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NFL DFS Week in Review – Ownership, GPP Winning Lineups

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NFL Week 13 featured a few key games for playoff purposes and a few interesting storylines. Who wasn’t excited to see Gardner Minshew make another start? The guy just drips swagger, and he delivered an excellent performance against the Jets.

As good as Minshew was, he didn’t make my list of the biggest winners and losers in Week 13. Let’s break them down, along with some of the winning tournament lineups on both DraftKings and FanDuel.

Winners

Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings

It occasionally feels like Justin Jefferson is overlooked when talking about the best receivers in football. He put together a dominant rookie season, and he’s followed it up with an excellent sophomore performance.

He got a bit of help this week with the injury to Adam Thielen, but Jefferson reminded everyone of his talent on Sunday. He finished with 11 catches for 182 yards and a touchdown, resulting in a 38.6 DraftKings points. That was the highest score of the week at the wide receiver position. He took full advantage of a cake matchup vs. the Lions, despite the fact that the Lions picked up their first victory of the year.

Jefferson was owned in approximately 14.2% of DraftKings tournament lineups, so he didn’t exactly fly under the radar. That said, you likely weren’t contending for the big bucks without him.

Buccaneers’ Offense

The Buccaneers entered the week in a juicy spot vs. the Falcons, and they took full advantage.

It started with Tom Brady, who continues to defy Father Time. He racked up 368 passing yards and four touchdowns, resulting in 32.62 DraftKings points. He entered the week as the league leader in passing yards per game and touchdown passes, and he’s going to garner MVP consideration at 44-years-old. That’s mind-boggling.

Rob Gronkowski also put together another big week, finishing with two touchdown catches, while Chris Godwin and Mike Evans bounced back following lackluster performances. Godwin was a target hog, finishing with 33.2 DKFP thanks to 15 catches and 143 yards, while Evans just narrowly missed the receiving bonus with 99 yards.

Leonard Fournette also continued his excellent production. He wasn’t overly effective on the ground, finishing with 13 carries for 44 yards, but he made up for it with seven catches for 48 yards and a touchdown. Fournette seizing control of the Buccaneers’ backfield has been one of the most important developments in fantasy this season, and his role as a pass-catcher keeps his floor extremely high.

There’s no reason to expect any regression from this offense moving forward, especially with Antonio Brown out for at least two more weeks.

George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers

George Kittle was largely overlooked this week, averaging just 7.6% ownership across DraftKings tournaments. That ended up being a massive mistake. While most of the field gravitated towards value options, Kittle ended up putting together a monster performance. He finished with nine catches for 181 yards and two touchdowns, resulting in 42.6 DraftKings points.

That wasn’t just the top performance of the week, but it was the top performance at tight end by a sizable margin. He outscored Dallas Goedert by 11.1 DraftKings points, and no one else was even within striking distance.

That’s almost impossible to overcome in a tournament. Giving up that many points at a single position puts you behind the 8-ball, especially on a slate with a bunch of strong value options.

Losers

Foster Moreau, Oakland Raiders

Part of the reason why Kittle was so overlooked this week was because everyone flocked to Foster Moreau. The logic was sound: Darren Waller was out, and Moreau racked up six catches for 60 yards and one touchdown in his only other game without Waller this season.

That resulted in an average ownership of 36.3%, and he approached 50% ownership in some of the higher-stakes contests. When a tight end is that chalky, it’s probably wise to start considering other options.

Moreau ended up letting down those who took the plunge with him, racking up just one catch for 34 yards. That wasn’t disastrous at a $2,700 price tag on DraftKings, but those teams simply weren’t catching any of the Kittle or Goedert teams this week.

Jamaal Williams, Detroit Lions

D’Andre Swift missed this week for the Lions, which allowed Jamaal Williams to step into a featured role. Unfortunately, he was unable to take advantage. The volume was there — he finished with 17 carries and one target — but he racked up just 9.0 DraftKings points.

Like Moreau, Williams’ fantasy output didn’t make him a massive bust at his current price tag. However, it came with a massive opportunity cost. By rostering Williams, it made you less likely to roster one of the other running backs who provided significantly more value.

DeVonta Smith, Philadelphia Eagles

DeVonta Smith wasn’t overly popular on this slate, but he did wreck a handful of otherwise successful Eagles’ stacks. Minshew and Goedert put plenty of lineups in excellent positions, but the teams that stacked Minshew with Goedert and Smith were basically drawing dead. Smith finished with just 3.5 DraftKings points at $6,100, which is simply not getting the job done.

Winning tournament lineups

NFL $3.25M Fantasy Football Millionaire

This lineup was extremely well constructed and allowed this user to survive a dud from Williams. They correlated that play with Jefferson, so that mini game stack ended up working out well overall.

This user also used a Minshew-Goedert stack, which provided massive value. Those two players were a combined $8,500, and they put together 50.28 DraftKings points. That’s elite value.

They also stacked the Rams defense with Sony Michel, which also ended up being a great decision. Michel checked in with just 20.8% ownership in the Milly Maker, but his ownership eclipsed 50% in the high-stakes tournaments. That goes to show the power of late swap. One of the biggest edges in the low-stakes tournaments is that most casual players simply “set it and forget it” with their DFS lineups. If you’re willing to stay flexible, it’s going to give you the advantage over most of the field.

What really separates this lineup is the two-tight end approach. Kittle and Goedert both checked in with approximately seven percent ownership, and it’s extremely unlikely that many lineups employed both options.

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This was another dual-TE lineup featuring Goedert and Kittle, which allowed this user to cruise to a comfortable victory. They also used Minshew at quarterback to go along with Michel and Godwin.

Where this lineup differentiates from the other Milly Maker winner is how they approached the second running back slot. Instead of saving some salary with Williams, they spent up for Alexander Mattison. Mattison provided more production, but it likely precluded this user from getting to Jefferson. Using two high-priced skill position players from the same team is not recommended unless you’re stacking them with the quarterback.

That meant they had to go up to Cooper Kupp, which meant they had to go with Amon-Ra St. Brown instead of Diontae Johnson. Both lineups ended up being really good, the former was just slightly better than the latter.

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The winning lineup on FanDuel featured plenty of overlap this week. All three teams featured Michel, Godwin and Kittle, and this lineup also had Jefferson.

The extra salary cap room on FanDuel made it possible to use Brady instead of Minshew at quarterback without sacrificing much for the rest of their lineup. They were able to use Keenan Allen, David Montgomery and Antonio Gibson, and all provided strong performances at midrange salaries.

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