NFL DIVISIONAL ROUND DFS: FanDuel Cash Game Plays
With only seven games left in the NFL season, this weekend is your last legit opportunity to take your shot in cash games. Although the slate is only a quarter of what you’ve been used to, there’s plenty of DFS goodness out there. I mentioned last week that with lighter slates I prefer to play GPPs on DraftKings. However, with this being my last week to play cash games, I’ve determined after a little research that there is enough there to warrant some attention in double ups and 50/50 games. With it being the last weekend to play with a worthwhile slate, I’m all in since I know I’ll be getting the DFS itch mid-spring. Check out who I’m looking at and who I’m fading as the weekend approaches. (All prices FanDuel.)
Carson Palmer $8900
There’s only one quarterback I’m on for cash games and he’s got the best matchup of the eight starting QBs this weekend. Carson Palmer and his offensive weapons are healthy, he’s got the best running game and he’s playing at home. Admittedly, Palmer’s last few games haven’t been great, but I’m under the belief that Bruce Arians and his staff were not letting anything out of their playbook that they didn’t have to. Palmer had a decent line a few weeks ago against the Packers and I expect more from him when the Cardinals are all in. I’m not letting Palmer’s stats over the last few weeks scare me off of him, as both he and the Cardinals are going to bring it in this one.
Why Not Cam? Newton is not playing with a full deck as both Ted Ginn Jr. and Jonathan Stewart are hobbled. Newton’s game against Seattle was one of only two games all season long where he threw more INTs (2) than TDs (1). The Seattle defense is much better now too, as the Seahawks have only given up more than 23 points twice in 11 games since the loss to Carolina. They’ve held opponents to single digits in five of those games. Cam is $200 cheaper than Palmer, but I’m spending up.
Why not Big Ben? Roethlisberger was kind to me in home games this season in DFS. The Steelers are playing their fourth consecutive game on the road with potentially no DeAngelo Williams and definitely no Antonio Brown, and we have no idea if Big Ben can throw the ball over 20 yards. This is an easy fade.
Why not Brady? There is nothing to like about how the Patriots finished off this season. Tom Brady is playing with a more complete deck than he was three weeks ago, but how healthy is everyone really? The Chiefs have only given up 13 touchdowns during their 11 game win streak, and although they haven’t been killing it on offense, their defense is good enough to make me fade all New England Patriots in cash games. There are just too many question marks.
Running Backs Plays
David Johnson $8500
David Johnson is the chalkiest of chalk at the running back position this week. He has one of the best matchups, and, unlike most teams, there is no legit timeshare in Arizona. He’s playing at home, is totally healthy and has been white hot to close the season, not counting the last game, of course. Johnson is a big time receiving threat as well, with an average of 43 receiving yards over the last five games. It’s Johnson or bust for me in cash.
Ronnie Hillman $5900
Ronnie Hillman has averaged 15 carries per game over his last seven games and is coming off one of his best games of the season. He’s healthy and Peyton Manning will need Hillman to set up play action while shaking off the rust from his own absence. Hillman is a minimal threat in the receiving game and gets volume worthy of a much higher price tag. The timeshare is concerning, but you’re not paying top dollar, so grit your teeth and roster Hillman with confidence.
Running Back Fades
Spence Ware, Marshawn Lynch, DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart are all coming into this weekend with questionable tags. Lynch and Stewart are expected to play, but both have impossible matchups and will be rusty. I’m fading all of these RBs and their backups.
Eddy Lacy averaged five yards per carry in their first meeting and caught a touchdown, but game flow this weekend will be the same as it was when the two teams played in Week 16, meaning the Packers will be playing catch up.
James White has never had more than three carries in a game, and has only had more than five receptions in a game three times. His $6500 price tag is unreasonable this weekend.
Wide Receivers Plays
I like the $6500 price tag on both James Jones and Michael Floyd this week. Floyd has emerged as Carson Palmer’s favorite option, averaging six catches per game in his last four games minus the Seattle game in Week 17. He also has five 100-yard games in his last eight games. It would be nice to see him score touchdowns and have the reception and yardage totals, but I’ll take whatever combination gets me to 17 fantasy points. Jones has averaged 50 yards and six receptions in his last four games, but more importantly, he’s back on Aaron Rodgers’ radar. Randall Cobb will still get most of the attention, but the targets should be close and Jones won’t have Patrick Peterson to contend with. I’m expecting a lot of drop backs from Rodgers, so Jones will be a factor.
I’m not fading Denver wide receivers Emmanuel Sanders or Demaryius Thomas, I’m just not rostering them in cash. This is simply a roster construction issue, as I’m spending up at QB, RB, TE, and Defense already and both are priced over $7700. This leaves me space for wide receivers priced in the $6K-$7K range as I don’t see any receivers worthy of cash consideration priced below $6K.
Wide Receivers Fades
Antonio Brown, Jeremy Maclin, Davante Adams, Julian Edelman and Ted Ginn Jr. are all wide receivers I’m going to fade this week. All five are either highly questionable or coming off injuries. Ted Ginn Jr. can’t be trusted, as he goes up against a Seattle secondary that has been in lockdown mode for the last eight games and allowed him to catch only one ball in their matchup earlier this season. Antonio Brown is now officially ruled out, so his top price tag is no longer in consideration. Jeremy Maclin is a game time decision, which is a nightmare because I love his matchup and his $7000 price tag, not to mention he would’ve fit perfectly into how I was building my cash lineup.
I’m also fading both Seattle WRs this weekend. Doug Baldwin went for a measly 3/23/0 line against Carolina earlier as he was shut down by a combination of Josh Norman and others. Baldwin, who is $7400, is too expensive in this spot on the road. A lot of people are on Tyler Lockett as the value play of the week, but I’m not biting the hook. Lockett, who is $6200 on FanDuel, has averaged 2/34/0 over his last three games and will likely struggle in the slot at Carolina. He makes for an intriguing GPP play, but for cash games, not so much.
Tight End Plays
Greg Olsen $6500 – I’ll take Olsen and Olsen only this week, though he won’t go for 7/131/1 like he did earlier against Seattle. I like his price point, and I don’t think Seattle has a linebacker that can stay with him in the middle of the field.
Tight End Fades
Travis Kelce $6600 – If Maclin is out, Kelce should make for an amazing play, except New England has the most athletic linebackers in the AFC and have locked down TEs for the last two seasons. Maclin actually helps Kelce’s value if he plays and hurts it if he doesn’t, but I’m fading both in this game, especially given that Kelce is $100 more expensive.
Gronk $8300 – the New England TE finds himself as the most expensive at his position yet again, but rarely delivers value. Not practicing concerns me as well.
Richard Rodgers $5100 – Rodgers makes for an interesting value play at the position if you want to spend down. He should get 6-8 low risk targets and some red zone looks, but he has two or fewer receptions in four out of five games, including a single reception in three of those. The price is good, but buyer beware.
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