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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 Cam Newton ($8,300) Since Week 6, Newton has 553 rushing yards and three TDs, averaging 7.6 fantasy points a week. This obviously provides and unrivaled floor, which is what we’re looking for in cash games. Add to the equation the 29th DVOA ranked Bucs pass defense and a 28.25 Vegas implied total and Newton makes a great selection.
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 LeSean McCoy ($8,600) McCoy essentially is the Bills offense and the coaching staff has realized that, after weeks of 32 and 24 touches. With the Bills needing a win to make the playoffs, I’m expecting this trend to continue against the Patriots 32nd ranked run defense.
RB C .J. Anderson ($6,200) In NBA DFS, minutes lead to points, while in the NFL touches lead to points. Anderson has 73 touches in his last three games. Add to that a date against the Redskins 22nd ranked run defense, which has been decimated by injury. Finally, this game has a 3.5 spread, so game script should not be a problem.
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 Michael Thomas ($8,200) The focus this season in New Orleans has been on the running game, but with Ted Ginn banged up, Willie Snead evidently fat and no real TE, the passing game has increasingly funneled through Thomas (25 targets in the last two games.) He’ll face a Falcons defense ranked 19th against the pass and 21st against #1 WRs in a game with a 52.5 O/U.
WR Larry Fitzgerald ($7,500) Fitzgerald is one of the most consistent receivers in the NFL, receiving ten+ targets eight times already this year. He gets to square off against the Giants 25th ranked pass defense, whose secondary has been ravaged by injuries.
WR Robert Woods ($6,600) Woods returned from injury to pick up where he left off, scoring 13.5 FD points in a blowout against Seattle in a game he was barely needed. This week, facing the Titans 24th DVOA pass defense (31st against #2 WRs), things should remain more competitive.
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 Cameron Brate ($5,100) TE OJ Howard has been placed on IR and DeSean Jackson hasn’t practiced as of this writing. Jameis Winston loves throwing to his TEs and Brate is a sort of “last man standing” here. The Panthers are ranked 29th against the pass and 20th against opposing TEs, so the match up is solid.
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 Phil Dawson ($4,600) While the O/U in this game isn’t high, the veteran kicker checks the rest of the blocks and he’s cheap.
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.
D/ST Bears ($4,800) DeShone Kizer of the Browns has thrown 19 interception, taken 31 sacks and lost six of nine fumbles. The Browns also have a meager 15.75 point Vegas implied total.