Sunday, Feb 11th — Late
Bye Week:

Process Points. 5.21.

Lesson of the Week: Practice Makes Perfect 

As you will see below in my lineup reviews and yearly update, I continued to see performance improvement across my SE/3-Max/5-Max roster blocks this week. I have previously mentioned in this article that I am a basketball coach. One of the things you always hear in sports is “practice makes perfect.” This is entirely true. To be very good at anything in any walk of life, you need as many repetitions as you can get. This year is the earliest in the season I have had a huge tournament score over my entire career. I usually struggle early on, and I think a large part of that struggle is simply rust — NFL DFS is such a unique animal, and getting reps at building lineups and thinking through things is wildly valuable. One thing I believe most DFS players would benefit from is lowering their buy-in levels and making more — A LOT MORE — lineups, at least for a few weeks, to gain reps. Let’s say you have a bankroll to play about $100 per week. Most players I know would likely allocate that money in one of these ways: 

  • One entry in the $100 Spy
  • Five entries in the $20 Milly (or Special)
  • Eleven entries in the $9 slant
  • Some combination of 8 to 15 entries in various priced tournaments

My recommendation for a struggling DFS player would be to do this instead:

  • 20 lineups for the $1 First Down (20-Max), 20 lineups in the $3 Play-Action, one lineup in the $9 Slant, and one lineup in the $12 Fair Catch ($101 total)

Taking this approach would give you 42 lineups that you are building for that week. You are more likely to play optimally across those lineups by eliminating the fear that comes from a large portion of your bankroll being invested in a small number of lineups. On Friday and Saturday — after you read the NFL Edge and get a feel for ownership, injuries, etc. — you could build the 40 lineups for the lower-cost tournaments. Doing this would give you a much better feel for how the pieces for the week fit together, which players you have a strong conviction towards, and what rosters you have built that you feel good about. Then on Sunday, you can either make two new rosters (with a lot of practice leading into them!) or just pick the two favorites that you have already built. In either regard, you are getting a ton of quality reps putting into practice all of the roster-building strategies that you are learning from the OWS team. It is great to read things and take advice from sharp people, but the actual process of doing it is critical to growth as a player. The other added benefits to this approach are:

  • You are much more likely to have some good lineups along the way from this larger sample size. That means you will get the positive reinforcement of what you are doing and you’ll be able to learn from the rosters that you have success with. It is one thing for me to tell you how I built a high-scoring, winning roster after the fact and another thing altogether for you to experience it yourself — even if those great lineups aren’t necessarily “binking” for first place.
  • The larger sample size of lineups will also help you more quickly identify if lack of success is just from variance or from bad play/process altogether. Doing this for four weeks would give you over 150 lineups across four different slates. You can then look back at the lineups and check how many scored in the top 10%, top 5%, top 1%, etc. Honestly, 150 lineups is still a small sample size in the big picture but for how most people allocate their money even that would take a full season to get to — at which point you will have to wait nine months for NFL DFS to return and you’ll be rusty and need reps again!! Most of you reading this probably read about my big win last week and it would be easy to chalk that up to variance. However, here are some of my stats from the first month of this season and from the 2020 NFL season that tell me I’m doing alright and not just “lucky”:
  • 0.2% of lineups finished in the top 0.1% this season (2020 — 0.19%)
  • 0.9% of lineups finished in the top 1% this season (2020 — 1.6%)
  • 1.8% of lineups finished in the top 2% this season (2020 — 3%)
  • 5.2% of lineups finished in the top 5% this season (2020 — 7%)
  • 12% of lineups finished in the top 10% this season (2020 — 14%)

Those results over such a large sample size allow me to be confident in my abilities on a macro level, which makes living through the ups and downs much easier psychologically. For most DFS players, especially those who may be struggling, playing more lineups at smaller buy-in levels would help them gain reps to get better and more quickly establish a sample size from which they can evaluate themselves.

