Breakdowns

Week 9 DFS Cash Game Review

Week 9 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.

The Lineup:

The Hits:

Lamar Jackson:

I was torn between Jackson and paying down at quarterback throughout the week. That meant Jordan Love in a great matchup against Kansas City, or later Jacoby Brissett once news broke. However, there weren’t really any high-priced players I was struggling to find the salary for, so sticking with Jackson was easy. This game had one of the highest point totals on the slate, and the Ravens have nothing at running back to lessen Jackson’s impact. Unlike everything else in the NFL this week, this one went exactly as expected

The Misses:

Austin Ekeler:

If you told me ahead of time Ekeler would get 17 touches and three targets, I would’ve stuck with him. Unfortunately, he was terribly inefficient with those opportunities against an Eagles defense that was dominated by the passing attack. I don’t have a ton to say about this one, sometimes efficiency and touchdowns just aren’t there. Ekeler should be fine moving forward, it was just a bad week.

Ezekiel Elliot:

Who had “Cowboys get dominated by the Broncos” on their Bingo card this week? Certainly not me, or most of the field. Zeke was mega-chalk this week, so his struggles didn’t impact the lineup too much. The Cowboys were down 30-0 with less than five minutes remaining, so this was the absolute worst possible game script for Zeke (who also missed time with an ankle injury.) If you saw that one coming, forget DFS and take your talents to the betting window.

Jarvis Landry:

This one is on me. Frequently, we tend to think that the #2 WR becomes the #1 WR if the top guy is missing (or #3 becomes #2, etc.) In reality, different receivers play entirely different roles in the offense, so somebody missing doesn’t guarantee an expanded role for anybody else. Odell Beckham was just released from the Browns, which led to …  five targets for Landry. His season average is 5.8. The correct decision here was to identify that Donovan Peoples-Jones — a big, outside wide receiver — would be stepping into Beckham’s role. DPJ only had two catches, but they were for 86 yards and a touchdown. Landry’s role is such that he needs massive volume to pay off, and that’s unlikely unless the Browns are down big.

Tyreek Hill:

This one hurt the worst. Hill saw 11 targets against the Packer’s 18th rated pass defense — and only scored 7.3 fantasy points. We need to start seriously considering the possibility that the Chiefs’ offense isn’t great anymore. On the other hand, it may have just been due to the (smart) game plan. With Aaron Rodgers out and the Cheifs massive turnover struggles, they may have just correctly assumed that playing it safe was the optimal way to attack this one. Even so, you’d expect Hill to do more with 11 looks than he did. This was another chalky (heavily owned) player that failed, so it didn’t kill me by itself, but you can only take so many of those in a lineup.

Everyone Else:

Rondale Moore:

With DeAndre Hopkins and AJ Green out, as well as a backup in at quarterback, I thought a few extra short-area passes may head Moore’s way. They mostly did, with five catches being a solid result for a player at his salary. The upside was there for more (and Moore!) but he wasn’t able to break any of his short passes into big gains. Which is why I’m fine with Moore at $4,200 but not much more — it takes a lot to go right for him to put up much more than seven or eight points.

Tee Higgins:

Higgins‘ targets and catches continue to be there, but he’s shown very little upside on the year, with a yardage high of 97. His volume (over eight targets per game) continues to exceed his salary, which is why he so often finds his way into my cash lineups. One of these days, he’ll break out for multiple scores and/or the yardage bonus — but it hasn’t been yet. Hopefully, he’s in my lineup when it does.

Albert Okwuegbunam:

With Noah Fant out (Covid) Albert O was going to be in for nearly every snap in Denver. I’d be lying if I said I had some special insight into his abilities, but every-down tight ends at $2,600 are always going to be in my lineups. Particularly with the struggles of the tight ends at the high end as of late, essentially every player at the position has a chance of going under two or three points. I’ll take that chance for $2,600 instead of $7,000.

Carolina Panthers:

The Panthers had the #1 pass rush (by adjusted sack rate) and were taking on a rookie quarterback. Much like tight ends, when I can get that for cheap I will. They played exceptionally well all things considered — one of the Patriots touchdowns was a pick-six. Two other Darnold interceptions had them in a bad position all afternoon, or this could’ve been a much bigger game. Week 9’s chalk defense (Chiefs) beat them by four DraftKings points at the end of the day.

Wrap Up

After a brief taste of victory, back to losing this week. I won 25% of my head-to-heads and none of my double-ups. Most of my big failures were on popular players, but I wasn’t able to survive having all of them. Looking back, Landry is the only one I definitely should’ve done differently. I prefer having three running backs, and that would’ve allowed me to get to Myles Gaskin or Devontae Booker (with some other shuffling, likely from Moore to a punt wide receiver KJ Osborn or Nico Collins.) That would’ve been worth an extra ten points or so. Not enough for a profitable day, but close to break-even. Let’s hope the NFL goes back to normal next week (Bills and Cowboys both losing as huge favorites?! Titans over Rams?!) and we can get back to the win column.