DraftKings Week 4 Recap

First off, sorry for missing last week. I was dealing with some life problems but am back on track.

Draft Kings already took down Week 3’s Millionaire Maker link, contest 44843225, so if you have the csv of results please send it my way. In other news, I wrote an article on how pro’s like CONDIA approach the defense position to help make up the missed week to you.

Let’s get started.

The Winner RKennedy23

Rkennedy23 entered 32 lineups and won $1,000,160! His best lineup had the Cam Newton-Devin Funchess QB-WR stack which he only used in 1 of 32 lineups.

Rkennedy23's Winning Lineup

Lineup Points
count 32.000000
mean 148.257500
std 26.492802
min 106.180000
25% 129.280000
50% 144.880000
75% 162.330000
max 230.740000

Here’s his player utilization

Percentage Player
6882 59 Cardinals
6883 59 Evan Engram
6873 56 Jordan Matthews
6842 49 Le’Veon Bell
6843 49 Bilal Powell
6796 43 Carson Palmer
6800 43 LeSean McCoy
6757 40 Leonard Fournette
6758 40 Ezekiel Elliott
6648 34 A.J. Green
6663 34 Larry Fitzgerald
6579 31 Rishard Matthews
6585 31 Tyrod Taylor
6181 21 Charles Clay
6204 21 C.J. Anderson
5962 18 Julio Jones

His best play was Bilal Powell in my opinion. He entered Powell in 50% of his lineups and got 50% more valuable performance than Le’Veon Bell (salary adjusted).

player_name dk_salary dk_points points/salary Percentage
0 Le’Veon Bell 8700.0 37.6 4.321839 50
1 Bilal Powell 4600.0 32.0 6.956522 50

As for how he created his lineups, RKennedy used 51 players which makes me think he definitely used a lineup optimizer with some type of upside metric or manual tweaking. I used an assortment of 4 sites predictions last week and Tyler Kroft had an upper prediction around ~7.5 points and lower bound at ~1.5. He used Kroft in 9% of lineups. This guy is definitely knows a bit about football and is not a fluke.

As for lineup generating rules RKennedy believes in WR-TE stacks (or at least doesn’t think they don’t work). Kennedy had A.J. Green – Tyler Kroft “stack” in 9% of his lineups. Normally a no-no because they compete for targets. Even still, maybe this week that was a great idea because he had two “safe” picks A.J. Green and Le’Veon Bell and then threw a lot of darts at high upside players. This week that worked great.

Programming Category (English)468x60

You could argue Bilal Powell with Forte out was a safe pick too but I’m honestly shocked how bad the Jacksonville run defense has been. They rank last in the league in yard/game allowed at this point. I thought they’d be good this year but no team in the last 20 years has finished in top 10 after being 32nd after 4 games (source Sports Data Direct).

RKennedy was real high on Carson Palmer and the Cardinals D, as was I, but the risks he took we’re well thought out. Cam vs bad NE Defense. Jordan Matthews could have had a huge day and, like SaahilSud plays, RKennedy used his optimizer to make the statement that the Bills will have a strong day against.

But he also used an RB-WR stack?!? LeSean McCoy-Jordan Matthews at 25%. I’m guessing his lineup optimizer isn’t all that sophisticated or he doesn’t believe certain stacks are bad for big tourneys.

My verdict is RKennedy definitely knows football but could improve his play with smarting stacking/no-stacking rules. As for me, I definitely need to get better at the “knowing football” part. I missed some obvious good plays like chancing on Tyler Kroft and not playing Bilal Powell as the sole starter because my recency bias made me think the Jaguars had a good D after their London stomping against the Ravens.

Programming Category (English)468x60

CONDIA Quiet Week

Like many of us, CONDIA was hot on the Jaguars D using them in 22% of his lineups. True to form, he kept his highest player exposure around 25% using his chances on consistent players like running backs and possession receivers. Honestly, I wonder if CONDIA ever gets bored of DFS. He does the same shit every week but then again he’s made a milly in a 4 week span so I doubt he’s that bored…

Percentage Player
5444 27 Ezekiel Elliott
5443 26 C.J. Anderson
5439 24 Larry Fitzgerald
5433 22 Jaguars
5423 20 A.J. Green
5424 20 Dalvin Cook
5425 20 Todd Gurley II
5408 18 DeAndre Hopkins
5411 18 LeSean McCoy
5401 17 Julio Jones
5379 15 Emmanuel Sanders
5382 15 Le’Veon Bell
5365 14 Kelvin Benjamin
5369 14 Rob Gronkowski
5344 13 Keenan Allen
5356 13 Dez Bryant

Again, his QB-WR stacks we’re set to ~6% exposure

  • Cam Newton-Kelvin Benjamin 7%
  • Dak Prescott-Dez Bryant 6%
  • Emmanuel Sanders-Trevor Siemian 6%

If anyone wants to pony up $3K a week, CONDIA’s strategy is pretty easy to replicate. I’m still a bit scared to put up all my own money that way. And you need to play all 150 lineups in order to benefit from his strategy because the player pool can be huge. 136 players! Holy crap

Bales Threw Some Darts

Drunk Darts

This week Bales missed the mark. But I’m sure he’ll hit one of these weeks

I haven’t looked much at Jonathan Bales this year. He’s the author of Fantasy Football for Smart People: The Hidden Psychology of Winning DFS so he should have some good lineups.

Surprisingly, he only entered 19 lineups in Week 4’s Millionaire Maker and has been quiet this year. Like SaahilSud, Bales employs a riskier approach using lots of stacks. He has no issue placing a high risk player like Jared Cook or Tyrod Taylor or Marqise Lee in over 25% of his lineups.

