Week 11 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 Week 11 DFS lineup, 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.
Waddle was one of the easier decisions of the week. With limited cheap wide receiver options and a desire to spend up elsewhere, I was focused on attacking the midrange of salaries. Waddle is the top wideout for the Dolphins, facing the league’s worst defense. The rushing score took his day from “fine” to “very good” but 14.5 points (his total without the rush) would’ve been acceptable at his salary.
Lack of flame emoji non-withstanding, CMC’s score would’ve had me on a 140-point pace if I got his point-per-dollar production from the rest of the lineup. The matchup was non-threatening, and the Panthers’ offense seemed to have new life with Cam under center. Only getting 10 carries was a bit disappointing (especially given his 5.9 YPC) but McCaffrey led the Panthers in targets. With full-PPR scoring, that will always be hugely valuable. I doubt we ever see 100% snap rate CMC again, but the 90% he saw on Sunday is pretty, pretty good.
This one hurts. I mentioned last week the joys of making a somewhat unique decision and it paying off. This is the opposite of that. Cheaper quarterbacks Cam Newton, ($5,100) and Tua Tagovailoa ($5,500) were the more popular choice this week. I went against the grain with Prescott, thinking the matchup and game environment in Kansas City was too good to fail. I didn’t think Amari Cooper (Covid) missing time would be too much of a hindrance, but once CeeDee Lamb went out it was tough sledding for Dak. While I didn’t watch every snap, the eye test revealed tons of drops from the Cowboys’ receivers here.
From a process standpoint, I played around with going down to cheaper quarterbacks. However, the salary wasn’t enough to get up to Kelce at tight end or Davante Adams at receiver without coming off of other players I liked. Since I couldn’t put the extra salary to good use, I stuck with Dak. Not a great call this week. Personally, I believe the lesson is to avoid quarterbacks missing top receivers. However, Lamb going down was bad luck, not bad process.
I didn’t love Higgins in Week 11. In recent weeks he’d seen less, but deeper, targets. That’s great for tournaments but scary for cash games. As it turned out, he drew only three targets in this one. Partially due to the Raiders’ inability to make it a close game, partially to falling behind teammate Tyler Boyd in target share. Like with Waddle, there simply weren’t any receivers cheaper than him I liked, and I didn’t have a reasonable way to get up to Davante Adams. I briefly considered Jarvis Landry (14.2 points) but never would’ve seen the rushing touchdown coming on a day in which Nick Chubb returned.
AJ Dillon and Mark Ingram
Cheap(ish) running backs getting starter workloads? Yes, please. Like last week with Ingram and D’Ernest Johnson, these plays were obvious. The only real question is which two of Ingram, Dillon, and Jeff Wilson (6.8 points) to roster, or go with all three and fade McCaffrey. The difference for me was receiving workload. Wilson has never caught many passes and indeed saw only two targets Sunday. Dillon and Ingram both had six catches, and McCaffrey had seven. Relying on rushing production alone is a recipe for disaster, except for the top two or three rushers in the league (Jonathon Taylor, Nick Chubb, Derrick Henry pre-injury.)
Given his solid five targets in Week 10, I was playing Gallup anyway in Week 11 at his meager price. The news that Amari Cooper was out was just a bonus. Gallup narrowly missed a big day, as Prescott missed him a couple of times on deep balls that could’ve easily been touchdowns. Still, five catches for 44 yards at his salary didn’t kill my lineup. Not that a bigger day would’ve done much good, with almost 80% of the field using Gallup this week.
I didn’t love Goedert this week but got stuck in the middle salary-wise. HE seemed to be the best in that range though. Goedert had ridiculous target shares the past few weeks but was held back by Hurts averaging only 18 attempts per game over the past three. I thought Hurt’s number would surely go up given the strengths of the Saints run defense, and bring Goedert with him. Which…mostly happened. Goedert had a season-high eight targets but was somewhat disappointing with them. Even so, not a bad output all things considered.
I got stuck on the Panthers’ defense early this week. Which was maybe a mistake, but I thought their pass rush would play a lot better against Washington’s 20th ranked pass-blocking unit. (I use adjusted sack rate for all of these decisions, found here.) They still had three sacks but allowed a bit too many points for it to be a good day. The Browns defense scored four more points at $400 more in salary. I should’ve found a way to get to them.
This was an interesting week, as I won all of my double-ups with buy-ins of $50 or more while losing all but one of the cheaper contests. So while I won less than half of those contests, I still booked a slight profit in those contests. I also won 59% of my head-to-heads, again good for a slight profit. Taking the easy road and going with Cam Newton or Tua over Dak would’ve made this a huge day instead of a slight winner, but those are the lumps you take trying to think for yourself sometimes. Turning bad weeks into breakeven weeks, then cleaning up on the good weeks, is the road to success. Let’s see if I can do just that down the backstretch of the season. (Look for a special Thanksgiving edition of this column later in the week.)