A Fantasy Lineup optimizer is a great tool to use but there’s a lot of misconceptions and unknowns about them. In this post, I plan to explain what they are, why to use them, if they work, reviews of the top lineup optimizer and a how to guide on using them for each sport.
What is a Fantasy Lineup Optimizer?
A Lineup optimizer, also called a lineup generator, is a tool used by daily fantasy sports users to aid them in creating lineups for daily fantasy sites like Fanduel and Draftkings. This tool will display all the players available to be chosen in lineups, along with the position,salary, projections (prediction of fantasy points to be scored) and vital statistics. It is normally web based, however sometimes can be in Excel.
The user can then go through all these players and adjust their projections or other settings the tool will need to create lineups. Then when the user is all set, they will run the lineup optimizer. This tool with look at all the player’s salaries and projections along with the site constraints and produce the optimal lineup(s). Then these lineups can be played in your tournaments.
While it seems pretty basic, there is a ton of calculations going on with this tool to produce those lineups. It has to look at hundreds of players salaries and projections and try to fit players into the set salary and positional requirements set forth by the website. This is a process a person does when they create lineups, however the tool does it way, way, way faster.
The Ultimate Purpose
This tool’s purpose is the save you time in creating lineups and to help win you more money player. Many people in the fantasy community dislike optimizers because people just starting out may believe an optimizer will just spit out winning lineups without any other research, and that just isn’t the case.
A fantasy lineup optimizer is only one of many tools you should be utilizing when creating lineups. You should also be doing research on the players on some of your favorite sites. In order to get the most out of the tool, you need to be adjusting your projections for the players you like and dislike. Then this tool will help you compile all those projections and spit out the lineups fast. And if your research and the site’s projections are good, you should win money too!
Do Lineup Optimizers Work?
Lineup optimizers/generators are a tool to pick your lineups faster and with a better chance of winning. Many users want to know if they work and the answer is YES, however only if used correctly.
For a lineup optimizer to work, you need to do your research and adjust the projections and settings. If you just opened up the tool and ran lineups, you would get the same players that everyone else was playing.
You also can’t rely 100% on any sites projections. Projections are an ever changing stat and you still need to keep up with last minute injuries and substitutions.
For example, if the starting PG for the Lakers gets hurt an hour before the game, not only do you not want to play him, but his replacement will most likely have a low salary but would also be in for playing a lot more minutes than usual. This would be a “Must-Play” option for the night but if you reply 100% on projections, you may miss him.
Optimizers also will save you time in creating your lineups as they look through all the salaries and projections faster. So overall, lineup optimizers do “work” by saving you time and by potentially picking winning players, as long as the projections are good.
Why Use a Fantasy Lineup Optimizer?
What I feel a lineup optimizer is best at is saving you time in creating and uploading lineups. If you are playing multiple tournaments then a lineup generator tool is almost a necessity. It can save you a lot of time from doing it manually. If you wanted to submit 20 lineups, you would have to go one by one and pick your lineups and try to balance salary to maximize it along with making sure you get a good mix of players that you like and even stack certain teams that you have going. It can take a very long time, as you may know.
If you use a lineup optimizer, you can put in all the settings you want and since you adjusted the projections of the guys you like or ‘locked’ them into lineups, the optimizer can create these lineups in literally seconds. Then, with the best tools, you can export those lineups to a file which you can upload into Draftkings or Fanduel. You still have the ability to review the lineups and adjust players in and out of lineups.
What are the Down sides to a Fantasy Lineup Optimizer?
The main downside to a lineup optimizer is to misuse them. Just opening up the optimizer and running lineups is a recipe for disaster. Many new users are very inexperienced so they assume the projections in there are better than what they can come up with, so they just run some lineups and enter them. Then when they fail, they blame the tool.
The other downside to optimizers are the projections not always updating timely. While many of the better optimizers do update projections often, you do need to keep an eye on the news and not rely 100% on the tool’s projections.
How to get Projections to use?
Projections are one of the main driving factors in choosing what players are chosen in the lineups. The projections that come with optimizers are normally good, but you don’t always want to use the same ones that everyone else is using.
