Al_Smizzle DFS Strategy

al_smizzle

This article is part of our larger DFS Pro Player Strategy Series

Al_Smizzle, Alvin Zeidenfeld, is one of the highest-profile players in all of DFS. And he’s just a dad who would take his oldest son off at preschool and then make lineups (see interview). Except this guy has done a hell of a job historically since he started in April of 2012

Summary

  • Background
    • Networked in with top players
      • Peter Jennings and Adam Levitan
    • Runs podcast to help his own preparation
    • Has done work for/as
      • ESPN Analyst
      • DraftKings Analyst
      • Rotogrinder’s
      • DailyRoto
      • Pro Football Focus
    • Spends a considerable amount of time promoting products
  • Tools
    • Creates his own spreadsheets, his own projections, and his own rankings
  • Strategy
    • Wins DFS with football knowledge more than math
    • Each week he trims his player pool down to ~70 players
    • Uses the late swap, flex position for the latest playing player as much as possible
    • Prefers to play risky players more than consistent players at most positions.
      • E.g. 15% Tyrod Taylor 11% Drew Brees
      • He probably factors in points/salary into his optimizer to naturally promote these players
  • My Take:
    • Al Zeidenfeld promotes more than necessary to aid his preparation. Still bucks up and plays so Al_Smizzle is definitely not just a schill. And he’s won the Milly Maker before. BUT you would think he wouldn’t need more income streams if  he was a top player or DFS was as lucrative for all. Read about CONDIA, Charles Chon, for arguably the most successful public and pro player.

Key Notes from Interviews

“I have my own projection system/spreadsheet to get my rankings for the week, but by canvasing all the major outlets I can get a very real gauge on what the percentages that players will be owned on the week. That allows me to figure out where I can be contrarian and where I can still go with the more favored plays.”Football Guys Interview.

“there are some very distinct things that set [the best players] apart from one another. Sometimes it comes down to meta game theory, roster build philosophy, or game selection. Some guys are “math” players and some guys are “feel” players. In terms of how we approach the day though, it’s very similar. Get your research, sort your data, identify your key players and build around them. After the lineups lock, the rest is just watching sports!” — Football Guys Interview

Looking at the Data

As of Week 4, Al_Smizzle has lost $1,665 on the Millionaire Maker

paid won
week_num
1 3000.0 325.0
2 3000.0 -1560.0
3 3000.0 -1760.0
4 1500.0 1330.0
Totals 10500.0 -1665.0

This is actually not bad because the Milly Maker is all about… the Millionaire Maker! Other “pro’s” I track lose 2k+ each week!

Point Totals

So far in 2018 Al_Smizzle hasn’t won it all but he’s been in the ballpark. His top finish was 222nd place in the Milly Maker.

Points
count 600.000000
mean 159.338433
std 31.678860
min 88.980000
25% 135.745000
50% 156.190000
75% 181.180000
max 248.260000

An average score of 159 is pretty good. Here’s another look at his point totals

Al_Smizzle Point Totals

Notice that positive mean skew. His distribution successfully is not “normal” and has positively correlated players boosting it up.

Player Pool Selection

Al trims his player pool down to about 70 players every week. His favorite players this year are

  • Deshaun Watson
  • Alvin Kamara
  • Melvin Gordon
  • Michael Thomas

and he’s played the above players every week.

Watson is an interesting pick, Al must be waiting for that big breakout game. I sure am too.

Player Pool Week by Week

Week 1

QB QB Percentage RB RB Percentage WR WR Percentage TE TE Percentage FLEX FLEX Percentage DST DST Percentage
QB Andy Dalton 16 RB James Conner 51 WR Keelan Cole 57 TE Jack Doyle 31 FLEX David Johnson 30 DST Ravens 35
QB Kirk Cousins 15 RB Alvin Kamara 43 WR Keenan Allen 40 TE Delanie Walker 18 FLEX Christian McCaffrey 27 DST Patriots 31
QB Philip Rivers 15 RB Alex Collins 26 WR A.J. Green 31 TE Rob Gronkowski 17 FLEX Melvin Gordon III 12 DST Bengals 15
QB Tom Brady 15 RB Melvin Gordon III 17 WR Michael Thomas 25 TE Ricky Seals-Jones 15 FLEX Alvin Kamara 9 DST Panthers 14
QB Cam Newton 15 RB Jordan Wilkins 15 WR Chris Hogan 21 TE Ryan Griffin 7 FLEX Rob Gronkowski 8 DST Redskins 6
QB Drew Brees 15 RB Rex Burkhead 15 WR John Ross 19 TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins 6 FLEX Tyrell Williams 2
QB Deshaun Watson 5 RB Kareem Hunt 10 WR Stefon Diggs 16 TE David Njoku 5 FLEX Kareem Hunt 2
QB Case Keenum 5 RB Royce Freeman 9 WR Chris Godwin 15 TE Jordan Reed 1 FLEX Delanie Walker 2
RB David Johnson 5 WR Antonio Brown 15 FLEX Royce Freeman 1
RB Carlos Hyde 4 WR Bruce Ellington 15 FLEX Jordan Reed 1
RB Christian McCaffrey 4 WR Emmanuel Sanders 11 FLEX Emmanuel Sanders 1
RB Dalvin Cook 1 WR Tyrell Williams 11 FLEX Keenan Allen 1
RB Leonard Fournette 1 WR Adam Thielen 10 FLEX Ricky Seals-Jones 1
WR Austin Carr 10 FLEX Austin Seferian-Jenkins 1
WR Kenny Stills 4 FLEX Antonio Brown 1
WR Larry Fitzgerald 1
WR T.Y. Hilton 1

