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The Turf DFS Study: Week 5 Results, and Week 6 Lineups

The computer and human lineups this week will only differ in 4 of 9 roster spots.

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The Turf DFS Study: Week 5 Results, and Week 6 Lineups


Estimated Reading Time: 4 Minutes

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 5 Results

The Turf Team (study lineup, 2-2): Gardner Minshew, James Robinson, Todd Gurley, Amari Cooper, Brandon Aiyuk, Darius Slayton, Mark Andrews, Demarcus Robinson, Rams DST – 130.04 points

The Computer (control lineup, 2-2): Deshaun Watson, Exekiel Elliott, James Robinson, Amari Cooper, Robby Anderson, Isaiah Wright, Chris Herndon, Kareem Hunt, Texans DST – 123.96 points

Analysis: The humans pulled off our biggest win of the season in Week 5. While neither our lineup nor the computer’s did particularly well within the DraftKings contest itself, our lineup was better by a comfortable 7 points. Shoutout to Gurley and Slayton for big weeks (28.00 and 23.80 points, respectively), and shoutout to the computer for sinking itself with some truly weak attempts at value picks with Wright and Herndon. The humans now have the advantage again in the head-to-head record.


Results to Date

Study Lineups (3-2)Control Lineups (2-3)
Total Points660.42683.08
Average Points/Contest132.08136.62
Best Single Lineup141.84151.80
Worst Single Lineup125.80123.96
Range16.0427.84

Week 3 Lineups

Study Lineup and Rationale

QB – Ben Roethlisberger ($6,700) – Big Ben is a solid DFS play right now, having thrown 10 TDs so far this season with only a single interception. A matchup with a middling Cleveland defense is a bonus..

RB – Devonta Freeman ($4,900) – Criminally cheap at $4,900. In like a week, Freeman has already proven that he is the top dog in running and passing situations.

RB – Todd Gurley ($6,300) – New team, same production. Gurley is good for 15-20 touches and a TD every week.

WR – Chase Claypool ($5,200) – The rookie had one of the season’s best DFS performances last Sunday. SO why not ride the hot hand, and stack Claypool with Big Ben.

WR – Terry McLaurin ($5,700) – Another guy that is probably priced too low, Scary Terry is literally the only legit weapon Washington has on offense. Tons of targets no matter the game situation.

WR – Adam Thielen ($7,300) – Thielen is our DFS stud this week against a soft Atlanta defense. He’s a deep threat, a red zone threat, and manages an occasional carry or two. We expect some big plays on Sunday.

TE – Chris Herndon ($3,200) – This pick is a level of spite that only humans can achieve. Computer, eat your heart out as Herndon scores a TD for us.

FLEX – Miles Sanders ($6,600) – Like Gurley, Sanders is another high-volume guy with a decent matchup.

DST – New England Patriots DST ($4,100) – The Pats have become a consistent source of defensive and special teams TDs over the years. Hoping for a pick six against a Broncos team with minimal offensive firepower.


Control Lineup

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 Thielen and Roethlisberger.

QB – Ben Roethlisberger ($6,700) – Same as us.

RB – Kareem Hunt ($6,900) – A common pick for the computer so far this season, and a solid one from a DFS perspective.

RB – Miles Sanders ($6,600) – Welp, the computer copied us here.

WR – Adam Thielen ($7,300) – Same as us.

WR – Terry McLaurin ($5,700) – The computer copied us here too. Ton of overlap this week apparently.

WR – A.J. Brown ($3,000) – The computer ALWAYS picks a WR with initials as their first name. Always. Should have seen this coming.

TE – Trey Burton ($3,100) – Indy has a crowded TE group. This is a sleeper for sure.

FLEX – Chase Claypool ($5,200) – Wait, this is the same as us too. Maybe us humans and the computer aren’t so different after all.

DST – Miami Dolphins DST ($2,900) – The computer seems to be sneaky fond of the Miami DST. And given that they get the Jets on Sunday, they probably should be.

Note: Our lineup and the computer’s will differ by only 4 roster spots this week, given that the robot lineup selected 3 of the same players as us (in addition to optimizing around Roethlisberger and Thielen, per the study protocol). Essentially, this week comes down to a 4 vs. 4 showdown: Devonta Freeman, Todd Gurley, Chris Herndon, and the Patriots DST vs. Kareem Hunt, A.J. Brown, Trey Burton, and the Dolphins DST (computer).


Can the computer right the ship after its worst performance yet? Or will it have to watch Chris Herndon commit the ultimate betrayal and put up a big week for the humans?

Week 6 here we come.


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!

Turf Burns are a way to buy real estate in your league’s heads the old fashioned way: The United States Postal Service.

Want to embarrass someone on a weekday? Send them a Turf Burn to their office.

Want their spouse and family to know how badly you annihilated their roster last week? Send them one at home!

Want to send one every week, as your calling card? Guess what?! Turf Burns can do that.

Turf Burns. It’s a touchdown celebration sent through the mail!

Ryan Kelly lives in Cambridge, MA, a stone's throw away from his beloved Boston teams. When he is not working as an editorial assistant, he is providing commentary on the Boston Red Sox and Boston Bruins for The Turf.

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