Mitigating Risk: Week 16 DraftKings Cash Game Plays December 23, 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 341 touches through 14 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?

 

Tom Brady, NE ($7,700)

Pass Att > 35 Favorite Home DVOA  Team Total > 22.5
Yes Yes Yes Yes (32nd) Yes (30)

-In the five games after the bye and before last week’s difficult Denver match-up Brady had averaged 41 pass attempts a game, besting 40 attempts in three of those, including 50 against these Jets in Week 12.

-In that Week 12 game against New York’s pass-funnel defense (3rd against the run, last against the pass), LeGarrette Blount and Dion Lewis combined for a lowly 17 rush attempts while New England depended on Tom’s high-efficiency ball movement to roll to a win. We can expect more of the same here against a defense that allowed Matt Moore to throw for 4 TDs on only 18 attempts last Saturday night.

 

Derek Carr, OAK ($6,800)

Pass Att > 35 Favorite Home DVOA  Team Total > 22.5
Yes Yes Yes Yes (27th) Yes (28.25)

-Averaging 35 passes a game since Oakland’s Week 10 Bye and 38 attempts a game throughout the year, although the yearly output is a bit weighted after his ridiculous 59 pass explosion against Tampa Bay in Week 8.

-Indianapolis has floated around the league-worst pass defense DVOA the entire year before getting a little boost from a soft QB schedule over the last three weeks with Bryce Petty (135-1-2), Brock Osweiler (147-0-1) and Sam Bradford (291-0-1) each taking their turns throwing it 6 yards down the field at a time. They won’t have that luxury on Saturday as Derek Carr ranks top-10 in the league in 20+ yard passes (47), and, even after this easy stretch of dink-and-dunk’ers, the Colts rank 6th in the league, allowing 49 passes of 20+ yards.

-Let us not forget about the finger injury Carr suffered a couple of weeks back against Carolina though; since he left and came back on the field in Week 12 the Raiders have managed only two touchdowns inside their last eleven red zone visits. Visits that include a botched snap, a fumble and an interception. It’s very likely that his finger is indeed still bothering him. That makes me feel for the upside we’ll want out of a pretty hefty pricetag. Injury concerns could force him into a GPP-only play.

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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.

 

LeSean McCoy, BUF ($9,000)

18+ Touches Favorite Home DVOA  3+ receptions
Yes Yes Yes Yes (22nd) Yes

-Shady keeps chugging along, garnering 85 touches in his four games since returning to health, continuing to be an integral part of Buffalo’s passing attack with 18 catches.

-Week 15 provided the easiest of possible match-ups (Cleveland) for McCoy to be able to turn in his 169 total yards, but his Week 16 opponent in the Dolphins shouldn’t be much different. Pass catching backs the last four weeks have been straight $$$ against Miami; Carlos Hyde (95 total yards, 5 catches), Kenneth Dixon/Terrance West (145 total yards, 7 catches), David Johnson (121 total yards, 5 catches) and Bilal Powell (162 total yards, 11 catches) have raked and could go a long way in providing us a look at what LeSean’s ceiling could be if Mike Gillislee continues to eat into his touchdown production.

 

Ty Montgomery, GB ($5,900)

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

-This might be a shot in the dark here, but I can’t imagine Green Bay getting away from his high usage after they finally allowed Montgomery to handle a normal workload (163 total yards, 2 catches, 2 TDs). There’s not a lot of certainty here as we obviously don’t have a season’s worth of material to work with; hell, we have one good game worth of material, but he still has the sort of upside to cruise you to a 20 point performance from your RB2.

 

Mark Ingram, NO ($4,400)

18+ Touches Favorite Home DVOA  3+ receptions
Yes Yes Yes Yes (23rd) No

-At the risk of chasing usage (his 18+ touches were the first such occurrence in two months), the Saints have now had to grind their way to 40+ points on four different occasions this year: Weeks 6, 9, 12 and 15. Those efficient scoring weeks have correlated very highly to Mark Ingram’s usage; he has 69 touches including 7 receptions for 565 total yards over that four game sample. The O/U for Saturday’s game in the comfy confines of the Superdome sits at a tasty 52.5. With the added bonus of Ingram going berserk after being pulled in favor of Tim Hightower at the two yard line, his muted price against a bottom-third Tampa Bay rush defense should pay easy dividends.

 


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 (IND vs. OAK) than others (CIN vs. HOU).

