Adam Levitan's Week 5 Cash-Game Lineup Review


Week 5 Lineup Review

I am mainly a cash-game player. Cash games refer to any contest in which roughly 50 percent of the field is 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 aren’t 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.

LU Review Week 5

The salary cap was unbelievably tight on DraftKings this week. If you told a random friend you were thinking about rostering Brian Hoyer, LeGarrette Blount, Josh McCown, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Wayne Gallman etc., they’d say you were insane. We’d also know they didn’t try to make a team on DK this week. When the cap is very tight like this, we have to accept lower floors than usual. We also can’t always jam in all the higher-priced guys we want if there isn’t anyone viable to play in the cheap range.



  • As I noted in Week 5 Leverage, Dez Bryant arguably was the most mispriced player on the slate at just $6,500. His game log didn’t look good, but he had seen a lot of Janoris Jenkins, Patrick Peterson, Aqib Talib and Trumaine Johnson through the first four weeks. Now Bryant had a home game against rookie Kevin King and the Packers in the highest-scoring game on the slate. So we had a player who still was getting 10 targets per game and should have been priced around $7,500.
  • I also highlighted the spot for T.Y. Hilton in Leverage. Similar to Dez, Hilton’s game log was deceiving. He dealt with Scott Tolzien throwing him passes in Week 1 and Patrick Peterson covering him in Week 2, and he played in an impossible spot at Seattle in Week 3. With Hilton’s massive home/road splits and a matchup against literally three of the worst cornerbacks in the NFL, I wasn’t going to pass on him at $6,000 against the 49ers. The ceiling was just too massive at that price.



  • Given the structure and context of the slate, I knew I wanted to pay down at quarterback. I’ve repeatedly talked in this space about why that’s an effective cash-game strategy, especially when there isn’t a lot to like in the mid-tier. So without the cap space to get up to Dak Prescott at $6,800, the choice pretty clearly was between Brian Hoyer ($4,700) and Josh McCown ($4,500). I preferred Hoyer slightly because of durability and the game being played indoors, but I thought it was exceptionally close. The Browns already had given up the fourth-most fantasy points to QBs despite facing Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco, Jacoby Brissett and Andy Dalton. So with my lineup not having the $200 to get to Hoyer, I was perfectly fine with McCown.
  • I really liked the spot for Pierre Garcon against a Colts defense that had given up more chunk passing plays than any team in the NFL. Garcon also was coming off a game against Patrick Peterson, so I figured his ownership would be a bit depressed, and his salary was very fair at $6,100. Garcon is the X receiver in 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense, so I knew the volume would be there. Playing Garcon also gave me exposure to Hoyer, so he served as a bit of a hedge against not having him as my QB.
  • I actually preferred Evan Engram over Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Engram is the better talent, and he had the better pass-game role and the better quarterback. But $500 went a long way on this slate, and ASJ had one of the two top matchups for TEs — against the Browns. This Cleveland team gave up the most fantasy points to tight ends last season and already had been hit by Jesse James (6-41-2), Ben Watson (8-91-0) and Tyler Kroft (6-68-2) this season. With the Jets’ receiver situation in dire straits, ASJ’s target share was secure.
  • Regular readers of this article know how I feel about three-down plus goal-line backs playing as home favorites with strong implied team totals. That situation perfectly described Todd Gurley on Sunday. So I thought it was worth taking a very valuable $2,000 of cap space to go up to Gurley from Melvin Gordon, who was playing as a road dog. I knew Gordon appeared to be healthier than he’s been lately after he fully practiced each day last week and Branden Oliver (hamstring) was out, but there was chatter about Austin Ekeler handling some pass-down work. So despite Gurley playing a division game against a talented Seahawks defense, I thought his role and situation was more secure. It turned out to be the mistake of the week for me.
  • I wanted to get to Le’Veon Bell over Ezekiel Elliott, but I didn’t think I was giving up a ton by saving the $700. While the Jaguars had been bludgeoned by the run, their defense is far more talented overall than the Packers. And Zeke’s increased pass-game role this season keeps his floor high. So in a game I was very confident would be the biggest shootout of the week, I was happy to get exposure to a player who was a lock for 20-plus touches.



  • There were no wideouts under $6,000 I liked for cash. I certainly was interested in Torrey Smith, as noted in Leverage, but he’s not the kind of player I use in cash. The volume and quality of targets he gets are just too volatile. So if I wanted to stay up in the $6,000 range at WR with Bryant, Hilton and Garcon, I’d have to take a chance at a cheap RB. I thought about Wayne Gallman, but he was part of a three-man committee in a broken Giants run game. I didn’t have the cap space to get to Ameer Abdullah, Duke Johnson or Aaron Jones. So the best choice was LeGarrette Blount, a guy I almost never use because he’s so touchdown dependent. But with the Eagles set up well against a Cardinals team coming across the country for a 1 p.m. ET start with a very questionable offense, Blount’s touchdown expectation was high — especially with Wendell Smallwood (knee) out.
  • I really wanted to play Eagles D/ST as a correlation play with Blount. I’ve talked a lot about this Cardinals offense lately on the Daily Fantasy Edge, and Arizona was missing its starting left tackle and left guard — plus David Johnson, of course. But when needing to sacrifice salary, I’ll always look at D/ST because it’s the most random position. The only defenses that fit with this lineup were Dallas, Arizona and Green Bay. Perhaps I should have gone with Dallas, as both of Green Bay’s tackles were questionable and the Packers have one of the league’s highest pass rates.

Week 5 Results


Cap space clearly was an issue this week. It’s easy to say I should have played Hoyer over McCown, Bell over Gurley, Eagles D over Cardinals D and Duke Johnson over Blount. Unfortunately, we were playing with a very tight cap, so that just wasn’t possible. The biggest impact on my roster was playing Gurley when Gordon was $2,000 cheaper. Had I prioritized Gordon, it would have freed up a lot of space and obviously given me a big edge in results.

Year-To-Date Results

Week 1: 149.58 points, won 92.9 percent of head-to-heads. Click here for recap.
Week 2: 168.32 and 147.92 points, won 61.2 percent of combined head-to-heads. Click here for recap.
Week 3: 95.28 points, won 25.6 percent of head-to-heads. Click here for recap.
Week 4: 130.86 points, won 40.1 percent of head-to-heads. Click here for recap.
Week 5: 123.26 points, won 43.2 percent of head-to-heads.


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.