It wasn’t too long ago when daily fantasy football during the Super Bowl didn’t exist. Fortunately, the introduction of single-game slates over the last year means that DFS fans have yet another reason to stay engaged, even if the commercials are dull and the game is a blowout.
Due to the fact the slate consists of players from a single game, the contests offered by FanDuel and DraftKings for the Super Bowl are much different than a normal week. This calls for a unique strategy and a different approach to the contests.
In this post, we will address these unique challenges with some tips for you as you put together your Super Bowl DFS lineups.
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Super Bowl DFS tournament tips
There are a variety of entry fees for a plethora of tournaments, but the strategy should be simple. Tournaments are won by high-variance roster choices. The general strategy to employ in this format is to choose the top performers you have the most confidence in, and then choose sleepers who have the potential to have a big game.
Although the quarterback position tends to have the highest-scoring players on average, tournament-winning rosters feature sleepers who go off for big games. Your MVP slot should be reserved for the player you feel will have the best overall value and maintain high-volume in the game. Typically, you will want to pick a receiver, running back or tight-end that you feel will have the biggest impact, because a high percentage of entries will choose a quarterback for the MVP slot.
The problem with choosing a quarterback in the MVP slot in a tournament format is two-fold. For one, if the quarterback has a bad game, you have no shot at winning. The same can be said about any other position, but the tricky part is that if the quarterback does have a good game, there will be a lot of other entries with the same pick. In a tournament, this obviously decreases your chances of winning or cashing high.
You aren’t playing a tournament to beat half the field. You’re playing to win the whole thing, so you need to make bold, longshot choices and really get lucky to separate yourself from the field.
50/50 and Head to Head tips
On most weeks, my preferred contest type are 50/50s. I’ll play a tournament every few weeks to spice things up, but I like to win, and the highest cashing percentage you’ll get is from 50/50 games and head to heads.
If your goal is to net a profit over the course of the season, look no further than a 50/50. Head to Head is another fun format because you have no clue who your opponent is starting that week until it begins. You could have a horrific week and still only need to outscore one entry.
The strategy in these formats is very much the same. Your goal is to cash. You only need to finish in the top half, so choose a conservative, high-volume roster. There’s no reason to shoot yourself in the foot by playing wild. While I think you should avoid quarterbacks in the MVP slot during tournaments, the quarterback position is the safest, highest-scoring position.
Pick the best bet at quarterback in your MVP slot and then go with the players with the best matchups and best Vegas odds to perform well in the flex positions. Consistency is key in the landscape of the 50/50 matchups. Stay the course.
DFS Trends provide clues for the Super Bowl
While eyeballing some player yardage numbers through the playoffs last week, there was an odd bit of information I came across. The first thing I spotted was unremarkable — I noticed the top two non-quarterback players during the season from each winning playoff team outgained the top two players on the losing team in eight of nine qualifying games, by a margin of 78 yards per game. Only the Ravens failed to have a player — running back, tight end or receiver — outside of the top 100 players in daily fantasy football points. Therefore, the Ravens weren’t included in the study.
After tracking every playoff game, the findings were as follows:
In the playoffs, if a team’s duo was held under 150 total combined yards in a game, those teams were 1-8 this postseason. Teams whose top DFS duo combined for over 150 yards in a game are 7-0 this postseason. The only team to win with a duo combining for under 150 yards was the Rams in their game against the Saints. Gurley and Woods combined for just 46 total yards… This had my attention.
The initial findings weren’t confusing. After all, you would expect the higher-yardage duo to be on the winning team, right? It wasn’t until I checked out the game flows of each game and really looked at the NFC Title game where I started to become puzzled. The disparity in that game, from a DFS standpoint, was confusing.
Todd Gurley and Robert Woods had been two of the steadiest and most productive players all season. While checking out Warren Sharp’s website, SharpFootballStats.com, I was looking into the Rams and their insanely high usage rates of three wide receiver formations (89%, top of the NFL). During the season, the Rams ran the ball at a 41% rate in three-receiver sets and had a 59% success rate, which was tied for 1st in the NFL.
After pulling up the NFC Title game’s personnel usage rates, I was surprised when I looked at those same formation numbers and rates. The Rams struggled early but managed to overcome a 20-10 deficit in the second half. Other teams fell behind in the playoffs early and failed to complete the comeback, so what did the Rams do differently?
For one, their play action, which they run at a higher rate than anyone, wasn’t particularly effective because they couldn’t establish the run. The Rams success, all season, has been a product of their balanced play calling. Once the Rams began to sprinkle-in some two-receiver formations, the Saints had no answer. Because there was such little film on the Rams in two-receiver formations, the Rams made an early adjustment, in spurts, and the Saints couldn’t make the proper adjustments.
The Rams had just a 38% success rate rushing and 41% success rate passing while in three-receiver formations. In two-receiver formations, the Rams success rates jumped to 70% rushing and Jared Goff was seven for seven and had a perfect passer rating.
What does this mean for DFS?
It means we have no reason to blindly trust Todd Gurley anymore. It means the Rams don’t need to rely on any one or two of their big stars to win. It means Sean McVay is going to make it hard to trust any Ram in this game.
There’s a reason Julian Edelman is the highest-priced player on DraftKings and FanDuel. His volume is steady each week. He has the highest vegas line of any receiver in the Super Bowl, and with five running backs to choose from, there’s too much uncertainty amongst the remaining players for DraftKings and FanDuel to justify pricing someone ahead of Edelman. The pricing of the Rams players aside from Gurley are relatively tame, because Vegas doesn’t trust anyone on the Rams either.