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Optimizer Groups: Week 7 Sunday NFL DFS Optimal Lineup Strategy on DraftKings & FanDuel – Sunday Update

Terry McBride

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Week 7 features an interesting 10-game NFL DFS slate across the industry. The board in Las Vegas is showing one game that looks like a major shootout opportunity with a 57.5 total, but just one other contest comes in above 50 which may limit predictable scoring upside and concentrate public ownership in a few specific places. This seems ideal for tournament play, where we are frequently looking to zig when the field zags. The ability to spread out shares of ownership across a range of prices at each position, while covering a broad spectrum of potential outcomes within our preferred construction mechanisms is a great way to approach large field GPP play, a contest like this is perfect for that sort of build.

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 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.

Week 7 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. The Week 5 slate 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 6 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 6 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 morning’s Sunday update includes all active/inactive news as of about 8 am ET. There are numerous recommended boosts and downgrades within the various groups this week, as a few stand-out plays dominant most of the shares in an unaltered crunch. Several running backs are included in groups in order to control their exposures with downgrades, while still allowing them to appear in a more appropriate number of lineups across a large pool. As always, these groups are intended for creating a very large group of potential entries that will then be sorted based on factors like projection, leverage, and various probabilities. Awesemo’s NFL Top Stacks and NFL Boom/Bust are excellent tools to pair with this article when deciding the weight to put into specific team stacks. While creating lineups with these groups it is important to monitor individual player exposures across the full set of lineups, particularly when combining separate crunches, at times certain highly projected skill players can get overextended if one is not careful.

NFL DFS Optimizer Picks: Week 7 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.

Arizona Cardinals

Key Player: Kyler Murray

Setting: Between one and two

Group: DeAndre Hopkins (+10%), Chase Edmonds, A.J. Green (-10%), Rondale Moore, Christian Kirk, Zach Ertz

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Brandin Cooks, Nico Collins (Q) (+10%), Chris Moore (+10%), Jordan Akins, Danny Amendola (+10%)

Atlanta Falcons

Key Player: Matt Ryan

Setting: At least one

Group: Calvin Ridley (-10%), Kyle Pitts, Cordarrelle Patterson (+15%), Russell Gage (+20%), Mike Davis, Hayden Hurst

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Jaylen Waddle, Myles Gaskin, DeVante Parker (D), Mike Gesicki, Albert Wilson (+10%)

Baltimore Ravens

Key Player: Lamar Jackson

Setting: At least one

Group: Mark Andrews, Marquise Brown (+10%), Devin Duvernay (+15%), Rashod Bateman (-10%)(Latavius Murray and Sammy Watkins are out for Week 7)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Joe Mixon (-15%), JaMarr Chase, Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins, C.J. Uzomah

Carolina Panthers

Key Player: Sam Darnold

Setting: At least one

Group: D.J. Moore (-15%), Robby Anderson (+10%), Chuba Hubbard, Ian Thomas (+10%), Shi Smith (+10%) (Terrace Marshall Jr. is out for Week 7)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Sterling Shepard (Q), Darius Slayton (Q) (+15%), Evan Engram (Q) (+15%), Devontae Booker (-25%), Dante Pettis (+10%)

Chicago Bears

Key Player: Justin Fields

Setting: At least one

Group: Allen Robinson, Darnell Mooney, Cole Kmet, Marquise Goodwin (+15%), Damiere Byrd (+15%) (Robinson was on the injury report but will play through an ankle injury)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Leonard Fournette (-15%), Chris Godwin, Mike Evans (+10%), Tyler Johnson (+15%), OJ Howard, Cameron Brate

Cincinnati Bengals

Key Player: Joe Burrow

Setting: At least one

Group: Ja’Marr Chase, Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins, C.J. Uzomah (Joe Mixon lands in lineups without being added to the group, he has not been a major factor in the passing game)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Mark Andrews, Marquise Brown (+10%), Rashod Bateman, Devin Duvernay (+25%)

Detroit Lions

Key Player: Jared Goff

Setting: At least one

Group: D’Andre Swift (Q), T.J. Hockenson (Q), Amon-Ra St. Brown, Kalif Raymond, Khadarel Hodge (+15%), Trinity Benson (+15%)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Cooper Kupp (-10%), Darrell Henderson, Robert Woods, Tyler Higbee (+10%), Van Jefferson Jr. (+15%), DeSean Jackson (+25%)

Green Bay Packers

Key Player: Aaron Rodgers

Setting: At least one

Group: Davante Adams (-15%), Aaron Jones, Allen Lazard (+10%), Randall Cobb (+10%), Robert Tonyan, A.J. Dillon

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Terry McLaurin (+10%), Ricky Seals-Jones, Antonio Gibson (Q), Adam Humphries (+10%), Dyami Brown (+10%)

