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.
By the time Sunday morning rolled around, I had a really tight pool of players I was considering at each position. Quarterback was very clear, there were only four RBs I had in play for cash and only four WRs as well. And there was really only one lineup construction that would fit with this narrow pool. It’s weeks like this when I traditionally have fared well.
MY MUST PLAYS
— Once Alvin Kamara was ruled out, alarm bells should have been going off in your head. Latavius Murray was set for at least 90% of the RB touches in a home game against a Cardinals team that plays fast and whose offense likely would be inefficient. Murray, sporting one of the league’s best offensive lines and a big pass-game role, was woefully underpriced at $5,800.
— I considered only three other running backs as options for the other two available spots in my lineup: Leonard Fournette, Chris Carson and Chase Edmonds. The Cardinals’ offensive line against the Saints’ defense was a concern on Edmonds and so was the $6,200 price. I still liked Edmonds but felt fine with the realistic 20-30 touch projection on Fournette and Carson in plus matchups.
— With Will Fuller out, Kenny Stills was set to play every snap opposite DeAndre Hopkins. This is a role that produced the sixth-most Air Yards in the NFL. I wasn’t passing on Stills’ talent, opportunity and matchup at just $4,700.
MY WANT PLAYS
— If Keenan Allen (hamstring) had sat out, Mike Williams would have been a “must.” I did think there was a reasonable chance Allen would be limited, so Williams got a little boost there. Either way, Williams’ monster red-zone role and unfulfilled Air Yards made him a strong play at $4,000. His talent and role were better than Keke Coutee ($4,100), AJ Brown ($4,100) and DaeSean Hamilton ($3,300).
— The only quarterbacks I considered were Russell Wilson, Deshaun Watson, Josh Allen, Matthew Stafford and Ryan Tannehill. Wilson got dinged down when Matt Ryan was ruled out, Allen went out of play with the weather and I simply didn’t need the money to consider Tannehill. So Watson stood out clearly above the pack in a pristine matchup.
— I preferred to find the money for Hunter Henry, Evan Engram or Darren Waller. But I didn’t think it was worth coming off Deshaun Watson or any of my running backs to get there. So the decision was between Cam Brate ($2,700) and Jonnu Smith ($2,800). I thought it was incredibly close but projected Brate for far more routes run and most of those coming out of the slot. I projected Smith to spend a lot of time blocking while Anthony Firkser handled the passing downs. In hindsight, going for the youth in the better matchup was likely right.
— The decision between Michael Thomas and DeAndre Hopkins became clearer for me as the week went on. First, Alvin Kamara was ruled out, which pushed more projected targets toward Thomas. Then Drew Brees was ruled in ahead of a more limited Teddy Bridgewater. And finally once I knew I’d be playing Deshaun Watson, I knew I’d have exposure to Hopkins anyway.
— I was fine with an array of defenses this week ranging from the Chargers ($2,300) all the way up to the Patriots ($4,300). I had D/STs I was fine with at every salary range. So I just let the rest of the lineup dictate. I ended up narrowly deciding to go with Jaguars over the Seahawks in large part because of the DL/OL mismatch favoring Jacksonville.
Week 8 Results
I could make a case Jonnu Smith was a better play than Cam Brate simply for athletic ceiling, but other than that, I don’t see any other ways I could have gone with the lineup. I’d note Latavius Murray was only 67.1% owned in the massive $25 single entry double-up, so we know cash games remain beatable. Always good to get back in winning town.
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.
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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.