NFL Week 8 – Daily Lineup Optimizers Performance Comparison

November 8, 2015

by — Posted in Lineup Optimizers, NFL

Welcome back fantasy sports lovers! Last week was the best performing week so far for the computer picks with 5 of the 14 optimizers we track managing to place in at least one cash contest on DraftKings. Perhaps they are getting stronger as the weeks go by or maybe they perform better when being tracked — either way you should scroll down to see this all this week’s results and statistics.

A quick note: These comparisons are a lot of fun to put together but no one is paying me to do it. Once you’re done analyzing the results perhaps you want to finally purchase that (guilty pleasure) new album from Adele or something? Whatever your desires may be: if you see an orange bar (like the one below) don’t be scared, it’s just a link to everyones favorite megastore in the cloud! Enjoy.


A note about Optimizers

Optimizers are awesome but should be used with caution and self-discipline!

Look, it would be great if you could just load up an optimizer/projector from the list here, press a button and get a winning lineup – but it doesn’t (usually) work that way. The best tools not only feature sophisticated algorithms but also options that you can tweak to get a lineup that is successful and unique. I wish I had the capacity to compare each optimizer multiple times using different options but it’s simply not possible to test every combination. This is why all the lineups you see generated below have been made by using either default options or a set of options I feel matches up fairly with the other optimizers. It may not generate a winning lineup but it keeps the comparison a little bit more fair.

A note about this week’s projections: I generated the lineups for this weeks comparison at noon EST.

Generated lineups by source/site

logo-dfcNFL Lineup Optimizer by Daily Fantasy Cafe

This site has a ton of options like game type, position match-ups, player exposure, various calculation models and more. Here are the settings I used: GPP/off/off/off/off/on/on/off and all 3 projection models were enabled. This is the highest projected scoring lineup.

Pos. Player Proj. Pts
QB Cam Newton 23.77
RB Justin Forsett 21.10
RB Chris Johnson 16.07
WR Keenan Allen 19.89
WR Willie Snead 13.98
WR Brandin Cooks 15.81
TE Tyler Eifert 15.12
FLEX Todd Gurley 17.07
DST Rams 14.02
Total 156.83


logo-dailyfantasynerdLineup Optimizer by daily fantasy nerd

This site let’s you tweak your optimization with sliders for salary range, projected fantasy points, projected value, total salary and randomization. It also has options for stacking QB with WR, allowed positions for FLEX and if you allow offense vs defense. My lineup uses default settings.

Pos. Player Proj. Pts
QB Philip Rivers 23.20
RB Justin Forsett 22.40
RB Devonta Freeman 25.40
WR Michael Crabtree 15.70
WR Steve Johnson 11.40
WR Antonio Brown 22.70
TE Delanie Walker 13.30
FLEX Todd Gurley 20.60
DST Rams 10.40
Total 165.10


logo-fanspeakDaily Fantasy Lineup Generator by Fanspeak

This site let’s you tweak your optimization by selecting if you are optimizing for a cash contest or tournament (more risk presumably) and if you want to prioritize a position (to include more expensive players in that role?). My lineup uses the first lineup generated using the tournament setting with a balanced prioritization.

Pos. Player Proj. Pts
QB Carson Palmer N/A
RB Todd Gurley N/A
RB Mark Ingram N/A
WR Dorial Green-Beckham N/A
WR Brandon Marshall N/A
WR Keenan Allen N/A
TE Martellus Bennett N/A
FLEX Leonard Hankerson N/A
DST Rams N/A
Total N/A


logo-fantasycruncherLineup Cruncher by FantasyCruncher

Fantasy Cruncher is a premium tool for researching and generating lineups for all DFS. It features all the options you could ask for in a lineup optimizer including flex position limitation, # of offense vs defense players, exposure, qb/wr/te stacking, players per team and unique features like consistency range, value range and projected points range. Lot’s of cool stuff and to top it all off you can use their Lineup Rewind tool to go back  to previous weeks and generate lineups based on all of these settings. I will be doing a full review of this site in the near future. This lineup was generated using default settings.

