Welcome in. Hopefully, everyone had a great week and is as excited as I am for this week’s games. Hopefully, last week you were able to construct a nice winning lineup based on some of the plays mentioned in last week’s article. Prepare for a humblebrag. I had a terrific week, cashing in over 97% of my cash game contests. Which means absolutely nothing when it comes to this week.
The goal of the cash game article is to outline some of the safer plays, while also, providing options that will help you create the most optimal builds. The whole point of it all is to make some money. Sometimes we won’t, but putting ourselves in the best position to do so is the most important part. That goes without saying, but can sometimes get overshadowed by the results on a week to week basis.
All people want to know is how many points a guy scored, and not necessarily the route in which they got there. DFS is not only a science but a math equation. Let’s dive in, put the pieces together, and try to solve it. Here are my favorite Cash Game Plays for Week Five.
Disclaimer: As always, there will be a lock emoji next to a few of my favorite plays. All of the guys mentioned are viable for cash games, but the ones with a lock emoji are going to be fixtures in my main lineup.
Carson Wentz ($6,100 DK, $7,800 FD) 🔒
Wentz is a dude who seems to get overlooked whenever great NFL QBs are discussed. He gets a pristine matchup this week against a very beatable New York Jets defense who is giving up 286.7 passing yards per game (fifth-most in the NFL). With Sam Darnold being ruled out, the Eagles will be a popular survivor pool pick. The Jets are coming off their bye week and have had more time to rest and prepare for the Eagles. Some may interpret that as bad for the Eagles, but I think this bodes well for fantasy purposes and takes away some of the fears I have with this game. My worry was the Eagles would get out to a substantial lead and let off the gas pedal. If the Jets’ preparation works in their favor, the game will remain close and Wentz will be forced to continue throwing throughout. Give me Wentz as my favorite cash game quarterback of the week.
Andy Dalton ($5,700 DK, $7,500 FD)
If you’re looking to save a little bit of cash and don’t want to go all the way down, Dalton isn’t a bad option this week. The Arizona Cardinals rank first in the NFL in the pace of play (23.88 seconds/play). The Bengals are seventh in the league in seconds per play (26.65). More plays, generally, amount to more fantasy points. The Cards also rank bottom-third in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game (271.0) Watch the weather forecast. The last I saw, there was a chance for rain. If Sunday morning, the weather is expected to be sloppy and windy, do all that you can to spend up for Wentz or use one of the two quarterbacks mentioned below.
Also an Option: Deshaun Watson
Punt Option: Chase Daniel
Ezekiel Elliott ($8,300 DK, $8,800 FD)
While the Packers have shown improvement this season defensively, they’ve had their fair share of troubles stopping the run. They’ve allowed 569 yards rushing this season and an average of 142.2 yards per game. Those numbers are skewed because the Bears abandoned the running game early on and only rushed 15 times total in week one. So, in reality, they’ve been a lot worse than the numbers show. Dalvin Cook put up 31.1 DK points against them in week two, Phillip Lindsay racked up 29 points in week three, and Jordan Howard had 32.5 points in week four. I don’t need to tell you how good Zeke or his offensive linemen are. He should see 20-25 touches in this game, Zeke is a solid play.
David Johnson ($7,500 DK, $6,800 FD) 🔒
Christian Kirk has been ruled out for Sunday’s contest against the Cincinnati Bengals because of an ankle injury. I liked DJ before the official word came out about Kirk, but now that it’s official, I love DJ. The amount of usage he gets in the passing game on top of the number of points the Bengals allow to running backs, this is a slam dunk spot. Johnson will most likely run some routes in the slot and has at least seven targets in three of four games this season, including 11 last week. Whenever you can get an RB under $8,000 that’s on the field for 80% or more of his teams’ offensive snaps, you take it.
Leonard Fournette ($6,400 DK, $6,900 FD) 🔒
In some dynasty leagues before the season started, I grabbed some shares of Ryquell Armstead, thinking that he may have a chance to overtake Fournette at some point and become the Jaguars’ lead back. At this point, barring injury, that’s not looking like it will be this year, especially after Fournette torched the Denver Broncos last week for 225 yards on the ground. He’s been on the field for 90% of the Jags’ offensive snaps, more than any other offensive weapon not named Gardner Minshew, and the second-highest rate out of any running back in the NFL. Also, while the Panthers defense has had an overall solid start to the season, they allow 4.9 yards per carry, which puts them tied with the Baltimore Ravens for fifth-most in the league. Furthermore, he still has yet to score a touchdown. You have to think that changes sometime soon.
Always an Option: Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook
Punt Option: David Montgomery (Don’t love it).
