I typically start off with a bit of a DFS recap so let’s dive into it. Last week I tried my best to play as much of the full four game slate as possible as I hate 2 gamers and showdowns…it’s a strategy I have avoided diving into. I did end up playing a good chunk on Sunday only thankfully as that helped me profit because my full slate lineups were hit and miss. I was close to breaking even and Sunday came through despite playing Brees. All year it’s been quarterback that has prevented enormous profits but luckily I’ve been able to manage a profit on 15 slates this season. Per usual, all of our content here was on point and my teammates at DraftManager had my back with excellent articles. Given how profitable NFL has been, I’m really sad to see it coming to an end. I plan on playing as much of the four game slate as possible but probably playing each two game as well. Unfortunately, I will probably play way less on FanDuel than normal because their four game contest selection is pretty weak but I will write this from the perspective of both sites as usual.
If you’re new to me and my “work” allow me to provide a brief introduction. I write in a very “conversational” style – I don’t always like to inundate you with stats and I keep it relatively casual. The purpose of this article is going to be to help identify who will be the chalk. Chalk is a term used in the industry for high owned popular plays. Whether you play cash games or not, it’s important to know who everyone is going to be playing. What I mean by this is if you play a lot of cash games, you will want to play a good amount of chalk. If you play tournaments, you will want to know who the chalk is so you can potentially avoid them in certain situations. For more on that philosophy, I suggest checking out some of our other writers who focus on tournaments and that mentality. Some guys love the sweat of a huge cash (which is admittedly amazing if you’ve been in that situation) while others are more risk averse and like to double their money much more consistently. Either way I think this will be valuable for you.
You might be wondering, “what is a cash game exactly?”. Well in short it’s a daily fantasy contest (preferably single entry) where you have roughly a 50% chance of winning. To clarify, that means one of the following: a 50/50 contest, a double up, or a head to head. Anything else is considered to be more of a gpp. You should (easily) be able to make a cash game winning lineup from this article but I hope that you take away more than that here. As I said earlier, I don’t really do a ton of statistical analysis in my write ups but I do in my research of course. I find it to be a heavy read personally and I would rather offer my insights as someone who watches a ton of football and knows more about it than most people who think they know a lot about it. (Predicting game scripts based on matchups etc.) For our other content (which is amazing and lots of good gpp oriented articles), go here!
A little plug here for our site DraftManager – we are putting out tons of amazing content for NBA and PGA every day/week. You should really be signing up for both of those sports with NFL coming to an end. Build your bankroll for MLB (which we are going to crush *insert fire emoji*).
Lamar Jackson – FanDuel $9500 DraftKings $8400
He’s the goat and it’s a small slate. You don’t have a lot of options and it’s not like he’s a bad one. The only problem here is cost and how it constrains your lineups. That is what makes the playoffs tough. Even a site notorious for slacking on its pricing like FanDuel has Lamar priced up pretty well and Tennessee isn’t a joke on defense. I really think despite there being some options at quarterback this weekend, you absolutely have to pay up for either Lamar or Mahomes. As of now, Lamar is projected to be the highest scoring player at any position on multiple sites. I think he’s a no brainer on FanDuel with the extra salary there but I may have to pay down to Mahomes on DraftKings. I don’t know how I can afford him and everyone I want quite yet but that’s the point of this article isn’t it? Let’s continue to explore.
Patrick Mahomes – FanDuel $8600 DraftKings $7500
I’m not writing up the two best quarterbacks as a cop out here. I truly believe they are the best options by a mile. There are certainly outcomes where going with Jimmy G could get you the milly but I don’t plan on entering 300 lineups…er…I mean 150 :). This is the cash game article and these two are the best options. Houston is not anything terrifying on defense although my guy Bradley Roby has REALLY stepped up. Also, dating back to when KC played Detroit and went man instead of zone, it was realized that Mahomes can be slightly weakened this way. Houston followed that trend two games later and did a decent job. This is one of those cliche situations of “you can’t stop him, you can only hope to contain him”. He still put up nearly 20 FanDuel points in their outing and I think Andy Reid is going to pull out all the stops. Will DeShaun Watson push back? If you believe so, maybe stack the other side as well in a gpp lineup. But for cash games, I’m going with one of these two young goats.
