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 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.
Jalen Hurts ($6,900)
I was torn between Hurts and Lamar Jackson all week, going back and forth a few times on Sunday morning. After having been burned by Jackson last week, I decided to go with Hurts. This ended up leaving $500 on the table in my lineup, which is normally not ideal. However, there weren’t really any spots to switch off elsewhere in my lineup. Either way, I thought the pace and game environment gave Hurts the edge.He’s also scored at least 21.8 points in every game as a starter, while Jackson has a bit wider range of outcomes. Hurts ended up outscoring Jackson by only a point or so, making this decision ultimately meaningless.
Chris Godwin ($5,900)
With Antonio Brown being ruled out, Godwin was a free square this week. Brown and Godwin have been running similar (to a degree) routes this year, so it made sense that Godwin would benefit from Brown missing. Of course, Mike Evans ended up with three touchdowns — but only three extra DK points. If you weren’t on Godwin this week, you need to reevaluate your process.
Rashod Bateman ($3,400)
I needed one cheaper wideout to make this lineup work, and Bateman seemed like the best option. He saw six targets in his first healthy game (Week 6), even with Jackson only attempting 26 passes that week. The Ravens were likely to need to throw more in Week 7 — and they did, but with lesser efficiency. Either way, Bateman saw the same six targets, catching half of them for 80 yards. Not a great performance, but more than enough to feel good at his price.
Arizona Defense ($3,100)
I tweeted this Tuesday:
Compared to the Rams, the Cardinals have a better adjusted sack rate, better defensive DVOA, and their opponent is implied for less points this week. The Rams cost $5,000 on DraftKings — The Cardinals are $3,100
— Billy Ward (@Psychoward586) October 19, 2021
Sometimes, it’s just that easy.
Derrick Henry ($9,200)
Henry was all the way up at $11,000 on FanDuel, but still under-priced on DraftKings. It’s crazy to call a player at $9,200 under-priced, but Henry is the only true bell-cow running back currently active. There’s no way I would fade him against the Chiefs 32nd ranked run defense. It’s somewhat surprising he wasn’t more heavily owned in cash games (25 percent or so.) That felt like a mistake regardless of outcome.
Weirdly, the Chiefs run defense performed admirably against Henry, holding him to only 86 yards on 29 attempts. Still, we’re paying for volume with the assumption that points will follow. Henry has 29 rushing attempts, two receptions, and threw (!) a touchdown. If you told me that would be his usage ahead of time, I’d be more than happy to pay what he cost on Sunday.
Darrell Henderson Jr ($6,600)
Henderson had been getting a full-time starter workload the past few weeks, with at least 18 opportunities a game. As massive favorites against a putrid Lions defense, he was the strongest play on the slate this week. I likely would’ve paid somewhere around $8,000 for him before strongly considering making a switch.
Of course, the game script did not go as predicted, with the Rams falling behind 10 points in the first five minutes. This meant that you had to have Cooper Kupp, but Henderson was effectively out of the game plan for large stretches. With 80 percent of the field also being on Henderson, it wasn’t a super consequential decision either way though.
Chuba Hubbard ($6,100)
I was left with Hubbard and Lenny Fournette as options for my last running back spot this week. Both players had seen solid recent workload, and were similarly priced (Fournette was $300 more.) We were trading matchup (favoring Hubbard) for gamescript (Fournette), but it was fairly close. Projections across the industry were fairly similar, but ultimately I thought the lack of other backs in Carolina made Hubbard a safer play. Fournette is still contending with Ronald Jones and Gio Bernard, although he’s separated himself nicely.
Turns out, game script was far more important, along with overall offensive competence. Without CMC, Sam Darnold looks more like New York Darnold than he did at the start of the year. It’s hard for Hubbard to have much success when the team fails to score a touchdown. Going with Chuba over Lenny was my biggest regret here — many of the other poor outcomes were hard to see in advance. This is yet another reminder to get as much exposure as we can to good offenses.
Darnell Mooney ($4,600)
Mooney has actually out-targeted Allen Robinson since Justin Fields took over at quarterback in Chicago. Against the Bucs, who’ve faced more passes than any other NFL team, it was a good time to play the Bears top wideout at only $4,600.
Much like with Hubbard though, none of that was enough to overcome a horrible offensive performance from Chicago. Fields threw three picks, and they failed to score a touchdown. I’ll probably end up over correcting next week, but the lesson again is: Roster players on good offenses.
Ricky Seals-Jones ($3,700)
Honestly, I didn’t put a ton of thought into this one. I needed a cheap tight end, and RSJ was still that. As Darren Waller injury news came in on Sunday morning, I briefly considered going to Foster Moreau, but was too scared that Waller would end up playing. (Vegas had a late game.) I could’ve swapped off (likely to Cole Kmet) if Waller was active, but couldn’t find a lineup I liked that held enough remaining salary to get there. (Meaning enough salary unused that I could replace Moreau with Kmet if need be.)
RSJ was fine at his price — but Moreau outscored him by almost seven points. The savings on Moreau also would’ve allowed me to get up to Cooper Kupp, so this move cost me. It was a combination of laziness, and over-analyzing the quarterback decision, that kept me from building a roster with late swap options. I paid for it in a big way.
While not as bad as last week, this one was rough. The key decision on the slate was which of Cooper Kupp, Davante Adams, or Derrick Henry would you play (it was hard to find the salary for more than one of them.) I chose wrong, and made some mistakes elsewhere. The Kupp outcome was surprising though, it was hard to predict the Rams would attempt 40-plus passes as 17-point favorites. Either way, had I played better I could’ve made up the points elsewhere. Multiple losing weeks in a row happens, but I have to do better.