Houston Texans

Key Player: Davis Mills

Setting: At least one

Group: Brandin Cooks (-10%), Nico Collins (Q) (+15%), Chris Moore (+15%), Jordan Akins, Danny Amendola (+15%), David Johnson (this will still result in roughly 60% Cooks in Mills lineups)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: DeAndre Hopkins (+10%), Chase Edmonds (-10%), A.J. Green, Rondale Moore (+15%), Christian Kirk (+15%), Zach Ertz (+15%)

Kansas City Chiefs

Key Player: Patrick Mahomes

Setting: Between one and two

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

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Derrick Henry, A.J. Brown (-10%), Julio Jones (Q) (+10%), Anthony Firkser, Nick Westbrook (+15%), Marcus Johnson (+15%)

Las Vegas Raiders

Key Player: Derek Carr

Setting: At least one

Group: Josh Jacobs, Darren Waller (Q, -15%), Kenyan Drake, Hunter Renfrow (+10%), Bryan Edwards (+10%), Henry Ruggs III (+10%)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Devonta Smith, Dallas Goedert, Quez Watkins (+10%), Jalen Reagor (+10%), Miles Sanders (-35%) (Sanders is required with a negative boost or he will come up frequently as a second man with another Eagles skill player by default)

Los Angeles Rams

Key Player: Matthew Stafford

Setting: At least one

Group: Cooper Kupp (-5%), Darrell Henderson Jr., Robert Woods, Tyler Higbee, Van Jefferson Jr. (+25%), DeSean Jackson (+25%)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: D’Andre Swift (Q), T.J. Hockenson (Q) (+10%), Amon-Ra St. Brown (+10%), Kalif Raymond (+10%), Khadarel Hodge (+15%), Trinity Benson (+15%)

Miami Dolphins

Key Player: Tua Tagovailoa (Tagovailoa is starting once again)

Setting: At least one

Group: Jaylen Waddle, Myles Gaskin, DeVante Parker (D), Mike Gesicki, Albert Wilson (+25%) (Parker seems doubtful to play, watch news and adjust accordingly)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Calvin Ridley (-10%), Kyle Pitts, Cordarrelle Patterson (+10%), Russell Gage (+15%), Mike Davis

New England Patriots

Key Player: Mac Jones

Setting: At least one

Group: Jakobi Meyers (-10%), Nelson Agholor (+15%), Hunter Henry (+15%), Jonnu Smith (+15%), Kendrick Bourne (+15%)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Corey Davis, Jamison Crowder, Elijah Moore (+10%), Ryan Griffin, Keelan Cole (+15%)

New York Giants

Key Player: Daniel Jones

Setting: At least one

Group: Sterling Shepard (Q) (-10%), Evan Engram (Q) (+10%), Darius Slayton (Q) (+15%), Devontae Booker (-10%), Collin Johnson (+25%), Dante Pettis (+25%) (Saquon Barkley, Kenny Golladay, and Kadarius Toney are all out)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: D.J. Moore (-10%), Robby Anderson (+10%), Chuba Hubbard, Ian Thomas (+25%), Shi Smith (+15%)

New York Jets

Key Player: Zach Wilson

Setting: At least one

Group: Corey Davis, Jamison Crowder, Elijah Moore, Ryan Griffin, Keelan Cole

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Jakobi Meyers (-15%), Nelson Agholor (+10%), Hunter Henry (+10%), Kendrick Bourne (+10%), Jonnu Smith (+10%)

Philadelphia Eagles

Key Player: Jalen Hurts

Setting: At least one

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

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Josh Jacobs, Darren Waller (Q, -10%), Hunter Renfrow, Bryan Edwards (+10%), Henry Ruggs III (+10%)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Key Player: Tom Brady

Setting: Between one and two

Group: Chris Godwin (-10%), Mike Evans, Leonard Fournette (-10%), Cameron Brate, O.J. Howard, Tyler Johnson (+15%), Jaelon Darden (+25%) (Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski are out for Week 7)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Allen Robinson, Darnell Mooney, Cole Kmet, Marquise Goodwin, Damiere Byrd

Tennessee Titans

Key Player: Ryan Tannehill

Setting: At least one

Group: A.J. Brown (-10%), Julio Jones (Q) (+15%), Derrick Henry (+10%), Anthony Firkser, Nick Westbrook (+15%), Marcus Johnson (+15%) (Chester Rogers is out for Week 7)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Tyreek Hill (Q) (-15%), Travis Kelce, Mecole Hardman (+10%), Demarcus Robinson (+25%), Byron Pringle (+25%), Darrell Williams (-35%)

Washington Football Team

Key Player: Taylor Heinicke

Setting: At least one

Group: Terry McLaurin, Adam Humphries (+15%), Ricky Seals-Jones (-15%), Dyami Brown (+15%) (Curtis Samuel is out for Week 7)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Davante Adams (-10%), Aaron Jones (-15%), A.J. Dillon, Allen Lazard (+20%), Robert Tonyan, Randall Cobb (+25%)


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

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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