NFL DFS Cash Game Plays – Week 1

We broke down a strategy to building a NFL DFS Cash lineup that you should read up on and use to help with a strategy guide on construction for cash lineups each week.  Our breakdown on cash plays is entirely focused around the Weekly Projections that Shawn Childs produces and powers the Optimizer and Tools that we have here at FullTimeDFS.  Obviously in every case you should be joining these recommendations with your own research and analysis each week but we are going all in on our projections this year to be profitable in cash games and believe that you should too.

 

CONTEST SELECTION & VOLUME STRATEGY

I would recommend that for CASH games this season you make a goal and align it with one of these two strategies.  For the purposes of this article a CASH game is a 50/50, Double-Up or Head To Head.  Not a booster or a 100 man with 12% payouts or 5 man or 3 man either.  If you want to throw those in fine, but not for these models which are assuming 2x at best each week.  I prefer Double-Ups mixed in with my cash games because I believe that I can beat those scores just as easily as I can the 50/50’s.

 

VOLUME MODELS

There doesn’t need to be just ONE type of CASH game player.  A cash game is viewed more as ‘conservative’ and I think you can play aggressive in cash games and actually make a decent amount of money so long as you understand ahead of time what your risk is for the full season.  Use the models I am outlining below to determine what type of cash game player you want to be this year and remember that the cash games are the easiest ones to make a buck in, which is why they’re popular and also perceived as a spot where nobody ever possibly loses!!!   (Don’t worry, that’s where our good analysis comes in).

For the models outlined below I’m gonna take a $100 investment each week as the baseline.  Wanna make more?  Play more.  Can’t play $100 a week?  Then don’t expect to profit $100 a week in cash.  Most players honestly will go higher than the $100 in cash each week if they are going to play it, but let’s just keep the numbers on an even scale here and $100 is a nice round number to work with.   I also threw out week 17 in the examples just to keep them equal and clean.

But to determine your number you shouldn’t be assessing what you want to play each week.  You need to be assessing what you are willing to risk for the entire season in NFL DFS cash and not what is in your DFS site account.   Meaning that if your spouse came to you and said, okay honey, here is $500 that you can play in NFL DFS because when you had too much to drink that one night with your buddies and came home “happy” and insisted on (*censored*) and then 9 months later we had that third child you officially gave me your balls and that’s all I’m gonna let you have, that $500 isn’t your bankroll to play over the course of five or six weeks.  It’s the total that you are willing to lose in the season.  Be honest with yourself NOW in this regards to cash game.  Also, DO NOT.  I repeat.  DO NOT blend $ you are playing with CASH with $ you want to play in tournaments.  They are COMPLETELY different assessments in success rate.  I don’t give a damn if you win $1000 in cash games off a $1000 investment and then lose it all in a tournament.  You still profited the $1000 in the cash games and using these models below you’ll be able to assess how my recommended models did for you at the end of the season off that.

So what’s your #?  Take that # and divide it by 4 … or to make it easier, just figure out what your # is per month that you are able to lose on DFS.  Yep.  I said lose.  Because I don’t want someone to go stupid on one of these models in one month and then say Oh I’m out I went too aggressive in weeks 1-4.  This is a full 16 process.  So again.  What’s your #?  Divide it by 4 or just be honest with your monthly #.

The below examples are for someone who has a monthly # of $100 or $400 for the season.

 

A) Conservative Model

Play the same amount of cash on the MAIN slates each week from Weeks 1 through 17 and measure your success throughout the course of the season.  At the end of Week 16 you will know how you did based simply off did you go 9-7 or better to earn a profit?  There may be some weeks where you ‘break even’ as not all cash games have the same place line obviously but if we are doing this right then we’re gonna hit that 11 or 12 game WIN season and have a very profitable year with the obvious insane goal of running the table with a 16-0 record.

  • Example:  $100 in cash games (Large Field Double-Ups, Large Field 50/50’s, Head to Heads) every single week.  Go 9-7 and it’s not a losing year, which is a floor goal.  Realistic goal should be 11-5 to 13-3 finish.
    • Best case:  You go 16-0 and profit ~$1600 and get your own radio gig where you can pump yourself as the greatest cash game player in the history of man kind.
    • Realistic Goal:  You go 11-5 and you are up $600
    • Bad Year:   You go 6-10 and are down $400
    • Disaster:  You went 0-16 and lost $1600 and probably should have quit after you were 0-8 but you are a degen and didn’t.

