Thursday, Sep 5th
Monday, Sep 9th

Above The Field :: Week 9

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

Week 9 :: An Experience Unlike Any Other

When it was first suggested that I include my Winning the Milly story as the introduction to my DFS Tournament Mastermind Training course, I was apprehensive because I thought it had little to do with helping anyone else replicate my good fortune. In the weeks that followed, I was surprised at the amount of positive feedback I received from our subscribers. The coolest part is how it assisted them with another aspect of the course, visualization. Reading a play-by-play account of my improbable day actually helped our DFS community apply the Law of Attraction, making a tournament win for them feel more probable

With that in mind, I decided to chat with ghartman314, winner of the DraftKings Millionaire Maker tournament in Week 8, and get a glimpse into his experience. We dove into his experience both from a “X’s and O’s” lineup construction standpoint as well as his sweat on the best DFS day of his life. We kept it very informal and conversational so I’ll cherry-pick a couple of spots to transcribe below and then I’ll post an audio clip at the bottom of this page with his account of his unforgettable Milly sweat.


Obviously, this lineup is sick and it appeals to those of us that have been studying the theory of winning lineups. Great leverage, a 4-man stack Chiefs/Jets stack (with an under 5%-owned player) and a Seahawks/49ers secondary stack. It’s a freaking work of art.

Haha. Thank you.

One thing that seemed so obvious in hindsight was our slate-breaking running back of the week, Dalvin Cook. His talent is proven, his matchup pristine, yet Cook ended up only 10.36% owned despite being an obvious pivot off the chalky Kareem Hunt. It’s amazing how such a play can be completely overlooked by so many of the sharpest game theory-driven DFS players. Did you play 33% Dalvin purely because of matchup or was it more based on the fact that Hunt was in his price range and projected at 40%…and there was no way Hunt was going to outscore him 80% of the time to justify that difference?

Yeah, exactly. It really was the perfect storm of everything. Obviously, the good matchup kind of put it over the top for me. To see the projected ownership and then see Hunt getting half the field, it just seemed like a no-brainer to me. Sure, you could be a little scared off by him having missed a week or two coming off the injury, but you figure, if he’s going to be out there he’s not going to be hurt. He’s a top tier running back and a button I definitely wanted to push…and I’m so glad I did!

I bet you are! I haven’t gotten around to framing my Milly lineup or making a tee shirt but I put “TYDEEBO” on my license plate. Are you going to honor Dalvin or your lineup in a similar way?

I’m definitely going to print it out and frame it or something. I won a 50K NBA GPP a couple of months ago and that was a huge deal for my friends. My friend made a tee shirt with that lineup…and that was small potatoes compared to this so who knows! I know that I’m forever thankful…really, to Kendrick Bourne for those last couple catches at the end of that game there. He was definitely the guy that sealed it for me in the end. Cook was a great play though and now we’ll watch it go the other way this week and he’ll be super highly owned. He’ll still be in the pool but I think they’ll be a lot of overcompensating on him.

I don’t really trust ownership projections until at least Friday so I’ll be holding off building much of anything until then.

Yeah, I’m similar. I’ll work during the week on building a preliminary pool but Saturday night is really when I’ll start assigning my pool around ownership percentages. 

Are you strictly a hand builder?

No, I use an optimizer. Most of my life I was a hand-builder but this season I finally got into the optimizer game. I was probably late on that but it’s obviously changed things for me. Around the optimizer, my rules are very strict and I spend a ton of time stacks and percentages around those stacks, bring-backs and stuff like that. I originally didn’t like the idea of having a machine build these lineups for me and then I took a real dive in and saw everything it could do and how to really maneuver with it…and saw how it’s still me setting everything it’s going to do anyway. It’s a lot of tweaking but once you get it to do everything you want, it’s awesome. 

What landed you on 89 lineups this week?

Honestly it was just the money I had in my account. I didn’t feel like depositing.

No shit. Really?

I had already maxed out the $3 20-max and done some single-entry things so when I went to the Milly I had about $890 left it was like “ok, there it is”. 

Do you have a philosophy for your player pool in terms of trimming it down and dealing with the fear of missing out on players?

I’m always trying to cut down my pool as much as I can within what makes sense for the slate. I actually look at price less than anything else. I look at matchup and ceiling. Ceiling is probably the most important thing when I’m building for GPP. I hate the idea of missing out on a player but I always try and come back to “ok is there a realistic chance that this player hits X” and if that answer is no for me on any given week then I try to keep them out of the pool – and then from that point I’m looking at leverage and projected ownership as a tiebreaker for anyone who’s on the fringe. I definitely try and cut it down but it’s obviously not easy.

What is your background and how does your brain work? What made you think you could be good at this?

I work in Tech so I’m not any kind of former poker player or math wiz or anything like that. But I’m a huge sports fan and DFS player for a long time so it was just a long process for me getting to the point where it was like “ok, maybe I shouldn’t just be hand building all of my lineups and going by pure gut – because I feel like I do a good job of mixing gut and pure numbers and projections but I’m not purely analytical. 

Oh neat…we have another thing in common. What does “gut” mean to you and how do you blend that with the game theory/analytical side?

Yeah, gut/intuition is huge for me. I mean, I’m no expert, you aren’t going to see me on First Take or ESPN, give any crazy insight, but being a lifelong fan of this game and feeling like I know what make sense within the 60 minutes of a football game, I think that helps guide me in a secondary manner. The numbers are priority…but I start to get an idea during the week of what games feel right to me and what I want to hammer…and a lot of the time that’s going to add up to what the numbers tell me. 

Anytime you can access all the intel at your disposal and then locate a common point, then you’re going to feel good about your play, regardless of the outcome.

For sure. I do think I’ve reached a happy medium in going through every game, mixing what the numbers/projections can tell me…Vegas over/unders, pure matchup and game script…and then my gut, my intuition of who I think makes sense within that game and I think I do a good mix of it. It’s definitely a mix on my end. 

Had you had any Milly sweats before this one?

Not really but I think I’ve really figured some things out this year where you’ll see my name up there more and more moving forward. I firmly believe that. Obviously, I could be wrong about that…but I plan on being there again!

Love it, man. I don’t doubt it.

Here’s ghartman314 in his own words, describing his Millionaire Winning day. 

Get Inside Of Sonic’s DFS Mind

An excellent, highly-recommended read!

Sonic’s DFS Q&A. This is awesome stuff if you’re looking to keep improving your DFS game!