As DFS players, we spend most of our time looking forward to the next slate, the next season, etc. Equally important, though, is looking back. Figuring out the thought process that leads to winning lineups is crucial. That’s what makes us better players in the long term.
We had a very interesting lineup take down the flagship $20 millionaire maker contest this week. Player “jarussell1025” didn’t follow most of the “rules” for GPP lineups — but is still a million dollars richer with just a single lineup. Let’s see how they did it and whether there are any lessons to be learned or if this was just a fluke.
The most noteworthy part of this lineup is the lack of a traditional stack, where a quarterback is paired with one or more of their receivers. Generally, we prefer to correlate quarterbacks with their pass catchers, since they have to throw the ball to somebody in order to score on their own..
However, there are a few exceptions where that can make sense. The first is when a quarterback produces much of their scoring with their legs. Justin Fields was a great example of that this week — 13.4 of his 24.16 DraftKings points were produced from rushing, and no pass catcher topped 100 yards or multiple touchdowns.
The other instance where rostering a quarterback “naked” makes sense is when they play for an offense with a wide distribution of production. That was the case for Purdy, whose four primary targets all have a target share of at least 15%. They all also cost at least $6,300, making it hard to pick out one or two that would pay off their salaries.
Those four primary receivers were the only players on San Francisco to catch a pass in Week 11. Three of the four caught a touchdown, with nobody catching more than one. While Brandon Aiyuk could’ve fit in some winning lineups with 29.6 DraftKings points — and was in three of the top five lineups — that wasn’t quite a “must have” score at his $7,200 salary
There were multiple non-QB stacks in this lineup, though. It used both Tank Dell and Devin Singletary for the Texans. Houston was favored in the highest total game on Sunday. Their offense looked to be extremely concentrated between Dell in the passing game and Singletary on the ground — making it possible for both players to have big days without bringing their quarterback along. This is the inverse of the 49ers situation, where a tightly concentrated offense can be built around without the quarterback.
We’ll talk about the Bills’ pieces when we get to the “sleeper” section below.
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It’s never a bad time to play Tyreek Hill, and “Cheetah” delivered again in Week 11. Hill was somewhat chalky at 17.8%, though that’s actually relatively low compared to what we normally see from top receivers in basically any scoring system.
The Hill play also necessitated two cheap running backs. With Singletary already mentioned above, that left Brian Robinson of the Commanders as the fairly obvious choice. No other backs in that salary range projected nearly as well as Singletary and Robinson. I’d speculate that pairing Singletary with Dell also lowered the effective ownership of those players as a stack, which also helps out here.
Finally, DJ Moore was another midrange player who stood out in his price range. Moore and Dell were two of the top options in the $5,000 salary range, and Dell was already in this lineup.
My guess is that jarussel1025 was also building around a blowout narrative for the Bills, one of the more heavily favored teams on the slate. That explains including secondary passing options for Buffalo in Dalton Kincaid and Khalil Shakir. That makes perfect sense, as those players could see an uptick in usage if Buffalo rolls the Jets. Or, they assumed Stefon Diggs would be locked down by the Jets’ Sauce Gardner, forcing targets elsewhere.
Either way, the speedster Shakir caught just three passes — but they went for 115 yards and a score. He’s one of a few players like that who should be in weekly consideration. Receivers like Shakir and Rashid Shaheed (among others) have a floor of almost nothing but a large weekly ceiling since they can pay off their salary on one play.
Kincaid was….fine. Rostering Kincaid over the more popular — and better projecting — Trey McBride was arguably a mistake here. McBride cost less salary and scored considerably more. However, I’ll never fault anyone for fading the chalky tight end.
Finally, getting up to Dallas was somewhat contrarian. They were clearly one of the best defenses on the slate against a dysfunctional Panthers offense. Paying up for defense is usually somewhat contrarian, and this week was no different.