WATCH: Adam Levitan examines which players he missed on in Week 8
I’m 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.
The key decision of the week was whether to play A.J. Green at $8,600. He certainly was an awesome play, even at that price, but with such few viable value options, it was tough to fit Green. I chose to get exposure to him through Andy Dalton, allowing a more balanced lineup construction. Let’s break it down in the Week 8 Cash Game Lineup Review.
MY MUST PLAYS
— For the second consecutive week, I considered LeSean McCoy a lock. As noted in last week’s Leverage, McCoy absolutely has destroyed as a home favorite since joining the Bills. He also had a matchup against a talent-starved Raiders defense, plus a QB in Derek Carr who has struggled in 1 p.m. ET starts. So I certainly prioritized McCoy over A.J. Green as running back range of outcomes are almost always tighter than wideouts. I also preferred McCoy to Ezekiel Elliott, who was on the road in a division game.
— Although Mark Ingram’s price had come up to $7,400, I still considered him underpriced in this spot. Not only is he a featured back operating behind one of the league’s top offensive lines, but he’s also quietly an elite pass-catcher. With Drew Brees checking down to running backs so much, the floor on Ingram was really high — especially with the Saints likely to have a lead against the Mitchell Trubisky-led Bears. Much like McCoy, we can pencil Ingram in for four to eight targets and a high catch rate weekly.
— Regular readers of this article know I’m always looking to pay down at QB in cash. Tyrod Taylor certainly was a fine option against a depleted and #bad Raiders secondary, but Dalton was in the perfect spot. As I noted in Leverage, the Colts were near the bottom of the league in nearly every pass-defense category despite facing one of the weakest quarterback schedules. With the weather not in question in Cincinnati, Dalton’s floor was higher than his name value would suggest. Also by playing Dalton, I gave myself exposure to Green without actually having to pay the roster-debilitating $8,600 tag.
MY WANT PLAYS
— If you were teaching someone how to play cash games on DK, DeSean Jackson would be an example of someone to avoid. His red-zone usage and catch rates typically are low, and his average depth of target typically is high. But he has been used a bit differently by the Buccaneers, and he had a good matchup with the Panthers. With James Bradberry likely to shadow Mike Evans, DJax would get to run a majority of his routes against burnable Daryl Worley. I still likely would have avoided Jackson if there was more value on this slate, but I decided to take the cheap $5,100 tag and grab the six to eight targets.
— The Cowboys’ D was the cheap one I targeted all week. I knew the Bengals, Eagles and Saints all were really strong, but spending just $2,300 on the Cowboys gave me the flexibility I needed. With Redskins left tackle Trent Williams (knee), center Spencer Long (knee), right guard Brandon Scherff (knee) and swing tackle Ty Nsekhe (core) all out, I expected Kirk Cousins to be under pressure. The wet and possibly windy conditions in Landover, Md., were a bonus.
— I was really torn on the flex spot, where I had about $4,800 to spend. I thought Joe Mixon, Hunter Henry, Ted Ginn and Bilal Powell all were relatively close. I chose to go with Mixon in the end because he at least had a chance to be a featured player in a good matchup. I knew he had mouthed off a bit after last week’s usage, but the Bengals had to see that he’s their best option. Meanwhile, Henry, Ginn and Powell all were in timeshares and therefore had upside capped.
- I figured Jordan Reed would be highly owned off his Week 7 breakout and cheap $4,700 tag. But as we discussed on the Daily Fantasy Edge, I suspected a lot of Reed’s usage in that game was due to the scoreboard. He still was one of many mouths to feed in Washington — including fellow tight end Vernon Davis, running back Chris Thompson and new starter Josh Doctson. So I didn’t mind going for a Reed fade to save money. Tyler Kroft fit with Dalton and has become an every-down player with Tyler Eifert done.
- My last two decisions lately have come down to two wideouts spots. I again was in a tough spot this week, considering Kelvin Benjamin ($6,400) and Michael Crabtree ($6,300) versus Pierre Garcon ($6,100) and Doug Baldwin ($6,900). The touchdown expectation for the first pairing was higher, but I didn’t love having two wideouts in the windiest game (Benjamin and DJax). I also wanted some exposure to Russell Wilson. So with the weather clearing in Philadelphia right before kickoff and the Eagles struggling so badly at outside corner, I went with the second pairing. In hindsight, using a wideout with C.J. Beathard under center in such a tough spot at Philly was a mistake.
Week 8 Results
Given how the usage played out, I believe the core of McCoy, Ingram, Mixon, Dalton, Cowboys D and DJax was the right play. I certainly could have made a case for finding the $500 to get to Jack Doyle at tight end, which would have made a massive difference. But given that Wilson attempted 41 passes and Baldwin had the best matchup of his wideouts, I’m fine with the $6,900 spend on Baldwin. And for the third consecutive week, I was fortunate to get a massive game from a cheap defense — really running pure in that spot.
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.
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.