Thursday, Dec 1st
Monday, Dec 5th
Bye Week:
Cardinals
Panthers

Above The Field. 9.21.

A Song of Fire and Icicles 

A variety of things can happen amidst our quest to build first place lineups. On the one hand, we have lineups that, in hindsight, look like they were created by a complete noob (I’ll provide an example from one such dipshit later). On the other end of the spectrum, we have that glorious roster where the planets aligned and all of the little fire emoji congregated into one special place. 

Such is the case for this beauty from this Week’s Millionaire Maker winner, PiReZ. 

The obvious 3-stack of the week with zero additional correlation. “But you have to have a secondary stack, or you’re just playing the lottery!”- No, you really don’t. You just need to click on the highest-scoring players. If using a secondary stack helps you narrow your decisions from six to five, that’s great. But in a big tournament, if that little stack gets outscored by two other players whose salaries add up to a similar total, you’re beat. I still believe in correlating tournament lineups whenever it possibly makes sense, but one must be careful not to sacrifice too many projected points just to make your lineups look pretty. Pat Freiermuth was just 4.5% owned, probably in part because of the lack of correlating options on the Cleveland side. It’s odd to say that a $3600 tight end can be a “pay up to be contrarian” option, but with Dan Arnold as the chalk at $2800, here we are. 

With 114.7% cumulative ownership, this one falls nicely into our sweet spot of 75% to 125%. Nothing micro-owned here but Freiermuth and Michael Carter were nice low-cost, low-ownership pieces. 

Looking deeper, PiRez had ten lineups in the coveted 1%. Even if he didn’t bink this one, he still would have managed a profit of $1970. 

Two of the more analyzed roster construction tournament debates are:

  • 3-Stacks vs 4-Stacks
  • To bring-back or not to bring-back

My standard answer is that it’s possible to “get there” in a number of ways. This week, PiReZ made it all work with 29 4-stacks and 121 3-stacks, and he ran it back with an opponent on exactly 100% of his lineups. 

PiRez’s cumulative ownership had a wide range of 48.5% all the way to 160.4%. If he is using an optimizer exclusively, he certainly didn’t install a rule that limited ownership at 125% like many do. I usually hand-build about 50 lineups and then put 100 into the opto, so some of my lineups will end up over that threshold. This happens most often when I build a lineup early in the week based on my own research prior to any ownership projections. I end up on the chalk because the obvious early-week data generally points to players that have performed well recently and are in plus matchups this week. 

PiReZ used a tight quarterback pool, utilizing just five signal-callers, and was 4x over the field on his winning QB, Carson Wentz. 

As mentioned in this space previously, running back pools have grown in the last couple of years as more committees and specialists take the place of the bell cow backs of yesteryear. PiReZ didn’t get lucky with Carter and Eli Mitchell in the same lineup, as he was overweight on each. I’m always interested in how DFS players handle the RB chalk. In this case PiReZ pretty much just matched the field on Darrell Henderson and D’Andre Swift, while managing a near-fade on James Robinson. 

No real surprises at the wide receiver position. Normally the 19.33% usage of a 2% player like Quez Watkins would jump off the page, but I found myself rostering a similar percentage, mostly due to the barren wasteland of options in the $4000 range. Also, Quez was in a great matchup, and he has the profile of a high-upside player that could erupt at any moment. It didn’t work out this week, but I liked the process a lot. Quez was mentioned in JM’s Player Grid as well. 

PiReZ had no apprehension rostering the chalk. Sometimes those high-owned plays are simply the best ones. Rostering them is +EV provided you have a focus on cumulative ownership in your roster’s construction. 

Tight end was pretty gross this week. Those who didn’t eat the Arnold chalk probably had trouble competing. Given the fact that PiReZ had 39 Jalen Hurts rosters, I’m surprised at the lack of tight ends from this game. Only 4.46% of Dallas Goedert and not a single T.J. Hockenson lineup to be found. He chose instead to bring back his Jalen Hurts stacks with Swift 31 times and Amon-Ra St. Brown in the other eight. 

Like many of the sharp tournament players, PiRez wasn’t fazed by the ownership defenses. Just spin the roulette wheel on the cheaper options and hope for the best. 

A big congrats to PiReZ on his stellar play and well-earned good fortune. I’ll be checking in on his (or her/their) lineups on a weekly basis.  

A Beautiful Sonic Blizzard

We often spend our time studying the best of our rosters. We dissect them and reverse engineer each one to see how we landed on such a perfect collection of the puzzle pieces in play. I haven’t framed my Milly winner yet but still think about it nearly every day. I think there is also something to be learned by clicking that scoring column an extra time and taking a peek at the absolute worst lineup you’ve ever created. It’s humbling, and it’s also a good exercise. I try to ask myself if my process was bad or perhaps I just got unlucky. There are also times where I wonder if someone slipped some edibles into a recent meal becauseā€¦damn. 

This one is a bit of each. 

Gorgeous!

Your standard 4-stack with the sub-optimal double tight end. I rarely use double TE but had to play the Hunter Henry revenge narrative since he’s probably so mad that New England handed him a massive contract after spending half of his Chargers tenure on the injured list. *Rolls eyes. 

Nice correlation employed with the Jaguars stellar defense along with James Robinson. This was going to work out great as long as Jacksonville took an early lead and forced Geno Smith into a bunch of mistakes. 

Notice the sharp secondary stack with Terry McLaurin and Courtland Sutton. Low-owned with proven upside. I mean, why would I want to save $1800 and go with the Michael Pittman/A.J. Brown stack? Too easy. Plus, that would have forced me off David Johnson. While touts across the industry are busy deleting their David Johnson “feels gross but has sneaky upside with Ingram gone” posts, I’m showing you a lineup where I actually rostered him. That’s the kind of genuine accountability you can expect here at OWS. Love this roster!

I left $200 on the table because I was pretty sure I had the nuts. 

Say what you will about this roster but if we play this slate out 100 times, it will eclipse the 49.22 mark at least four times.

DraftKings should institute a promotion that rewards the lineup that has the most icicle emoji. They could partner with the York Peppermint Patty people. 

I can relate. When I go a weekend without a tourney sweat, I do feel like I’ve been left for dead atop some remote snowy mountain, and I’d most definitely chew your leg off for another shot at first place. 

It’s only Week 9, folks. May your Mr. Freezes morph into Heat Misers.

LFG!