DraftKings Millionaire Maker Week 11 Recap

Recapping Week 11 of the Millionaire Maker Contest and Previewing Week 12

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.

We will also look forward to the upcoming Millionaire Maker contest and point out some players who are in the same price ranges and have matchups similar to the players that helped previous DraftKings contest winners take home huge cash prizes.

THE WINNING LINEUP

DraftKings user noles2148 put together a lineup that outscored the rest of the field by over 10 points. He stacked Cam Newton with top target Greg Olsen at tight end. He was also able to overcome the early exit by his RB1 Charcandrick West due to stacking West with the high-scoring Chiefs DST. He also hit on a huge game from his RB2 Thomas Rawls and a solid performance on Monday night from his FLEX, LeSean McCoy. The wide receiver trio of Julio Jones, Larry Fitzgerald and Danny Amendola failed to score any touchdowns; but with full PPR scoring the trio of pass catchers each still had strong games.  While noles2148 ended up winning comfortably, he entered Monday night needing big games from both Amendola and McCoy and the pair delivered with a combined 48 points that put him over the top and earned the $1,000,000 top prize.

THE TOP 20

Below are the lineups of the top-20 finishers in DraftKings' Week 11 Millionaire Maker tournament (RB1, RB2, and WR1-WR3 are ordered by price):

Rank

QB

RB1

RB2

WR1

WR2

WR3

TE

FLEX

DST

1 Newton C. West Rawls Ju. Jones Fitzgerald Amendola Olsen Le. McCoy Chiefs
2 Winston Bernard Rawls Hopkins Evans T. Williams Gronkowski Amendola Broncos
3 Newton C. West Rawls Ju. Jones Hopkins Amendola Gronkowski K. Rudolph 49ers
4 Palmer Gurley Peterson Ju. Jones Tate Amendola Gillmore Rawls Panthers
5 Newton Gore Rawls Diggs Amendola Funchess Olsen Ju. Jones Panthers
6 Newton C. West Rawls Ju. Jones Cobb Amendola Olsen McFadden Ravens
7 Winston Gurley Rawls Hopkins Evans Marshall Bennett K. Rudolph Panthers
8 Palmer Peterson McFadden Ju. Jones T. Williams Amendola Olsen D. Martin Chiefs
9 Newton Peterson Rawls Ca. Johnson Evans Amendola Olsen Stewart Panthers
10 Stafford McFadden Rawls Ju. Jones Ca. Johnson St. Johnson Olsen Le. McCoy Panthers
11 Newton McFadden C. West Ju. Jones Evans Amendola Olsen Rawls Bears
12 Newton Stewart Rawls Ju. Jones Evans Ginn Olsen Witten Panthers
13 Stafford Stewart Rawls Dem. Thomas Ca. Johnson Crabtree Gillmore Ju. Jones Chiefs
14 Newton D. Martin Rawls Green D. Bryant Amendola Eifert Olsen Texans
15 Newton Stewart Rawls Ju. Jones J. Matthews Funchess Olsen Le. McCoy Bears
16 Palmer C. West Rawls Ju. Jones Fitzgerald Mar. Jones Eifert McFadden Ravens
17 Newton C. West Rawls Ju. Jones Dem. Thomas V. Jackson Reed Eifert Chiefs
18 Wilson L. McCoy Rawls Ju. Jones Evans Lockett Gillmore Gronkowski Seahawks
19 Stafford Langford McFadden Ju. Jones Decker Amendola Gillmore Hopkins Chiefs
20 Wilson Peterson Rawls Ju. Jones Baldwin Lockett Graham Hopkins Seahawks

THE TOP 3 PLAYS OF THE WEEK

Thomas Rawls was clearly the top play of the week. He was owned by 90% of the top finishers and his 43.8 points lapped the field in what ended up being a very low-scoring fantasy week. The importance of Rawls also highlights the necessity of paying attention to the news throughout the day on Sunday and taking advantage of the ability to "late swap" players whose games have not started. When Marshawn Lynch was unexpectedly ruled out in the afternoon, Rawls clearly became one of the top values on the slate. But only those paying attention to the late afternoon reports were able to take advantage. 

Two other key players were Cam Newton (50%) and Danny Amendola (55%). Newton has been playing at an incredibly high level in recent weeks and shredded the Washington defense for five touchdowns. Despite his low price ($6,900), he was owned by less than 10 percent of the field. Amendola was the "chalk" play at wide receiver this week and did not disappoint. With his low price tag of just $4,000, he nearly hit a 6.0x multiple with his 23.7 points. In a week where only three lineups scored over 200 points (4.0x), locking in a 6.0x producer like Amendola was a big key to victory.

STACKS

It was another strong week for stacks with 75% of the top finishers stacking their quarterback with one or more of his top targets. The stack of the week was clearly Cam Newton paired with Greg Olsen (35%). Jameis Winston-Mike Evans and Matthew Stafford-Calvin Johnson stacks also appeared multiple times in the top 20. 