Michael Thomas ($6,600 DK, $7,700 FD) 🔒
When you lose the all-time leader in passing yards, I think it’s safe to say whoever replaces him is a downgrade at the position. However, Teddy Bridgewater is a former first-round draft pick and former Pro Bowler. (Yes, I’m aware that he was an injury replacement for the Pro Bowl). Look, Teddy Bridgewater has made two straight starts since taking over as signal-caller and he’s led them to two consecutive victories. He’s not terrific, but he’s a capable quarterback. Even without Brees for most of the season to this point, Thomas has averaged 10.5 targets per game and is still one of the best receivers in the league. The price is too cheap and the matchup against Tampa Bay is too good, Thomas is a lock for me.
Will Fuller ($4,500 DK, $5,700 FD)
You might be saying, Fuller? What has he done this season to warrant being a cash game play? Fair point, but as many industry DFS players and content creators know, Fuller is getting a ton of intended air yards (16.8 TAY). We know that he’s a burner with his 4.32 40-yard dash time in 2016. If he gets lined up against Isaiah Oliver or Damontae Kazee, he could be in for a solid day. Both of them had 40-times of 4.50 or higher, and both have allowed a 129.0 or higher passer rating to opposing QBs. The game between the Texans and Falcons could become a real back and forth air show. The Falcons throw the ball 72.37% of the time, the highest rate in the NFL. That puts the other side of this game in play to try to keep up with them. The Falcons give up the 11th -most points per game (24.8) on the season. Fuller is going to get his at some point this season and he’s a cheaper way to get a piece of the Texans’ offense. If you aren’t paying up for Hopkins, Fuller is the guy.
Auden Tate ($3,500 DK, $5,300 FD)
To be specific, I don’t like Tate as much on FanDuel as I do on Draftkings. However, he can still be used over there. Tate should reap the benefits of fellow wideout John Ross being out due to a shoulder injury. Tate has received a fair share of targets each of the last two weeks (10 targets in week three and six in week four). Now that Ross is out, he’s only going to get more targets. As highly owned as I’m expecting Tate to be, we don’t need to fade him in cash games, especially, because at his salary, he won’t kill you if he puts up a dud. Remember Paul Richardson last week?
Always an option: Larry Fitzgerald, DeAndre Hopkins
Punt Option: Auden Tate (mentioned above), Javon Wims
Zach Ertz ($6,000 DK, $6,600 FD)
Pairing up your quarterback with one of his main weapons is an advantageous strategy for tournaments/GPPs. It can work for cash games too and is fine, but I don’t necessarily feel like we have to go that route with the way the salaries are set. If I lock in Wentz as my QB, I don’t really need to put Ertz in. But if I go with Andy Dalton or one of the others aforementioned, I still want to get exposure to the Eagles’ passing attack. With 38 targets on the season, Ertz is the second-most targeted TE in all of football, and he is easily the most targeted on the team. I’m not worried in the slightest that the New York Jets are the number one team fantasy points wise against TEs.
Austin Hooper ($4,500 DK, $6,700 FD)
On paper, many will see the Houston Texans are pretty stout against TEs and don’t allow many fantasy points to them. Who have they faced though? Jared Cook, James O’Shaughnessy, Geoff Swaim, Lance Kendricks, and Greg Olsen. Not exactly an outstanding group of Tight Ends. The most impressive one was Olsen, but last week’s game was all about Christian McCaffrey. Much like Fuller at wide receiver, I’ll be using Hooper as a way to get a player from the Falcons, without spending up for Julio Jones.
Jimmy Graham (4,300 DK,$5,500 FD)
This isn’t a “bank on it, slam dunk,” cash game option because it isn’t exactly the safest. But with Davante Adams ruled out for Sunday’s game, Aaron Rodgers will have to go elsewhere and Graham is getting red-zone looks (four red-zone targets last week). The upside is there to make him a reasonable value play.
Also in play: Darren Waller
Punt Option: Tyler Eifert
If you’re a returning guest, you know, I like to look for cheaper defenses than most people feel comfortable with. I felt like I needed to say that as almost a disclaimer before we get going. This doesn’t necessarily make these defenses “safe,” although I know that’s normally the goal in cash games. Because of the unpredictability at the position, I’m more willing to punt defense in hopes of finding some cheap turnovers. Taking salary into consideration, here are my favorites.
Carolina Panthers ($2,600 DK, $4,400 FD)
PRESSURE! The Panthers have continually gotten pressure on the quarterback this season with 18 sacks. That number has them sitting tied with the New England Patriots for the league lead. They’ve also held opponents to the fewest passing yards per game (156.8). Gardner Minshew, while dropping in some nice passes at times, is still a rookie QB. I think he’ll struggle with the solid Panthers’ pass rush.
Other Options: Chicago Bears ($3,800 DK, $5,000 FD), Tennessee Titans ($3,000 DK, not a cash game play on FD)
Punt: Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($2,200 DK, $3,500 FD) – More of a GPP play.
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