Week 8 DFS Lineup Review
I’m mainly a cash game player. DFS cash games are when (roughly) 50 percent 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 processes behind how I arrived at the places I did. Some weeks I’ll win, and some weeks I’ll lose (ideally 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.
Chris Godwin ($6,400)
I was fairly confident on playing Godwin throughout Week 8, only ever considering coming off him for lineups that included Cooper Kupp ($9,000). With Antonio Brown out, Godwin’s role is just too valuable to ignore in the Bucs offense. Brady does his best work on the kind of intermediate routes Godwin (and Brown) usually run, but the last two weeks Godwin has had those routes to himself, with tight ends running underneath and Mike Evans going deep. Godwin has seen 23 targets the past two weeks without Brown, and in Week 8 turned those into an 8/140/1 line.
While Godwin was popular in the contest pictured above ($100 buy-in) at lower stakes he was rostered in the low 50% range. Anytime you’re on players with higher ownership at higher stakes, it’s a good sign.
AJ Brown ($6,900)
This spot was occupied by Calvin Ridley ($6,600) until news broke late that he was stepping away from football for the time being to address his mental health. (I hope he can overcome whatever he’s dealing with.) Anyway, at a similar price point, and without Julio Jones to compete for targets, Brown was the natural pivot. I was close between the two players anyway and only preferred Ridley due to salary savings.
The Colts are also a major pass funnel, ranking first. against the run by DVOA but outside the top 20 against the pass. While he didn’t see a target until late in the second quarter, (with the Titans stubbornly trying to force Derrick Henry to win them the game), once he got going he was dominant. He saw a season-high 11 targets, which turned into 10 catches for 150 yards and a score. It’s lucky that Ridley was a) ruled out and b) ruled out so late, as we were able to get Brown at a steep ownership discount. His production ultimately made the difference for me this week.
Jordan Akins ($2,500)
While he didn’t get rewarded with the flame emoji, Akins scored over four points for every thousand in salary on Sunday. If your whole roster does that, you end up over 200 points total — I’m calling it a hit. I was planning on playing Dan Arnold ($2,800) but needed the salary to get from Ridley to AJ Brown. Akins profiled similarly to Arnold, in that they aren’t exciting players, but looked to see a fair amount of volume on bad offenses that were likely to throw the ball a ton. Arnold ended up at 14.8 points, but I was thrilled to get double-digits from Akins.
Darrell Henderson ($6,500)
Henderson is the clear lead back for the heaviest favored team on the slate. He posted a total dud last week in the same situation, but this week went according to plan. He likely would’ve been both more expensive and more popular had he not failed in Week 7, but we try to combat recency bias here. While it would’ve been nice if the Rams waited a bit longer before making it the Sony Michel (9 carries) show, Henderson did more than enough.
Jalen Hurts ($7,200)
Hurts had scored at least 23 DraftKings points in every start of his career coming into the week. Taking on a terrible Lions defense, the Eagles scored four offensive touchdowns — and none of them were from Hurts. While we usually need to factor blowout risk into quarterback selections, this game only had a three-point spread so I didn’t think it was too likely. Especially with starting running back Miles Sanders on IR, it seemed likely Hurts accounted for much of the scoring. Not really much we can do with this one, but I was fortunate enough to make up the points elsewhere.
D’Andre Swift ($7,100)
I was playing Swift before the news that backup Jamaal Williams was inactive, but that made it seem even better. Swift was the RB3 in PPR-scoring heading into the week and only has two games under 10 DraftKings points on the season, with at least 20 points in four contests. Coincidentally, I’ve also played Swift in cash on exactly two weeks. Guess which ones? For those unaware, I’m also a lifelong Detroit area native, and a Lions fan. Naturally, they continue to burn me as they’ve done my entire life. As we say around here, SOL (same old Lions.)
Chuba Hubbard ($6,000)
I personally can’t wait for the return of Christian McCaffrey from IR. Every week, Hubbard’s role and game script seem like they should produce a solid fantasy outcome, but he never quite gets there. The late touchdown saved the fantasy day for Hubbard, but it would be hard to go back to him again given his struggles. The Mike Davis backup days in Carolina were much more appealing for fantasy. I was surprised Hubbard was so lightly rostered this week, given his immense workload at the price. Either way, it didn’t hurt lineups too much, and probably helped a bit considering he outperformed similarly priced backs like James Robinson, Khalil Herbert, and Kenneth Gainwell.
Tee Higgins ($5,200)
Higgins was the Bengals’ most targeted receiver heading into the game, with him somewhat underperforming that role. This week he only saw six targets, but he caught four of them for 97 yards, including a 54 yarder. Higgins had one man to beat on the 54-yard catch for it to go another 30 yards and a score, but he was unable to. With DraftKings awarding three bonus points for 100-yard receiving games, even three more yards would’ve made Higgins a “hit” this week. Still, we can live with the 13.7 points he did give us.
Washington Defense ($2,200)
I’m always trying to go ultra-cheap, and Washington was clearly the best option below about $3,000 in salary in Week 8. Their pass rush was taking on the Broncos’ 25th ranked (adjusted sack rate) offensive line, with Washington as slight underdogs. Four sacks and a fumble were the results. Defenses are notoriously hard to project, so I’m more than happy with seven points from one of the cheapest options.
I was happy to get back in the win column for Week 8, cashing all of my double-ups and winning 65% of head-to-heads. This brings me to almost exactly even (50% Double-up win rate, 49% in head-to-heads) on the season. I think I’ve fixed some leaks in my process, namely by paying up to the middle range at receiver. In years past, forcing all of the top running backs in was the correct option, but the $5,000-$7,000 receiver range seems to have a better combination of floor and ceiling these days. There will be weeks when Derrick Henry and Christian McCaffrey are both in great spots, but it’s not an every-week must anymore. Hopefully, that turns out true, and we can start turning a profit in Week 9.