Gaming the Game – Week 8 DFS Strategy

Renee Miller builds on the idea of using 95% Confidence Intervals to design a lineup that meets the goals of the contests you enter in this week's general strategy article. ...

| 2 years ago
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Gaming the Game – Week 8 DFS Strategy


Drew BreesLet’s review what we did last week. I talked about statistics, 95% confidence intervals to be exact, and how to use them in the creation of your NFL DFS lineups.

We looked at a stud like Andrew Luck, who surprised me by being the highest scoring, lowest variance QB option. He scored just below his confidence range with 24 DraftKings points in Week 7, still a very safe cash game play.

We looked at how to use the confidence interval to find upside in guys like Aaron Rodgers (you knew already, I know), and Russell Wilson. “Russell Wilson always flies under the radar. Use him!!!” is what I wrote last week. Three exclamation points–I hope you all listened. I’m not really that excitable in general.

It would be a pretty grueling job to calculate the 95% CI for all WR and RB, so I’m not going to do that here, but let’s continue to use this statistic, albeit on a limited basis, to design a cash game lineup with a range of outcomes we feel very confident in. If we know that a score in the 140’s typically cashes in double ups, we ought to be able to put together a lineup that has each player’s mean performance adding up to that number.

There are algorithms that operate on similar principles to spit out an optimized lineup for you based on past performance (many go back several years), matchup, Vegas and so on. What I’m recommending is that you do a little preliminary research on those factors to get a field of players you’re interested in, then use the logic of 95% CI to build a safe, high scoring roster. Remember that 95% CI represents the range over which you’re 95% sure that the true mean score falls in.

Briefly, (and after going through way more game logs than I’m showing–ask me questions about other players on Twitter if you want), here’s one cash game lineup I came up with that has a mean 143.4 projection, with the upper bound of the lineup CI at 192 and the lower bound at 104, in DraftKings points.

QB: Drew Brees, 95% CI 18-25, $8100

RB: Ahmad Bradshaw, CI 11-21, $6900

RB: Le’Veon Bell, CI 14-29, $6300

WR: Jordy Nelson, CI 13-34, $7800

WR: Mike Wallace, CI 14-19, $5800

WR: Julian Edelman, CI 9-20, $4600

TE: Greg Olsen, CI 11-23, $5500

FLEX: Travaris Cadet, CI 11, $3000

DEF: Browns, CI 3-10, $2700

This is not the only way to go of course. Other players I picked out based on their tight 95% CI with reasonably high scores and decent matchups were Andrew Luck, Rob Gronkowski, Demarco Murray, Arian Foster, Matt Forte, Justin Forsett, Lamar Miller, Mark Ingram, Dez Bryant, Randall Cobb, Allen Robinson, and Mike Evans.

I hope you like the idea of picking a lineup with the end goal in mind; in this case, high confidence in attaining a score that will cash in your game of choice.

If you play the Millionaire Maker v4.0, you’re going to need around 230-240, so you’re going to want players with high upper bounds on their 95% CI and a good shot of attaining that high end score. It’s a totally different goal, so it has to be a totally different strategy, but not necessarily a totally different lineup.

Guys like Luck, Dez, Murray, and Nelson all have the super high ceiling. They’re all likely to be low owned because they’re just about the only expensive guys on DraftKings this week. Thus, you have obvious players that work in both cash game and tournament lineups.

Anyway, good luck building lineups this week, and if you’re curious about the 95% CI for anyone else, I have a lot of them handy and can calculate others with a little bit of time.



Renee Miller is a neuroscientist and fantasy sports enthusiast. She's played NBA and NFL DFS since 2011/12 and added MLB to her addiction this summer. Recently, Renee combined her knowledge of the brain with her love of football in an eBook, "Cognitive Bias in Fantasy Sports: Is your brain sabotaging your team?". You can find the book on her website www.unbiasedfantasysports.com. She'll be writing this weekly NFL DFS strategy column.

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