NFL Super Wild Card Weekend – SUNDAY Slate – Buccaneers Eagles, Cowboys Niners, Chiefs Steelers – Draft Kings DFS Building a Balanced Lineup & More – Real Deal Fantasy HQ

You Can Find Me On Twitter @DelRayBoston

It’s funny how just adding one more game to a slate changes the immediate approach on building lineups in DFS. It’s kinda amazing when you think about every week with 11 games going on how easy it is to “miss” a player when you are building and get blinded by “too good of a match up” in one game and suddenly realizing after kickoff you completely ignored another game entirely. When you spend one day building lineups on a 2 game slate and then literally a few hours later go to build lineups on a 3 game slate – it’s like all the same nervousness of the 11 game weeks. Like Aerosmith – I just don’t want to miss a thing.

But the big thing for me as I continue to drill down the options is … I actually think you can miss a thing. I think you can miss several things actually. More on that later. What I think you can’t miss however is what I really want to highlight right now. The Quarterbacks. I think the Quarterbacks today are going to matter a whole lot and using 3 filters on selecting which of the 6 to begin your lineup with is going to be helpful.

The First Filter is price. Once again this slate contains no player over $7,900 and no Quarterback over $7,300. However it may surprise you with only 6 Starters on a slate the difference in price from the highest owned to that of the lowest owned is $2,100. That is a lot of cake to consider with prices so close across the other positions. So what I would recommend is set a spending limit at QB, one that will allow you the most opportunity as you build the rest of your lineup.

The Second Filter is opportunity. Yes every quarterback will have all the opportunities (barring injury) to perform. So what I mean by opportunity here is actually the opportunity to leading your lineup to being the the highest scoring lineup in contest.

Third filter is ownership and leverage and your ability to build that in your lineups, starting with the QB. For instance if you are using the highest owned highest priced QB, where will that lead you as you build and what leverage can be gained, if your remaining salary doesn’t allow you the plays you want… and how does that effect that QB’s opportunity to be the highest scoring QB on the slate for you too….

Patrick Mahomes at $7,300 is looking to being the highest owned QB on the slate at 30%. Meanwhile the QB on the other side of that game, Ben Roethlisberger is looking to being the lowest owned QB on the slate at 4% while also being the cheapest of the 6 starters at $5,200. Let’s run the filters. First price. Putting Mahomes in your lineup at QB leaves you $5,337 per player left in remaining salary. Let’s add in the most expensive Defense at $3,400 and that brings your remaining salary to $5,600. In a balance build that would lead you to Eli Mitchell ($5,700) and due to injuries, the next closest salary is Tony Pollard ($5,300). Still at $5,660 per player you could go Amari Cooper ($5,900), Devonta Smith ($5,400), Brandon Aiyuk ($5,200). Since you will want to stack Mahomes with someone, you can try and include Travis Kelce at $6,700 leaving you $5,100 in the flex and as you will see there are interesting plays like Miles Sanders, Dalton Schultz, Lev Bell, Chase Claypool … I mean, it’s doable. Let’s use Claypool for a Steelers Run back. Here’s your Mahomes lineup in a balanced build:

Pat Mahomes

Eli Mitchell

Tony Pollard

Amari Cooper

Devonta Smith

Brandon Aiyuk

Travis Kelce

Chase Claypool


So what happens if we exchange Mahomes for Roethlisberger and give this lineup back $2,100 …

Immediately you could upgrade Tony Pollard to Najee Harris, or any of your Wide Receivers to either Deebo Samuel or Tyreek Hill or upgrade Claypool to Mike Evans. In each case, I think you can see how it can effect your opportunity for a higher scoring lineup. Sure Mahomes may have a better opportunity to outscore Big Ben, but by rostering Big Ben I think any of those above moves coupled with the rest of your lineup is a better opportunity at being the highest scoring in the contest. Plus the last filter – ownership. So if Ben’s holds at 4%, you already have variance and if he happens to somehow score more fantasy points than than the 37% owned Mahomes – you have mega leverage in a high scoring lineup. Does this make sense?

