2021 DraftKings Millionaire Maker Trends Through NFL Week 3

If you missed the 2020 Millionaire Maker Top 10 recap, you can catch up here, but since we are three weeks into the 2021 season it’s time to start looking at this year to see if there are any trends we can take advantage of.

Let’s jump right in and compare some differences from this year compared to what we have seen in the past two seasons.

I want to start off by stating we are seeing some differences in the NFL this season compared to last, many of which I alluded to in my 2020 recap article above. Here are two key differences between the 2020 season as a whole and the 2021 season through three weeks both in DFS and in the NFL.

— DraftKings salaries are much flatter than last season, spreading out ownership to a larger degree than previous seasons. There aren’t as many 20%+ owned players, and more 5-10% owned players due to this.

— Scoring is down 2 points per game from the 2020 all-time high of 49.5 points per game. Generally we can expect scoring to decrease as the season moves on due to weather, injuries to key players, and teams facing opponents a second time in their division.

Now let’s get into some of the data from the contests and compare last year to this year!

Stacking

Game stacks were really down in numbers amongst the Top 10 lineups until Week 3 when nine of ten lineups utilized that technique. Now that they came roaring back last week we can see they are still on top as the preferred build of Top 10 lineups this season. It’s not currently as large of an advantage as last season, but after seeing the lowest and third-lowest total ownership sum of lineups in the Top 10 in Weeks One and Two (We will talk more about this later), I fully expect game stacks to start building an advantage as the season moves on.

We have also had four “naked” QB lineups with no correlated player used, which is a rather large number to start the season. I am chalking this up to the low total ownership of Top 10 Lineups from the first two weeks, as when so many of the highly owned plays fail, it can really allow some non-standard teams to show up near the top.

Flex Usage

Flex usage amongst Top 10 lineups has been tilting heavily toward the WR position with 18 of 30 or 60% of flex spots taken up by the position. In 2020 we saw 54% of Top 10 lineups use a WR at the flex.
The field has caught on to the fact that WRs generally have higher ceilings than RBs on DraftKings and also tend to correlate better in stacks, and have increased the usage of WRs in the flex as a whole to 61% this season after using them in the flex just 45% of the time last season. A small part of this can be attributed to all of the $3,000 WRs that were available in Week 1, but in general the field has shifted to using WRs in the flex in what I would consider to be a much more optimal rate than last season.

Average Ownership or (AO)

Here is the Average Ownership of The Top 10 lineups over the first three weeks since I have started doing these articles.

— 2018: 110%
— 2019: 106%
— 2020: 97%
— 2021: 81%

We have a strong trend of AO over the first three weeks continuing to decrease each of the past four seasons. I will say with reasonable confidence that the 2022 season data point of this stat will tick upward as we saw the lowest AO in Top 10 lineup history in Week 1 (61%), and the third-lowest AO in Top 10 lineup history in Week 2 (74%). I did say in my 2020 review article that thinking outside of the box for the first 2-3 weeks in large field GPP’s can be one of the bigger edges of the season, so hopefully some of you were able to take advantage of that.

I do want to repeat what I mentioned at the beginning of this article about the salary structure on DraftKings this season. Outside of Week 1 when we had a plethora of $3,000 WRs to choose from, the pricing seems much flatter than previous years, and to me also seems to be slightly better at representing predicted fantasy outcomes. This is leading to ownership being more spread out than ever. This can always change if the pricing algorithm changes over the season, but it’s wise to note that if this trend continues that the AO of Top 10 lineups should generally trend lower than previous seasons.

Low-Owned Players

Here is a chart of where every 5% or less owned player has come from positionally over the first three weeks.

Here are a couple takeaways:

— Through three weeks 47% of all WRs used in Top 10 lineups have been 5% owned or less. A total of 51 WRs 5% owned or less have appeared in Top 10 lineups through three weeks compared to just 124 of them in the entirety of last season. With scoring trending down from last season, we are seeing less correlation between the Top QB’s and their main targets than we did during the historic 2020 scoring season. I mentioned in my 2020 review article that we were likely to see a return to some 2019 trends if scoring decreased, and the use of low-owned WRs in Top 10 lineups going up is certainly one of those trends that is holding true.

— Week 1 saw 4.4 low-owned (5% or less) plays on average in the Top 10 lineups. Week 2 saw 3.3 low-owned plays per Top 10 lineup. Compare this to the historically high-scoring 2020 season in which we had not a single week where we averaged over 3 low-owned plays per Top 10 lineup. If scoring continues to hold lower than last season in the NFL, we should continue to see more low-owned players show up than last year.

Bust Rates

To give you an idea of how the past two seasons went here are the bust rates for the three highest owned players at each position over the past two seasons

Here are the first three weeks of 2021

As you can see the 2021 graph sure looks like the 2019 season and much less like the historically high-scoring 2020 graph. With scoring down two points per game, it’s not as easy as last season where we simply plugged in the best QBs with their most obvious targets and printed money. QB bust rates have returned to the 2018/2019 historic levels and seem to be much harder to nail down than we got used to last season when the bust rate was abnormally low due to the high scoring environment of no fans and low amount of holding penalties. Be aware of this and mix it up at the position when making stacks.

That’s it for the first three weeks, see you again after Week 5!

Cover Image Credit: Imagn

If you missed the 2020 Millionaire Maker Top 10 recap, you can catch up here, but since we are three weeks into the 2021 season it’s time to start looking at this year to see if there are any trends we can take advantage of.

Let’s jump right in and compare some differences from this year compared to what we have seen in the past two seasons.

I want to start off by stating we are seeing some differences in the NFL this season compared to last, many of which I alluded to in my 2020 recap article above. Here are two key differences between the 2020 season as a whole and the 2021 season through three weeks both in DFS and in the NFL.

— DraftKings salaries are much flatter than last season, spreading out ownership to a larger degree than previous seasons. There aren’t as many 20%+ owned players, and more 5-10% owned players due to this.

— Scoring is down 2 points per game from the 2020 all time high of 49.5 points per game. Generally we can expect scoring to decrease as the season moves on due to weather, injuries to key players, and teams facing opponents a second time in division.

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About the Author

  • Brit Devine (britdevine)

  • Brit Devine is a former low/midstakes Online Poker Pro/Coach who quickly transitioned to DFS in 2011 after Black Friday. He was the Operations Manager at DFS site Fan Throwdown before parting ways, where he then turned to playing DFS full-time. Mainly a cash game player, Brit provides expert analysis frequently via written columns and GrindersLive appearances.

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