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Optimizer Groups: Week 16 Sunday NFL DFS Optimal Lineup Strategy on DraftKings & FanDuel – Sunday Update

Terry McBride

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A wild brawl during the Buccaneers-Eagles game on Sunday resulted in multiple fans being thrown down the stairs at Raymond James Stadium

The NFL DFS Main Slate will sacrifice two games to the holiday gods, with the pair being played on Saturday, leaving 11-games to get through the post-holiday hangover that comes on Sunday. The 11 contests do not include a game that tracks above a 48.5-point game total on the board in Vegas. That contest between the Rams and Vikings should be a heavily rostered affair, both because of the massive talents involved and because of the presence of the chalkiest running back on the slate. The game should yield fantasy point-scoring opportunities despite the massive NFL DFS ownership weight. In addition to that contest, the slate largely features ugly games that are totaled between 41 and 43 points, an unappealing board for fantasy point scoring predictability if there ever was one. Getting to a broad mix of lineups that have purpose and are well-built to the task is the correct way to approach a slate of this nature. Focusing on positively leveraged stacking situations in all areas of a lineup is critical, particularly on a day when the available salaries allow gamers to essentially roster whomever they deem worthy.

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This article focuses on building lineups with a quality foundation by utilizing the powerful Groups and Rules/Limits tools within Fantasy Cruncher. All of the concepts and pairings included below can be applied to hand-building as well, the goal is to create lineups that have high scoring correlation and take advantage of combined outcomes within stacks while limiting the likelihood of building inefficient or negatively correlated entries for a full slate of NFL DFS lineups.

Fantasy Cruncher – New How-To Video

The uptick in questions related to the how-to aspects of Fantasy Cruncher along with several noteworthy new tools demanded a new how-to tutorial video. I put together the above review of all of Fantasy Cruncher’s advanced options with some basic how-to on the constructions, rules, limits, and groups that we use in this article. The tutorial also reviews all of Fantasy Cruncher’s new features and the important distinctions between the various sets of projections that are available.

Week 16 DraftKings & FanDuel NFL DFS Optimizer Groups & Picks – Sunday Update

Overview

The Week 1 article featured a deep dive into the general settings menu and various utilities within Fantasy Cruncher, it is still available for anyone who would like to refer back. We will maintain the list of rules and limits below throughout the season, with occasional tweaks, if needed. Each week sees yet another fresh crop of value plays as situations change and injuries create opportunities around the league. These changing roles and emergent value plays are accounted for in the process of creating these groups from week to week. After a large pool of lineups is created utilizing these groups, it is still of critical importance to filter them for factors including ceiling projections and leverage potential, as well as our optimal lineup rates and Boom/Bust potential. Getting to a strong mix of the most optimal positively leveraged plays will be a strong foundation for a large pool of tournament lineups.

DraftKings + FanDuel Stack Rules

This set of rules will force Fantasy Cruncher to build lineups with certain combinations. We are looking to always stack at least one skill player, ideally a pass-catcher, with his quarterback while also playing a skill player from the opposing team in the lineup. The theory behind this build is that a high-scoring stack will require some response from the opposing team to truly deliver a ceiling score in most situations, otherwise the team that is ahead will simply slow down and run out the clock. These rules are applied by completing the sentences with selections from the drop-down menu, they follow a very straightforward logic. Exceptions can be made for teams at the bottom of the rule creation window. After a rule is set, click the blue bar to add it, it will appear at the bottom of the screen as a completed rule.

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Week 15 NFL DFS Optimizer Picks DraftKings FanDuel Groups stacking optimal lineup strategy advice predictions best bets free expert

QB with at least one WR/TE from Same Team (note: It is fine to make this two or to utilize two of these, one with WR/TE and one with RB/WR/TE, but we can refine that and get it exactly how we want it for each team via Groups)

QB with at least one RB/WR/TE from Opposing Team

QB with at most zero DST from Same Team (this is more of a personal preference; high-scoring teams and quarterbacks tend to leave their defenses on the field exposing them to simple point-scoring negatives)

Limit Rules

Limit rules can be applied to restrict certain combinations from coming together. This is powerful for limiting multiple running backs from the same team or getting overweight to a certain stack within a lineup.

