5 Lessons

Part 4: Picking the final lineup

In this 5-part series, Max takes you through his exact process for researching and building his entry in this HUGE tournament.

In part 4, you'll see it all come together as Max builds his lineup pool and picks his lineup for the big contest.


Hey, guys! This is Max Steinberg. I’m a partner at SaberSim and Daily Fantasy Professional. This is my fourth and final video of my “Road To The FFWC” series for DraftKings. And I’m really excited, I couldn’t really sleep, I’m just excited about making the lineups.

And this part, I’m going to go over how I … once I import my projections, which I adjusted last night and then this morning from SabreSpace projections, how we go from there to actually building lineups in SaberSim and doing my thing and actually picking my lineup.

So I have my projections uploaded. I’m going to put them into Saber, like so. And it looks like everything worked. I’m going to exit this out, and I have my projections. Yay! So you can see, some players I adjusted, some players I didn’t adjust. And I’m just basically focused on some specific players that I really like. And these are actually not going to be my final projections. This is more of a run-through where I’m going to make a build, see who I’m getting, and then take a look back and make sure that everything looks right. But I’ll just go over a few players that I’m taking a stand on.

One is Tyreek Hill. So this game is a snow game, supposedly. Kansas City has a heated field and I want to keep an eye on this game, because if this game is not as much of a snow game as people think, the Chiefs’ offense is the best passing offense in the NFL. I think Tyreek Hill has been underrated this season, given just playing through injuries and so on and so forth. I think he could be an incredible, incredible play and one that could maybe win me this tournament. Who knows?

So that being said, I’m going to keep an eye on the weather, and so these are not going to be my final runs until I have a better idea of this. But for now, I’m going to keep them at this pretty high projection, which is much higher than you’ll see elsewhere, and go with that and maybe lower Mahomes later as well.

Another person that I’m taking a stand on, let’s just take a look here, is Chris Carson. SaberSim’s pretty low on him, I’m staying low on him. I don’t really like him. I think people are kind of overrating game script here, and I think it’s possible the game script will not be in his favor. In terms of tight end, I actually feel like I am taking a stand on Zach Ertz, SaberSim’s taking a real stand, but he’s someone that I’m really going to be happy to get, if I in fact get him.

Let’s see here. Kenyan Drake. I like Drake a lot. He’s a very good pass catcher. Obviously, there’s Chase Edmonds and David Johnson. David Johnson doesn’t seem like he’s going to be on the team for that much longer. I’m not worried about him. I’m a little bit worried about Chase Edmonds taking target share, but the thing is we are playing a GBP, so I’m not really … His downside games might be really bad, like i.e. Chase Edmonds just plays a lot, but his upside games are really, really good and I think Arizona can win this game.

I’m looking at this further. Let’s see if I can find a couple more guys. Patrick Laird, he’s someone I talked about in earlier videos. I like him a lot. I also think he’s going to be popular. In fact, I might boost this ownership a little bit more because I’m hearing a lot of buzz about him.

Danny Amendola, I feel like this is a stand, he might get into my lineup that’s 14 projected points at 4,100 obviously I didn’t adjust them from saber SIM projection, but I think this is going to be a lot higher than other people are. Tyler Higbee I talked about, I’m hearing a lot about him. I think he might be high owned. I’ll just stop right there. So yeah, let me just talk about for a second. For those who are not familiar with SaberSim, how SabreSim works. So it’s a little different than what you might be used to. And you know, if you use a lineup optimizer that you might find elsewhere, it works a lot differently. And one of the things that works differently is you basically can do something where you use what we call stacking rules and also other things like grouping groups of players together.

And with Sabre zoom you actually don’t need to do that. And I don’t do it at all. And I really think you actually don’t need to. And here’s why. Everything we do is built on our simulator and the simulator gives us a lot of really great data that helps you build optimal lineups. So one reason that players like to play people in groups or by players, I mean daily fantasy players is they want to get those correlated plays and those game stacks and team stacks together. Right? And the thing is is that that’s really good and the reason is because those players are correlated, right? So Christian Kirk is correlated with Kyler Murray obviously his quarterback, but he’s also a little correlated with some players on Cleveland and with some other players. This might be more pronounced, lets maybe see Tyler Lockett and see if it’s more pronounced here.

Let’s see here. Yeah, Carolina… Well about 2% but yeah, those little correlations can add up and for different players that might be different, sometimes stronger. But in general people like to group players together in the same game so they can get game stacks right and make sure that they’re not playing reverse correlated plays. Like maybe, two wide receivers on the same team can be reverse correlated, running backs on opposing teams can be reversed correlated. Let’s see if I can find one over here. I bet maybe Derek Henry is a great example of this. We’ll see if we have them as actually reverse correlated to a Leonard Fournette too as a pass catcher. But let’s see here. Where are you? I know Houston, I’m sorry. So he should be reversed correlated to with someone like Carlos Hyde and he is right running backs on the same team.

