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-process behind how I arrived at the places I did. Some weeks I’ll win, and some weeks I’ll lose (hopefully 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.
This lineup finished at 120.02 DK points, good enough to win 36% of my head-to-head matchups.
Bears Defense ($2,900)
I played around with a lot of defenses this week, including the Eagles and Steelers. I don’t usually try to find salary to fit in the defense I want, I just go with the best option that fits. This week, I had enough left to get up to the Bears, in what I thought was a great matchup. PFF had the Bears had the 5th best pass-rushing advantage on the slate, and rookie QB Joe Burrow still plays fairly wild with the ball. This was still a 99th %tile outcome though, I certainly didn’t expect four turnovers and a touchdown. It’s important to have a process that allows you to get lucky sometimes. In this case, targeting defenses that are likely to create pressure on the quarterback. With that said, I still got lucky
Najee Harris ($6,300)
Harris was the easiest spot to fill on my lineup this week. He saw 100% of the Steelers running back snaps and touches in week one, and had a projected positive game script against the Raiders. He was only barely a hit though, as he didn’t get to 20 points, and the heavy ownership on him means his success or failure wouldn’t really matter. In cash games, since a hair under 50% of the field gets the same payout, anyone owned over 50% doesn’t really impact your roster much, since if they do well they bring your competition up too. The game didn’t really go Najee’s way, with the Steelers getting beaten badly, but he made up for it with his passing game role.
Alvin Kamara ($8,800)
I thought the right build this week featured Zeke, Najee, and one of the high priced backs. While I briefly thought about Dalvin Cook, my real decision was between Christian McCaffrey ($9,900) and Kamara. While I liked CMC better, I didn’t like him $9,900 better. I should’ve found the salary, as CMC’s 24.7 points would’ve turned my day from a moderate loss to a slight profit (assuming I didn’t give up points elsewhere.) Not many people expected McCaffrey and the Panthers dominated the Saints so thoroughly though. It might be time to start thinking about McCaffrey as in a tier of his own, with Kamara, Cook, and Henry as a step below. I also should’ve considered that Kamara’s role in week 1 (20 carries) was more a product of the blowout win against the packers than a concerted effort by the Saints.
Tyler Higbee ($4,100)
With Higbee’s role in week one and his present salary, he seemed like a lock this week. Tight ends are inherently volatile and hard to project, so I’m not too shocked by the outcome, but only getting one target from him hurt. Noah Fant ($4,000) was the only other tight end I seriously considered for cash games. I should’ve considered him harder, Fant outscored Higbee by almost 12 points
With a 55-point pregame total, this looked like the game to build around in DFS this week. It didn’t work out that way, with only one passing touchdown between both teams. Tony Pollard taking one from Zeke Elliott on the ground didn’t help either.. None of these guys were total duds (with the possible exception of Cedrick Wilson, who only cost $100 above the bare minimum.) I needed at least two of them to post big scores for me to have a chance though. I don’t think we’ll see a lot of games this year that fall 18 points short of their over/under this year, so I’m going to somewhat give myself a “bad luck” pass.
Still, I wish I thought harder about Kyler Murray, who also had a great matchup. He also has a much better rushing floor than Dak Prescott and Justin Herbert. I think we’re getting close to the point where Kyler is a must for cash every week regardless of salary. Much like CMC pre-injury (and probably now) it’s probably better to just lock him in and make the salary work around him.
Ja’marr Chase ($5,400)
Preseason issues notwithstanding, Chase looked incredible in Week 1, turning 7 targets into 100-plus yards and a score. He wasn’t a priority for me in this one, but the salary worked out near the end of my lineup building process. There wasn’t anyone in his range that I preferred, except possibly teammate Tee Higgins. I couldn’t really come up with a reason on why either player was better, so I took the cheaper option. I think there will be weeks where both (or all three, including Tyler Boyd) Bengals receivers have above average weeks. In a slower paced game like this, it was unlikely more than one of them got there. Chase saved me with a 42 yard 4th quarter touchdown, but I should’ve taken the value on a guy like Rondale Moore ($4,000). I was on Moore this week but didn’t pull the trigger in cash. My biggest regret this week was not taking Moore, and using the salary to go from Kamara to CMC. Sometimes trusting your gut is more important than projections.