Apologies for the delay on this article, but this is one of the crazier late-week news weeks over the last few seasons and I really didn’t want to put this out and then provide a bunch of updates after everyone had already read it. I spent a good chunk of the afternoon/evening yesterday really thinking over this slate and how I wanted to attack it, so below I will provide my cash game player pool with as much transparency as possible…as always.
Matt Ryan- So, at the start of the week I was more on Jared Goff than Matt Ryan, but as the week has wore on I’ve shifted more Goff to tournaments with Ryan strongly in consideration for my cash game lineup. My thinking here is, I’ve literally picked on the Cardinals in cash games the last three weeks with Kyle Allen, Russell Wilson and Andy Dalton — and this is a better spot than all of those. We knew that there was a big concern that the Seahawks would blow out the Cardinals limiting Wilson’s ceiling, and that indeed happened. That shouldn’t be an issue this week with just a 2.5 point spread, and the way this Falcons defense has been playing the Cardinals should definitely be able to put up points. Oh, and Ryan is simply a better QB than both Allen and Dalton.
Ryan is tied with Goff for 2nd in the NFL in pass attempts this season, and has hit the 300 yard bonus in all five games which is especially important on DraftKings where you get a 3 point bonus. We also know that Ryan has heavy indoor/outdoor splits — he average 20 fantasy points per game indoors last season and despite this game being on the road, it’s still inside.
Lamar Jackson- I’m really leaning towards Matt Ryan right now, but one of the 3v3’s I have debated the last 24 hours does contain Lamar Jackson as my Quarterback, in a smash bounce-back spot at home against the Bengals. It’s worth noting that the Ravens currently have the highest-implied team total on the slate, slightly ahead of the Chiefs. This Bengals defense has been shredded by opposing QB’s, even allowing a career-day to Kyler Murray last week, and their inability to pressure opposing QB’s will play strongly into the hand of Jackson — see the Dolphins/Cardinals games. My one concern here is that Marquise Brown may be unable to go, but Jackson’s floor/ceiling is so high due to his rushing ability that he is still in consideration for me.
Dalvin Cook/Ezekiel Elliott- While I’m incredibly saddened that we won’t be participating a spend-up threesome this weekend, I’m also excited because it seems like I’m going to be on an island with Ezekiel Elliott. Dalvin Cook won’t be overly chalky in my opinion, but he will see is normal 20-25% just because there isn’t much to spend up for with no Christian McCaffrey. People may be scared of his matchup, but the volume clearly outweighs that and the Eagles are inside the top-five when it comes to allowing catches to opposing RB’s this season. He’s been getting a ton of designed screens the past few weeks, and with the Eagles ranking fourth-overall in QB pressures, it would make sense for the Vikings to get the ball out quickly to Cook — he’s caught six balls in each of the last two games.
Why am I going to be on an island with Ezekiel Elliott? As the week has gone on, it’s become apparent that he is not going to be highly-owned at all, which is weird to me. Sure, he”burned” people last week, but he still had 17 DraftKings points, which isn’t a horrible day. If he scored a touchdown last week we probably wouldn’t even be having this conversation. He’s been regularly playing over 90% of the Cowboys snaps, and he’s coming off three games that I view as “floor-type” games for him. The Jets defense is mediocre, no bad or good against the run, but I see no reason to avoid Zeke this week especially on FanDuel where it’s easy to fit both him and Dalvin Cook. High-priced Running Backs will always be my preference over high-priced receivers in cash games, this week is no different.
Mark Ingram- I 100% plan on attempting to play Dalvin + Zeke on FanDuel, while DraftKings I don’t think it’s as much of a necessity because there are three elite plays in the $6K range — Mark Ingram, Le’Veon Bell and Leonard Fournette. I think that Bell will probably come in a bit higher-owned than Ingram, but I’m not sure that he’s that much better of a play. I would love to get exposure to the highest-implied team in my cash game build, and the Bengals have served up the most rushing yards AND touchdowns this season. The Ravens should be winning this game, and if Hollywood Brown does miss, maybe this is even more incentive for the Ravens to rely on Ingram?
