I thought I was going to be a fantasy football millionaire.
I was the only player in the DraftKings Main Event to roster Rueben Randle – which is a dream scenario, assuming the player isn’t total dog crap – and I was sitting in 37th place with more PMR than anyone ahead of me once he scored (with C.J. Anderson left to play).
Then Russell Wilson happened. He’s just insufferable, isn’t he?
If you haven’t noticed, this intro has no valuable or actionable information whatsoever; it’s just a chance for me to rant. DraftKings Playbook: Come for the advice, stay for the catharsis.
Seriously though, it was a great week of NFL action – one in which DraftKings crowned yet another fantasy football millionaire. Before diving into the week’s big winners, let’s take a look at player ownership across the site.
Week 16 Player Usage
|13||Steve Smith Sr.||BAL||4100||432||13||19.2|
I knew that Donte Moncrief was going to be highly owned, but I’m pretty surprised that it was all the way up at 47.8 percent. There was still an outside chance that T.Y. Hilton might play, even after the kickoff of the 1pm games, but users channeled their inner M.D. to start Moncrief with confidence. I was all over him, too, and despite playing on 81.5 percent of the Colts’ snaps, Moncrief had two catches for five yards. Talk about a perfect time to fade a player.
Jordy Nelson was the second-most popular wide receiver in 41.7 percent of all lineups, and he certainly didn’t disappoint with nine catches for 113 yards and a score. Nelson was No. 3 overall in terms of usage, checking in behind running back Tre Mason. The rookie didn’t have a huge game, but he certainly returned value with 83 total yards and a touchdown at a $4600 salary.
The top tight end, unsurprisingly, was Rob Gronkowski. Gronk’s salary dropped $900 from Week 15, so 34.3 percent of all users felt comfortable using him. Gronkowski once again found the end zone – something he’s failed to do just five times all season – but he also managed just 31 receiving yards.
At quarterback, Drew Brees led the way in 19.5 percent of all DraftKings lineups. Brees racked up garbage yards to get to 313 on the day, but threw just a single touchdown and two picks against Atlanta. And finally, users were all over the Detroit D playing against Jimmy Clausen and the Bears. That move backfired, as the incredible 28.3 percent of users who rostered the Lions ended up with just 3 points.
Main Event Championship: gunz4hire (191.76 points)
It was championship weekend on DraftKings, and it all started in the Main Event. Sitting at 182.66 points, PrimeTime420 was leading the charge going into the Monday night game. He needed a low-scoring affair to win, but he didn’t get it. Four users who rostered C.J. Anderson ended up passing PrimeTime420, including the eventual winner gunz4hire.
Here’s a look at the winning lineup.
This was an intense sweat because, in addition to Anderson, gunz4hire also had tight end Jermaine Gresham playing on Monday night. Gresham was one of a few very low-usage players in what was very clearly a contarian lineup. This was the perfect week to go against the grain, which gunz4hire did with the selections of Teddy Bridgewater (0.4%), Odell Beckham (3.3%), Jarius Wright (0.2%), and Gresham (1.5%).
Note that gunz4hire used a wide receiver in his flex spot, meaning every single millionaire DraftKings has crowned this season has used four wide receivers in their lineup. Gunz4hire actually made a mistake in placing Andre Johnson there instead of Beckham (who had a later game and would have allowed for more late-swap options), but in the end, it didn’t really matter, did it?
Congrats on gunz4hire on cashing $1 million on what appeared to be a single entry!
Chop Block Championship: chharith (207.06 points)
It’s pretty crazy that it flew under the radar that another $100,000 winner was made on DraftKings in Week 16. That user was chharith, who posted 207.06 points and beat a field of over 21,000 in the Chop Block Championship.
Surprisingly, chharith didn’t roster any players in the Monday night game, but he made up for it with some ridiculous low-usage choices that panned out. One of them was Kyle Orton, who scored 26.16 points and was in only 2.5 percent of lineups. Marshawn Lynch was in even fewer lineups – 1.3 percent – and ran all over the Cardinals in the desert.
The play of the week, though, was the use of tight end Luke Willson. Take a look at Willson’s usage in chharith’s lineup. It says 0.0% because there’s a chance that chharith was the only person who used Wilson this week. The tight end went for 139 yards and two scores, giving chharith 31.9 points that no one else had. What a call.
Chharith was one user who decided not to roster a receiver in his flex spot, instead opting for the low-usage Reggie Bush. Again, it sure was a week to go against the grain, and this contrarian lineup ended up in a 2000x ROI for chharith.
Flea Flicker Championship: bryangolightly88 (218.24 points)
Finally, bryangolightly88 crushed a field of 92,000 in the Flea Flicker Championship, turning $5 into $50,00o! That’s 10,000 times his investment! Bryangolightly88 won by nearly seven points.
The only two choices that were truly under the radar were Eli Manning and Doug Baldwin. Both were in 1.9 percent of lineups or fewer, and both had big games. Bryangolightly88 also faded the Monday night game, but he built up such a comfortable lead that it didn’t matter.
Take a look at all three winning lineups from Week 16. The one similarity? Odell Beckham Jr. Beckham again went crazy, this time against the Rams, but he wasn’t in as many lineups as in past weeks due to being the priciest receiver on DraftKings.
You can also see how sensitive certain users are to pricing. At the $5 level, Beckham was in 9.3 percent of lineups, compared to 6.5 percent in the Chop Block and only 3.3 percent in the Main Event. This might be the subject of a later study of mine, but it could certainly be the case that winning small buy-in GPPs is about value, while going against the grain has more merit against better competition.