Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Millionaire Maker Week 1 Recap and Week 2 Preview

In our book Cracking DraftKings that we wrote over the summer, Justin Bonnema and I wrote a chapter that took an in-depth look at every roster that finished in the Top 20 in each week of Millionaire Maker contests. We looked at average prices spent, average winning score, the scores needed for each position and the success of various stacking methods. This season, I will be doing the same on a weekly basis.

Today, the first installment of the series recapped Week 1 of the Millionaire Maker contest.

A few of the major takeaways from studying the rosters in-depth were:

1. Julio Jones and Carlos Hyde were the two key players to own this week. 7 of the top 9 finishers in the contest owned both Jones and Hyde. As we learned last season, it is usually a strong strategy to save some money at other positions to give yourself the ability to roster one of the elite WR1 options. Jones provided further proof of the efficacy of this strategy. Julio Jones and Antonio Brown are top options for Week 2.

2. Week 1 was the "week of the Tight End," with some of the weekend's highest scores being put up by tight ends. Tyler Eifert, Jason Witten, Travis Kelce and Austin Seferian-Jenkins all had big weeks. The Top 20 finishers last week averaged 7.6x return at the Tight End position. Plus, 30% of the top finishers used a Tight End in the Flex spot vs. only 20% using a Wide Receiver. With DraftKings having lowered the minimum prices at Tight End, some of the best bargains were found at Tight End and that should continue to be worth looking at moving forward. None of the four above Tight Ends saw big price increases in Week 2 and make good targets this weekend.

3. Week 1 was one of the rare weeks in which it paid off to not stack a starting Quarterback with one of his top targets. Carson Palmer was the week's highest scoring Quarterback, but none of his top targets scored highly with Daniel Fells having the biggest day and only finishing as TE #8. Despite Julio Jones' huge week, owners were better off pairing Jones with somebody other than Matt Ryan since Ryan threw a pair of interceptions and did not produce much outside of his throws to Jones. It's still usually a good idea to stack, but it is not necessary. If you feel like Aaron Rodgers, Andrew Luck, Tony Romo, Drew Brees or another quarterback is likely to really spread the targets around, there is nothing wrong with not stacking in the Millionaire Maker. Week 1's $2,000,000 winner did not stack Tony Romo. Passing on Dez Bryant in favor of Julio Jones won Ballah a life-changing amount of money.

4. The top Running Backs (except for Matt Forte) underperformed and most of the top scoring runners cost less than $5,500. As we learned last season, finding the right bargain running backs is one of the major keys to winning it all. Starting backs with the opportunity to score multiple touchdowns (Chris Ivory and Carlos Hyde) and pass catching backs capable of putting up big PPR numbers (Ameer Abdullah and Danny Woodhead) are a great place to look for cheap production. None of the above runners saw big price increases, so it might be worth going back to the well once again.

Check back in all season long to see what the trends emerge and what strategies have found the most success.

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