In DFS, crafting the perfect lineup is an art and a science. It requires a deep understanding of player dynamics, game environments and the unpredictable nature of sports.
In the following article, we will review two of our lineups to give you insight into how we constructed them and where we went wrong.
Week 10 DFS Lineup Recap
Mark Garcia’s Review
Contest: $555 Milly Maker
I rebounded this week with one of the most solid rosters I have put together this season, leading to a sweat in the $555 entry, 5,050-person Millionaire Maker tournament on DraftKings. It ultimately came up short, ending in 50th place and well behind the eventual winner. Even so, I felt really good about the process this week, building two rosters that included significant amounts of leverage and a clear path to first place. With that, let’s dive in!
This roster started with one massive leverage piece, which set up the rest of the roster build. Tony Pollard and the Dallas Cowboys D/ST were expected to garner significant ownership on this slate, while the Cowboys were implied for the highest team total. That led to the Dak Prescott double stack, which included him, CeeDee Lamb and Jake Ferguson.
Looking back, it clearly would have been a better upside play to include Brandin Cooks over Ferguson, but the elite red zone target market share for the Dallas tight end led me in that direction. But the leverage in that play didn’t stop there.
To fully maximize the leverage of the play, the Baltimore Ravens D/ST was included because if the scoring from the Dallas game came through its pass offense, it likely meant that the defense was not the optimal unit. The Ravens were taking on a Cleveland Browns offense missing its top three offensive tackles with a turnover-prone quarterback. The Ravens didn’t end up optimal on this slate, but a first-quarter pick-six was a nice start.
I singled out the Houston Texans–Cincinnati Bengals game as the game likeliest to return elite production on this slate. Tee Higgins, Dameon Pierce and Nico Collins were all out, reducing the expected funnel of production in a game that contained the top overall offense in pass rate over expectation during the previous month of play and an offense with one of the top offensive coordinators in the league in Bobby Slowik.
Four players on this roster came from that one-game environment, which is a technique I’ve been looking to use at a higher rate this season with scoring around the league down (for more theoretical discussions on that premise, check out some of my previous work in my weekly Handling the Chalk pieces). Even with nailing that game environment, I missed Noah Brown’s elite production at a price of only $3,700, which, when combined with the absence of T.J. Hockenson, cost me a shot at first place.
Najee Harris rounded out the roster as a “last player in” type back. I knew the running back position was extremely volatile on this slate. When you combine that truth with the fact that the field is generally unlikely to use two pay-down running backs, he fit in just fine in the overall balance of the roster. The Green Bay Packers have been one of the worst run defenses in the league under the tutelage of DC Joe Barry, a trend that has continued into the 2023 season.
Overall, I left this weekend happy with the process, a process that left me two players from a Milly win. With that, we’re on to the next!
Jordan Vanek’s Lineup
Contest: NFL $500K Power Sweep 3 Entry Max
The foundation of this lineup was built around a targeted approach to exploit the matchup between the Texans and Bengals in a unique way. Given the uncertainties surrounding Ja’Marr Chase’s health and Higgins’ absence due to a hamstring injury, the expectation was for Joe Mixon to assume a significant offensive role. Adding an extra layer of uniqueness, Dalton Schultz, my preferred tight end for the week, was chosen for an RB/TE mini-stack. The field usually does not use this stack without it being a Travis Kelce–level tight end.
Seeking value in the sub-$4,000 range, the focus shifted to identifying a wide receiver who could outperform the chalk play, Trenton Irwin, at $3,000. Jayden Reed emerged as a late-week discovery, capitalizing on the Pittsburgh Steelers‘ secondary vulnerabilities. While Reed delivered, Irwin’s performance didn’t provide the anticipated leverage, underscoring the challenge of predicting outcomes.
The primary stack centered on a Seattle Seahawks‘ bounce-back scenario, anticipating a resurgence in the passing game. Despite Geno Smith’s 47 attempts for 369 yards, DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett narrowly missed bonus thresholds by two and eight yards, respectively. While the main stack contributed to the lineup, achieving optimal output remained elusive.
Two additional one-offs, featuring Bijan Robinson and Chris Olave, were selected based on a calculated strategy. Opting for a sub-10-percent projected player in Olave and anticipating substantial volume against the Arizona Cardinals for Robinson, the lineup was constructed with precision.
Reflecting on potential adjustments, a shift from Schultz to Trey McBride for the RB/TE mini-stack, coupled with making a transition from Mixon to Devin Singletary, presented an opportunity to enhance the lineup. Upgrading Olave to Chase for a more potent mini-stack to increase game stacks could have propelled the lineup into the top 100. However, Prescott’s absence underscored the challenge of assembling a lineup that could contend for the main prize.