Let’s run it again with Tom Brady the second highest priced QB at $7,200 with 19% ownership and Jalen Hurts the 4th highest at $6,100 at 10% ownership. Largely you can see a very similar balanced build as Mahomes. With Brady in at QB, your average remaining player salary is again $5,350. So we plug in the highest priced Defense – the Buccaneers at $3,400 and we are back at $5,628 per player. Let’s plug in Eli Mitchell again but before we plug in RB2, we need a stack for Brady so let’s plug in a $7,000 Mike Evans instead of paying up at TE for Kelce in the Mahomes lineup. We could go back to Devonta Smith as a run back at $5,400 but I will instead pay down at TE for Dallas Goedert at $4,400 as my Eagles run back and I’m back at $5,575 remaining salary. So let’s now plug Brandon Aiyuk and Chase Claypool back in. We now have $6,200 left so let’s get back to RB2 where we can upgrade from Tony Pollard to Ezekiel Elliot at $6,100 and finish in the Flex with CeeDee Lamb at $6,300. Actually – I kinda like this lineup:

Tom Brady

Ezekiel Elliot

Eli Mitchell

Mike Evans

Chase Claypool

Brandon Aiyuk

Dallas Goedert

CeeDee Lamb


So let’s plug in $1,100 in savings with Jalen Hurts and I can immediately upgrade Eli Mitchell to Najee Harris, or upgrade Claypool to Devonta Smith if I want to double stack or upgrade Brandon Aiyiuk to Amari Cooper. Or Goedert to Schultz at TE. So again, multiple ways to increase my opportunity at a higher scoring lineup – and the ownership on Hurts, if he happens to finish with more fantasy points then once again – major leverage over the field.

Let’s go one more round. Dak Prescott at $6,400 and 24% ownership versus Jimmy Garoppolo at $5,300 and 14% ownership. Starting off with Dak at QB and the Buccaneers at Defense (just to keep everything the same) we find ourselves at $5,700 left in remaining salary per player. We will again plug Eli Mitchell in at $5,700 and hold off on RB2 for a moment and like with Brady, I’ll pair Dak with a WR – in this case $6,300 CeeDee Lamb. $5,580 in remaining player salary. From there we can go with our friends Devonta Smith and Brandon Aiyuk and with $5,766 left we can pay up at TE for Kelce or Gronk at $6,400 but we still have RB2 and Flex to fill. So I will pay down again, this time for Pat Freiermuth at $4,200. That leaves us $6,550 in remaining player salaries where I can nab Najee or Zeke at RB2, lets use Zeke at $6,100 leaving us $7,000 at Flex where Mike Evans or Dionte Johnson at $6,700 immediately jump out. Let’s use Johnson in a Steelers double stack with The Muth I kinda like this lineup too:

Dak Prescott

Eli Mitchell

Ezekiel Elliot

CeeDee Lamb

Devonta Smith

Pat Freiermuth

Diontae Johnson


Now if we swap Dak for Jimmy G, we have a whopping $1,700 left in Salary to play with. We could upgrade Lamb or Johnson for $7,900 Deebo Samuel or $7,300 Tyreek Hill. If we upgrade Johnson to Samuel we could even have room left to upgrade Devonta Smih to Amari Cooper and upgrade Lamb right back to the $6,700 Diontae Johnson we just had gotten rid of. I like this lineup too especially with the Jimmy G ownership.

So there you have it. Being smart with your choice of QB can really matter in DFS and can really help to shape a better lineup if you filter your QB choices through Price, Opportunity, Ownership. This is all here to help guide you to build better lineups. I hope it helps. And sure I could have jammed in both Deebo and Tyreek and built a lineup from there – but with pricing so soft I think a balance build is the way to go today and I just gave you six approaches to building like that.

Obviously every player I mentioned above is in my player pool and here are some more that I think should be in yours as well:

Ke’Shawn Vaughn – $4,500 – 2% Ownership

Jauan Jennings – $3,700 – 4% ownership

Breshad Perriman – $4,600 – no ownership

Cedrick Wilson – $4,300 – 5% ownership

Byron Pringle – $3,900 – 11% ownership

Mecole Hardman – $4,100 – 1% ownership

Quez Watkins – $3,800 – 9% ownership

George Kittle – $5,800 – 20% ownership

And every DST is in play for me as well

AND Some Dart Throws to stick in your Flex:

Lev Bell – $4,700 – 1.5% ownership

Jordan Howard – $4,300 – 2% ownership

Boston Scott – $4,500 – no ownership

Ray Ray McCloud – $3,600 – no ownership

Scotty Miller – $3,500 – 1% ownership

James Washington – $3,200 – no ownership

Jalen Reagor – $3,100 – 3% ownership

Greg Ward – $3,000 – no ownership

Cameron Brate – $2,800 – 4% ownership

Zach Gentry – $2,700 – no ownership

OJ Howard – $2,500 – no ownership ‘

Demarcus Robinson – $3,300 – no ownership


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