CASH Game Strategy Reminders
The first thing to discuss with regards to cash games is contest selection. What? Yes, contest selection matters for cash games as well. Let’s walk through the type of cash game contests that I would focus on for NFL DFS.
Find large Contests.
The 11 man double-ups might seem great as 5/11 will place and you only have to beat 6 people. Then you really notice the chalk and that two or three “pros” have the exact same lineup minus one player. It’s not that all of them are sharing lineups, but its that they’ve done this long enough that they have a trusted process that will lead them to the same spot. Can you beat them? Yes. Is it annoying to sweat in an 11 man contest? Yes. Go for the larger contest. Sort by the size of the contest descending and then go from there.
- 50/50‘s…. Simple math, they’re the best in terms of the pay-line with 50% of the field cashing. You aren’t pulling back a full 2x but you will want to target the largest 50/50’s you can find.
- Double-Ups … Same logic here on the size of the contest, find the bigger ones and preferably the ones with SINGLE ENTRY into them.
- 3-man … Some will enjoy a 5 man contest or even the 10 man leagues, but one alternative to the normal cash games will be the 3 man contests. Look for ones that arent full close to lock as those generally will give you better variance on the players in them.
BALANCE, BALANCE, BALANCE
- Remember to focus on trying to get a balanced lineup in cash games. We take a little less risk with game stacks in cash, but like tournaments we are seeking the best plays each week. Sometimes with cash we get suckered into playing “must own” plays and when there isn’t obvious value it really makes things risky. Try to focus on a balanced lineup each week with guys who are going to come through.
IDENTIFY WEAK POSITIONS
- Each week look at the rankings and determine if the top ranked players are premium players or not. For example, if you don’t see Gronkowski, Ertz, Kelce, etc. listed as top TE plays then it’s likely a position to pay down for that week.
WEEK 11 CASH GAME PLAYS
Each week we are going to post these CASH game plays early in the week. It’s often a good indicator of the early week rankings but things will change with late week injuries or late scratches. Monitor the Optimizer and Scout Rankings for updates as the week moves on.
The general theme I am noticing for the slate this week is we MUST find our balance across lineups. This is normally the case in cash games but I am really STRESSING it this week. The highest total is 54 between the Saints and Bengals in Cincinnati and I don’t see that game going off. Atlanta and Cleveland is another high total game but in Cleveland as opposed to the faster and higher scoring Atlanta surface. All in all, there’s points out there this week but it doesn’t feel like there are many EXPLOSIVE games on the slate, which means we need just solid floor production from our picks this week.
All prices listed below are FanDuel prices and players in BOLD on the left are who we project to be the highest owned players in cash games (double check close to Sunday lock for accuracy)
|Scout Rankings||Picks of the week|
|Carson Wentz (DK – $6,300/FD – $7,700): Wentz gives the appearance of being an elite QB over his last six games (1,893 passing yards and 14 TDs), but he’s still looking for his first impact game of the year. His completion rate (71.0) is the best of his career with strength in TDs (15) and minimal Ints (3). Carson failed twice in his last three games to deliver a game-tying or game-winning TDs in the late two minutes, which would transform Philly to possibly being 6-3 compared to 4-5. The Saints allow the second-most Fantasy points to QBs with three teams posting impact games (TB – 417/4, ATL – 374/5, and LAR – 391/3). New Orleans plays well vs. the run, which helps the upside of the Eagles’ passing game. Possible top QB play of the week.|
Deshaun Watson (DK – $5,700/FD – $7,800): Watson passed for fewer than 240 yards in each of his last four games while averaging only 23.3 passes per game. Over a four-game stretch earlier in the year, Deshaun passed for over 300 yards in each game (310/2, 385/2, 375/2, and 375/1) with his only impact game coming in Week 8 (239/5). Washington ranks 24th in the NFL defending QBs with two disaster games (NO – 363/3 and ATL – 350/4) while showing failure risk vs. WRs in five of their last six games (16/273/2, 15/211/2, 15/211/1, 16/218, 17/237/2, and 17/274). The addition of Demaryius Thomas does give Watson another scoring weapon. The Redskins play well enough against the run to force Houston to the air to win the game. Possible impact game.
