My plan to finish this season is to play two cash 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 usually check out my weekly primer, where I put my favorite plays. Unfortunately, I had emergency gallbladder surgery, and ended up making a Twitter thread instead, which you can check out here. I’ll be back with my regular primer for Week 13 next weekend.
Who I wanted as core players
With so many value plays this week, it was difficult to narrow down a core group that I just had to have. Instead, I had a fairly big group of players I wanted to fit in if possible. This week those were: QBs — Patrick Mahomes, Kyler Murray, Taysom Hill, RBs — Dalvin Cook, Nyheim Hines, James White, Kareem Hunt, WRs: Calvin Ridley, Devante Parker, Justin Jefferson, Michael Pittman, Curtis Samuel, Antonio Brown, TEs — Darren Waller, Kyle Rudolph, Jordan Reed, D/STs- Giants, Browns, Saints.
Who to pay up for?
In the end, I payed up for Patrick Mahomes, Dalvin Cook, Calvin Ridley and Darren Waller. They were all players I expected to have high floors in good matchups. Unfortunately, only two of the four hit, while other players like Derrick Henry and Tyreek Hill had such massive games, that if you ended up facing either, your chances of winning your cash lineup were slim. The good news is, that since we are playing cash games, our chances of pulling out a win are still okay without the top scorers.
Hitting on Mahomes and Ridley from my high-priced players was enough to push Team 1 into a winning lineup despite three busts in that lineup, but my second lineup wasn’t as lucky.
I liked Brian Hill and Wayne Gallman this week, but wanted the receiving upside of James White and Nyheim Hines with Rex Burkhead and Jonathan Taylor out. Gallman ended up leading the group, but Hill was a bust, while Hines and White had decent games. This week we were scraping points together wherever we could find them
Mid-range wide receivers
I liked Denzel Mims and Andy Isabella as value plays, but I also didn’t want to take on their risk. That led me to focusing on mid-range receivers like Davante Parker, Justin Jefferson, Curtis Samuel, Antonio Brown, and Michael Pittman.
Thankfully, I hit well enough on Parker, Jefferson and Samuel to keep my lineups in contention. Narrowing targets down for Parker and Jefferson based on Adam Thielen and Preston Williams being out worked well, but targeting a wider target group from the Buccaneers and Colts was not the way to go.
Sometimes you just get lucky
Early on, I was in on the Raiders more than just Waller, as I liked the discount you could get with Derek Carr against the Falcons. In the end, I went away from Carr for Hill, as I felt a little better about his rushing floor holding his points up. It really was a toss up and I liked Carr’s upside more and he was cheaper, but sometimes you just have to fade Carr and go about your business.
Tight ends are annoying
Of my three favorite plays at tight end, I chose the two bad ones, as Waller and Reed did zilch and Rudolph had a productive game at a much cheaper price. I think this was somewhat psychological, as I faded Rudolph and his cheap price in the hopes that Waller and his high price would be super safe, which he hasn’t been this season and Reed would have better upside with the 49ers still missing a big chunk of pass catchers. I was incorrect.
D/ST, keep it cheap
I never pay up for D/STs and had the Giants and Browns as my top plays. I leaned toward the Giants against a Bengals team reeling after losing their franchise quarterback over targeting Mike Glennon and whatever the Jaguars were bringing to the table. I like the Giants defense better than the Myles Garrett-less Browns defense on paper and they only cost $100 more, so I landed on them and good thing I did.
Learn from my mistakes
I made plenty of poor moves this week and not picking some of the huge games from Henry, Hill, Robinson, Chubb, Landry, etc, weren’t them. We aren’t always going to pick the top scoring players and we can’t beat ourselves up for that. What we want to do, is to keep evaluating our lineups and what hurt and helped them each week.
This week, not playing Kyle Rudolph and playing Waller/Reed instead was probably my biggest mistake. We already know how volatile tight ends are and unless you pay up for Travis Kelce, there’s no reason to pay up for a tight end in cash games. And you especially don’t want to pay up for a player that isn’t consistent, which Waller hasn’t been. He was a good play, but not at $6,000. And even if Rudolph had a poor outing, with Irv Smith out, he would have likely had a similar floor to what we got from the other two this week.
I ended up doing slightly better than a wash, as there really weren’t a lot of fantasy points out there for the taking once you got past the big scorers. But this week was also more volatile, as I ran into teams in my head-to-heads with a wide range of totals based on if they had Henry or Hill. Much depended on my individual matchups and I think both of my lineups could have faired better and worse if thrown into a different batch. I think I’ll start entering them into some 50/50s and double ups just to see what the differences are.
Team 1 — 133.68 points — Won 80 percent
Team 2 — 121.92 points — Won 34 percent
Team 1 — 160.62 points — Won 88 percent
Team 2 — 155.52 points — Won 80 percent