By: Mark Leipold @LeipoldNFL
DFS Cash Game Lineup Advice
Welcome back to the DFS Cash Game series on FFDynasty260. No fluff this week, here we go.
Let’s start with the best value plays of the week. Very simply, this compares a player’s salary on each site to his rank in Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) as of Wednesday evening, courtesy of FantasyPros. Players with salaries well below their ECR value are objectively better plays, as the expert consensus is higher on that player than the DFS sites (i.e., the player costs more than he should). Players with salaries above their ECR are objectively worse plays because the experts are lower on that player than the DFS sites (i.e., the player costs more than he should). I will caveat all of this by saying that this is purely based on the numbers and does not account for several factors including mid-week injury updates, floor and ceiling of players, etc. It is strictly based on the ranks versus the salaries, and the ranks are fixed differentials (e.g., the difference between 1 and 2 is the same as between 41 and 42), but the values are not necessarily linear. Last caveat – these rankings don’t account for bonuses (e.g., 300 yard passing bonus on DraftKings). To summarize all that, this should not be the sole basis of your lineups, but it’s a nice way to identify some variance or opportunities in salary where the sites have not caught up to player values. Here are the top value plays for Week 7 on each site. A player’s value in this chart is defined simply as Salary Rank minus ECR. For example, if Colin Kaepernick has the 25th highest salary on DraftKings this week, and his ECR is 12th, his value would be 25-12=13.
Do I like all of these players for cash games? Same as usual, absolutely not. In cash games, drafting players with a floor is key. For QBs, that means pass attempts and scoring opportunities. For RBs, it means carries and passing game usage (targets). For WRs and TEs it means routes run and targets. There are some players on this chart I like, and I explain below.
Dak Prescott ($5,600 on DK and $7,700 on FD) – DraftKings only. Prescott is seriously discounted on DraftKings this week, so I’m looking his way. Prescott ranks in the top 12 among QBs in Air Yards, Pass Attempt Distance, and Passing TDs, so it’s reasonable to expect him to score in the top 12 on a weekly basis (on average). In addition to his passing production, he ranks 10th among QBs in carries, 6th in red zone carries, 7th in rush yards, and 1st in rush TDs. Given his ability to produce on the ground, and a reasonable expectation that his passing alone would land him as a back-end QB1, Prescott at the 20th highest salary on DraftKings is a steal. He also draws the Giants, who are the 4th best matchup for opposing QBs in fantasy.
Russell Wilson ($6,200 on DK and $7,700 on FD) – I won’t add anything to what I wrote last week, other than this: Jacksonville does not scare me as they usually do for QBs because of Wilson’s mobility. Here is what I wrote last week.
Did you realize that Russell Wilson ranks 1st in the league in pass attempts? Shocking, right? He also ranks 3rd among QBs in carries and red zone carries per game. He ranks 2nd in the league in air yards and 1st in pass attempt distance. These numbers are all absolutely sustainable with his volume. Wilson is certainly in the conversation for top fantasy QB of this week. Against a beatable Eagles secondary, in a game where Philadelphia’s stout rush defense should have no problem stopping Seattle’s meager rushing offense, Wilson will be the only guy getting it done for the Seahawks. He’s my favorite QB of the week, and definitely the guy I’m paying up for. Since the Week 6 bye, Wilson has finished outside the top 5 QBs in weekly scoring just once, and he posted a QB9 rank in that week against the Cardinals. No other player in the league besides Le’Veon Bell (perhaps) has the floor that Wilson has shown. He’s as safe as they come in cash games.
Giovani Bernard ($3,100 on DK and $5,100 on FD) – Hello, free square. Bernard ranks as the 60th-highest salary on FanDuel, and outside that on DraftKings (I stop at 60 RBs in my analysis, so I just assigned him the value as if he was #60). With Joe Mixon out, Bernard will be the lead back and will see plenty of volume. Nothing more needs to be said, but I will add that Bernard has been effective this year, averaging 4.2 yards per carry and 6.3 yards per touch. He also ranks 5th among RBs in drop rate, so it’s a safe bet he is used in both aspects of the game. The best free square of the year.
Kenyan Drake ($5,400 on DK and $6,200 on FD) – Drake draws a middle-of-the-road matchup this week against the Patriots, but benefits from being the clear lead back once more. Despite limited usage before this stretch, Drake has seriously impressed since the Jay Ajayi trade and the Damien Williams injury. Drake is averaging 4.9 yards per carry, good for 7th among RBs. He’s doing a lot of it on his own, too, with 2.05 yards created per carry, which ranks 6th among RBs. Against a solid Denver rush defense last week, Drake posted 23 carries and 3 catches for 141 yards (77 created for himself) and a score. He evaded 15 tackles in the process, which is excellent. Drake would be the top free square if not for the Joe Mixon injury that vaults Giovani Bernard up the board.
