Every week, some lucky person takes home $1 million by winning the DraftKings Millionaire Maker contest, aka The Milly Maker. The contest is $20 to enter with a maximum of 150 entries per person. I looked at a few key trends from two years of winners this summer and pulled some key trends that can be found here: Five Key Trends from Million Dollar DraftKings NFL DFS Lineups. In this series, we’ll look at what the winning lineup did each week with its DraftKings picks for the Millionaire Maker and see if it aligns with prior trends or if there are new ways to take down the contest.
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DraftKings DFS: Week 9 DraftKings Millionaire Maker Lineup Review and Strategy
The Winning Lineup DraftKings Picks
The Week 9 Milly Maker winning lineup featured a single-stack of Drew Lock and Jerry Jeudy. As expected, Lock and the Broncos played from behind against a terrible defense but still managed to put 27 points on the board. Lock attempted 48 passes and threw for 313 yards. Both marks were career highs for the second-year passer. There were no other instances of positive correlation within this lineup. However, there was one surprising use of seemingly negatively correlated players. The Giants faced off against Washington, but this team still used Terry McLaurin.
While it may not be recommended to play a defense against one of your own players, this lineup serves as a testament to the randomness of even strong correlations on an individual NFL slate. The use of negative correlation and fading the obvious positive correlation of Lock and Julio Jones is reminiscent of a Showdown-winning lineup. In Showdown, it’s often preferred to fade correlated plays to build a unique lineup. This lineup is certainly unique.
The 12 players in the Week 9 DK Milly Maker over 15%
Chalk, it is a bustin' pic.twitter.com/OdKnpejqeS
— Vlad Sedler (@RotoGut) November 9, 2020
Looking at the most popular plays of Week 10, three of the receivers used in this lineup were on the same team as top-10-owned players. Every touchdown and yard that Keenan Allen, Gabriel Davis and Jeudy accrued could have come at the expense of a more popular player on their own team. Jackson and Fant were both injured, but this lineup stood to benefit disproportionally from their injuries (or non-injury related poor performances). Fant also returned shortly after his ankle injury.
Allen and Davis were both particularly strong candidates to steal touchdown work from their teammates. Since Herbert took over in Los Angeles, the Chargers have had two running back touchdowns on the ground and 17 passing touchdowns. Josh Allen has 19 passing touchdowns on the year, and no receiver has more than three scores. Ten different Buffalo players have caught a receiving score.
Touchdowns are fluky, and these leverage plays greatly benefited from the randomness of scoring bouncing their way. However, the point of leverage plays isn’t that they hit every time or even often. It’s that when they do hit, the payout is worth more than the investment it took to wade through all of the misses. In tournaments where the prize pool is largely allocated to first place, the high-leverage choices gain even more value.
Gaining Leverage via Roster Construction
The combination of Lock and a Jeudy wasn’t completely off the radar. It did allow its users to create wildly unique lineups compared to the field, though.
|QB Own%||QB Price||
Top WR + QB Price
Outside of Lock, the most popular quarterbacks were exclusively high-priced passers with a receiver that was similarly expensive. The Top WR + QB price is based on the price of the most popular receiver corresponding to each passer. Watson stacks are cheaper because Brandin Cooks clocked in as the most popular Houston receiver. Mahomes stacks could be slightly more expensive if Travis Kelce was counted as a receiver. Fant was also the more popular stacking option, with Lock creating a path for an even cheaper stack.
None of these stacks outside of the Lock builds could afford to pay for Christian McCaffrey and Dalvin Cook. If a team went to any of these quarterbacks but didn’t stack them at all to save money, they were a dead lineup anyway based on the hit rate of stacking. In the event of both backs having days that necessitate playing them in order to win, over 60% of the field is dusted. The duo ended up as part of the perfect lineup. That led this roster construction to pay off to the tune of $1 million.
Opportunity Cost in DraftKings DFS
One extra note that shouldn’t go overlooked on an individual roster level is the points gained by playing a cheap passer. The cost of playing Mahomes at quarterback isn’t just his salary; it’s what was given up in order to play him. In this case, it was the chance to play a second elite running back. This included underpriced McCaffrey, one of the greatest fantasy backs to walk the earth. Regardless of how it stacks up versus the fields, it’s important to know what your lineup sacrificed in order to make the plays it did.
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