With our redesigned NFL Multi-Lineup Optimizer, it’s never been easier to add customization to your tournament lineups. In this series each week, I will walk through one optimizer rule I am setting up specific to the current slate in order to demonstrate some of the functionality. Hopefully, this article will inspire your imagination and prompt you to create your own custom rules!
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Week 3: Cardinals Leverage
Rule: Boost Kenyan Drake, limit Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins
If you open up NFL Player Models and start optimizing lineups without making any adjustments, the first thing you’ll notice is that the optimizer loves Kyler Murray this week. So much so that, as of Wednesday afternoon, nine of the top 10 optimal lineups on the DraftKings main slate not only feature Murray, they also pair him with two of his pass-catchers:
If we can expect the Cardinals’ passing game to be chalky as a result of their high ratings, we should be seeing flashbacks to Aaron Jones’ Week 2 performance. In Week 2, Jones was an obvious pivot off the extremely popular Davante Adams, as Jones’ fantasy production would have come indirectly at the expense of Adams.
We know the rest of the story: Adams left the game with a hamstring injury and Jones rushed for 168 yards with three total touchdowns, outscoring his teammate 48.6 to 6.6 on DraftKings. Of course, this is an extreme example, but we should still be looking for natural pivots, especially in large field tournament settings.
With that in mind, here is the Week 3 Rule of The Week:
For those of you who are unfamiliar with this feature, let’s translate the above rule into plain English:
Pair the Cardinals running back with zero passing game pieces (QB/WR/TE) from the same team.
Next, I boosted Kenyan Drake’s projection by clicking on the fire icon next to his name in Player Models:
What we’re doing here is pivoting from the Cardinals’ passing game to the running game. There are a few reasons for doing this:
- We can expect Drake to be rostered at a much lower rate than Kyler and even DeAndre Hopkins in Week 3. With 40 touches through two weeks, the workload has been there for Drake, but he has underperformed expectations. Meanwhile, Hopkins has commanded a massive target share and has exceeded 20 DraftKings points in each of the first two games.
- It’s no coincidence that Drake has struggled while Kyler and Hopkins have thrived. As a Cardinal, Drake has a -0.38 correlation with Kyler Murray. When Kyler does well, Drake tends to underperform, and vice versa.
- We are leveraging that negative correlation here. Touchdowns scored and yardage gained by Drake is opportunity taken away from the passing game. If Drake plays well on Sunday, we don’t just benefit from his fantasy output in a vacuum. We also benefit from potential fantasy output being taken away from the more popular Murray and Hopkins.
Pictured above: QB Kyler Murray (1) RB Kenyan Drake (41) of the Arizona Cardinals
Photo credit: MSA/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images