How Sharks Approach Daily Fantasy Sports: Quarterbacks

This post is a part of our larger series How Sharks Approach Daily Fantasy SportsAll of the data is from 2017 NFL Millionaire Maker’s on Draft Kings

  • Tommyg1979
    • Loves stacks
      • When selecting a QB he is typically conscious of a player to stack that QB with
      • That doesn’t mean he starts from stacks with every QB every week, one time he didn’t. See Cam Newton in Week 7.
        • Mobile QB’s are typically an exception to the QB-WR correlation. For 2011-2016, Cam Newton’s point totals had high correlation with Jonathan Stewart, not his WR’s or TE’s.
    • QB’s are commonly used as the basis of his 3+ player groups (stacks/groups whatever you want to call them.)
      • This is very different than CONDIA who will rarely use 2 players together more than 10% of the time.
    • Tommy G takes big chances and may be a believer in the barbell strategy.
  • CONDIA
    • Stacks with all QB’s but the most risky like a Brown’s or Bronco’s QB (2017)
      • QB-WR/TE more than QB-RB
    • Does not create 4-pair lineups like Tommy G
    • Uses consistent players like an Antonio Brown and then tries stacking with random Browns WR’s at a much smaller percentage point
    • Surprisingly usage of “bad QB’s”
  • chess_is_ok
    • QB-Centric Lineup Design
      • Stacks all his QB’s double or triple
  • CSURAM88 — in progress
  • JBales– in progress

Chess_is_ok

When this guy won in Week 13 we looked at his QB’s and found he approaches lineups from a QB first perspective. Here’s an excerpt from our Week 13 DraftKings Recap when we first this strategy.

chess_is_ok Stacks All his QB’s

Take a look at this

Percentage Player
28 Adam Thielen, Case Keenum
28 Case Keenum, Stefon Diggs
28 Case Keenum
20 Alex Smith, Travis Kelce
20 Alex Smith
12 Cam Newton, Devin Funchess
12 Cam Newton
11 Demaryius Thomas, Trevor Siemian
11 Emmanuel Sanders, Trevor Siemian
11 Trevor Siemian

Notice how all of his QB’s have stacks. Triple stacks for Case Keenum and Trevor Siemian of all people. It was his Alex Smith stack that won the day.

This strategy is like we’ve seen from Tommyg1979 but with more risk placed on the player groups than the player pool, Tommy G doesn’t always force his QB’s to have stacks, chess_is_ok does.

Tommyg1979

My gut told me this guy would be the most fun to analyze and Tommy G delivers. He even inspired me to write this poem.

Every week,

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Tommy G’s lineups reek.

Of engineering so sweet

it makes me want to tweet.

If only,

I weren’t so meek

World's a Stage Meme

Shitty Poems Aside Lets Take a Look at the Data

Tommy G’s most utilized QB’s are shown in the table below.

week_num QB Percentage
1 Marcus Mariota 15
1 Brian Hoyer 11
1 Aaron Rodgers 8
1 Derek Carr 8
1 Andy Dalton 8
1 Russell Wilson 7
1 DeShone Kizer 6
1 Carson Palmer 6
1 Cam Newton 6
1 Matthew Stafford 5
1 Jared Goff 5
1 Mike Glennon 5
2 Matt Ryan 27
2 Aaron Rodgers 26
2 Carson Palmer 22
2 Tom Brady 19
4 Tom Brady 31
4 Eli Manning 18
4 Deshaun Watson 17
4 Cam Newton 17
4 Carson Palmer 16
5 Jacoby Brissett 94
6 Kevin Hogan 93
7 Cam Newton 35
7 Carson Palmer 18
7 Dak Prescott 13
7 Tyrod Taylor 5
8 Russell Wilson 68
8 Carson Wentz 13
8 Andy Dalton 6
8 Derek Carr 5
8 Mitchell Trubisky 5

A few head-scratchers in there, playing Jacoby Brissett in 94% of his lineups in week 5?!? Is he what NFL.com calls a Fantasy Hipster? Their Week 6 article suggested you start Kevin Hogan too, which Tommy G did in Week 6.

Here’s his QB’s by average weekly usage

QB Average Weekly Usage (%)
Jacoby Brissett 13.428571
Kevin Hogan 13.285714
Russell Wilson 10.714286
Carson Palmer 8.000000
Cam Newton 7.428571
Tom Brady 7.142857
Aaron Rodgers 4.857143
Matt Ryan 3.857143
Eli Manning 2.571429
Deshaun Watson 2.428571
Marcus Mariota 2.142857
Carson Wentz 1.857143
Dak Prescott 1.857143
Brian Hoyer 1.571429
Andy Dalton 1.142857
Derek Carr 1.142857

(note: many of these values are positively skewed by large single week usages. Cough, cough Jacoby Brissett)

General trends I’m seeing

  • ~5 QB’s across ~100 lineups per week
  • Big swing on QB or a variety of 10-30% QB’s.
  • Not afraid to take chances on shit QB’s

Does Tommy G Know About the Barbell Strategy?

