Mitigating Risk: Week 17 DraftKings Cash Game Plays December 30, 2016  |  Justin Edwards

Follow @Justin_Redwards

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.


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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?

Sam Bradford, MIN ($5,200)

Pass Att > 35 Favorite Home DVOA  Team Total > 22.5
Yes Yes Yes Yes (15th) Yes (24.25)

-Hitting the 35 attempt mark in eight of his last ten games, he is averaging 39 a game after last week’s 50.

-Bradford massively hit value for us in comeback mode as his min salary of $5,000 turned into 29.78 DK points as he had to play from behind against a potent Packers’ offense. They will not likely need a repeat of his 382-3-0 line to stay competitive against Chicago but should return to similar form without Adrian Peterson hobbling on and off the field, effectively ending drives. Though the Vikings have “nothing to play for”, Sam Bradford certainly does (Did someone say incentive$?) . He would likely prefer to add another positive performance to his tape to try and ensure a spot as the starting quarterback for Minnesota in 2017.


Carson Wentz, PHI ($5,200)

Pass Att > 35 Favorite Home DVOA  Team Total > 22.5
Yes Yes Yes Yes (19th) Yes (23.25)

-The rookie is averaging 42 pass attempts/gm over his last nine as last week was his first below 35 in that sample size (24)

-With #BadEli (#TerribleEli? #GodAwfulEli?) showing up last week and throwing 3 picks and the Giants as a whole being forced into four field goal attempts, Carson Wentz was able refrain from throwing it down the field. His Week 17 opponent will be a Dallas team that has nothing to gain by running their starters out there for more than a half; if Tony Romo does happen to play for the Cowboys, he’ll be wanting to prove to prospective buyers that he still has what it takes to be an NFL QB. It’s the Romo-Wentz shootout we’ve always wanted.

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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.


Devonta Freeman, ATL ($7,000)

18+ Touches Favorite Home DVOA  3+ receptions
Yes Yes Yes Yes (20th) Yes

-Despite a blowout in Week 14 when Atlanta walked over the Rams and got Jeff Fisher fired, Devonta has averaged 18 touches (4 receptions) over the last five weeks.

-Though it is admittedly more fun to play Freeman when he was all the way down at $5,000, it is tough to pass him and his multi-score possibility regardless of price. This week he will face off against a Saints’ team that allows the 4th-most receiving yards to running backs (49.8) and allowed him to go off for 207 total yards and a score in their first match-up. Being that Atlanta needs a win to clinch a first-round playoff bye, they will have no reason to lay down in this game.


DeMarco Murray, TEN ($6,300)

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

-Missing the 18 touch mark for the first time this year in a blowout in Jacksonville, DeMarco is still averaging 22 touches and 3 receptions per game.

-In a week of uncertainty the Titans will have one last chance to prove how effective their #ExoticSmashmouth is against a Houston team that has nothing to gain by winning. I’m willing to pay for Murray’s floor one last time.


DeAngelo Williams, PIT ($5,500)

18+ Touches Favorite Home DVOA  3+ receptions
Yes Yes Yes Yes (31st) Yes

-Keep your ear to the grindstone here, but Pittsburgh could certainly want to see if DeAngelo is back in game shape before they head into the playoffs. Williams averages 110+ total yards a game when Le’Veon is out of the lineup, but keep in mind almost the entirety of their offensive weapons will be sitting this one out. Maybe Cleveland’s defense will offset it and DWill will still have a positive impact. I just wish his pricetag where a little lower with all these “ifs” in place.



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. ATL) than others (OAK vs. DEN).


Jordy Nelson, GB ($8,100)

6+ Receptions Favorite O/U = Over DVOA Age < 30
Yes Yes Yes Yes (25th) No

-Jordy has caught at least 6 receptions in all but one of his last eight games as he continues to finish his comeback season strong.

-In one of the few games that actually means something for both teams, Green Bay will head to Detroit to decide the NFC North title. With 14 scores  (including 2 against DET in Week 3) and 90+ yards in eight games on the season, Jordy is the most surefire play of the slate.

T.Y. Hilton, IND ($7,600)

6+ Receptions Favorite O/U = Over DVOA Age < 30
Yes Yes Yes Yes (23rd) Yes

-Hilton has 9 catches in two of his last four games and has busted 100+ yards in three of them. He’ll have Andrew Luck all to himself Sunday with Donte Moncrief back on the sideline. In the games in which he hasn’t had to share the field with Moncrief, T.Y. is averaging 6.33-102.33-0.67, or, 20.57 fantasy points on 10 targets.


Doug Baldwin, SEA ($7,200)

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

-Dougie Fresh set the Cardinals on fire last week, turning in a 13-171-1 line, marking it down as the 6th time in the last eight games in which he caught at least six passes. This week he gets arguably the worst defense in the league in San Francisco in a game that Seattle has to win if they want a shot at a first-round Bye. With Tyler Lockett out for the season, expect Russ Wilson to continue to pepper his main man with targets.

Considerations that didn’t check all the boxes: Mohamed Sanu, Adam Thielen, Mike Evans, Chris Hogan



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.


Zach Ertz, PHI ($4,800)

Home Favorite TE DVOA WR DVOA 1+ TD
Yes Yes Yes (30th) No (8th) Yes

-Ertz had a letdown game last week and subsequently his price has dropped $500, which is good for us as we know that Dallas really has nothing to play for and the Eagles are finishing the season at home in a perfect spot to showcase their rookie QB. Even with his 2 target game against the New York Giants last week, he is still 3rd among tight ends in the last five weeks with 44.

Kyle Rudolph, MIN ($4,600)

Home Favorite TE DVOA WR DVOA 1+ TD
Yes Yes Yes (28th) Yes (26th) Yes

-The league leader among tight ends in the aforementioned targets of the last five weeks is none other than Rudolph (49), who has at least 8 targets per game over that stretch.


Jesse James, PIT ($3,000)

Home Favorite TE DVOA WR DVOA 1+ TD
Yes Yes Yes (32nd) Yes (30th) Yes

-Playing with the second string offense might be of no consequence to Jesse James as he’ll get a Cleveland defense that has allowed 13 touchdowns, 92 receptions and 996 yards to the position en route to the most fantasy points against (11.97/gm).

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