NFL DFS Week 13: Fantasy Football Cash Game Breakdown

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Looking back on last week is yet again not a fun thing to do. Sigh. Quarterbacks have been destroying me. Two weeks ago I go Kyle Allen and still stand by it, last week I go Matt Ryan but I regret that one a bit. I originally had Jameis and should have stuck with him. I also did not see semi-chalk DJ Moore coming at all last week. The wide receiver for the Carolina Panthers went off and he was around 30% owned. If you’re into the ridiculous drama series that is DFS Twitter you’ll get this – between the lineup sharing and the opto’s I think I’m done with cash games. In all seriousness, cash games can still be profitable but we just have to stick to our guns and not make last minute quarterback changes. Let’s take a look at what is shaping up to be an awesome slate this coming week.

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!

Cash Quarterbacks

Lamar Jackson – FanDuel $8700 DraftKings $7000

Woo boy is he expensive and probably the worst matchup he’s had yet. That said…I don’t know that there is such a thing as a bad matchup for this guy. What a monster. I touched on this a bit last week but we’ve also seen a weird trend this year so far where paying up at quarterback has been a smart move. Historically I have been VERY successful with NFL cash games by paying down at quarterback but people are crushing other value positions to afford guys like Lamar or Mahomes who have unbelievable ceilings. I think people will probably stay away from Lamar this week because of the price and the 49ers defense but honestly, I think he should be in play in all formats (especially on DraftKings).

Patrick Mahomes – FanDuel $8600 DraftKings $7400

A lot of what I said above pertains here as well. The guy is a monster and he’s just getting healthier and healthier. It’s almost impossible to live up to what he did last year, especially with a tweaked ankle then a crazy dislocated kneecap or whatever happened on that sneak. I think he may end up being a bit chalky (more so than Lamar) primarily due to the matchup against the worst passing defense around lately. The Raiders are getting torched through the air and no shade on my guy Brian Tulloch but even his Jets and Sam Darnold tore up Oakland last week! Imagine what a guy like Mahomes can do with all those weapons! Unfortunately it would seem his weapons priced appropriately for the matchup so if I go Mahomes, it’s probably going to be naked and not stacking him with anyone (which I would likely also do for Lamar). It’s easy to go either of these studs naked in your lineup with their floors and their rushing ability.

Carson Wentz – FanDuel $7300 DraftKings $5800

I like this play on both sites primarily due to price and matchup. I’m not high on Wentz or his abilities right now due to what he has to work with. If Ertz is out this week (he’s currently questionable but likely to play) then I think I’m probably avoiding Wentz. He has a decent floor, solid ceiling, and gets to go against the Dolphins this week. Him being so much cheaper than the two studs are really the big reason here because we get to then fit in a lot more talent at other positions. He would really have to get us multiple touchdowns which is not something he’s been doing the last handful of weeks. There’s a solid chance he’ll need to do that though because although Miami is terrible on defense, the great tank commander Fitzmagic is always good to push the ball downfield and the Eagles don’t have a great secondary themselves. I think this is possibly a sneaky game stack in tournaments and love the idea of bringing it back with Parker.

Cash Running Backs

Christian McCaffrey – FanDuel $11000 DraftKings $10500

Best player in fantasy football hands down and he’s priced like it. I say the same thing about him every week now – if you can afford him then by all means play him. I’m not sure that I can. He won’t be overwhelming chalk at this price tag and he will never kill your lineup barring an injury. He can and will payoff this insane price tag. He has one of the best matchups he’s faced all year. I’m typically on team “jam’em in” where you just play the best players and figure out the rest regardless of salary. Not going to be so easy this week as I don’t know if there’s enough value outside of him. I can do it on DraftKings surprisingly and be comfortable but it’s with two other value running backs which is a bit sketchy sometimes.

Leonard Fournette – FanDuel $7600 DraftKings $7500

I think I’m probably going to write up Fournette every week and he’s almost never letting me down.  I guess if there was a concern in this game it would probably be game script oddly enough (although he was amazing against the blowout vs the Titans). He was able to stay relevant last week while getting their butts whooped which is great to see. If he’s came script independent and is going to catch a ton of passes in basically any scenario, I’m in for it. Tampa Bay has had a decent run defense the first half of the season but I’m still all over Fournette this week on both sites. He’s likely to be the highest or second highest owned running back this week behind Miles Sanders.

Miles Sanders – FanDuel $5800 DraftKings $5400

This guy pops up every single week as the value play and he’s been fine I guess. Nothing amazing but it’s more so about what he can afford you and who he’s up against this week. I didn’t run him out last week but I will be against the Dolphins so that I can afford better wide receivers and/or maybe some Dairy Sanders. If he could just get into the end zone one time this game we’re in great shape. If he happens to catch a touchdown pass from Wentz…well that could be really nice. This all depends on whether Howard can go and I’m pretty sure he’s on the mend but not quite cleared for contact yet so this could be a nice way to save some salary.

Jonathan Williams – FanDuel $6800 DraftKings $5300

Wow do I absolutely love this play on DraftKings. I don’t mind it on FanDuel but he’s even cheaper than Sanders and based on last week, the Colts really want to give him the ball. He got a TON of looks and may not have an eye-popping YPC (an overrated stat at times in such a small sample), but he looked really good to me. Eye test is a big thing for me and we already know the Colts offensive line is incredible but Williams honestly looked like a good running back to me last week catching a few passes etc. Per my note above on Fournette we saw the Titans really struggle against him so I think we can get some solid production here from Williams. I’m not saying he’s as good as Fournette but his offensive line is certainly better.

