NFL Week 9 – Daily Lineup Optimizers Performance Comparison

November 15, 2015

by — Posted in Lineup Optimizers, NFL

Welcome back fantasy sports lovers! Last week 6 of the optimizers managed to place in a contest we track (one better than the previous week) — but only in the double up. Did any of the projections manage to place in the always elusive Millionaire Maker? Scroll down to find out and see all this week’s other statistics and results.

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 see what 27+ thousand people are so excited about and finally purchase that an Amazon Echo? Maybe not, but 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 jungle-name themed Internet retailer.


A note about Optimizers

Optimizers are super cool 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
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.

Premium features include the ability to upload your own projections and/or to apply customized “weight” to certain statistics before generating projections such as “Last 5 Avg”, “Season Avg”, “Season Floor”, “Season Ceiling” and “dfn Projected points.” My lineup uses the default settings with no custom projections.

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 Philip Rivers N/A
RB Dion Lewis N/A
RB Todd Gurley N/A
WR Dorial Green-Beckham N/A
WR Julian Edelman N/A
WR Demaryius Thomas N/A
TE Delanie Walker N/A
FLEX Ryan Mathews N/A
DST Jets 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. This lineup was generated using default settings.

Pos. Player Proj. Pts
QB Tom Brady 26.12
RB Todd Gurley 22.54
RB Jonathan Stewart 15.95
WR Antonio Brown 25.17
WR AJ Green 23.56
WR Steve Johnson 13.72
TE Jacob Tamme 11.79
FLEX Stefon Diggs 21.04
DST Broncos 10.85
Total 170.74


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 Tom Brady 27.72
RB Devonta Freeman 23.23
RB Darren McFadden 13.83
WR Julio Jones 25.82
WR Antonio Brown 25.26
WR Brandon LaFell 12.11
TE Heath Miller 11.02
FLEX Steve Johnson 13.32
DST Eagles 13.71
Total 166.02


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 Tom Brady 28.99
RB Devonta Freeman 23.40
RB Antonio Andrews 12.90
WR Antonio Brown 23.18
WR Sammy Watkins 14.79
WR Steve Johnson 15.15
TE Benjamin Watson 12.98
FLEX Justin Hunter 9.93
DST Eagles 12.41
Total 153.73


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 Philip Rivers 25.63
RB Doug Martin 17.70
RB Darren McFadden 18.06
WR Stefon Diggs 16.00
WR Julio Jones 29.24
WR Steve Johnson 15.10
TE Heath Miller 15.70
FLEX Devonta Freeman 26.60
DST Broncos 10.43
Total 174.46


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 Tom Brady 24.91
RB Devonta Freeman 25.75
RB Todd Gurley 21.75
WR Antonio Gates 17.74
WR Darren McFadden 17.84
WR Alshon Jeffery 21.12
TE Martavis Bryant 17.31
FLEX Steve Johnson 15.16
DST Saints 8.48
Total 170.06


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 21.32
RB Devonta Freeman 28.72
RB Darren Mcfadden 16.66
WR Jeremy Langford 15.00
WR Jeremy Langford 15.00
WR Antonio Brown 26.51
TE Demaryius Thomas 20.41
FLEX Steve Johnson 13.70
DST Denver Broncos 8.88
Total 166.20


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 24.81
RB Darren McFadden 15.81
RB Jonathan Stewart 15.17
WR Antonio Brown 26.17
WR Brandon LaFell 11.64
WR Julian Edelman 20.97
TE Antonio Gates 16.42
FLEX AJ Green 20.53
DST Eagles 10.41
Total 161.93


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 19.73
RB Devonta Freeman 25.34
RB DeAngelo Williams 15.75
WR Jarvis Landry 16.58
WR Stefon Diggs 14.86
WR Steve Johnson 14.62
TE Antonio Gates 18.06
FLEX Alshon Jeffery 17.13
DST Patriots 12.60
Total 154.67


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 Kirk Cousins 19.32
RB Darren Mcfadden 15.66
RB Devonta Freeman 23.39
WR Julio Jones 21.67
WR Steve Johnson 13.67
WR Michael Crabtree 15.69
TE Jordan Reed 15.38
FLEX Todd Gurley 18.53
DST Broncos 11.46
Total 154.77


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 Drew Brees 31.10
RB Dion Lewis 23.20
RB Lamar Miller 20.20
WR Antonio Brown 31.40
WR Mike Evans 27.90
WR Alshon Jeffery 27.80
TE Heath Miller 17.50
FLEX Malcom Floyd 20.80
DST Broncos 10.00
Total 209.90


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 Peyton Manning 19.45
RB Devonta Freeman 20.53
RB DeMarco Murray 20.06
WR Antonio Brown 22.63
WR Odell Beckham Jr. 20.22
WR Brandon LaFell 12.24
TE Heath Miller 11.26
FLEX Antonio Andrews 14.10
DST Eagles 9.42
Total 149.91


Statistical Results

Here’s a breakdown of what each chart compares:

Prediction Accuracy
Value Efficiency
Value Efficiency vs Top
Performance vs Top
Overall Performance

