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Every week during the NFL season, I’ll be sharing my FanDuel Main Slate cash game (50/50’s, Double Ups and Head to Head) line up. Cash games are a great way to build up your bankroll without as much risk as Guaranteed Prize Pool (GPP) tournaments.
For those unfamiliar with cash games, roster construction differs in some ways than GPPs. In GPPs, our line up needs to finish in the top 15% or so to simply cash, so we’re looking for those boom or bust players to roster with our studs, to stay under the salary cap. In cash games, we merely have to finish in the top 45-50% with a score of about 120, which usually gets us there, so we look to replace those boom or bust layers with much safer players, who may lack the high ceiling to help win a GPP who can be reasonably expected to return 2X value (if a player’s salary is $6,000, then we’d need him to score 12 fantasy points).
The blocks I like to check for my QB include a good match up with a bottom 10 pass defense, a high Vegas implied total and for him to be on the team that is the slight underdog (we want our QB passing in the 4th quarter, not handing off to kill the clock.) Ideally, we want a mobile QB, as those rushing yards provide a nice floor. Finally, check the weather reports for strong winds or torrential rains.
The LootCrate FanDuel Cash Game Lineup for Week 1
QB Brian Hoyer ($6,400) Look, I get it, it never really feels good to roster Hoyer, but hear me out here. He’s cheap (and there isn’t a lot of cash game value on this slate), he’s facing a Panthers defense that gave up 262 yards per game through the air, he’s reuniting with Kyle Shanahan and the O/U is 48 points. Furthermore, in 4 full games last season, Hoyer returned value on his current salary 3 times and barely missed (12.1 FD points) in the other.
At the RB position, I’m looking for most of the same blocks to check, but I want his team to be favored. I’m also looking for a three down back, but they’re becoming rare and are usually expensive, so I often settle for a two down back (but not a committee RB) who also handles short yardage duties.
RB Le’Veon Bell ($9,300) Bell is very good at football (23.3 FD points per game last season) and the Browns are very bad at stopping the run (ranked 27th by Football Outsiders in 2016.) Also, if the Steelers don’t think they’ll be able to resign him next season, they might run him into the ground like Dallas did with DeMarco Murray in 2014.
RB Jay Ajayi ($7,800) This game opened with a 48 point O/U and the Dolphins as a 3 point favorite. Even though the line has moved, I tend to side with the original. Tampa struggled against the run last season (26th by Football Outsiders) and Jay Cutler‘s propensity to look down the field should help open running lanes for Ajayi.
For WRs and TEs, I’m looking for the same things I’m looking for in my QB. I also look for a receiver who’s the QBs #1 target. Targets lead to points, so the best way to ensure your receivers return value is to ensure they get plenty of opportunities. I also avoid rookies until they prove themselves. Coaches are conservative and a rookie has to earn the coach’s trust to make it onto the field and then earn the QB’s trust to start getting targets.
WR Doug Baldwin ($7,500) Baldwin is a good way to get exposure to a game with the 3rd highest O/U on the slate, with sneaky shootout potential. Baldwin was targeted a team high 130 last season and faces the Packers 23rd ranked pass defense.
WR Michael Crabtree ($6,900) This game features the highest O/U on the slate and is essentially a pick ’em. While teammate Amari Cooped probably has the bigger upside for GPPs, Crabtree has actually led the Raiders in targets each of the past two seasons (over 140 each year) and is the preferred red zone target. Finally, the Titans had the 27th ranked pass defense last year.
WR Larry Fitzgerald ($6,400) Speaking of target monsters, Fitzgerald was targeted 150 times last season. While the upside for GPPs may no longer be there at age 34, he’s easily Carson Palmer‘s favorite receiver to move the chains down the field. It also helps that the Lions were dead last defending the pass last season and the game features a nice 49.5 O/U.
TE Delanie Walker ($6,100) There is only a handful of TEs that are safe for cash games and two of them play Thursday night. For many of the same reasons I like Crabtree, I’m using Walker. He’s Marcus Mariota‘s security blanket and the Raiders have struggled to contain opposing TEs.
Kickers are a crap shoot, but these four blocks will help tremendously: high Vegas total, favored to win (he’ll be more likely to kick 4th quarter FGs if the team is winning rather than be sitting on the bench, watching his team go for it on 4th down), playing at home and playing in a dome.
K Dan Bailey ($4,900) Bailey is probably the second best kicker in the NFL and he checks all the blocks.
Defenses aren’t that difficult. They score their points primarily with sacks, turnovers and defensive TDs. Therefore, I target teams with bad QBs and look for defenses with a strong pass rush and/or secondary. Bad QBs throw more interceptions and hold the ball longer, leading to more sacks. With that said, I’ll probably begin the season targeting defenses against the Browns, Jaguars and Jets exclusively.
D Buffalo Bills ($4,700) The Jets offense has expansion level “talent” across the board. The Bills are also $400 cheaper than the Texans, who face a Jags team that at least has some nice pieces on offense around a terrible QB. Such is not the case in New York, which will have trouble moving the ball against even the worst defenses.
There is talk that the Miami/Tampa Bay game may be moved to earlier in the week due to potential weather problems. If this happens, it would remove the game from the Main Slate, thus making Jay Ajayi ineligible. If this occurs, I’ll be replacing him with David Johnson, replacing Doug Baldwin with Jeremy Maclin and replacing Delanie Walker with Zach Ertz.