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Optimizer Groups: Week 2 Sunday NFL DFS Optimal Lineup Strategy on DraftKings & FanDuel – Sunday Update

Terry McBride

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NFL DFS Week 2 lets us attack the slate with a little information in our pocket. In group-based construction, we are largely focused on target shares in team offenses, as the main construction component we are chasing is pairing quarterbacks with their pass-catchers. Each team’s target shares from last week are taken into account as we attempt to capture low-owned players who have more involvement in their team’s offense than the public and projection models may yet realize. Grouping requirements can also be influenced by expected game flow and the overall point total, this can change a team’s recommended stack setting from one to two or vice versa in any given week. It is recommended to also run sets of crunches with any teams that are listed as “at least two” set to “at least one” so that the full population of lineups is not exclusively multi-player stacks. These groups are intended to capture a broad portion of the probable range of outcomes in a large pool of lineups that will then be filtered to create a pool of entries. Ownership Projections and the expert NFL DFS projections are important in that final stage of the process, as they will help dictate the plays that are positively and negatively leveraged against the field. Combining all of those important aspects allows you to get to the best NFL DFS optimizer picks to build lineups on DraftKings and FanDuel.

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.

Week 2 NFL DFS Optimizer Picks & Groups

Overview

Last week’s 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. The Week 2 slate features 13 games and several extremely interesting leverage situations. Pushing chips in on highly ranked stacks with positive leverage and focusing on quality lineup construction across a broad range of player combinations is a quick way to separate from the field. The Top Stacks and Boom/Bust Tools are ideal for this purpose.

Fantasy Cruncher – New Features For Week 2

Just in time for week two, our partners at FantasyCruncher have added some interesting tools that are worth noting. There is now the ability to globally shift team projections with sliders that indicate the expected offensive focus and adjust FantasyCruncher’s projections accordingly. It is important to note that these are not Awesemo’s projections, but the house projections from our partner company behind the optimizer. FC’s projection can be found under FC, with the adjusted projection appearing in the “My” column in the area circled in red in the image below. This example shows an exaggerated shift in rushing focus for the Cardinals to demonstrate how the projection difference is displayed. As can be seen below, a -5.6 differential is created between FantasyCruncher’s projection (FC) and the new “My”.

For anyone utilizing the application through our site, Awesemo’s projections and ownership will continue to be automatically uploaded and will appear as the default under both “Proj” and “My Proj” for our members. If you upload an alternate projection it replaces Awesemo’s in “My Proj”. This can be seen in the highlighted area to the right, where Awesemo’s projection of 25.71 is slightly lower than my projection of 25.96.

These changes can be made to FantasyCruncher’s projections via this new tab in the Advanced Options menu. The shift applied to the Cardinals can be seen to the right, where I moved the slider from more than a 55% passing share to a 78.7% rushing share. This automatically adjusted Fantasy Cruncher’s projections for the Cardinals as displayed for the players below the slider.

It is extremely important to realize the difference between the projection sets when selecting which option to utilize for your crunch. The image below displays the various options. “My Proj Fantasy Pts” refers to the new projections that would be created by altering FantasyCruncher’s projection via the mechanism above. If no alternate projections are manually updated, either the “use Awesemo Projections” or “use My Projections” will be Awesemo’s projections, while “FC Proj Fantasy Points” is for the unaltered version of FantasyCruncher’s projections. The Ceiling projections and others listed below are also all based on FantasyCruncher’s data and projections. Utilizing different selections will result in wildly different sets of lineups, this article is based on using Awesemo’s projections.

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.

Week 2 NFL DFS Optimizer Picks Groups stacking optimal lineup strategy advice predictions best bets free expert

QB with at least one WR/TE from Same Team (note: It’s 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)

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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 2 NFL DFS Optimizer Picks 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 (I’m also doing this with WR in a separate rule that adds an “unless paired with QB or opposing QB” but it’s 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.

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Sunday Updates

The Sunday update below contains all relevant changes based on any current in/out status as of first thing Sunday morning. The groups have recommended in-group boosts to shift player exposures within the instances of team stacks. This is intended to be used to create a large pool of lineups that captures a significant range of outcomes and can then be sorted into a pool of entries. The overall goal of forcing specific constructions is that any lineup within the full set of potential entries is a viable playable lineup for large field GPP play.

NFL DFS Optimizer Picks: Week 2 Team Groups

The goal here is to create a large pool of well-built lineups that can be utilized in any large-field GPP contest. As part of my process, I will typically 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 we have 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.

