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 Week6:
- Pay attention to Vegas line movements. The sharps (guys betting hundreds of thousands of dollars) are telling you they think will happen. Pay attention.
- This week, Saints went from -3 to -6 and the O/U dropped by 2. Jacksonville went from Pick ‘Em to -2 1/2 and Denver went from -9 1/2 to -12.
- I speak a lot about teams getting embarrassed and showing up the next week. The Steelers got embarrassed last week.
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 Philip Rivers ($7,200) Rivers has been remarkably consistent this season. Besides a bad game against Kansas City, he has scored at least 17.24 FD points in every game this season. Meanwhile, Oakland has one good pass rusher and is ranked 30th in DVOA against the pass, by Football Outsiders.
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 Leonard Fournette ($8,600) This rookie is absolutely for real, folks. He’s averaging 93 yards rushing per game and has 18 targets on the season. The Rams are a poor fit for Wade Phillips 3-4 scheme. The lack a real NT and they have a converted safety at one ILB position and the other ILB, Alec Ogletree is ranked dead last at the position against the run.
RB CJ Anderson ($7,000) The Giants are a mess and carry a Vegas implied total of fewer than 14 points. The can’t stop the run either, ranking 28th in DVOA. I envision the Giants having a lot of three and outs and the Broncos running the ball about 40 times.
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 ($8,000) Hopkins is second in the NFL with 61 targets and has accounted for over 42% of the Texans air target yards. He’ll match up against the Browns, who funnel opposing offenses to the pass with defensive ratings of 3rd against the run but only 31st against the pass.
WR Chris Hogan ($7,500) Hogan is tied for second in the NFL with 10 Red Zone targets, converting five for TDs and the Patriots have a 28 point Vegas implied total against the Jets, one of the highest on the slate.
WR Larry Fitzgerald ($6,600) I mentioned that Hogan is tied for 2nd in Red Zone targets and Fitzgerald is the man with whom he’s tied. He’s been targeted over 10 times a game on average. With no reliable pass catching TE, Fitzgerald is who the Cardinals rely on to move the chains.
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 Austin Hooper ($4,800) With Mohamed Sanu likely out and Julio Jones limited, the Falcons will need Hooper more than ever (he received seven targets against the Bills when both were injured.) Miami ranks 29th against the pass and 20th against the TE position.
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 Wil Lutz ($4,700) Lutz meets all the above-mentioned criteria.
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 Broncos ($5,300) Yes, they’re expensive but in cash games, don’t over think this one. The Giants can’t run, they have a horrible offensive line, they’ll be missing their top four WRs and Eli Manning is a statue.