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 was a very weird week because there weren’t many guys I actually wanted to roster. It’s never a good feeling to pore over the entire wide receiver pool for hours and come up with nothing to be excited about. We also were missing true building blocks for cash games like Christian McCaffery (not on slate), Dalvin Cook (overpriced for matchup), Austin Ekeler (not on slate/Melvin back), Alvin Kamara (ankle issues) and David Johnson (back concerns).
MY MUST PLAYS
— Le’Veon Bell has a true three-down plus goal-line role for the Jets. Yes the offensive line is a mess, but we just can’t find that kind of usage often — especially on a smallish 10-game slate. Most importantly, Bell ($6,400) was priced as if Luke Falk was starting instead of Sam Darnold. That means we can project far more plays and plays in the red zone.
— DraftKings made the right move in dropping the salary floor at D/ST. But it did it with the wrong team. The blitz-happy Jets ($1,500) were facing a Cowboys team playing without both of their starting tackles and playing at home. There were literally no other defenses on the entire slate that stood out to me, so it made it very easy to take the monster savings with the Jets.
— I felt really good about playing DeAndre Hopkins as his salary dropped ahead of one of the season’s most likely shootouts. Kenny Stills (hamstring) remained out, and I expected the Chiefs to pay more attention to Will Fuller after last week’s breakout. At a weak WR position, Hopkins stood out due to his underlying stats.
MY WANT PLAYS
— I was all set to lock in George Kittle ($5,200) at tight end. Then came news Friday that he strained his groin, and then a report from Adam Schefter Sunday morning that it wasn’t clear if Kittle would even be able to finish the game. At that point, I decided I couldn’t risk Kittle in cash and went with Austin Hooper. I wanted exposure to Atlanta’s pass game for its likely shootout against Arizona, so Hooper was the slight choice over Mark Andrews.
— I only considered Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, Deshaun Watson and Matt Ryan at quarterback. Given the lack of non-QB options I wanted to pay up for and the spot for the Chiefs, it was easy to spend up for Mahomes. Given the game environment, Tyreek Hill’s return and raw matchup against the Texans’ secondary, I thought it was the best spot Mahomes would find all season.
— Leonard Fournette and Malcolm Brown were both locks for me until the Rashaad Penny (hamstring) news popped up. At that point, the usage for Chris Carson projected similarly to the kind Fournette would get. And Carson was only $1,700 more than Brown. In hindsight, not getting onto Carson over Brown and then coming off Cooper Kupp was likely a mistake. I knew Brown’s pass-catching projection was very low, the 49ers’ DL had a huge mistmatch over the Rams’ OL and he’d need a TD to beat his salary. Those are not typically the kind of plays I like to make.
- There were no wide receivers between Adam Thielen ($6,700) and Jamison Crowder ($4,000) I really wanted to play. None. That left an odd situation where I didn’t have a lot of flexibility at the wideout spot. I had concerns about Crowder’s snap count and playing three Jets in the same lineup. But Darnold’s history with slot receivers, Adam Gase’s slot WR tendency and the matchup gave Crowder the edge over guys like Preston Williams and Keke Coutee.
- I didn’t love spending $7,100 on Cooper Kupp with Brandin Cooks (concussion) active and the 49ers’ defense one of the best in the league. I really wanted to get to Julio Jones at $8,000 but couldn’t make it work unless I came off Mahomes. I thought about playing Odell Beckham over Kupp and leaving $400 on the table but simply was too scared of the floor Odell has shown.
Week 6 Results
Sometimes I look back and think the lineup was fine — it’s just football and I lost. This is not one of those weeks. In hindsight, paying $7,100 for Cooper Kupp in this spot was completely unwarranted. By just taking a shot at a cheaper wideout, I could have gotten from Malcolm Brown up to Chris Carson in the wake of the Rashaad Penny news. It’s a reminder we need to be far more careful at the top end of the salary structure than the bottom.
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.
Week 6: 122.62 points, won 27.0% 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.