Early on in Week 9, it looked like we might see some relatively modest scores on DraftKings. There wasn’t a huge amount of team scoring-only one team was over 33 points in the early games-nor was there an abundance of top-tier fantasy performances.
That changed late, though, as the last three games of the week all saw a team put at least 40 points on the board. We witnesssed elite performances out of Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Emmanuel Sanders, Ben Roethlisberger, Martavis Bryant, Antonio Brown, Andrew Luck, and others.
When all was said and done, the winning Millionaire Maker lineup approached 250 fantasy points. Before breaking it down, let’s dive into some Week 9 player usage.
Week 9 Player Usage
When Gio Bernard was ruled out of the Bengals’ Week 9 contest, it was pretty evident that backup Jeremy Hill-min-priced on DraftKings-would be the week’s most popular player; it was just a question of how popular he’d be. Prior to the week, I made a side bet with my friend that Hill would be in over 40 percent of lineups. You let me down, DraftKings users, because Hill was on only 39.2 percent of Millionaire Maker teams!
As usual, the top few most popular players came at the running back position; Hill was followed by LeSean McCoy (30.1 percent) and Marshawn Lynch (27.8 percent) as the most highly owned players at any position in Week 9. All three delivered big-time performances.
At the wide receiver position, Jeremy Maclin was by far the most popular option in 26.7 percent of lineups. The second-most popular receiver-DeAndre Hopkins-was in only 17 percent of Millionaire Maker lineups. Again, DraftKings users were right on the money with these picks. The wisdom of the crowd is a powerful tool.
We once again saw that there really wasn’t a consensus at the quarterback position. DraftKings’ quarterback pricing has been pretty sharp, which has spread out usage such that we haven’t seen a very highly owned passer in a while. Colin Kaepernick was semi-popular in 17.9 percent of lineups, followed by Russell Wilson in 10.9 percent of lineups-just 24th overall.
Both Kaepernick and Wilson were big misses for users, as was the top tight end in Julius Thomas. He was the fifth-most popular player overall in 26.0 percent of Millionaire Maker lineups. Note that we also saw three defenses that were very popular, with the Chiefs, Bengals, and Seahawks each on at least 16.0 percent of teams.
Millionaire Maker: Hardfour (249.42 points)
In a field as large as that in the Millionaire Maker, we’re inevitably going to see a lot of photo finishes. The sweat that Hardfour had on both Sunday and Monday night, though, was one for the ages.
First, let’s break down Hardfour’s lineup.
Hardfour’s success across the board was pretty remarkable. Outside of his defense, not a single player managed fewer than 21.3 points. With a high of 36.8 points from Maclin, this was the perfect example of a user winning by avoiding landmines; only one of Hardfour’s running backs/receivers didn’t top 100 total yards.
Hardfour built his lineup around a Brady/Gronkowski stack. The heavy winds in New England on Sunday surely drove down Brady’s usage (7.3 percent of lineups), which gave Hardfour a nice source of pretty rare points. It’s always smart to jump on elite players when perceived unfavorable factors, like a poor matchup, drive down their popularity.
He got the same scarcity from Alfred Morris (9.1 percent) and Anquan Boldin (6.6 percent), but the MVP for Hardfour was surely Mike Evans. The Tampa Bay rookie went for 124 yards and two scores, but was in just 2.2 percent of Millionaire Maker lineups.
Hardfour ended up winning $1 million by beating the field by four points, but there were so many ways that he could be taken down that he was surely on the edge of his seat come Sunday and Monday night. Hardfour didn’t have any players in either game, so his 249.42 points were all on the board by early Sunday night.
However, the users who finished second through seventh all had at least one player in the Sunday or Monday night contests. Second-place finisher (and the winner of $100,000) HighLifeATX needed four more points from Antonio Brown to become a millionaire in Week 9. Third-place finisher cuga40 had Martavis Bryant.
It was fourth-place finisher steelernation40 who might have given Hardfour the biggest scare, though. Even though he finished six points back, steelernation40 had three players going on Sunday night in Roethlisberger, Bryant, and Brown. A couple more completions to his receivers might have been worth $1 million.
In the end, Hardfour held on for the victory and is the newest fantasy football millionaire to be crowned by DraftKings.
$100K Play-Action: BMarsh6 (250.1 points)
The Play-Action is one of the cheapest tournaments that you can enter on DraftKings at just $2, but BMarsh6 was able to turn that couple bucks into $10,000 in Week 9. His lineup was one of two that would have won the Millionaire Maker had they been entered. That might sting for a bit, but $10,000 is a nice consolation prize.
Here’s a look at BMarsh6’s lineup that would have taken down Hardfour’s by less than a point.
Again, this is another well-built lineup. BMarsh6 used the Roethlisberger/Brown stack and really did a nice job of matching obvious values like Hill and Maclin with under-the-radar plays like Mike Evans and Coby Fleener. The Colts tight end wasn’t in even 1-in-100 Play-Action lineups, but he was Andrew Luck’s favorite target on Monday night.
King of the Beach Qualifiers
Congrats to dandydon, fvacc23, and DraftKings Pro dinkpiece for qualifying for the King of the Beach tournament in December. The trio will head to Atlantis in the Bahamas to compete for $2.5 million in prizes, including $1 million to first place.