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NFL DFS Cash Game Plays

by Justin Bailey
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Hopefully everybody had a profitable Week 5 with his or her daily fantasy football teams. This seems like good time to remind people of a simple concept when it comes to looking to profit long term in their DFS career. Pay attention to news. I read the Rotoworld player news page every single day as a way to stay in tune with the latest injury news or other roster moves that may affect a player’s outlook. I absolutely loved Julio Jones last week, but when news broke out that he was really questionable, I moved off him because I thought his price tag and his injury were too much of a risk for cash games. A lot can change from when these articles are published until rosters lock on Sunday morning. Now, here we go for Week 6!


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Tom Brady ($9,000): You may notice a theme in this article for Week 6, as Tom Brady is one of three Patriots that will be mentioned. This is a rare occurrence for me to recommend three players from the same team, but this week may warrant it. The Patriots have an implied team total over 30 points. This is an enormous total and shouldn’t be ignored. Brady comes in $300 cheaper than Aaron Rodgers. I’m not one for narratives, but it’s hard not to picture the Patriots wanting to absolutely throttle the Colts after this DeflateGate hoopla that happened last season. The Colts rank 25th in Football Outsiders’ adjusted DVOA and have given up over 240 passing yards and two touchdowns in three of their five games this season. Brady has been on a tear this season throwing for 1,325 yards, 11 touchdowns and no interceptions (the only QB without an interception) through five games. If you’re paying up at quarterback, Brady is the way to go.


Carson Palmer ($8,000): When it comes to fantasy efficiency, Carson Palmer has been as efficient as they come. According to the RotoViz Efficiency app, Palmer ranks first among quarterbacks in fantasy efficiency, followed by Philip Rivers and Andy Dalton. Palmer draws a nice matchup against the Steelers on Sunday, who Pro Football Focus grades as having a bottom-four defense in terms of pass coverage. Palmer threw the ball a mere 14 times against the Lions last week and he still managed to score 18.34 FanDuel points. I’d imagine that game is a bit of an outlier in terms of pass attempts; there aren’t going to be many weeks when a quarterback only throws the ball 14 times. Palmer comes with a relatively high floor this week with potential for high-end QB1 upside. Sam Bradford is also in consideration at $7,700.


Arian Foster ($8,500): It’s hard not to like Arian Foster against Jacksonville this week. Foster was up to 61 percent of the snaps in Week 5 and came through with 28 touches. While he was rather ineffective on the ground, the volume is encouraging. With 28 touches on 46 snaps, Foster was involved 60 percent of the time when he was on the field. Pro Football Focus grades the Jags with a bottom-six run defense and Football Outsiders ranks them 30th in passing DVOA to running backs. If you’re looking to spend up at running back, but don’t want to reach all the way to Le’Veon Bell, Foster is my guy.


Dion Lewis ($7,200): Here we go, Patriot No. 2. Dion Lewis or Todos Con Dion as he’s known in the DFS landscape is moderately priced at $7,200 in a game where the Patriots are projected for over 30 points. I imagine some people may be scared off thinking this could be a game where Belichick brings in LeGarrette Blount to pound away at Indy, but I’m not sure if that’ll be the case. Lewis played 71 percent of the snaps in Week 5, compared to 29 percent for Blount. He’s also third on the team in receiving market share, seeing 18 percent of the targets, running 127 pass routes, which is third most in the league behind Matt Forte and Jamaal Charles. Outside of being a receiving threat, he’s still getting some groundwork with 41 percent of the market share of carries. Lewis’ overall involvement will keep him in play most weeks between playing the majority of snaps, his targets in the passing game and his 20 percent market share in the red zone (second-most on the team), Lewis is here to stay in this offense.


DeAndre Hopkins ($8,500): Guess who leads the league in targets? Show me DeAndre Hopkins! Correct, Hopkins was the number one answer. Hopkins has 74 targets through four games, averaging 14.8 targets per game. That is a ridiculous amount of volume. The next closest guy on the team is Cecil Shorts and he’s 35 targets shy of Hopkins’ 74.  Hopkins is one of three wide receivers to have double-digit red zone targets; we’ll get to the others in a second. This is the first time Hopkins has been priced outside of the $7,000 range and it’s definitely warranted. He’s scored 20 or more fantasy points in four of his five games this season and gets a soft matchup against a Jacksonville team ranked 28th in pass defense per Football Outsiders’ adjusted DVOA.


Jarvis Landry ($7,300): Okay, Jarvis Landry is the second receiver who has seen double-digit targets in the red zone, with 12. To curb your curiosity, the third is Anquan Boldin. Crazy, right? Anyway, Landry typically makes for a safe play each week because of the volume he gets as a receiver. He doesn’t have the highest ceiling, but he definitely won’t be the reason your cash team suffers. Landry boasts 27 percent of the market share of targets for his team, including 30 percent market share in the red zone. Landry hasn’t had a game with single-digit targets yet this season and he has caught at least eight passes in three of his four games. His target distribution goes 12, 10, 13 and 12. The Dolphins have run the ball a league low 65 times through four weeks (bye in Week 5), that’s a mere 16.25 attempts per game.


Rob Gronkowski ($8,200): Here’s Patriot No. 3. I’m sure you all saw this one coming. If you rostered Rob Gronkowski last week, you were probably disappointed with his 8.7 fantasy points. The funny thing is, if you got 8.7 points from any other tight end, you’d probably be rather satisfied. Gronk has spoiled us with his never-ending barrage of Gronk spikes, but in Week 5 he basically hit his floor, or just below it. However, Gronk will always be in consideration because of his high floor and high ceiling. Per Pro Football Focus, Gronk is being targeted on 23 percent of his routes, second-most in the league and he’s averaging 2.66 yards per route run, the highest among tight ends. Indy ranks 25th against the pass in adjusted DVOA and 13th in adjusted DVOA at defending the tight end, but Gronk isn’t your average tight end. He shouldn’t have a problem feasting on this weak Colts’ defense if he’s given the opportunity.


Martellus Bennett ($5,800): Jay Cutler has been back for two games and he continues to feed Martellus Bennett. Bennett had 13 targets in Week 4 against Oakland and 11 against Kansas City in Week 5. If Alshon Jeffery and Eddie Royal miss another game, this should be another game in which Bennett is heavily involved. The Lions’ defense ranks in the bottom eight according to both Football Outsiders and Pro Football Focus. Bennett actually leads tight ends in targets, with 42. Bennett has just 9 percent market share in the red zone, but the Bears have only made it inside the 20 yard line 34 times. Granted, they had to deal with Jimmy Clausen for two games. I’d expect Bennett’s red zone usage to rise as long as Cutler can keep the ball moving against opposing defenses.

Justin Bailey
Justin Bailey has been working with Rotoworld since 2015. His stat-forward analysis can also be found on FantasyLabs and 4for4. Follow him on Twitter - @justinbailey32.