard Fournette, D’Andre Swift, Raheem Mostert, D’Onta Foreman, or David Montgomery in that same price range to get leverage that way, you would have been very disappointed with the results.
Between the two extremely chalky wide receivers of Palmer and Hopkins, there ended up being a few interesting leverage plays off of them. The best pricepoint leverage plays off them were Christian Kirk and Davante Adams and boy did they both pay off in a huge way. Adams was in the perfect lineup while Kirk was in the winning Milly Maker lineup. Adams was actually one leverage play that came through in a big way that I recommended in my article last week. He was only rostered on 6.9% of lineups and was in the perfect lineup. Adams finished with 39.60 points and was the WR1 on the slate. James Conner represented an interesting leverage play off of Hopkins as well as he was coming back from injury and was directly negatively correlated to Hopkins. People were going to shy away but he was cheap at only $5,800. He had only a solid game with 11.40 points but the process behind the play made sense as he was only on 0.4% of rosters. Other successful recommendations included Joe Burrow (19.14 points - QB6 / 9.2%), Derek Carr (18.36 points - QB7 / 2.3%), and Darnell Mooney (17.50 points - WR11 / 8.5%). 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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