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Optimizer Groups: Week 3 Sunday NFL DFS Optimal Lineup Strategy on DraftKings & FanDuel – Sunday Update

Terry McBride

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NFL DFS Week 3 brings a meaty 13-game slate with million-dollar dreams still in play across the industry. The slate features a number of highly totaled games and should once again see explosive offense. Utilizing tools like Awesemo’s NFL Top Stacks and NFL DFS projections, along with Ownership Projections to create sets of properly constructed lineups that are positively leveraged and feature significant upside for large field tournament play. This article features a guide to utilizing our optimizer tools to create such a pool of playable lineups that are filled with high-quality NFL DFS lineup picks for 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 3 NFL DFS Optimizer Picks & Groups

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.

The Week 3 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 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 following 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.

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 3 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 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 3 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 (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

Today’s update accounts for all of the injury news as of very early Sunday morning. Be sure to tune in to all of our live content leading up to lock, and pay attention to any late-breaking news so that you can adjust accordingly. The recommended in-group boosts are included to help adjust player distributions within the stacked lineups from each team, this is done so that we do not get 95% combinations of Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins or Rondale Moore, with little room for other options when lineups are created, for example. In the event that players appear too much or too little when crunches run, these can always be adjusted as needed. It is important to remember that these are also intended for large field play and to be used when creating a large pool of lineups from which to draw 150 or more entries. For smaller fields and smaller pools of entries, the groups should still be used, with manual control over overall player distributions within the pool of entries.

NFL DFS Optimizer Picks: Week 3 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. 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.

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Arizona Cardinals

Key Player: Kyler Murray

Setting: At least one

Group: DeAndre Hopkins (Q) (+10%), Rondale Moore, Chase Edmonds, A.J. Green, Christian Kirk (+15%), Maxx Williams (Moore and Williams led this offense last week with seven targets each)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Marvin Jones Jr., Laviska Shenault Jr., D.J. Chark Jr., James Robinson (-20%), Luke Farrell

Atlanta Falcons

Key Player: Matt Ryan

Setting: At least one

Group: Calvin Ridley (-15%), Kyle Pitts (-15%), Cordarrelle Patterson (+20%), Mike Davis, Olamide Zaccheaus (+20%), Hayden Hurst (Russell Gage is out for Week 3)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Saquon Barkley (-20%), Sterling Shepard (+10%), Kenny Golladay, Darius Slayton (+15%), Kyle Rudolph

Baltimore Ravens

Key Player: Lamar Jackson

Setting: At least one

Group: Mark Andrews, Marquise Brown (+15%), Sammy Watkins, Devin Duvernay (+50%)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: T.J. Hockenson (-15%), D’Andre Swift (-15%), Quintez Cephus (+10%), Amon-ra St. Brown (+10%), Kalif Raymond (+10%), Trinity Benson (+50%)

Buffalo Bills

Key Player: Josh Allen

Setting: At least one

Group: Stefon Diggs, Emmanuel Sanders, Cole Beasley, Dawson Knox (+25%), Gabriel Davis (+25%) (Davis added)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Terry McLaurin, Antonio Gibson (-10%), Adam Humphries, Logan Thomas, J.D. McKissic, Dyami Brown

Chicago Bears

Key Player: Justin Fields (Andy Dalton is injured, the job belongs to Fields)

Setting: At least one

Group: Allen Robinson II (+5%), Darnell Mooney, David Montgomery (+15%), Cole Kmet, Marquise Goodwin (+25%) (Damiere Byrd (+25%) can be thrown in the mix for large GPPs but he saw zero targets in Week 2)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Nick Chubb (-50%), Odell Beckham Jr. (+15%), Kareem Hunt (-50%), Austin Hooper, Donovan Peoples-Jones (+15%), Anthony Schwartz (+25%) (the significant negative boosts on the running backs are needed to allow room for any shares of Montgomery to appear in these stacks, given our running back limits and the hefty projections on Chubb and Hunt, it also helps balance the distributions with a bit more of the pass-catchers landing in stacks given the reduced running back volume)

