I’ve been playing DFS for a long, long time. Sporting News had a DFS-like game that I started on and then when other sites showed up, I was the first to join. This isn’t bragging, because I’ve never really taken it seriously. I’ve wasted a whole lot of time and money playing for fun, which isn’t smart in any way. I never put much cash into the endeavor, playing low stakes and winning enough to keep it enjoyable, but over the years I’ve turned those low stakes into who knows how much money down the drain. So, I decided to stop being dumb and either not play or to take it seriously. So this is me taking it seriously for once.
Have a plan
My plan to finish this season is to play two lineups a week in head-to-heads, starting with 25 $1 buy-ins for each lineup. You’ll have to take my word for it, as I can’t post my team before the games start, but you can check out my weekly primer, where I give many of the plays I like on Saturdays.
Like most cash game players, I want some security in touches for the players I roster. That sometimes means paying up for top-tier players to secure those touches, but sacrifices will always need to be made. Balancing those sacrifices throughout your lineup is where you’ll wend up winning or losing.
To Taysom or not to Taysom?
This week brought a wrinkle into the cash game roster build, as Taysom Hill was named the starting quarterback for just $4,800 on DraftKings. Even with quarterbacks you would usually never play, if they are starting in a good matchup and cost under $5k, you have to take take a long look at rostering them. And with Hill, we knew he had rushing upside to push him into a must play at his price in a good matchup with a poor Falcons defense. That pushed me to use Hill in both of my cash lineups this week. And I’m glad I did.
Who to pay up for?
When choosing my running backs this week, Dalvin Cook was my favorite play, as he likely was for many people, but paying up for him was still difficult. I thought that rostering Taysom would make it easier to put Cook in my lineup, but the lack of solid, cheaper plays across the board was still limiting. I also wanted Davante Adams, Julio Jones (when I learned Marshon Lattimore was out) or Keenan Allen, and fitting them was tough. I made the right choice with Allen and Cook and the wrong choice with Jones.
My top cheap play at running back was the the Chargers Kalen Ballage. His usage last week was of a top, every down back and then his coach gave him a vote of confidence, calling him the lead back for this week against a bad Jets team. Of course, Ballage limped to the sideline after his first carry and I got some serious deja vu, as I had rostered Justin Jackson when he had a similar start a couple weeks ago and never touched the ball. But, Ballage did return and managed to catch seven passes, which saved his and possibly my day.
My other cheaper play that felt safe was Jakobi Meyers, who had been seeing big target numbers and was getting a good matchup with a middling Texans defense. And, his price was lower than it should be due to him playing on Monday night. With 10, 14, and 7 targets over the last three games, I felt his receptions would at least give him a good floor. Instead, Damiere Byrd ended up leading the way with a huge target share and fantasy performance, while Meyers ended up with just three targets, which he caught for just 37 yards. The process was okay and I really didn’t care for other value wide receivers this week. That’s just the way things go sometimes.
Tight ends are annoying
With news that Kenny Golladay, D’Andre Swift and Danny Amendola would be out, I focused in on T.J. Hockenson at tight end. He was taken off the injury report and had a good matchup with the Panthers. He ended up catching four passes for 68 yards, which wasn’t great, but with tight ends this season, it could have been worse. My other play was Dallas Goedert, which would have been much better, but I made my choice.
D/ST, keep it cheap
I never pay up for D/STs and had Washington and Cleveland as my top plays. The Browns went off for big points, but thankfully Washington also put up a decent game. I always target my D/STs against teams that like to pass the ball or have Carson Wentz on their team.
The game changer
In the end, Keenan Allen ended up being the smash play that I had hoped he would be. We know that Allen is a target hog and that Justin Herbert is playing lights out, and his price was cheaper than Adams, letting me fit him on my roster. Allen ended up catching a team record 16 passes! That made up for duds in Duke Johnson, Julio Jones and Meyers.
Learn from my mistakes
I made some missteps, but Taysom Hill’s rushing prowess and Keenan Allen’s continued huge usage helped stabilize my cash lineups. Paying up for Cook worked as well, and I should have done the same in my second lineup instead of moving to Julio just because Lattimore was ruled out. Playing Jones just because of Lattimore’s absence was the wrong move. Not because he didn’t score many points, but because I wasn’t really on him until that news and that shouldn’t be my sole reason to pay up for someone. If he had gone off, I’d probably be patting myself on the back right now, but it’s still bad process to make snap decisions.
I ended up doing well, as there really weren’t a lot of fantasy points out there for the taking and Allen ended up leading in DK points across all positions, so I didn’t need huge scores to win my head-to-heads. It breaks down as such:
Team 1 — 160.62 points — Won 88 percent
Team 2 — 155.52 points — Won 80 percent