Week 15 NFL DFS Optimizer Picks DraftKings FanDuel Groups stacking optimal lineup strategy advice predictions best bets free expert

Limit QB/RB/WR/TE from Same Team to three

Limit RB/WR/TE from Same Team to one unless paired with QB from Same Team OR Opposing Team

Limit RB from Same Team to one (one can also do this with WR in a separate rule that adds an “unless paired with QB or opposing QB,” but it is a personal preference for NFL DFS)

Construction

These groups are built by utilizing the quarterback as the KEY player (by clicking the key icon next to his name), with the thinking that the quarterback play is the driving factor in which stack is utilized in that lineup. Built to specification, each team will have two groups, a team group, and an opponent group, both of which utilize the same quarterback, so four groups per game. This is the best approach to truly capture the requirement of playing individual “run-back” plays from the opposing team. A more basic approach would be to include all of the skill players from a game in each quarterback’s group and rely on rules and limits to restrict any potential overflow. It is highly recommended to save the Week 1 groups as a foundation that will be updated for the rest of the season. The recommended groups will include skill players who have an active role in their offense and provide significant correlation with their quarterback’s scoring, quite often bell-cow running backs who do not specialize in the passing game will not be included in groups as they are projected highly and appear on their own in basically correct distributions, while also not always providing the strongest positive correlation plays. Stacking quarterbacks with pass-catchers and allowing running backs to fall into the lanes then crated by settings, available salary and randomness should create a well-distributed set of quality lineups. These groups are updated weekly to account for changes in utilization, schemes, injuries, target shares, and more.

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Sunday Updates

This week’s Sunday update includes significant boost/downgrade recommendations. The value available on the slate is pushing the optimizers to a limited number of players, so forcing added in-group shares of secondary and tertiary receivers in team stacks is key to lineup differentiation via Fantasy Cruncher. This update also includes all currently available active/inactive updates as of an hour before sunrise on Sunday morning.


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NFL DFS Optimizer Picks: Week 16 Team Groups for DraftKings & FanDuel – Sunday Update

The goal here is to create a large pool of well-built lineups that can be utilized in any large-field GPP contest. Crunch far more lineups than needed and utilize a sorting table in Excel to filter to the best set of lineups for entries. The lineups created in these crunches should provide a broad distribution that includes some of the lower-owned skill players from each stack. Applying boosts is critical in pushing and pulling ownership on individual players within their team’s stacked lineups.

The groups below are designed so that each quarterback will have two groups to create, one with his skill players and another with the opposing team. A more basic approach would be to add them all to one large group with an “at least three” and let rules and limits set things, but there is a more granular level of control in creating them separately.

Utilizing two groups also allows us to place running backs into the “run-back” position in certain teams while not including them in the primary stack for their team. This is useful when there is a situation with an extremely highly projected running back who does not necessarily fit into his team’s passing game. These players are threaded throughout the following construction recommendations.

Atlanta Falcons

Key Player: Matt Ryan

Setting: Between one and two

Group: Cordarrelle Patterson, Russell Gage, Kyle Pitts (-15%), Tajae Sharpe (D) (+50%), Hayden Hurst, Olamide Zaccheaus (+50%)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: D’Andre Swift (Q) (-15%), Amon-Ra St. Brown, Josh Reynolds (Q) (+35%), Kalif Raymond (Q) (+35%), Brock Wright (+35%)

Baltimore Ravens

Key Player: Josh Johnson (Lamar Jackson is expected to miss Week 16 and now so will Tyler Huntley)

Setting: At least one

Group: Marquise Brown, Mark Andrews (-20%), Rashod Bateman (+35%), Devin Duvernay (+50%)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Joe Mixon (-25%), Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd (+15%), CJ Uzomah (+25%)

Buffalo Bills

Key Player: Josh Allen

Setting: At least one

Group: Stefon Diggs (-10%), Dawson Knox, Emmanuel Sanders (+35%), Isaiah McKenzie (+35%), Jake Kumerow (+125%)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Damien Harris (-15%), Jakobi Meyers, Kendrick Bourne (+15%), Hunter Henry (+15%), N’Keal Harry (Q) (+35%), Jonnu Smith (+35%)

Carolina Panthers

Key Player: Cam Newton (Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold was activated and is expected to share snaps with Newton, this is not a good NFL DFS situation)