All right. Opposing teams are reverse correlated and Carlos Hyde, especially who’s not a pass catcher it’s not going to play as much if Houston gets down. So you want to avoid having players like this, right? So we have all this data and so instead of having you build groups or use stacking rules, we make it so you actually don’t have to do that, right? So what we do is we say, okay, set your settings for what you want. I’m going to say men’s salary 4,900 I’m going to make sure I leave a hundred on the table. I think that’s a good roll. And then I’m just going to use our slider settings. So smart diversity, so really cool slider that I talked about in other videos. It takes into account upside while diversifying your lineups. Going to set correlation to about moderate smart diversity and correlation kind of do some of the same things.

So smart diversity is how you don’t need to account for correlation as much because we use our actual SIM data and take basically a few Sims from every game and look at how that affects projections. Again, I talk about this another video, I’m not going to really talk about it much here, but the smart diversity and correlation are really the two keys to our lineup builder and then ownership fade. This is something that I think is a great tool and I think you also need to know yourself when you sing it. And for me, I’m kind of a contrarian person. I like the contrarian plays and I’m kind of, when I know a play is going to be popular, I sort of just think, God, I don’t want to use them. I have resistance to using them. So I usually keep ownership fade at low.

But if you’re the type of person who likes playing the popular players, I would raise that a little more and keep yourself in check. So I’m going to start building my lineup pool. It’s going to take not very long and, Sabre SIM instead of building. So I requested 150 lineups. Instead of building 150 lineups, it’s actually going to build me 1500 and that’s going to give us really good way of basically creating our 150 lineups in a way that really works for us. So we have player exposures here, we have the lineups that we’ve made here and we have, stack types and game stacks, right? So game stacks, we’re going to see like obviously Cleveland… These are in our lineups, which includes certain game stacks. And you can see almost all of our lineups do have game stacks, right? These are the stack types.

You know, QB plus two. So QB and two receivers is QB plus two with the game stack. These are all game stacks and it’s a really good picture. So you can adjust min and max exposures to any of these things. So, with Cleveland, Arizona, I can set this to 25 instead of 35 and then it’ll get me a nicer spread. I can get rid of a four stack. Like personally I don’t really love having them. I feel like wow, they’re correlated. I’m worried that the very, very highest upside just does not exist there. But all the rest of this looked good. And then I can just look at my players and you can see I got a pretty wide array of players. And so I did this run right now. Not to actually enter in my lineups at the moment, but just to take a look at who I’m getting and think, okay, who do I want to adjust here or who am I getting my top line ups that I don’t love.

So wow, this is really interesting actually. So I didn’t even notice this. But Ty Johnson is stone man and Bo Scarbrough is legitimately questionable. So I think this is a reason why you want to wait till an active to actually take a look here because if Bo Scarbrough doesn’t play Ty Johnson actually becomes a pretty solid play at three K. So he’s someone I want to keep an eye on. If Bo Scarbrough plays, I’m going to lower him. If Bo Scarbrough does not play, I’m probably going to raise him. And I really want to keep an eye here cause obviously I’m getting him in quite a bit of my lineups and I might want that and I might not want that. Right. So Kenyon Drake, we’re getting a lot, Amendola. These are guys I’m really comfortable with. They’ve really taken luck.

Leonard Fournette. I love him. Christian McCaffrey, Kelce and Tyreek Hill. So I took a stand on the Patrick Mahomes. I’m going to have to look at the weather here and make sure that I’m comfortable with these projections later. Right. Larry Fitzgerald, I talked about him here. I love the Ego. See going down, just looking through this and seeing if anyone stands out. I’m seeing David Blough a lot. I’m not sure I love this. I might take another look at his projection. So I’m going to take a note there. Keep going down and everything looks pretty good so far. So then I’m also just going to look at what my top lineups are, right? So we can see my top line up according to saber score. And this is a combination of all these factors that we have in our build correlation, ownership fade and smart diversity.

Is a Dallas stack, right? So a Amari Cooper and Jason Witten, we have Lions D I think they’re probably going to be a popular play. So I might want to adjust their ownership percentage. That’s something to think about as well. We have Christian McCaffrey, and Kenyon Drake, Amendola who is probably going to be in my top lineup. Christian Kirk is in there and just wanting to emphasize people want to be able to use groups or something in a lineup optimizer so they can ensure that they have a game stack. But if you actually look at the lineups, keep in mind, I didn’t not make a group. However, lookey here Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, Jason Witten, and I have a game stack with Robert Woods. The Saber SIM solver is just taking this into account. It is calculating all this stuff and it’s actually giving you a game stack without you doing anything.

We’re going to look over here, Arizona, Kyler Murray, double stack with Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk, all the good stuff here. And this does not have a game stack. Should it not have a game stack? It might not. I mean, Sabre SIM believes that the correlations are not strong enough here to just try to slam in Jarvis Landry or Kareem Hunt or Odell Beckham jr. And I’m fine with that. I’m not convinced that they’re correlated enough that it needs to be in this lineup and it doesn’t necessarily fit in that lineup. Right? So you have a Kyler Murray thing here. Oh this one does have Jarvis Landry. So this does have a game stack and this is a triple stack with Kyler Murray, Kenyan, Drake, Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk. So maybe bringing it back makes more sense because in those games where those all go off, Cleveland’s going to pass a whole lot and it makes sense to have Jarvis Landry in there, right?

