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.
I loved the pricing on DraftKings this week. With Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr. and all the other top-tier wideouts priced up very high, I immediately knew it would be a tight cap. More on that below.
MY MUST PLAYS
- I knew I wasn’t going to play Eli Manning because Cam Newton was only $300 more on DK. If you read Leverage or listened to The Edge, you knew how I felt about Cam. So I didn’t want to go into cash without one of Eli or Odell Beckham Jr. given their home matchup against a historically bad pass defense. I also didn’t mind being off Antonio Brown at a whopping $9,900 as I researched more about his middling history against the rugged Bengals defense. So Odell became the clear choice for me.
- I wasn’t exactly certain how the Chargers would change their offense to compensate for Keenan Allen’s absence. But I knew that Travis Benjamin got 7 targets following Allen’s Week 1 injury, I knew San Diego gave him a $24M contract in the offseason and I knew he had explosive 4.3 speed. So at $4,400 at home against the Jaguars, the floor was there.
- Regular listeners of the podcast know I’ve struggled with a lot of really bad games from my TE spot over the last couple years. I was determined to plug that leak and forced myself to pay up a bit for Delanie Walker at $4,500. The Lions have been brutally inept against tight ends since last year and LB DeAndre Levy’s absence (calf) wasn’t going to help that. On top of that, the Titans openly talked about regretting not getting Delanie more involved against the Vikings in Week 1. I normally ignore coachspeak like that, but it made too much sense in this spot and with a player who led all tight ends in targets per game last year.
- DeAngelo Williams came into this week averaging 24.0 touches per game in his last eight full ones (without Le’Veon Bell). Given the Steelers’ strong offensive line and potent offense, I could not ignore that usage at $7,100 — $2,200 less than Julio, $2,800 less than Antonio Brown etc. As noted above, the wideout salaries have gotten bloated to the point where we at least have to question how viable 2.5x salary is on them.
- I made a conscious decision to fade the inefficiency of T.J. Yeldon and TD-dependent nature of LeGarrette Blount. I certainly thought a lot about using Rashad Jennings for my RB2 spot, but I rarely roster game-flow dependent backs in cash. We knew that if the Giants got behind, Shane Vereen would be getting the snaps. So I ended up on Anderson as a solid home favorite on a team extremely committed to the run and facing the most injured defense in the league.
MY WANT PLAYS
- Will Fuller is not the kind of player I typically use in cash games. He’s a rookie wide receiver who runs a majority of his snaps deep down the field, which often leads to a low catch rate. That’s not good on a full-PPR site like DraftKings. But I loved the spot for Fuller against a Chiefs defense that isn’t the same without Justin Houston and Sean Smith. I also have repeatedly talked about how high I am on Brock Osweiler in Bill O’Brien’s up-tempo, QB-friendly system. So although Fuller doesn’t typically fit the mold of a cash-game WR, his $4,200 tag made it very easy to take a shot.
- Min-priced quarterbacks with 300-yard and multi-TD upside who are playing with seriously explosive weaponry against a weak secondary don’t come around very often. So on a week with tight pricing, I was fine with “punting” on Josh McCown. It hurt not to have Cam Newton in there given the spot, but I just couldn’t make it work. As noted in Leverage, McCown came in with eight 300-yard days and 15 multi-TD days in his last 22 full games.
- The last two spots open on my roster were FLEX and D. I had Marvin Jones and Patriots in at first, but switched to Willie Snead and Raiders late on Saturday night. Perhaps it was a mistake as Jones was at home looking at massive usage against a leaky Titans secondary. Although I rarely use Saints on the road, I liked the spot for Snead working on the inside – where the Giants are also most vulnerable. So I was willing to sacrifice my D to get the lower aDOT in Snead.
Week 1: 100.38 points, won 7.3 percent of head-to-heads.
Week 2: 160.0 points, won 87.0 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.