Percentage Player
48562 36 Ezekiel Elliott
48563 36 Jared Cook
48537 26 Tyrod Taylor
48538 26 Leonard Fournette
48539 26 Marqise Lee
48540 26 Dez Bryant
48541 26 Odell Beckham Jr.
48543 26 Amari Cooper
48489 21 Charles Clay
48491 21 DeAndre Hopkins

As for stacks he used Tyrod Taylor and Charles Clay in 21% of his lineups, a way more aggressive approach than CONDIA. Perhaps it was related to the small number of lineups he entered but we’ll keep an eye on Bales this season.

Sidenote: Congratulations to Jonathan Bales for Fantasy Labs being acquired by the Chernin Group


He didn’t play in this Week 4’s Millionaire Maker. Maybe he thinks it’s too competitive so instead he played in the Sunday Night Primetime contest — I don’t have data on this one — so watch out if that is your bread and better everyone.

The Herd’s Picks

The Herd

My favorite section. The herd.

A place where everyone wants to stand out but can’t help themselves from sticking together, like an unfortunate glue. Myself included.

Draft Kings won big this week, as always, taking home a whopping 25% fee of $1,032,410.

 Everyone's Lineup Point Totals

Minus the people who forgot to enter a lineup, everything was pretty normal for Draft Kings — and that’s by construction.

count 250000.000000
mean 127.965039
std 24.183826
min 0.000000
25% 111.260000
50% 127.300000
75% 143.980000
max 230.740000

This week was more herd-like than usual.

Week 2 Player Utilization

Week 2 Player Utilization

Notice that the longer “bump” around 20%. Dalvin Cook was used in 33% of lineups, Joe Mixon 16%, and the Jaguars with 16%. Recency bias really screwed everyone here with the Jaguars great performance against the Ravens making too big of an impression.

Percentage Player
453 33 Dalvin Cook
444 25 Ezekiel Elliott
442 24 Larry Fitzgerald
436 23 Leonard Fournette
438 23 DeAndre Hopkins
415 18 Rishard Matthews
407 17 Rob Gronkowski
396 16 Jaguars
398 16 Odell Beckham Jr.
402 16 Joe Mixon

As for QB-WR/TE stacks:

  • DeShuan Watson-DeAndre Hopkins 8%
  • Eli Manning-OBJ 5%
  • Tom Brady-Rob Gronkowski 5%
  • Trevor Siemian-Emmanuel Sanders 5%

The Best Possible Lineups

Last week, the best possible Sunday lineup was 260.54 points. There were at least 6,182 lineups better than RKennedy’s 230.74!

player_name position score salary team_name lineup_id
7 Cam Newton QB 37.04 5900.0 CAR 0
0 Todd Gurley RB 37.50 7800.0 LAR 0
2 Le’Veon Bell RB 37.60 8700.0 PIT 0
1 Jaron Brown WR 21.50 4000.0 ARI 0
3 Devin Funchess WR 26.00 5300.0 CAR 0
5 Tyrell Williams WR 25.50 4400.0 LAC 0
4 Travis Kelce TE 27.40 6000.0 KC 0
6 Bilal Powell FLEX 32.00 4600.0 NYJ 0
8 New Orleans Saints DST 16.00 2600.0 NO 0

Here’s the player pool of these winning lineups with utilization.

Best Lineup's Player Pool

You could have won $1MM playing Jacoby Brissett against the Seahawks AND STARTING THE SEAHAWKS DEFENSE! Are we all playing this game wrong?

Smoking Jay Culter

What a troll lineup Jacoby Brissett could have been. Playing Brissett against the Seahawks and starting the Seahawks D to win a Million Dollars by .14 points. Wow. If only someone played this the rotoworld would go carzy.

player_name position predictedScore salary team_name lineup_id
6 Jacoby Brissett QB 11.58 5000.0 IND 6115
0 Todd Gurley RB 37.50 7800.0 LAR 6115
3 Le’Veon Bell RB 37.60 8700.0 PIT 6115
2 Jaron Brown WR 21.50 4000.0 ARI 6115
4 Devin Funchess WR 26.00 5300.0 CAR 6115
5 Tyrell Williams WR 25.50 4400.0 LAC 6115
1 Charles Clay TE 19.20 3700.0 BUF 6115
7 Bilal Powell FLEX 32.00 4600.0 NYJ 6115
8 Seattle Seahawks DST 20.00 4100.0 SEA 6115

Oh well. Now for some closing thoughts and on to next week.

Draft Kings Now Players from Search

In the past, Draft Kings would search all players who entered the contest in the standings recap section.

Now it only searches players that show up in the “rank”. For a second there, I thought CONDIA didn’t play last week. Oh was I wrong. Download the CSV or use a site like Rotogrinders to make sure you don’t miss anything

Call For Your Input

I’ve been really happy with the feedback from the reddit community on my recap posts. Thank you all. Now, how many of you would be interested in an interactive website that allows you to do some of the analysis I do every week? Like a more comprehensive version of what Rotogrinders has.

Coming Soon
Do you want us to make an interactive Contest Recap Tool?
Do you want us to make an interactive Contest Recap Tool?
Do you want us to make an interactive Contest Recap Tool?

It’s still very early and I can’t promise when I’ll finish it but just wanted to put out feelers. If anyone wants to contribute let me know. I’d probably want to use python+boostrap+d3.js-w/extensions.

Thanks for reading

Matteo Hoch

Matteo Hoch is the founder of Sports Data Direct and maintains a personal blog called Ergo Sum where he writes about data visualization and coding. You can generally find him in the DraftKings Sunday $3 early only contests under username mhoch2

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