I am mainly a cash-game player. Cash games refer to any DraftKings contest in which roughly 50 percent of the field gets paid out, such as head-to-head, double up or 50/50. For more on what I look for in cash games, check out this primer or the positional looks for quarterback, running back and wide receiver.
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 and give you my thought process.
MY MUST PLAYS
- I thought it was a perfect situation to pay down at quarterback this week. The pricing made the salary cap tight and a lot of the top QBs were in imperfect situations – Aaron Rodgers/Matt Ryan on the road, Tom Brady against the Seahawks, Drew Brees with the worst possible matchup and Cam Newton/Ben Roethlisberger down in pace. So with Marcus Mariota at home, just $700 over the minimum and facing a funnelish Packers defense which has struggled without Sam Shields, I had to have Mariota. He’s repeatedly shown a big ceiling in his short NFL career and now has six 4-TD games in his 22 NFL games.
- David Johnson was the no-brainer play of the week. The 49ers create a unique situation for opposing RBs because they play fast, lack talent and are typically trailing. The Cardinals had one of the highest implied team totals of the week at 30. So even at $8,400, Johnson was a must in cash and everyone knew it. He was an outrageous 84.8 percent owned in the big $5 double up on DK.
- I thought Alshon Jeffery was the most underpriced WR on the board. I expected the Bears to struggle to run the ball, forcing the game plan to the air. That’s where Alshon would be matched up with burnable rookie Vernon Hargreaves. Of course, by locking onto Alshon I was unable to roster wideouts in a similar range such as Jordy Nelson, Stefon Diggs or Julian Edelman. Perhaps I should have been more flexible on a player who has shown such a wide range of outcomes this season.
- In the previous two games, Darren Sproles had played on 122-of-151 snaps (80.8%) and touched the ball 36 times. The Falcons came in giving up the second-most receptions to running backs, thanks in part to an injury-ravaged linebacking corps. So no matter what coach Doug Pederson said, this is the kind of usage I want to use in cash games. Sproles’ ability to dominate in the pass game gives him a big floor anytime we can project him for a lot of snaps. I did think Sproles was worth considering as a fade in tournaments as it became clear he’d be massively owned. His touchdown expectation is always going to be low.
- With Travis Benjamin (knee) inactive, we knew Dontrelle Inman would have to be featured. He also had a tremendous matchup against a Dolphins secondary playing exposed Byron Maxwell and converted WR Tony Lippett at CB. In a home game with Philip Rivers, I was fine with Inman’s floor for $2300 less than more explosive teammate Tyrell Williams. I was more confident in Inamn’s market share in this situation than I was in J.J. Nelson’s, Rishard Matthews’ or Eli Rogers’.
MY WANT PLAYS
- Once I had Inman locked in, I knew I would be avoiding some of the mid-range WR plays I didn’t feel too comfortable with (Stefon Diggs, Julian Edelman, Kelvin Benjamin). Inman gave me the salary flexibility to go all the way up to Antonio Brown, which is something I wanted because I loved the spot for the Steelers. When Ben Roethlisberger is healthy and at home, Brown’s floor/ceiling combo is among the highest in the entire league. Whereas we’ve seen Mike Evans struggle at times with double- and triple teams, the Steelers know how to manufacture offense through Brown.
- Melvin Gordon’s usage has been at elite levels for nearly two months now. He’s a three-down plus goal-line back – and has shown newfound explosiveness of late. I definitely preferred Le’Veon Bell in DraftKings’ PPR format because he’s essentially a receiver (40 targets previous four weeks) on top of all his rushing duties, but I just couldn’t find the extra $600 to get to him. I was already at my minimum with Mariota, Sproles, Jags D, Inman and Lance Kendricks.
MY FORCED PLAYS
- The spot for the Jags D/ST was certainly fine as they were home against mistake-prone Brock Osweiler. The problem was they’re not an aggressive defense and have an extremely weak pass rush. So even though I knew it was a very thin play, I didn’t want to blow up my roster to move up to something like Rams or Redskins or Jets. The D/ST conundrum is something I continue to struggle with – is it worth spending an extra $1500 for the “best” defense on the week when we know the position is by far the most unpredictable?
- I did not want to play Lance Kendricks, a veteran NFL player with no history of production who was on the road with Case Keenum at quarterback. I really wanted to get to Antonio Gates, Delanie Walker or Travis Kelce. However, I ran into the same salary issue as I did with Jags D/ST – if I wanted to move off Kendricks I would have to come off Antonio Brown. In the end, I didn’t think the upgrade at TE was worth it.
Week 1: 100.38 points, won 7.3 percent of head-to-heads. No recap available.
Week 2: 160.0 points, won 87.0 percent of head-to-heads. Click here for recap.
Week 3: 182.26 points, won 94.5 percent of head-to-heads. Click here for recap.
Week 4: 131.12 points, won 42.5 percent of head-to-heads. Click here for recap.
Week 5: 149.70 points, won 60.9 percent of head-to-heads. Click here for recap.
Week 6: 169.48 points, won 75.5 percent of head-to-heads. Click here for recap.
Week 7: 183.12 points, won 76.7 percent of head-to-heads. Click here for recap.
Week 8: 109.3 points, won 21.7 percent of head-to-heads. Click here for recap.
Week 9: 135.04 points, won 47.8 percent of head-to-heads. Click here for recap
Week 10: 147.90 points, won 54.1 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.