Lineup Reviews 

As outlined in my +EV Primer course (you can find in the Marketplace – either by itself or in the bundle with my player pool course), one of my approaches that keeps me from getting too high or low week-to-week is playing consistent contests and approaching them from a season-long perspective and using that to evaluate my play and ROI. This season, in this article, I will be tracking my progress weekly as I play the Single Entry (SE), 3-max, and 5-max tournaments in the $20 to $150 price range on DraftKings main slate for all 18 weeks. Rather than sweating or worrying about my ROI every week and “hoping to cash,” – my goal for the season is to maximize profit relative to that long-term investment total. The results of a given week are irrelevant.  

Each week I will review the best and worst of my 11 lineups from my “Roster Block” of SE/3-Max/5-Max. Below are this week’s results, and you can find more information about my process/theory in my Week 1 Process Points article.

Best Lineup ($700k Power Sweep, 3-Max, $150)

The “story” I was telling: This roster started with a game stack from the CAR-DAL game. As I mentioned in The Oracle last week, I thought this game was highly likely to be very high-scoring and had some nice pieces at reasonable prices. The Dak Prescott-Amari Cooper pairing at home is always viable, and both were very underpriced, in my opinion. Being able to add Dalton Schultz to that pairing at only $3,400 made it even better. I feel like sometimes in those spots (lesser-known players coming off a big game), people instinctively just try to stay away the following week. We’ve all learned at some point or another “don’t chase the points.” In this instance, however, Schultz had played around 80% of snaps in all three games to start the year, ran many routes, saw targets, was very cheap and wasn’t projecting for much ownership. I went with Chubba Hubbard instead of D.J. Moore as the bring back from Carolina, which was a toss-up for me and would look better if Chubba had gotten the rushing TDs instead of Sam Darnold. I played Moore in other spots, but I went with Chubba for this lineup to get three WR’s I liked. Chase Edmonds//Robert Woods gave me access to another explosive game environment. Diontae Johnson at low ownership, reasonable price, and without Chase Claypool — sign me up!! Finally, I had a TON of Tyreek Hill across all sites this week. The reasoning for my conviction went beyond what you will see on a spreadsheet or projection. There is a lot that we can’t predict in the NFL, but one thing I am fairly confident in is the approach of good teams and sharp coaches when they are smacked in the face with adversity. As any experienced DFS player knows, when you take a couple of tough losses, you start looking in the mirror and trying to figure out, “what am I doing wrong, and how do I get back to who I want to be?” Well, for the Chiefs, who were coming off back-to-back Super Bowl appearances and sitting at 1-2, it was evident to me that Andy Reid would be trying to find the root of their issues and rectify it. The fact that their most explosive offensive weapon was neutralized entirely in both of their losses would not be lost on him. Patrick Mahomes//Tyreek is a pairing that should never be ignored based on any matchup. In a neutral-at-worst matchup and at relatively low ownership coming off of two straight duds, Tyreek was the strongest feeling I’ve had about any player all season.

Worst Lineup ($200k Three-Point Stance, 5-max, $33):

The “story” I was telling: Josh Allen double stack in a game I felt highly confident they would score 4+ TD’s. They did end up with four, but two of them came on the ground, and poor red zone efficiency leading to field goals kept this from becoming a nuclear game for them. Many people will try to look all over for different game stacks to be unique, but I prefer finding unique ways to attack the BEST game stacks. Why go shopping around poor offenses when I can be unique within one of the surest bets of the week? Obviously, it didn’t work out here, but Gabriel Davis quietly had a week of full practices after being limited since injuring his ankle in Week 1. The game environment was ripe, and if/when they smashed, he could be part of that action early or get extra reps late as the Bills rested their older receivers. He ended up playing 41% of snaps and drawing only two targets (both in the end zone), but there was a method to the madness. When there isn’t a clear value play to be had on a slate (or if the value plays are going to be very chalky), finding a way to have the low priced piece(s) of your lineup be from your core game stack is the ideal way to get that salary relief. You’ll notice I used that strategy with both lineups reviewed this week; Schultz in the first lineup and Davis in this one.

Week 4 Results: Like clockwork. Three cashes out of the 11 lineups this week, just as predicted here last week. That now makes my number of cashes from the roster block zero >> one >> two >> three >> over the four weeks to start the year. Four cashes incoming for next week!

Week 4 Investment: $792

Week 4 Winnings: $900

Estimated Yearly Investment:  $14,000 Yearly Winnings: $1,300