This makes me think Tommy G could be a believer in the barbell strategy. Touted by Nassim Taleb and used by DFS Pro Jonathan Bales, a barbell strategy capitalizes on Exaggerated Expectations of the highly probable and the highly improbable.

Sample Probability Predicted vs Actual

Image from Bales’ book: Fantasy Football for Smart People. Preview the book herePredicted represents DFS ownership whereas Actual represents how likely a player was to reach a given point threshold. Takeaway is players like Brissett are underused compared to value, whereas Tom Brady’s are over-owned.

In this case, people tend underestimate the probability of a QB like Kevin Hogan or Jacoby Brissett having a great day.

It would be way too early for me to say Tommy G definitely uses a barbell approach. A surefire indicator would be stacking risky Brissett with a consistent player like Le’Veon Bell. Once I get to those analysis pieces, I’ll come up with a more in-depth player profile.

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Tommy G Stacks

Here’s a ton of data on Tommy G’s stacks. Every week he stacks, even going as far as to use groups of 4 players in 16% of his lineups!

Week Percentage QB Stacked Player
1 13 Marcus Mariota Rishard Matthews
1 11 Marcus Mariota Delanie Walker
1 10 Brian Hoyer David Johnson
1 10 Brian Hoyer Pierre Garcon
1 10 Brian Hoyer Marquise Goodwin
2 27 Matt Ryan Julio Jones
2 26 Aaron Rodgers Davante Adams
2 26 Aaron Rodgers Jordy Nelson
2 22 Carson Palmer Larry Fitzgerald
2 20 Carson Palmer J.J. Nelson
2 19 Tom Brady Brandin Cooks
2 15 Carson Palmer Charles Clay
2 14 Matt Ryan Charles Clay
2 13 Matt Ryan Ty Montgomery
2 13 Matt Ryan Chargers
2 13 Matt Ryan Keenan Allen
2 13 Aaron Rodgers Ty Montgomery
2 13 Aaron Rodgers Charles Clay
2 12 Matt Ryan Leonard Fournette
2 12 Matt Ryan Melvin Gordon
2 12 Matt Ryan Tarik Cohen
2 12 Matt Ryan Marshawn Lynch
2 12 Matt Ryan Marqise Lee
2 12 Aaron Rodgers Marshawn Lynch
2 12 Aaron Rodgers Keenan Allen
2 12 Aaron Rodgers Tarik Cohen
2 12 Aaron Rodgers Leonard Fournette
2 11 Carson Palmer Ravens
2 11 Carson Palmer Leonard Fournette
2 10 Carson Palmer Melvin Gordon
2 10 Tom Brady Charles Clay
2 10 Aaron Rodgers Patriots
4 31 Tom Brady Brandin Cooks
4 18 Eli Manning Odell Beckham Jr.
4 17 Deshaun Watson Ryan Griffin
4 17 Deshaun Watson DeAndre Hopkins
4 17 Cam Newton Kelvin Benjamin
4 17 Tom Brady Rob Gronkowski
4 16 Carson Palmer Larry Fitzgerald
4 14 Tom Brady Chris Hogan
4 11 Tom Brady LeSean McCoy
4 10 Tom Brady Wendell Smallwood
4 10 Tom Brady Jordan Matthews
4 10 Tom Brady Javorius Allen
4 10 Tom Brady Bengals
4 10 Tom Brady Jared Cook
5 94 Jacoby Brissett T.Y. Hilton
5 56 Jacoby Brissett Pierre Garcon
5 47 Jacoby Brissett Dez Bryant
5 44 Jacoby Brissett Le’Veon Bell
5 43 Jacoby Brissett Todd Gurley II
5 30 Jacoby Brissett DeVante Parker
5 29 Jacoby Brissett Leonard Fournette
5 29 Jacoby Brissett Hunter Henry
5 27 Jacoby Brissett Duke Johnson Jr.
5 26 Jacoby Brissett Bills
5 26 Jacoby Brissett Austin Seferian-Jenkins
5 26 Jacoby Brissett Cowboys
5 25 Jacoby Brissett Lions
5 21 Jacoby Brissett Jesse James
5 20 Jacoby Brissett Alex Collins
5 18 Jacoby Brissett Jordy Nelson
5 18 Jacoby Brissett Jaron Brown
5 17 Jacoby Brissett Delanie Walker
5 17 Jacoby Brissett Larry Fitzgerald
5 17 Jacoby Brissett Jarvis Landry
5 17 Jacoby Brissett Kenny Stills
6 78 Kevin Hogan Ricardo Louis
6 76 Kevin Hogan DeAndre Hopkins
6 31 Kevin Hogan Duke Johnson Jr.
6 29 Kevin Hogan Julio Jones
6 28 Kevin Hogan Jaguars
6 28 Kevin Hogan Kareem Hunt
6 27 Kevin Hogan David Njoku
6 26 Kevin Hogan Todd Gurley II
6 25 Kevin Hogan Le’Veon Bell
6 20 Kevin Hogan Leonard Fournette
6 19 Kevin Hogan Jay Ajayi
6 19 Kevin Hogan Antonio Brown
6 19 Kevin Hogan Mark Ingram
6 19 Kevin Hogan Javorius Allen
6 18 Kevin Hogan Cardinals
6 18 Kevin Hogan Chiefs
6 15 Kevin Hogan Zach Miller
6 15 Kevin Hogan Terrelle Pryor Sr.
6 14 Kevin Hogan Melvin Gordon
6 13 Kevin Hogan Kyle Rudolph
6 13 Kevin Hogan Dolphins
6 12 Kevin Hogan Martellus Bennett
6 11 Kevin Hogan Devonta Freeman
7 34 Cam Newton Chris Ivory
7 33 Cam Newton Le’Veon Bell
7 19 Cam Newton LeSean McCoy
7 18 Carson Palmer Chris Ivory
7 18 Carson Palmer Larry Fitzgerald
7 17 Cam Newton Larry Fitzgerald
7 17 Carson Palmer Le’Veon Bell
7 13 Dak Prescott Chris Ivory
7 13 Dak Prescott Le’Veon Bell
7 13 Dak Prescott LeSean McCoy
7 13 Dak Prescott Dez Bryant
7 11 Cam Newton Demaryius Thomas
7 10 Cam Newton Evan Engram
8 68 Russell Wilson Doug Baldwin
8 44 Russell Wilson Jordan Howard
8 33 Russell Wilson Joe Mixon
8 31 Russell Wilson Mark Ingram
8 29 Russell Wilson Zach Miller
8 26 Russell Wilson Ezekiel Elliott
8 26 Russell Wilson Chris Thompson
8 25 Russell Wilson Devonta Freeman
8 20 Russell Wilson T.Y. Hilton
8 18 Russell Wilson Kelvin Benjamin
8 17 Russell Wilson Cowboys
8 15 Russell Wilson Tyler Kroft
8 14 Russell Wilson Jets
8 13 Russell Wilson O.J. Howard
8 12 Russell Wilson Amari Cooper
8 12 Russell Wilson Michael Crabtree
8 12 Carson Wentz Alshon Jeffery
8 12 Carson Wentz Zach Ertz
8 10 Russell Wilson Zay Jones

