On Sunday, a team being implied to score the third most points on the slate won a few lucky users $1 Million, and it was the first time a stack of a team with a higher implied total than 23.5-points won these flagship contests in 2018. In Week 1, the Buccaneers stack took down both sites (20 implied points) and last week the Vikings’ double stack won all the money (23.5 implied points). In Week 3, the game with the highest implied total (over/under of 54 at closing) finally lived up to its billing. Onto our NFL DFS GPP Recaps.
Note: “FD” refers to FanDuel and “DK” refers to DraftKings throughout this piece
A person who goes by the username “dacoltz” took down FD’s Sunday Million contest by using a double stack, making this the second consecutive week that strategy won the contest. “dacoltz” deployed Matt Ryan with two of his team’s receivers: Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley. Even though Jones let the 18.3-percent of users who rostered him down a bit, he was at least productive enough (five receptions (RECs) on six targets for 96 yards) to still propel the “dacoltz” lineup that used the slate-breaking Ridley to $1 Million. Unlike some previous lineups, this lineup was not exactly oozing with correlations, as it was essentially a Falcons double stack ran back with Alvin Kamara and then a littering of uncorrelated one-offs. The truly gutsy play here was the Bills defense at 0.7-percent on a team that was listed as 16.5-point underdogs. Once Kirk Cousins lost those fumbles in the first quarter, setting up a big lead for the Bills, the game flow became favorable for this team and they never let up. Here is the lineup that earned him/her top prize:
For what it is worth, the DailyRoto’s model was all over players including in the winning lineup. Alvin Kamara rated as DailyRoto’s number one running back (RB) value on FD, Travis Kelce rated as the number one tight end (TE), Jones rated as our number one receiver value and Matt Ryan rated as our number four quarterback (QB) value (and second on DK). In mass-multi entry builds, these players would have been scattered throughout. Our optimizer is very easy to customize and it is interesting to see how close fantasy owners could have come in just a few clicks. By simply limiting public exposure in a lineup to 100-percent on our optimizer, boosting the Falcons’ implied team total and specifying two receivers alongside QBs within a stack, this is the top optimal lineup that would have shown with Alvin Kamara:
In other words, with a bit of customization, fantasy owners could have come to a very similar conclusion to this lineup. However, as Mike Leone pointed out our low projection on Calvin Ridley proved to be a costly one.
In the FD Blitz ($200,000 to first), user “keds” won with an incredibly similar lineup to the $1 Million lineup:
The plays that stand out here are the 1.1-percent owned Rams Defense and the 1.6-percent owned Ted Ginn Jr. Reports of Cameron Meredith acting as the starter opposite Michael Thomas emerged pre-kickoff so the Ginn Jr. play certainly took guts…and paid off due to one scoring play (and not even in the usual taking the top off the defense fashion fantasy owners have become accustomed to with Ginn Jr.). Even though the Rams lost a few starting corners this week due to injury, the defense still produced for the few who took a chance on them as they scored on a blocked punt. This was one of those scenarios where the Gurley/Rams defense correlation paid off as the team was playing from ahead and the defensive TD did not take away from the offense enough to slow down Gurley. In the first three weeks, this is the first time the RB/defense correlation has led to shipping any of these tournaments analyzed in the article.
On the other hand, the key to winning $1 Million on DK proved to be similar to the construction on FD, except with three top backs and all the cheap wide receivers (WRs). Instead of using the chalky mid-tier backs (31.0-percent owned Corey Clement, 26.4-percent owned Latavius Murray and 22.4-percent owned Kareem Hunt), user “TheHodgesFactor” rolled out three top-tier backs (Kamara, Saquon Barkley and Ezekiel Elliott) alongside a trio of inexpensive receivers (Ridley, Robert Woods and Tyler Boyd). The roster construction itself was a prime example of game theory because most spent down at the positions where “TheHodgesFactor” decided to instead spend up. Amazingly, the roster construction was so strong that it was able to withstand rostering a chalky Eric Ebron who failed to reach 8.5 fantasy points:
In the DK Play Action contest ($100,000 to first), user “BemoDolfan” rode the Drew Brees/Alvin Kamara/Michael Thomas/Benjamin Watson Saints team stack to victory paired with Ridley to run back the game stack. Included in this lineup was 1.4-percent owned Mike Williams and 14.9-percent owned Jordan Howard in a game where the Bears closed as 6.0-point road favorites. If/when a shootout goes to overtime, going heavy on the players can pay off in a big way, and this is a prime example. Four players on the same team won a tournament with over 673,000 entries in this case and one of the members in the stack did not even go off (Watson). “BemoDolfan” entered his same lineup twice in this contest with just a $3 entry and he ended up finishing both first and second. On Sunday, that was the magic recipe that led to epically turning $6 into $150,000.
Each week, this article will take a look at how a specific successful pro approached the week, and this week “mjordantmac” was selected due to his success. In the millionaire maker, mjordantmac’s top lineup finished eighth and he put in 150 entries. When all said and done, mjordantmac did not have more than 44.7-percent exposure to any player he used, with Julio Jones topping the list. After two weeks of analyzing players who topped out at exactly 70-percent ownership, it is nice to see a mass multi-entry player with a different approach. Here were the players he had the most exposure to:
- Julio Jones (44.7-percent)
- Eric Ebron (44.0-percent)
- Tevin Coleman (40.7-percent)
- Matt Ryan (40.0-percent)
- Michael Thomas (32.7-percent)
- Alvin Kamara (32.7-percent)
- Austin Hooper (32.7-percent)
- Todd Gurley II (30.7-percent)
- Tyler Boyd (22.7-percent)
- Minnesota Defense (21.3-percent)
- Kareem Hunt (21.3-percent)
- Christian McCaffery (20.7-percent)
The first thing that stands out in his builds is the attention to the Saints/Falcons stack in the top exposures. Choosing the correct game is obvious but taking a huge stand on a specific game can truly give you an advantage on the field if/when it hits and this was one of those occasions. When taking such a strong stand, it makes sense to limit exposures to below 70-percent, so hedges can come through just in case the main stack fails. This week would have been poor for “mjordantmac” had the main game he stacked ended 14-10 regardless but that was the risk he calculated by going heavy on the stack…and the game went to overtime. Whereas other professionals had focused on top values, it was intriguing to see the contrast with a player who focused on an entire game. A unique approach from “mjordantmac” led to his one entry netting him $14,700 for the day (before taking into consideration his other profitable entries).
Congratulations to all the winners!