Each week this season, we will spend some time on Tuesday analyzing the highest scoring lineups from the previous weekend's DraftKings Millionaire Maker contest. We highlight trends and strategy such as how much to spend per position, which stacking strategies (if any) have been successful, and which position has been best used in the flex spot. We will also compare results from the 2015 season to our in-depth study of the results from the 2014 season and see if the conclusions we drew over the offseason hold up when more data is added to the equation.
THE WINNING LINEUP
DraftKings user cflanders002 was able to hold off Monday night charges from owners of Brandin Cooks and Tim Hightower to win the final MillionaireMaker tournament of 2015. The roster of Cam Newton, David Johnson, Danny Woodhead, Antonio Brown, Allen Robinson, Ted Ginn Jr., Jordan Reed, Dontrelle Inman and the Texans DST included the highest scoring QB (Newton), RB (Johnson), WR (Brown) and TE (Reed) of the week. Woodhead as RB2 was a real differentiator as the low-owned backup running back scored four touchdowns and was one of the best point per dollar plays on the entire slate.
THE TOP 20
Below are the lineups of the top-20 finishers in DraftKings' Week 15 Millionaire Maker tournament (RB1, RB2, and WR1, WR2 and WR3 are sorted by price):
|1||272.8||Newton||Da.Johnson||Woodhead||An. Brown||A. Robinson||Ginn||Reed||Inman||Texans|
|2||270.26||Cousins||Da.Johnson||Hightower||An. Brown||Dem. Thomas||Ginn||Reed||Watkins||Packers|
|3||269.96||Cousins||Da.Johnson||L. Murray||An. Brown||Watkins||Baldwin||Reed||De. Jackson||Bengals|
|8||262.3||Newton||Da.Johnson||Bolden||An. Brown||E. Sanders||Cooks||Gates||Jo. Brown||Vikings|
|8||262.3||Newton||Da.Johnson||Woodhead||Baldwin||Maclin||Mar. Bryant||Ertz||Ju. Jones||Chiefs|
|10||261.8||Newton||L. Murray||Woodhead||An. Brown||Cooks||Baldwin||Reed||Kearse||Patriots|
|12||261.6||Newton||Da.Johnson||Tolbert||An. Brown||Watkins||Ginn||Watson||Mar. Bryant||Chiefs|
|14||261.24||Brees||Da.Johnson||D. Robinson||An. Brown||Cooks||Baldwin||Reed||Woodhead||Jaguars|
|15||260.26||Cousins||Da.Johnson||Hill||Ju. Jones||De. Jackson||Ginn||Watson||An. Brown||Steelers|
|16||260.1||Newton||Da.Johnson||D. Robinson||An. Brown||Cooks||Ginn||Thomas||C. West||Vikings|
|18||259.2||Newton||Da.Johnson||D. Robinson||An. Brown||Baldwin||Ginn||Reed||Mi. Floyd||Texans|
|18||259.2||Newton||Da.Johnson||D. Robinson||Baldwin||Ginn||Mi. Floyd||Reed||An. Brown||Texans|
THE TOP 3 PLAYS OF THE WEEK
The three key players in Week 15 were David Johnson, Jordan Reed and Antonio Brown. Johnson appeared on 95% of the top rosters and his 47.90 points far outpaced the field at running back. Aside from the low-owned Danny Woodhead, Johnson scored more than twice as many points as any other running back on the Sunday-Monday slate. In a week in which running back scoring was way down, Johnson's huge day was a key differentiator. Jordan Reed (65% ownership on top finishers) was also the top scorer at his position and helped his owners separate from the field.
Antonio Brown (75% ownerships) was arguably the most important player of the week however. His 49.90 points were the week's highest score regardless of position and more than 10 points more than the next best receiver. His ownership was much lower than normal as well with a tough matchup against the Broncos stingy defense scaring away most players.
75% of the top finishers in Week 15 stacked at least one receiver or tight end with their quarterback. Cam Newton paired with Ted Ginn (35% of top finishers) was the week's most successful stack. Kirk Cousins paired with Jordan Reed (20%) was another combination seen many times near the top of the leaderboard.
The leaderboard was dominated by Cam Newton (55%) and Kirk Cousins (25%). Newton had an epic day picking up bonuses for both 100-rushing yards and 300-passing yards along with tossing five touchdowns. Cousins also had a huge day with four passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown. He actually ended up being a slightly better play than Newton based upon points per dollar.
Only two running backs separated from the pack in Week 15: David Johnson and Danny Woodhead. Only one of the top finishers did not own David Johnson. Johnson had 229 yards from scrimmage and scored three touchdowns on Sunday night against Philadelphia. Woodhead rushed for only 10 yards, but added 50 yards through the air and scored four times. Johnson was the RB1 on 90% of the top finishers, which led to a whopping 7.9x scoring multiple at the position. The 4.9x multiple at RB2 was more modest and if you did not hit on the optimal play of Woodhead, it was best to at least save money at the position. The top finishers spent only $4,355 on their second running backs.
Like most of the field, we ignored Antonio Brown in our preview last week due to his tough matchup against the Broncos. That was a mistake. Brown had yet another epic performance and was the key wide receiver to own in Week 15. He was the WR1 or Flex on 75% of the top rosters. Each of the five players we mentioned as strong plays last week however did end up on at least one of the top rosters (Julio Jones, Sammy Watkins, Doug Baldwin, Jeremy Maclin and Willie Snead).
Overall, it was a big week for wide receiver scoring with nine players scoring 29.8 points or more.
For the second-straight week, Jordan Reed (65%) was the top performer at tight end by a good margin. His 27.4 points were slightly down from the 30 he registered in Week 14 but still almost six points more than the second-best performer at the position, Zach Ertz (21.8 points).
For the second-straight week, we saw wide receiver as the position of choice for exactly 90% of the top finishers. With running back and tight end scoring down and wide receiver scoring way up in Week 15, this makes perfectly logical sense. After a mid-season stretch where we saw extreme value at running back push the position into near-equilibrium with wide receiver as the position of choice at the top of the leaderboard, we've again seen receiver regain it's normal position. Overall, it remains safe to say that the best way to score big in the Millionaire Maker tournament is by rostering four wide receivers.
TOURNAMENT PLAYER INFORMATION
With the entry fee back to $20, we gain saw a lot of one or two entry players at the top of the leaderboard. 45% of the top finishers entered just one or two lineups. The pre-season concerns that the tournament might be dominated by max-entry players proved completely unjustified in 2015.