Last week we highlighted the idea of stacking a quarterback with his running back and hoping to cash in with a receiving touchdown. The strategy proved successful for a pair of top-20 finishers. We saw a Cam Newton-Jonathan Stewart stack and a pair of Russell Wilson-Thomas Rawls stacks finish highly. Both Rawls and Stewart had receiving touchdowns in Week 11. It is worth keeping this QB-RB stacking strategy in mind moving forward. While quarterback and running back scoring on the same team may be negatively correlated overall, we suspect that in high-scoring games it is most common to see both the quarterback and running back exceed their projections. The theory certainly proved true in the case of the Carolina and Seattle offenses in Week 11. 

QUARTERBACKS

Despite fantasy scoring being way down in Week 11, it was still a solid week for a number of passers. Cam Newton led the way with 31.44 points. Jameis Winston and Carson Palmer weren't far behind. In addition to those three passers, both Russell Wilson and Matthew Stafford appeared on multiple top-20 rosters. Overall, the top finishers averaged 28.74 points at the QB position at a cost of $6,355 (4.5x). 

None of the top finsihers paid more than $6,900 for their quarterback in Week 11. The strategy of exploiting value at the position has been extremely successful so far this season and we've consistenly seen the average price at the position on the top rosters coming in below $6,500. 

Looking forward to Week 12, Brian Hoyer ($5,000) and Josh McCown ($5,000) are minimum-priced option facing the two worst pass defenses in the league (New Orleans and Baltimore respectively). Jameis Winston ($5,500) and Blake Bortles ($5,900) are other low-priced options with attractive matchups. 

RUNNING BACKS

Thomas Rawls was far and away the fantasy star of Week 11. He appeared as the RB2 on 80% of the top rosters (and as the FLEX on 10%). Mostly due to Rawls, the RB2 position averaged 38 points at a price of just $4,105 (9.2x). 9.2x is one of the highest positional salary multiples we've seen all season and especially stood out in a week where the overall scoring was so incredibly low. For example, the RB1s averaged just 15.6 points at a price of $5,345 (2.9x). Even on the top-20 rosters in the Millionaire Maker contests, the RB1s failed to reach the 3.0x "cash game" multiple.  

We've clearly seen a trend of young running backs that have stepped in as injury replacements being the best options in recent weeks; Rawls in Week 11 and Charcandrick West and Jeremy Langford in previous weeks. Javorius Allen ($4,600) steps in for Justin Forsett and could be a nice option in Week 12. Thomas Rawls ($4,500) will be a nice option again if Marshawn Lynch remains out. Lastly, Charcandrick West ($5,300) could again be the player to own if he is able to fully recover from his hamstring injury this week. 

WIDE RECEIVERS

Scoring was way down in Week 11 and perhaps no position better illustrates the point than the WR2 spot. Even the top-20 finishers only averaged 15.9 points out of their WR2s. At a price of $6,555, that's good for just a 2.4x scoring multiple. The results were only slightly better at WR1 (2.9x multiple). The best WR1s this week were the highest-priced players on the slate (Julio Jones and DeAndre Hopkins). While neither Jones (80% ownership rate on top rosters) nor Hopkins (25% ownership on top rosters) put up numbers in terms of points per dollar, their raw scoring totals were a huge boost to their owners. With most of the top scorers at other positions costing very little, it was easy to fit in one or both of the Jones/Hopkins duo; their 28 and 31.8 point respectively were huge numbers in the context of a very low-scoring fantasy weekend.

The averages at WR3 were more in line with what we'd expect to see in a big GPP contest; 19.4 points at a price of just $4,135 (4.7x multiple). 

Looking forward to Week 12, it feels like another great opportunity to go with a "stars and scrubs" approach at the position (and overall). Julio Jones ($9,400), DeAndre Hopkins ($9,100), Odell Beckham Jr Jr. ($8,700) and Antonio Brown ($8,700) all look like strong options capable of putting up the type of massive fantasy stats that would justify their high prices. Picking the right one or two from this group of four could be the key to winning the Millionaire Maker this week. 

TIGHT END

As with WR2 and RB1, the scoring in general at the TE position was way down in Week 11. The multiple of just 2.4x at the position was easily the lowest of the season. The top-finishers averaged only 13.4 points at a price of $5,510. 

FLEX

The Flex spot was again split fairly evenly between the postions; running back (45%), tight end (30%) and wide receiver (25%) all were represented. The best plays were cheap tight ends (Kyle Rudolph scored 25.6 points at a price of just $2,900) and inexpensive running backs like Thomas Rawls ($3,800), LeSean McCoy ($5,500) and Jonathan Stewart ($4,400). Overall, the flex position produced a solid 24.3 points at a price of $5,735 (4.2x).

TOURNAMENT PLAYER INFORMATION

The top 20 was split evenly between players with two entries or less and those with at least three entries. It was a big week for SamENole who place a pair of Jameis Winston-Mike Evans stacked lineups into the top seven.