Le’Veon Bell- The reason I think Bell will be so chalky is because he’s simply under-priced and gets a huge upgrade with Sam Darnold taking over the offense from Luke Falk. Bell is averaging 27 touches PER GAME this season, and is actually leading the team in targets per game as well. That type of usage is uncommon for someone priced in the $6K range on DK, and while I may not end up with him, he’s clearly one of the best plays on the slate when factoring in price.
Malcolm Brown (lock for me)- This is a relatively easy one, as the value we desperately needed opened up on Friday when news broke that Todd Gurley was doubtful. Sean McVay came out and said that this “could” be the game they rely on rookie Darrell Henderson, but McVay lies so much that it’s pretty easy to just ignore anything he says with stuff like this. Henderson has just two snaps on the season, and Brown has looked good when given the ball this season — remember that he scored two red zone touchdowns in Week 1. Brown will be the first player in my cash game lineup on all sites.
DeAndre Hopkins- Due to the presence of Malcolm Brown, we now have the ability to spend up at receiver and it has to be DeAndre Hopkins for me this week. You could certainly add Cooper Kupper to this section, but I don’t see how I could get in both of them and I would side with Nuk if choosing just one. The Texans offense showed last week what can happen if you devote too much attention to DeAndre Hopkins, and it’s obvious that people will be skeptical of spending up on him after the day Will Fuller had in Week 5. Fuller himself is a great play, but he’s priced too closely to Hopkins now for me to not just make the jump up. Nuk is still top-ten in the NFL in air yards and has a higher weighted opportunity rating than Fuller. I think Hopkins can get in the end zone this week, and I’m hoping that the Texans come out and look to get him going early.
Robert Woods (DK)- This is simply a price play for me, because I have no idea why he’s so cheap. I love that I can still get Rams exposure by using Woods (and Brown for that matter), and I’m starting to wonder if he’s even going to be highly-owned, after it seemed liek he was destined for chalk status at the start of this week. Woods is top-five in the entire NFL in targets this season, and I don’t see myself moving off of him on DraftKings.
Dede Westbrook- I’ve been trying to figure it out all week, but I will be honest and tell you I have no actual clue if Marshon Lattimore will shadow DJ Chark. He SHOULD shadow him, but that doesn’t mean he will, and it becomes a really tricky situation for DFS. The one thing I do know is that Dede Westbrook will not see Lattimore in the slot, and the Saints have been one of the most vulnerable teams to slot receivers over the last few seasons. I’m worried about the pace in this game, but I think I would ultimately rather side with Westbrook than one of DeVante Parker or Preston Williams in cash games, the other’s are good pivots in GPPs.
Mo Sanu- People are going to laugh at me for this, but he’s so cheap that I’m at least going to consider it. I have attacked the Cardinals in the slot all season with names like Tyler Lockett and Tyler Boyd, and while Sanu doesn’t have the name-brand of those player’s he’s actually been really productive. Teams have figured out that you can bracket Julio Jones and at least limit the damage he causes, which has really opened things up for the other Falcons options and resulted in double-digit fantasy points in four of five games from Sanu. Keep in mind, the Cardinals have allowed six TD’s in the slot.
Larry Fitzgerald (FanDuel)- This is our Robert Woods play for FanDuel, as Fitz is under $6K for what, the 4th time this season? Even if Christian Kirk returns, Fitz leads this team in seemingly every receiving category this season. The Falcons have already allowed four touchdowns in the slot through five weeks, and with Desmond Trufant out the entire Falcons defense takes another massive hit.
I’m not even going to separate Tight End plays this week, because it’s clear that it all comes down to Austin Hooper vs George Kittle. I was originally slightly leaning towards Kittle this week, but with him popping up on the injury report late in the week and with my newfound affection for Matt Ryan in cash games, I’m giving a small advantage to Hooper. These are the clear cash game plays for me on DraftKings given their prices, and I wouldn’t overthink it.
On FanDuel, pricing is usually a bit softer, so I won’t rule out getting up to Travis Kelce is possible.
Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)