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NFL DFS Strategy: DraftKings Week 1 Tournament Recap

Patrick Mahomes - Fantasy Football Rankings, DFS Lineup Picks, NFL Injury News

This is the second installment of my NFL DFS Strategy Series. I will be writing a weekly article highlighting tips and general strategies to help you with your NFL DFS Tournaments, too! You can catch the first one here on bankroll management, contest selection, and goals. 

Thanks for taking the time to read this NFL DFS strategy piece! If you're here, it's likely because you want to be a better DFS player and learn more about how to be a sustainable DFS player who doesn't have to deposit more money in their account every week. I hope to help you do that through this series!

Below are the top lineups in various contests I played in, and I will use this series to identify trends and happenings in GPPs on DraftKings. I will examine which strategies were present in this article and try to determine whether or not there are any new emerging strategies we should be trying.

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Week 1 DraftKings Milly Maker ($5 entry, $1,021,053 to first)

Over 1.1 million entries into this thing. Here's how that lineup fared:

There is the Burrow stack with Higgins and Mixon, no bring-back player from the Vikings. I would say the only players that weren't talked about across the industry here were Melvin Gordon and Deebo Samuel. As I have talked about in my tips article, don't stress about defense, just find one that fits. Arizona and Tennessee were slated to be a high-scoring game. Tennessee was a popular stack. They got more floor than ceiling in the Bengals stack, the punt to the Cardinals, Marvin Jones Jr., allowed them to go and get the highest ceiling stack on the slate with Kansas City. As always there is luck involved, but a lot of it hit for them. I wonder if Melvin Gordon was one of the last slots to fill in as the person was looking for someone in that price range.


$500k Playaction ($50k to First)

This was a $3 buy-in, 198,000 entry tournament with $50k to first place. This was a QB-RB-TE build with Deebo Samuel as the bring-back. I would not have played this stack, but I understand this stack. There was the belief that Hockenson would command the bulk of the targets in Detroit and that D'Andre Swift would possibly come in second. There were analysts predicting he could catch up to 70 or 80 passes this year. Prior to the game on social media, we had this narrative from NFL Network saying Swift would only play third downs and people moved off of Swift. I didn't think he was going to be on a high percentage of rosters but figured it would be more than 0.7% prior to this news. Kudos to this player for sticking with Swift and getting $50k richer.  It looks like they shot for some upside with Jefferson, Hill, etc., and punted for Moore and the Cardinals and got rewarded for it.


$300k Fair Catch ($12 Single Entry - $30,000 to first)

This user went against 29,000 single entries (including mine) and took down $30,000. They managed to get the Kansas City Stack of Mahomes-Kelce-Hill. They did not include a bring-back. Also interesting was they had Mixon and Higgins. I typically don't have a RB-WR combo as it's hard for both positions to smash. You will see above Mixon smashed and Higgins had a nice floor. Similar to the other lineup, I am interested in what put this user onto Melvin Gordon. Was it process of elimination? Or was he part of the plan from the get-go? Everything else makes sense to me; I had some Deonte Harris today, I get playing Conklin if you are going to punt way down, and the Dolphins defense was one I used myself in some lineups as well going against a rookie QB in what was likely going to be a conservative gameplan.


My Own Results

I believe in transparency, so am going to talk a little bit about my play in GPPs as well in Week 1.

My results this week were really a mixed bag. In GPP I had about a 96% ROI.  On one hand, with how much unexpected stuff happened this week it's hard to complain about winning overall. A majority of people don't and there will be some weeks where I don't as well. On the other hand, we really want to play GPPs to do more than double-up. We ideally want to go 5x, 10x, or even more. We want to have at least a lineup at the top or near the top of the field. I'll take it, but in the future, I want to see more lineups near the top. I played seven GPP lineups and four generally cashed but none of the cashes were so large to make it a memorable day.

My best lineup was this one:

I had the Kansas City stack and brought it back with Jarvis Landry. Mixon was my favorite running back point per dollar play on the slate. Humphries, Callaway, and the Falcons were just guys I was putting in at their prices to make the rest of the lineup work. I liked Edmonds at his dollar value as well, getting a sub 5k starting running back in a high-scoring game seemed like a good idea.

I wrote this up in my stacks piece this week, but the trouble with Kansas City is they have such a high ceiling and can break the slate, but they cost so much you really have to hit and get lucky on punt plays. I tried the strategy, I profited, but I didn't hit in the way others hit to take down some large prizes.

This was my worst tournament lineup this week:

The Green Bay stack with the Kamara bring-back. Tee Higgins, Marvin Jones Jr., and the Denver Broncos were all pretty straightforward plays in my opinion. The Broncos were pretty chalky, going against a weak offense. Jones is always underrated, and is more of a boom or bust player typically, which is perfect for a low-cost flex in a GPP lineup. He also correlated to Brandin Cooks, a player that I have a lot of in my redraft leagues and was in a good spot against a bad Jacksonville team. I went to Edmonds again, mostly as a function of the price compared to the expected workload. Green Bay laying an egg here was surprising to all and it's just one of those things that happen in sports. There's always something we did not expect that comes up.


Final Thoughts

There's more we don't know than know when it comes to performances in DFS. Now that we have some data, some people are going to get extremely confident. Players with a high touchdown rate this week are going to be on a higher percentage of rosters. Players with high target numbers that did not produce, or high carry numbers but did not produce, will be on a lower percentage of rosters.

What I am going to do in Week 2 is implement the same strategy as before. Identify some games in which I would like to stack. Find my pool of running backs and tight ends I like, and create 3-8 combinations of these with no overlap and hope that I hit somewhere. The big takedowns did have a running back as part of their stack, and I myself have done that before too, but this week alone doesn't mean everyone should run out and do a QB-RB-WR or QB-RB-TE stack Week 2 no matter what.

It will be interesting to see what happens in Week 2 from a pricing standpoint with players and with which players will be popular vs. not. I hope you had a good week of playing NFL DFS and we will circle back in a week to see what happened!

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