DraftKings Week 12 Recap
This week was a bit special. The feature contest was the NFL 75th Millionaire Special on DraftKings. $75 entry and $1MM to first place.
CONDIA hasn’t played since November 5th and the pro’s of old are being washed away. I still believe DFS is a game of skill but it’s something to investigate during the off season.
This week’s top pro that we track was scout326 with 210.48. The overall winner was “ending” with 233.68 points and it was 150 to cash but the best possible lineup would have been a whopping 282.18 points thanks to a dominant performance by Julio Jones.
Let’s take a look at ending’s lineups and see what we can find out about his strategy
Ending wins with 233.68
Ending entered 150 lineups even with the $75 entry fee this week. Ending had some insane variance, a great thing for GPP’s. His lowest scoring lineup was 75.96 points and his best was 233.68! He won $998,075.
Look at this beautiful one-sided fat tail.
Ain’t that some magic. If I we’re to write a book on GPP lineups, and maybe I will, this would be the perfect picture for illustrating how your lineups should look when engineered to exploit variance. Like seriously, it’s perfect.
Now let’s get to the nitty gritty, how he actually created his lineups.
Ending Created His Lineups Like CONDIA
We looked at his lineups and found that Ending plays most like CONDIA. For those of you new to our recaps, that means optimizer driven lineup generation with exposure limits. Generally these players use a player pool over 100, max single player exposure 35%, and stacks <20%. Single player utilization percentages generally favor RB-WR-TE with lots of touches. No big bets, just lots of little ones.
|29||Todd Gurley II|
In my opinion, this strategy is best if you can max in your contests, otherwise you have to take a bit more risk like TommyG1979’s strategy (although he maxes most of the time :P).
Here’s ending’s 2 pairs.
|791||20||Carlos Hyde, Travis Kelce|
|761||18||Joe Mixon, Michael Crabtree|
|705||15||Carlos Hyde, Joe Mixon|
|683||14||Joe Mixon, Julio Jones|
|695||14||Joe Mixon, Travis Kelce|
|601||11||Joe Mixon, Mike Evans|
|609||11||Julio Jones, Michael Thomas|
|610||11||Michael Thomas, Rob Gronkowski|
|568||10||Jaguars , Joe Mixon|
|569||10||DeMarco Murray, Jaguars|
|574||10||Joe Mixon, Michael Thomas|
|505||9||Joe Mixon, Rob Gronkowski|
|509||9||Carlos Hyde, Cooper Kupp|
|514||9||Mike Evans, Travis Kelce|
|517||9||DeMarco Murray, Rob Gronkowski|
|542||9||Rob Gronkowski, Todd Gurley II|
|545||9||Eric Decker, Todd Gurley II|
|550||9||Emmanuel Sanders, Todd Gurley II|
|434||8||Carlos Hyde, Rob Gronkowski|
|437||8||Carlos Hyde, Julio Jones|
|439||8||Cooper Kupp, Joe Mixon|
|441||8||Cooper Kupp, Rob Gronkowski|
|442||8||Cooper Kupp, DeMarco Murray|
|443||8||Cooper Kupp, Travis Kelce|
|448||8||Carlos Hyde, Mike Evans|
|451||8||Julio Jones, Matt Ryan|
|453||8||Carlos Hyde, DeMarco Murray|
|455||8||DeMarco Murray, Michael Thomas|
|467||8||Carlos Hyde, Michael Thomas|
|481||8||Jets , Rob Gronkowski|
His first QB stack wasn’t until Matt Ryan-Julio Jones at 8%. To be honest, this ending guy looks like a CONDIA clone on first take. I tried looking him up on Rotogrinders and he’s not tracked. We’ll keep an eye on him from now on.
Congrats on the win.
For an excellent book on things that benefit from variance, like GPP lineups, I recommend you read Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder by Nicolas Nassim Taleb. The book is endorsed by DFS Pro Jonathan Bales and an eye-opening read.
This week the pro’s accounted for 6% of the player pool. As a group, they paid $276,600 and lost $101,900.
scout326 did the best out of the pro’s I’ve heard of, and ChipotleAddict did the worst of pro players I’ve heard of.
TGII received the most usage in spite of his high $8,800 salary.
|30||Todd Gurley II|
I’m surprised how little they used Leonard Fournette, smart play by them. Their top defenses we’re Jaguars and Eagles. Top QB Tom Brady. Picking Joe Mixon was big and pro’s did it.
As for stacks, the pro’s looked for a bounce back week by Rob Gronkowski, stacking him with Tom Brady in 9% of lineups, and Cooks in 8%.
|9||Cooper Kupp, Michael Thomas|
|9||Rob Gronkowski, Tom Brady|
|8||Julio Jones, Matt Ryan|
|8||Brandin Cooks, Tom Brady|
|8||Doug Baldwin, Russell Wilson|
|7||Cooper Kupp, Todd Gurley II|
|7||Carlos Hyde, Cooper Kupp|
|7||Michael Thomas, Sammy Watkins|
|7||Michael Thomas, Todd Gurley II|
|7||Carlos Hyde, Michael Thomas|
But pro love for Matt Ryan – Julio Jones was right in-line with how the winner “ending” played it.
