When September rolls around, daily fantasy sports shifts into high gear with the start of the NFL season. It’s an absolutely exciting time to be a DFS player, massive prize pools, an uptick in overall interest and a greater extension of research time, due to the spread of the games and the majority being played on NFL Sunday. It’s hard not to get excited during this time of the year and if you are going to invest in DFS, now’s the time. It’s only five months long and there are only a limited number of weeks to play. Before you know it, the season is over, and you have to look to the other fantasy sports to get your fill until September rolls around again.
So, no need to keep you guys hanging, let’s get into some tips on building your optimal NFL lineups. We’ll take a look at manual and automated lineup builds using an NFL lineup optimizer, to increase your overall competitiveness in the larger and more cash heavy tournaments of the Fantasy Football NFL schedule.
NFL Stacks – Key Winning Strategy
Stacking is very important and typically starts with the quarterback and his top 1 or 2 high target receiver/s. Winning quarterbacks will frequently double the points that are earned from touchdowns and yards when there is a stacked receiver. When you are playing GPP (guaranteed prize pool) tournaments, you will see that the winning quarterback will have around 3-4+ passing touchdowns and 300+ yards, so through your weekly research, you will be aiming to find the receiver who is going to be taking the majority of the targets from quarterback in question. Stacking in the second-best receiver is also something to consider as they are also likely to exceed the listed projections for any given Sunday.
Another popular stack is the full team stack which would contain the following players, QB/WR/RB/D; with a preference for stacking a D/RB or D and a WR who returns kicks. Now, these stacks can be good for your lineups but there are other combinations to consider. There is some consideration to be taken in stacking a player from the opposing team with your quarterback, with the thought being that if the games end up being relatively close, then there is a lot more passing towards the backend of the game which could turn up the points for you in this stacking scenario.
Projecting Each Player’s Performance
Unlike other sports, NFL stats are a little harder to come by due to the limited amount of data points and less games per season than say, NBA or MLB. This of course means that there just aren’t as many plays and conclusions need to be drawn without there being an abundance of evidence to support them. What also occurs due to this is that different sites will calculate stats in different ways, using different algorithms and methods in the hopes of providing the most reliable data. You will need to spend some time researching to find the most relevant stats. Metric such as percentage of snaps can be more useful than touches in a game.
One of the handier ways to get an edge is to understand the number of plays per team and then decide on the production of each player for your lineups. Pace of play will be important as the faster a team is, the more plays they will have. Look at the seconds per play stat to help you with this. Then of course if a team is more successful as an offensive team, it is likely that they get more downs which means that they get a higher percentage of plays than less offensive teams.
After you have done this, you will then look at the number of touches each player will have and then calculate the type of play, and what that means for you in yards as an example or fantasy points. Typically, you will use either historical stats for this, or you can look at players in comparison to yours and get an average for your player.
When we are looking at touchdowns, these become a little more difficult to predict due to the fact that once a team is close to the end zone, the usage of players changes a lot. If you take a WR like DeAndre Hopkins or Odell Beckham, these guys are amazing at racking up yards, but they are probably not going to be the target close to goal. Watching the games and understanding the players is going to help you out here a lot.
Weather and its Role on the Game
Weather can also throw some disruption to an expected tats or outcome. Snow is obviously a big one, where the ball stays out of the air and your running backs will rack up huge points on the ground. Wind can also do the same if it is strong enough to deter QBs from putting up long pass attempts. With wind and snow you can see up to 50% less pigskins being thrown.
High or Low Ownership
Any decent Daily Fantasy Sports player knows that ownership is a big deal. If you have a player with 1% ownership in a tournament, and that player goes on to score, let’s say 20 points, that is 20 points that leaps you in front of 99% of the playing field. It’s a big deal and if you research well or you just know who the sleepers are because you watch a lot of football, then you can get to the top of the prize money. But, and there is always a but, low owned can be risky. If your low owned player doesn’t score like you thought, folks with higher owned players get in front of you.
Sometimes a popular play is a popular play for a reason and with some of the tournaments having hundreds of thousands of players entering, you can afford to add in some higher owned. It’s really going to be up to you to determine where the potential lies, by doing research and reviewing historical data in order to win cash in these Fanduel and Draftkings tournaments.
Showdown Captain/MVP Mode – Single Game
Single games can be fun, especially when you have the loner games on Monday, Thursday and Sunday Night. With the Captain/MVP games, Captain Showdown on Draftkings and MVP on Fanduel, you pick a player as your captain/MVP who scores 1.5X the points, but also costs you 1.5X the salary. And yes, there is still a salary cap you need to fit your players under. More than likely, the winner of these single games has the highest scoring player in their 1.5X spot. Personally I would always have a WR or QB in this position but being higher owned, you may want to take the contrarian play if you think the game will be run on the ground and go with RB or Defense.
The one piece of advice outside of the above for a single game though is your players must be correlated. That is, stacking your receivers with your winning teams QB as an example. You aren’t winning if you aren’t adding your QB with your receivers. A common strategy is to stack QB and all receivers from one team, and then adding in the required one player from the opposing team.
Too Much Information
Be careful to not fall into a well-known trap when playing DFS NFL, and that is information overload. Trying to deep dive into as much information as possible, and at times obscure information that probably wont help you at all, is common. Remember the start of this article spoke about that lack of large data sets in NFL to give you really solid statistics. You need to watch games, review training camp, look at NFL news and if you can, you should look at a product that will assist you in creating optimal lineups. We like to use Draft Dashboard or Daily Fantasy Nerd. These tools will make building NFL lineups a lot easier and if you are a player who likes to enter multiple tournaments or multiple entries, this is going to save you a hell of a lot of time.
Let’s face it, when the new NFL season comes around, It is a highly anticipated event in the world of fantasy sports. This means that there is life changing prize money up for grabs in daily fantasy contests, but there is also a lot more players in the field that you need to overcome. Use the information above, use NFL optimizer tools that I have mentioned or that you can find online to put yourself in a position where you can walk away with a share of the prize money.