Fantasy Football: Adam Levitan's Week 9 Cash-Game Lineup Review


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.

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 9

If you’ve never played NBA on DraftKings, you may have never experienced a lock-time like Sunday in NFL. It’s extremely rare we get true out-of-the-blue news because of how well the NFL is covered and how much time there is between games. But with Zach Ertz (hamstring) a surprising late scratch and Leonard Fournette (team rules violation) shockingly deactivated, we had a lot of scrambling to do between noon and 1 PM ET.



  • T.Y. Hilton was coming off four atrocious games in his last five outings, dropping his price to just $4,900 – the lowest it’s been since 2013. With a plus matchup against a decimated Texans defense, a capable Jacoby Brissett and chatter out of Indy about getting Hilton going, I wasn’t about to pass on this value in cash. I talked more about the spot for Hilton here, here and here last week.
  • I didn’t consider Ezekiel Elliott underpriced at $9,000. But I had him with the highest projected floor on the slate in his likely final game before the 6-game suspension begins. With a legit 30-touch projection at home against a Chiefs team ranked near the bottom of most rush defense categories, I wanted to find a way to get to Zeke. Even before the Trey Burton news, I had a 2-TE lineup with Jack Doyle and Vernon Davis (plus Funchess over Michael Thomas) in order to find the funds for Elliott.
  • When news broke that Zach Ertz (hamstring) was a surprising scratch, I knew I was going to play Trey Burton either at tight end or in the flex. A unique athlete who has consistently flashed in the preseason, Burton was one of only two tight ends active for the Eagles. The other was plodding blocker Brent Celek. So at $2,500 against a Broncos defense which forces opponents to the air and forces passes inside, Burton was just way too cheap for his role and situation. Note the Broncos were 27th DVOA against TEs this year. The question was whether to use Burton and Jack Doyle together, considering how strong of a cash play Doyle was. I explored that option, but couldn’t find a combo I was happy with elsewhere.



  • The cheapest quarterback I felt comfortable with in cash was Jared Goff, as explained in Leverage. The quarterback I liked best on the week, however, was Dak Prescott, who had a better matchup than Russ Wilson and was more likely to be forced into a shootout than Drew Brees. I played with a lot of Goff lineups but again couldn’t find a high-floor play in the $4K range. In hindsight, going down to Goff and going up from Demarcus Robinson to a play like Buck Allen, Jack Doyle or Robert Woods would have made a lot more sense.
  • With Mark Ingram fumbling and getting pushed for work by electric Alvin Kamara, I thought it was important to find the extra $500 to get to Todd Gurley at the RB2 spot. I also strongly preferred Gurley to Kareem Hunt, who quietly isn’t a three-down back (as noted on the Edge) and often doesn’t play when the Chiefs are in hurry-up mode. Meanwhile, I knew Gurley would have fresh legs as the Rams came out of their bye and would be the focal point of an offense catching a Giants team that has fallen off the rails. With CB Janoris Jenkins suspended, DE Olivier Vernon still out and run-stuffing LB B.J. Goodson sidelined as well, the game script and efficiency were likely to be strong for Gurley.
  • Before the Zach Ertz news broke, I didn’t have Michael Thomas in my lineup. And I was actually OK with that even though from a projection/model standpoint he was an extremely strong play. We simply haven’t seen a monster game from Thomas as the Saints are running their offense through the running backs and relying on their wildly-improved defense. But I still liked Thomas significantly more than Devin Funchess, even from a point-per-dollar perspective. So when we got Burton, I used a lot of that cap space to get up to Thomas against the Bucs’ anemic pass rush and secondary play.
  • My two favorite defenses on the week for cash were the Eagles and Seahawks. They were both elite units facing shaky offensive lines at home. But the savings down to the Colts was too much to ignore once incapable Tom Savage was announced as the Texans starter. The Colts actually have a reasonable pass rush, ranking 13th in PFF’s grades.
  • I’ve talked a bunch about Dez Bryant’s price this season and how he’s not the kind of player with a ceiling at $7,800. But at $6,400 against one of the league’s worst pass defenses, this was the spot I wanted to jump on. By pairing Dez with Dak, I also gave myself strong correlation that helps when playing a high number of head-to-head games. I had Bryant projected for nine targets, easily the most of anyone $6,500 and under. He also remains one of the best red-zone wideouts in the NFL.
  • Once I had Dak, Dez and Zeke, it made sense to get a bit of a game stack going. By doing this, it gave my cash lineup a bit of GPP appeal and again raised the ceiling for a high volume of head-to-heads. So even though I didn’t feel great about Demarcus Robinson, the Chiefs only had four wideouts active in this likely shootout. The problem is the No. 2 wideout spot in this Chiefs scheme is so low-volume. Whereas Robinson was a fine play when we were desperate for salary relief, the injections of Chris Ivory and Trey Burton into the slate meant I should have found my way off.

Week 9 Results


It’s nice to book a fourth straight winning week, but I’ve certainly made some mistakes during this month that have cost me. This week was failing to move off Demarcus Robinson even though we no longer needed him and simultaneously failing to stick with Jack Doyle. That said, getting Dak, Hilton and Gurley right was a strong foundation that put me on the path to profit regardless of other decisions.

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, 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.


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.