Breakdowns

Week 15 DFS Cash Game Review

Week 15 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 15 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.

The Lineup:

Won 46% of Head to Heads and cashed in roughly 40% of Double Ups

The Hits:

Devante Parker and Gabe Davis

Both players were in line for much larger roles than their salaries would indicate. Parker was the top receiver in Miami with Jaylen Waddle out for Week 15. He’s also had a great connection with Tua when both of them have been healthy — rare as that may be. Playing against the league’s worst defense at only $4,300, he was a no-brainer. Davis was almost as obvious, slotting in as the 2nd option in Buffalo’s pass game with Emmanuel Sanders out for the game. Carolina is a much tougher defense than the Jets of course. However, Davis was even cheaper, and Buffalo was implied for about an extra touchdown compared to Miami. Buffalo is also one of the pass-heaviest teams in the league, making their number two wideout a valuable role. I briefly considered finding the salary for Stefon Diggs, but preferred Davante Adams (more on him later.)

James O’Shaughnessy

Jacksonville has thrown to their tight ends at a fairly high rate this year (remember how good Dan Arnold was for fantasy?) and had one of the week’s better matchups against Houston. O’Shaughnessy wasn’t a priority for me here, but I always prefer cheap tight ends. I’m counting him as a “hit” despite his less-than-stellar score. He was both cheaper and less popular than Mike Geicki ($5,000, 42% Rostered). O’Shaughnessy outscored Gesicki by 0 .7 points.It really doesn’t matter how many total points a player scores if he gives you an edge over your competition, especially while saving you $1,800 in salary.

I did think Gesicki was a solid play here, and even considered finding the money to get up to George Kittle ($7,500.) I’ll always default to taking the cheapest option I can stomach though, with this week being a prime example of why. Kittle scored roughly 1.5x what O’Shaughnessy did, but cost more than double.

The Misses:

Kyler Murray

I don’t have a ton to say on this one. If you saw the extremely depleted Lions defense holding the Cardinals to only 12 points coming, you’re much smarter than I am and have no reason to be reading this. I also considered Tua Tagovailoa ($5,700) but didn’t really have a great use for the extra salary, and didn’t want three Dolphins in the lineup. There was no way the Dolphins could score 20 more points than the Cardinals right?

Myles Gaskin

Turns out my intuition on not rostering three Dolphins was correct. My execution was not though, as Gaskin should’ve been the one left out. This one felt a bit fragile, as Gaskin was just activated on Friday. Running backs were extremely weak this week though, so I bit the bullet. It’s important to get a read on which coaches/teams give returning players full workloads. Some will only activate players who are ready to give it a full go. (Think about Dalvin Cook’s games when returning from injuries, or whomever the starting running back du jour in San Francisco is.)

Speaking of, Jeff Wilson ($5,000) was in strong consideration for me here. I should’ve trusted my gut feeling about the 49ers coaches — Wilson handled 21 carries (to Gaskin’s 10) and scored 22.9 DraftKings points. That was the decision that cost me this week, and there’s no blaming variance on this one. I even bet some overs on Wilson rushing props this week, because I was so confident in his heavy usage. Not getting him into my lineups was inexcusable.

Diontae Johnson

I went to the Johnson well one too many times. His salary had continues to rise, despite an expected slow-paced slog against the Titans. He only saw five targets in this one — catching them all — which isn’t enough for one of the week’s most expensive options. This is one I’m willing to live with though. Johnson has a massive target share of highly-catchable balls. There’s bound to be a down game or two in there, but continuing to fit players like him into lineups will be a good decision long term. Sometimes you’re on the wrong side of those on a given week. Had I not made crucial mistakes elsewhere, this one would have been easy to overcome as well.

Davante Adams

I preferred Cooper Kupp — but then his game got moved to Tuesday. I’m actually still ok with a 6/44/1 line from Adams in this one. Even though it’s about as bad of a score as we’ll see from Adams in a game where the Packers score 31 points. What hurt was getting outscored by Deebo Samuel, the other somewhat popular expensive receiver play. Samuel beat Adams by 2.5 points, and my lineup would’ve cashed in every double up had Adams been the higher scoring player.

Everyone Else:

James Robinson

I truly can’t remember a player with this high levels of rostership in cash games ever. Robinson was super obvious this week, with no other strong running back plays on the board. We all know the narratives with his newfound freedom from Urban Meyer. On top of that, he had a super friendly matchup and was inexplicably cheap. Houston winning by two scores wasn’t ideal of course, but Robinson still salvaged a reasonable day. Of course, at 93% rostership he could’ve scored one point or 100 and it wouldn’t really matter.

Wrap Up

Frustratingly, while I won nearly half of my double ups, I won exclusively the low-dollar contests this week. That made my ROI far worse than my win rate would suggest — though I’ve been on the other side of that coin multiple times this year. The sharper players at high stakes were on Wilson much more than the low-stakes players, which is what cost me this week. Kyler (and Johnson, and Adams) posting poor scores were all survivable. Most of the popular alternatives to those players didn’t do much more than they did. Gaskin was not though, and it cost me big time.

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