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Optimizer Groups: Week 13 Sunday NFL DFS Optimal Lineup Strategy on DraftKings & FanDuel – Sunday Update

Terry McBride

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Week 13 NFL DFS Optimizer Picks DraftKings FanDuel Groups stacking optimal lineup strategy advice predictions best bets free expert

Week 13 of NFL DFS action comes with an odd shape. There are five games in the early window that have home teams who are underdogs by no less than 7.5 points. Of those games, the most interesting by far is the Tampa Bay vs Atlanta contest that carries a 50-point total but sees the Buccanneers favored by 11 points. The other three games are totaled in the low-to-mid 40s, they feature some of the biggest value plays on the slate, particularly with the running backs available in the Minnesota vs Detroit game. Getting to the extreme values on the ground for both the Vikings and Lions is a key to construction across much of the industry in Week 13. The other highly targetable early game comes with a 49-point total and looks like a more competitive outing, with the Bengals favored by just three at home against the Chargers. The evening slate brings two of the highest-upside spots on the quarterback and team stacks board, as well as some of the most highly-priced pass-catching plays of the day, making it something to build toward with the values available early, though pivoting to different configurations for similar upside is always viable in massive field Sunday tournaments.

This article focuses on building lineups with a quality foundation by utilizing the powerful Groups and Rules/Limits tools within Fantasy Cruncher. All of the concepts and pairings included below can be applied to hand-building as well, the goal is to create lineups that have high scoring correlation and take advantage of combined outcomes within stacks while limiting the likelihood of building inefficient or negatively correlated entries for a full slate of NFL DFS lineups.

Fantasy Cruncher – New How-To Video

The uptick in questions related to the how-to aspects of Fantasy Cruncher along with several noteworthy new tools demanded a new how-to tutorial video. I put together the above review of all of Fantasy Cruncher’s advanced options with some basic how-to on the constructions, rules, limits, and groups that we use in this article. The tutorial also reviews all of Fantasy Cruncher’s new features and the important distinctions between the various sets of projections that are available.

Week 13 DraftKings & FanDuel NFL DFS Optimizer Groups & Picks – Sunday Update

Overview

The Week 1 article featured a deep dive into the general settings menu and various utilities within Fantasy Cruncher, it is still available for anyone who would like to refer back. We will maintain the list of rules and limits below throughout the season, with occasional tweaks, if needed. Each week sees yet another fresh crop of value plays as situations change and injuries create opportunities around the league. These changing roles and emergent value plays are accounted for in the process of creating these groups from week to week. After a large pool of lineups is created utilizing these groups, it is still of critical importance to filter them for factors including ceiling projections and leverage potential, as well as our optimal lineup rates and Boom/Bust potential. Getting to a strong mix of the most optimal positively leveraged plays will be a strong foundation for a large pool of tournament lineups.

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DraftKings + FanDuel Stack Rules

This set of rules will force Fantasy Cruncher to build lineups with certain combinations. We are looking to always stack at least one skill player, ideally a pass-catcher, with his quarterback while also playing a skill player from the opposing team in the lineup. The theory behind this build is that a high-scoring stack will require some response from the opposing team to truly deliver a ceiling score in most situations, otherwise the team that is ahead will simply slow down and run out the clock. These rules are applied by completing the sentences with selections from the drop-down menu, they follow a very straightforward logic. Exceptions can be made for teams at the bottom of the rule creation window. After a rule is set, click the blue bar to add it, it will appear at the bottom of the screen as a completed rule.

Week 13 NFL DFS Optimizer Picks DraftKings FanDuel Groups stacking optimal lineup strategy advice predictions best bets free expert

QB with at least one WR/TE from Same Team (note: It is fine to make this two or to utilize two of these, one with WR/TE and one with RB/WR/TE, but we can refine that and get it exactly how we want it for each team via Groups)

QB with at least one RB/WR/TE from Opposing Team

QB with at most zero DST from Same Team (this is more of a personal preference; high-scoring teams and quarterbacks tend to leave their defenses on the field exposing them to simple point-scoring negatives)

Limit Rules

Limit rules can be applied to restrict certain combinations from coming together. This is powerful for limiting multiple running backs from the same team or getting overweight to a certain stack within a lineup.

Week 13 NFL DFS Optimizer Picks DraftKings FanDuel Groups stacking optimal lineup strategy advice predictions best bets free expert

Limit QB/RB/WR/TE from Same Team to three

Limit RB/WR/TE from Same Team to one unless paired with QB from Same Team OR Opposing Team

Limit RB from Same Team to one (one can also do this with WR in a separate rule that adds an “unless paired with QB or opposing QB,” but it is a personal preference for NFL DFS)

Construction

These groups are built by utilizing the quarterback as the KEY player (by clicking the key icon next to his name), with the thinking that the quarterback play is the driving factor in which stack is utilized in that lineup. Built to specification, each team will have two groups, a team group, and an opponent group, both of which utilize the same quarterback, so four groups per game. This is the best approach to truly capture the requirement of playing individual “run-back” plays from the opposing team. A more basic approach would be to include all of the skill players from a game in each quarterback’s group and rely on rules and limits to restrict any potential overflow. It is highly recommended to save the Week 1 groups as a foundation that will be updated for the rest of the season. The recommended groups will include skill players who have an active role in their offense and provide significant correlation with their quarterback’s scoring, quite often bell-cow running backs who do not specialize in the passing game will not be included in groups as they are projected highly and appear on their own in basically correct distributions, while also not always providing the strongest positive correlation plays. Stacking quarterbacks with pass-catchers and allowing running backs to fall into the lanes then crated by settings, available salary and randomness should create a well-distributed set of quality lineups. These groups are updated weekly to account for changes in utilization, schemes, injuries, target shares, and more.

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Sunday Updates

The Sunday update for Week 13 includes several confirmations of expected injury situations, including a quarterback change in Philadelphia. Unlike several recent weeks, we only have a limited number of running backs who require control, given the explosive value (and popularity) of Alexander Mattison and Jamal Williams across the industry. Antonio Gibson is another member of the ground attack that needs a bit of an in-group adjustment, but beyond those three running backs, we are merely tweaking shares for a large crunch mix among pass-catchers. These adjustments are recommendations to create a strong mix of players within the various game stacks while building from a foundation of premium plays in the surrounding lineup. It should be noted again that these groups will trend toward popular plays in those spaces, which should be monitored for over-exposure when selecting the lineups that will be entered into a contest. Cooper Kupp and George Kittle are excellent examples of this for Week 13, both are excellent players with tremendous upside, but without consideration, they will land in roughly all lineups; this can be controlled with exposure caps, randomness, leverage scores, or sorting.


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NFL DFS Optimizer Picks: Week 13 Team Groups for DraftKings & FanDuel – Sunday Update

The goal here is to create a large pool of well-built lineups that can be utilized in any large-field GPP contest. Crunch far more lineups than needed and utilize a sorting table in Excel to filter to the best set of lineups for entries. The lineups created in these crunches should provide a broad distribution that includes some of the lower-owned skill players from each stack. Applying boosts is critical in pushing and pulling ownership on individual players within their team’s stacked lineups.

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The groups below are designed so that each quarterback will have two groups to create, one with his skill players and another with the opposing team. A more basic approach would be to add them all to one large group with an “at least three” and let rules and limits set things, but there is a more granular level of control in creating them separately.

Utilizing two groups also allows us to place running backs into the “run-back” position in certain teams while not including them in the primary stack for their team. This is useful when there is a situation with an extremely highly projected running back who does not necessarily fit into his team’s passing game. These players are threaded throughout the following construction recommendations.

Arizona Cardinals

Key Player: Kyler Murray (P) (Sunday reporting says that both Murray and Hopkins will play)

Setting: At least one

Group: DeAndre Hopkins (P) (+15%), Rondale Moore, Christian Kirk (+15%), Zach Ertz, A.J. Green (+15%), James Conner (-10%) (Hopkins is expected to play, for real this time…)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: David Montgomery (-25%), Darnell Mooney, Cole Kmet, Damiere Byrd (+25%), Jakeem Grant (+25%)

Atlanta Falcons

Key Player: Matt Ryan

Setting: Between one and two

Group: Cordarrelle Patterson (+25%), Kyle Pitts, Russell Gage (+15%), Tajae Sharpe, Olamide Zaccheaus (+15%)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Leonard Fournette, Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, Rob Gronkowski, Tyler Johnson (+15%)

Baltimore Ravens

Key Player: Lamar Jackson

Setting: At least one

Group: Marquise Brown, Mark Andrews, Rashod Bateman (+15%), Sammy Watkins (+15%), Devin Duvernay (+15%)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Najee Harris, Diontae Johnson (-10%), Chase Claypool, Pat Freiermuth, Anthony Miller, James Washington (+25%)

Chicago Bears

Key Player: Andy Dalton (Justin Fields is out for Week 13)

Setting: At least one

Group: Darnell Mooney, Cole Kmet, Damiere Byrd (+25%), Jakeem Grant (+25%), David Montgomery (-10%) (Allen Robinson is doubtful and Marquise Goodwin is out for Week 13)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: DeAndre Hopkins (+15%), Rondale Moore, Christian Kirk (+15%), Zach Ertz, A.J. Green (+15%), James Conner (-15%)

Cincinnati Bengals

Key Player: Joe Burrow

Setting: Between one and two

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Group: Joe Mixon, Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd, C.J. Uzomah (This group functions well without adjustment, if anything Mixon could stand a +5-10% bump)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Austin Ekeler, Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Jared Cook, Joshua Palmer (+25%), Jalen Guyton (+25%)

Detroit Lions

Key Player: Jared Goff

Setting: At least one

Group: Jamaal Williams (-15%), T.J. Hockenson, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Kalif Raymond, Josh Reynolds (D’Andre Swift will be out for Week 13. Williams and Mattison will both take downgrades on all four sides of this game, so they do not appear in every iteration of the team stacks)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Alexander Mattison (-15%), Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen (+20%), Tyler Conklin, K.J. Osborn (+25%)

Houston Texans

Key Player: Tyrod Taylor

Setting: At least one

Group: Brandin Cooks (Q) (-15%), Pharaoh Brown, Chris Conley (+15%), Chris Moore (+15%), Nico Collins (+15%) (Danny Amendola is out, David Johnson is expected to miss Week 13, thrusting Rex Burkhead into the value conversation at running back)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Jonathan Taylor, Michael Pittman Jr., T.Y. Hilton (+15%), Zach Pascal (+15%), Jack Doyle (Q), Mo Alie-Cox

Indianapolis Colts

Key Player: Carson Wentz

Setting: At least one

Group: Jonathan Taylor, Michael Pittman Jr. (-15%), T.Y. Hilton (+15%), Zach Pascal (+15%), Nyheim Hines, Jack Doyle, Mo Alie-Cox

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Brandin Cooks (-15%), Rex Burkhead, Pharaoh Brown, Chris Moore (+15%), Nico Collins (+15%), Chris Conley (+15%)

Jacksonville Jaguars

Key Player: Trevor Lawrence

Setting: At least one

Group: James Robinson (Q), Marvin Jones Jr., Laviska Shenault Jr., James O’Shaughnessey, Laquon Treadwell (+15%) (Robinson will test his injury in warmups but is expected to play)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Cooper Kupp (-20%), Darrell Henderson Jr. (D), Odell Beckham Jr. (Q), Van Jefferson Jr. (+10%), Tyler Higbee (+15%) (Henderson’s status is in jeopardy pending a pregame warmup)

Las Vegas Raiders

Key Player: Derek Carr

Setting: At least one

Group: Hunter Renfrow (-15%), DeSean Jackson (+15%), Forster Moreau, Kenyan Drake, Zay Jones (+25%), Bryan Edwards (+25%) (running back Josh Jacobs is currently questionable but Sunday reporting says he is likely to play, as is DeSean Jackson, who also landed on the injury report)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Antonio Gibson (-25%), Terry McLaurin, Logan Thomas (+15%), DeAndre Carter (+15%), Curtis Samuel (+15%), Adam Humphries (+25%)

Los Angeles Chargers

Key Player: Justin Herbert

Setting: Between one and two

Group: Austin Ekeler, Keenan Allen, Mike Williams (+10%), Jared Cook, Joshua Palmer (+25%), Jalen Guyton (+25%)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Joe Mixon, Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd, C.J. Uzomah

Los Angeles Rams

Key Player: Matthew Stafford

Setting: At least one

Group: Cooper Kupp, Darrell Henderson Jr. (Q), Odell Beckham Jr. (P) (+15%), Van Jefferson Jr. (+15%), Tyler Higbee (+15%) (Henderson is expected to test his injury in warmups but the Rams are reportedly not optimistic, Beckham seems far more likely to play)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: James Robinson (Q), Marvin Jones Jr., Laviska Shenault Jr., James O’Shaughnessey, Laquon Treadwell

Miami Dolphins

Key Player: Tua Tagovailoa

Setting: At least one

Group: Jaylen Waddle (+10%), DeVante Parker, Mike Gesicki, Albert Wilson (+25%) (Parker was activated from injured reserve and is expected to be a full participant)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Saquon Barkley (-20%), Kenny Golladay, Darius Slayton, Evan Engram, Pharoh Cooper (+25%), John Ross (+25%)

Minnesota Vikings

Key Player: Kirk Cousins

Setting: Between one and two

Group: Alexander Mattison (-10%), Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen (+10%), Tyler Conklin, K.J. Osborn (+25%) (Dalvin Cook is out, Mattison will likely get an in-group nudge downward once Sunday’s post-crunching results roll around)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Jamaal Williams (-25%), T.J. Hockenson, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Kalif Raymond, Josh Reynolds

New York Giants

Key Player: Mike Glennon (Daniel Jones is out for Week 13)

Setting: At least one

Group: Saquon Barkley, Kenny Golladay, Darius Slayton, Evan Engram, Pharoh Cooper (+25%), John Ross (+25%) (Sterling Shepard and Kadarius Toney are out)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Jaylen Waddle, DeVante Parker, Mike Gesicki, Albert Wilson

New York Jets

Key Player: Zach Wilson

Setting: At least one

Group: Elijah Moore, Jamison Crowder (+15%), Denzel Mims, Braxton Berrios (+25%), Ryan Griffin

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Miles Sanders, DeVonta Smith, Dallas Goedert (-10%), Quez Watkins (+15%), Jalen Reagor (+15%)

Philadelphia Eagles

Key Player: Gardner Minshew (Jalen Hurts is out for Week 13)

Setting: At least one

Group: Miles Sanders, DeVonta Smith, Dallas Goedert (-10%), Quez Watkins (+15%), Jalen Reagor (+25%)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Elijah Moore, Jamison Crowder (+15%), Denzel Mims, Braxton Berrios (+15%)

Pittsburgh Steelers

Key Player: Ben Roethlisberger

Setting: At least one

Group: Najee Harris, Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool (+15%), Pat Freiermuth, Ray-Ray McCloud (+25%), James Washington (+25%)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Marquise Brown, Mark Andrews, Rashod Bateman (+10%), Sammy Watkins (+25%)

San Francisco 49ers

Key Player: Jimmy Garoppolo

Setting: At least one

Group: George Kittle (-15%), Brandon Aiyuk (+10%), Jauan Jennings (+25%), Trent Sherfield (+25%)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Tyler Lockett, D.K. Metcalf (+10%), Gerald Everett (+15%), Freddie Swain

Seattle Seahawks

Key Player: Russell Wilson

Setting: At least one

Group: Tyler Lockett, D.K. Metcalf (+10%), Gerald Everett (+15%), Freddie Swain (+25%)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Eli Mitchell, George Kittle (-25%), Brandon Aiyuk (+10%), Jauan Jennings (+25%), Trent Sherfield (+25%)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Key Player: Tom Brady

Setting: Between one and two

Group: Leonard Fournette (+10%), Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, Rob Gronkowski (+15%), Tyler Johnson (+25%)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Cordarrelle Patterson (+10%), Kyle Pitts, Russell Gage, Tajae Sharpe, Olamide Zaccheaus (+25%)

Washington Football Team

Key Player: Taylor Heinicke

Setting: At least one

Group: Terry McLaurin, Logan Thomas, DeAndre Carter (+15%), Curtis Samuel (Q) (+15%), Adam Humphries (+25%) (Curtis Samuel is expected to play)

Opposing Setting: At least one

Group: Hunter Renfrow (-15%), DeSean Jackson, Foster Moreau, Zay Jones (+25%), Bryan Edwards (+25%)

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

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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