Cincinnati Bengals

Key Player: Joe Burrow

Setting: At least one

Group: Tyler Boyd, Ja’Marr Chase, Mike Thomas (+25%), Auden Tate (+25%), C.J. Uzomah (Mixon’s big projection this week should vault him into plenty of lineups without needing to add him to groups, leaving him out will help force constructions that focus on the passing game when Burrow lands at quarterback. Tee Higgins is out this week)

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Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Chase Claypool, Juju Smith-Schuster (+10%), James Washington (+20%), Najee Harris

Cleveland Browns

Key Player: Baker Mayfield

Setting: At least one

Group: Odell Beckham Jr., Kareem Hunt, Austin Hooper (-10%), Donovan Peoples-Jones (+35%), Anthony Schwartz, Rashard Higgins (+35%), David Njoku (Harrison Bryant can be added to this already large group for large contests)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Allen Robinson II, Darnell Mooney, David Montgomery (-35%), Marquise Goodwin

Denver Broncos

Key Player: Teddy Bridgewater

Setting: At least one

Group: Courtland Sutton, Tim Patrick (20%), Noah Fant, Albert Okwuegbunam (+25%), K.J. Hamler (+35%)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Corey Davis, Jamison Crowder, Elijah Moore

Detroit Lions

Key Player: Jared Goff

Setting: At least one

Group: T.J. Hockenson (-25%), D’Andre Swift, Quintez Cephus, Amon-Ra St. Brown (+25%), Kalif Raymond (+35%) (Tyrell Williams is out for Week 3. Trinity Brown can be added for depth)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Mark Andrews, Marquise Brown (+20%), Sammy Watkins, Devin Duvernay (+50%), Ty’Son Williams, Latavius Murray

Indianapolis Colts

Key Player: Carson Wentz

Setting: At least one

Group: Michael Pittman Jr. (-15%), Zach Pascal, Jack Doyle, Mo Allie-Cox, Nyheim Hines (Adding wideout depth in Ashton Dulin and Parris Campbell with a +25% each can play for large tournaments. Jonathan Taylor saw seven targets in Week 1 and just one last week, he will find his way into lineups without adding him here)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: A.J. Brown, Julio Jones (+20%), Derrick Henry, Chester Rogers (+25%), Geoff Swaim, MyCole Pruitt

Jacksonville Jaguars

Key Player: Trevor Lawrence

Setting: At least one

Group: Marvin Jones Jr., Laviska Shenault Jr., D.J. Chark Jr., James Robinson, Luke Farrell

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: DeAndre Hopkins (Q), Rondale Moore, Chase Edmonds, A.J. Green, Christian Kirk, Maxx Williams

Kansas City Chiefs

Key Player: Patrick Mahomes

Setting: Between one and two

Group: Tyreek Hill (+15%), Travis Kelce (-10%), Mecole Hardman (+15%), Demarcus Robinson (+25%), Byron Pringle (+50%)

Opposing Setting: At least one

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

Las Vegas Raiders

Key Player: Derek Carr

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Setting: At least one

Group: Darren Waller (-15%), Kenyan Drake, Hunter Renfrow (+35%), Bryan Edwards (+35%), Henry Ruggs III (+35%)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Will Fuller V, DeVante Parker, Jaylen Waddle, Mike Gesicki, Myles Gaskin

Los Angeles Chargers

Key Player: Justin Herbert

Setting: Between one and two

Group: Keenan Allen (+15%), Austin Ekeler (+10%), Mike Williams, Jared Cook, Jalen Guyton (+50%), Josh Palmer (+50%)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Tyreek Hill (+15%), Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Travis Kelce (-10%), , Mecole Hardman, Demarcus Robinson (+25%), , Byron Pringle (+50%),

Los Angeles Rams

Key Player: Matthew Stafford

Setting: Between one and two

Group: Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods (-10%), Darrell Henderson Jr. (Q), Van Jefferson Jr. (+10%), Tyler Higbee, DeSean Jackson (+25%)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, Rob Gronkowski, Scotty Miller (+15%), Cameron Brate, Leonard Fournette (-15%)

Miami Dolphins

Key Player: Jacoby Brissett (Tua Tagovailoa is out for Week 3)