So in general you actually don’t need to really think about putting your players in groups when you SaberSim because it’s just going to do it for you and it’s going to do it the right way. You can rely on SaberSim’s math to do that. And if you really just want all game stacks, you can simply just raise the main exposure here. And I think almost all my lineups are game stacks anyway. But you can just raise the main exposures here and you can make sure that you have a hundred percent game stacks. So there you go. So these are not my final lineups. I want to keep a tab on the weather and Kansas city. I want to keep an eye on in-actives. I want to do a little more research, but I like doing this run early because then I can look at who I’m getting, make sure that everything looks right.

And then finally may, choose my lineup out of the lineups that Sabre creates later and use my intuition a little bit to pick what the lineup is. So I’ll be back in a little bit. I’m going to take a break and I’ll see you in a bit. Okay guys, I am back. And so there’s a lot of interesting things to think about in the slight and I ended up tinkering at something’s a bit specifically this Chiefs-Denver game. And I’ll just tell you my thought process. So, at the start of the week, wanted my finishing stack to be a Mahomes, Tyreek Hill stack. I really, really like both of them, but this weather has gotten pretty bad. And usually I’m the type of person who just, takes a little caution when it comes to thinking about, okay is this weather really going to affect the game?

But looking at the snow on the ground, I think it will and maybe I’ll regret this decision but I don’t think I’m going to use that stack. It seems pretty clear to me given my projections and what Saber is spitting out that this Kyler Murray stack is going to be the one. And so I’m actually going to… So let me talk about single entry for a second. Because obviously Saber’s really good for when you’re building 150 lineups, but it’s also a nice tool when you’re just building one. And the reason is is it’ll spit out different lineups that you can use and you can sort of use your intuition to choose one. So one thing that I’m seeing here is SaberSim really likes Kyler Murray and I think there’s good reason I have on that about a 20 point projection. He’s only 5,600 Cleveland is pretty weak on defense right now.

So I think it makes sense to just go with a huge stack here and you can see a lot of these stacks, are Kyler Murray, but you know if I want to go into a different direction I can look at some of these other stacks, like there’s a Ryan Fitzpatrick one that’s sort of a game stack right here, Gardner Minshew, but as you can see it’s sort of overwhelmingly favoring Kyler Murray and I think given the way Arizona plays, but in such a vast base, they’re in a down and it’s a lot of short targets. I think this triple sec does make stat sense with Kenyan. Drake is a great pass catcher. Christian Kirk who’s obviously come out and then Larry Fitzgerald who I talked about earlier in the week could have a big game, for the rest of the lineup. I projected Miles Sanders pretty high.

I know he lost some carries to Boston Scott, but they are so thin at running back and I am sorry… Running back and wide receiver. I think they could use some 2 running back. I think they’re going to use him as a pass catcher possibly, and I think this is a really sneaky play, especially with the Eagles D where there’s that correlation there for the game stuck in Arizona, I’m actually using Odell Beckham jr. I think Jarvis Landry is going to be the more popular play. However, obviously OBJ’s capable of a really big game. It hasn’t really happened this season. That being said, there’s some good morning news coming out with him in terms of just how happy is in Cleveland. He says he wants to stay in Cleveland. It’s possible they’ll try to get out of the ball more. Even so, against Arizona, it’s a really good matchup and despite a possible shatter from Patrick Peterson, I like him bit, quite a bit and I think he’s a great pivot off of Jarvis Landry who’s probably going to be the more popular play.

George Kittle at tight end. He’s, I think my highest projected tight end. Obviously Atlanta is a great matchup and, I think I would have been fine with Ertz. I would have been fine with Ian Thomas. I would have been fine with Tyler Higbee so I don’t mind just fitting in kid over here. And then Leonard Fournette. He’s someone I’ve been on all week, there’s many reasons I love him. I kind of over projected him just to get him in this lineup. And the Eagles D I think this is an unbelievable matchup. Branded sheriff is out for Washington and so I think he is got, they’re just going to crash, and also pairing with miles Sanders. I think this all makes sense. So I’m going to enter this line up. Let’s go. So it is a non swaps.

I don’t have to worry about anything in the flex. And as you see, I did have this, Patrick Mahomes lineup before. I hope that when I review this later, I don’t look at this lineup and see that I slopped off the winning lineup. But, you just got to trust what the model says and we’ll see if this works out. So we have Kyler Murray, Kenyan Drake, Miles Sanders. Well, we have Kirk, Fitzgerald, ODell Beckham jr., George Kittle, Leonard Fournette, and then we’re going to have the Eagle’s D. Okay. And that’s my lineup for the FFWC. Thank you so much for following me over this journey. This has been really, really fun. I hope this lineup wins some money and we’ll see. I’m going to probably do a review video after this, so keep an eye out for that, and hopefully I’m reviewing a top 10 lineup and not a bottom 10 lineup. So again, thanks you so much for watching and anyone who’s watching who is in the FFWC good luck and anyone who’s not good luck with your lineup to Sunday. Thanks.