• CleverGroom

    Unfortunately I only have the last couple weeks of DK Millionaire Maker CSVs, but I wanted to take a gander at Mallen21’s work after his aristeia this past weekend. I’m curious about any process that leads a person to cash half of the top 10 spots in the Milly.

    Here’s some of my findings. It’s liable to be old hat to any seasoned hands, but for a rookie like myself, I found it interesting to get a sense of how people are building their cores and rotating fliers around it. The contrasts in his builds between Week 5 and Week 6 are extremely stark and give a sense of just how explosive your lineups can be when you take a successful stand on low-owned guys.

    Week 5

    150 entries, at least 54 of which cashed, peaking at 24th place ($3,000). The 54 rosters included in the CSV represent the most successful subset of his lineups for the week, so the data may be skewed. Unless he’s already written this post for me and I’m wasting my time, it’s all we’ve got to go on.

    Players With 10%+ Exposure

    There are some interesting busts here and some fantastic hits, but only one where he felt completely comfortable pulling the trigger. The Vikings DST is conspicuous as the only “player” exposed on over a third of all rosters. It’s probably the chalkiest play of the whole week, and it hit. He owned one cashing share of the Bills—the only DST that outperformed the Vikings in Week 5.

    In the second tier of 20-33% exposure, we find mostly high-floor plays and stud candidates for positive regression. All solid plays without hindsight. Amari Cooper and Brandon Marshall are the best of the bunch and probably should’ve been higher, but the others gave only fair to middling performances. Mallen’s overweight by nearly double or more on all of these plays, relative to the field (and the Vikings too, for that matter).

    The third tier of 10-20% exposure is where things get more interesting. Jay Ajayi is a week early. Adam Thielen and T.Y. Hilton went on utter rampages. Ertz and OBJ were far less satisfactory.

    The lineups are rounded out with mid- to low-single-digit fliers. Some are underowned sleepers, some are chalk you’d hate to lose to. The most popular choices are Andrew Luck, Jordan Howard, Todd Gurley, Antonio Brown, Will Tye, and Ravens DST.

    Week 6

    145 entries, at least 132 of which cashed, peaking at 1st place ($1,000,000). Five cashed in the top 10, and 17 cashed in the top 100. We have a much more complete picture of this week’s rosters, by dint of their astounding success.

    Players With 10%+ Exposure

    This week, Mallen takes a stand. He knows Taters picks up the slack for Ebron and Riddick, he knows Matt Stafford is a beast under the dome, he knows we’re going to get a Gronking to remember, he knows Shady and Lamar are going to fly heads, and he knows that bum Jay Ajayi is done with Arian Foster back. Go back to England, you soccer ball-humping poofter! Real men play football with their bloody hands!

    Besides Ajayi (literally 0 shares in Week 6), the most interesting notes from Week 5 are that he faded OBJ (bad call), mostly faded Cooper (good call that would’ve served him just fine either way), and refused to chase Hilton on the road (great call).

    Delanie Walker and Steelers DST are the other conspicuous misses. I think the Steelers play was clearly poor, since Shazier and Heyward were still out and Steelers road letdown games are par for the course. Still scratching my head on Walker’s mysterious disappearance myself. Can’t fault him there.

    The rest of the lineups are again rounded out mostly by mid- to low-single-digit fliers and insurance policies. There’s some Brees for safety and some Keenum for emphasis. There’s CMike, Gurley, and Hyde. There’s some Edelman, Pryor, and Hurns. There’s too little Jimmy Graham and too much Travis Kelce.

    Clearly, this is a high-risk strategy. Someone who wins thousands of dollars from the Milly in a relatively down week and can afford to reinvest $2,900 of that in another round of near-max entries is going to be able to take shots like this, while most of us can’t. One Matt Stafford injury and his whole spot would’ve got blown up. Even continued underperformance from Taters would’ve damaged him severely, though Stafford may have been able to salvage it elsewhere. Tate’s salary made it easier to take a stand on him.

    On the other hand, I don’t know how else you sweep the Milly as thoroughly as this champion did. He found select chalk he trusted—McCoy, Miller, Bell, arguably Thomas—then shuffled them with low-owned guys he trusted implicitly—Stafford, Taters, Britt, Cobb, and amazingly Gronk. He hedged around most of the chalkier plays (DeMarco Murray being a notable exception), while sticking to his guns and stacking pivots in a week where he was confident in his calls.