Pos. Player Proj. Pts
QB Philip Rivers 22.92
RB Chris Ivory 19.04
RB Lamar Miller 16.77
WR Larry Fitzgerald 22.52
WR Brandon Marshall 22.39
WR Stefon Diggs 16.58
TE Eric Ebron 10.81
FLEX Todd Gurley 19.96
DST Rams 11.23
Total 162.22


logo-fantasyprosLineup Optimizer by FantasyPros

This site allows you to generate a lineup based on expert consensus rankings or a custom lineup with your favorite players locked into their positions. After generating a lineup you can exclude, swap and lock in players as many times as you want while generating new lineups. My lineup uses the default consensus setting.

Pos. Player Proj. Pts
QB Philip Rivers 24.04
RB Todd Gurley 19.37
RB Danny Woodhead 15.86
WR Julio Jones 25.36
WR Antonio Brown 24.59
WR Eric Decker 16.10
TE Ladarius Green 11.16
FLEX Stefon Diggs 15.66
DST Titans 13.39
Total 165.53


Fantasy Football Lineup Generator from USA TODAY powered by numberFire

I used to get these results from the numberFire blog but now I use their free tool which can be found on the USATODAY website. It has a few features like game selection and player exclusion.

Pos. Player Proj. Pts
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick 21.97
RB Devonta Freeman 22.85
RB Justin Forsett 19.90
WR DeAndre Hopkins 22.55
WR Mike Evans 18.09
WR John Brown 14.68
TE Crockett Gillmore 8.96
FLEX Reggie Bush 12.40
DST Rams 12.45
Total 153.85


logo-linestarLineStar DK App by Fantasy Sports Co

Download Download

This app is available for DraftKings and FantasyDuel on both iOS and Android. It allows you to set players you “love/hate” before generating lineups as well as pick which games to include. One of the coolest features of this app is that the data it uses to generate lineups is constantly being updated until kickoff. You can even look at a list of “updates” to see which players are being upgraded and downgraded.

Pos. Player Proj. Pts
QB Andy Dalton 26.57
RB Devonta Freeman 27.10
RB Darren McFadden 12.80
WR Steve Smith 18.48
WR Antonio Brown 25.30
WR Travis Benjamin 15.74
TE Ladarius Green 13.93
FLEX Todd Gurley 22.90
DST Rams 15.69
Total 178.51


logo-lineuplab_4f4Lineup Optimizer by Lineup Lab using 4FOR4 projection source

Lineup Lab is a premium tool that lets you generate lineups from 2 trusted data sources (or you can use your own data). The feature-set isn’t huge but it has filters for game, salary, points and pts/$ and the ability to diversify results, stack players and limit offense vs defense. This site provides a great way to get projections based on 2 of the most popular sources in one place.

Pos. Player Proj. Pts
QB Andy Dalton 20.78
RB Le’Veon Bell 26.20
RB Devonta Freeman 25.65
WR Antonio Brown 23.34
WR Stefon Diggs 15.69
WR Steve Johnson 12.00
TE Crockett Gillmore 10.23
FLEX Todd Gurley 22.89
DST Texans 8.69
Total 165.47


logo-lineuplab_pffLineup Optimizer by Lineup Lab using Pro Football Focus projection source

Lineup Lab is a premium tool that lets you generate lineups from 2 trusted data sources (or you can use your own data). The feature-set isn’t huge but it has filters for game, salary, points and pts/$ and the ability to diversify results, stack players and limit offense vs defense. This site provides a great way to get projections based on 2 of the most popular sources in one place.

Pos. Player Proj. Pts
QB Philip Rivers 21.10
RB Devonta Freeman 24.21
RB Justin Forsett 23.94
WR Antonio Brown 24.37
WR Michael Crabtree 15.02
WR Nate Washington 12.27
TE Larry Donnell 11.04
FLEX Todd Gurley 19.42
DST Rams 10.42
Total 161.79


logo-rosternerdsOptimal NFL Lineup by Roster Nerds

Roster Nerds has one option: block a player. Oh wait, you also get 6 lineups to choose from and can sort-of pick which games to include using the menu at the top. It’s a mystery how it all works – but maybe that’s the point? It’s magic.

Pos. Player Proj. Pts
QB Philip Rivers 23.84
RB Darren McFadden 16.24
RB Justin Forsett 19.82
WR DeAndre Hopkins 25.44
WR Antonio Brown 20.36
WR Nate Washington 10.40
TE Larry Fitzgerald 18.93
FLEX Coby Fleener 9.07
DST Jets 9.56
Total 153.66


logo-rotogrindersNFL Projected Optimal Lineup by RotoGrinders

This tool has no options for the optimizer itself. There is another tool on the site to build lineups but it generates seemingly random lineups.

