DFS Milly Maker Trends: How to Win Big on DraftKings (Fantasy Football)
Week 1 of the NFL season is just a couple of weeks away, and that means it’s time to start thinking about DFS (After you crush your home league draft, of course). Winning a DFS tournament requires a lot to go right – from contest selection to game theory to selecting the right plays to simply getting some luck, it’s a tall task.
However, if you have a structure in place with a good, sound process, you’re already setting yourself up for success. One way to ensure your GPP lineups at least have a chance of cashing in on a big payday is by simply understanding what our opponents are doing and understanding what has worked well in the past.
In this article, I’ll highlight winning and losing strategies from DraftKings’ Milly Maker from the 2022 season. Readers can apply this data to other large field lotto style contests as well.
If you’re interested in playing DFS with us this season, be sure to check out the DFS Pass in the Ultimate Draft Kit+ and tune into the DFS and Betting Podcast every Tuesday and Friday throughout the regular season. Let’s get to it!
Note – Data provided from our brand new DFS Optimizer partners, DFSForecast. Access to the optimizer is included with your DFS Pass purchase.
1. Stack your QB with at least one pass catcher.
If you’ve been playing DFS for awhile, this isn’t new to you. By stacking your QB with at least one of his pass catchers, you’re minimizing the number of things you need to get correct in a given week. For example, if Patrick Mahomes throws four TDs in a game, and Travis Kelce catches two of those, you get the benefit of double dipping from Mahomes’ points, giving us access to a ceiling in our lineups that is needed to take down a GPP. As you’ll see below, even though the vast majority of all lineups in the Milly Maker are stacking, there’s still an edge in doing so.
- 94.1% of the top 25% of lineups used a stack
- Lineups that missed the cash line only stacked 82.8% of the time
2. Double stacking your QB works, but it’s not necessary.
This one is a bit more context and slate dependent. It also depends on the archetype of your QB. Primary pocket passers like Trevor Lawrence, for example, have a big ceiling if they can throw for 300+ yards and several TDs. If they do that, they’re likely to bring multiple pass catchers with them, especially if those pass catchers are cheap. On the other hand, if Justin Fields is the QB1 on a given slate, it’s likely because he’s rushing for 100+ yards and at least one TD. He may throw for an additional 150 yards but only one score, and in that scenario it’s unlikely he’s bringing multiple pass catchers along for the ride. That said, there’s still a small edge in double stacking as the top lineups are doing this at a higher rate than losing lineups.
- 41% of the top 25% of lineups used a double stack
- Lineups that missed the cash line only double stacked 37.8% of the time
3. Don’t stack your QB with your RB.
In best ball formats where we care more about season long correlation, including a RB with your same team QB makes sense, but in a single week, these two positions are usually negatively correlated. For example, if the Ravens are a top-five scoring offense this year, there’s a pretty good chance Lamar Jackson and J.K. Dobbins are great picks at their respective best ball ADPs. However, in a single week where we’re trying to access a ceiling performance, Dobbins’ best games likely take away from Lamar and vice versa. If Dobbins goes for 150 on the ground and two scores, it’s unlikely Lamar Jackson is having a great day through the air. Intuitively, this makes complete sense, but ironically, our opponents are stacking their QB with their RB too often. By not doing this, we create an edge.
- Just 5.4% of the top 25% of lineups used a QB + RB stack
- Lineups that missed the cash line stacked a QB + RB 13.8% of the time
4. Bring it Back to Create a Game Stack
Game stacking refers to the idea of including an opponent in your lineup. As Kyle said on our most recent episode of the DFS Podcast, “No one correlates better with your player than someone in the same game.” When one offense finds success moving the ball and putting up points on the scoreboard, it pushes their opponent to do the same. In general, we want high total games where the two offenses playing in those games can interact and push each other to put up more points. This is all about correlation and minimizing the number of things we need to get right in our lineups. If we can correctly identify the top scoring environments and avoid the ones that bust, we’re likely to land on some high scores from the skill players in those lineups.
- 46.5% of the top 25% of lineups used a QB + pass catcher stack with a bring back
- Lineups that missed the cash line only used a game stack 38.2% of the time
Now, you may be wondering who should I bring it back with? Does it matter if I bring it back with a RB or a WR? In short, no. Of course, there’s an art here, and this is slate dependent considering a player’s projection, roster percentage, etc. But from a high level view, don’t get stuck in the weeds thinking you have to always use a specific position. To put some numbers to it, here’s the data from FantasyLabs Correlation Tool going back to 2017:
- Opposing WR1: 0.24
- Opposing WR2: 0.26
- Opposing TE1: 0.24
- Opposing RB1: 0.20
5. Don’t use a TE in the FLEX.
If you’ve been playing fantasy or DFS for awhile now, you’re probably well aware of the lack of ceiling among all TEs not named Travis Kelce, Mark Andrews, Darren Waller, etc. Even knowing that, the field uses a TE in the flex far too often.
- Just 11.1% of the top 25% of lineups used a TE in the FLEX
- Lineups that missed the cash line used a TE in the FLEX 18.8% of the time
6. WRs in the FLEX are great, but don’t forget about the RB.
On DraftKings where it’s full PPR scoring, wide receivers are generally a better bet for a ceiling performance, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get big scores from the running backs. Specifically, when looking at the data, running back in the flex isn’t used at a high enough rate relative to the top performing lineups.
- 48.7% of the top 25% lineups used a WR in the FLEX
- Lineups that missed the cash line used a WR in the FLEX 47.6% of the time
- 40.2% of the top 25% lineups used a RB in the FLEX
- Lineups that missed the cash line used a RB in the FLEX 33.6% of the time
Clearly, using a WR in the FLEX spot works, but the take home here is that the field is also doing this, so there’s not a massive edge in terms of how often it works. The field isn’t using a RB in the FLEX at a high enough rate, relative to how often it shows up in the top lineups. Using good projections and correlation strategy along with roster percentages, we can identify some great contrarian RB plays each week in the DFS Pass.
7. Use at least two players under 5% to create leverage.
If you’re playing in large field tournaments, you need some contrarian players to help you climb the leaderboard. In general, the field isn’t doing this at a high enough rate.
- 61% of the top 25% of lineups used two players sub 5%
- Lineups that missed the cash line only used two sub 5% players 54.7% of the time
8. Use at least three players over 18%.
While we want to play some contrarian pieces to help differentiate our lineups, we can’t ignore the “good” plays in a given week. After all, these players project extremely well and are popular for a reason.
- 33.7% of the top 25% of lineups used three players over 18%
- Lineups that missed the cash line only used 3 players over 18% 28.8% of the time
9. Use at least two players over 18% and at least two players under 5%.
We’re going to blend the previous two points – we want to use a combination of the “good” cash plays with a few contrarian options as well. The best GPP lineups use a combination of higher rostered players and lowered rostered players. If you’re only using contrarian options, you’re likely sacrificing too much in terms of projections. If you’re only using highly rostered players, you can’t separate from the field.
- 36.1% of the top 25% of lineups used 2+ players over 18%
- Lineups that missed the cash line only did this 26.6% of the time