ALSO MONITOR VALUE QB: RGIII or Lamar Jackson, depending on who starts for the Ravens this week will both be popular “value” plays at QB.
|Scout Rankings||Picks of the week|
|Melvin Gordon (DK – $8,900/FD – $8,700): Gordon continued his way to the best season of his career with a nice game in Week 10 (165 combined yards with one TD and five catches). The Chargers had Melvin on the field for over 80 percent of their plays over the last two games. He averages 20.1 touches per game while being on pace for 2,033 combined yards with 22 TDs and 72 catches if he played 16 games. Denver is league average defending RBs with success in five of their nine games. Three teams scored over 33.0 Fantasy points from the RB position (KC – 189 combined yards with two TDs and three catches, NYJ – 38/323/1, and LAR – 39/270/2). I expect the Chargers to have a high level of success running the ball setting up a special day for Gordon. Possible 150+ yards with two TDs and value in catches.|
Saquon Barkley (DK – $8,700/FD – $8,800): Last week Barkley scored fewer than 20.0 Fantasy points for the first time in 2018 last week (100 combined yards with four catches on 24 touches). Saquon only has two games with over 100 yards rushing while averaging 21.4 touches per game. He’s scored seven of the Giants 17 TDs with high value in the passing game (62/530/2). Tampa ranks 24th against vs. the RB position with five teams scoring over 30.0 Fantasy points. Tampa allows 4.4 yards per rush with RBs scoring 15 TDs while also showing failure in two matchups defending RBs in the passing game (NO – 9/112/1 and CHI – 7/121/1). Barkley looks poised to post an impact game with multi TDs and plenty of yards and catches. New York may finally play from the lead helping his overall success and touches.
Ezekiel Elliott (DK – $8,500/FD – $8,400): Last week Elliott dominated the Eagles when he gained 187 combined yards with two TDs and six catches. Ezekiel now has four games with over 100 yards rushing while scoring six TDs with improving value in the passing game (35/262/2). He averages 22.6 touches per game. Atlanta ranks 31st in the NFL defending RBs with six teams scoring over 30.0 Fantasy points. The Falcons allows 5.2 yards per rush with RBs scoring 13 TDs while showing high risk defending RBs in the passing game (75/579/4 on 90 targets). His floor looks to be 30.0 Fantasy points with a couple of TDs while hitting on a long play in the passing game.
Alvin Kamara (DK – $8,200/FD – $8,900): Kamara remains the second highest scoring RB in PPR leagues with elite value in TDs (14) and catches (55). As great as he’s been, Alvin only has two impact games in yards (Week 3 – 190 and Week 4 – 181) which came before Mark Ingram returned to the field. Over his last four starts, Kamara averaged 19.5 touches per game compared to 22.5 touches over his first four games. Philly fell to 8th in RB defense after struggling vs. RBs in two of their last four games (NYG – 271 combined yards with one TD and 11 catches and DAL – 192 combined yards and two TDs and seven catches). Over the first five games of the season, Philly held rushers to fewer than 80 yards in each game. Seems to be slightly against the grain compared to the top three RBs, but New Orleans has a better overall offense.
Dion Lewis (DK – $4,800/FD – $5,900): Lewis ended up being a trap in Week 10. The Patriots focused on shutting him down, which led to a short game (68 combined yards with two catches). Dion did finish with 22 touches. Over the last three games, he averaged 21.3 touches per game with one TD and 12 catches. Lewis has been on the field for over 70 percent of the time over the last four games. The Colts allowed over 30.0 Fantasy points to RBs in four games (30.40, 31.60, 41.70, and 41.20). Indy has disaster downside defending RBs in the passing game (72/581/2 on 93 targets) with four teams having double-digit catches (WAS – 16/122, NE – 11/89/1, OAK – 11/75, and JAC – 11/112/1). The Colts allow 3.9 yards per rush with RBs scoring eight TDs. His touches and matchup suggest the green tag for the second straight week. Those Fantasy owners who lost their bankroll on Dion last week will have a chance to regain some cash in the daily games.
Doug Martin (DK – $4,500/FD – $6,200): Over the last three games, Martin gained 250 yards with six catches while averaging 15 touches per game. Doug’s gaining 4.3 yard per rush, which is well above his failed success on four of his last five seasons (3.6, 3.7, 2.9, and 2.9). The Cardinals allows 4.3 yards per rush with RBs scoring 14 TDs. After allowing 30+ rushes over the first eight games, Arizona held the Chiefs to 23 rushes in Week 10. Almost a suckers play as the Cardinals do allow the fourth-most Fantasy points to RBs.