Week 2

QB QB Percentage RB RB Percentage WR WR Percentage TE TE Percentage FLEX FLEX Percentage DST DST Percentage
QB Matt Ryan 15 RB James Conner 55 WR Dante Pettis 29 TE George Kittle 26 FLEX Todd Gurley II 23 DST Texans 26
QB Jimmy Garoppolo 15 RB Melvin Gordon III 26 WR Michael Thomas 29 TE David Njoku 25 FLEX Emmanuel Sanders 17 DST Rams 25
QB Patrick Mahomes 15 RB Tevin Coleman 25 WR Mike Williams 25 TE Jack Doyle 25 FLEX James White 11 DST Redskins 25
QB Tyrod Taylor 15 RB Alvin Kamara 23 WR Quincy Enunwa 24 TE Jared Cook 10 FLEX Dante Pettis 11 DST Chargers 24
QB Drew Brees 11 RB Christian McCaffrey 19 WR Mohamed Sanu 21 TE Zach Ertz 8 FLEX Demaryius Thomas 8 DST Broncos 1
QB Case Keenum 9 RB Kareem Hunt 15 WR Devin Funchess 20 TE Travis Kelce 6 FLEX Cooper Kupp 6
QB Ben Roethlisberger 7 RB Peyton Barber 10 WR Jarvis Landry 19 FLEX Melvin Gordon III 4
QB Deshaun Watson 7 RB Dalvin Cook 9 WR Kenny Golladay 17 FLEX JuJu Smith-Schuster 4
QB Matthew Stafford 6 RB James White 8 WR Tyreek Hill 15 FLEX T.J. Yeldon 3
RB LeSean McCoy 5 WR Julio Jones 15 FLEX Alvin Kamara 3
RB Todd Gurley II 3 WR Antonio Brown 15 FLEX Courtland Sutton 3
RB T.J. Yeldon 2 WR Cooper Kupp 13 FLEX Antonio Brown 2
WR Demaryius Thomas 12 FLEX Kenny Golladay 2
WR Tyrell Williams 10 FLEX Michael Thomas 1
WR Chris Godwin 9 FLEX Christian McCaffrey 1
WR Corey Davis 7 FLEX Nelson Agholor 1
WR Courtland Sutton 7 FLEX James Conner 1
WR Kenny Stills 6
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster 5
WR Emmanuel Sanders 2
WR Nelson Agholor 1

Week 3

QB QB Percentage RB RB Percentage WR WR Percentage TE TE Percentage FLEX FLEX Percentage DST DST Percentage
QB Patrick Mahomes 23 RB Giovani Bernard 35 WR Julio Jones 41 TE George Kittle 21 FLEX Alvin Kamara 19 DST Cowboys 26
QB Cam Newton 17 RB Latavius Murray 33 WR Tyler Boyd 30 TE Austin Hooper 19 FLEX Todd Gurley II 13 DST Bears 20
QB Deshaun Watson 17 RB Kareem Hunt 23 WR Donte Moncrief 27 TE Travis Kelce 18 FLEX Christian McCaffrey 13 DST Vikings 18
QB Jimmy Garoppolo 12 RB Wendell Smallwood 19 WR T.Y. Hilton 25 TE Eric Ebron 18 FLEX Cooper Kupp 11 DST Rams 15
QB Matt Ryan 10 RB Corey Clement 18 WR Courtland Sutton 23 TE Jared Cook 10 FLEX Tevin Coleman 9 DST Texans 14
QB Blake Bortles 10 RB Tevin Coleman 16 WR Allen Robinson II 23 TE Jake Butt 6 FLEX Jordan Howard 8 DST Jaguars 7
QB Andrew Luck 10 RB Jordan Wilkins 13 WR Michael Thomas 23 TE Trey Burton 5 FLEX Melvin Gordon III 7
RB Melvin Gordon III 9 WR Devin Funchess 19 TE Zach Ertz 3 FLEX Kareem Hunt 4
RB Jordan Howard 9 WR Tyreek Hill 15 FLEX Tyreek Hill 3
RB Alvin Kamara 7 WR Sammy Watkins 15 FLEX Robert Woods 3
RB David Johnson 7 WR Nelson Agholor 15 FLEX David Johnson 2
RB Todd Gurley II 7 WR Cooper Kupp 13 FLEX Keenan Allen 1
RB Christian McCaffrey 2 WR Geronimo Allison 13 FLEX George Kittle 1
WR Robert Woods 9 FLEX Michael Thomas 1
WR Marquise Goodwin 5 FLEX Giovani Bernard 1
WR Adam Thielen 1 FLEX Keelan Cole 1
WR Brandin Cooks 1 FLEX Brandin Cooks 1
WR Keenan Allen 1 FLEX Allen Robinson II 1
WR Will Fuller V 1