    My first experience with something like this was Week 5, when I was on Bennett and kept listening to podcasts and reading articles saying to myself “What about Bennett? Why isn’t anybody talking about this guy as much as he deserves?” In retrospect, I wish I’d stacked him even more than I did. All the signs were there.

    Moving forward, I’m going to pay more attention to plays like that: game stack and player pivots where others are reluctant to pull the trigger. In weeks where I don’t especially like the slate, I’ll probably approach it more like Mallen’s Week 5 roster: spread exposure, reduce variance, try to walk away in the profitable middle. In weeks where I feel confident, I’m going to focus on narrowing my core, homing in on a smaller pool of favorites, and getting as many different configurations of them as possible. Sometimes you gotta stick to your damn guns.


    Fatcat leverages voluminous bankroll with smart predictions, smart pivots, and fundamentally sound multi-entry construction. Play good. Play gooder. Become all the money.

  • deactivated60279

    Love this. Good job clever! What a week he had.

  • TJF74

    Nice analysis. These breakdowns are always interesting to read. You must be the first person to use the word aristeia on this forum.

  • DomTwan

    90% Golden Tate, I wish I could get as high as him to pull that one off with any sort of confidence, but I can see why with Riddick out.

  • CleverGroom

    @TJF74 said...

    You must be the first person to use the word aristeia on this forum.

    Let’s hope I’m not the last! It’s often applicable in sport.

    The 90% on Taters really does jump out. It’s worth noting that he could be overrepresented in our sample—I can only see 132 lineups that cashed out of 145 total entries. That said, the possibilities range from 82% to 91% exposure, so it’s obvious Mallen took an unusually firm stand.

  • srk8987


    This is terrific man. Thanks for putting it together.

    Truly sick week from Mallen.

  • specvspeed03

    Pretty cool so see the Milly winners percentages vs mine…I max enter also but only in the $3. I was only on Tate for 15%

  • tarheelsrule44

    I play low risk: $30-$40 a week at this thing. I usually make 1 lineup and enter it into the $20 milly maker and then a few smaller GPPs. I almost always nail the top 3-4 guys at each position, but never have a lineup with them all in it. After looking at Mallen21’s week last week, I think I’m realizing it’s a must to enter multiple lineups. I have the funds to start putting in hundreds of dollars each week, but I don’t have the spine. Can anyone talk me into, or out of it?

  • deactivated51600

    Tarheels if you enjoy it, can afford it and have confidence in your picks why not? Look at it as a good investment in yourself. If you decided to take you and a friend to an NFL game over the weekend, had decent seats, had some food, etc you’d spend the same few hundred with zero chance of getting something back. Put the entries in with low expectation and enjoy the sweat. Only live once so enjoy yourself! Even if your picks didn’t hit this weekend it seems you already know you are good at nailing top 3-4 guys at every position, so that means even if it didn’t work out this weekend a great chance it would the following or soon after.

  • shockermandan

    @tarheelsrule44 said...

    I almost always nail the top 3-4 guys at each position, but never have a lineup with them all in it. After looking at Mallen21’s week last week, I think I’m realizing it’s a must to enter multiple lineups

    Why not do 40-60 (or 150, if you like) $1 lineups to test your theory?

  • CleverGroom

    @tarheelsrule44 said...

    After looking at Mallen21’s week last week, I think I’m realizing it’s a must to enter multiple lineups.

    I agree, partly because it’s a replicable process—if you’re right more often than you’re wrong, then the main issue is running enough trials that you’ll land on the right solution. Tough to get there if you only enter one lineup or a few, and tough to repeat it the next week even if you hit.

    It’s worth mentioning, however, that some folks are successful running a single lineup. They might enter it a few times, but they pick what they think is optimal and stick with it. Can still get a lot of money into play and a lot of ROI if you’re playing higher stakes.

    One way to safely experiment with scaling up is playing the Quarter Arcade. It’s 50 entry max, so $12.50 buys you in all the way. There’s actually a lot of work involved in making 50 good lineups (let alone 150). You’ll learn a lot from that process and get a chance to see whether your returns diminish or improve as you add more lineups. Also nice that you can actually win four figures in the bigger QAs if your guys go off.

