I am mainly a cash-game player. Cash games refer to any contest in which roughly 50% of the field gets paid out, such as head-to-head, double up or 50/50. I try to get as much head-to-head action as I can every week and then supplement that with other cash games.
Each week, I’ll review my cash-game lineup in this space. Sometimes I’ll lose, but hopefully I’ll win more often. Either way, I’ll post it here and give you my thought process.
There was an incredible amount of viable cheap plays this week thanks to injuries. Todd Gurley, Jonathan Taylor, Larry Fitzgerald, DJ Chark, Tua Tagovailoa, Irv Smith and John Brown were all ruled out after DraftKings released their prices. That set up my preferred kind of slate: Stars and Scrubs. And with five guys I considered “musts,” I expected to have a good week.
MY MUST PLAYS
* It’s rare I’d consider someone at $9500 a must. But Dalvin Cook’s rushing share, goal-line share, target share and matchup all lined up perfectly. It was also easy to fit him due to all the injury-induced value I mentioned in the intro. Furthermore, the RB position was relatively weak so Dalvin’s spot stood out.
* With Jonathan Taylor (COVID list) ruled out, the Colts only had two RBs on their active roster in Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins. Hines was the no-brainer preferred option due to his pass-catching skill set. He was getting targeted on 18% of his snaps this season, not a surprise given the rate at which Philip Rivers targets RBs. At $4600 with a legit median projection of 4-6 targets plus 50% of the RB carries, I was never passing. Especially given the sneaky up-pace game environment noted by Thorman.
* The Falcons RB spot remains broken, so I wasn’t overly excited about playing Brian Hill. But Hill has played so far ahead of Ito Smith this season and Qadree Ollison (illness) was inactive. So I projected Hill for roughly 70% of the RB touches with goal-line work against a Raiders defense 25th in yards per play allowed. At $4000, I thought Hill was much safer than any of the WR punts like Andy Isabella, Gabe Davis, Laviska Shenault or Keelan Cole.
* The Vikings do not have much depth on offense. So when you remove Adam Thielen and Irv Smith, it gets incredibly condensed. On top of that we had a dome game against the Panthers, a spot Kirk Cousins can succeed in. Standout rookie Justin Jefferson was our top projected value at the WR position. That’s what happens when you’re competing with the likes of Chad Beebee and Bisi Johnson for targets.
* The Calvin Ridley spot was similar to Jefferson’s. Replacing Julio Jones (hamstring) with Olamide Zaccheaus in a home dome game is just a blinking green light for Ridley to take off. That’s especially true against the Raiders. Ridley ($7100) was priced a little close to the top tier of Stef Diggs ($7600), Tyreek Hill ($7800) and Keenan Allen ($8000). But we actually had Ridley projected for the second-most WR points on the slate, behind only Tyreek.
MY WANT PLAYS
* One of the biggest decisions of the slate was whether to pay up for Darren Waller ($6000) or Travis Kelce ($7000). Regular readers know this is something I almost never do on DraftKings. While I thought both were fine plays, the ceiling for a tight end at that price is very multi-TD dependent. More importantly, because of the way DraftKings structures TE salaries, we can find 4-6 targets for roughly $3000 on most weeks. The gap between Kelce and Kyle Rudolph was an absurd $4200.
So with Rudolph ticketed for a role bump thanks to Irv Smith’s (groin) absence and already having some semblance of a goal-line role (one that’s enhanced with Adam Thielen out also), I decided to take the savings. That allowed me to get off the punt WRs and access the absurd ceiling of one of Stef Diggs, Tyreek Hill or Keenan Allen.
* I only had three QBs in my cash considerations: Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen or Ryan Fitzpatrick. As I noted on Saturday night, Fitzpatrick is quietly one of fantasy’s most consistently solid QBs. Whereas the price gap on FanDuel between Mahomes/Allen and Fitz wasn’t wide enough, on DraftKings the $2500 difference between Mahomes and Fitz was massive. It was enough for Fitzmagic to be our top projected value at the QB position on the slate. Since I didn’t like any mid-range WR options that would have fit with Mahomes, I chose to take the Fitz savings.
* My final decision was to pick one of Stef Diggs, Tyreek Hill or Keenan Allen. I really struggled with the call as I liked all three and took it all the way up to lock. In the end, I simply wanted exposure to Mahomes in a spot I expected the Chiefs to be outrageously throw-heavy. And we had Tyreek projected for 21.3 DK points vs. 20.7 for Keenan and 20.4 for Diggs.
But most importantly, I thought punt TE/high-ceiling WR was better than punt WR/Kelce (or Waller). See the Kyle Rudolph notes above.
* I had $2400 left for D/ST. I would have been fine with any of the Chargers, Raiders, Vikings or Jets. I think it’s OK to use the Jets against a QB like Fitzpatrick if I had to at $2100, but preferred the Vikings. They had a far better chance to create a positive game script and Teddy Bridgewater has one of the highest career sack rates in the NFL. Also by using the Vikings, I hedged against a defense TD really hurting my Dalvin, Rudolph and Jefferson plays. Using a defense with two (or three) skill players from the same team is not something I would do in tournaments.
Week 12 Results
When I have five “musts,” I expect to have a solid week because I know a majority of my opponents won’t have all five of those guys. As for the big decisions, I was happy with my stubbornness at punting the TE spot. As I’ve discussed so many times in this space and on the podcasts, I believe it’s right. But of course the key was going with Tyreek Hill instead of Stefon Diggs or Keenan Allen. Considering how razor thin that decision was, I’m just fortunate to finally be on the right side of a Tyreek eruption.
Week 1: 172.10 points, won 72.8% of head-to-heads.
Week 2: 138.34 points, won 66.8% of head-to-heads.
Week 3: 129.10 points, won 59.2% of head-to-heads.
Week 4: 111.60 points, won 28.8% of head-to-heads.
Week 5: 147.78 points, won 48.5% of head-to-heads and 192.96 points, won 100% of head-to-heads.
Week 6: 142.76 points, won 62.5% of head-to-heads.
Week 7: 208.00 points, won 82.3% of head-to-heads.
Week 8: 109.16 points, won 35.3% of head-to-heads.
Week 9: 131.60 points, won 48.5% of head-to-heads.
Week 10: 102.2 points, won 19.1% of head-to-heads.
Week 11: 145.22 points, won 52.7% of head-to-heads.
Week 12: 176.18 points, won 90.6% of head-to-heads.