Week 14 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.
Uncle Len almost worked me back into profitability here. His 26.2 point performance at low rostership was huge, as I slowly climbed back up the leader board in the late window of games. Lenny is the clear lead back in the league's best offense, with a solid pass game role. That's hard to pass up at only $7,400. Especially when the other top backs this week had major question marks. If Christian McCaffrey or Dalvin Cook had the exact same game logs and matchup as Lenny, they'd cost around $9,000. That made him an obvious value here.
No flame emoji, but Godwin still 3x'd his salary, meaning his scoring had me on a 150+ point pace. Like Lenny, it was nearly enough to get me into profitability, but not quite. (I would've needed both Mike Evans and Breshard Perriman's touchdowns to go to Godwin and Fournette to cash here.) Godwin's target share without Antonio Brown is massive, and Tampa is the league's pass-heaviest offense. He's a pretty simple play until either of those things changes.
I never really considered not playing Ekeler here. Cook and Jonathon Taylor weren't on the Week 14 main slate, and Alvin Kamara was coming back from injury and had an uncertain workload in front of him. I also thought Keenan Allen missing would increase Ekeler's target share, and decrease the blowout risk. Neither ended up being the case, with the Chargers choosing to sit Ekeler with what appeared to be a minor injury as they dominated the Giants. Not a terrible score, but about 10 points below Kamara at a similar price.
Gibson has been on a tear lately, and 3rd down back JD McKissic was out again. I assumed his huge target share would continue, but that didn't end up being the case. Washington's offense fell flat overall, scoring only seven points through the game's first 50 minutes. This was always a risk against a tough Dallas team, but one worth taking at Gibson's salary (and rostership). Given his popularity, this one didn't really matter much.
The Panthers' defense had the league's best-adjusted sack rate heading into Week 14 and profiled similarly to Cleveland ($2,700). Both teams were similar slight favorites, with near-identical implied opponent point totals. Of course, this was one of two decisions that cost me dearly this week, as Cleveland feasted on backup quarterback Tyler Huntley and put up 14 points.
While he didn't get the snowflake, getting cute and using Newton over a massively popular Taysom Hill ($5,600) was a terrible decision. Newton rotated series with PJ Walker, though was keeping pace with Hill for most of their respective games. Then Hill ran in a 44-yard touchdown with a minute left in his game, sealing my fate. If you remove that touchdown, Newton is .08 points behind Hill and I have a profitable day. That's not how it works though, so this one is on me. It would've been smarter to take the obvious play and try to beat my opponents elsewhere.
I'm classifying Williams as a miss here, given how high expectations were without Keenan Allen. This is the one "I know better" spot where I should've trusted my guy. (As opposed to the Hill/Newton decision, where I should've trusted projections.) Williams runs an entirely different route tree than Allen, so the vacated targets don't benefit him nearly as much as other receivers on the Chargers. Indeed, backups Jalen Guyton and Joshua Palmer both had more yardage than Williams. They both also scored a touchdown, while coming in at a greatly reduced salary (that would've let me pivot up from Reynolds or O'Shaughnessy -- or both). Not a terrible day for Williams, but a "miss" in terms of the decision for sure.
Reynolds was the last guy on this roster, and my desire to spend most of my salary (and not have three Chargers) led me to him instead of Guyton/Palmer. Which was a mistake this week, but not terrible from a process standpoint. (Playing Williams over Guyton/Palmer was the bad process.) 8.2 points from him was about what I expected, and he outscored the more popular low-priced punt Jameison Crowder ($4,700) while saving $600 in salary.
I really wanted Austin Hooper ($3,500) with both other Browns' tight ends missing, but had to settle for O'Shaughnessy for salary purposes. Which cost me, as the ~45% owned Hooper scored 14 fantasy points. The decision wasn't the worst one of the week, but certainly one too many to recover from. as for O'Shaughnessy, at $2,900 he was the only Jaguar's tight end left standing. That position has been relatively fruitful this year, with Dan Arnold (IR) drawing a ton of looks before his injury. O'Shaughnessy is the lesser player, but his targets/price ratio was still fine here.
I could've survived one or two major mistakes in Week 14, but not the three I made. Those being Newton over Hill, the defense selection, and not finding the salary for Hooper. Switching off of Reynolds (or Williams) to a cheaper Charger would've provided the salary to fix all of those mistakes, but I miss that fairly obvious conclusion. Cash games are far too efficient for that, leading to my poor week. I'm now pushed slightly below break-even with three more weeks left to play. (I don't play cash on the week's final season.) Follow along here as the season winds down to see if I can salvage some profit for the year.