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Optimizer Groups: Optimal MNF NFL Daily DraftKings & FanDuel Picks | Seahawks vs. Washington

Terry McBride



Russell Wilson dropped a "thank you" video to Seattle on Friday afternoon, and it's bound to leave all Seahawks and NFL fans with chills

The NFL DFS slate for Monday Night Football features a contest between the Seahawks and the team with the dumbest name in football. The Washington Football Team enters as 1-point home underdogs in a game with a 48-point total, making this an interesting matchup for NFL DFS lineup building for DraftKings Showdown and FanDuel single-game contests. The game has a few stars available and there are several extremely interesting leverage plays in Awesemo’s tools that are worth exploration. Getting to differentiated lineups is critical in Showdown format, where options are thin and the bulk of the field lands in a limited number of common lanes of construction. Finding the right positively leveraged play to mix into groups with targeted upside is essential to creating winning lineups for FanDuel and DraftKings Showdown NFL DFS lineups.

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The Awesemo Top Showdown Plays Tool is the best way to find low-owned value and leverage, when using the tool we want to focus on the probability of success but also the degree to which a player is owned when compared with that probability and can indicate if the field is over or underweight to a play. Using all of the Awesemo expert data and tools, let’s find the top NFL DFS optimizer picks for DraftKings and FanDuel Showdown lineups tonight.

NFL DFS Optimizer Picks: Week 12 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.

Tonight’s game carries a 48-point total and a point spread of just one, with the visiting Seahawks coming in as the favorite. The historical sample for this season includes 16 contests within a point on either side of that number, yielding a variety of winning lineup constructions. Last night’s Sunday slate was somewhat similar, but it had a higher total and a point spread of three in favor of the home team. In that sample, pass catchers led the way in Captain wins. They lead in this sample as well, with wide receivers and tight ends combining to win seven of the 16 contests. Running backs take another five of the available victories, with the remaining wins going to three quarterbacks and a defense. The sample includes three games that were also at a spread of just one, two of those were run by running backs and one with a wide receiver.

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Of the 16 winning lineups, only one failed to roster a quarterback, while seven of the winners included both passers. Only one of those seven featured one of the two quarterbacks as Captain, continuing the trend of finding the position far more likely to see victory in a Flex role than in the Captain spot on DraftKings slates. The remaining lineups that rostered two quarterbacks featured three wins by running backs and three wins by wide receivers, skill players belong in the Captain spot with the most frequency. Only three of the lineups in the 16-game sample included a kicker, none of them included two. Six winning lineups included a defense, but again no winning lineups included two.

Adding a point to the game total on either side, the sample expands to 32 contests, only three of those did not include a quarterback, but only the same number of quarterback plays were in the Captain spot in contest-winning lineups. Kickers land in the winning lineup in 11 of the 32 contests in the expanded sample, with one kicker Captain play seeing victory. The position seems interesting tonight, Seahawks kicker Jason Myers has a non-zero probability of landing in the optimal lineup in Awesemo’s simulations, and he comes in at just a $4,000 salary and a 3.4% projected Captain ownership. His 6.6% optimal lineup rate in the Captain spot makes him the top leverage play at the position this evening, an interesting situation for lineup building.

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)

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.

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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 Antonio Gibson in the Captain role as the key player. It will then force all constructions featuring Gibson in the Captain role to include at least three of the players listed in the group including both quarterbacks as well as a mix of positively leveraged skill players from both sides.

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: Russell Wilson and Taylor Heinicke

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.

NFL DFS Concept — Value and Leverage and Captain

Key Player(s): Jason Myers – Captain Version

Setting: At least

Group: Taylor Heinicke, Russell Wilson, Tyler Lockett, D.K. Metcalf, Terry McLaurin, Alex Collins, Antonio Gibson, DeeJay Dallas

This group takes advantage of the positive leverage and low cost of rostering Myers as a kicker Captain play, which should be reserved for a limited but above the field number of lineups in a full set of entries. The group forces for players from a list of the most likely top scorers on the board, while still focusing on positive leverage plays in the Flex spot, creating premium groups by forcing the optimizer to play combinations of spend-up options together with value and leverage.

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Game Script – Passing Upside

Key Player(s): Tyler Lockett, D.K. Metcalf, Terry McLaurin, Gerald Everett, Logan Thomas – Captain versions

Setting: At least 4

Group: Taylor Heinicke, Russell Wilson, Tyler Lockett, D.K. Metcalf, Terry McLaurin, Gerald Everett, Logan Thomas, Jason Myers, Alex Collins, DeeJay Dallas, DeAndre Carter, Curtis Samuel

This group looks to the frequency of winning pass catchers in most of the historical sampling and focuses on the three primary receiver plays, as well as the top tight ends, who all fall at positive leverage and non-zero optimal lineup rates in the Captain role this evening. The use of any of those as the Captain would trigger a group that forces four players from a list including both quarterbacks, the top leverage play in the kicker Jason Myers, the list of receiving options with a few additions, and the positively leveraged Flex plays from the running back position.

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

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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