 

Julio Jones, ATL ($8,100)

6+ Receptions Favorite O/U = Over DVOA Age < 30
Yes Yes Yes Yes (25th) Yes

-Getting in a full practice on Friday, Julio is a full-go for Christmas Eve and will get to face off against a Carolina team that allowed him to rack up 300 yards against them in Week 4. Atlanta’s no. 1 receiver has been a bit of a boom-bust play this year, but his “booms” are so incredibly high that he is worth the gamble, even in your cash lineups.


Julian Edelman, NE ($6,900)

6+ Receptions Favorite O/U = Over DVOA Age < 30
Yes Yes Yes Yes (26th) No

-Julian hasn’t delivered the type of efficiency we would like for a guy receiving targets less than 7 yards down the field, but when you’re getting 76 targets over the span of six games it’s almost impossible to not deliver some type of floor. Because of that exact reason he has not scored below 13.5 fantasy points since the Week 10 bye despite only catching 58% of his targets. It’s not very likely that he’ll catch one of his 5-yard hitch routes and take it 40 yards for the score, but it’s very much in the realm of possibilities that he turns his 15 targets into 10-100, which hits 3x value without even getting into the end zone.

 

Dontrelle Inman, SD ($6,000)

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

-Though Inman’s TD streak ended at three games, he did manage to catch at least 5 balls for the fifth time in his last six games. Depending on how my roster construction is looking when I’m tasked with picking my WR2 or WR3, I may be wary of Dontrelle’s ever-increasing pricetag for his moderate floor. Tyrell Williams’ salary ($5,800) has now dipped below his, and, though he has the ability to nearly goose egg, he could also score you 20+, something that Inman is far less likely to do.

 

Doug Baldwin, SEA ($6,000)

6+ Receptions Favorite O/U = Over DVOA Age < 30
Yes Yes Yes Yes (16th) Yes

-Baldwin’s 78% catch rate has led to a season in which he has caught fewer than 4 balls only once in 14 games (3 – Week 2). Doug hasn’t scored below 10 DraftKings points in 7 weeks; although the Seattle-Arizona Week 7 game was a miserable 6-6 offensive showing, he still caught 6-of-9 targets for 69 yards (nice). Arizona has been a scary defense for a while now, but smaller stature guys like Brandin Cooks (7-186-2), Jarvis Landry (4-103) and Taylor Gabriel (4-75-2) sure haven’t had much of a problem reeling in fantasy points over the last month.

 

Kenny Britt, LA ($5,700)

6+ Receptions Favorite O/U = Over DVOA Age < 30
Yes Yes Yes Yes (32nd) Yes

-Britt has probably been more of a consistent producer this season than many are aware of; he has caught 5 or more balls in four of his last six games and has 14+ fantasy points in five of his last seven. He’ll get the nut spot Saturday against a San Francisco defense that ranks dead last in both DVOA and TDs allowed to opposing wide receivers with 21. This is Britt’s highest price of the season, but he is still very much in play as the WR18 in salary.

Rishard Matthews, TEN ($4,900)

6+ Receptions Favorite O/U = Over DVOA Age < 30
Yes Yes Yes Yes (22nd) Yes

-Another quiet consistent guy, Rishard’s floor train got unsurprisingly derailed when the Broncos came to town in Week 14. He’ll have another tough opponent this week with Jacksonville, but at this price we won’t need very much from him to hit value; if he catches his usual 5-50 we’ll be just fine. If he finds the end zone then we’ll be golden.

 

 


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.

 

Martellus Bennett, NE ($4,100)

Home Favorite TE DVOA WR DVOA 1+ TD
Yes Yes Yes (15th) Yes (26th) Yes

– Marty B has a very good match-up with a pretty decent price but remains a little banged up. It hasn’t kept him out of a game yet, but it might be at least a little bit of a contribution to his multiple ‘bust’ games even with Gronk sidelined. Bennett had a pedestrian 3-22-0 line against the Jets in their Week 12 game, but New York has managed to give up 5 TE scores in the subsequent three games.


Jared Cook, GB ($3,000)

Home Favorite TE DVOA WR DVOA 1+ TD
Yes Yes Yes (24th) No (9th) Yes

-Cook popped his head back up in Week 15 (6-85) to remind us of what this season could have been if he and Aaron Rodgers would have made some sort of connection. Instead he remains on the bottom of the totem pole among Green Bay’s weapons.

Lance Kendricks, LA ($2,900)

Home Favorite TE DVOA WR DVOA 1+ TD
Yes Yes Yes (23rd) Yes (32nd) Yes

– The best tight end match-up of the week is in jeopardy of being wasted on the Rams’ tight end that has finished three of his last six games with a single catch. With only 2 scores on the season it would really, really be difficult to pick him over many of the min priced guys.

 

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