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 a certain volume of head-to-head action every week and then supplement that with other cash games if my head-to-heads don’t get picked up.
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.
I thought the lineup construction this week was relatively straightforward as there were only a few viable plays at QB, RB and TE. We also had Keenan Allen as a lock at WR. The challenge was finding the combos with the best floor/ceiling outcomes and a big part of that was deciding whether we could afford Christian McCaffrey.
MY MUST PLAYS
- I thought Austin Ekeler was a near-lock when Melvin Gordon was a threat for 4-8 touches. Once Gordon was deemed active for “emergency only,” Ekeler became a stone lock. I did expect Troymaine Pope to play about 80% of the Justin Jackson (out, calf) role, but all the injuries in this offense left production paths extremely narrow. Players with a three-down plus goal-line role and a floor of five catches facing the Dolphins are impossible fades in cash.
- The only backups to Wayne Gallman on Sunday were fullback-type Eli Penny and practice squad call-up Jon Hilliman. Based on what I saw in the preseason, I didn’t think the Giants felt very confident in Hilliman. I also knew Gallman had averaged .09 catches per snap in his NFL career. So with a 60-snap projection, he had a realistic shot at 4-6 catches. All of that ignores the fact Gallman was $4,600 at home against one of the league’s worst overall teams. Scoring opportunities projected to be plentiful.
- With Mike Williams and Travis Benjamin joining Hunter Henry on the sideline, Keenan Allen’s already absurd target share was intact. I did expect the Dolphins to show up and make this game competitive considering all of the Chargers’ injuries and their travel. So I was never coming off Keenan’s highly fantasy-friendly role.
MY WANT PLAYS
- The only QBs I considered were Daniel Jones, Russell Wilson and Patrick Mahomes. As I typically do in situations where this position is close, I take the cheapest option. I thought Wilson had paths to downside in the event Seattle could impose its will and turn extremely run-heavy against a terrible Cardinals team. I would have been thrilled to play Mahomes, but it’s rarely going to be optimal in cash to spend $7,500 at QB. Not when Danny Dimes against the worst franchise in sports is at home for $5,300.
- I could sit here and say I considered Christian McCaffrey a stone lock, but I didn’t. Most of the lineups I played around with Sunday morning had Wayne Gallman, Austin Ekeler and Kerryon Johnson. But after thinking about 2v2s such as Kerryon/Lockett vs. CMC/Inman, I decided the uncertain floors of Tyler Lockett and Cooper Kupp just weren’t risking. I realistically could get to CMC, who plays 100% of the snaps as the main vein for a strong offense in a potential shootout.
- The final 2v2 I considered was Evan Engram and Trey Quinn (or Dontrelle Inman) vs. Darren Waller and Paul Richardson. With Terry McLaurin out, I strongly preferred the downfield route tree of P-Rich to Quinn. I also didn’t feel great about having three Chargers (Ekeler, Keenan, Inman). So even though I strongly preferred Engram over Waller, I bit the bullet and went with the Waller/Richardson side. I likely wouldn’t have done it if I wasn’t conscious of the way Indy’s zone funnels targets and high catch rates over the middle.
- I didn’t have Will Fuller in my optimal pool of cash plays. I really wanted to get to Christian Kirk at $5,100. But unable to find the $500, I actually was excited to take on the volatility of Fuller in a good spot against a banged up Panthers secondary. I knew he’d have at least a couple deep shots from Deshaun Watson and at $4,600 had massive upside.
- Regular readers know I’m always trying to fid the cheapest viable defense and am willing to take thin risks. For the second straight week (I played Chargers at $2,500 last week) I chose to attack the Texans. That’s because they still have one of the league’s weakest offensive lines and Deshaun Watson annually is among the league leaders in sack rate. I also thought the Panthers’ offense would play well, which would generate a lot of Watson dropbacks.
Week 4 Results
The key to the week was not overthinking things at running back. If you jammed in the most possible touches while factoring in pass-game roles, you ended up with Wayne Gallman, Austin Ekeler and Christian McCaffrey. So even though I grossly underestimated Will Dissly and got a combined 19.5 points from my WRs, I still was able to have a really good week. Continuing to run hot while paying down at QB and D/ST certainly helps.
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.
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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.