Mitigating Risk: Week 15 DraftKings Cash Game Plays December 16, 2016  |  Justin Edwards


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The time to grind is here, boys and girls. While we throw our hard-earned money at DFS and hope to become the next Milly Maker, it is prudent for us to allocate a good amount of that into “safe” (or at least much ‘safer’) Cash Games. You can portion your weekly payroll however you see fit, but I prefer the tried and true 80%/20% split. I’m putting most of my money trying to double-up my investment, and I’m always looking for new ways to make that something a bit closer to a guarantee. Some of my favorite work of the offseason was done by Evan Silva (Identifying Top Scorers) and was later revamped a little bit by Sean Fakete (The RB/WR and QB/TE Profile). What I’ve done with the amazing prep work by these guys is picked the 5 most predictive categories and found the player (or players) who fit the most, if not all, of them in the upcoming week. The end goal will be to find guys who should have some of the highest floors for the Sunday slate and turn them into profitable lineups that can scoop Head-to-Heads and 50-50s/Double-ups alike.

I’ll explain the inclusion of a category below each position and briefly explain the importance. I strongly suggest you read the above articles if you have not; they both give you a much more intricate explanation than what you’ll read here. The point of this exercise is to try and predict who will definitely check a box (Something like “Home Team” is always a straight Yes or No) and at the same time find someone who might or should check a box (Ezekiel Elliot has 315 touches through 13 games; he’s a pretty sure bet to hit 18 touches every week).

 

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QB

Category #1 Finish Top 6 Top 12
Pass Attempts > 35 67% 55% 53%
Favorite 69% 64% 59%
Home 61% 57% 53%
*Pass Defense >= 15th 69% 67% 64%
Team Total > 22.5 67% 58% 52%

*Opposing Pass Defense ranked 15th or worse in Football Outsiders’ DVOA

We’re looking for signal callers who typically chuck the ball around, on a team with a high implied team point total, playing a defense ranked in the bottom half of the league. Pretty simple, right?

 

Carson Palmer, ARI ($6,000)

Pass Att > 35 Favorite Home DVOA  Team Total > 22.5
Yes Yes Yes Yes (28th) Yes (26.5)

-Averaging 41 attempts a game, Carson has thrown fewer than 35 passes in only three of his twelve games.

-Though New Orleans’ passing defense has improved upon it’s early season struggles, they’ve also been forced into odd game scripts by their surprisingly struggling offense. The Saints have scored 23 or fewer points in four of their last five and have lost in each of those in which they did not score 49. Their defensive successes haven’t moved them out of the bottom-5 in DVOA.

-Palmer has had lots of usage but has had a hard time turning that into fantasy production. He has turned in two Osweiler-ian sub-200 yard performances in last four games and has thrown multiple interceptions in three of his last five.

 

Sam Bradford, MIN ($5,000)

Pass Att > 35 Favorite Home DVOA  Team Total > 22.5
Yes Yes Yes Yes (26th) Yes (24.75)

-For a team that is typically perceived as “run first” Bradford has bested 40 pass attempts in four of his last eight games, falling below 35 just twice in that span (28 and 34).

-The problem with all of this action is his lowly 6.5 yards per attempt over this eight game sample, throwing for more than 290 yards only twice and throwing for multiple touchdowns just once.  Indianapolis proves to be a nice floor for opposing quarterbacks though, allowing multiple TD passes in nine of their thirteen games. The minimum priced salary could prove some nice salary relief.

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RB

Category #1 Finish Top 6 Top 12 Top 24
18+ Touches 92% 73% 66% 53%
Favorite 71% 63% 60% 54%
Home 61% 56% 55% 53%
*RB Defense >= 15th 75% 67% 66% 62%
3+ receptions 76% 71% 67% 58%

*Opposing Rushing Defense ranked 15th or worse in Football Outsiders’ DVOA

While some of that should be pretty self-explanatory (’18+ Touches’ for example, means that the no. 1 RB had 18 or more touches in that given week; a Top 6 will have 18+ 73% of the time, a Top 12 66% of the time, etc.), something like the ranking of the defense the running back is going up against is a little more precise. Just as a quick example, if we are looking for a Top 12 back in a specific week, we are going to need a two-thirds chance of him catching at least 3 passes.

 

David Johnson, ARI ($10,100)

18+ Touches Favorite Home DVOA  3+ receptions
Yes Yes Yes Yes (17th) Yes

-Do it.

 

LeSean McCoy, BUF ($8,900)

18+ Touches Favorite Home DVOA  3+ receptions
Yes Yes Yes Yes (32nd) Yes

-LeSean is easily the best (only) player on Buffalo’s team and his usage when healthy reflects it; he gets as many targets as any running back in the league, and even though he will give up a goal line carry here and there to Mike Gillislee, he has found pay dirt 10 times this year.

-This week he gets the juiciest of all match-ups, a Cleveland Browns team that just got bowled over by Jeremy Hill and Rex Burkhead en route to allowing 100+ yards rushing for the eighth straight game.

 

Ezekiel Elliot, DAL ($8,200)

18+ Touches Favorite Home DVOA  3+ receptions
Yes Yes Yes Yes (21st) Yes

-Zeke doesn’t have very many robust pass catching games, but it hasn’t stopped his streak of 13-of-13 games in which he’s touched the ball 18+ times.

-Despite Dallas’ recent offensive regression, Elliot has still managed 100+ total yards in his last five games. With Tampa Bay taking steps to prove it’s secondary as truly formidable, the Cowboys should look to move the ball with their phenomenal rookie just as much – or more – than ever.