Setting: At least one

Group: DJ Moore (Q), Robby Anderson (+25%), Brandon Zylstra (+35%), Tommy Tremble

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Ronald Jones (-15%), Antonio Brown, Rob Gronkowski, Tyler Johnson (+15%), Breshad Perriman (+15%), Scotty Miller (+35%)

Chicago Bears

Key Player: Nick Foles (Justin Fields will miss Week 16 with an ankle injury)

Setting: At least one

Group: David Montgomery (-10%), Darnell Mooney, Cole Kmet (-20%), Allen Robinson (+25%), Damiere Byrd (Marquise Goodwin is unlikely to play)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett (+10%), Gerald Everett, Will Dissly, Freddie Swain (+55%), Dee Eskridge (+55%)

Cincinnati Bengals

Key Player: Joe Burrow

Setting: Between one and two

Group: Joe Mixon (-10%), Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd (+15%), CJ Uzomah

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Marquise Brown, Mark Andrews (-15%), Rashod Bateman (+35%), Devin Duvernay (+55%)

Denver Broncos

Key Player: Drew Lock (Teddy Bridgewater is sidelined for Week 16)

Setting: At least one

Group: Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton (+15%), Noah Fant (-15%), Tim Patrick (+15%), Albert Okwuegbunam

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Josh Jacobs (-25%), Hunter Renfrow, Foster Moreau (+15%), Zay Jones (+15%), Bryan Edwards (+35%), DeSean Jackson (+35%)

Detroit Lions

Key Player: Tim Boyle (Jared Goff is out for Week 16)

Setting: At least one

Group: D’Andre Swift (Q) (-15%), Amon-Ra St. Brown, Josh Reynolds (Q) (+25%), Kalif Raymond (Q) (+25%), Brock Wright (Raymond, Reynolds, and Swift are all question marks at this point)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Cordarrelle Patterson (-10%), Russell Gage, Kyle Pitts (-15%), Tajae Sharpe (D) (+35%), Hayden Hurst, Olamide Zaccheaus (+35%)

Houston Texans

Key Player: Davis Mills

Setting: At least one

Group: Nico Collins, Chris Conley (+15%), Phillip Dorsett (+15%), Danny Amendola, Pharaoh Brown, Chris Moore (+15%)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Justin Jackson (-15%), Keenan Allen, Jared Cook, Joshua Palmer (+15%), Jason Moore (+25%)

Jacksonville Jaguars

Key Player: Trevor Lawrence

Setting: At least one

Group: James Robinson (-20%), Marvin Jones (+15%), Laquon Treadwell (+15%), Dan Arnold (-15%), Tavon Austin (+35%), James O’Shaughnessey

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Michael Carter (-15%), Keelan Cole Sr. (+15%), Denzel Mims (+15%), Braxton Berrios, D.J. Montgomery (+35%)

Kansas City Chiefs

Key Player: Patrick Mahomes

Setting: At least one

Group: Tyreek Hill (-25%), Byron Pringle (+35%), Mecole Hardman (+55%), Demarcus Robinson (+55%), Blake Bell (+35%), Noah Gray (+35%) (It is now Tyreek Hill in and Travis Kelce out for the Chiefs in Week 16)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Diontae Johnson (-15%), Chase Claypool (+15%), Ray-Ray McCloud (+15%), Zach Gentry, James Washington (+35%)

Las Vegas Raiders

Key Player: Derek Carr

Setting: At least one

Group: Josh Jacobs (-10%), Hunter Renfrow (-15%), Foster Moreau (+15%), Zay Jones (+15%), Bryan Edwards (+35%), DeSean Jackson (+35%) (Darren Waller is unlikely to play)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton (+15%), Noah Fant, Tim Patrick (+15%), Albert Okwuegbunam

Los Angeles Chargers

Key Player: Justin Herbert

Setting: Between one and two

Group: Keenan Allen (-10%), Jared Cook, Joshua Palmer (+15%), Jason Moore (+25%)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Nico Collins, Chris Conley, Phillip Dorsett, Danny Amendola, Pharaoh Brown

