By: Mark Leipold @LeipoldNFL
Week 10 DFS Cash Games
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 last week, 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.
Matthew Stafford ($6,800 on DK and $8,200 on FD) – Stafford is my top play on both sites this week, especially if you are paying up. The QB pricing is pretty tight this week (meaning there aren’t many great values), so other than Stafford and my next guy, the only decent value is Eli Manning, who can’t be trusted in cash games. Stafford is in a nice spot this week, as the Browns are giving up the 11th most fantasy points per game to opposing QBs, but they Browns are quietly a strong run defense, surrendering only 674 yards (2.9 per attempt) on the ground this year. Opposing RBs have done most of their damage through the air, which is good for Stafford of course. This matchup shapes up to be more of a Theo Riddick spot, as Ameer Abdullah should be bottled up by the Browns’ defensive front. Stafford ranks second in the league in pass attempts and first in red zone attempts. He’s inside the top 10 in most other statistical categories, too, including passing yards, air yards, touchdowns, etc. Stafford is heating up as of late, finishing as a QB1 in 4 straight games after finishing outside the top 12 in his previous 3 (though two were against the Giants and Vikings). In a game that should favor the Lions’ passing attack, Stafford should have a nice day.
Andy Dalton ($5,300 on DK and $7,100 on FD) – Yes, Andy Dalton is not a sexy option, I know. However, the Titans (much like the Browns) are a sneaky good run defense as well, and weaker against the pass (12th most fantasy points allowed to opposing QBs. Dalton has shredded both teams he’s faced this year with weak pass defenses (Cleveland and Indianapolis), finishing as the QB3 on the week both times. I won’t promise you he’ll finish that high, but at his price, even a middle of the pack QB1 range is sufficient. This is really more about his supporting cast than about Dalton, though, as A.J. Green should match up with Logan Ryan and Adoree Jackson, who are both average at their position, so Green should have a field day against a team without anyone who can cover him.
Carlos Hyde ($6,300 on DK and $6,700 on FD) – Finally, a game in which the 49ers might be competitive. Carlos Hyde is an RB1 on the year, but gets no love because he’s on a bad team. He’s actually become matchup-proof this year, as he ranks second among RBs in targets and third in receptions. Even when he’s losing, you’re winning. In addition, he leads all RBs in goal line carries, which are the highest value carries, of course. The Giants are a below average matchup for RBs, but Hyde’s volume is so predictable, and his usage so consistent, that it’s hard to say no at his price this week.
Orleans Darkwa ($4,500 on DK and $5,300 on FD) – Hello, free square. Darkwa is so cheap, still, that you pretty much have to play him (especially on FanDuel). DFS sites have not yet caught on to the fact that he is the clear lead back, and also that he seems to be good at football, which many of us may not have expected. He’s the top value play on FanDuel, and the second-best on DraftKings. Darkwa ranks sixth among RBs with 5.1 yards per carry, and fifth with a 7.5% breakaway run (15+ yards) rate. Against a 49ers defense that is horrible against the run (horrible may not be a strong enough word), expect Darkwa to carve out yards all game. Darkwa is a nice cheap play to help fit in the next guy, who is the top play of the week.
Le’Veon Bell ($9,800 on DK and $9,400 on FD) – Especially on FanDuel, Bell and Darkwa make a nice pairing, as Bell isn’t even the highest-priced RB (silly). Bell ranks first in the league among RBs in opportunity share (percentage of team carries and targets among the team’s RBs), carries, and red zone touches. He will be fed the rock against a Colts defense that is allowing the third-most fantasy points to opposing RBs this season, and he will eat. Since Week 3, Bell’s opportunities have been 41, 25, 38, 38, 28. He’s pretty much a must-play even at his lofty price in a game where the Steelers should be able to give him 30 touches.
Sterling Shepard ($5,500 on DK and $5,700 on FD) – A FanDuel special this week, Shepard is easily the best value on the slate. Even better for FanDuel players, Shepard ranks 4th in the league among WRs in red zone target share, and touchdowns are more valuable on FanDuel than they are on DraftKings. Shepard has scored only once on the year, so I expect some positive regression. Shepard and Evan Engram are pretty much the only viable targets in the passing game, and while I expect the running game to be active, the Giants will still have to throw the ball some, and it’s a good bet Shepard gets targets. In his first game back from injury, Shepard ran 37 routes and saw 9 targets, turning them into 5 catches for 70 yards. That’s a decent line at his price point, and if he turns one into a score, it’s great value. Shepard’s floor is depressed this year with Eli Manning’s struggles, but the expected volume at his price is hard to come by.
Cooper Kupp ($4,600 on DK and 5,900 on FD) – and Robert Woods ($5,000 on DK and $6,200 on FD) – It’s tough to choose, and both have their merits, but both are viable cash game plays against a Houston defense that is stronger against the run than the pass. Kupp leads the league among WRs in red zone target share and in his last 5 games, he has seen 7, 8, 3 (Jacksonville), 10, and 5 targets. 12 of those came in the red zone, and 2 went for touchdowns. Kupp and Goff have a nice connection, and there’s no reason to think he won’t be a favorite target again this week. Woods has been ultra-consistent this year. Other than one game with 4 and one game with 8 targets, all of his others this season have resulted in 5 to 7 targets. It’s incredibly difficult to find such predictable volume. Woods certainly has less upside, as he has only seen 4 red zone targets, and both of his touchdowns this year came last week. My preference is Kupp for this week, though both are viable plays in a game where the Rams could score in bunches.
A.J. Green ($7,700 on DK and $7,900 on FD) – My choice at the top end this week for the reasons explained in the Dalton pick. Green ranks 4th in the league in target share, and with no one from the Titans secondary who even comes close to matching up with him, he should turn his normal volume into tons of production. Enough said.
Cameron Brate ($4,100 on DK and $5,700 on FD) – Brate is my DraftKings play of choice. Coming into this week, on 48 throws this year, Fitzpatrick has targeted Brate on 15% of them, which is almost identical to his 2017 target share of 15.8%. It’s a small sample, but Brate shouldn’t take much of a hit in fantasy from Fitzpatrick stepping in for Jameis Winston. Brate ranks 10th at the position in targets, but 6th in red zone target share. He’s scored 4 TDs this year, good for 4th at the position. The most interesting part is that he ranks 3rd in air yards among TEs, so Brate has a nice floor if he continues to be targeted at his current rate. In a game without Mike Evans, I expect the target share to increase for Brate, putting him in a nice spot for the week. The Jets are also a favorable matchup for opposing TEs, surrendering the 8th most fantasy points per game to the position.
Kyle Rudolph ($4,600 on DK and $5,400 on FD) – Rudolph is my FanDuel play of choice. Touchdowns go farther on FanDuel than DraftKings, and Rudolph ranks 3rd at the position in red zone target share. Rudolph has been up and down this year, but the Redskins rank as the fourth-best matchup for opposing TEs, so I’m willing to bet on an up week. With Josh Norman back, the middle of the field should be the preferred zone for Case Keenum’s targets, so I like Adam Thielen for the same reason. Rudolph’s floor is lower than I like, but in such a nice matchup, I like his chances of getting in the end zone. There aren’t many floor plays at TE this week that have good value on FanDuel, so the pivot I’d look to would be Delanie Walker. Otherwise, shoot for TDs and hope for the best.
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 @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.