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.
This was a very odd week due to the lack of strong RB options. That rarely is the case, and it made for a lot of different build options.
MY MUST PLAYS
— Alvin Kamara’s unique pass-game role coupled with one of the best possible run-game matchups (home vs. Carolina) was really strong, even at $8,200. I don’t think Kamara would have been a “must” on a different week, but the RB options on this particular slate were oddly weak. I only had Kamara, Derrick Henry, Phillip Lindsay and Miles Sanders as real options in my pool. And I didn’t think the floor/ceiling combos on Lindsay/Sanders were very strong, leaving Kamara and Henry as musts.
— As noted above, this was a weird week at the running back position. It was so odd that I considered Derrick Henry a lock at $6,900. I almost never play Henry on DraftKings because he’s hurt badly by the full-PPR format, and his lack of game-flow independence lowers his floor drastically. But given the state of the RB position, his matchup against the run-funneling Jaguars and the direct path to 25 touches, this was a unique case.
— Julio Jones had the best possible matchup for a wide receiver; home against the Bucs. He also benefits from the absence of Austin Hooper and Devonta Freeman. While Michael Thomas’ floor/ceiling combo was obviously higher, I didn’t think Julio’s was $1,300 behind.
MY WANT PLAYS
— The only QBs I considered were Matt Ryan, Jameis Winston and Baker Mayfield. Although I was OK with any, I certainly preferred Ryan’s setup; home against the league’s biggest pass funnel with no run game and Julio Jones/Calvin Ridley at wideout. I did play around with lineups that came down from Ryan to Mayfield and then used that money to get up to Dallas Goedert at tight end. But in the end I didn’t want a Baker/Odell Beckham stack — I much preferred to be heavy on Ryan/Julio.
— The only reason Odell Beckham wasn’t a “must” was because I thought Julian Edelman was a strong consideration for $100 less. That was particularly true given the injuries to Mohamed Sanu and Phillip Dorsett. But in the end I wanted some exposure to the Browns’ pass game (either through Mayfield or Beckham) in the perfect home vs. Dolphins spot.
— Given I was spending on Alvin Kamara, Derrick Henry, Julio Jones and Odell Beckham, there was no way I could afford more than the $5K range at RB3. I knew Miles Sanders’ role was shaky in one of the league’s slowest and most inept offenses, but thought his pass-game role gave him some upside that Brian Hill didn’t have. If I could have found $200 I likely would have gone to Phillip Lindsay.
— There were no WRs under $6,500 I was truly comfortable with. So I was fine simply punting off my WR3 spot — I didn’t think I’d be losing much even if I took a bad score from JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Tim Patrick or N’Keal Harry. I did think Harry was the best play of that trio as an every-down player in a somewhat competent offense, but the weather, matchup and position in the offense were all weak. So I was OK saving the $300 (which I needed in this lineup) with JJAW, who I expected to be an every-down player following the injuries to Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor.
— I really wanted to get to Dallas Goedert at tight end. And as I noted above, a big reason for considering Baker Mayfield was to get to Goedert. But I couldn’t come off Matt Ryan, partly because I was fine with Ben Watson. Even at 39 years old, he’s had a truly elite role in terms of routes run and the Patriots would be playing without Mo Sanu and Phillip Dorsett in bad weather.
— Regular readers know I’m trying to pay down at D/ST every week. This week’s option was clearly the $2,100 Bengals, at home with a legit chance to win against a Mason Rudolph playing without three of its best players: Maurkice Pouncey, JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Conner.
Week 12 Results
In hindsight, the big mistake was being unwilling to come off Matt Ryan — even when the other options warranted it. I simply couldn’t find paths to him failing in this setup and was proven wrong. If I had gone down to Baker Mayfield and up to Dallas Goedert, I would have had a nice week. That said, I didn’t think this Ryan game was in the range of outcomes.
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.
Week 12: 117.44 points, won 35.0% 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.