Lamar Miller ($5,800 on DK and $6,600 on FD) – Since the Week 9 bye, Miller has touched the ball no less than 15 times, and has eclipsed 20 in 4 of his last 5 games. He’s also playing the 49ers, who surrendered over 15 points to the backfields of Seattle and Chicago in the last two weeks (Chicago only ran 37 offensive plays, so 15 FPTS is huge). For this price, I’m all in.
Josh Gordon (5,500 on DK and $6,700 on FD) – Josh Gordon is for real. He saw 11 targets in his first game back after not playing football for over 3 years. It’s unbelievable how incredible that is. He may have only caught 4 passes for 85 yards, but he did so against Casey Hayward, one of the best CBs in the league. This week, he gets Green Bay’s friendly secondary, which ranks 4th in most fantasy points allowed to WRs. If last week is any indication, Gordon will feast on the likes of Davon House and Kevin King this week. In a small sample of 1 game, Gordon saw 34.4% of the targets for the Browns, which would rank him #1 in the league among WRs if it continues. I expect it to drop a bit, but his efficiency should improve as he develops chemistry with DeShone Kizer, and has he doesn’t have to face Hayward in coverage. Cash in now before Gordon’s price is through the roof.
Doug Baldwin ($5,400 on DK and 7,400 on FD) – DraftKings only. Baldwin is likely priced down because of his matchup with Jacksonville, but he will most likely avoid Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye by running out of the slot as he normally does. Baldwin ranks 4th in the league among WRs in targets, 14th in receiving yards, and 7th in target separation (distance between him and the nearest defender when the pass arrives). The only knock on Baldwin is that he’s not scoring TDs (4 on the year), but on DraftKings, that’s not as important. Baldwin is consistently getting open and being targeted by Russell Wilson, so for the same price as Ted Ginn Jr., you can bet Baldwin is the one who will be in my lineups.
Marquise Goodwin ($5,100 on DK and $5,700 on FD) – This may come as a surprise to many, but the 49ers rank 1st in the league on pass plays run, at 42 per game. Goodwin ranks 2nd among WRs in air yards, but only 24th in receiving yards, so with a bit more yardage after the catch, he could easily be in the WR2 conversation. He ranks 13th in yards per target, indicating that his targets are more valuable for fantasy football than most other WRs. Last week with Jimmy Garoppolo under center, Goodwin saw 8 targets, and caught all of them for 99 yards. He didn’t score a touchdown, so may be a bit under the radar, but he’s growing out of his “deep threat” profile and evolving to see more targets. He’s a nice, cheap play with a good target floor and a ton of upside against a battered Texans secondary that is giving up a lot of passing production.
Hunter Henry ($4,600 on DK and $5,600 on FD) – I normally write up two TEs in case there are pricing differences on the two main sites, but Henry is nearly the best value on both. Henry has seen 5, 5, and 9 targets in his last 3 games, including 4 in the red zone across that span. He was a dud against Buffalo in Week 11, but finished as TE4 and TE 8 in the last two weeks against Dallas and Cleveland. Henry ranks 3rd in air yards among TEs, so he does not need a touchdown to have a solid fantasy output. He also ranks 5th in yards per target, indicating that he’s not used in the short dump-off game like most TEs. He’s running meaningful routes down the field and catching them (4th among TEs in catch rate at 71.7%). Philip Rivers is very accurate when targeting Henry as well, which doesn’t hurt. Henry ranks 2nd among TEs in catchable target rate, per PlayerProfiler. I love Henry on both sites this week in a great matchup against the Redskins, who allow the 5th-most fantasy points to TEs.
You can also look to Jimmy Graham on DraftKings, or Jack Doyle on FanDuel. Stephen Anderson (HOU) is a nice upside option (though risky), as he saw 12 targets after the injury to C.J. Fiedorowicz last week. Anderson is more of a GPP option for me though, as I’m not ready to trust the floor.
I hope these tips help you set winning lineups this week on both sites. Let me know your thoughts and how they worked out for you! I am on Twitter at @LeipoldNFL and always like talking football. Let me know what you liked, what you didn’t like, and if this can be more useful moving forward.