Los Angeles Rams

Key Player: Matthew Stafford

Setting: Between one and two

Group: Cooper Kupp, Odell Beckham Jr. (+15%), Van Jefferson Jr.(+15%), Tyler Higbee, Ben Skowronek (+125%)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Alexander Mattison (-35%), Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen (Q), Tyler Conklin, KJ Osborn (+35%)

Minnesota Vikings

Key Player: Matthew Stafford

Setting: Between one and two

Group: Alexander Mattison (-35%), Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen (Q) (+15%), Tyler Conklin, KJ Osborn (+35%) (Dalvin Cook is out for Week 16)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Cooper Kupp, Odell Beckham Jr. (+15%), Van Jefferson Jr. (+15%), Tyler Higbee, Ben Skowronek (+125%)

New England Patriots

Key Player: Mac Jones

Setting: At least one

Group: Jakobi Meyers, Kendrick Bourne (+15%), Hunter Henry, N’Keal Harry (Q) (+35%)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Stefon Diggs, Dawson Knox, Emmanuel Sanders (+25%), Isaiah McKenzie (+25%), Jake Kumerow (+125%)

New York Giants

Key Player: Jake Fromm (sure, why not?)

Setting: At least one

Group: Saquon Barkley, Kenny Golladay (+15%), Evan Engram (-10%), Darius Slayton (+35%), Kadarius Toney (+35%)(Q), Pharoah Cooper

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Miles Sanders (-15%), DeVonta Smith, Dallas Goedert (-10%), Quez Watkins (+35%), Jalen Reagor (+35%)

New York Jets

Key Player: Zach Wilson

Setting: At least one

Group: Michael Carter, Keelan Cole Sr. (+15%), Braxton Berrios, D.J. Montgomery (+35%), Denzel Mims (+15%) (Jamison Crowder is doubtful)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: James Robinson (-20%), Marvin Jones, Laquon Treadwell (+25%), Dan Arnold, Tavon Austin (+35%), James O’Shaughnessey

Philadelphia Eagles

Key Player: Jalen Hurts

Setting: At least one

Group: DeVonta Smith, Dallas Goedert (-15%), Quez Watkins (+15%), Jalen Reagor (+35%)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Saquon Barkley (-25%), Kenny Golladay, Evan Engram (-10%), Darius Slayton (+15%), Kadarius Toney (Q) (+15%), Pharoah Cooper

Pittsburgh Steelers

Key Player: Ben Roethlisberger

Setting: At least one

Group: Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool (+35%), Ray-Ray McCloud (+35%), Zach Gentry, James Washington (+35%)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Tyreek Hill, Byron Pringle (+35%), Mecole Hardman (+55%), Demarcus Robinson (+55%), Blake Bell, Noah Gray

Seattle Seahawks

Key Player: Russell Wilson

Setting: At least one

Group: DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett (+20%), Gerald Everett, Will Dissly, Freddie Swain (+55%), Dee Eskridge (+55%)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: David Montgomery (-15%), Darnell Mooney, Cole Kmet, Allen Robinson (+25%), Damiere Byrd (+35%)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Key Player: Tom Brady

Setting: Between one and two

Group: Antonio Brown, Rob Gronkowski, Tyler Johnson (+25%), Breshad Perriman (+25%), Scotty Miller (+35%) (Mike Evans, Leonard Fournette, and Chris Godwin will all miss Week 16)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: DJ Moore (Q), Robby Anderson (+25%), Brandon Zylstra (+35%), Tommy Tremble


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Take a look at our inactives, NFL line-ups and NFL depth chart list. We also have single-game projections and showdown ownership projections. If you’re interested in other DFS NFL picks for multiple game slates, head over to NFL DFS projected ownership, Awesemo's NFL Data Central, daily fantasy football rankings, and NFL stacks. View our FanDuel NFL DFS rankings and our DraftKings NFL DFS rankings.

Terry used to do other things, now he writes words on the internet. He hopes his more than 20 years’ experience in season-long and daily fantasy sports and his custom models for MLB, NBA, and NFL don't steer you too wrong when he writes columns and makes picks on Awesemo.com. A lifetime of experience keeping odd hours make Terry ideal to cover KBO baseball overnight until the world returns to normal. Most of those late night hours have been spent on the couch watching sports, T.V., and movies; just try to shut him up about any of the above. You can find his pop-culture ramblings and more on Sideaction.

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