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 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.
This turned out to be the highest-scoring week for the “right” plays I’ve ever been a part of. Obviously if you didn’t play Christian McCaffrey, Michael Thomas, Aaron Jones and/or Will Fuller, you likely had a rough week. That’s what happens when all four were set up very well, priced too low and go off for top-3% outcomes.
MY MUST PLAYS— DraftKings has been unable to get a handle on Christian McCaffrey’s price. We have a guy playing 100% of the snaps, operating as a primary target in the pass game and showing extreme efficiency in the run game. Yet at $8700, there’s no real gap between him and mere mortals. I was shocked CMC was only 52.0% owned in the massive Single Entry $25 Double Up.
— With John Ross out, we knew Auden Tate would play somewhere around 100% of the snaps in arguably the best possible matchup for a pass game. Tate was priced at just $3500. Whereas ownership leverage concerns could have led you off Tate in tournaments, I was never getting off him in cash. Making a stand on a situation like this when we know he’ll be 70% owned or more in cash is not the kind of play I make.
— I know it sounds crazy to some, but I had Will Fuller locked all week. Remember that I played him in cash last week against the Panthers when he went 3-23-0. I wasn’t about to miss out on him this week at $4500 in the slate’s best game environment. It certainly helped that Kenny Stills (hamstring, ankle) was out.
— I consider Dalvin Cook fantasy’s No. 2 player behind only McCaffrey. He was facing a barely-there Giants defense dealing with three injuries to their linebacker corps. Cook’s superior pass-game role and big-play ability gave him the slightest of edges over Ezekiel Elliott.
MY WANT PLAYS— I only considered three QBs this week: Matt Ryan, Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson. I actually had enough money ($200) in this construction to get to Wentz, but I thought the floor/ceiling combo of Ryan was better simply because of game flow. Whereas the Eagles could win with the run game or their defense, the Falcons could not. I also really wanted Julio Jones, but when I decided to go with a non-Julio lineup I knew Ryan would give me some exposure there.
— When the Rex Burkhead news broke, I toyed with a bunch of lineups that had James White as my RB3. The one I came closest to going with got me up to Julio Jones instead of Keke Coutee. In the end, I decided that Ezekiel Elliott home against a run-funneling Packers defense was the better side. In most situations, I’m going to lean toward spending my cap on RB in cash when it’s close.
— Every time Coutee has been healthy and playing more than 60% of the snaps, Watson has targeted him at an extremely high rate. The Falcons defense is also designed to force throws underneath, where Coutee operates. So with Kenny Stills out and Coutee locked into the slot role, I was fine with it at $3400.
— There weren’t any tight ends I really wanted to play this week. Zach Ertz and Evan Engram were a bit too expensive for my preferred construction, I feared the Bears’ nasty defense really keying on Darren Waller. The old guys (Greg Olsen, Jimmy Graham) didn’t excite me. So I was fine taking more exposure to the no-doubt best game environment on the slate with Austin Hooper, who clearly has the eye of Matt Ryan.
— This Panthers defense is extremely underrated at both pass defense and pass rush. I also thought there was a good chance the offense could get a big lead against the Jags’ weakened defense, forcing Gardner Minshew into a lot of dropbacks. At $2600, the Panthers D/ST was easily my favorite value defense.
Week 5 ResultsThe lineup I played was not the correct “math” play because James White projected really well and Keke Coutee did not. I knew this and still went with I thought was right – jamming in three running backs whose floor/ceiling combo was better than spending up at wideout in my opinion. So I was really happy with that because I don’t think simply running an optimal off a projection (that likely has a lot of guesswork in it) and expecting to win is realistic in today’s games.
Year-To-Date ResultsWeek 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.
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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.