Week 4

QB QB Percentage RB RB Percentage WR WR Percentage TE TE Percentage FLEX FLEX Percentage DST DST Percentage
QB Andy Dalton 15 RB Giovani Bernard 46 WR Sterling Shepard 39 TE Jimmy Graham 23 FLEX Alvin Kamara 41 DST Bears 33
QB Deshaun Watson 15 RB Ezekiel Elliott 30 WR Geronimo Allison 29 TE Eric Ebron 21 FLEX Melvin Gordon III 14 DST Packers 29
QB Eli Manning 11 RB Lamar Miller 26 WR Tyler Boyd 27 TE Jared Cook 19 FLEX Odell Beckham Jr. 9 DST Titans 19
QB Matt Ryan 10 RB Saquon Barkley 20 WR Quincy Enunwa 20 TE David Njoku 15 FLEX Saquon Barkley 9 DST Jaguars 17
QB Mitchell Trubisky 10 RB Tevin Coleman 19 WR Taylor Gabriel 20 TE Trey Burton 10 FLEX Michael Thomas 7 DST Chargers 1
QB Baker Mayfield 10 RB Carlos Hyde 17 WR Allen Robinson II 20 TE George Kittle 7 FLEX Jarvis Landry 6
QB Tom Brady 10 RB Melvin Gordon III 15 WR Doug Baldwin 17 TE Tyler Eifert 5 FLEX Doug Baldwin 3
QB Drew Brees 10 RB Sony Michel 11 WR Antonio Callaway 17 FLEX Julio Jones 2
QB Aaron Rodgers 9 RB David Johnson 8 WR Mike Williams 14 FLEX Sterling Shepard 2
RB Austin Ekeler 4 WR Christian Kirk 13 FLEX David Johnson 2
RB Alvin Kamara 3 WR Corey Davis 12 FLEX Davante Adams 1
RB Jordan Howard 1 WR Will Fuller V 12 FLEX Carlos Hyde 1
WR Marvin Jones Jr. 11 FLEX Mike Williams 1
WR Odell Beckham Jr. 9 FLEX Ezekiel Elliott 1
WR Tyrell Williams 8 FLEX Christian Kirk 1
WR Taywan Taylor 7 FLEX Will Fuller V 1
WR Michael Thomas 7
WR Julio Jones 6
WR Jarvis Landry 5
WR Davante Adams 4
WR Chris Godwin 3

My Thoughts on Player Pool

At the QB position, Al looks to use a 15% cap with most QB’s. And he doesn’t look to use top tier QB’s like Brady and Rodgers as often as you’d expect. He prefers inconsistent guys with high upside. Watson and Mahomes looks to be his favorite QB’s thus far.

Similar story at RB but he does favor guys with clear cut starting jobs. Notice Giovanni Bernard in Weeks 3 and 4 with Joe Mixon out. Same play Weeks 1 and 2 with James Conner although he switched to liking Bernard more after Conner’s Week 2 performance.

At WR, starting WR’s take the top slots. Surprising amount of risk taken around 15%.

At TE he switched off of Doyle to Ebron. He seems to view TE as not a place to try too many streamers.

He treats the FLEX slot differently than just a placeholder, using it for late swaps as much as possible. It looks like his optimizer selects one player in a late game to be in the FLEX all the time E.g. Kamara week 4 and then sorts down with other options should that player not be in a lineup. This isn’t always the case though (see Julio Jones week 4).

At DST, he will pay up for top DST’s but, as he does with other positions, he prefers to use more risk on the cheaper plays. This makes me think his optimizer uses salary coupled with projected points. Perhaps the standard dk_points/(100*salary). Al says he creates his own projections/rankings so I’m guessing this goes into his rank score.

Also Al looks like he enters a few manual lineups that stray from his optimizer each week.

Stacks

Al doesn’t look seem to believe in 100% QB-WR stacks. Oftentimes he’ll play a QB 15% of the time and do a stack with that QB ~13% of the time.

Feedback

Whew! I hope I can keep doing one of these a week. This week I spent a lot of time preparing my code to analyze season long results so next time I hope to go more in depth on these Pro’s/touts.

We’ll alternate between probable Pro’s and touts. Next week we’ll look into someone from the GuruElite gang.

If you’ve found something wrong with this article or something we should add please let me know! Email me at matteo@sportsdatadirect.com or leave a comment below.

Last Updated: 2018 NFL Week 4

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