Pos. Player Proj. Pts
QB Philip Rivers 19.62
RB Le’Veon Bell 25.41
RB Chris Ivory 18.66
WR John Brown 15.93
WR Stefon Diggs 14.54
WR Mike Evans 17.40
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins 10.60
FLEX Eric Decker 14.41
DST Rams 13.14
Total 149.71


logo-rotovizDaily Lineup Optimizer by RotoViz

This site let’s you tweak your optimization with a salary cap slider, maximum RB/WE/TE selector, over/under filter, team total filter, and player/team pre-selection and blacklisting. My lineup uses the default settings.

Pos. Player Proj. Pts
QB Philip Rivers 23.60
RB Justin Forsett 18.20
RB Danny Woodhead 15.76
WR Todd Gurley 19.87
WR Stefon Diggs 15.21
WR Demaryius Thomas 20.87
TE Antonio Brown 21.37
FLEX Ladarius Green 14.97
DST Rams 12.03
Total 161.88


logo-rotowireNFL Weekly Lineup Optimizer by Rotowire

This site doesn’t have any options aside from player exclusion for premium members.

Pos. Player Proj. Pts
QB Philip Rivers 27.20
RB Doug Martin 22.60
RB Chris Johnson 19.40
WR Danny Woodhead 20.40
WR Antonio Brown 31.80
WR Mike Evans 30.40
TE Alshon Jeffery 26.70
FLEX Gary Barnidge 17.70
DST Houston Texans 12.00
Total 208.20


logo-swishOptimus X Pro by Swish Analytics

This site let’s you choose a risk level from 1 to 5. It also lets you pick which games and players to exclude but you can only generate one lineup per day for free. My lineup uses a level 3 risk setting.

Pos. Player Proj. Pts
QB Andy Dalton 18.92
RB Le’Veon Bell 20.43
RB Matt Forte 18.29
WR Antonio Brown 18.49
WR Marvin Jones 11.46
WR Andre Johnson 10.61
TE Heath Miller 8.46
FLEX Marshawn Lynch 18.15
DST Bears 9.05
Total 133.86


Statistical Results

Here’s a breakdown of what each chart compares:

Prediction Accuracy
This chart ranks all the optimizer’s projected points against the actual points their lineup earned to see which one comes closest to it’s projected total. 
Value Efficiency
This takes every lineup’s average cost per point (using player salaries) and ranks them against one another.
Value Efficiency vs Top
This ranks every lineup’s average cost per point per position in relation to the average cost per point for the week’s top 8 performers for that position.
Performance vs Top
This ranks every lineup’s earned points per position in relation to the average points earned for that position for the week’s top 8 performers for that position. This essentially tells us which optimizer came closest to performing at the level required to build a top earning lineup.
Overall Performance
This is simply a comparison of total points earned by all the optimizers. Which one did best out of the box? If that’s all you care about then this is all that really matters. 

Prediction Accuracy actual pts vs projected

Rank Source Score
1 Daily Fantasy Cafe 101.23%
2 Lineup Lab (PFF) 100.89%
3 Roster Nerds 100.25%
4 FantasyCruncher 95.80%
5 daily fantasy nerd 94.23%
6 Lineup Lab (4F4) 93.47%
7 Swish Analytics 90.78%
8 RotoViz 89.07%
9 FantasyPros 88.70%
10 Rotowire 77.15%
11 LineStar DK 69.94%
12 RotoGrinders 68.39%
13 numberFire 53.46%
FanSpeak N/A

Click columns headers to sort. Higher score = better accuracy.

Value Efficiency most pts per $

Rank Source
1 FantasyCruncher
2 Daily Fantasy Cafe
3 daily fantasy nerd
4 Lineup Lab (PFF)
5 Rotowire
6 Lineup Lab (4F4)
7 FantasyPros
8 RotoViz
9 LineStar DK
10 Roster Nerds
11 Swish Analytics
12 FanSpeak
13 numberFire
14 RotoGrinders
Click columns headers to sort.

