Every week, some lucky person takes home $1 million by winning the DraftKings Millionaire Maker contest, aka The Milly Maker. The contest is $20 to enter with a maximum of 150 entries per person. I looked at a few key trends from two years of winners this summer and pulled some key trends that can be found here: Five Key Trends from Million Dollar DraftKings NFL DFS Lineups. In this series, we’ll look at what the winning lineup did each week with its NFL DFS picks on DraftKings and see if it aligns with prior trends or if there are new ways to take down the contest.
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NFL DFS Week 8 DraftKings Millionaire Maker Lineup Review and Strategy
The Winning Lineup
The winning lineup this week featured a Chiefs stack with Patrick Mahomes at quarterback, Travis Kelce at tight end and Demarcus Robinson at receiver. It also featured a run-back of Denzel Mims from the Jets. The lineup also featured a secondary stack of D.K. Metcalf and Kendrick Bourne from the Seattle – San Francisco game. That makes this seventh week out of eight with a double-stack winning the DraftKings Millionaire Maker. The run-back has also been in the winning lineup in a majority of weeks. For this contest and all others that use a tournament payout structure, lineups that aren’t stacked are donations made to pay the rake of better players. Lineups that don’t use a double-stack and a run-back should be entered sparingly but are worth considering in specific scenarios.
Why Dalvin Cook?
Dalvin Cook was the key to winning any tournament in Week 8. There were three running backs priced above $7,000 on DraftKings last week. Cook was the lowest owned by over 6%, while Alvin Kamara was modestly popular and Derrick Henry came in as the chalk. Cook was returning from an injury as an underdog to Green Bay, but being an underdog doesn’t affect the Vikings. Minnesota has just two wins on the year, yet they are currently third in the NFL in percentage of plays that are runs. He was also the cheapest of the three expensive backs despite having games of 31.6 points and 29.9 points in two of his three most recent contests. Cook was averaging over a touchdown per game before Week 8. Normally, the public flocks to that kind of unsustainable production and a player like Cook would be a worthwhile fade. That wasn’t the case in Week 8, so betting on Cook to continue running hot was a +EV decision.
Taking the Layups
The Chiefs were expensive to stack and going to be somewhat popular, but their ownership wasn’t commensurate with their ability to outscore every other player at quarterback and tight end specifically. At the time of active roster announcements, the Chiefs held a 34.25 implied team total. With rampant winds, rain and snow dropping game and team totals across the Midwest, they were the only ream with an implied total of 30. The Titans closed at second on the slate with an implied team total of 28 points. Rostering Mahomes gave this lineup an entire touchdown advantage over the field. That is the exact scenario that played out. Russell Wilson was the second-most expensive passer on the salary but fell over 10 points short of Mahomes.
Here’s a short video of “GHARTMAN314” breaking down this lineup:
— Ari Alexander (@AriA1exander) November 3, 2020
At tight end, a similar scoring structure formed. The Las Vegas – Cleveland game was ruined by weather, so Darren Waller never stood a chance to stack up to Kelce. Mark Andrews and the Ravens had an implied team total 10 points lower than the Chiefs, while George Kittle and the 49ers were over a touchdown behind. Paying up for Kelce gave this lineup access to a ceiling that no other tight end on the slate had. Kelce ultimately scored 11.8 more points than the No. 2 tight end on the slate, Jared Cook.
Finding and Exploiting Fragility
The main slate was rife with fragile plays, and this lineup exploited that at multiple turns. The most obvious spot was fading the highest-owned player on the slate, Kareem Hunt. Not only did this lineup fade Hunt. It also faded the entire Cleveland/Las Vegas game.
- Kareem Hunt – 37.6% owned, No. 1 at his position
- Josh Jacobs – 13.6%, No. 7
- Darren Waller – 16.5%, No. 2
- Harrison Bryant – 10.6%, No. 4
Both quarterbacks and some cheap receivers also garnered noteworthy levels of ownership in this game. The high winds caused the total of this game to drop by upwards of eight points depending on the sportsbook. The weather could have helped Hunt rack up rush attempts but every running back needs his team to put up points in order to have a good game.
Another easy spot to see the downside in was Jimmy Garoppolo. He was the highest-owned passer despite having two games of zero touchdowns and two interceptions in his past three contests. He had more turnovers than touchdowns in a quarter of his regular-season starts in his magic 2019 season. Garoppolo injured his ankle versus the Seahawks and did not return but he was getting trounced before exiting. Mediocre quarterbacks in good spots are still mediocre quarterbacks. If they’re going to be unpopular and in a good spot to put up points, go ahead and bet on even the worst of quarterbacks. However, when they are projected to be popular, recognize that the downside of their inaccuracy still lurks.
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