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).
Before I get into my LU for the week, some general thoughts going into Week2:
- I have a theory that there are three or four good teams, three or four bad teams and everyone else is basically an 8-8 team. I avoid using players from the bad teams because you can’t really trust their production, for a variety of reasons. So far this season, I think the 49ers, Browns and Colts (without Luck) are bad teams.
- One of the reasons I don’t like players from bad teams is that they have bad QBs. Bad QBs downgrade all position players. Receivers suffer because these QBs aren’t accurate and runners suffer because defenses stack the box, as they don’t respect the passing game.
The blocks I like to check for my QB include a good matchup 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 Dak Prescott ($7,700) The Cowboys have a 26 point Vegas implied total, the highest on the slate and Dak is a model of consistency. Since the beginning of last season, he has more 17 fantasy point games than Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Matt Ryan. In cash games our goal is to not make mistakes, let our opponents make them.
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 Le’Veon Bell ($9,500) Yes Bell is expensive, but he’s getting a ton of touches (39 last week) and the Jaguars are the ultimate funnel defense, ranked 1st against the pass and 32nd against the run.
RB Todd Gurley ($7,800) We’re getting a discount of $200 on Gurley I imagine because Seattle has a reputation as a tough defense. This really isn’t the case as they currently are ranked 30th against the run by Football Outsiders. Gurley has 86 carries and 25 targets through four games this season.
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 DeAndre Hopkins ($7,700) Hopkins has 39.75% of the Texans air yards and leads the NFL with 49 total targets over four games. Interestingly, the Texans have hosted the Chiefs in each of the last two seasons and Hopkins has produced 7-113-1 and 9-98-2 lines on 24 total targets.
WR Randall Cobb ($6,600) This game has the highest O/U on the slate and the Packers backfield is a MASH unit. Meanwhile, the Cowboys have been relatively good, the past two seasons against outside receivers, but have been a disaster covering the middle of the field.
WR DeVante Parker ($6,100) Simply put, Parker is just too cheap. He’s second in the league with over 41.5% of his team’s air yards and has an average depth of target of 15 yards. He’ll be facing a great matchup as the Titans are ranked 29th in the NFL against the pass.
Statistics show that TEs on teams favored at home, with a Vegas implied total of 22 or more points has the best chance to return the highest value.
TE Jared Cook ($5,300) Cook is in a good position here as the Ravens are ranked dead last in the NFL against the TE position. EJ Manuel gets the start for Oakland and leaned heavily on Cook after replacing an injured Derek Carr last week.
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 Ka’imi Fairbairn ($4,700) In case you don’t know who Fairbairn is, he’s Houston’s kicker and checks all the blocks. He’s also nine for nine in FGs this season.
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 Eagles ($4,600) Cardinals QB has been pressured more than any QB in the NFL and his bad offensive line got worse when their LT tore his ACL last week. Now they come east and face the Eagles ferocious front seven.