Scout326 Won $7,325
This is the first time we’ve looked at Scout326. On first take, he looks similar to SaahilSud.
|30||Todd Gurley II|
He managed to win despite playing the Bears D in 34% of his lineups. Julio Jones did some great things last Sunday..
Scout326’s stacks look optimizer driven rather than deliberate like TommyG. But he places a bit more weight on players than SaahilSud or CONDIA. Going as far as having some 10% 4-player pairs (most pro’s don’t have anything over 5% on their 3+ player groups).
|36||J.D. McKissic, Julio Jones|
|34||J.D. McKissic, Michael Thomas|
|32||Cooper Kupp, Michael Thomas|
|26||Cooper Kupp, J.D. McKissic|
|25||Joe Mixon, Julio Jones|
|25||Julio Jones, Michael Thomas|
|22||Cooper Kupp, Julio Jones|
|22||Bears , Julio Jones|
|21||Joe Mixon, Michael Thomas|
|20||Brandin Cooks, J.D. McKissic|
|20||Michael Thomas, Todd Gurley II|
|20||Bears , J.D. McKissic|
|19||J.D. McKissic, Todd Gurley II|
|18||Julio Jones, Panthers|
|17||Cooper Kupp, Joe Mixon|
|17||J.D. McKissic, Joe Mixon|
|17||J.D. McKissic, Rob Gronkowski|
|17||Bears , Michael Thomas|
|16||Julio Jones, Rob Gronkowski|
|16||J.D. McKissic, Panthers|
|16||J.D. McKissic, Jack Doyle|
|15||J.D. McKissic, Travis Kelce|
His player pool was 81 players which suggests he manually excluded some players or set exposure targets rather than ceilings.
Entered 50 lineups, losing $2,000. He missed the mark with Corey Davis and the Bengals D.
|23||Todd Gurley II|
But he did well with Jack Doyle. Again Al_Smizzle focused on his player pool. He got down to 43 players throughout his 50 lineups. Interestingly, his player pool size was about the same last week when he played 150 lineups. So, this independence of player pool size and lineups suggests Al_Smizzle is definitely a player pool driven DFS Pro.
Here’s his biggest pairs
|35||Bengals , Corey Davis|
|27||Corey Davis, Jack Doyle|
|21||Bengals , Jack Doyle|
|21||Carlos Hyde, Corey Davis|
|21||Jack Doyle, Julio Jones|
|21||Brandin Cooks, Carlos Hyde|
|21||Bengals , Jimmy Graham|
|21||Bengals , Tevin Coleman|
|21||Corey Davis, Marcus Mariota|
|19||Carlos Hyde, Eagles|
|19||Brandin Cooks, Eagles|
|19||Jack Doyle, Sammy Watkins|
|19||Corey Davis, Tevin Coleman|
|19||Bengals , Devontae Booker|
|19||Eagles , Kareem Hunt|
All and all, Al_Smizzle missed the mark but we learned something concrete about his GPP play style.
TommyG1979 Entered 50 and Lost Big
TommyG lost $3,200. Will be interesting to see if his bankroll is trending downwards because he didn’t max last week either. His point totals had the right shape but needed to be shifted a bit to the right.
His single player utilization tells most of the story
|51||Todd Gurley II|
O.J. Howard and Todd Gurley were big misses. And due to his heavy stacking approach this affected a large percentage of his lineups.
For reference, Tommy G played 79 players across his 50 lineups. Nearly double Al_Smizzle. And Tommy G used big stacks
Rest of Pro’s
Bales had his best DraftKings week all season. Just barely losing money at -$50. He still doesn’t come close to maxing, only entering 13 lineups this week.
Not to mention CSURAM88 played only 16 lineups losing a whopping $1,075. Bales and CSURAM88 mirror each other pretty closely as far as entries go — their lives are probably correlated due to their friendship but at least their lineups are different. I wonder if he uses Fantasy Labs… or is focused on other things probably the latter.
ChipotleAddict did terrible in Week 12, losing $7,875 on 150 lineups. His player pool wasn’t all that bad. He had Carlos Hyde, Gronk, and Joe Mixon is his top 3. But Tom Brady – Rob Gronkowski didn’t do well enough to beat the rake and he had them in 25% of his lineups.
CONDIA looks to be taking a break while SaahilSud has moved his action to FanDuel’s Sunday Million contest.
We can only speculate why Saahil left DraftKings but I’d like to think it has something to do with how FanDuel is harder to get information about FanDuel’s contests for an amateur — not that Saahil does this but be advised that DraftKings and FanDuel may engage in supplying “generally available” information to sponsored players and sites in an easier to program feed — here’s an old link on Rotogrinders saying they had a custom feed 4 years ago.