Takeaways:

  • Tommy G loves stacks
    • When selecting a QB he is typically conscious of a player to stack that QB with
    • Almost every week he has a QB-WR stack but that doesn’t mean he starts from stacks with every QB every week. See Cam Newton in Week 7.
      • Mobile QB’s are typically an exception to the QB-WR correlation. For 2011-2016, Cam Newton’s point totals had high correlation with Jonathan Stewart, not his WR’s or TE’s.
  • QB’s are commonly used as the basis of his 3+ player groups (stacks/groups whatever you want to call them.)
    • This is very different than CONDIA who will rarely use 2 players together more than 10% of the time.
  • Tommy G takes big chances and may be a believer in the barbell strategy.

CONDIA’s Quarterback Strategy

So far, CONDIA has looked like the mathematical, try as many as possible, kind of DFS Pro. Here’s a look at what CONDIA has done at the QB position each week (min 7% utilization)

week_num Percentage QB
1 15 DeShone Kizer
1 11 Matthew Stafford
1 9 Kirk Cousins
1 8 Dak Prescott
1 7 Marcus Mariota
1 7 Carson Wentz
1 7 Andy Dalton
2 19 Aaron Rodgers
2 18 Tom Brady
2 15 Drew Brees
2 10 Matt Ryan
2 9 Philip Rivers
2 7 Derek Carr
4 11 Trevor Siemian
4 10 Dak Prescott
4 9 Cam Newton
4 9 Tyrod Taylor
4 7 Deshaun Watson
4 7 Carson Palmer
5 22 Aaron Rodgers
5 21 Dak Prescott
5 11 Eli Manning
5 9 Josh McCown
5 7 Brian Hoyer
6 19 Drew Brees
6 18 Deshaun Watson
6 11 Kirk Cousins
6 7 Kevin Hogan
7 13 Drew Brees
7 12 Tyrod Taylor
7 10 Blake Bortles
7 10 Marcus Mariota
7 9 Ben Roethlisberger
7 9 Trevor Siemian
8 17 Cam Newton
8 13 Russell Wilson
8 11 Kirk Cousins
8 9 Drew Brees
8 9 Carson Wentz
8 8 Andy Dalton

