DFS Lineup Review
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 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.
Won 6% of Head-to-heads and didn’t cash in any Double ups.
Darrel Henderson Jr ($6,000) and Khalil Herbert ($4,600)
Essentially everybody who was paying attention played at least two, and usually three, of Henderson, Herbert, Kareem Hunt ($6,200), and Darrel Williams ($4,900). Henderson was priced like a 60% timeshare back in a good offense, while the other three were all expected to see expanded workloads thanks to injuries in front of them. The real decision was who to leave out, and whether or not to play two tight ends instead of three running backs (more on that later.)
Through most of the week, I preferred Williams to Herbert. However, Chicago had essentially nothing behind Herbert, while Kansas City was sure to mix in Jerrick McKinnon. Ironically, I was most confident in Hunt, but he may have been more banged up than the team let on. I should’ve gone with Williams (would’ve been worth an extra four or so points over Herbert), but the real sharp play would’ve been to fade Hunt. Very easy to see in hindsight, but the tough Cardinals defense and his lack of practices during the week were both cautionary signs.
Lamar Jackson ($7,400)
Who saw the Ravens blowing out the Chargers coming this weekend? Even if you did, you’d have to assume Jackson contributes for more than one of their touchdowns. This game environment was set up nicely to be a back and forth shootout, but the Chargers laid an egg. I don’t want to say “there’s nothing we can do about it” since we should always be trying to improve our process but…what could we do about it? I suppose there’s always a risk — especially in lopsided games — of playing Lamar, given the Ravens’ commitment to the run. Even that usually involves him though.
The only other quarterback I considered this week was Taylor Heinicke ($5,800). I love quarterbacks against the Chiefs, especially at that price range. Once all the value at running back opened up, I thought I’d go with the “safety” of Jackson. L Jax did outscore him by three or so points, but both of them were duds considering the price.
Terry McLaurin ($7,100), Tee Higgins ($5,300), Mecole Hardman ($4,200)
Could not have got WR more wrong this week. I was all over the place with my builds — thought about paying up for Davante Adams or Cooper Kupp, considered Robby Anderson and Keenan Allen at the mid-range, Van Jefferson as a salary saver, etc. Wideouts are inherently volatile, and I was certainly on the wrong side of it this week.
Hardman was fine considering his price but could’ve used more. Higgins was a letdown, no wide receiver for the Bengals had more than four catches in their romp of the Lions. That means he needed a touchdown to get there. That one is somewhat hard to predict, the spread was only 3.5 so I thought it would be a closer game.
McLaurin was the big mistake though. With so many other high-end receivers (Adams, Kupp) available, going to a player who hadn’t topped six catches in a game since week two wasn’t ideal. I wanted exposure to Washington’s offense, I thought they’d keep up with a Chief’s team that ranked 32nd in defensive DVOA entering the week. There were cheaper options to get there though, in Ricky Seals-Jones ($3,000 15.8 DK points) and JD McKissick ($4,800 19 points). This one’s on me.
Travis Kelce ($7,000)
I thought Kelce was a must this week. There were big question marks around the other high-end tight ends, and the low end is always a dart throw. Reals-Jones ended up being far more popular (and a better value) but Kelce still outscored him. Had Kelce caught a touchdown instead of RSJ, this choice looks a lot better. It was also frustrating that Kelce finished at exactly 99 yards — DraftKings awards a three-point bonus for hitting 100.
Lions Defense ($2,100)
Despite giving up 34 points, the Lions got to Burrow for two sacks and a pick. The Bengals were a bottom-six offensive line by pressure allowed heading into the week. The Lions’ defense was a surprising top-six. A few more sacks — and a lot fewer points allowed — would’ve been nice, but not a bad score considering the price. When we’re picking defenses near the $2,000 salary floor, any positive score is a win.
What a terrible week. I texted a friend on Saturday how much I was dreading this week (actual verbiage not fit to print), anytime there’s too much “obvious value” the variance ends up being higher. If there are more good plays than you have roster spots, it’s more luck-based than when you really have to hunt to find the values. With that said, my wideout selection was horrible. It’s always been a weakness for me, and I need to reevaluate the process in a hurry.
This brings me to a 51% win rate in head-to-heads for the year and ~47% in double-ups. Both numbers are just below turning a profit, but still one slightly positive week away from getting back on the good side. Let’s see how the next third of the season goes.