Cash Running Backs
Aaron Jones – FanDuel $8200 DraftKings $7400
Aaron Jones has been my guy all year and I stand by my opinion of him being significantly better and more important to this offense than Jamaal Williams. However, that does not mean Williams is bad or insignificant to this offense. In fact, the coach mentioned this week just how important it is to have Williams back this week so he may take away from Jones which is always the fear. I still think we go to him for price considerations and knowing what his ceiling is. Typically for cash we would look to safe floors and while Jones does have that to a degree, it’s not quite where you’d want for his price. The sites have him priced accordingly for his ceiling and we’ve seen him absolutely go off on teams like Dallas etc. He can catch a pass in the flat and take it to the house but he’s best utilized smashing between the tackles and taking pressure off of Rodgers. This game is potentially going to be a snow game in Green Bay against the Seahawks which have not impressed me on defense really despite their sack numbers. I think Green Bay plays it smart and smashes the Seahawks by controlling the ball with Jones running on them.
Damien Williams – FanDuel $6900 DraftKings $6000
This is most likely the chalkiest play / highest owned guy on the entire slate. If you’re a season long player, you know that pre-draft he was the big hype train with pros left and right gloating about how they took him in the second round. Whoops. He is paying off now finally though and I’m shocked to see him priced so low given his production the last two games. I don’t think Andy Reid is going to go away from what has worked in their last two games and he’s somewhat notorious for using a bell-cow back but life is different when you have Mahomes in the backfield too. Regardless, you have to go Williams here because even if he puts up a dud, it will not kill you in cash games because he’ll be so highly owned. It does get slightly awkward stacking a running back with his quarterback but that shouldn’t hurt you too much either on such a small slate and with Williams being an accomplished pass catcher out of the backfield.
Dalvin Cook – FanDuel $8000 DraftKings $8000
I love Dalvin Cook. I said it last week and was honestly shocked to see he wasn’t higher owned. He saved me basically all by himself despite going up against a very tough Saints run defense. This week is no easy task either against the 49ers and their incredible d-line. The coach proved last week he’s a smart guy though and I think they stick to the game plan of excellent running and stout defense to try and win against the red hot 49ers. When you have a really active and aggressive defensive line, the best thing you can do is try and spread them out and get them to run sideline to sideline through screen passes, tosses to the flat, bubble screens, and draws. Things of that nature could all potentially benefit Cook and get him some nice PPR points plus he’s always capable of breaking one off with how explosive he is.
Raheem Mostert – FanDuel $6700 DraftKings $5800
He’s proven himself to be the better back in San Francisco and I think it’s obvious to everyone he is better than Coleman. However, that doesn’t mean he’ll get all the snaps. They also have Breida who is fantastic. I struggle to trust a 49ers running back in cash games given their weapons but I heard a very interesting statistic from Warren Sharp (absolutely brilliant guy). The Vikings have been the most susceptible team in the league to 21 personnel and it has a shockingly decent sample size. Im sure you guessed by now the 49ers actually run the most 21 personnel in the league too! Seems like a great matchup given that. 21 personnel means one tight end (George Kittle the goat) and 2 running backs. Those two backs are going to be the fullback Juszczyk and someone else hopefully Mostert.
Cash Wide Receivers
Deebo Samuel – FanDuel $6100 DraftKings $5200
As far as point per dollar value goes, I think Deebo is probably my number one wide receiver this weekend. This rookie has been showing out week after week and has surprisingly made Emmanuel Sanders a bit of an afterthought. I think his role on this offense is still being defined and evolving too which is both good and concerning news for us. It’s good in that we know he’s going to be targeted and get the ball in interesting ways, even on end around rushes and what not. It’s concerning in that we don’t exactly know how to project him really cleanly. All of that said, I still think he gets the ball enough to more than pay off his salary (especially on DraftKings hint hint) and if he gets into the endzone (which I think he will) he’ll crush for us. I have to imagine he’ll be highly owned but it’s hard to tell because I feel like the industry has kind of slept on him all year long already.
