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|
|Cam Newton (DK – $6,200/FD – $8,600): Just when Fantasy owners were shopping in another lane in Week 12, Cam comes through with a top two Fantasy score at QB on Sunday when he passed for 357 yards and three TDs. Newton is the sixth highest scoring QB while being within a game of the second spot in four-point TD leagues. Over the last two games, Cam has lost his value as a runner (2/10 and 2/2). He has two TDs or more in each of his last nine games while being on pace for 4,475 combined yards with 38 TDs. Seattle has the third-best defense in the league against QBs with no team scoring over 26.0 Fantasy points. Four of the last six QB passed for over 300 yards, but no QB has over two TDs against the Seahawks. Grinder type game that will require him to find his running shoes to fill his salary bucket.|
Russell Wilson (DK – $5,600/FD – $7,700): Wilson has fewer than 250 yards passing in his last nine games while averaging only 27.8 passes per game. Russell has three TDs in five games while being on pace for 37 TDs. His value as a runner remains short in all but one game (Week 10 – 9/92). The Panthers rank 25th against QBs with two teams scoring over 30.0 Fantasy points (NYG – 383/3 and PIT – 325/5). QBs have 23 passing TDs against Carolina. Playing well, but Seattle would rather run the ball to keep their defense off the field. If Cam Newton can have success in this game, Wilson will come along for the ride.
|Scout Rankings||Picks of the week|
|Melvin Gordon (DK – $8,600/FD – $8,900): After missing Week 7, Gordon delivered four straight solid games (19.30, 27.50, 21.60, and 21.60 Fantasy points). He slipped to 5th in RB scoring in PPR leagues while averaging 20.6 touches per game. Melvin scored over 30.0 Fantasy points in three of his first six games. On the year, he has 11 TDs with over 100 combined yards in seven of his nine starts. Gordon landed back on the injury report this week with a hamstring issue that appears to be minor. The Cardinals allow the fifth-most Fantasy points to RBs with four teams scoring over 30.0 Fantasy points. Arizona did play better defending RBs in their last three games (9.80, 21.10, and 23.00 Fantasy points) while facing SF, KC, and OAK. Overall, RBs gain 4.4 yards per rush with 14 rushing TDs against the Cardinals. The Chargers run their offense through the RB position, which gives Gordon an excellent shot at the top RB score of the week with multiple TDs. If his hamstring is truly minor, he looks like almost a single at the RB1 position in the daily games in Week 12.|
Joe Mixon (DK – $6,800/FD – $7,300): Mixon struggled to find running room last week against the Ravens leading to only 14 rushing yards on 12 carries, but he did score a TD with some value in the passing game (3/38). His struggles did invite more playing time to Giovani Bernard (47 percent of the snaps) after missing the previous four games. Joe would be on pace for 1,522 yards with 12 TDs and 48 catches if he played 16 full games. His best two games came in Week 1 (149 combined yards with a TD and five catches) and Week 8 (138 combined yards with two TDs and three catches). Cleveland ranks 26th vs. RBs with three of their last five opponent scoring (43.20, 42.20, and 45.20) over 40.0 Fantasy points. The Browns allow 4.7 yards per rush with RBs scoring 14 TDs. His matchup does look favorable with multi TD upside, but I’d like to see A.J. Green back on the field to help Cinci’s overall offense.
Matt Breida (DK – $5,700/FD – $6,400): After three straight short games (5/15, 16/42, and 12/44), Breida ran wild on the Giants leading to his best game of the season. He finished with 132 combined yards with two TDs and three catches while receiving the most touches (20) on the year. His success pushed him to 19th RB scoring in PPR leagues. His only other playable game (24.90 Fantasy points) also came at home in Week 2. The 49ers had him on the field for 60 percent of their plays in Week 10, which was his second highest rate of the year. Tampa ranks 27th vs. the RB positions with six different teams scoring over 30.0 Fantasy points from the RB position. The Bucs allow 4.5 yards per rush with RBs scoring 18 TDs. Priced to payoff, but Matt needs to play better on the road, and San Fran’s starting QB will need to move the ball in the first road start of his career.
