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 if my head-to-heads don’t get picked up. For more on what I look for in a cash-game lineup, check out this primer.

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 did not feel good about this week for cash games at all. There were too many guys I wanted to play, too many tricky situations, not enough “scrubs” value out there. There were really only two players on the whole slate I felt like I had to have. In situations like this, I like to scale back my volume. There’s no rule that says “I played $X last week, so I have to play $X this week.”


  • I really, really liked Arian Foster this week. I talked about why in Leverage, but the Cliffs Notes are he came in extremely healthy in a very favorable matchup at a discounted price. Because I started my lineup with Foster, I never really considered putting DeAndre Hopkins in as well. Yes, Hopkins also had a great price and matchup. But I didn’t want to play two guys from the same team with a team total of just 20 points when those two guys correlate so poorly with each other.
  • Foster ended up having a fine game, but Hopkins went ham (again). Meanwhile cheap “in play” RBs such as Lamar Miller, LeGarrette Blount and Chris Ivory went off, compounding my mess. It was especially frustrating that Hopkins went 5-91-2 in the fourth quarter alone when the Texans had a lead. I thought that would be Foster time.
  • I knew I wasn’t going to pay up for Tom Brady or Rob Gronkowski, who were pretty clearly overpriced relative to the other players at their respective positions. I still wanted exposure to a Patriots offense that had a team total around 31 points. The no-brainer way to get that was via Julian Edelman, who we knew would avoid Vontae Davis for most of the night because Davis doesn’t go into the slot. Edelman also had seen at least 10 targets in 10 of his previous 11 games. The result here would have been better if he didn’t mangle his finger and subsequently drop 3-4 easy balls.


  • Although the total in the Bears at Lions game was only 44 points for most of the week, I thought it would be a shootout. Two bad defenses, a “chicken noodle soup” spot for the Lions and the Bears getting healthy. I unfortunately couldn’t pull the trigger on Stafford in cash (see below) and couldn’t afford Calvin Johnson (see below). But I knew Matt Forte was going to play 85 percent of the snaps, be heavily involved in the pass game and get a bunch of red-zone looks. That all played out, as he got 27 touches and a fistful of shots near the goal-line. The reason Forte wasn’t a “must play” for me was because he’s priced appropriately and Alshon Jeffery/Eddie Royal/Martellus Bennett were all healthy.
  • I wanted to get to Antonio Gates at $4600. I just couldn’t find the salary, even if I went down to Colin Kaepernick at quarterback instead of Sam Bradford. So my “punt” TE choices were Larry Donnell, Richard Rodgers and Jordan Cameron. I didn’t feel like any of them had a very good floor, which meant I should have reworked my lineup to get to Gates. But I did like Rodgers as a guy whose role expanded sharply in the wake of Andrew Quarless’ knee injury and as a red-zone threat for Aaron Rodgers. Still, I know better than to “punt” at any position. Going cheap is fine, but only if the play has a reasonable floor and ceiling. In hindsight, Gates should have been a must play. His snap count was sure to rise, the Chargers were sure to be throwing a ton at Green Bay and his price was still very affordable.
  • I thought about Stephon Diggs at the last minute when Charles Johnson was officially scratched. But Eric Decker at $4900 was really the cheapest I wanted to go at wide receiver – which is unusual as I can usually find a few very cheap wideouts that are in good opportunity and matchup spots. But I was fine with Decker going against a Redskins defense that is typically stout against the run, is bad/hurt in the secondary and has shown a willingness to double No. 1 WRs while leaving No. 2 WRs alone. Decker did score once, but fell down one foot short of the goal-line on another chance and dropped a couple easy ones. Other guys I considered in the $5K price range, like Donte Moncrief and John Brown, had better days.
  • As mentioned above, I really liked that Bears at Lions game. Golden Tate has had a quiet year, but I thought this was a breakout spot for him along with Matthew Stafford. Given the Lions’ struggles to run the ball, I suspected they’d funnel the ball to Tate on short throws as extensions of the run game. I did like Allen Robinson ($5900) more, but didn’t want to downgrade to Kapernick to get there when I had a similar projection on Tate ($5200). Obviously, upgrading to Calvin off Tate wouldn’t have been possible unless I completely reworked my lineup – which I should have done.
  • All week I was focused on Colin Kaepernick, Matthew Stafford and Andy Dalton in cash. I played with all of them in my lineup, but the savings off Sam Bradford didn’t get me up to anyone I wanted. So I stuck with Bradford because of pace. I expected both teams to struggle to run and both teams to operate mostly out of the no-huddle. Prince Amukamura was also out for the Giants.
  • The Dion Lewis situation was one I struggled with all week, partly because his price was up $1000 to $5800 and partly because of his abdomen injury. I also talked a lot about how the Patriots had taken extremely run-heavy approaches when facing the Colts in the Andrew Luck era. However, Lewis is a capable between-the-tackles back – I thought he would get 50 percent of the running work and all the hurry-up work. I thought that was enough to warrant a play in a game I actually thought the Colts would keep close (although more than 80 percent of the betting tickets were on the Patriots, the line crept toward the Colts as kickoff approaches). I didn’t really consider going down to a zero in the pass game like Chris Ivory, who also had a far tougher matchup and a much slower game-pace. Obviously, that turned to be a big mistake.
  • There were a whole slew of defenses I was OK with this week. Seahawks, Broncos, Cardinals, Jets, Bengals, Browns, 49ers. So I just made my positional lineup and slotted in which defense fit the remaining salary best. It turned out to be the Jets.


This was the worst week I’ve ever had in DFS. And I deserve it. I came in overconfident and didn’t work hard enough on my lineup. Didn’t work through other options and lineup constructions. Didn’t consider floors correctly at the tight end and quarterback positions. Luckily, I got to relive the misery by writing this article! The silver lining is I’m feeling far more hungry and focused for Week 7.


Week 1: 160.34 points, won 87.5 percent of head-to-heads. Click here for recap.
Week 2: 125.26 points, won 45.0 percent of head-to-heads. Click here for recap.
Week 3: 175.98 points, won 65.4 percent of head-to-heads. Click here for recap.
Week 4: 141.84 points, won 84.2 percent of head-to-heads. Click here for recap.
Week 5: 153.80 points, won 68.4 percent of head-to-heads. Click here for recap.
Week 6: 120.90 points, won 12.1 percent of head-to-heads.