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 long term.
With no big score of my own in Week 2, let’s get back to our usual process of breaking down the million-dollar winning lineup. This week, we’re looking at the standard $20 contest, though we’ll occasionally vary from time to time in order to understand optimal strategy in different contests.
Our winner this week was SportsKing101, who took down the 150-max contest with just five lineups. You love to see it.
SportsKing101 took down a close one, with two fourth-quarter touchdowns from Daniel Jones sending them into first place.
Let’s see how they did it.
After getting shut out in Week 1, there wasn’t a ton of interest in the Giants heading into the week. Daniel Jones was getting some steam as a potential cash game punt, but almost nobody wanted to play him or the Giants stacks in GPPs.
That was a pretty obvious mistake in retrospect, especially against a bad Cardinals defense. I even mentioned in my Week 2 breakdown how the Cardinals have historically been vulnerable in the middle of the field, where tight ends and running backs run routes.
That’s exactly how SportsKing101 built this lineup, eschewing the usual WR-led stack in favor of pairing Jones with tight end Darren Waller and running back Saquon Barkley. They each caught six passes on Sunday, tied for the team lead.
While it wasn’t a blow-up game for Waller, getting to double-digit points on what proved to be a very weak slate for tight ends was huge, especially at five percent ownership. Barkley beat out Christian McCaffrey for the best running back score on the slate, thanks in part to the touchdown pass he caught from Jones.
Notable, this lineup didn’t feature a bringback from the Cardinals. This worked out despite their 28-point score, as no single player went for multiple touchdowns. It’s important to keep in mind how concentrated offenses are since spread-out units like this can have strong real-life games without providing much fantasy value.
SportsKing101 used three running backs in this lineup, a strategy that has fallen out of favor for tournaments. Broadly speaking, wide receivers have higher ceiling projections, so players prioritize fourth wideouts.
However, all three running backs in this lineup involved correlation with other pieces. We already touched on Saquon as part of the main stack. On top of that, he paired Rachaad White with the Bucs defense. Both of those pieces were projecting as strong values at their respective positions and were also likely to have their good games at the same time. A Tampa lead meant more opportunities for defensive scoring and more carried for White.
They also rostered Zack Moss — who returned from injury to dominate the Colts backfield — with Nico Collins of the Texans. This was also a sharp pairing, as the Colts controlling the game means more running on their side and more passing from the Texans.
This lineup did a masterful job of finding good plays without playing into much chalk. The most popular player in this one was White, whose ownership paled in comparison to other cheap running back plays like Josh Kelley. Additionally, by pairing White with the Bucs defense, SportsKing101 lowered the overall popularity of those “players” as a group.
Keenan Allen was somewhat popular but not nearly as popular as he should’ve been. I mentioned in the main slate breakdown that Allen was likely to be the bigger beneficiary of Austin Ekeler’s absence — since Allen runs similar low-aDOT routes — than Kelley. That proved to be true, with Allen catching eight of ten targets for over 100 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
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The only player on this lineup we haven’t discussed is Christian Kirk. Kirk was the odd man out for the Jaguars in Week 1, as he was out-targeted by both Calvin Ridley and Zay Jones. Not so in Week 2, where Kirk led the team with 11 catches for 110 yards.
While it didn’t pan out that way, it made sense to get exposure to an expected shootout between the Chiefs and the Jaguars. Perhaps the field got a bit overconfident on who the top option in Jacksonville was following a down game from Kirk last week.
I have a feeling the target distribution for the Jaguars will be a challenge to decipher all season, so perhaps the sharpest strategy is mixing and matching exposure to each of them.
SportsKing101 had two lineups each with Kirk and Ridley, putting himself in position to succeed even if Ridley led the way in Week 2.