Each week this NFL season, top MME player // Milly Maker winner SonicLibrarian will help you orient your GPP mind in Above The Field.
How do you visualize a 150-entry contest? Do you think of the Millionaire Maker as a $20 contest, 150 times? Or do you think if it as a $3k contest that happens to utilize 150 lineups?
There is a big difference between the two but not necessarily a correct answer. Like all of us, I’m constantly trying to refine my game and explore ways to improve my chances of getting to the pinnacle of the leaderboard. Sometimes it’s healthy to step back and take an extremely broad look at what we’re actually doing and how we are actually thinking.
As I explained in my DFS Tournament Mastermind Course, I tend to build about 50 lineups by hand and then leave the other 100 to the optimizer. My hand-made lineups tend to go game-by-game, building stacks for almost all of them. I’ll pick the QB, a pass-catcher or two, and usually one bring-back from the other team. Then I’ll try to identify secondary stacks that feature guys from my core of high-upside plays for that week. I won’t likely stray from that part of my process anytime soon since hand-building has been where I’ve been the most successful. The one part of my game that I am adjusting centers around the 100 created in the optimizer. Until now I’ve been playing a large pool of players in the opto, including about eight quarterbacks, some that I featured in my hand-builds as well. As many of you know, this process can be quite cumbersome. Building rules and correlations with respect to every QB can get a bit tedious, especially if you are as particular as I am about getting the perfect blend of stack sizes and participants. Inspired by my study of rikkidee, I’m going to tweak my approach to the optimizer builds. I’m probably never going to go full rikkidee, but I have identified a path to increasing my upside (and lowering my workload) by adopting his YOLO approach to the optimizer-driven portion of my MME builds.
I covered rikkidee’s play along with other top tournament players in my aforementioned training course, but I’ll delve in further here because these past two slates showed us both the basement-level floor and the massive ceiling inherent in his approach.
For the Sunday Millionaire Maker slate, rikkidee took his usual approach of putting all of his eggs into one game, allocating 61.33% to Baker Mayfield and 38.66% to Ben Roethlisberger. In a very contrarian move, he played tons of low-owned Juju Smith-Schuster and James Washington while semi-fading the chalky Chase Claypool, coming in at 14% which amounted to about 50% of Claypool’s actual ownership. Unfortunately, this game disappointed and his top 4 players scored about 21 points…combined. Yikes.
He failed to eclipse 160 points in any of his lineups, or get within 97 points of first place. His best roster finished in 38,971st place. Three lineups snuck into the money for a total loss of $2910. An unmitigated disaster of epic proportion. How awful! So embarrassing!
It’s almost impossible to do any worse, but do you think he really cared? I don’t. I think rikkidee approaches these MME contests as a singular wager. Rather than betting on 150 lineups at $20 a pop, he’s wagering $3k on the tournament as a whole. He sticks his neck way out on a few players. If they fail, then he loses. No big deal. It’s like betting that same amount on a 5 (or more) team parlay. If you’re right on all of these games, you’ll win some real money but it’s more likely that things won’t hit perfectly and your money is gone, and that’s perfectly acceptable. As long as you can stay within your allotted bankroll, they’ll be another slate next week, or even tomorrow.
In fact, rikkidee jumped right back in the following day on DraftKings’ Monday Night Millionaire Maker. This was a 2-game slate so the strategic approach wasn’t exactly the same, but he took his usual aggressive approach, near-locked a few players, and faded some others (notice no sign of Ezekiel Elliott in the picture below). This time, however, the results were much different. He guessed right and had dozens of lineups in the money, including sole possession of the coveted 1st place.
These tournaments are hard to win and most of the time, you’re going to finish with less money than you started with. The key lies in maximizing your upside on those glorious days when you’re right.
To further exemplify, I’ll take you back to Week 4 of the 2019 season. Patrick Mahomes was the chalk in his matchup with the Lions. The Chiefs were favored by 7 with the highest projected game total of the week at 54.5. Russell Wilson and Daniel Jones were highly owned as well, each in games with the o/u set at 48. The Buccaneers and Rams were playing out in LA that Sunday with a projected game total of 49 yet somehow Jared Goff and Jameis Winston ended up owned at 4.02% and .47% respectively. The field was likely low on Jameis because Chris Godwin was questionable with an injury that had kept him out of practice all week.
I don’t think this was a stab in the dark. I believe rikkidee sniffed this one out and called bullshit.
Talk about “above the field”. This is how you leverage the competition! In fact, I should probably rename this article to “Slightly Above the Field Because I’m Too Much of a Pussy to Play Like rikkidee”.
On this glorious Sunday, he made the money in 149 of his 150 lineups, including 4th, 37th and 67th. It probably felt like a bad beat to him that he didn’t capture the chip.
I’m not sure if rikkidee wakes up and pisses excellence, but he sure plays the game by the Rikky Bobby mantra…
Is any of this information going to affect your approach to Week 7?
I’m going to kill two birds with one stone this week. I’m going to limit myself to two quarterbacks in the optimizer. This will get me way above the field on two plays I feel strongly about and simultaneously decrease some of my optimizer-tweaking workload. This will afford me more time for my hand-built lineups. Heck, I may even get reacquainted with Mrs. Sonic. It’s been a long football season already.
Thank you, Baby Jesus.
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!