Setting: At least one

Group: Will Fuller V, DeVante Parker, Jaylen Waddle, Mike Gesicki (+25%), Myles Gaskin (Albert Wilson can be added in the deepest of formats)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Darren Waller (-15%), Kenyan Drake (-15%), Hunter Renfrow (+25%), Bryan Edwards (+25%), Henry Ruggs III (+25%)

Minnesota Vikings

Key Player: Kirk Cousins

Setting: Between one and two

Group: Dalvin Cook (Q), Justin Jefferson (+10%), Adam Thielen (+15%), K.J. Osborn, Tyler Conklin (+25%)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Tyler Lockett, D.K. Metcalf, Gerald Everett, Will Dissly, Chris Carson, Freddie Swain

New England Patriots

Key Player: Mac Jones

Setting: At least one

Group: Jakobi Meyers (-10%), James White (+35%) Nelson Agholor (+10%), Jonnu Smith (+10%), Kendrick Bourne (+25%), Hunter Henry

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Alvin Kamara (-15%), Marquez Callaway (+25%), Deonte Harris (+25%), Adam Trautman

New Orleans Saints

Key Player: Jameis Winston

Setting: At least one

Group: Alvin Kamara, Marquez Callaway, Deonte Harris, Adam Trautman

Opposing Setting: At least one

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

New York Giants

Key Player: Daniel Jones

Setting: At least one

Group: Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, Kenny Golladay, Darius Slayton (+15%), Kyle Rudolph (Evan Engram and Kadarius Toney can be added for deep fields)

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Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Calvin Ridley, Kyle Pitts, Cordarrelle Patterson (+25%), Mike Davis, Olamide Zaccheaus (+25%)

New York Jets

Key Player: Zach Wilson

Setting: At least one

Group: Corey Davis, Jamison Crowder, Elijah Moore, Tyler Kroft (Braxton Berrios and Ryan Griffin for depth)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Courtland Sutton, Tim Patrick, Noah Fant, Albert Okwuegbunam, K.J. Hamler

Pittsburgh Steelers

Key Player: Ben Roethlisberger

Setting: Between one and two

Group: Chase Claypool (-10%), Juju Smith-Schuster (+15%), James Washington (+15%), Najee Harris, Pat Freiermuth, Eric Ebron (Ray-Ray McCloud for receiver depth)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Joe Mixon (-35%), Tyler Boyd, Ja’Marr Chase, Mike Thomas, Auden Tate, C.J. Uzomah

Seattle Seahawks

Key Player: Russell Wilson

Setting: Between one and two

Group: Tyle Lockett (+10%), D.K. Metcalf, Gerald Everett, Freddie Swain (+25%), Will Dissly

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Dalvin Cook (Q), Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen (+15%), K.J. Osborn (+15%), Tyler Conklin (+15%)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Key Player: Tom Brady

Setting: Between one and two

Group: Chris Godwin, Mike Evans (+25%), Rob Gronkowski (+15%), Leonard Fournette (+15%), Scotty Miller (+25%), Tyler Johnson (+50%), Cameron Brate (+50%) (Ronald Jones sees targets, but receiver depth seems the more viable approach, it would be fine to include Jones here. Antonio Brown is out.)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Cooper Kupp (+10%), Robert Woods, Darrell Henderson Jr. (Q), Van Jefferson Jr. (+15%), Tyler Higbee

Tennessee Titans

Key Player: Ryan Tannehill

Setting: At least one

Group: A.J. Brown, Julio Jones (+10%), Derrick Henry, Chester Rogers (+15%), MyCole Pruitt, Geoff Swaim, Josh Reynolds

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Michael Pittman Jr., Zach Pascal, Jack Doyle, Mo Allie-Cox

Washington Football Team

Key Player: Taylor Heinicke

Setting: At least one

Group: Terry McLaurin, Antonio Gibson, Adam Humphries, Logan Thomas, J.D. McKissic, Dyami Brown (+15%)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Stefon Diggs, Emmanuel Sanders, Cole Beasley, Dawson Knox (+25%), Devin Singletary


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

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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