WATCH: WHO’D I MISS ON? WEEK 15
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.
This salary cap opened up this week as injuries hit. Leonard Fournette (quad), Damien Williams (shoulder), Jermaine Gresham (illness), Vance McDonald (shoulder) and Chris Hogan (shoulder) all got ruled out, leading to some different options. In fact, there were a fistful of viable RB plays under $5,000 such as Mike Davis, Semaje Perine, Chris Ivory, Latavius Murray and Jay Ajayi.
MY MUST PLAYS
— Despite all the running back value that opened up, I wasn’t going to battle without Le’Veon Bell in cash this week. Given a realistic carry projection around 25 and a target projection around eight coupled with unique efficiency and a strong matchup, Bell was underpriced even at $9,300. As noted in Leverage, it’s like getting two players in one.
— The easiest play of the week was Kenyan Drake, who has the coveted three-down plus goal-line role we always talk about in this space. The only difference between Drake and some other guys with this kind of role (Todd Gurley, Le’Veon Bell, LeSean McCoy) is price, as Drake was just $5,800. The Bills had sunk to 24th in rush defense DVOA. Most people were aware, as Drake was 74.7-percent owned in the massive $25 single entry double up on DK.
MY WANT PLAYS
— Given how much deeper the running back position was than all others, I knew early on I’d be playing three of them. I had Mike Davis in for most of the week as the unquestioned feature back in a good home matchup against a weak Rams rush defense. But when Leonard Fournette was ruled out, I was more confident in a positive game script and success for Chris Ivory. I expected the Jags’ defense to overwhelm Houston QB T.J. Yates, leading to a ton of short fields and red zone chances. Ivory also has a similar reception rate as Davis.
— I’ve been actively targeting wide receivers against the Panthers for about a month now. Their defense is excellent against the run, excellent against tight ends and excellent against backs out of the backfield. With Aaron Rodgers (collarbone) back, I was comfortable with the explosive Davante Adams at a bit of a discount in this matchup. I preferred him to Jordy Nelson due to major concerns with the veteran’s ability to separate. Even when Aaron Rodgers was healthy earlier this season, Nelson was extremely touchdown-dependent.
— I wanted exposure to Cam Newton in this dreamy matchup against the Packers’ woeful pass defense. I decided to get it through Devin Funchess, the clear-cut No. 1 wideout with a big red zone role since Kelvin Benjamin’s departure. I did have some concerns about Funchess’ floor thanks to an overrated skill set and considered going down to Marquise Goodwin/Jamison Crowder, but prioritized exposure to Carolina’s pass game.
— I didn’t love going below $5,000 at wideout, but I almost had to in order to fit Le’Veon Bell. The two options I considered were Nelson Agholor and Corey Coleman. I ended up on Agholor due to a significantly better matchup against a white-flag-waving Giants defense and a huge role lately. As noted in WR Target Projections and Leverage, Agholor had seen 29 targets over the last three weeks. The slot man also made sense as a quick-hitting, easy option for Carson Wentz’s replacement, Nick Foles.
— I considered Cam Newton, Ben Roethlisberger, Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson at quarterback. Wilson’s price became prohibitive, and I was able to get reasonably priced exposure to Newton and Rodgers through their top wideouts. So I was happy to land on Big Ben, as he’d give me some hedge on Antonio Brown (who I clearly couldn’t afford comfortably).
— My biggest regret by far is at tight end. I spent all week talking about Greg Olsen in Usage, The Edge and Leverage. When it came down to making my lineup, I just didn’t prioritize him even though there was just no downside at a $4,000 price. Instead, I forced in Arizona’s Ricky Seals-Jones thanks to Jermaine Gresham’s injury. If Gresham had played, I would have likely stuck with a lineup that had Pittsburgh’s Jesse James.
— There were a lot of aggressive and talented defenses in good spots this week. Minnesota, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Jacksonville and New Orleans were all good options. But Washington provided much-needed savings at $2,800 against a dead Cardinals team coming across the country. The key to feeling good about the Redskins D/ST play was understanding Arizona’s offensive line injuries coupled with Blaine Gabbert’s history of making mistakes when pressured.
Week 15 Results
I was locked onto playing Le’Veon Bell, Kenyan Drake, Mike Davis and Michael Thomas for much of the week. When the Leonard Fournette news hit, I decided to move up to Chris Ivory and down to Davante Adams. If Adams didn’t get hurt early in the second half, that would have looked really good.
Of course, I was able to salvage the day, thanks in part to Antonio Brown’s injury, so I certainly can’t complain about injuries. In hindsight, going with Cam Newton for my Panthers pass-game exposure and staying on Thomas over Devin Funchess would have made a huge difference.
Week 1: 149.58 points, won 92.9 percent of head-to-heads. Click here for recap.
Week 2: 168.32, won 61.2 percent of 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. Click here for recap.
Week 6: 175.84 points, won 93.2 percent of head-to-heads. Click here for recap.
Week 7: 137.82 points, won 61.7 percent of head-to-heads. Click here for recap.
Week 8: 134.22 points, won 66.7 percent of head-to-heads. Click here for recap.
Week 9: 155.56 points, won 69.0 percent of head-to-heads. Click here for recap.
Week 10: 121.62 points, won 73.8 percent of head-to-heads. Click here for recap.
Week 11: 114.66 points, won 14.6 percent of head-to-heads. Click here for recap.
Week 12: 198.92 points, won 100 percent of head-to-heads. Click here for recap.
Week 13: 94.56 points, won 10.1 percent of head-to-heads. Click here for recap.
Week 14: 164.66 points, won 79.2 percent of head-to-heads. Click here for recap.
Week 15: 128.84 points, won 47.3 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.