DFS Lineup Review: Week 1

I’m mainly a cash game player. DFS cash games are when (roughly) 50% of the participants (roughly) double their money. Regardless of where you land in the final standings, you either double up, or walk away empty handed.  In this space, I’ll share my lineup from the prior week, and discuss some of the thought-process behind how I arrived at the places I did. Some weeks I’ll win, and some weeks I’ll lose (hopefully more of the former) but hopefully it can help you understand the type of thought process that goes into being a successful DFS player.  As always, I welcome any feedback, questions, or challenges on twitter.

The Lineup:

Week 1 cash game lineup

This lineup finished at 137.66 DK points, good enough to win 94% of my head-to-head matchups and cash in all double ups.


The Hits:

QB Kyler Murray ($7600):

I went back and forth between Murray, Josh Allen, ($7400) and Jalen Hurts ($6400) all week. With the perceived value at wide receiver, I thought it would be both feasible and worth it to pay up for a quarterback. I didn’t think it was worth it to get up to Patrick Mahomes ($8100). By Saturday night, I had settled on either Murray or Allen.

Ultimately, I was able to find the salary to get up to Murray, who paid off with five total touchdowns. I expected the Cardinals-Titans game to be high scoring and fast paced (both teams were in the top four in pace last season) and Murray was the best way to get exposure to the game. Pittsburgh vs Buffalo featured two teams in the bottom 12 in pace last season, and an over/under that was six points less.

Hurts would’ve been fine as well, he scored within 6 points of Murray for $1200 less in salary, but I was on the right side of variance with Murray, as just under 35 points was about as much as I could’ve hoped for.

RB Joe Mixon ($6200):

I was never not going to play mixon in this one. His role was simply too good for his price, and he was facing a Minnesota team that allowed the 6th most points to running backs last season. I was honestly shocked that his ownership came in so low, but took that as a sign that there’s still edges to be had in DFS. With 33 of the Benglas 39 running back touches, Mixon’s was who we thought he was (and they let me off the hook!)

This will likely be about as cheap as we see Mixon all year, so don’t think you can plug him in to your lineup every week and print money, but sometimes the pricing in week 1 creates obvious situations like this.


The Misses:

WRs Marquez Callaway ($3400) and Elijah Moore ($3000)

I was always going to play two out of Callaway, Moore, Rondale Moore ($3000) and Marvin Jones ($3600), all of whom seemed to be in line for workloads far greater than their price. This time, I happened to get the two as wrong as possible (although getting up to Jones from Callaway would’ve necessitated swapping Kyler Murray for Josh Allen.)

Callaway saw only two targets all day, while Moore saw four, including this drop:

that would’ve turned his day around.

Fortunately, the two wideouts I went with were very heavily rostered, so it didn’t hurt me too bad. Since a large chunk of my competition had these players as well, it wouldn’t have mattered how they did. Even so, I wish I’d had the stones to pull the trigger on Rondale Moore, who was my initial leaning, since he finished at 10.8 points. What ultimately dissuaded me was already having Kyler in the lineup, which meant I’d get a chunk of Rondale’s output either way.

Kyle Pitts ($4400)

I’m not sure if Pitts exactly qualifies as a miss, since it’s hard to find seven points from the tight end spot without paying up for Kelce or Kittle. Even so, I’m disappointed with his output. He was expected to be the #2 option in a fairly potent Falcons offense, and at only $4400 that’s a huge bargain at the TE position. He was also on 64 percent of lineups, so even if he somehow scored -100 points, it was possible to win every cash game with him on your team.

The Falcons only threw for 164 yards on this game (and didn’t score a touchdown) so Pitts from a percentage standpoint was fine. He saw a target on over 22% of Matt Ryan’s attempts. Ideally, his price comes down following his disappointing debut, and the field comes off him a little bit, so we can get him next week at an even better value.


Everyone Else:

Christian McCaffrey ($9500) and Dalvin Cook ($9100)

I was pretty set on two out of McCaffrey, Cook, and Alvin Kamara ($8600) all week. I strongly preferred the two I went with, since I had my doubts about the Saints offense led by Jameis Winston. With Kamara finishing at 18.1 points, it turned out to be the right call, although at his salary any of them would’ve been fine.

Simply put, locking in the almost-guaranteed points from stud running backs is keyy to attacking DFS cash games. CMC took an intentional slide on a rush in the 4th quarter that would easily have gotten him over 100 yards, securing an extra three point bonus, but he still had a solid day. I’m happy with the production of both of these players, and thats without a touchdown from Kamara, and a generally down day from Cook and the Vikings. They both have a floor of around 20 points (barring injury) and I didn’t think the same could be said of Kamara, or any of the expensive wideouts I would’ve played with their salary.

Atlanta Defense ($2000)

Due to the high variance of the defense position, I almost always go with the cheapest unit I can stomach. Atlanta was minimum priced, and facing an unproven QB in Jalen Hurts who I thought was somewhat likely to turn the ball over more than average. He didn’t, but Atlanta still turned out fine given the high rostership levels, and what the savings allowed me to do at other positions.

Tee Higgins ($4700)

I didn’t really have a strong feeling about Higgins this week, he was the last piece of my roster. Essentially, I was comfortable with the other eight positions, and took the guy with the best projections I could squeeze in under my remaining salary. Part of me wanted to get up to Stefon Diggs ($7600) who was the only higher priced receiver I strongly considered, but the sacrifices at other spots ultimately weren’t worth it.

This was on the higher range of what I’d hoped for from Higgins, but basically anything other than a 0 would’ve been enough for this lineup (I scored about 13 more points than the minimum needed to win.) He missed some time with dehydration issues, so his day could’ve been bigger, but he served his purpose in this lineup.

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