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.
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.
I knew going into the slate that there would be a ton of overlap in lineups. The news around Jack Doyle, DeSean Jackson and Kareem Hunt created some exceptionally strong value. In situations like this, some people will say playing cash is “dumb.” I prefer to think of it as a “prove it” week. In other words, I’ll put the onus on my opponents to prove it on the alleged free squares and what we can do around them.
MY MUST PLAYS— Spencer Ware often had siphoned into Kareem Hunt’s workload through the first three months of the season, playing in passing situations as the complement. With Hunt gone, Ware projected to have a majority share of the early-down work plus the pass-down work he already held. He also was priced at just $4,000 because the Hunt news came after salaries were released. On top of all that, Ware also had one of the best possible matchups against the Raiders. Not playing Ware in cash was lighting money on fire, regardless of the result.
— Jack Doyle (kidney) was ruled out, joining Mo Alie-Cox (calf) on the sideline. It left Eric Ebron as a primary option in a nice spot. The Colts have very little wideout talent behind T.Y. Hilton, who would have his hands full with Jalen Ramsey. This Jags defense funnels targets to the middle of the field, where Ebron operates. Andrew Luck also has one of the league’s highest target rates to tight ends in the end zone. With Ebron stuck down at $4,200 due to the timing of the Doyle news, he was severely underpriced.
— I’ve been trying to free Chris Godwin for two years. His athletic measurables are truly special, as I noted in this article before the 2017 draft. In the NFL, Godwin has shown elite efficiency on his criminally low snaps as I noted here Friday. So with DeSean Jackson (thumb) getting ruled out, there was no way I was missing out on a $3,900 Godwin in this spot — particularly at home as part of an Air Raid offense while matched up against burnable Panthers CB Donte Jackson.
— I was sick all week about playing James Conner over Christian McCaffrey in Week 12. I wasn’t about to pass on the absurd floor of CMC again, this time against a defense ranked 31st in yards per play allowed. McCaffrey’s pass-game plus goal-line role is rivaling Todd Gurley, who was certainly very much in play for just $500 more. But I preferred the projected game environment and pace in Tampa Bay/Carolina.
MY WANT PLAYS— It’s the same story every week: There are more running backs I love than available roster spots. I was always going to play one of Phillip Lindsay, Aaron Jones or Todd Gurley in my third running back spot. I quickly realized that playing Gurley at $9,300 would force me onto another sub-$5K wideout on top of Godwin, and there was no one I felt comfortable with. So I toyed with lineups featuring Lindsay and Jones. In the end, the Lindsay lineups would have put me on Thielen, and I didn’t feel great about him after the Stefon Diggs (knee) news came out. So I stuck with Jones in a home-run spot at home against a Cardinals team that has faced the most rush attempts in the league.
— My quarterback choice came down to Patrick Mahomes, Cam Newton or Jameis Winston. I thought paying an extra $1K plus for Mahomes was not necessary, particularly in a spot where we couldn’t realistically project Mahomes to hit the top of his range in attempts. I also thought that having both Cam and CMC in the same lineup provided a unique floor/ceiling combo. Not only could we get all of the Panthers touchdowns when they’re facing one of the worst defenses in the league, but we also get the upside of McCaffrey’s targets from Newton. So I would have settled for Winston if it came to that, but I preferred Cam.
— I thought wide receiver was really thin this week. As mentioned above, I really didn’t like anything other than Chris Godwin below $5K. And there wasn’t much to like in the $5K-$6K range, either. So it made sense to stick with two of the three $6K+ options I liked in Emmanuel Sanders, Kenny Golladay and Robert Woods. I did have major concerns about the Rams selling out to stop Golladay given the Lions’ lack of other weapons in both the run and pass game, but thought that could be mitigated by a lopsided score. In hindsight, getting up to Woods and down from the Packers to the Chiefs D/ST should have been considered more.
— There were a lot of defenses I was fine with this week. I thought the aggressive Chiefs defense in a spot it would be likely to force a ton of pass attempts from Derek Carr was really strong at $2,500. The Rams, Texans, Browns, Broncos and Packers were also among my finalists. In the end, the nasty weather in Green Bay and the Cardinals’ dormant offense was my favorite. I expected the Packers to control the game and force Josh Rosen into a lot of known passing situations.
Week 13 ResultsGiven how much overlap there was the week, the seemingly small decisions loomed large. If you played Phillip Lindsay or Todd Gurley over Aaron Jones, you likely crushed. If you got to Travis Kelce, you almost certainly smashed. I was unable to get off Jones and it led me down a bad path. I’d also add that this is the first time since September I haven’t played Gurley when he’s been on the main slate. And it’s my worst week since September.
Year-To-Date ResultsWeek 1: 198.72 points, won 76.0 percent of head-to-heads. Click here for recap.
Week 2: 128.38 points, won 32.2 percent of head-to-heads. Click here for recap.
Week 3: 173.06 and 147.96 points, won 57.7 percent of cumulative head-to-heads. Click here for recap.
Week 4: 213.18 points, won 74.0 percent of head-to-heads. Click here for recap.
Week 5: 144.7 points, won 60.5 percent of head-to-heads. Click here for recap.
Week 6: 185.0 points, won 94.8 percent of head-to-heads. Click here for recap.
Week 7: 150.0 points, won 88.3 percent of head-to-heads. Click here for recap.
Week 8: 161.44 points, won 78.7 percent of head-to-heads. Click here for recap.
Week 9: 158.08 points, won 60.1 percent of head-to-heads. Click here for recap.
Week 10: 138.92 points, won 80.5 percent of head-to-heads. Click here for recap.
Week 11: 153.9 points, won 80.2 percent of head-to-heads. Click here for recap.
Week 12: 151.58 points, won 50.1 percent of head-to-heads. Click here for recap.
Week 13: 141.0 points, won 41.1 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. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.