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Every week during the NFL season, I’ll be sharing my FanDuel 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 favorite. 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.
QB Nick Foles ($6,000) We have to be careful with cheap QBs, because they usually are inexperienced players who disappoint (think Nathan Peterman or Kevin Hogan.) Foles has been a starter in the NFL however, has great weapons and faces a very weak Giants pass defense (25th DVOA) in a game the Eagles need for playoff seeding.
At the RB position, I’m looking for most of the same blocks to check. 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 Alex Collins ($6,600) Collins has 69 carries and ten targets over the last four games and has scored at least one TD in each of these games. The Ravens are a full TD favorites, so game flow is in Collins’ favor as well. The Browns rushing defense is allowing over 108 yards a game.
RB Kenyan Drake ($6,500) Since trading Marcel Darius after Week 8, the Bills have allowed 1,047 rushing yards and 13 TDs on the ground, both worst in the NFL. Over his last two games, Drake has 48 carries for 234 yards and 11 targets which he turned into an even 100 yards.
For WRs, I’m looking for the same things I’m looking for in my QB, but I’m looking for them to be slight underdogs. 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 Antonio Brown ($9,300) We saved at QB and RB, so now we’re going to spend up a bit for a WR who’s actually in the MVP discussion. This game has huge playoff implications, a 53 point O/U and the Patriots feature the 24th ranked pass defense. Meanwhile, Brown leads the NFL with 99 receptions and 1,509 yards.
WR Devin Funchess ($7,300) In another game with playoff implications Funchess and the Panthers face the 20th DVOA ranked Packers pass defense. Since Greg Olsen‘s injury and the Kelvin Benjamin trade, Funchess has been dominating targets with 51% of air yards and 32% of total targets.
WR Marquise Goodwin ($6,600) The 49ers have been energized with new starting QB Jimmy Garoppolo, who has developed a nice chemistry with Goodwin. He has parlayed his 20 targets in these two games into 14 catches and 205 yards.
Statistics show that TEs on teams favored at home, with a Vegas implied total of 22 or more points have the best chance to return the highest value.
TE Rob Gronkowski ($8,500) The TE position is a bit of a black hole, so we’re going back to the game with the 53 point O/U. Pittsburgh has been stout against the position, but that was due in large part to Ryan Shazier, who will obviously miss the game. Gronkowski, in five career games against the Steelers has 496 receiving yards and eight TDs.
Kickers are a crapshoot, 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 Robbie Gould ($4,500) The veteran doesn’t check all the blocks, but he’s 30 of 32 this season and his cheap salary makes the Line up work.
Defenses aren’t that difficult. They score their point 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.
DEF New Orleans Saints ($4,600) Two words: Bryce Petty. Seriously though, why this defense isn’t the second most expensive (like it is on DraftKings) is mind-boggling, but I’ll happily take the discount.