    Personally, I found that I had a handful of lineup builder QA entries that outperformed my handcrafted, artisanal lineups, but that the vast majority were inferior. It’s prompted me to continue refining my own process before I do anything especially bold at a $20 buy-in.

  • tarheelsrule44

    Thanks for the input guys. I’m going to start with 50 entries and work my way up from there. This has started to become a real hobby, so I’m able to justify the expense. I think I’ll start with one of the $3 GPPs.

  • achoohoohoo

    Clever Groom, I enjoyed the analysis…and hey, you got a link on the feed, so well done.

    I’ve been going more down the 2-3 lineup route adjusting my stacks and fitting in my preferred players at the other positions. It’s been rather hit or miss for me with last week being no different. Hit on the Brees & Brady stacks, with heavy ownership across the board on Miller & Michael, but completely whiffing on Hoyer. This I’m ok with, but I’m trying to nail down the proper mix of tournament and cash game plays and which tourneys to play in. Any suggestions of forum posts that discuss this in more detail for more single or 3 lineup type of players?

  • BloodGame

    Great read, thanks.

  • CleverGroom

    @achoohoohoo said...

    Any suggestions of forum posts that discuss this in more detail for more single or 3 lineup type of players?

    I don’t know about forum posts (I’m rather new here), but I think JMtoWin is about the most prominent single-lineup evangelist. He has a premium content course on the topic. I haven’t read it and can’t endorse it, but it might be relevant to your interests.

    Hope you didn’t play Hoyer this week!

  • Garrincha67

    @CleverGroom said...

    I don’t know about forum posts (I’m rather new here), but I think JMtoWin is about the most prominent single-lineup evangelist. He has a premium content course on the topic. I haven’t read it and can’t endorse it, but it might be relevant to your interests.

    Hope you didn’t play Hoyer this week!

    JMtoWin is on the Fantasy Labs NFL week 7 podcast and interesting to hear his single line-up approach. That chimes a lot with me, after all whether one has 150 line-up or just one or two making a very optimal line-up is all that matters. Think week 5 winner just had a single entry. Mallen 21 winning line-up is worth studying and you have done great analysis in this post. In week 6 a lot of touts where endorsing Tavon Austin and Marvin Jones. Mallen 21 excellent pivot/leverage plays where from these games but in Britt/Tate.

  • DFSpawn

    Sweet analysis, CG. Best post I read in a long while!

  • achoohoohoo

    haha, I’m mostly on the main slate even when I’m playing the Thursday slate…luckily Hoyer was the Thursday game. Otherwise, I probably would have been.

  • achoohoohoo

    I like JMtoWin plenty, the one thing I hear plenty on is how to build the optimal lineup…which, don’t get me wrong is still the most important part…but let’s say I’m happy with my approach, then the next thing which I don’t hear a lot of talk about is how to enter those 1-3 lineups to win and cash. In general, I get the idea if I’m perfect every time, it doesn’t matter….but even the best aren’t perfect every time. I also realize that there would be subjectivity to this because everyone’s risk tolerance and bankroll is different. Still, there must be some out there that have found an optimal spread across tourneys and cash as well as a relationship to certain types of tourneys and cash events that are better for our type of plays.

  • jgrot22

    I honestly find it pointless to enter the Milly maker unless you are entering it 50 or more times, your better off building a bankroll with the 0.25, $1, $2, $3 tourneys… plus you get that extra practice in if your a knew guy like myself, ive found way more success going that route recently.

  • CleverGroom

    My favorite DK lineup has always scored the most (or very nearly), so I can see the merit of the Highlander philosophy (There Can Be Only One). I’d be more profitable so far if I’d simply entered my favorite lineup repeatedly, instead of throwing a few more at the wall and seeing if they stick. I could just print money if the good times kept rolling with that strategy.

    Whether that trend would actually last over time…that’s a much harder question for me to answer at this point.

    I think the difference between Mallen’s approach and a single lineup approach probably lies more in how you prefer to prepare each week, rather than how you play the lineups. If you’re able to devise a routine that’s regularly getting you above the 80th percentile, there’s not many bad ways to go about entering contests. I should think single- and limited-entry would be preferred, but you should turn a profit just fine with Milly entries if you’re good enough to cash regularly.

  • Music2004Man

    CG, Thanks for the analysis. That was good stuff! Really interesting to see the difference in styles from Week 5 to Week 6.

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