Raybon's Review: What We Learned From Week 6 DFS on FanDuel & DraftKings
Analyzing the prior week's results is one of the most valuable investments of your time as a DFS player. In this space, I will deconstruct the winning lineups from FanDuel and DraftKings' biggest GPPs. I will also list general DFS takeaways from the past week.
Week 6 Winning Millionaire Maker Lineup
Mallen21 took down the MIlli’ Maker behind four key plays owned less than six percent, as well as a couple of chalk plays.
The stack of Matthew Stafford to Golden Tate made sense given the Rams were missing their top corner, Trumaine Johnson, and were also banged up on their defensive line. Tate’s 165 receiving yards were nevertheless surprising, as he had not cleared 100 yards before last week since November 9, 2014. This is a case where knowing that fact probably gets you off of Tate; there’s times when too much information can hurt you. Despite struggling as of late, Tate was bumped up the target totem pole with both Theo Riddick and Eric Ebron out. It looks like OC Jim Bob Cooter’s proclamation that Tate would have “a huge week” came true a week late.
In another case of overthinking things, I was hesitant to have much exposure to Kenny Britt, who, in hindsight, was a perfect leverage play off Tavon Austin. Darius Slay was expected to follow Britt, but Detroit also plays a lot of zone that negates the matchup. Britt’s inclusion in the lineup also leveraged the correlation between opposing passing games, which I discuss in detail in The Definitive Guide to Stacking on DraftKings.
As usual, we see that one chalk play at RB won’t hurt you; in fact, you could say Mallen21 actually had three chalk plays at RB. Even though LeVeon Bell’s 18.8 DraftKings points were a disappointment relative to expectation, they were enough when combined with the four low-owned players that blew up. We know home favorites tend to provide more value and have a higher TD probability, and LeSean McCoy and Lamar Miller served as the latest examples. When you combine the strong trends in favor of home favorites with bankable volume, it leads to RB being arguably the easiest position to predict blowup spots for.
The Eagles defense tends to be among the top fantasy scorers at the position, a trend which started last season. Defenses that are road favorites can be dicey (see the Steelers), but sometimes go overlooked in DFS, especially when they are not a marquee team.
Week 6 Sunday Million Winning Lineup
Dago3 took down the Sunday Million behind what is almost always one of the stacks I have the most exposure to when the Saints are playing at home: Drew Brees to Brandin Cooks. Adding in Coby Fleener to the stack was a smart move given all the yards and TDs Brees racks up at home, and it was a nice leverage play off the more highly owned Michael Thomas as well.
It’s not a perfect science, but salary decreases often lead to value at the WR position because the position is naturally volatile, so it made sense to roll out Odell Beckham at his cheapest FanDuel salary since Week 14 of 2014 against a Ravens defense that had struggled with giving up multi-TD games to WRs, allowing two TDs to Corey Coleman in Week 2, two to Allen Robinson in Week 3, and three to Michael Crabtree in Week 4.
Because dago3 nailed six of his plays, he didn’t need much from Breshad Perriman, who also created an opposing passing game stack with Beckham. Dago3 also stacked his kicker and defense, another underrated correlation (kicker and defense are just as highly correlated as a QB with any of his WRs/TEs except the WR1). He didn’t need much from the Packers defense either to take home the grand prize. The duds by Perriman and the Packers defense both serve as a reminder that if you nail a bunch of low owned plays and thereby give yourself a highly differentiated lineup, you give yourself some wiggle room even if you miss on a selection or two.
Aaron Rodgers continues to be priced as one of the top QBs, but his on-field play as of late doesn’t back up his price tag. Over his last 14 games dating back to 2015 (including playoffs), Rodgers has failed to throw for 300 yards even once and has thrown more than two TDs just once. Rodgers completed 65.8% of his passes for 8.23 yards per attempt from 2008-14, but has completed just 60.6% passes for 6.63 yards per attempt since 2015, which lines up with when Jordy Nelson went down with a torn ACL. Nelson is back and is scoring TDs, but has not been the same vertical threat he once was. This season, he averages 6.6 yards per target and 12.0 yards per reception after averaging 10.2 yards per target and 15.2 yards per reception from 2008-14. Until (if?) Nelson regains form, expectations for Rodgers should be tempered.
Julio Jones dropped a 7-139-1 line on the Seahawks. Judging by his 1.1% ownership in the Millionaire Maker, that came as a surprise to most of the industry. Reports surfaced early in the week that Jones would be followed by Richard Sherman, but it’s important to place in context what following really means in Sherman’s case. Rather than staying at his left cornerback spot, Sherman would line up on whichever side Jones lined up on. However, since the Seahawks play a lot of zone defense, Sherman would be assigned to a zone on whichever side he lined up on, so if Julio Jones motioned from his initial spot to the other side of the formation, Sherman wouldn’t follow Jones because he still has to honor his zone responsibility.
Last week, Brandon Gdula astutely noted that Kevin White and Cam Meredith had played almost exclusively without one another on the field, but had combined for 56 targets. Meredith picked up another 15 targets last week, and White and Meredith’s combined 71 targets would lead the entire NFL by seven. Alshon Jeffery’s 44 targets are tied for 26th in the league. Roster each accordingly.
If you got burned by Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown last week, you should be paying more attention to their home/road splits. Since 2014, Big Ben has averaged 281 passing yards and just 1.06 TDs on the road compared to 342 yards and 2.94 TDs at home -- that’s almost three times as many TDs when playing in the Steel City. Brown averages 100 yards and .37 TDs on the road over that same time span, but when he’s at home those averages rise to 112 yards and 1.11 TDs.
Speaking of lopsided splits, I won’t quote Drew Brees’ lopsided home splits for the umpteenth time (it might be a while until I do, as his next two home games are against Seattle and Denver), but it is worth noting that in a small sample, Brees’ home splits are already carrying over to Coby Fleener. In three home games, Fleener is averaging a 4.7/63/.67 line, but on the road, his average line is only 2.5/24/0.
A review of last week wouldn't be complete without the obligatory question of "do you regret rostering Tavon Austin?". The short answer is yes, but not because I think he's a "bad" player (he's not a polished WR, but is still a weapon who defenses must account for at all times). The answer is yes because I underestimated his ownership. We had Austin projected for 12% ownership, tied for eighth among WRs, and I thought even that might be generous given the amount of ownership Cameron Meredith and Michael Thomas would command, and the aversion most people have to the Rams, and to Austin in general due to his unpredictability. Instead, Austin wound up as the second-highest owned WR in the Milli' Maker and the eighth-highest owned player on the entire slate.