I’ve went ahead and bolded a few picks I want to talk about. First off, Cam Newton Week 8 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This game is just after Cam posted a dreadful total against the Chicago Bears. As you can see, CONDIA was banking on people to over-hype. Even still, Cam was used by 11% of DFS bettors in Week 8! So I’d say most people still believe in Cam’s ability to bounce back and aren’t afraid of a bad game here and there.

Second, the amount of not top QB’s on this list is surprising. CONDIA has played a lot of Brown’s QB’s, and only seriously used Tom Brady once. As far as general trends go, Drew Brees is his favorite QB so far, with Aaron Rodgers and Dak Prescott a few % points below.

QB Average Weekly Usage (%)
Drew Brees 8.000000
Aaron Rodgers 5.857143
Dak Prescott 5.571429
Cam Newton 4.571429
Kirk Cousins 4.428571
Tyrod Taylor 3.714286
Deshaun Watson 3.571429
Tom Brady 3.428571
Russell Wilson 3.285714
Blake Bortles 3.000000
Trevor Siemian 2.857143
DeShone Kizer 2.857143
Philip Rivers 2.857143
Matt Ryan 2.857143
Marcus Mariota 2.428571
Eli Manning 2.285714
Carson Wentz 2.285714
Matthew Stafford 2.285714
Ben Roethlisberger 2.142857
Andy Dalton 2.142857
Carson Palmer 1.714286
C.J. Beathard 1.428571
Josh McCown 1.285714
Kevin Hogan 1.000000
Brian Hoyer 1.000000
Derek Carr 1.000000
Jared Goff 0.857143
Jameis Winston 0.714286
Brett Hundley 0.714286
Jay Cutler 0.714286

(min usage 5% in a given week)

CONDIA’s Stacks

Like Tommy G and Jonathan Bales, high risk picks like DeShone Kizer at 15% usage in Week 1, are paired with ultra consistent players. See the first row in the following table.

week_num Percentage QB Stacked Player
1 8 DeShone Kizer Antonio Brown
1 6 Matthew Stafford Marvin Jones Jr.
1 6 Carson Wentz Zach Ertz
2 7 Tom Brady Rob Gronkowski
2 7 Aaron Rodgers James White
2 6 Tom Brady Ty Montgomery
2 6 Tom Brady Melvin Gordon
2 6 Drew Brees Ty Montgomery
4 7 Cam Newton Kelvin Benjamin
4 7 Dak Prescott Dez Bryant
4 6 Trevor Siemian Emmanuel Sanders
5 10 Dak Prescott Le’Veon Bell
5 9 Dak Prescott Melvin Gordon
5 8 Dak Prescott Eagles
5 8 Dak Prescott Martellus Bennett
5 8 Aaron Rodgers Eagles
5 7 Dak Prescott Dez Bryant
5 7 Aaron Rodgers Jarvis Landry
5 7 Aaron Rodgers Randall Cobb
5 6 Aaron Rodgers Melvin Gordon
5 6 Aaron Rodgers Le’Veon Bell
6 8 Drew Brees Mark Ingram
6 8 Drew Brees Lamar Miller
6 7 Drew Brees Julio Jones
6 7 Drew Brees Coby Fleener
7 9 Blake Bortles Allen Hurns
7 6 Drew Brees Michael Thomas
7 6 Jared Goff Cooper Kupp
7 6 Ben Roethlisberger Le’Veon Bell
8 6 Cam Newton Eagles
8 6 Andy Dalton A.J. Green

Week 1 tells a perfect story. Generally, CONDIA uses heavy stacks for medium risk players like a Stafford or Wentz, but opts to pair the riskiest of picks with consistent players like Antonio Brown.

Also, he doesn’t shy away from QB-RB stacks but seems to play the QB-WR/TE stacks way more.

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My takeaways about CONDIA’s general DFS QB strategy

  • Stacks with all QB’s but the most risky
    • QB-WR/TE more than QB-RB
  • Does not create 4-pair lineups like Tommy G
  • Uses consistent players like an Antonio Brown and then tries stacking with random Browns WR’s at a much smaller percentage point

If you want to replicate CONDIA’s $1MM Maker strategy, you have to play all 150 lineups. Otherwise, you won’t be able to cover all the bizarre scenarios with this more conservative player utilization approach.

 

 

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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