Arizona Cardinals

Key Player: Kyler Murray

Setting: At least one

Group: DeAndre Hopkins, Chase Edmonds (+10%), AJ Green, Christian Kirk (+10%), Rondale Moore

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, KJ Osborn, Tyler Conklin (+15%) (Dede Westbrook saw two targets in Week 1 and can be added for very large field tournament play)

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Atlanta Falcons

Key Player: Matt Ryan

Setting: At least one

Group: Calvin Ridley (-15%), Kyle Pitts, Mike Davis (-15%), Hayden Hurst, Russell Gage, Cordarrelle Patterson (Patterson holds unique WR/RB eligibility on FanDuel)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown (+15%), Mike Evans (+15%), Rob Gronkowski (+15%), Leonard Fournette, Gio Bernard (+25%)

Buffalo Bills

Key Player: Josh Allen

Setting: At least one

Group: Stefon Diggs (-20%), Cole Beasley, Emmanuel Sanders (+15%), Devin Singletary (+25%), Gabriel Davis, Dawson Knox (+15%)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: DeVante Parker, Myles Gaskin, Jaylen Waddle, Mike Gesicki, Albert Wilson (+25%)

Carolina Panthers

Key Player: Sam Darnold

Setting: At least one

Group: Christian McCaffrey, DJ Moore, Robby Anderson, Terrace Marshall Jr., Dan Arnold

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Alvin Kamara (-20%), Marquez Callaway, Deonte Harris, Adam Trautman

Chicago Bears

Key Player: Andy Dalton

Setting: At least one

Group: Allen Robinson, Darnell Mooney, Damien Williams (+25%), Cole Kmet, Marquise Goodwin (+15%), Damiere Byrd (+15%)

Opposing Setting: At least one

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

Cincinnati Bengals

Key Player: Joe Burrow

Setting: At least one

Group: Joe Mixon, Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd, CJ Uzomah (Mike Thomas saw three targets last week and could be in play for deep formats)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Allen Robinson, Darnell Mooney, Damien Williams, Cole Kmet, Marquise Goodwin (+15%), Damiere Byrd (+15%)

Cleveland Browns

Key Player: Baker Mayfield

Setting: At least one

Group: Jarvis Landry (-15%), Kareem Hunt (-15%), Donovan Peoples-Jones, Anthony Schwartz, Austin Hooper (-25%), David Njoku (+50%), Rashard Higgins

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Brandin Cooks, Nico Collins, Pharaoh Brown (-15%), Danny Amendola, David Johnson, (Chris Conley, and Anthony Miller can be added for large-field tournaments. Jordan Akins can be added as well, but he will restrict the available Njoku shares on the other side of this game)

Dallas Cowboys

Key Player: Dak Prescott

Setting: At least two

Group: Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, Dalton Schultz (+15%), Tony Pollard (+25%), Blake Jarwin (+15%), Cedrick Wilson, Noah Brown (+35%)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Austin Ekeler (-25%), Keenan Allen, Mike Williams (+15%), Jared Cook (+15%), Jalen Guyton (+25%)

Denver Broncos

Key Player: Teddy Bridgewater

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Setting: At least one

Group: Tim Patrick, Noah Fant, KJ Hamler, Courtland Sutton, Albert Okwuegbunam

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: James Robinson, Laviska Shenault, Marvin Jones Jr., DJ Chark, James O’Shaughnessy

Houston Texans

Key Player: Tyrod Taylor

Setting: At least one

Group: Brandin Cooks, Nico Collins (+35%), Pharaoh Brown, Jordan Akins, Danny Amendola (+35%), David Johnson (+35%), Chris Conley (+50%), Anthony Miller (+50%)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Nick Chubb (-25%), Jarvis Landry, Kareem Hunt, Donovan Peoples-Jones (+15%), Anthony Schwartz (+15%), Austin Hooper, David Njoku (+35%)

Indianapolis Colts

Key Player: Carson Wentz

Setting: At least one

Group: Jonathan Taylor (+15%), Nyheim Hines (+35%), Michael Pittman, Zach Pascal, Mo Alie-Cox, Parris Campbell

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Darrell Henderson Jr., Cooper Kupp, Tyler Higbee, Robert Woods (+15%), Van Jefferson (+25%) (DeSean Jackson is a large field dart throw who can be added here)

Jacksonville Jaguars

Key Player: Trevor Lawrence

Setting: At least one

Group: James Robinson (+35%), Laviska Shenault, Marvin Jones Jr., DJ Chark, James O’Shaughnessy

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Tim Patrick, Noah Fant, KJ Hamler, Courtland Sutton, Melvin Gordon (-15%), Javontae Williams (-15%) (added the Denver RBs to spread shares better for the run-back spot in this stack)

Las Vegas Raiders

Key Player: Derek Carr

Setting: At least one

Group: Darren Waller, Hunter Renfrow (+25%), Bryan Edwards (+25%), Kenyan Drake (+15%), Henry Ruggs (+25%) (Zay Jones can be added in the deepest of formats, he saw two targets in Week 1’s pass-heavy attack)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Najee Harris, Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Eric Ebron, James Washington

