Week 13 was the final weekend of the regular season and brought us a wide-open cash slate, with many viable paths. Jayden Daniels was the most expensive quarterback play of the season, which was the big decision of the slate considering the insane scores he has been posting. Let’s talk through that big decision, and a few others, before we cover results.
We got a curveball late in the week when news came out that Utah would be starting Luke Bottari at quarterback, who was only $4,500. While he is a fifth-year walk-on who has not played a single snap of FBS football, Utah was a huge favorite versus porous Colorado. He was in play but not a priority for me because I expected Utah to fully be on team #EstablishIt. Jaden Rashada was also going to start for Arizona State at $4,500, but then it was announced he was being suspended for some portion of the game for being late to a meeting — which took him easily out of consideration.
My preferred quarterback options were Jaylen Henderson, John Rhys Plumlee, and Jayden Daniels. While I wanted Daniels, his price tag was difficult and I thought the other two were in great spots and more reasonably priced. Both are dual-threat quarterbacks with plenty of upside as well. Given that Texas A&M could provide some resistance to Daniels and possibly chew up the clock with long drives versus this LSU defense that cannot get stops, I ultimately was okay with the uncomfortable fade of the Heisman favorite.
RJ Harvey was in my lineup all week long and was my favorite running back play of the slate in a vacuum, but he did not end up in my lineup. When news came out before lock that Elijah Badger was going to miss, I rearranged my lineup. With Utah down to their sixth quarterback, I felt much more confident that Utah would run the ball upwards of 75% of the time and likely play from ahead — which made the Ja’Quinden Jackson play a bit more comfortable. Despite BYU being a dog and him not having the best projection (we factored some risk of LJ Martin taking the lead role via hot hand), I thought Aidan Robbins had a lot of touch upside and he has shown plenty of burst lately now that he is healthy.
Ollie Gordon was someone that scared me all week, both playing him or fading him. He has not looked healthy the last few weeks, but he always seems to find a way to hit big plays, rack up huge volume, and sniff out the end zone. His upside was unmatched at the position, and part of the reason I ended up fading Harvey is that I did not feel comfortable fading BOTH Daniels and Ollie.
I absolutely hated going into lock without RJ Harvey, but I convinced myself the overall lineup was better (the final 3v3 was Harvey/Noah Thomas/Stovall versus Jackson/Brennan Presley/Omeire).
Tetairo McMillan was an absolute priority versus Arizona State. He was someone I was not willing to give up this week considering the position was fairly weak. Once Badger was out, Brennan Presley (coming off a 19-target game last week) was really the only other receiver I really wanted to find a way to get into the lineup.
On the Badger news, Troy Omeire and Melquan Stovall stood to potentially have bigger roles. While I thought Omeire was probably the play that made sense due to his recent production, reports that Jordyn Tyson was being ramped up (after missing the last year) meant that he could steal some snaps from outside receivers. The thesis of the Stovall play was that his snaps were more secure because he operates out of the slot where he should get high catch rate opportunities, and really he was potentially the guy to soak up the Badger volume (and there was a lot of it).
If I decided to force the RJ Harvey play, Noah Thomas or Ramel Keyton fit the lineup and I thought they were both decent plays (I preferred Thomas slightly). I was a bit concerned that Tennessee would be more run-heavy and run away with the game early. Noah Thomas stood to benefit from Evan Stewart being out and paired with Jaylen Henderson.
There were probably about 10-12 other wide receivers that you could argue were playable in cash just due to the lack of separation in the plays. Dalton Carnes was super cheap in a Houston offense that was missing Matthew Golden. Kobe Hudson was only $5,200 and UCF was in a great spot. Lincoln Victor and Jacob Cowing were similar plays, but they were so priced up that it was tough to get either of them with McMillan. Jordan Moore and Squirrel White were interesting direct pivots to Badger (same price), which definitely made them appealing guys to use if you did not want to fully rebuild lineups.
While I did cash the large-field single-entry double-up (only because 40% of people did not have Ollie Gordon), I bubbled a large majority of smaller-field double-ups and probably deserved the less-than-stellar overall results on this slate. Running backs that have limited pass-game involvement really need to score touchdowns, and mine did not. Also, the galaxy-brain airball at wide receiver did not help.
I do not have any regrets at quarterback. Bottari was quite highly owned and ran like an absolute god to get 15 fantasy points on five rushes and 10 pass attempts. The Jayden Daniels fade was going great for a while, but he eventually went nuts in the second half (as expected) to get 40. Plumlee and Henderson were both fine, and I thought they were the most sensible options for cash games.
Running back did not really work out with the cheap volume guys. Well, at least the results part did not. Ja’Quinden Jackson had 21 carries but only managed 68 yards with no touchdowns — which really hurt the lineup. Aidan Robbins had 16 carries for 74 yards and no touchdowns. They handled plenty of volume but were light on the results. Such is life. RJ Harvey predictably scored several times en route to a big game. It is difficult to not have regrets there, especially when I had such confidence that he would have a good game. I think the mistake there was putting more priority on a wide receiver spot, which certainly has more variance. The Harvey/Thomas/Omeire 3v3 I was looking at won by 20+ points. Unsurprisingly, Ollie did Ollie things — you were really in trouble if you faded him.
At wideout, T-Mac nuked and Presley was fine, but the zero from Stovall stung. He did have two targets and ran the second-most routes among ASU pass catchers, but the issue is they ran so much wildcat due to Rashada’s general terribleness and inability to show up to meetings on time. Teammate Troy Omeire, who was fairly high-owned, caught a long touchdown to throw some extra salt into the wound. In retrospect, the best wide receiver play from ASU was certainly Jalin Conyers at $3,900, who ended up basically playing quarterback for a large portion of the game (he had played some wildcat the last two weeks, so that was certainly in play) in addition to some tight end snaps. Eight carries, three targets, and goal-line upside is a dream play for a sub-$4K wide receiver on a slate like this, but it was certainly an unknown going into the game how it would play out.
That is it for the last cash-game recap of the season. We now turn our attention to conference championship week and then a wonky bowl season where we will see slates that are more reliant on playing-time considerations based on a myriad of team-specific factors. Hopefully you have enjoyed these weekly recaps and, as always, thank you for reading!
Season Results in Largest Single-Entry $5 Double-Up:
Week 0: 87th-percentile lineup (W)
Week 1: 12th-percentile lineup (L)
Week 2: 49th-percentile lineup (L)
Week 3: 33rd-percentile lineup (L)
Week 4: 92nd-percentile lineup (W)
Week 5: 42nd-percentile lineup (L)
Week 6: 64th-percentile lineup (W)
Week 7: 77th-percentile lineup (W)
Week 8: 83rd-percentile lineup (W)
Week 9: 34th-percentile lineup (L)
Week 10: 97th-percentile lineup (W)
Week 11: 49th-percentile lineup (L)
Week 12: 46th-percentile lineup (L)
Week 13: 62nd-percentile lineup (W)