Marquis Brown – FanDuel $5300 DraftKings $4400
This is more of a price and strategy consideration than anything. If we’re playing Lamar Jackson, we want to pair him up with someone (although you absolutely do not have to). The correlation typically would say you should be giving your quarterback a pass catcher to maximize the potential of your lineup and some people don’t like that strategy in cash games but those people probably aren’t as successful in cash games. I think for this small of a slate, you can take a potentially low floor poor performing wide receiver like Brown and pair him with Lamar to save salary and have that possible outcome of a touchdown to put you over the top. Naked Lamar is also not a problem and for tournaments I think it would make a lot of sense to play his tight end since both Kittle and Kelce are on this slate.
TyFREAK Hill – FanDuel $7900 DraftKings $7600
I think this guy is human garbage based on the reports and everything that came out despite them not finding enough to actually convict or suspend him. I just want to get that out there right away. This is a fantasy football article though and if we’re thinking about it just in terms of that and not a moral high-ground, he’s absolutely in play this weekend. I said earlier how much I liked Mahomes and was going either Mahomes or Lamar (or both if I make two cash lineups). I also said in my Brown write up above that pairing your quarterback with a receiver makes sense from a correlation perspective and is not a risky strategy at all for cash despite what some would tell you. I think you can and should play Hill regardless of whether you roster Mahomes because his price is actually quite affordable in comparison to what he can do on the field and what his ceiling is. He is clearly the fastest guy in the league and Mahomes has an absolute cannon and while it sounds like a video game strategy, that’s what they do. He could legitimately get 3 touchdowns. He’s not going to achieve a safe floor through 10 catches and 90 yards or something though so keep that in mind.
Tyler Lockett – FanDuel $6700 DraftKings $6600
He’s as cheap as ever considering what he’s capable of and the chemistry he has with Wilson. I’m sure you’ve heard the statistics a number of times but the combination of Wilson and Lockett are incredibly successful. The issue is he hasn’t really been throwing it to Lockett that much and this offense really just hasn’t been that impressive to me. I could be biased because I rostered Metcalf the week he got literally 0 targets and their offense looked like they were purposely trying to lose the game for some reason. Luckily the running backs have been taken away from Pete Carroll so he is forced to use Wilson at least a little bit more. Pay close attention to what the weather reports are in Green Bay. Normally I don’t think it affects passing all that much but if it’s windy and snowy, maybe stay away.
Cash Tight Ends
Travis Kelce – FanDuel $7500 DraftKings $6400
He managed to solidify himself as the number one tight end despite being somewhat disappointing this past season. I say somewhat disappointing lightly because it’s only in comparison to what his projections and expectations were at the beginning of the season. He obviously still did quite well. This is yet another target to potentially pair up with Mahomes if you choose to go that route. Tight end is tough this week because it has the three best tight ends available and typically we just pay down at that position in cash games. I’m still struggling on who to roster between Kelce, Kittle, and Andrews. I think Kelce is the cash game play and Andrews is the gpp play but I can’t fault you for going Kittle. It really depends on whether we get any reliable reports on Kelce’s knee before kickoff/lock.
Chiefs – FanDuel $4200 DraftKings $3200
They have been playing so much better the last few weeks and as counter intuitive as this may sound, I like defenses against mobile/scrambling quarterbacks as they’re more likely to give up sacks. Sacks get us points in our DFS defensive scoring and I know there are a lot of good offenses out there including Houston so we have our work cut out for us as usual with choosing a defense.
Ravens – FanDuel $4800 DraftKings $3600
Arguably the best matchup on the board considering the Titans have the lowest total and we aren’t targeting any Titans players. If you can afford them, you should absolutely play them. I wanted to write up the Chiefs as an option so you don’t feel like you have to pay for the most expensive defense but it’s probably the best option in cash.