Josh Adams (DK – $3,800/FD – $5,700): Adams will be the attractive low option at RB this week after flashing in his last game (72 combined yards with a TD and three catches on ten touches). Game score led to him seeing short touches while receiving the bulk of the RB playing time (55 percent) for the Eagles. Philadelphia needs a huge bounce back game after getting drilled in New Orleans last week. The Giants are 21st vs. the RB position with two of their last three opponents scoring over 30.0 Fantasy points. New York allows 4.5 yards per rush with RBs scoring 14 TDs. An excellent gamble at this salary level.
James Conner (DK – $7,800/FD – $7,900): Conner now has two straight flat games (14.30 and 10.90 Fantasy points) while remaining fourth in the NFL in RBs scoring in PPR leagues. James has over 100 yards rushing in five games while scoring 11 TDs, which includes four games with two TDs. He averages 4.6 yards per rush with value as well in the passing game (45/411/1). Overall, James sees about 21.8 touches per game. Denver is 20th defending the RB position with four teams scoring 30.0 Fantasy points or more. The Broncos allow 4.5 yards per rush with RBs scoring nine TDs. Even with some risk vs. the RB position, Denver did hold their last four opponents to fewer than 100 yards rushing in each game with no rushing TDs. The Broncos had their worst showing defending RBs in the passing game in Week 11 (LAC – 8/127). Seems due for another nice game while being rated highly in the projections, but there are some signs that his path to success in the matchup won’t go as smoothly as expected.
|Scout Rankings||Picks of the week|
|Odell Beckham (DK – $8,800/FD – $8,500): This season eight WRs average over 20.0 Fantasy points per game in PPR leagues. Odell currently sits 8th with five games with more than 100 yards receiving and five games with eight catches or more. His catches have been short in two straight games (4 and 4), but he has picked up the pace in TDs (five in his last six games). Beckham has over ten targets in eight games while averaging 10.6 chances per game. In Week 6, he caught six of ten targets for 44 yards vs. the Eagles. Philly fell to 31st in WR Fantasy defense (158/2004/12 on 240 targets) after getting drilled by the Saints’ WRs in Week 11 (18/285/3). Five teams scored over 55.0 Fantasy points against Philly plus they’ll be without their two starting CBs again this week. The trick here is Eli Manning having enough time to test the Eagles in the deep passing game. All signs point to a nice game by Odell with a chance at a huge impact game if he hits on a long TD.|
Alshon Jeffery (DK – $5,800/FD – $7,200): Jeffrey killed a lot of Fantasy owners in the season-long and daily games over his last three starts (4/35, 4/48, and 4/33) while receiving only 18 combined targets. His game looked sharp in his three of his first four contests (8/105/1, 8/7/2, and 7/88/1) giving Fantasy owners the sense that they hit Fantasy gold with his sliding value on draft day. His stats over seven games projected over a full year would come to 85 catches for 965 yards and nine TDs. His best game of the year did come against the Giants in Week 6 (8/74/2). New York ranks 12th defending WRs (117/1692/8 on 188 targets) with most of their failure coming in three of their last five games (PHI – 14/202/2, ATL 21/255/1, and TB – 16/268/2). CB Janoris Jackon has disaster risk in all areas, which gives Jeffery a chance at a nice game at this level. I expect 7+ catches for 100+ yards and a TD while being on many of my tickets while trying to recover my lost Eagle money from Week 11.
Tyler Lockett (DK – $5,200/FD – $6,300): Over the last two games, Lockett caught ten of his 11 targets for 138 yards and one TD. Tyler has a TD in seven of his ten games, but he can’t get more than seven targets in any game due to the Seahawks running the ball much better in 2018. He averages only 4.8 targets per game with a special catch rate (79.2). The Panthers are 17th defending WRs (134/1694/10 on 216 targets) with three of their last seven opponents scoring over 40.0 Fantasy points. CB Donte Jackson will give up big plays and TDs with WRs catching a good portion of their chances. I expect a TD with a mid-teen score, but Lockett needs Seattle to attempts 35+ passes to post a 20+ point Fantasy game. Worth a flier especially if Doug Baldwin doesn’t play.