Prediction Accuracy actual pts vs projected

Rank Source Score
1 Swish Analytics 120.31%
2 numberFire 119.47%
3 RotoGrinders 110.85%
4 Lineup Lab (PFF) 110.72%
5 FantasyPros 108.54%
6 Daily Fantasy Cafe 106.83%
7 RotoViz 103.27%
8 daily fantasy nerd 101.11%
9 Roster Nerds 97.12%
10 Rotowire 85.75%
11 FantasyCruncher 83.10%
12 Lineup Lab (4F4) 80.17%
13 LineStar DK 66.18%
FanSpeak N/A

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

Value Efficiency most pts per $

Rank Source Avg $/fpt)
1 numberFire $280.63
2 Swish Analytics $294.08
3 FantasyPros $295.69
4 Lineup Lab (PFF) $330.66
5 RotoViz $332.10
6 Daily Fantasy Cafe $345.80
7 daily fantasy nerd $353.50
8 RotoGrinders $355.92
9 Roster Nerds $393.93
10 FanSpeak $406.94
11 FantasyCruncher $441.52
12 LineStar DK $482.28
13 Lineup Lab (4F4) $546.37
14 Rotowire $9,999.99
Click columns headers to sort. Less $/pt is better.
$9,999.99 denotes one or more players scored 0 fpts so average was not possible to determine.

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

Rank Source Score
1 numberFire 74.73%
2 Lineup Lab (PFF) 73.62%
3 FantasyPros 70.75%
4 Swish Analytics 70.10%
5 daily fantasy nerd 66.56%
6 RotoGrinders 64.15%
7 RotoViz 62.83%
8 Roster Nerds 60.96%
9 FanSpeak 60.67%
10 Daily Fantasy Cafe 58.60%
11 FantasyCruncher 54.80%
12 Lineup Lab (4F4) 53.74%
13 LineStar DK 46.95%
14 Rotowire 0.00%
Click columns headers to sort. Higher percentage = better performance.
0% denotes one or more players scored 0 fpts so value was not possible to determine.

Performance VS Topposition pts vs top 8 players (avg)

Rank Source Score
1 Rotowire 70.66%
2 Swish Analytics 70.45%
3 numberFire 69.06%
4 Lineup Lab (PFF) 68.51%
5 FantasyPros 68.46%
6 RotoGrinders 66.92%
7 daily fantasy nerd 65.71%
8 Daily Fantasy Cafe 62.61%
9 RotoViz 61.16%
10 Roster Nerds 59.59%
11 FanSpeak 58.17%
12 FantasyCruncher 54.97%
13 Lineup Lab (4F4) 54.92%
14 LineStar DK 45.63%
Click columns headers to sort. Higher percentage = better performance.

Overall Performancetotal pts earned

Rank Source Total FPts
1 Rotowire 193.68
2 Swish Analytics 187.84
3 Lineup Lab (PFF) 184.10
4 numberFire 183.76
5 FantasyPros 183.46
6 daily fantasy nerd 171.80
7 RotoGrinders 169.66
8 Daily Fantasy Cafe 162.68
9 RotoViz 160.78
10 Roster Nerds 156.70
11 FantasyCruncher 145.56
12 Lineup Lab (4F4) 144.76
13 FanSpeak 139.80
14 LineStar DK 119.50
Click columns headers to sort. More points = better performance.

Real-world Results

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

DraftKings Contest Performance (Week 9)

logo-draftkings-wide $6M
# $
Points Needed: 181.76 177.64 183.24 192.74 179.46
Daily Fantasy Cafe 0
daily fantasy nerd 0
FanSpeak 0
FantasyCruncher 0
FantasyPros Y Y Y Y 4
numberFire Y Y Y Y 4
LineStar DK 0
Lineup Lab (4F4) 0
Lineup Lab (PFF) Y Y Y Y 4
Roster Nerds 0
RotoGrinders 0
RotoViz 0
Rotowire Y Y Y Y Y 5
Swish Analytics Y Y Y Y 4
$450K = $450K SLANT $650K = $650K BLITZ
$1.25M = $1.25M PLAY-ACTION $## = entry fee


Last week I anticipated that we would have more optimizers placing in the money but instead we had less of them placing but the ones that did doing incredibly well – with one placing in all 5 tracked contests! The rest did fairly well too. Perhaps this is a testament to the statistics used becoming more predictable or maybe it was just a week of less surprises. The score needed to place in all the contests was actually fairly high and yet 5 optimizer projections managed to keep up.

What will next week hold? Will a default optimizer projection win first place in one of these contests? Probably not, but you never know. Come back next week to find out!

Optimizer Leaderboardtotal contests placed in

Rank Source Places
1 Rotowire 11
2 FantasyPros 10
2 Lineup Lab (PFF) 10
2 daily fantasy nerd 7
2 LineStar DK 6
3 RotoViz 6
3 numberFire 5
3 Swish Analytics 5
3 FantasyCruncher 2
3 Lineup Lab (4F4) 2
4 RotoGrinders 2
4 Daily Fantasy Cafe 1
4 FanSpeak 1
4 Roster Nerds 1
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! As always if you see any discrepancies or have any comments / suggestions feel free to leave them below or contact me on Twitter / Reddit. I will continue tracking the optimizers every week to hopefully determine which algorithm is superior to the rest. Iif you decide that you want to take the plunge and try your hand at one of these contests for NFL Week 10 please click my DraftKings link below. Thanks.

One last thing! The NBA optimzer weekly comparison is coming… I promise.



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

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