This article is part of the Turf’s very technical, very smart, and very scientific randomized-control trial pitting us humans against the robots in Daily Fantasy Football. To read the original study protocol, click here.
Week 1 Results
The Turf Team (study lineup, 0-1): Lamar Jackson, James White, Zach Moss, Davante Parker, T.Y. Hilton, Scotty Miller, Dan Arnold, Christian McCaffrey, Washington DST – 125.8 points
The Computer (control lineup, 1-0): Lamar Jackson, Christian McCaffrey, Alvin Kamara, D.K. Metcalf, Marquise Brown, Parris Campbell, Jack Doyle, Chris Herndon, Colts DST – 151.8 points
Analysis: The computer-optimized lineup got the best of us in Week 1. Our lineup suffered greatly due to a mid-game injury to Davante Parker, dropped passes from T.Y. Hilton, and a pedestrian outing from James White. Our bright spots this week were 15 big points from the cheapest DST on the board (Washington), and roughly 13 points from Scotty Miller, who only cost $4,000. Nonetheless, the computer took an early lead and never relinquished on Sunday. Metcalf, Brown, and Kamara all found the endzone, and the computer got solid outings out of low-money plays with Campbell and Doyle.
The lesson from our beatdown in Week 1? Bet against the Jags, apparently. And if you like receivers with initials as their first names, D.K. is the play over T.Y.
Week 2 Lineups
Study Lineup and Rationale
QB – Josh Allen ($6,700) – Even though he’s a turnover machine, Allen looks poised to be a forced to be reckoned with in DFS. He’s an excellent value this week considering the mediocre Miami defense the Bills will face on Sunday.
RB – Ezekiel Elliott ($8,200) – As true a workhorse as there is in the league. Over 20 touches for Zeke is more or less a guarantee.
RB – Derrick Henry ($7,900) – Henry averaged over 100 rushing yards per game and a TD against Jacksonville last season. No reason to expect anything different here. There’s also the fact that kicking is an issue for the Titans, as Stephen Gostkowski struggled in Week 1. What does that mean for Henry? More opportunities on 4th down, and on first downs. If the Titans go to the air on fourth, rather than kicking a field goal, look to Henry as a short pass, or a ground and pound mentality. Either way, he’s gonna get some extra tasty looks.
WR – Christian Kirk ($4,300) – Kirk managed a lone catch for zero yards last week. And while this may scare away smarter DFS players, and it doesn’t scare us one bit. We love him as a sleeper.
WR – Demarcus Robinson ($3,500) – Speaking of sleepers, Robinson is criminally cheap at $3,500. He’s out there for a good 40% of snaps and Pat Mahomes is his QB. Lots of value to be found here.
WR – Adam Thielen ($7,200) – Thielen may have gotten his two TDs last week in garbage time, but guess what. They all count the same in your lineup. He’s Kirk Cousins’ go-to regardless of the score, and should see a steady volume of targets.
TE – Noah Fant ($4,400) – We like Fant here as a sneaky source of production that others may shy away from due to a matchup with the stout Pittsburgh defense.
FLEX – Joshua Kelley ($4,700) – It’s been only one game, but Kelley is the clear number-2 back behind Ekeler in LA. We’re banking on a couple goal-line touches for the rookie.
DST – Los Angeles Rams ($2,800) – Picking the DST facing the Philly offense worked for us last week, so let’s keep on riding that way.
A reminder. Our control lineup is created by an online optimizer picked at random. However, due to DraftKings Terms of Service, we have to manually select two players to build around. So, in order to maintain the internal validity of our study, we use the two most expensive players from our lineup to even things out, and ensure the ONLY difference between our lineups are players the computer picked on its own.
This week, the computer optimized its lineup around Elliott and Henry.
QB – Kyler Murray ($6,100) – The computer is clearly sleeping on the Washington defense, which earned us a solid 15 points last week. Could be a huge mistake.
RB – Ezekiel Elliott ($8,200) – Zeke is a must-play most weeks. Don’t see why the computer would shy away from that logic.
RB – Derrick Henry ($7,900) – We whole-heartedly understand this pick. See above.
WR – Davante Adams ($8,100) – This is a very good pick and one we probably should have made.
WR – Corey Davis ($4,000) – We have learned one very clear thing about the computer. It’s going to stack big time against whoever the Jaguars are playing.
WR – Adam Humphries ($3,400) – See above. #AntiJAGS
TE – Chris Herndon ($3,600) – We have learned two very clear things about the computer. It friggin’ loves itself some Chris Herndon.
FLEX – Kenyan Drake ($5,900) – A stack with Murray here is smart on paper, but the Washington defense hopefully has other plans for the Arizona offense.
DST – Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($2,900) – If Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are hurt, and Tom Brady throws some more picks, the Tampa defense may see themselves on the field a lot once again on Sunday. Bold choice here from the computer.
Can the humans even the playing field? Or with the computer give us the business once again? Our randomized-control trial is set for Week 2.
Do you know someone who thinks they’re Bill Belichick when it comes to Fantasy Football, but in reality, they’re Lane Kiffin? Let them know! Send them a TurfBurn!
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Turf Burns. It’s a touchdown celebration sent through the mail!
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