In its most boiled-down form, DFS involves identifying the highest-scoring fantasy football players at each position in a given week. With close to 20 playable options at the quarterback and tight end positions, along with even more at the running back and wide receiver positions, it is a feat in itself to identify one position correctly.
To finish at the top of a DFS contest, you must hit on basically all skill positions and circumvent the randomness associated with selecting defenses. Doing all of this while also fitting under the confines of a salary cap makes DFS one of the most difficult setups to beat consistently, especially for large-field tournaments.
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It requires an element of consistency in processes while being able to block out the noise of what the general public continues to preach as the best plays. Let’s walk through each model I use to piece together the best lineups to hopefully finish atop a massive-field guaranteed prize pool (GPP) contest.
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DFS GAME STACKS
Stacking is essential to success in DFS GPPs, as it's a way to increase variance, which is the only option that offers enough upside to win a GPP tournament.
Adding in additional variance via a game-level stack has shown to outperform field usage at the top of GPP lineups. This takes not only a quarterback and pass-catching option but also runs it back with a pass-catcher and or running back from the opposing team.
The results speak for themselves as the game stack and highly correlated lineups have continued to finish at the top of GPP contests across the industry to start the 2021 season.
My approach incorporates spreads and totals along with prior relevant fantasy performance for each team to best project the highest-scoring games on the slate. The top matchups to stack based on this model are below, along with the options most likely to perform if the game goes over.
The cozy confines of US Bank stadium are once again setting up for a high-scoring affair on Sunday. The game total sits as the fourth-highest on the main slate but with the spread within a field goal, it's the perfect opportunity for back-and-forth scoring action.
Another reason why the game stack model likes this option is that both quarterbacks have been playing at a high level to start the season. Kirk Cousins has posted the third-best PFF passing grade to start the season. When adjusting for opponent strength, Baker Mayfield has been graded as the fourth-best quarterback. Despite quality pass rushes on both sides, this game's total should easily go over.
Picking the quarterback is as close to a coin flip as any decision can be. Cousins and Mayfield are priced within $100 of each other, and project to have roster percentage within 1% of each other. PFF Greenline leans toward the Browns’ covering, which should signal more success for the Browns offense. If this plays out, Mayfield is the correct play over Cousins.
The wide receiver selection is obvious for the Browns, as Odell Beckham Jr. returned immediately to the alpha receiver role. He saw 31.3% of the targets and 54.5% of the air yards in his first week back after being targeted on 29.4% of his routes. He is still underpriced across DFS sites and should be able to exploit his matchups against Bashaud Breeland and Patrick Peterson.
Outside of scoring touchdowns, Justin Jefferson leads Adam Thielen in every important pass-catching metric. Jefferson looks like the correct run-it-back stack to build a unique roster. Double-dipping with Alexander Mattison, if Dalvin Cook misses the game, will further differentiate this game stack and provide more correlation to possibly finish at the top of a GPP contest.
- Baker Mayfield (DK $6,200, FD $7,300)
- Odell Beckham Jr. (DK $5,800, FD $6,600)
- Justin Jefferson (DK $7,300, FD $7,800)
Remaining Roster Average: DK $5,116, FD $6,383