Sunday, Feb 11th — Late
Bye Week:

Above The Field :: Attack of the Clones


Holy shit…It’s almost FOOTBALL SEASON! I’ve been over-anticipating this season to the point where I’ve entered ridiculous amounts of slow drafts in Best Ball, only to have Underdog speed up the timer, rendering my life unmanageable. I won’t get through today’s writing session without seeing these blowing up my phone ad infinitum. 


It’s customary to do a yearly update on courses like my Sonic’s Tournament Mastermind Training (Save 20% with Promo Code: KICKOFF2021), but as I reviewed the behemoth I penned last year, I realized I covered damn near everything one could encounter when learning the art of Mass Multi-Entry tournaments. I mean, there’s a metric shit-ton of information in this beast so please, go back and reread. Hit me in the OWS Discord or on Twitter if you can find anything on which you’d like me to elaborate.

I do have one concept I’d like to cover as we shift gears from 2020 and attack these 2021 slates so…LFG!

Late swap 

We covered Late Swap in the Sunday portion of the course but with so few DFS players utilizing late swap, I decided to mess around a bit last season to see if I could devise an exploitative method. 

My initial experiment consisted of 4-stacking an early game and filling in the remaining five roster spots with players from the late games. I then duplicated this lineup a few times. I repeated this process for a few of my favorite game environments and tried to vary my ownership percentages and salary cap usage on those initial stacks. I’d end up with a range from contrarian to chalky, from cheap to expensive. When the 4th quarter of the early games rolled around, I located those rosters and rebuilt the duplicates in hopes of providing myself with several opportunities at a sweat.

When these early stacks happen to smash it becomes super exciting to fill in these rosters. It provides an additional opportunity to think outside the box a little. Access the intuition and imagine watching these late games play out before they even kick-off. Diversify these lineups, create some high-upside secondary stacks and fortify your original stack with a variety of leaderboard-climbing possibilities.

If I have five clones of a lineup, I’ll leave one as-is and then plug one into the optimizer and let it spit out the best value plays. These will be highly owned in most cases but that’s fine. I’ve already smashed with my stack and I just want the greatest chance of keeping this train rolling. I’ll use the other three lineups to scale down the ownership percentage and jack up the variance by hand-picking players that correlate and tell some sort of a plausible story.

Here’s a peek at a 2021 Week 1 lineup built for these purposes.


This little template roster features exactly four players from the early portion of the slate. A 4-stack which features Matt Ryan/Calvin Ridley/Kyle Pitts and Devonta Smith coming back. Then I selected only the late games (from the matchups at the top of the screen) and filled in the rest with a secondary stack from the Chiefs/Browns game and some Defense/RB correlation because…why not? I left $1000 on the table here which means this lineup may actually be unique, but more importantly I’ll have some flexibility on Sunday when it’s time to dig in and convert this template lineup into four or five different ones. 

Use your own variations on this concept based on what the slate is offering you that particular week. If your favorite RB play is on the early side, adding him to your 4-man stack and leaving 4 slots to tweak later makes perfect sense as well. This might be a fairly common adjustment if there are far fewer games late and therefore fewer bellcows from which to choose.

It’s probably good business to save your DST decisions for the late games in these instances. With such a variant position, it’ll be nice to fade some of the disappointing results early and give yourself a variety of outs late. Of course, you could invert this template if you feel great about other positions in the early games. You may choose to lock a Defense, RB, and a nice secondary stack in the early games and then utilize your late swap option by filling in game stacks from the late matchups. Here’s a peek at how this might look.


Here I’m just wagering that the 49ers are going to roll over the Lions, eventually leading to some late Jared Goff desperation turnovers and Raheem Mostert finally breaking a long run through a tired and demoralized defense. Meanwhile, in Cincinnati, we have a see-saw battle with Adam Thielen and Tee Higgins racking up targets and production. If these two scenarios play out and I have five copies of this template with which to late swap, it will be a fun task at 12:45 PST when I roll up my sleeves and diversify. 

The downside of this “Late Swap Template” approach occurs when those early stacks flop and you feel like you’re re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic. In the event of early flop-age, the optimal play is to swing for the fences and plug in a bunch of low-owned darts and hope to leapfrog the multitude of lineups in between you and the pay line. In the event of an early goose egg, you could just abandon that set of dupes. You’ll look like a donkey on Monday when people examine your lineups and see five copies of the same one but you’ll know you were actually reaching for the stars by trying to exploit one of the few edges remaining in this increasingly competitive world of Daily Fantasy Sports. 

Adding some clone lineups to our portfolio becomes advantageous when we are waiting on last-minute injury news for players involved in the late games. When most recreational DFS players will be either avoiding late swap situations all together or frantically searching for existing lineups to adjust, we’ll simply be building new lineups (with a 4 or 5-player head start) based on all of the injury and ownership data available to that point. It likely means we have to postpone excessive beer consumption until at least 4pm eastern though. Advantage West Coast. Yay!

I found an additional benefit from this experiment. Saving fifteen hand-builds for Sunday takes a little bit of pressure off the cumbersome Saturday night/Sunday morning workload. An additional two hours of sleep is always welcomed.

I’ll surely use this approach again this year as the season progresses. Injuries tend to pile up over the long haul and we’ll be faced with more afternoon uncertainty in November than we will for Week 1. 

Good luck this season, folks. I’ll see you every week in Above the field. 

Let’s GO!!!!


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