JuJu Smith-Schuster (DK – $7,500/FD – $7,200): After a fast start to the year (5/119, 13/121/1, and 9/116) over the first three games, Smith-Schuster has settled into being the 11th ranked WR in PPR leagues with two other games with over 100 yards receiving (7/111 and 8/104). JuJu remains productive in catches (64) and yards (866), but he’s disappointed in TDs (3) while averaging 9.3 targets per game. He lines up in the slot most of the time, which points to him drawing the Broncos’ top CB Chris Harris on plays. Not ideal, but I do respect Smith-Schuster’s ability to make big plays while his TD production should be impactful over the last six weeks of the year. More against the grain in Week 12 while being a lower percentage own.
|Scout Rankings||Picks of the week|
|Zach Ertz (DK – $6,400/FD – $7,600): Ertz had his worst game of the season in Week 12 (2/15), which wasn’t his fault as Carson Wentz only looked his way three times. Too many times last week Wentz chose the long bomb rather than take the short dump off pass to move the chains. Zach has four games with over 100 yards receiving with five TDs. In Week 6, he caught seven of his nine targets for 43 yards and a TD vs. the Giants. The Giants allowed between 15.0 and 19.0 Fantasy points to the TE position in four of their last eight games while no TE has been able to deliver an impact game in 2018. Overall, TEs have 51 catches for 606 yards and one TD on 73 targets against New York. Philly needs a big bounce-back game offensively, and Ertz should be one of the keys to their success. Not the best matchup by stats by the Giants, but there are signs that Zach has a chance at an impact game.|
Cameron Brate (DK – $3,600/FD – $4,400): With O.J. Howard out for the season, Brate will be given a nice opportunity going forward. This season the Bucs’ TEs have 57 catches for 758 yards and eight TDs on 79 targets. They had a stretch where they scored eight TDs in seven games. The 49ers rank 11th vs. TEs (40/478/4 on 66 targets) with two teams scoring over 20.0 Fantasy points (KC – 9/127/1 and GB – 7/141). San Fran hasn’t allowed a TD to the TE since Week 4. Cameron looks to be a nice value at this level with a chance to mid-teen points if he scores a TD.
Ricky Seals-Jones (DK – $3,100/FD – $5,200): Seals-Jones delivered another frustrating game (one catch for five yards) to Fantasy owners in Week 11. His scoreless streak extended to seven games. Ricky has two catches or fewer in six of his last eight games with two steady games in catches (5/69 and 5/51). The Chargers are 13th in the league vs. TEs (47/455/4 on 80 targets) with two teams scoring over 20.0 Fantasy points (SF – 6/125/1 and CLE – 8/63/1). Tough to believe in him in any Fantasy format.
George Kittle (DK – $6,200/FD – $7,500): Fantasy owners will have an interesting dilemma with Kittle in Week 12. His salary is $200 less than Zach Ertz, but his resume (50/775/3) is much lower in catches (77) and targets (103) than Ertz. Tampa allows the fourth-most Fantasy points to TEs (55/796/5 on 69 targets) with their biggest failure coming in Week 2 (15/151 on 19 targets) against the Eagles. George has over 80 yards receiving in six of ten games while posting three strong games (6/125/1, 5/98/1, and 4/108/1). As this point of the year, Kittle is the top receiving threat for the 49ers with big play ability. There’s a lot to like here with than his higher salary, which may make him tougher to own. Torn as a 20-Fantasy game is viable, but he’ll need more to fill his Fantasy bucket.
|Scout Rankings||Picks of the week|
|Not a great week to spend up at defense in cash in my mind as a couple struggling squads in the Bengals and Eagles should bounce back defensively both at home and both against teams who have been favorable to opposing defenses all season long.|