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2023 NFL Week 17 DFS Lineup Recap: What We Can Learn From Results

Tyrod Taylor runs with the ball while two players chase after him
New York Giants quarterback Tyrod Taylor (2) runs with the ball against Los Angeles Rams linebackers Ernest Jones (53) and Michael Hoecht (97) during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

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.


DraftKings linuep: Tyrod Taylor, D'Andre Swift, Zamir White, Deebo Samuel, Nico Collins, Chris Olave, Darren Waller, George Pickens, Patriots D/ST

Mark Garcia’s Review

Contest: NFL $500K Power Sweep  [$100K to 1st]

Entrants: 2,962

We identified three primary teams that deserved our full attention on the Week 17 main slate: the San Francisco 49ers, the Los Angeles Rams and the Philadelphia Eagles. It became challenging to account for all three teams due to the salaries of the primary skill position players on each team, which led to me spreading exposure throughout my portfolio. As such, Puka Nacua, Cooper Kupp, Kyren Williams and even Demarcus Robinson were accounted for in my portfolio, even though they did not appear on this roster.

Nico Collins and Chris Olave were my two strongest stands outside of those three teams, both of whom were in absolute smash spots this week. The extremely positive game script for the Houston Texans and New Orleans Saints zapped a ton of the upside from both players, with both teams largely making the transition to game management mode in the second half of their respective matchups, cratering my portfolio.

My final major stand on this slate was to lock Tyrod Taylor into 100 percent of my rosters in play. He presented one of the top point-per-dollar range of outcomes on the slate, and it looked like he wasn’t being treated that way by the field. I mostly paired him with Darius Slayton with sprinkles of Darren Waller and Jalin Hyatt, with Waller as the player on this roster.

Finally, George Pickens was a “last man in” type of play on this roster. Pickens had been the primary target of QB Mason Rudolph in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ previous two games and ended up with more than 100 yards receiving for the second consecutive game.

The final “primary point of emphasis” from this slate was the Miami Dolphins’ game against the Baltimore Ravens. I noted before the slate that I preferred an all-or-nothing bet with that game environment because it carried a wide range of outcomes but possessed some of the top raw ceilings on the slate. Lamar Jackson, Isaiah Likely, Zay Flowers and De’Von Achane became the top-producing game stack on the slate at minuscule ownership. 

Overall, the slate didn’t break my way with the stances I took, primarily induced by the Eagles’ utter failure and the positive game scripts involving the Texans and Saints.

We’re on to the ultra-variance Week 18 main slate.

DraftKings lineup: Tyrod Taylor, Kyren Williams, D'Andre Swift, Deebo Samuel, Darius Slayton, Jalinn Hyatt, Travis Kelce, Joe Mixon, Broncos D/ST

Jordan Vanek’s Review

Contest: NFL $200K Spy  [$50K to 1st, Single Entry]

Entrants: 2,222

Hyatt had numerous opportunities down the field, but a few catches were called back due to penalties, and he also dropped a pass. I should have stuck with the main stack of Taylor with Slayton and Kyren Williams. Williams was the right runback in this game due to his high output.

The issue with the lineup was my choice of studs. While I expected the Kansas City Chiefs to score points, I anticipated Travis Kelce to be the offense's focal point. Instead, Isiah Pacheco scored 35 DraftKings points. Joe Mixon posted a respectable score, but it wasn't enough for him to be a GPP-winning player at only 18.7 points. D’Andre Swift was a poor play because the Eagles didn't feature him in the run game. Deebo Samuel, a pivot from Christian McCaffrey, also didn't score well.

To improve this lineup, I would make the following changes: Swift to Achane, Hyatt to Flowers, Samuel to Brandon Aiyuk, Kelce to Juwan Johnson and Mixon to Pacheco. This maintains the overall structure of the lineup while addressing the issues of the Chiefs scoring points and McCaffrey's potential failure through Aiyuk. It also opens up the Achane/Flowers mini-stack as a build, with Johnson as a one-off in the lineup.

If I had made these changes, the lineup would have scored 217.66 points, securing a first-place finish by over 20 points.

My most significant oversight this week was not considering Davante Adams. The key lesson is that great players can deliver exceptional performances in favorable matchups. Despite consistently targeting the Indianapolis Colts' secondary throughout the season, I should have included Adams in my process.