Most optimizers allow you to upload a set of projections but most let you adjust them. So you should be reviewing them and adjusting them to your liking.
If you would rather just have completely different projections, here are a few websites which normally offer projections:
If you really wanted to be different, you could create your own set of projections. While it isn’t east, it isn’t as hard as you might think. You still need to come up with various factors and a starting point to create these projections and use a tool line Microsoft Excel to do it. However, if you can build one, you can be sure your projections are unique!
For a video on how to create your own projections, check out:
What are the Best Lineup Optimizer
This is the best fantasy lineup optimizer tool, in my opinion. It has some of the common features of the top optimizer, like running lineups extremely fast, an ability to export lineups and advanced stats with the players to help you do your research.
This tool also some a few items that most optimizers don’t have. Nerd has a community share going on which allows you to see who most of the community likes in games. For example, when you are playing NFL and you pull up quarterbacks, you can see who the most liked QB’s are for the week and who some lesser liked are. This can help you to see who the chalk (common plays) are.
The other feature I love about this tool is the ability to adjust player projections easily. They initially are set up to reflected Nerd’s game projection but if you want to adjust them to reflect a player’s ceiling (most points scored in a game), you can do that. This means that you can find those risker plays a lot easier. This is great when playing GPP tournaments as those are the ones who you should be targeting.
Nerd is reasonably priced as far as optimizers go and they are my number one recommendation.
See the video below for a complete walk through of Nerd
RotoQL is another Top tier fantasy lineup optimizer tool. It has an easy to use interface and runs lineups extremely fast. They are loaded with other features too, including uploading players, a simple upload feature to add your own projections, a nice research section and a nice video tutorial section to show you how to use the tool.
It’s price is a little higher than some of the other optimizers but it can be justified if you play often. The ability to pick lineups in this tool is very high and it is my second favorite lineup optimizer tool.
Rotogrinder’s Fantasy Lineup Optimizer
Rotogrinders is one of the premier sites for daily fantasy sports research. They have an online fantasy lineup optimizer, which is a little different than your standard optimizer. You can choose the percentages of use that you want for that player. For example, you can plug in that you want 40% Cam Newton in your lineups and when it runs, it will do it’s best to deliver that.
While this optimizer doesn’t have all the features the premier lineup optimizers line Nerd or RotoQL, this one is free. Although it does have a Premium option to unlock a few extra features. But it is a very nice tool if you want to try out something for free.
Some other lineup generators/optimizers to mention are:
How to use a Fantasy Lineup Optimizer for Fanduel or Draftkings for Daily Fantasy
You need to know your site when setting up and using your fantasy lineup optimizer. Everyone should know the sites salary restrictions, positions and scoring when setting your options and projections before running the tool. Making sure your projections match the scoring of the site is essential.
You also want to be aware of the optimizer’s settings and use them to your fullest. If your tool allows stacking, you need to look into this for GPP tournaments as you want to try to find the riskiest players. If you stack a certain team, like in MLB Baseball and your team goes off, then you have a great chance of winning.
Some optimizers will have an option where you don’t allow it to choose a defense that is playing any of your players in your lineups. This is a good option to check. For example, you may be playing football and you like the Rams defense, so you give them a high projection. So if you check the option, then the team the Rams are playing, the Bucs, will not have any players show up in the lineups.
You also should study prior tournaments to see what wins. Learning from the past is a great way to get an edge on the future. You should enter some tournaments and then export all the lineups and study them. Do most winners stack teams? Stack two teams? Are only home players picked? They play mostly favorites? Do they play the common plays that you saw during your research?
This can take some time but once you see a trend of what is winning, you can adjust your projections and optimizer’s settings accordingly to give you an advantage.
So in conclusion, I strongly feel a fantasy lineup optimizer or generator will help you in creating your lineups and if used correctly, will help you win money. If nothing else, they will save you time in choosing your players when playing many games. That time you can use to do more research or to just do your normal daily activities. I know when I play the 7 pm slate during the week, I find it hard to find a lot of time to create lineups, between dinner and playing with the kids and 100 other tasks. A lineup optimizer tool saves a ton of time in picking my lineups! When used right, they do help you.