4 min read

2023 NFL Week 12 DFS Lineup Recap: What We Can Learn From Results

DFS week 12 recap

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.


Mark Garcia’s Review

Contest: $555 Milly Maker

Entrants: 5,050

Mistakes were made. Not in analyzing the slate, identifying the top on-paper plays or even hammering the top game environment of the week at low ownership. No. Mistakes were made in something I have excelled at for seven years: roster construction.

To understand how this happened, join me on a quick journey down to Copium, Population: Me. All my work throughout the week highlighted Josh Allen, Kyren Williams, Derrick Henry, Gabe Davis, Nico Collins, DeVonta Smith and, yes, even Pat Freiermuth. My practice builds all week centered on that tight core of players at modest (to extremely low) ownership.

Then, Sunday morning, I tinkered as I ran to multiple stores to get my wife everything she needed to prepare a dope Friendsgiving meal. And I tinkered hard. And I tinkered fast. And I destroyed the roster core that I had worked so hard to develop throughout the week.

Funnily enough, the single-point failure that led to me blowing up my roster revolved around Greg Dortch and the presence of Marquise Brown and Zach Pascal on the game-day roster. You see, Dortch was my skeleton key this week. He allowed me to play high-salary players from the Buffalo Bills–Philadelphia Eagles game and feel comfortable that I wasn’t spread too thin.

Every time that diminutive man sees playing time, he commands targets. Early morning reports indicated he was likely to see maybe 40-50 percent of the offensive snaps for the Arizona Cardinals, which brought his elite point-per-dollar floor into question on the slate. And so, I tinkered.

The Week 12 slate was one of the highest expected value slates of the year due to errors from the field that were induced via time management. I identified those spots accurately, helping One-Week Season patrons ship over $2 million in tournament hits this weekend. And yet, I tinkered.

That will go down as one of the worst process errors of my DFS career. The core I moved away from would have shipped the $555 Millionaire Maker. We could be having a very different discussion today.

Instead of breaking down a poorly constructed roster, I thought this time would be better served to highlight that we all make mistakes. We all tinker in various aspects of DFS — or life, for that matter — that we should just leave alone. If you’ve been struggling recently, know those errors can be corrected. There is a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.

We learn. We grow. And we move on!

Jordan Vanek’s Lineup

Contest: NFL $1 Million Play-Action  [$100,000 to first, 20 Entry Max]

Entrants: 396,353

This weekend, I played 20 hand-built lineups, and one of my favorites turned a $3 entry into $15. It closely resembled the lineup that won the Milly Maker, emphasizing a main stack with Allen, two of his pass catchers, and a Philadelphia Eagles running back. Mini-stacks included Williams/Dortch and Henry/the Tennessee Titans defense. The lone player was Freiermuth, a sub-$3,000 tight end.

To enhance this lineup without altering the structure significantly, I downgraded Stefon Diggs to Davis. With the freed-up salary, I upgraded Khalil Shakir to Collins and D’Andre Swift to DeVonta Smith. This adjustment would have resulted in a total score of 229.86, winning every contest.

Collins was my favorite piece from the Jacksonville Jaguars game, and I should have found more ways to make him a part of my lineups. Knowing Williams would be sub-15 percent, I would have had 100 percent him in my 20-entry max, and I would have gone lighter on Henry, seeing how popular he became and how much sharper the field has become.

A crucial takeaway from the weekend was the diminishing reliability of roster projections. Despite projections favoring Jonathan Taylor over Henry, the actual roster percentages were twice the projection for Henry and half for Taylor. Sharp players are increasingly pivoting away from popular plays, making roster projections less reliable. As a result, I'll be less reliant on these projections moving forward.

Follow The 33rd Team Podcast Network on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.