|Scout Rankings||Picks of the week|
|Michael Thomas (DK – $8,800/FD – $8,800): Thomas climbed to 2.70 Fantasy points from the lead of WR scoring in PPR leagues after posting his fifth strong game of the year (16/180/1, 12/89/2, 10/129, 12/211/1, and 8/70/2). Last week he left some stats on the table after the game got out of hand. The success of the Saints run game over the last six games has led to fewer than ten targets in five of those starts. Michael averages 9.7 targets per game. The Eagles fell to 28th in WR defense (140/1749/9 on 216 targets) with three disaster showings (TB – 20/276/3, TEN – 19/271/2, and MIN – 20/228/1). Four WRs have over 100 yards receiving vs. Philly (Julio Jones – 10/169, DeSean Jackson – 4/129/1, Corey Davis – 9/161/1, and Adam Thielen – 7/116/1). The Eagles should be without CB Jalen Mills, which is another positive for Thomas. A favorable matchup with another chance at 7+ catches for 100+ yards with a TD with more upside if the Saints are forced to throw.|
DeAndre Hopkins (DK – $7,900/FD – $8,600): Hopkins has a TD in four straight games (five total) pushing his season total to seven. DeAndre has four games with over 100 yards receiving (6/110/1, 10/169/1, 9/151, and 10/105/1) with one other 20-point Fantasy game (6/82/2). This season his catch rate (70.0) is much higher than in 2017 (55.1) while averaging ten targets per game. Washington played poorly defending WRs over the last six games (NO – 14/273/2, CAR – 15/189/2, DAL – 15/211/1, NYG – 16/218, ATL – 17/237/2, and TB – 17/274) leading to them falling to 26th in WR defense (127/1763/10 on 185 targets). CB Josh Norman hasn’t played well in 2018, and the Texans will get Hopkins is more favorable situations in the passing game. Very winnable matchup while expecting to extend his TD streak with over 100 yards receiving.
T.Y. Hilton (DK – $6,100/FD – $6,800): Fantasy owners are still waiting for that impact game from Hilton. Over his last four games, T.Y. has only 12 catches for 251 yards and two TDs while averaging 5.5 targets per game. He only has seven catches over 20 yards in 2018, which is well below his success in his last full season with Luck behind center (28 catches over 20 yards). The Titans are 24th in NFL vs. WRs (121/1614/11 on 185 targets) with four teams gaining over 200 yards (MIA – 16/201/2, HOU – 17/268/2, LAC – 11/258/2, and NE – 15/203). CB Malcolm Butler will give up big plays and TDs, which looks like the perfect storm for Hilton to finally deliver an impact game. Excellent shot at 100+ yards with a chance at multiple TDs. The Titans play well vs. the run, and they will be concerned with the Colts’ TEs in this game.
Demaryius Thomas (DK – $4,900/FD – $5,600): With two more weeks to learn the Texans’ offense, Thomas should be much more involved in the passing game in Week 11. In his first game for Houston, he caught all three of his targets for 61 yards. On the year with a lower tier QB throwing the ball, Demaryius only has two games of value (6/63/1 and 5/105/1) while averaging only 6.6 targets per game. CB Danny Johnson will have a step up in playing time with Quinton Dunbar battling a shin injury. Johnson has been a liability so far in his limited snap. Either way, Thomas will have a favorable matchup with a much better opportunity for success with Houston. In the mix for sure at this level.
Emmanuel Sanders (DK – $6,200/FD – $7,200): When Sanders plays well in 2018, he delivers 100+ yards with a TD which was the case in three games (10/135/1, 7/115/1, and 6/102/1). Over his last two games, Emmanuel came up short in production (4/57 and 6/47 on 13 targets). He averages 8.2 targets per game while expecting his chance to rise going forward with Demaryius Thomas traded. The Chargers struggled in two of their first three games vs. WRs (KC – 12/206/3 and LAR – 21/265/3), but they’ve held five of their last six opponents to 125 yards or fewer with only one WR TD over the last four games. Overall, LA is now 8th in WR Fantasy defense (105/1339/10 on 164 targets). A volume type wide receiver who should avoid the Chargers’ top twp CBs on most plays.
|Scout Rankings||Picks of the week|
Zach Ertz — If you can afford Ertz he is worth locking in as Ertz’s #1 target week in and week out.
OJ Howard — Howard draws a favorable match-up against the Giants this week and the Bucs TE has consistently been a red zone target this season.
|Scout Rankings||Picks of the week|
|There’s no must own defense this week on paper and given the pricing this week I would expect ownership to be really spread out on a few different teams. We’re seeking a team that has a good upside in that the opposing Quarterback is turnover prone or has taken a high number of sacks this year. The Cardinals face Oakland who certainly aren’t threatening any record books lately and are at home where they should be able to generate some pressure on Carr.|
One interesting play this week is the Giants on a short week at home against the Bucs. Tampa has given up the most sacks in the NFL and as a team has thrown 19 interceptions (Winston/Fitztragic). The Giants defense for only $3700 definitely could give up 20 points this week but should generate some positive defensive results for their price.