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2023 NFL Week 8 DFS Lineup Recap: What We Can Learn From Results

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 8 DFS Lineup Recap

Mark Garcia’s Review

Contest: NFL $555 Fantasy Football Millionaire [$1 million to first]

Entrants: 5,050

I decided to take a break from MME play this week after one of the worst stretches of my DFS career, instead focusing on one roster. I placed that roster into the $555 Millionaire Maker on DraftKings as I attempted to re-emphasize the basics that have made me so profitable in the past. Even so, I made some glaring mistakes, which we’ll break down here.

I knew going into the weekend that one of my favorite game environments was the Philadelphia EaglesWashington Commanders game, which led me to Sam Howell and Terry McLaurin as the roster’s starting point. I covered one viable path for the game environment by pairing that team stack with D’Andre Swift, which was my first major mistake.

It's not that this path to attacking the game environment was not viable, but it covered such a small portion of the range of outcomes from the game that it was a little too thin for the contest the roster was placed in.

It would have made much more sense to include A.J. Brown instead of Swift, which would have covered more potential outcomes from the game environment itself (the Eagles score a lot on the way up and production flows through Brown; a competitive and back-and-forth game environment; and the Eagles playing from behind).

I made a Sunday morning swap from Alvin Kamara and the Minnesota Vikings defense to George Pickens and the Baltimore Ravens defense, which cost me the week. I wouldn’t have won with this roster, but a min. cash would have broken a losing streak. I made the switch to leverage off the expected ownership on Kamara and TE Trey McBride (the Ravens' defense plus Pickens satisfied two layers of leverage on those players), which was not needed due to the low ownership on my core players.

The wide receiver corps of Adam Thielen, Nico Collins and McLaurin wasn’t a mistake as much as variance, so I’m fine with that cadre of players, considering it got the roster away from the chalk construction. George Kittle, as funny as it sounds, was one of the first players I landed on this past week due to numerous theoretical reasons. It was nice to see him return a solid score and back that process up.

Overall, the process was fine, but I lost money because of my Kamara-Vikings/Pickens-Ravens swap. I didn’t need to make a swap away from the ownership of Kamara because my core players of Howell, McLaurin and Swift carried low combinatorial ownership.

The Arizona Cardinals' final drive and subsequent onside kick recovery was salt in the wound as McBride went nuts at high ownership, which simultaneously lowered the output from the Ravens' defense — sending me to my fourth consecutive losing week.

Jordan Vanek’s Lineup

Contest: NFL $500K Power Sweep 3 Entry Max

Entrants: 4,444

The roster construction for this weekend was one of my favorite strategies, but unfortunately, the results didn't align with our intentions. Let's break down the thought process behind the build and see where we could make improvements:

Rashid Shaheed vs. Alvin Kamara: The decision to go with Rashid Shaheed as a pivot over Kamara was based on the idea of limiting Kamara's upside by relying on Shaheed to score big touchdowns. This worked for Shaheed — a great play — but Kamara still found the end zone twice and was also a great play.

Travis Etienne and George Pickens: The choice of Travis Etienne and Pickens as a mini-stack was intriguing because of the absence of Tyson Campbell in the Jacksonville Jaguars' secondary. However, Pickens' production relied heavily on Kenny Pickett, who got injured in the game. Sometimes, injuries and unexpected developments can significantly affect your strategy, so it's essential to have contingency plans for such situations. Etienne was a great pivot off of Kamara but was unable to hit the bonus as a runner and also injured his ankle during the game.

Ravens Offense and D'Andre Swift: The main stack centered on Lamar Jackson and the Ravens' offense, and I was hoping for a high-scoring game. The idea of using Swift to take from Jalen Hurts and Brown stacks was interesting. However, in hindsight, opting for Gus Edwards might have been a better choice because he could have taken away from Jackson's production, or I could have tried to play the Hurts and Brown stack.

Defense Selection: I was stuck between the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots' defenses. Playing both of them gets you to see the path of the Kansas City Chiefs or Miami Dolphins failing on offense, and I should’ve gone with Denver. Patrick Mahomes was sick, the Broncos were at home and obviously, Travis Kelce isn’t going to perform well without Taylor Swift in attendance (kidding).

One-Off Player (Tank Dell): The decision to include Tank Dell in the lineup made sense because the Houston Texans' matchup against the Carolina Panthers' zone defense looked promising. However, we should consider the overall game script, especially when two rookies face each other and they had an extra week to prepare for each other.

In summary, the initial build had a solid theoretical foundation, but unforeseen circumstances and player performance variations affected the final outcome.

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