This week I wanted to kick off by talking about the Draftkings live final last week. It was disappointing for me in a lot of ways. First of all, I didn’t finish nearly in the range I was hoping for. But that’s results-oriented. The bigger disappointment was I never loved the team I submitted and I had a really good day outside of the entry I used in the event which meant had I just picked a better lineup it could have been very different. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how to pick some of the best lineups lately and I don’t think I followed through on that process very well this week. That said looking back at your lineups and seeing what went right or wrong is one of the most overlooked processes by casual players. If you aren’t doing this weekly you are missing a significant opportunity for improvement. It’s probably the number one thing I would say casual players don’t do well that could turn their play around.
The biggest decision of the week always starts with what quarterback you want to play and how many players from that team and game you want to play. I had it narrowed down to Kyle Allen, Gardner Minshew, Patrick Mahomes II, and Kyler Murray. There were a few others that if the right lineup came together, I would consider but it was really these four that stood out as the best options. I went with Murray because I figured it was the game with the best chance to shoot out. It did come through with a 38-24 score but unfortunately the way it got there was a worst possible outcome.
When stacking Murray with his teammates it was really only three players that were in consideration which of course was Kenyan Drake, Christian Kirk, and Larry Fitzgerald. I chose Kirk and Fitzgerald and having Fitzgerald in the lineups was one of the main reasons I never loved it. Fitzgerald hadn’t topped 75 yards since week 2 and his upside felt limited. I talked myself into it thinking that he wasn’t really who I was counting on winning the week for me and if he could get into the end zone he would pay off his low salary. He also helped get me Saquon Barkley and Christian McCaffrey who I thought were two of the key plays of the week. If I end up with Drake or Kirk/Fitzgerald end up with the 5 TDs for the week things look a lot different.
I already mentioned the 2 running backs that I liked. I really wanted to get to three running backs but I couldn’t get it to work out from a salary perspective so I ended up with a WR at flex as I figured a lot of people were going to go with a TE. My favorite receivers for the week were Kirk, Tyreek Hill, Danny Amendola, Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel, Chris Conley, and I didn’t hate Odell Beckham Jr as an opponent for Cardinals. This is where the other part of the lineup I didn’t like comes in. I went with Courtland Sutton and Corey Davis, neither of who were anywhere near my list of favorite plays and weren’t in the lineup I came up with the night before. I simply overthought these two spots.
After going with a chalky QB and RBs I figured I wanted to get different elsewhere. I figured that the defense would pay more attention to A.J. Brown after his big game which might open some opportunities for Davis and that people would stay off of Sutton because of the snow. Going with 1 of the 3 between these two and Fitzgerald was probably the right decision. Not all three. All three had their opportunities but just didn’t see a big play. Again, if one of these guys hits a big play on those targets things could turn out completely different but even if it did I don’t think it was the best play.
Overall, though it was a great weekend and some friends won a lot of money. I would highly encourage folks to make an effort to qualify for one of these events next year, as long as you keep within your bankroll. It’s a great time. Now let’s go get our last real week!
How to play the chalk
One of the biggest decisions each week is how to handle the chalk on the slate. The chalkiest players are typically the ‘best’ plays on the slate if you are trying to maximize your total points produced. However, if you are looking to win a big tournament you can gain a lot of ground on your competition if you choose a player that outperforms there. If that player is in a lot of lineups you can pass a lot at one time. Balancing scoring the most points and playing against your competition is the toughest part of DFS. In this section, we talk about how to handle the toughest decision of the week. What to do with the chalk:
This week Russell Wilson gets a primetime matchup against the Cardinals. The Cardinals have slightly slowed down their pace the last couple of weeks but for the year they have allowed the most total yards, most plays for the opposing team, most passing yards, most passing TDs, and second-most overall points. If you can’t tell that’s a pretty good matchup for our quarterback. Especially one of Wilson’s caliber. There is no doubt that Wilson has one of the highest upsides on the slate as well as one of the highest floors.
Where things start getting tough for me is that I like other chalky plays as you will see and his wide receivers such as Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf are either too expensive (DK) or too highly owned (FD). Additionally, Wilson is the highest owned by quite a bit on FD. I will have Wilson has a part of my player pool as the QB with the highest upside of the week but I will be under-weight on him vs the field and he’s not who I would prioritize if I was building a single lineup.