Los Angeles Chargers

Key Player: Justin Herbert

Setting: At least one

Group: Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Jared Cook, Jalen Guyton (+25%), KJ Hill (+35%) (plus Josh Palmer for deep formats)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Ezekiel Elliott (-25%), Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, Dalton Schultz, Tony Pollard, Blake Jarwin, Cedrick Wilson (+15%), Noah Brown

Los Angeles Rams

Key Player: Matthew Stafford

Setting: At least one

Group: Cooper Kupp, Tyler Higbee, Robert Woods, Van Jefferson (DeSean Jackson is a large field dart throw who can be added here)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Jonathan Taylor, Nyheim Hines, Michael Pittman, Zach Pascal, Mo Alie-Cox, Parris Campbell

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Miami Dolphins

Key Player: Tua Tagovailoa

Setting: At least one

Group: DeVante Parker, Myles Gaskin (+25%), Jaylen Waddle, Mike Gesicki, Albert Wilson

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Stefon Diggs, Cole Beasley, Emmanuel Sanders (+15%), Devin Singletary, Gabriel Davis (+15%), Dawson Knox (+15%)

Minnesota Vikings

Key Player: Kirk Cousins

Setting: At least one (with a 51-point total and just a +3.5 line, the Vikings could support a two here in a small set of crunches)

Group: Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen (+15%), KJ Osborn (+15%), Tyler Conklin (+50%) (Dede Westbrook saw two targets in Week 1 and can be added for very large field tournament play)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: DeAndre Hopkins, Chase Edmonds (-15%), AJ Green (+15%), Christian Kirk (+20%), Rondale Moore (+15%)

New England Patriots

Key Player: Mac Jones

Setting: At least one

Group: Jakobi Meyers, Nelson Agholor, James White (+15%), Jonnu Smith, Kendrick Bourne, Hunter Henry, Damien Harris (-50%) (we are using a negative bump to Harris to restrict him from creating two-man stacks here)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Corey Davis, Jamison Crowder, Elijah Moore, Tyler Kroft, Braxton Berrios

New Orleans Saints

Key Player: Jameis Winston

Setting: At least one

Group: Alvin Kamara, Marquez Callaway, Deonte Harris, Adam Trautman (-15%), Juwan Johnson, Chris Hogan

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Christian McCaffrey, DJ Moore, Robby Anderson, Terrace Marshall Jr. (+25%), Dan Arnold

New York Jets

Key Player: Zach Wilson

Setting: At least one

Group: Corey Davis, Jamison Crowder, Elijah Moore, Tyler Kroft, Braxton Berrios

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Damien Harris, Jakobi Meyers, Nelson Agholor, James White, Jonnu Smith, Kendrick Bourne, Hunter Henry

Philadelphia Eagles

Key Player: Jalen Hurts

Setting: At least one

Group: Miles Sanders (+15%), DeVonta Smith, Jalen Reagor (+25%), Dallas Goedert, Zach Ertz, Quez Watkins (+25%), Kenneth Gainwell (+15%)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, Brandon Aiyuk (+15%), Trent Sherfield (+50%), Mohamed Sanu

Pittsburgh Steelers

Key Player: Ben Roethlisberger

Setting: At least two

Group: Najee Harris, Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Eric Ebron, James Washington

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Darren Waller, Hunter Renfrow, Bryan Edwards, Kenyan Drake, Henry Ruggs

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San Francisco 49ers

Key Player: Jimmy Garoppolo

Setting: At least one

Group: Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, Brandon Aiyuk (+25%), Trent Sherfield (+50%)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Miles Sanders, DeVonta Smith, Jalen Reagor (+25%), Dallas Goedert, Quez Watkins (+25%), Kenneth Gainwell

Seattle Seahawks

Key Player: Russell Wilson

Setting: At least one

Group: DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, Chris Carson, Gerald Everett, Freddie Swain, Will Dissly (D’Wayne Eskridge removed)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Derrick Henry, AJ Brown (+15%), Julio Jones (+15%), Anthony Firkser, Chester Rogers (+25%), Josh Reynolds (+25%)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Key Player: Tom Brady

Setting: At least two (I will definitely run sets of crunches with this at both one and two)

Group: Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, Mike Evans, Rob Gronkowski, Leonard Fournette

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Calvin Ridley, Kyle Pitts, Mike Davis, Hayden Hurst, Russell Gage (+15%), Cordarrelle Patterson (+35%)

Tennessee Titans

Key Player: Ryan Tannehill

Setting: At least one (some crunches can run with this at two given the 53.5-point game total)

Group: AJ Brown, Julio Jones, Anthony Firkser, Chester Rogers (+50%), Josh Reynolds (+35%)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Chris Carson, DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, Gerald Everett, Will Dissly, Freddie Swain


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Take a look at our inactives list, starting lineups and depth charts. If you’re interested in other DFS NFL advice for multiple game slates, head over to DFS NFL ownership projections, Awesemo's NFL Data Central, DFS NFL rankings, and DFS NFL stacking.

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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