Value Efficiency VS Topposition pp$ vs top 8 players (avg)

Rank Source Score
1 Lineup Lab (PFF) 73.97%
2 Daily Fantasy Cafe 73.09%
3 Lineup Lab (4F4) 72.73%
4 Rotowire 72.60%
5 FantasyCruncher 71.69%
6 Roster Nerds 70.34%
7 daily fantasy nerd 70.11%
8 RotoViz 64.47%
9 FantasyPros 64.41%
10 LineStar DK 60.76%
11 FanSpeak 57.33%
12 Swish Analytics 55.13%
13 numberFire 42.58%
14 RotoGrinders 0.00%
Click columns headers to sort. Higher percentage = better performance.

Performance VS Topposition pts vs top 8 players (avg)

Rank Source Score
1 Rotowire 71.32%
2 FantasyCruncher 68.87%
3 Lineup Lab (PFF) 68.72%
4 daily fantasy nerd 68.59%
5 Lineup Lab (4F4) 66.94%
6 Daily Fantasy Cafe 66.88%
7 FantasyPros 65.56%
8 RotoViz 63.20%
9 FanSpeak 61.12%
10 Roster Nerds 60.48%
11 LineStar DK 58.99%
12 Swish Analytics 45.77%
13 RotoGrinders 45.71%
14 numberFire 41.43%
Click columns headers to sort. Higher percentage = better performance.

Overall Performancetotal pts earned

Rank Source Total FPts
1 FantasyCruncher 159.24
2 FantasyPros 158.54
3 Lineup Lab (PFF) 156.64
4 daily fantasy nerd 153.04
5 Daily Fantasy Cafe 152.82
6 Roster Nerds 148.94
7 RotoViz 148.54
8 Rotowire 147.64
9 Lineup Lab (4F4) 136.94
10 FanSpeak 133.76
11 LineStar DK 124.14
12 Swish Analytics 105.24
13 RotoGrinders 101.24
14 numberFire 82.54
Click columns headers to sort. More points = better performance.

Real-world Results

Would any of these lineups have made money in the 5 most popular DraftKings NFL contests this week? Let’s find out!

DraftKings Contest Performance (Week 8)

logo-draftkings-wide $6M
# $
Points Needed: 161.94 151.24 164.64 166.72 162.44
Daily Fantasy Cafe Y 1
daily fantasy nerd Y 1
FanSpeak 0
FantasyCruncher Y 1
FantasyPros Y 1
numberFire 0
LineStar DK 0
Lineup Lab (4F4) 0
Lineup Lab (PFF) Y 1
Roster Nerds Y 1
RotoGrinders 0
RotoViz 0
Rotowire 0
Swish Analytics 0
$450K = $450K SLANT $700K = $700K BLITZ
$1.25M = $1.25M PLAY-ACTION $## = entry fee


Another week of fairly decent results for the optimizers. This week 6 placed (one more than last week). The score needed to place in all the contests was much lower than last week by quite a bit (almost 190 fantasy points were needed to place in the $700K!). This helped a bit but it’s all relative since everyone playing has the some threshold to reach.

What will next week hold? Will we have 7 optimizers in the money? Come back next week to find out!

Optimizer Leaderboardtotal contests placed in

Rank Source Places
1 daily fantasy nerd 7
2 FantasyPros 6
2 Lineup Lab (PFF) 6
4 LineStar DK 5
4 RotoViz 5
4 Rotowire 5
7 FantasyCruncher 2
8 Daily Fantasy Cafe 1
8 Lineup Lab (4F4) 1
8 Roster Nerds 1
8 RotoGrinders 1
12 FanSpeak 0
12 numberFire 0
12 Swish Analytics 0
Total contests placed “in the money” after 4 weeks of tracking.
Roster Nerds wasn’t tracked for first two weeks.

Hopefully some of this information has been entertaining or useful! If you have any comments or suggestions feel free to leave them below. I will continue tracking the optimizers every week to hopefully determine which algorithm is superior to the rest. As always if you decide that you want to take the plunge and try your hand at one of these contests for NFL Week 9 please click my DraftKings link below. Thanks.

One last thing before you go! Tune in on Thursday to see my brand new NBA lineup optimizer comparison. I am tracking 8 popular optimizers for the 2nd week of the NBA season and will release my first comparison on Nov 12th. Stay tuned.


Header image “ULTIMATE FOOTBALL PLAYER” used with permission from BROWN73 on DeviantArt.
Source image can be found here.

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