Rex Windwood is a daily fantasy addict with a penchant for giving away his daily fantasy winners. He has created a high ROI for himself by specializing in NFL daily cash games with an eye towards value and risk management.
Regular season over. No more physics-defying catches from Odell Beckham Jr. No more JJ Watt selfie sacks. No more money signs from Johnny Football (…okay we’ll probably still see some money signs). But fear not! Just because the regular season is over does not mean the fun is over. NFL daily fantasy football continues on!
Why Play During the NFL Playoffs?
Short answer: Because we are degenerates.
Kidding aside, I think the NFL Playoffs are still enjoyable and can offer some further compounding from a DFS perspective. The playoffs draw in new players to the DFS game who want to continue playing fantasy after their season-longers have ended. As grinders, we should welcome these fish with open arms, for they are contributing to our bankrolls.
The playoffs are also when players are giving their all. It’s win or go home. I encourage you to really dig into these games and form an opinion about how they will play out. There are only four games each of the next two weeks and then two games the following week. If you don’t already create projections for each player, this is a great time to start with a very manageable list of players to project.
Thoughts on Small Slates for Cash Games
People take different approaches when playing in a small slate of games versus a full slate. The obvious difference between a small slate and a full slate is the number of players to choose from. This makes one more likely to run into a situation where it seems like you just cannot put together a decent lineup due to lack of options. You shouldn’t expect to feel as good about a small slate lineup, though. All you can do is create the best lineups with the available options and let other people foolishly take less EV players just to differentiate.
For cash games, I don’t consider ownership rates whatsoever. It makes no sense to play a sub-optimal player just for the purpose of differentiating in a contest where 50 percent of players cash. GPPs are a different story.
That said, smaller slates offering fewer options do give you more binary results as you will have more players in common between lineups or just fewer lineups in general.For this reason, I think it is prudent to lower the percent of your bankroll that you risk in these smaller slates compared to a full slate. And, as always, know what you’re good at:
And with that, let’s look at some cash game plays for this weekend!
Favorite Wildcard Round Plays
Note: I will be discussing player value relative to FanDuel salaries and scoring. These options may not be the best on other sites.
Quarterback – Cam Newton – Cam is averaging 21.8 FanDuel points per game in his last six games (See why six games is a good sample size here). He has a high floor, something we like in cash games, due to his rushing. Over the last six, Cam is averaging 7.7 points per game just from rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. Assuming Cam hits his rushing points floor, all he needs is a 150/1/1 stat line to reach twice his salary value. Very doable especially for a guy who has been hot as of late.
Running Back – Jeremy Hill – The Colts run defense is bad. The Patriots exposed them twice in 2014, once in the playoffs AFC divisional round last January and once in Week 11. Yeah Week 11 was that one game where former practice squad player Jonas Gray carried the ball 37 times for 201 yards and a franchise-record four TDs. I anticipate Hill getting 25+ carries against the Colts. While the game script may not favor the Bengals, establishing the run will be key to winning the game. Let’s look at what Jeremy Hill does when he gets 20+ carries:
Marvin Lewis also mentioned the need to be more patient on offense this week. All signs point to Jeremy Hill pounding the rock on Sunday. And with a salary of $7400…You kiddin’ me?
Wide Receiver – Antonio Brown – Brown might be the guy I’ve rostered the most this year. The reason is that he is So. Damn. Consistent. In his last 6, Brown has averaged 19.6 points with a standard deviation of just 3.7 points. Compare that to Dez Bryant, just $100 less than Brown, who has averaged 19.5 points with a standard deviation of 8.9 points. We, as cash game players, should be willing to pay a premium for consistency. This week that premium is only $100.
If that’s not enough for you, keep in mind the Ravens will be covering Brown with Rashaan Melvin. The Ravens have lost an incredible 5 cornerbacks to injury this year and grabbed Melvin from the Dolphins practice squad. Melvin has only played 3 games and faced the nefarious trio of Blake Bortles, Case Keenum, and Connor Shaw. In a game where Le’Veon Bell may not contribute much expect Big Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers to turn to their next best playmaker: Antonio Brown.
Tight End – Heath Miller – The tight end decision is tough this week. In cash games, there should only be 3 choices you consider: Greg Olsen, Jason Witten, and Heath Miller. This week, I would prioritize getting your top QB, 2 RBs, and at least 2 WRs before looking at TEs. That said, my best value at TE this week is Miller. All Steelers pass catchers should get a small boost with Bell being hurt and Miller has seen a slight uptick in volume over the last six. Couple that with his consistency over the last six games (a relative standard deviation of 27 percent versus Olsen’s 66 percent and Witten’s 71 percent) and a $5000 price tag and he’s my top value at TE.
Good luck this week!