How to Pick a Tight End, Kicker and Defense in DFS

Strategy from Saahil Sud: How to Select TE/K/DEF in DFS 0001

If you're been playing daily fantasy sports for more than a week, chances are you know the name Saahil Sud, formerly known as "maxdalury" on FanDuel and DraftKings. Taking it a step further, if you've been playing DFS more than a week, chances are you've lost money to Sud.

Sud is a fantasy sports legend, arguably the most successful player in the history of DFS. The guy has piled up millions in winnings, and now, he's giving back to the community from which he has lifted so much cash. His help comes in the form of his strategy site, RotoQL, which offers tools and resources for DFS players. For the NFL season, Sud has produced a series of strategy videos, and we'll go over them here in the next few weeks.

Previously, Sud walked us through his thought process when selecting RBs in DFS, how he goes about picking his QBs, and what goes through his mind when picking WRs. To round it all out, Sud covered the final pieces of the NFL DFS puzzle, TEs, Ks, and DEFs.

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Selecting a tight end is, in many ways, not much different than selecting a WR. Targets are one of the biggest focuses, as Sud is looking for players who have a big share of the offense. There's usually a big gap between the top tier of expensive tight ends and everyone else. To separate out which of the cheaper plays are best, Sud looks at how often the TEs run routes instead of staying in to block, how defenses approach opposing TEs, and which players' teams are expected to score more points to give them TD opportunities.

It's mostly about the weather when it comes to kickers. High wind and precipitation is a double whammy as coaches are less likely to use kickers, and kickers are less likely to make the kicks they do get. There's a delicate balance when looking at the teams. Sud wants a team projected to score a decent number of points, but also preferably one whose team is inefficient in the red zone, likely due to a lack of a running game. In general, he's mostly looking at the cheaper options.

Weather is also important for defenses. In contrast to kickers, poor conditions contribute to higher ceilings as offenses are more likely to fumble in wet weather and throw INTs in high winds. The opposition's offensive line is a big key, as one of the most predictive stats is an offense's sack rate allowed. The weaker OLs and QBs who hold the ball longer are more likely to have plays that end in sacks and turnovers. Double digit favorites do the best, but Sud is also a fan of cheaper defenses in general since the variance is higher than any other position.

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As with WRs, stacking TEs with their QBs is a very viable option that helps make a lineups ceiling higher. It's a strategy used by 16 percent of the lineups in the top 10 of the DraftKings Millionaire Maker, and it can be a great tool to help differentiate from other lineups. The reason for this is that the majority of the lineups in the top 10 stack QBs with WRs, so the TE stacks are much less common. Another option is a three-player stack where both a team's TE and a WR are with the QB. This can work only if the QB throws for multiple TDs.

Some players like to stack kickers with their DEFs or RBs. Sud isn't a fan of these stacks, as he doesn't see a correlation with the DEFs and there's actually an inverse one with the RB — the more TDs are scored, the less likely field goals will be kicked. Overall, the lower-priced Ks have higher ownership for the most part, so picking a more expensive one can actually be an interesting contrarian strategy.

A stack Sud does like to use is a DEF/RB stack. The more points the defense scores, the more likely the team is to be ahead, and therefore giving carries to the RB, who in turn will then score points. It's the third most common stack in the DraftKings Millionaire Maker top 10. Avoiding chalk is important with DEFs because the variance is higher than any other position. You can easily get lucky and hit on a lower owned DEF if they happen to score a TD.


Outside of the top tier of TEs, they're highly dependent on touchdowns. Sud is looking for players who get a lot of targets, whose teams are expected to score points, and whose teams typically send them out to run routes rather than stay with the line and block. Stacking with QBs is also a very helpful strategy, particularly if looking to differentiate a lineup from the typical QB/WR stacks.

Low-priced Ks are usually the way to go in cash games, but it can be a contrarian strategy to go more expensive, as other players will usually target cheaper Ks. It's always important to avoid Ks who are set to perform in bad weather, as they're more likely to miss kicks if they even get opportunities at all.

Bad weather helps defenses, on the other hand. One of the most predictive stats to look at for DEFs is the sack rate allowed by the opposing offensive line. Double-digit favorites generally do the best and will be the most popular, but DEFs have more variance than any other position due to having the highest TD dependency. Thus, Sud likes to target cheaper units in GPPs.

If you haven't tried RotoQL yet, check out the site today and start learning from the world's No. 1 DFS player. His tools and lineup builders could help you become a winning DFS player instantly.

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Mo Nuwwarah

Mo Nuwwarah

Mo Nuwwarah is a writer and editor for FantasyWired. He has been a season-long fantasy aficionado for years and has booked a profit while delving into daily format under the name "EVHustler" on DraftKings.