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Optimizer Groups: Optimal SNF NFL Daily DraftKings & FanDuel Picks | Bears vs Packers

Terry McBride



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The Sunday Night Football matchup between the Packers and Bears may look good as a division rivalry game to the league schedule-makers, but with a 42.5-point total and hometown Green Bay favored by a whopping 11.5, there is little to like about the matchup on the Vegas board. The game will, of course, offer interesting sets of options for NFL DFS point-scoring potential, but with such obvious targets on one side and a largely lame lineup on the other, roster construction becomes more of a guessing game beyond the uber-chalk. This can create an interesting slate when the options are worthwhile, but there is an overall lack of quality around this contest that leads to a few very common construction paths, getting different is easy enough, but maintaining upside is a challenge.

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The Awesemo Top Showdown Plays Tool is the best way to find low-owned value and leverage, when using the tool we want to focus on the probability of success but also the degree to which a player is owned when compared with that probability and can indicate if the field is over or underweight to a play. Using all of the Awesemo expert data and tools, let’s find the top NFL DFS optimizer picks for DraftKings and FanDuel Showdown lineups tonight.

NFL DFS Optimizer Picks: Week 14 Sunday Night Football

Small Sample Central — Trends and Notes

Several of the primary lineup construction notes from previous versions of the article will continue to be listed in this space, but each week we will attempt to find parallels based on Vegas data and the general game environment from historical contests in the pool of DraftKings Showdown research from 2019 through this week’s contests. It is important to not get too focused on results-based thinking in such a small sample. Quality lineup construction is always the focus, but historical results can help inform some basic decisions in a pricing and ownership vacuum. A quick summary of that previous content:

  • According to tracking data for DraftKings Showdown contests over 2019 and 2020, only 17 of 95 slates were won with a quarterback Captain.
  • Across the same sample, wide receivers and running backs split the outcomes evenly, with 33 tournament-winning events each.
  • Of the 38 times that a wide receiver or tight end was in the winning Captain position, only three of those builds did not include at least one quarterback in a Flex position.
  • Thirty-five of 95 winning lineups featured at least one defense, but only two of those featured both defenses.
  • Twenty-nine winning lineups featured at least one kicker, but only two of those included both.
  • Only eight winning lineups included at least one defense and one kicker, while one person won a tournament with two defenses and a kicker in 2019.

Tonight’s low 42.5-point total and huge spread with the Packers favored by 11.5 at home has only a few direct comparison points in our historical sample of Showdown slates. There are 12 games that went off with point spreads above 10, some ranging as high as 17. In that group of winning lineups, there are three defensive Captain winners, which is noteworthy. Each time, the winning Captain defense was from the highly favored team and each of the three builds was a 5-1 wipeout favoring that team. Two of the three lineups included the quarterback from the same team, and the lineup constructions included both running backs and pass-catchers, as would be expected when rostering five players from one team. A lone kicker win in a lineup that featured both quarterbacks and a 3-3 build is present in the sample, as are three wins by running backs and three by pass-catchers. Interestingly, two of the three pass-catcher victories went to tight ends, the first time they have outpaced wide receivers in a sample, though it is ludicrous to draw a conclusion from such a small amount of data. All but three of the games in this sample were totaled below 50 points, with five of them landing at the same 42.5-point total as tonight’s game, including two of the three defense wins; the third coming in a game with a 43-point total. Several of these lineups will be represented in the next sample as well.

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Looking at the 21-game sample yielded by changing gears and focusing within 1.5 points of the game total, we find the same three defensive Captain winners, of course, as well as a list that includes nine wins by running backs, all but two of which are 3-3 builds. Wide receivers find victory six times in the sample, but tight end Captains are absent from this set. In the wide receiver Captain wins, four of the six were built as 4-2 lineups and two were 3-3, with every lineup including a quarterback and half of them including both passers. Four of the lineups in the full sample failed to include a quarterback, which is a lot for our reference sampling this season but still reinforces the importance of rostering quarterbacks in the flex position in the majority of DraftKings Showdown lineups for NFL DFS.

