Thursday, Sep 8th
Monday, Sep 12th

Above The Field :: Week 6

Each week this NFL season, top MME player // Milly Maker winner SonicLibrarian will help you orient your GPP mind in Above The Field.

Week 6 :: Finkel and Einhorn

Week 5 of the NFL was like most weeks in 2020. 

F.U.B.A.R.

Everyone who worked all week and scrambled before lock to submit lineups on FanDuel was treated to a stat-less, sweat-less, late swap-less, day of frustration. Imagine running a multi-billion-dollar company and not having a contingency plan in place for such an occasion. Unreal. 

The situation was not completely unfamiliar to those of us that grew up in the era of Atari, antenna TV and…umm…going outside. I was once part of a fantasy league that did everything with pencil and paper. We watched the games that were available on our local channels and saw a few highlights. We were clueless as to the results until the Boston Globe published the box scores on Monday or Tuesday. ‘Twas a simpler time. But we were happy, damnit. 

So, I say thanks, FanDuel. Thanks for firing up the synapses and triggering a memory from the days where I rostered Barry Sanders in a fantasy football game. But now I’d like to remind you that it’s the year 2020 and we expect a bit more than you are currently providing. I wanted to review the top DFS players on your site this year but couldn’t because you somehow still don’t offer a CSV download of your contests, a simple service that coincidentally, would also have resulted in a solution to your Sunday fiasco by any number of clever nerds with a computer. 

This concludes the “Old Man Yells at Cloud” portion of the program. 

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Yes, I’m frustrated. Not only because of Sunday’s outage, but because I’m now left to ponder if andyreidsbuffettable’s usage of Travis Fulgham and Chase Claypool in the $4.44 Millionaire together was an anomaly, something genius, or flat-out psychic. What if he actually used them in multiple lineups but they were surrounded by guys like Daniel Jones, Olamide Zaccheaus and Amari Cooper so we just can’t scroll down far enough to find them? andyreidsbuffettable stacked his assumed favorite team (in a loss to the raiders), rostered two big pieces of busted chalk and managed to take home 3rd place and 40K for his efforts. So sick. 

But seriously, Fulgham and Claypool? Claypool and Fulgham? 

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These are the types of questions that keep me up at night.

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We’ve actually had some pretty chalky lineups topping big tournaments this year. This was not one those times. 

DraftKings Millionaire Maker Review

As you know by now, I prefer to look at the DK Milly results from an alternate angle. Today we highlight the play of 2nd place finisher, polishkids who also had the distinction of finishing in 233,262nd place, just 3,502 away from dead last. The thing is, I’m not sure which one of his lineups I liked better. 

On one hand, we have:

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1. A low-owned Cowboys/Giants game stack, getting pieces of a possible shootout without using the obvious choices like Ezekiel Elliott or Darius Slayton. Very savvy. 

2. Eating the chalk at RB with which (as I pointed out in the Friday: Man vs Machine section of my Tournament Mastermind Course) is perfectly acceptable. 

3. The low-risk approach by paying up at TE and locking in George Kittle who, as long as his quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, was healthy from his high ankle sprain and capable of throwing accurate passes to his security blanket, was in a can’t-miss spot. 

4. Sammy Watkins and Diontae Johnson. Two wide receivers from high-octane offenses that probably should have been higher owned, particularly Diontae. 

5. Eagles Defense who was lining up opposite Ben Roethlisberger.  Big Ben has been known to take chances…and hits. I don’t even mind the negative correlation between Diontae and opposing defense. A viable path to both posting big scores existed.

A strong lineup with a cumulative ownership of 131%. Towards the higher end of what we normally shoot for but absolutely fine.

Total Points: 83.74 – difficult to run much worse than that. 

And on the other hand:

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1. Some nice correlation here with a skinny stack of Patrick Mahomes/Travis Kelce and no Raiders players coming back. 

2. A high-upside secondary stack with two uber-talented players from each side of potential shootout (CeeDee Lamb and Darius Slayton).

3. Another secondary stack, a somewhat uncommon one, with two RBs from the same game (more about this in a moment). 

4. Two low-owned WRs with upside if the planets aligned just right.

Interesting lineup with a cumulative ownership of 128.1

Total Points: 235.90 – Run better, man…wow. 

Based on what we covered in the training course, doesn’t this 2nd one just look like a Milly Winner? Maybe it’s the two players at sub 5% mixed with the heavy chalk at one RB spot and a more unique selection in RB2. It just feels like a GPP lineup that will either crash the leaderboard or crash and burn. I’m going to keep these 2 lineups in mind when I build my rosters this week. Nicely done, polishkids.

Two Running Backs – Same Game

I hijacked @oneweekseason on twitter last week and encountered a couple of questions about this subject so I’ll delve into it a bit here and show you how to deal with it in Fantasy Labs optimizer. 

The concept of two running backs from the same game being negative correlation was likely birthed from an era of NFL football when running backs were primarily…well…runners. The demand for multi-dimensional RBs has increased over the last several years and now the league is littered with players that can make plays in the passing game as well as on the ground. The 1st and 2nd down grinders of yesteryear still exist, but they are less common. There are also a bunch of players that are supposed to be versatile but just haven’t panned out yet. Hello, Mr. Sony Michel. 

The other end of that spectrum is guys like Michel’s teammate, James “Sweet Feet” White, who is essentially a wide receiver that’s just called a running back because he starts most plays in the backfield. 

Since some RBs get as many targets as a WR, one does not need to hesitate. Stick him on your roster with the opposing RB. You wouldn’t worry about putting an opposing WR in there, right? Let it rip. It’s a bonus if the other RB is involved in the pass game as well. 

When a non-pass catcher is in the mix, along with a guy who doesn’t get “Carolina RB” type of targets, then we’ll have to take a closer look and create a sliding scale of decreased correlations in our optimizer. Keep in mind that other factors can come into play as well. A high Vegas total and an expected fast pace of play makes pairing any 2 RBs a bit more palatable. I still wouldn’t put guys like Derrick Henry and Adrian Petersen in there together if they were facing each other…unless the play clock was running at 2x speed at the All-Amphetamine Bowl. 

So, if we’re looking at a slate where some pass catching running backs are playing against each other, we won’t want to make a hard and fast rule in the Fantasy Labs “My Position Rules” tab:

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Instead, we’ll let the generator give us 2 RBs/same game but we’ll decrease the likelihood of those pairings that correlate negatively.  

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This way we won’t get a bunch of lineups that aren’t correlated ideally, but we may have a share or 2 in case their game shoots out and both running backs get plenty of touches and/or fall into the end zone a couple of times. 

Thanks for reading this installment of Above the Field. Hit me on OWS Discord or Twitter @ElmerHelmet if you have any questions. 

May your correlations be optimal, your dart-throws fruitful…and by all means, your laces out.

Sonic OUT!

Get Inside Of Sonic’s DFS Mind

An excellent, highly-recommended read!

Last week, Sonic answered a Q&A for us. This is awesome stuff if you’re looking to keep improving your DFS game!