2016 DraftKings Life Lessons
- Always clean your plate – Unfortunately always cleaning your plate in adulthood results in love handles and double chins.
- If you swallow a watermelon seed, watermelons will grow in your stomach – I’m relatively certain this would’ve led to the extinction of the human race by now.
- Rufus the Labradoodle went to live on the farm where he can run and play as much as he wants – I still believe this one. I swear to you I will find that farm one day.
So take my word for it can be loosely translated to believe me and please don’t look it up for yourself. The same applies to Daily Fantasy. There are strategies and concepts you will read on every fantasy site. Always stack your QB with one or more of his pass-catchers. Choose an RB and a DST from the same team because the two correlate. Fade the all the chalk in favor of contrarian plays. I decided to put these practices to the test by analyzing the 2016 season DraftKings Millionaire Maker winning lineups. I found the winning lineups at Even Your Odds and FF Nation.
Before we dive into the results, I must provide a few disclaimers. First, I only analyzed the Millionaire Maker lineups, therefore the results will not necessarily apply to smaller field GPPs or cash games. Secondly, 15 weeks is a relatively small sample size, so do not take the results as doctrine. Simply let them be one factor that informs your future lineup decisions. I did not include Weeks 16 or 17 in the data because Week 16 did not have a Millionaire Maker contest and Week 17 fantasy football is completely insane.
There are four commonly advised “stacks”, three of which involve the QB position. A stack is the pairing of a QB with one of his pass-catchers. A double stack refers to pairing a QB with two or more of his pass-catchers. A game stack equates to using a QB with one or more of his pass catchers and one or more players from the opposing team, hoping the game turns into a shootout. Finally, the RB and D/ST stack is based on the fact that RB’s get more carries when their team is ahead, which results from successful team defense. Let’s see how Millionaire Maker winners utilized stacks in 2016.
|Type of Stack||Stack||Double Stack||Game Stack||RB-D/ST Stack|
|# of Lineups||11||3||5||2|
|% of Lineups||73.33%||20.00%||33.33%||13.33%|
The results only show one fact pretty definitively. You should stack a QB with at least one of his pass-catchers if you want to win a large field GPP. The upside created from scoring double the points when your QB tosses a TD to your WR or TE cannot be found anywhere else in your lineup. Surprisingly, only a few winners utilized the double stack, indicating that you only need to find the pass-catcher that will benefit most from your QB’s big day, not two or more. One-third of lineups utilized a game stack, a number that makes it pretty difficult to advise or discourage the practice. The RB and D/ST correlation does not seem to play out as much in DFS GPPs. While RBs do get larger workloads when their team is ahead and their team defense is successful, D/ST fantasy points don’t necessarily result from successful team defense. Turnovers and TDs are the names of the game, and these can occur even when a defense is playing poorly or their team is behind. To summarize, utilize single stacks in nearly every GPP lineup you create, but don’t believe the other three types are granting you a big advantage over the field.
The conversation around ownership percentages requires more nuance than stacking. Fantasy analysts spend a lot of time talking about fading the chalk and finding contrarian plays for your lineups. While this is sound advice, I think players get too focused on ownership percentage and lose sight of the other factors, like value, Vegas totals, and matchups. Let’s look at the numbers.
|Range of Ownership %||0 – 5.00%||5.01 – 10.00%||10.01 – 15.00%||15.01%+|
|# of players||40||28||31||36|
|% of players||29.63%||20.74%||22.96%||26.67%|
These numbers do skew towards the lower ownership percentages, lending some credence to the idea that you need some low-owned players in your lineups. The lesson to be learned here, however, is that you don’t need every player in your lineup to be contrarian. A mix of ownership percentages was the most common results when looking at each of the winning lineups individually. If David Johnson is going to be 35% owned, but he has a plus matchup in a game with a high Vegas total, play him anyway. If there is a cheap backup RB thrust into a starting role, take that value and use it to spend your money on even more studs, even if the RB’s ownership percentage is projected to be astronomical. There is a time to fade and a time to take the easy play. As with most things in life, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
Most of the DFS advice out there on the web comes from solid data and experience. However, there are some practices that only exist because somebody said it once and everybody else followed suit. There are plenty of other strategies to be researched and larger data sets to collect, but I will leave that work to you. If you take anything from this article, I hope it is the following: Do your own research to determine what you believe. This applies not only to fantasy football but to most avenues of life. Just take my word for it.
Winning Weekly Lineups
|WR||Marvin Jones Jr.||10.40%||41.5||6,200|
|WR||Terrelle Pryor Sr.||2.90%||34.9||3,400|
|WR||Marvin Jones Jr.||8.80%||22.8||5,500|
|WR||Steve Smith Sr.||11.60%||28.1||4,500|
|WR||Terrelle Pryor Sr.||33.70%||15||4,300|
See all Remaining DFS Winning Lineups here: