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Optimizer Groups: Optimal MNF NFL Daily DraftKings & FanDuel Picks | Bills vs. Titans

Terry McBride



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The Monday Night Football slate shapes up with a much more fun-looking game that sees the Bills bring their fast-paced high-flying offense to Tennessee to face the Titans. The Bills are road favorites in a game with a hefty total, we should see a significant amount of action that can provide a broad range of NFL DFS scoring in DraftKings Showdown and FanDuel Single Game formats. As always, this article will focus on tonight’s best NFL DFS optimizer picks for the final game of the Week 6 slate.

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NFL DFS Optimizer Picks: Week 6 Monday Night Football

Small Sample Central — Trends and Notes

Several of the primary lineup construction notes from previous versions of the article will continue to be listed in this space, but each week we will attempt to find parallels based on Vegas data and the general game environment from historical contests in the pool of DraftKings Showdown research from 2019 through this week’s contests. It is important to not get too focused on results-based thinking in such a small sample. Quality lineup construction is always the focus, but historical results can help inform some basic decisions in a pricing and ownership vacuum. A quick summary of that previous content:

  • According to tracking data for DraftKings Showdown contests over 2019 and 2020, only 17 of 95 slates were won with a quarterback Captain.
  • Across the same sample, wide receivers and running backs split the outcomes evenly, with 33 tournament-winning events each.
  • Of the 38 times that a wide receiver or tight end was in the winning Captain position, only three of those builds did not include at least one quarterback in a Flex position.
  • Thirty-five of 95 winning lineups featured at least one defense, but only two of those featured both defenses.
  • Twenty-nine winning lineups featured at least one kicker, but only two of those included both.
  • Only eight winning lineups included at least one defense and one kicker, while one person won a tournament with two defenses and a kicker in 2019.

The Monday NFL DFS Showdown slate sees a much more interesting contest than we had on paper last night. The Vegas total is a robust 53 points, with the visiting Bills favored by six over the hometown Titans. Looking at a range of two points on either side of the healthy total, we have a 19-game collection of analogs for our small sample research purposes. Every tournament-winning lineup in that sample included at least one quarterback, continuing the strongest trend we have seen for DraftKings Showdown slates. Seven of the winning lineups included both passers, but while five of the winning lineups were with quarterback Captains, none of those five included the opposing quarterback in a Flex spot. Three of the winning quarterback Captain builds were 5-1 onslaughts, with the other two as 3-3s. Of the seven lineups that won with both quarterbacks in Flex roles, six were with a pass-catcher at the Captain spot, with one running back victory in the mix.

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Nine of the 19 winning Captain plays were pass-catchers while running backs took the tournament down in five examples. The running back constructions are a mixed bag of every example, but the pass-catcher wins were largely 3-3 constructions, winning in five of nine instances. The remaining victories saw a pair of 4-2 wins, a 2-4 victory, and a 5-1 win. As we have seen in a variety of samples, pass-catcher wins typically feature at least one quarterback and are built largely as even constructions between the two teams.

Defenses have simply not been a viable play in the preponderance of contests in our sample. Only one of the 19 lineups included defense in even a Flex role, which follows logically in what should be a relatively high-scoring game. Regardless of turnovers, there should be enough scoring to outpace a defense that does not manage to turn an opponent’s mistake into a touchdown. Kickers are slightly more viable in the sense that they will be somewhat carried by scoring, they were rostered in Flex spots in six of the 19 winning lineups, though it is noteworthy that only two of those games went over their Vegas game totals, falling short by an average of 13 points. If one is rostering a kicker, it makes sense to focus on a game narrative that supports less scoring than is anticipated by the sportsbooks.

Ignoring the game total and focusing on the six-point spread, we have 18 games that came in with a spread between 5.5 and 6.5, though the average point total in those is just 47. In that flawed sample, we see 12 of the 18 contests won by a 3-3 build, with seven of those featuring pass-catchers in the Captain role. An eighth Captain pass-catcher headed up a 4-2 winner, while one of the five winning running back lineups from the full 18-contest sample was a 4-2 and the remaining four were also 3-3s. Three of the four winning lineups that had a quarterback in the Captain role were 5-1 builds around that quarterback, while the one remaining lineup was an oddball kicker Captain winner.

DraftKings + FanDuel Stack Rules

QB with at least one RB/WR/TE from Opposing Team (this will happen naturally in most Showdown constructions, but including the rule will eliminate lineups that feature only an opposing kicker or quarterback)

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QB with at least one WR/TE from Same Team (this will happen naturally in a large portion of lineups, but stacking quarterbacks with pass catchers is the easiest way to rack up NFL DFS points. It makes sense to include this rule to force the build, in most situations)

Limit Rules

Limit rules are slightly less important for Showdown slates as there are only two teams to choose from. They are still useful for preventing suboptimal constructions, however, including the following will help prevent these less likely builds.

Limit QB/RB/WR/TE/DST/K from Same Team to three unless paired with Captain

Limit RB from Same Team to one (this is a rule that can be toggled on and off over multiple crunches, but the preference for this slate would be to use it)

Limit K from Same Game to one

Limit DEF from Same Game to one

Construction Basics

We will utilize Fantasy Cruncher’s Groups utility to create specific builds. The Groups feature includes the ability to designate players as the key to the group, or the player whose use in a position will trigger the group requirements. For Showdown slates this can be utilized to force specific sets of players or positions along with each type of designated Captain. The example below shows a group that utilizes Stefon Diggs in the Captain role as the key player. It will then force all constructions featuring Diggs in the Captain role to include at least three of the players listed in the group that includes both quarterbacks, skill players who correlate with the opposing quarterback, and a handful of lower-cost skill players that fit the scoring narrative. This group leaves two spots open for other premium plays, but salary availability is less likely, depending on the format.

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NFL DFS Optimizer Groups & Picks

Unlike multi-game slates, when attacking individual potential game scripts, these groups are better deployed individually for separate crunches that can then be combined into a single pool of lineups. Running them all at once is likely to create conflicting scenarios that will either prevent or limit a full crunch.

Quarterback Inclusion

The first wrinkle in utilizing Groups to create specific constructions is that the tool differentiates between a wide receiver or running back and the same player in the Captain or MVP spot. This requires the creation of a group that adds the Captain version of any likely skill player as the key player, with a rule setting that any lineup featuring any of these players must include one of the quarterbacks in a Flex position. The alternate approach to this problem is to remove all but the skill players from potential inclusion at the Captain spot then create a rule that will simply stack the quarterback with the Captain spot, but that approach is likely more flawed. This group does not currently force quarterbacks when defense or a kicker is used at Captain.

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Key Players: All primary skill-players as Captain

Setting: At least one

Group: Jake Allen & Ryan Tannehill – Standard versions

This group will result in getting one of the quarterbacks whenever any of the listed primary skill-players is utilized at Captain. To force the quarterback from the same team, multiple groups should be created for skill players from each team utilizing just the quarterback from that team. When quarterbacks appear in Flex positions, the rules and limit settings will kick in to force optimal constructions in the other Flex roles.

Game Script — Derrick Henry as Game Script

Key Players: Derrick Henry – Captain

Setting: At least three

Group: Josh Allen, Ryan Tannehill, Zack Moss, Cole Beasley, Julio Jones, Chester Rogers, Dawson Knox, Anthony Firkser

This group attempts to capture a game in which an expensive Derrick Henry play dominates in the Captain role. The group includes both quarterbacks as well as several of the lower-cost skill players who will help create evenly balanced constructions while leaving some room for an additional star player across the two remaining roster spots. Adding both kickers to this group is a viable consideration as well.

Game Script — High Flyin’

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Key Players: Primary Pass-Catchers

Setting: At least four

Group: Josh Allen, Ryan Tannehill, Cole Beasley, Dawson Knox, Anthony Firkser, Chester Rogers, Devin Singletary, Zack Moss, Tyler Bass, Julio Jones

This group attempts to force evenly built lineups around wide receiver Captain plays. The group includes both quarterbacks and will result in every lineup including at least one signal-caller when used with the QB inclusion group. The balance of the group is lower-cost and positively leveraged plays from either side that will help shape lineups that leave salary on the table, while leaving plenty of room for a rotation of star players in the remaining lineup spots.

Thanks for reading to the end of this article! If you appreciate this free content and want to see more of it every day, you can help us out by sharing this article on social media! If you’re interested in other NFL DFS tips for multiple game slates, head over to NFL ownership projections, Awesemo's NFL Data Central, DFS NFL rankings, and daily fantasy football stacking. Take a look at our inactive player list, starting line-ups and NFL depth charts. View our FanDuel NFL DFS ownership rankings and our DraftKings DFS NFL ownership rankings. We also have NFL single-game projections and DraftKings showdown ownership projections.

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 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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