The Herd Meta
The herd played markedly similar to the Rotogrinder’s Top 50.
Like seriously, as a group they look to be formed from the same generating distribution, aka herd/pro performance identical in Week 12. The players they picked we’re different but had similar results.
|lineup_hash||Percentage Pro||Percentage Herd||pro_favoritism|
|Duke Johnson Jr.||9||10||-1|
|Todd Gurley II||30||21||9|
Tevin Coleman was the top herd pick, beating the pro’s 30% utilization to Todd Gurley. The herd also did well playing Alvin Kamara way more than pro’s.
The herd faded the Patriots a little harder than the Pro’s. Russell Wilson-Doug Baldwin was their top stack at 9%
|9||Doug Baldwin, Russell Wilson|
|8||Cooper Kupp, Tevin Coleman|
|6||Julio Jones, Matt Ryan|
|6||Eagles , Tevin Coleman|
|6||Russell Wilson, Tevin Coleman|
|6||Corey Davis, Tevin Coleman|
|6||T.Y. Hilton, Tevin Coleman|
|5||Julio Jones, Tevin Coleman|
|5||Julio Jones, Kareem Hunt|
|5||Cooper Kupp, Kareem Hunt|
|5||Delanie Walker, Tevin Coleman|
|5||Jack Doyle, Tevin Coleman|
|5||Eagles , Julio Jones|
|5||Cooper Kupp, Eagles|
|5||Eagles , Kareem Hunt|
|5||Sammy Watkins, Tevin Coleman|
|5||Kenny Stills, Tevin Coleman|
|5||Eagles , Kenny Stills|
|5||Brandin Cooks, Tevin Coleman|
|5||J.D. McKissic, Julio Jones|
|5||Rob Gronkowski, Tom Brady|
|5||Brandin Cooks, Tom Brady|
Not much Josh McCown love by either parties. But as you’ll see in the Best Lineup Possible section, Josh McCown was a beast.
Best Lineup Possible: 282.18
There were at least 120,856 lineups better than ending’s 233.68. The best lineup possible used Josh McCown and you guessed it Julio Jones
The player pool for these 120,865 better lineups with utilization is shown below
|New England Patriots||0.261|
The biggest surprise was that Josh McCown and Jets offense were the best stacks despite the insane performance by Julio Jones. Matt Ryan didn’t even make our list because he only scored 19.78 points on DraftKings.
Josh McCown is a BAMF if you don’t know already. After being cut in 2011 by the 49ers, he was a high school gym teacher/football coach. His high school team lost in the playoffs and 2 weeks later he was on the Chicago Bears doing this to the Packers at Lambeau.
Not to mention he had a sweet spin move into the end zone right before this.
We won’t do much of week by week advice
We said to fade TGII in our article last week and we were right but missed on a few other predictions. When pressed, we said Leonard Fournette had higher upside though and it doesn’t look like that was case last week.
[mini-rant] I don’t want to start making advice columns because I feel that’s a shoddy business. Because the big question I have to answer is, if the advice is so good why don’t I use it to make money. Like why does Hammer DFS offer a “DFS consultant” for $39.95 a month? If they can guarantee profitability, why not use it to make over $39.95/month and not deal with clients?
I think we’re starting to really key in on genuine approaches to GPP’s through these articles that you can use to update your play style. But for me to sell these recaps as the golden ticket to beat the sharks would be naive. If I had the golden ticket I would be a pro. Down the line, we may offer a book, tutorial, or something else but under no circumstance will I ever bill something as the golden ticket.
Supreme Court to Decide on Legality of Sports Betting
Read this Chicago Tribune article for more
NBA Recap Post Coming Just in Time for Christmas
We started these posts with every week being an investigative journey. I think we’re finally at the point where we know what data we need to look at each week so we’ll be taking some time to improve our internal processes to churn out quality content at a higher rate than we do for the NFL.
What NBA Contest should we focus on? I was thinking we look at on the NBA $350K Excellent 8’s on a day when most NBA are playing. Are there any bigger contests that happen every week and are accessible to lots of players, like the $1MM Maker for NFL?
Are GPP’s Skill?
I’m still surprised at how poorly the Rotogrinders top 50 do. 3 made money last week and 5 this week — including the bias of some one-time big winners. GPP’s are difficult to analyze because most people are all about getting that one win that makes everything worth it.
Still, no one has ever looked at skill vs rake (how much of a cut DraftKings takes). There is definitely a rake percent where DFS is a lottery not skill.
Maybe the Rotogrinder’s Top 50 is a bad ranking system, maybe we need more samples, I don’t know. Something to think about before the 2018 NFL Season.
Less Focus on Tracking All Pro’s in Weekly Recaps
With the data suggesting pro’s can be just as hit or miss as the rest of us, and the abundance of pro’s, we’ve limited our individual player analysis this week. Instead we focused on general trends and reporting.
Going forward we’ll do player profiles as their own series unless a player played remarkably in a given week.
Hate this change? Let us know.