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
- Even though the Cardinals have been eliminated from the playoffs for a few weeks now, David Johnson has been playing 100 percent of the snaps. The Cardinals also openly talked about getting DJ various records including 1,000 receiving yards for the season (he started the day with 841 yards). So with Le’Veon Bell not playing, it was a no-brainer to play Johnson even at $9,800 just as we’ve been all year. I’m confident that if he didn’t get hurt, he would have had a huge game – the Cardinals were force-feeding him targets prior to his first-quarter injury.
- At first, I thought it was close between Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan. But after some thought, I decided Ryan was the better play. He was at home against a dead team with a woeful pass defense, while Rodgers was on the road against a team with everything to play for – and one possibly getting top CB Darius Slay (hamstring) back. The implied team total for the Falcons was six points points higher than the Packers’ number. Also, by playing Jordy Nelson (see below) I had strong exposure to Rodgers already.
- Travis Kelce was mispriced at $5,000. I know the result was frustrating, but his role, plus skill set, plus matchup was worthy of a $6500 player. I never considered avoiding him in cash. Once Jordan Matthews (ankle) was ruled out and we knew Dallas would be playing backups on defense, I did play with some lineups that had both Kelce and Zach Ertz. But rostering Ertz would have left me without one of the three RBs I felt I had to have – and the price would have cost me Jordy Nelson.
- I always take a very long, hard look at unquestioned feature running backs priced below $4,000. This week we had options like Shaun Draughn, Zach Zenner and Denard Robinson. But Draughn was facing Seattle and had DuJuan Harris in the mix. Zenner is part of a broken Lions’ run game and Robinson was coming off an injury plus the Jags had four RBs active. So the cleanest option was Rex Burkhead, who only had Ced Peerman and Tra Carson behind him. Burkhead was also at home as a favorite and plays well in the pass game. With a floor of 15 touches at $3,500, I had to have Burkhead.
- I didn’t play Steve Smith in his first game as a Raven against the Panthers. I did think he was a must-play here in his last NFL game. The Ravens talked about feeding him the ball, raising my target projection from six to eight. Even though the matchup was very difficult against the Bengals, I expected a bunch of bubble screens and red-zone chances for Smith. If the Ravens had anything at all to play for, I wouldn’t have raised the target projection. But since they were eliminated, I did.
- In the three previous games both Doug Martin and Charles Sims missed, Jacquizz Rodgers got 35, 27 and 20 touches. With the Bucs still technically alive for the playoffs, I didn’t expect them to mix in Peyton Barber much at all. So at $4,900 and a realistic 20-touch projection, I didn’t think too hard about Jacquizz.
MY WANT PLAYS
- I wanted some exposure to the Packers’ pass game. Once I decided to go Matt Ryan over Aaron Rodgers (see above), I tried to get Jordy Nelson in. I didn’t think he was an absolute “must” given his price, but I did think he had the best floor/ceiling projection among Mike Evans and Julio Jones.
- I wish I could have played the aforementioned Zach Zenner, Shaun Draughn or Denard Robinson in Paul Turner’s spot. But unfortunately, we’re only allowed to play a maximum of three RBs. With Jordan Matthews (ankle) out, the Eagles only had four WRs active against a Cowboys team expected to play mostly second-stringers. Those WRs included seldom-used Bryce Treggs plus wildly disappointing Dorial Green-Beckham and Nelson Agholor. So I thought it was an OK spot to punt with Paul Turner at stone minimum price – last time JMatt was out Turner went 6-80-0 on eight targets. I did think about playing Geronimo Allison here, but there was still a chance Randall Cobb (ankle) would play and I couldn’t risk it.
- I actually left $400 on the table with this lineup. I would normally rework it or upgrade at defense, but I felt really good about the Cardinals’ aggressive defense against Jared Goff and the inept Rams’ offense. Goff came into the game with seven interceptions and three fumbles in just six starts. They hadn’t topped 21 points in any of his starts.
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. Click here for recap.
Week 11: 131.88 points, won 45.6 percent of head-to-heads. Click here for recap.
Week 12: 134.10 points, won 86.3 percent of head-to-heads. Click here for recap.
Week 13: 133.74 points, won 53.1 percent of head-to-heads. Click here for recap.
Week 14: 178.36 points, won 90.7 percent of head-to-heads. Click here for recap.
Week 15: 153.34 points, won 89.0 percent of head-to-heads. Click here for recap.
Week 16: 111.36 points, won 20.1 percent of head-to-heads. Click here for recap.
Week 17: 131.94 points, won 49.8 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.