NFL DFS: DraftKings Week 8 Strategy
As it’s Halloween and strange things are afoot, this will be a different type of article to my usual DraftKings main slate picks. We’ve had 7 weeks of data and results to review and one thing has become clear to me this season: correlated lineups and leverage plays have never been so important. So for our Week 8 NFL main slate DFS strategy, I’m going to look at these aspects of roster construction.
GPP winning lineups have consistently included correlated game stacks and leverage plays to make them stand out from the field. Look at the winning lineups from the milly maker on DraftKings to see this in action.
If you already know what a correlated lineup or a leverage play is, feel free to scroll down the page to my strategy for this week. If you don’t, buckle up!
What Does A Correlated Lineup Mean In DFS?
This is where the success of players in your lineup is directly related to other players in your lineup. The simplest example is a QB and a WR from the same team. If the WR scores highly, there’s a good chance the QB does too. Team stacks and game stacks are other examples. Having players from opposing teams in your lineup will often work well if their game is high-scoring or turns into a shoot out and those players are heavily involved.
An example from Week 7 would be the Seattle-Arizona game. This game was expected to shoot out (as it did) so having pieces from both sides made sense. Obviously, before the game, you don’t know definitively which players to pick but you could expect that if one team scored a lot of fantasy points, the other team would also score a lot of fantasy points. As it turned out, if you had picked Murray and Hopkins from the Seahawks and brought it back with Tyler Lockett, those three players were worth 125.7 fpts. We’ll come back to this example when talking about leverage plays as Tyler Lockett is an example of that.
You can also play multiple correlations within the one lineup, such as an RB and an opposing WR. This is a common correlation as if a team jumps out to a lead, it’s possible that the RB has scored a touchdown or gained a lot of yards and the leading team adopts a run-heavy approach. Inevitably, the opposition turns to the passing game to catch up which means more fantasy points for their receivers.
What Is A Leverage Play In DFS?
In short, it’s a way of differentiating yourself from the field to maximise your potential return. I think the Seattle-Arizona example above explains it as well as I could.
Playing Murray and Hopkins wasn’t exactly a contrarian move. It was in fact an obvious play which lots of people used. We also knew that DK Metcalf was going to be a popular play. He had outscored Tyler Lockett in previous weeks and has quickly become a DFS darling. So Metcalf was expected to have higher ownership but what would happen if Metcalf didn’t score many fantasy points? Remember, we’re expecting Seattle to score a lot of points because we’re also expecting Arizona to score a lot of points. Those Seattle points have to go somewhere right? In this case, they went to Tyler Lockett. They could have gone to Chris Carson although that’s less likely as teams don’t tend to run the ball as much in a shootout.
The same thing happened in week 6 with Thielen and Jefferson of the Vikings. Thielen was 27% owned, Jefferson was 13% owned but scored three times as many points.
I want to point out that identifying a successful correlation or a high-scoring leverage play is as hard as choosing the right individual players. Just because your lineup correlates doesn’t make it automatically a winning lineup. It will probably miss as many times as picking individual players. So why do it?
Well, because you have differentiated yourself from the field, your lineup or lineups should be unique and that will help to maximise your winnings on the occasions that you do actually win. These lineups are designed for winning GPPs, not min-cashing in them and they are definitely not suitable for cash games.
So bearing all that in mind, here are my favourite correlated and leverage plays for week 8.
These are my personal opinions on the games and strategies at the time of writing this. I may employ different players and strategies than above if later or further information makes me re-evaluate my opinions.
San Francisco 49ers @ Seattle Seahawks
We’ve seen it all season, Seattle score a lot of fantasy points and this game has a total set at 54 points which is one of the highest on the slate.
Seattle’s fantasy points are primarily shared between Russ Wilson, DK Metcalf, and Tyler Lockett so including any combo of those three in lineups is a good start. If I had to pick only one receiver, I would choose Metcalf over Lockett. I expect Lockett to be higher owned after his heroics last week and because he’s still cheaper than Metcalf.
On the 49ers side, they are decimated with injuries so the targets should be quite focused. I expect many people will pick George Kittle so a leverage play for me would be Brandon Aiyuk at $5.8k. He led the team in targets last week and Seattle is the team giving up the most fantasy points to receivers this year so I want some exposure to that.
My favourite stack for this game is Wilson, Metcalf, and Aiyuk. I will play different combos though involving 3-5 players from this game.
Tennessee Titans @ Cincinnati Bengals
This is another game with a big total (53.5 points) which has lots of fantasy goodness in it. The Bengals have been great from a fantasy perspective with Joe Burrow throwing a lot of passes. He’s throwing to Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins, and AJ Green. So I recommend pairing up Burrow with two of those three. If you are playing multiple lineups, you can cover every combo.
The Titans are an anomaly fantasy-wise in that Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry are both capable of high scores in the same game. This is unusual. Usually, either the QB or the RB scores well, not both. The other pieces of worthwhile Titans stacks are AJ Brown and Jonnu Smith.
Individually these will all be popular plays so I like a 5-man game stack here. My favourite is Burrow, Boyd, Higgins with Henry and AJ Brown.
Las Vegas Raiders @ Cleveland Browns
This matchup only has a 51 point total currently but there are some great fantasy options here. Kareem Hunt might be the highest owned RB on the slate. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t play him. However, it’s probably wise to stack him with at least one Raider player. With the injuries in the receiving core of the Browns, players like Rashard Higgins and Harrison Bryant are in play.
On the Raiders side, Josh Jacobs is always in play. Henry Ruggs and Darren Waller are my favourite plays out of the receivers although Nelson Agholor and Hunter Renfrow are players to include if you are entering a lot of lineups.
I will play stacks of 2-5 players from this game with my favourite being a simple Hunt, Ruggs combo which I can mix in with the stacks above.