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Optimizer Groups: Optimal TNF NFL Daily DraftKings & FanDuel Picks | Ravens vs. Dolphins

Terry McBride

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Week 10’s Thursday Night Football game features an interesting contest between the 6-2 Ravens and the lowly 2-7 Dolphins. The game is carrying a mid-range total of 46.5 with the visiting Ravens favored by a substantial 8.5. The interesting part of the contest, for NFL DFS purposes, comes from the mix of skill players available on either team. We know that Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson stands the best chance of putting up a ceiling score among every player on the slate, but the plateau of projected potential point production from the list of pass-catchers and running backs on both sides creates a range of playable options for DraftKings Showdown and FanDuel Single Game contests for the Thursday Night Football slate. EMac’s Thursday Night Football NFL DFS Showdown Spotlight highlights all the top plays for tonight’s game, which furthers the point for Jackson to make most of your lineups.

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 Thursday Night Football DraftKings and FanDuel Showdown lineups.

NFL DFS Optimizer Picks: Week 10 Thursday 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 46.5 game yields a 20-contest sample when searching our record for games within a point in either direction. Once again we see our strongest trend continue, with only three of those winning lineups failing to roster a quarterback in at least a Flex spot. Of the remaining lineups, eight included both passers, while the remaining nine had just one. Out of the 20 contests, only two were won by quarterback Captain plays, which is also a continuing trend in our small sample historical look at DraftKings Showdown contests. The position is simply more valuable as a Flex play in virtually every game configuration. It certainly bears mentioning that not every quarterback has the raw scoring potential that Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson possesses from week to week, which gives him added potential in the multiplier spot.

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The 20-game sample includes two contests that were won by kicker Captain plays. Both of those winning lineups included the quarterback from both teams, one was a 4-2 build and the other was an even 3-3 construction. The 4-2 build leaned into the underdog team, while the 3-3 featured the kicker from the favored team in the Captain spot. Running backs were victorious seven times in this game configuration, with an interesting mix of lineup constructions, with two 3-3 builds and a 4-2 build, but also two each of 5-1 and 2-4. Within the running back winners, only one included a kicker in a Flex spot, that same lineup featured one of the two defenses that were rostered in a Flex spot as well. Six of the seven running back winners still featured at least one quarterback, and in a bit of a surprise, four of the seven featured both passers.

Pass-catchers lead the way once again, coming in with nine victories in 20 contests. Wide receivers took seven of the nine wins, and we again see a bit of a different look in the construction sample. Four of the nine winning lineups were 5-1 constructions and three more were 4-2 builds. Only one lineup was a 3-3, which is typically the most common winning construction with both high and low game totals, particularly when pass-catchers are the Captain play. This could be small sample happenstance, or the mid-range total may lend itself to more uneven constructions. Adding another half-point to the total on either side yields seven additional games. In that set, four of the winners were wide receivers, with three of those coming as 3-3 builds and a fourth as a 4-2. Two of the winners were quarterbacks and one was a running back, while all of the lineups featured at least one quarterback.

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)

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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 Lamar Jackson in the Captain role as the key player. It will then force all constructions featuring Jackson in the Captain role to include at least three of the players listed in the group that includes the opposing quarterback, the correlated and positively leveraged members of both passing games, and both kickers.

NFL DFS Optimizer Optimal Lineup Picks Today Tonight DraftKings FanDuel WEek 10 Thursday Night Football free expert rankings projections predictions ownership top stacks groups premium data tools fantasy football Yahoo ESPN CBS Ravens vs. Dolphins today tonight how to win money playing DFS betting picks best bets odds lines predictions player props this week

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.

NFL DFS Optimizer Optimal Lineup Picks Today Tonight DraftKings FanDuel WEek 10 Thursday Night Football free expert rankings projections predictions ownership top stacks groups premium data tools fantasy football Yahoo ESPN CBS Ravens vs. Dolphins today tonight how to win money playing DFS betting picks best bets odds lines predictions player props this week

Key Players: All primary skill-players as Captain

Setting: At least one

Group: Lamar Jackson & Jacoby Brissett — Standard 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 — Touchdowns on the Ground

NFL DFS Optimizer Optimal Lineup Picks Today Tonight DraftKings FanDuel WEek 10 Thursday Night Football free expert rankings projections predictions ownership top stacks groups premium data tools fantasy football Yahoo ESPN CBS Ravens vs. Dolphins today tonight how to win money playing DFS betting picks best bets odds lines predictions player props this week

Key Player(s): Lamar Jackson, Myles Gaskin, Devonta Freeman, Le’Veon Bell, Salvon Ahmed, Ty’Son Williams

Setting: At least three

Group: Lamar Jackson, Jacoby Brissett, Myles Gaskin, Devonta Freeman, Le’Veon Bell, Salvon Ahmed, Ty’Son Williams, Justin Tucker, Jason Sanders

While no one in this game has more than two rushing touchdowns this season, six players have at least one score on the ground. The Dolphins are carrying a significant game-script-adjusted passing percentage for this one as well, making the running back plays potentially more contrarian than expected. If the passing attacks stall in the red zone or either team gets close to the goal line they may pivot to the ground and run the ball in, which could prove a difference-making factor in a game with a lot of volatility. The use of any of the primary running weapons – including Jackson in this case, so be sure to deactivate this group when not actively using it – triggers a group that includes both quarterbacks, the running back corps over again, and both kickers, while leaving significant funds and two roster spots for upside receiving plays or additional options from either team.


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Game Script – Miami Passing Attack

Key Player(s): Mike Gesicki, Jaylen Waddle, Mack Hollins, Preston Williams, Durham Smythe – Captain versions

Setting: At least four

Group: Lamar Jackson, Jacoby Brissett, Jaylen Waddle, Mack Hollins, Preston Williams, Mike Gesicki, Adam Shaheen, Justin Tucker, Jason Sanders

With the game-script-adjusted stats suggesting Miami will be highly focused on the passing game, it makes sense to zero in on some of their positively leveraged players when building groups. This set should force uneven constructions with members of the Dolphins’ passing game in the Captain role. That scenario forces four players from a group that includes the receiving corps over again, both quarterbacks, and both kickers, while leaving room for an additional player from any angle in a Flex role.


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