 

Lamar Miller, HOU ($5,400)

18+ Touches Favorite Home DVOA  3+ receptions
Yes Yes Yes Yes (16th) Yes

-Though his usage ticked down a bit in the middle of the season after huge attempt totals in September, he has returned to the focal point of this disappointing offense in the last four games, averaging 22 touches/gm.

-Jacksonville’s defense has shown improvement from their 2015 corpse of a D but has had the opportunity to pad their stats recently against the worst running situations in the league, bottling up Detroit, Denver and Minnesota while getting ran upon by Buffalo and this same Houston team.

 


WR

Category #1 Finish Top 6 Top 12 Top 24 Top 36
6+ receptions 98% 86% 76% 63% 52%
Favorite 65% 57% 56% 54% 52%
O/U Result = Over 73% 64% 63% 58% 55%
*WR Defense >= 15th 63% 61% 63% 60% 59%
Age < 30 86% 85% 84% 84% 83%

*Opposing Team Defense ranked 15th or worse against that WR type in Football Outsiders’ DVOA

So we get lots of points from big reception games in PPR scoring, huh? Who would’ve thunk it! What might come as a surprise is the fact that correctly guessing which games go over the Vegas total is much more predictive for WR output than the Vegas point total itself. Not only that, but it’s also more predictive than that player’s team total. Finding games that we see as a good bet to surpass the O/U will be a sneaky way to fall into some upside. I’m not going to pretend to be an incredible sports bettor, but that doesn’t mean we can’t find games that are more likely to end up as a shootout (NO vs. ARI) than others (PHI vs. BAL).

 

Larry Fitzgerald, ARI ($7,000)

6+ Receptions Favorite O/U = Over DVOA Age < 30
Yes Yes Yes Yes (16th) No

-Uncle Larry has double digit targets in more than half of his games this season, delivering 10 or more receptions in three of Arizona’s last six games.

-As if the Cardinals had any more reasons to throw to some of the surest hands in the league, they will be without Michael Floyd Sunday and every subsequent Sunday from here on out after releasing him earlier this week. Fitzy is already only two catches away from…catching Antonio Brown for the league lead in receptions (!) and is tied for 3rd in Red Zone receptions. This is a cheap price for a whole lot of floor.


Stefon Diggs, MIN ($6,200)

6+ Receptions Favorite O/U = Over DVOA Age < 30
Yes Yes Yes Yes (31st) Yes

-Speaking of floor, Diggs showed his with a 3-55 line after five games with at least 6 receptions.

-Against arguably the worst secondary in the league, Diggs is in a prime spot to bounce back at home with the Colts coming into town.

 

Tyreek Hill, KC ($5,700)

6+ Receptions Favorite O/U = Over DVOA Age < 30
Yes Yes Yes Yes (31st) Yes

-With 42 receptions since Week 7, Tyreek is ranked 6th in the league in catches over the last five weeks even with Jeremy Maclin returning last week.

-There are a lot of factors pointing against using Hill this week (Maclin/rising price/feeling like you’ve already missed the boat), but he’s still priced all the way down at WR23. He’s scored five all purpose touchdowns in the last three games and is tied with Fitzgerald for 3rd with 10 receptions in the red zone. We’ve got a nice ~10 point floor and an obviously ridiculous ceiling from an explosive return specialist.

 

 


TE

Category #1 Finish Top 6 Top 12
Home 63% 55% 51%
Favorite 62% 57% 53%
*TE Defense >= 15th 65% 63% 59%
**WR Defense >= 15th 62% 60% 58%
1+ TD 92% 81% 66%

*Opposing Team Defense ranked 15th or worse against TE in Football Outsiders’ DVOA

**Opposing Team Defense ranked 15th or worse against WRs in Football Outsiders’ DVOA

These percentages are much lower than other positions, helping to prove the fact that finding top tight ends is not a very easy process. I definitely subscribe to the “star” or “stud” mentality when selecting the big pass catchers and typically make that pick last when setting a lineup; opting to base the decision on price much more than the rest of my team. There is a massive correlation between startable TEs and scoring at least one TD; the great news is that getting into the end zone is often all we need to hit value, the bad news being the difficulty in predicting who actually scores. I found it interesting that Fakete included the opposing defenses prowess (or lack thereof) in defending the Wide Receiver in his TE profiles and can see how we can use that as a predictive value in our work here.

 

Kyle Rudolph, MIN ($4,300)

Home Favorite TE DVOA WR DVOA 1+ TD
Yes Yes Yes (30th) Yes (31st) Yes

-A pack of under-performing reindeer still need a leader, and Rudolph is more than happy to stay at the front of the pack.

-Kyle is averaging 10 targets a game over the past three weeks and is the TE8 over that span despite finding the end zone only once. He’s leading all tight ends with his 11 red zone receptions, and he’ll get to face of against an Indianapolis team that has allowed 882 yards to opposing tight ends, the third most in the league.


Jermaine Gresham, ARI ($2,500)

Home Favorite TE DVOA WR DVOA 1+ TD
Yes Yes Yes (25th) Yes (16th) Yes

-Injuries and questionable off field behavior from the wide receiver crew has forced Gresham into action, to the surprise of pretty much every one who watches and plays this game. Through the entirety of Jermaine’s 2015 season he accumulated a 18-223-1 line on 32 targets. In his last four games he has a 17-165-2 on 25 targets, catching 5 balls in three straight games.

-This is all fine and dandy, but you’re simply not going to have much of a ceiling here. He’s got a great match-up, but this is simply a salary relief play.

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