I am mainly a cash-game player. Cash games refer to any contest in which roughly 50 percent 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.
Lamar Jackson, Christian McCaffrey and Michael Thomas each are having historically great statistical seasons. They also all were in strong matchups and game environments. The tricky part of the week was figuring out if we still could show a profit on their rising price tags — or if we could accept weaker plays in the name of balance.
MY MUST PLAYS
— I thought there were five very strong running back plays this week. The one I never wavered on was Josh Jacobs, who had arguably the best possible matchup (home vs. CIN), an easy 20-touch projection and a lock on goal-line work. With DraftKings inflating the price of all the other workhorse RBs, Jacobs’ nice $6,900 tag stood out.
— There was a brief moment I considered a Michael Thomas lineup over a Christian McCaffrey one. But in reality, I couldn’t come off CMC in this home spot against the Falcons. Unlike last week, CMC was a “must” for me because we had viable cheap options at running back, wide receiver, tight end and defense. And to top it off, other than Thomas, the strength of the wideout position was in the mid-range.
MY WANT PLAYS
— I only considered two quarterbacks: Lamar Jackson and Kyle Allen. Given Lamar’s floor/ceiling combo and the $6K options, I either wanted to get up to the NFL MVP or punt it off with Allen. Getting to the $7,700 tag was made easier by Miles Sanders’ $4,100 tag.
— Once Jordan Howard (shoulder) was ruled out, Miles Sanders was thrust into play. It also created a situation where I’d have to fade two RBs out of CMC, Dalvin Cook, Josh Jacobs, Brian Hill and Sanders. I thought about going Hill/Ebron over Sanders/Olsen but thought Sanders’ known pass-game role and explosive talent was the better side. I’m typically never fading three-down backs with good offensive lines and a 15+ touch projection at $4,100.
— DJ Moore was underpriced for a role that had seen him average 10.0 targets per game over the past month. He also had an excellent 1-on-1 matchup against the Falcons’ DBs. In a week where I didn’t love really any wideouts once price was considered, Moore stood out.
— Once Emmanuel Sanders (ribs) was declared in, I knew Deebo Samuel became thin at $4,000. But I thought the WR position as a whole was weak, so I wanted to lean cheap where possible. I also preferred Deebo to Russell Gage ($3,300) for game environment, matchup and natural talent.
— I knew I’d be paying down at tight end given the context of the slate. I thought it was really close between Eric Ebron and Greg Olsen and would have been fine with either. In the end, I felt more secure with Olsen’s elite usage.
— One of my final decisions was who to play between Mohamed Sanu, Tyler Boyd, Curtis Samuel or Calvin Ridley. I had enough money to any of them. I went Sanu and left $400 on the table as I projected him for an every-down role in a pass-centric gameplan for the Patriots against the Eagles’ burnable CBs. I didn’t want to play Curtis Samuel as I already had three Panthers. I thought the floor on the Bengals was a little too low to go Boyd. In hindsight, Ridley’s upside, presence in the Buy Low Model and talent was probably correct. That’s especially true considering N’Keal Harry was active for the first time.
— Regular readers know I’m always trying to pay down at defense in cash. The fact DraftKings has dropped the salary floor below $2K puts even more merit in that route, especially when we have something viable at $1,500. The Cardinals were that as two of the 49ers’ best blockers, Joe Staley and George Kittle, were out. I liked the Saints, Ravens, Raiders and Vikings — but not enough to spend another $1,500+ to get there.
Week 11 Results
This turned out to be my best week of the season even though the Mohamed Sanu play was likely a mistake in the wake of the N’Keal Harry news. I was happy with the decision to never waver off McCaffrey, punt D/ST with the Cardinals and pay up at quarterback for a truly unique situation. Whereas I’ve typically spent down at quarterback consistently, taking a step back and realizing Lamar Jackson isn’t a standard case was key.
Week 1: 139.42 points, won 23.7% of head-to-heads.
Week 2: 132.52 points, won 54.3% of head-to-heads.
Week 3: 180.74 and 164.04 points, won 75.9% of total head-to-heads.
Week 4: 152.0 points, won 77.7% of head-to-heads.
Week 5: 239.6 points, won 86.8% of head-to-heads.
Week 6: 122.62 points, won 27.0% of head-to-heads.
Week 7: 116.16 points, won 26.9% of head-to-heads.
Week 8: 169.66 points, won 82.2% of head-to-heads.
Week 9: 203.42 points and 148.8 points, won 70.1% of total head-to-heads.
Week 10: 157.82 points, won 63.8% of head-to-heads.
Week 11: 151.48 points, won 88.6% of head-to-heads.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is adamlevitan) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.