DraftKings + FanDuel Stack Rules

QB with at least one RB/WR/TE from Opposing Team (this will happen naturally in most Showdown constructions, but including the rule will eliminate lineups that feature only an opposing kicker or quarterback)

QB with at least one WR/TE from Same Team (this will happen naturally in a large portion of lineups, but stacking quarterbacks with pass catchers is the easiest way to rack up NFL DFS points. It makes sense to include this rule to force the build, in most situations)

Limit Rules

Limit rules are slightly less important for Showdown slates as there are only two teams to choose from. They are still useful for preventing suboptimal constructions, however. Including the following will help prevent these less likely builds.

Limit QB/RB/WR/TE/DST/K from Same Team to three unless paired with Captain

Limit RB from Same Team to one (this is a rule that can be toggled on and off over multiple crunches, but the preference for this slate would be to use it)

Limit K from Same Game to one

Limit DEF from Same Game to one

Construction Basics

We will utilize Fantasy Cruncher’s Groups utility to create specific builds. The Groups feature includes the ability to designate players as the key to the group, or the player whose use in a position will trigger the group requirements. For Showdown slates this can be utilized to force specific sets of players or positions along with each type of designated Captain. The example below shows a group that utilizes Davante Adams in the Captain role as the key player. It will then force all constructions featuring Adams in the Captain role to include at least three of the players listed in the group including both quarterbacks as well as a mix of positively leveraged skill players and the kickers from both sides.

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NFL DFS Optimizer Groups & Picks

Unlike multi-game slates, when attacking individual potential game scripts, these groups are better deployed individually for separate crunches that can then be combined into a single pool of lineups. Running them all at once is likely to create conflicting scenarios that will either prevent or limit a full crunch.

Quarterback Inclusion

The first wrinkle in utilizing Groups to create specific constructions is that the tool differentiates between a wide receiver or running back and the same player in the Captain or MVP spot. This requires the creation of a group that adds the Captain version of any likely skill player as the key player, with a rule setting that any lineup featuring any of these players must include one of the quarterbacks in a Flex position. The alternate approach to this problem is to remove all but the skill players from potential inclusion at the Captain spot then create a rule that will simply stack the quarterback with the Captain spot, but that approach is likely more flawed. This group does not currently force quarterbacks when defense or a kicker is used at Captain.

Key Players: All primary skill-players as Captain

Setting: At least one

Group: Aaron Rodgers & Justin Fields – Captain versions

This group will result in getting one of the quarterbacks whenever any of the listed primary skill-players is utilized at Captain. To force the quarterback from the same team, multiple groups should be created for skill players from each team utilizing just the quarterback from that team. When quarterbacks appear in Flex positions, the rules and limit settings will kick in to force optimal constructions in the other Flex roles.

Game Script – The Upset

Key Player(s): Justin Fields, Darnell Mooney, Allen Robinson, David Montgomery – Captain versions

Setting: At least 4

Group: Aaron Rodgers, Justin Fields, Darnell Mooney, Allen Robinson, David Montgomery, Jakeem Grant, Cole Kmet, Cairo Santos, Bears Defense, A.J. Dillon, Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdes-Scantling

This group takes an alternate look at the game and sees the Bears hanging tough in a contest in which they somehow manage to squash the upside of Davante Adams. The group is triggered by the use of any of Chicago’s top four options and will require four players from a group that includes most of the relevant Bears, including the same list of players again, as well as the opposing quarterback and two of his lesser pass-catching options. The group is designed to angle toward Bears wipeout games, they will be very low-owned, but this group should be limited in scope and usage as it is an unlikely construction.

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Game Script – Defense Wins Football Games

Key Player(s): Packers Defense

Setting: At least four

Group: Aaron Rodgers, Justin Fields, Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Allen Lazard, Amari Rodgers, Equanimeous St. Brown, Josiah Deguara, Marcedes Lewis, Aaron Jones, A.J. Dillon, Mason Crosby

This group operates under the assumption that readers know how to construct a Davante Adams or Aaron Rodgers Captain lineup in their sleep, while it zeroes in on the potential for a wipeout by the Packers, with their defense leading the way in a game where they are massive favorites. The group forces the use of four players from a list of almost exclusively Packers and should result in primarily 5-1 constructions when the Packers defense lands as the Captain play.

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