Le’Veon Bell – FanDuel $7300 DraftKings $7200

This isn’t a cash game play based on ownership because for whatever reason he remains under the radar but I’m putting him here because I really love this play this week. The Bungals are close to the bottom of the league against running backs and Bell has been incredibly consistent whether he’s getting into the end zone or not. You absolutely love a situation like that for cash games because he can get you a super safe floor and he has touchdown upside. It’s really nice to not play someone who HAS to get you a touchdown to payoff. I think the Jets should be playing from ahead here as well which just means more and more Bell (hopefully).

Cash Wide Receivers

Mike Evans – FanDuel $7700 DraftKings $6900

Picking the right wide receiver on this team is so tough. Chris Godwin is amazing, Mike Evans is amazing…they’re rarely both going off in the same game. Evans has enough talent at this price to pay off safely enough I think and the Jags passing defense has not been itself since they lost Ramsey. I’m not sure I will play Evans in cash but I like to make sure I give people some options of players I like because the guys I like and I don’t play are often way better than the guys I do play womp womp. The past few weeks haven’t been good for Evans but he still leads the team in air yards and targets and eventually that will pay off. I want to be on the right side of it for a guy at that price with an unbelievable ceiling. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Evans has the highest ceiling for a wide receiver in the league in my opinion.

Davante Adams – FanDuel $8000 DraftKings $7000

You have to love the price and matchup here on DraftKings at a minimum. He’s pretty expensive for me on FanDuel but I like him a lot on DK where I get the full point per reception. The Giants are just not good and although A Rod hasn’t looked great the past few weeks quarterbacking for the Packers, I think this has to be a get right game. The only question is whether or not they choose to run the ball a lot or not. I absolutely love Aaron Jones but the coaching staff doesn’t seem to always love him as much. If they learned from their lesson last week of not using him enough, Adams may not get as many looks as he probably could.

DeVante Parker – FanDuel $6000 DraftKings $5700

Parker has been incredibly consistent and is FINALLY showcasing what we all thought he could be years ago. I think Fitzmagic being in there is a plus for him. The Dolphins will presumably be playing from behind and will have to throw the ball a lot to stay in the game. Even without touchdowns Parker has been able to pay off his price consistently on FanDuel where he’s only getting credit for half a point per catch. I can see him going for 10 catches and 100+ yards on DraftKings which would crush his value there.

Christian Kirk – FanDuel $6100 DraftKings $5700

My primary hesitation with this play is all around whether or not Murray goes. He is currently questionable with a hamstring which is sketchy since he really needs to use his legs to create. The Rams have really fallen off the map and got destroyed this past week (at home) by the Ravens. I’m not saying the Cardinals are anywhere remotely as good but Kirk is very talented and can get open for some catches.

Sammy Watkins – FanDuel $6100 DraftKings $5400

I mentioned in the section regarding Mahomes how the pass defense of the Raiders is awful and Sammy is probably the cheapest and most “reliable” way to get a piece of that passing offense. Everyone else on the Chiefs is priced up quite a bit. You’re going to have to sacrifice a lot in your lineup to get Tyreek or Kelce (hard not to love either/both of those guys). I really don’t like Watkins as far as your typical cash play guy – his floor is not safe and his ceiling is pretty high but again, if you want any of this passing game with Mahomes, this is probably the only feasible route.

Cash Tight Ends

Tyler Higbee – FanDuel $5500 DraftKings $2500

Higbee is the absolute mortal cash lock of the century on DraftKings at this price and with Everett out. He also meets the “flowchart” analysis where you play tight ends against the Cardinals week in and week out. Not much else to it really. I do like some other guys on FanDuel though.

Travis Kelce – FanDuel $7100 DraftKings $7200

The salary difference between Kelce and other playable tight ends really isn’t quite as much on FanDuel so I think it’s reasonable to try and find the salary here. FanDuel is more flexible in cash games this week at tight end as I think there are multiple options. Paying up at tight end here is definitely a reasonable option given the matchup and you can potentially stack Mahomes up. I also think paying down is viable but I don’t like any of the midrange cost guys.

Noah Fant – FanDuel $5100 DraftKings $3700

Our optimizer as well as another one I use (don’t worry it’s not FantasyCruncher) seems to love Fant this week and honestly I couldn’t tell you why. My analysis would be that I’m not a fan of this play with this quarterback against the Chargers who keep losing close games but not because of a bad defense really. I just wanted the readers to know there are opto’s out there that I trust that are spitting out Fant this week.

Defense

Carolina Panthers – FanDuel $4700 DraftKings $3800

The Panthers can get some sacks and turnovers against the Redskins who are not looking very in sync on offense with my guy Haskins at the helm. I think they’re a reasonable play but I don’t think I’m paying up this much this week.

Pittsburgh Steelers – FanDuel $3700 DraftKings $3500

This is my FanDuel defense this week almost for certain. I’m very biased here so be warned but the Steelers d has played really well. Yes the Browns beat up on them (literally) last time out but I truly think the team will play differently with Duck at quarterback this week. The Browns COULD turn it over a good bit, get sacked a handful of times, maybe give up a touchdown to Minkah the best safety in football 🙂