 

B)  Aggressive Model (The Double Down Model)

Play each Quarter with the goal of going 4-0 for the quarter and having a huge win to withdraw from.  In this scenario we are throwing the middle finger up at all the softies out there who talk about “Bankroll Management” and we simply are trusting that we’re gonna be good and get hot over the course of the season to profit our money off cash games, but rather than deal with tight payout structures and lots of ownership headaches in tournaments we’ll just go aggressive on the amount we play in cash.

  • Example:  $100 played in Week 1.  You win?  You play $200 (or whatever you won) in week 2.  You win again?  You double down in week 3.  You win again?  You double down in week 4.
  • If at any point in this 4-week process you STOP until the next 4 week cycle begins.  At most, you do four 4 week cycles.
    • Best case:  You made it to the fourth stage (4 in a row) and resulted in a $1500 (15x) profit.   If you do this once, it’s a net profit of $1200 for the entire season which would be the same as going 14-2 in your cash games.
    • Worst case:  You lost $100 over a 4 week span.   If you do this four times you are essentially in the same boat as going 6-10 for the full season.

 

C)  Hybrid Model

Yeah, I said two models.  Because this really isn’t a third model, it’s just taking both models above and using them.  Model A (Conservative) is your safe conservative cash model.  Model B (Aggressive) essentially replaces playing tournaments.  You could sit here and play one entry in an MME contest every single week like a fricken donkey or you could take the double down aggressive approach and just apply it to a CASH game.  So split the $100 and do $50 in Model A and $50 in Model B and you are still playing with upside without having to perfectly nail the third string WR for the Colts who catches a 79 yard touchdown in overtime against the Jaguars.

 


 

WEEK 1 CASH GAME PLAYS

I should also mention that all these recommendations are based off FanDuel’s pricing and scoring.  It’s the preferred cash game site because it has lower floors due to lower scoring bonuses and better pricing in my viewpoint.

 

Games with the Vegas Totals at or above 50

  • Chiefs at Jaguars
  • 49ers at Buccaneers
  • Rams at Panthers

Games with the Vegas Totals at or below 40

  • Ravens at Dolphins
  • Bills at Jets (Has creeped up to 40.5 now)

Games with weather concerns

  • None, although it will be hot obviously in Tampa and Miami

Position To Spend up on:   

  • Running Backs

FLEX Depth: 

  • Running Backs

Pay Down at: 

  • None.  Balanced lineups!!!

 

SHAWN CHILDS’ PROJECTIONS


 

QUARTERBACKS

I have long said that Quarterbacks in Cash are not a priority spot to panic over.  Most weeks we are not going to be paying in the 8k range on FanDuel for a Quarterback and this week is no different as we are much better off spending on Running Backs and Receivers.  I would avoid Kyler Murray until he proves it (which he wont) and he is also likely going to be playing behind a banged up O-Line.  Jacoby Brissett is cheap and tempting but the value isn’t necessary that much on FanDuel.  Lamar Jackson to me offers a ton of upside as a rushing Quarterback against a bad Dolphins team in a potential ‘show me’ game.  It is projected to be low scoring but thats mostly on the Dolphins side.  Wilson and Wentz likely have bad game flow so from the players mentioned above the recommendations are Lamar Jackson or *gulp* Kirk Cousins.  But again, Quarterback is one position you can usually get away with lower owned choices in cash.

Overall Recommendations:  Winston, Jackson, Cousins

RUNNING BACKS

I added Dalvin Cook on the Value plays as he really falls in the middle in projection rankings and value rankings on FanDuel.  He’s a heavy chalk play this week because most industry analysis bases their world on DraftKings pricing and he is a very good bargain play on that site.  He’s equally good on FanDuel as well and is someone that should be considered this week.   Cook is one reason why I would lean away from Cousins in cash this week as I expect the Vikings to get production from all around their team and if Stefon Diggs does sit then Cook vaults up as easily the #1 play at Running Back this week.

We are bullish in Leonard Fournette, who has a history of getting injured and missing too much football but he stands out as a good play ahead of Barkley and LevBell for pretty good reasons this week.  Barkley has an extremely difficult matchup for his price and LevBell is likely going to be eased into things with the Jets despite his tempting price tag.

I don’t like many of the value plays we have available this week at Running Back, but Chris Carson faces a Bengals defense that during the second half last year was gashed by opponents in the ground and he fits the home+favored+good usage criteria that we want for a running back.  I would focus to get a third back in your cash lineups this week in the FLEX spot and Christian McCaffrey and Ezekiel Elliot are the two studs to look at plugging in there.

Overall Recommendations:   Cook, Fournette, Carson, McCaffrey

 

WIDE RECEIVERS

This is honestly a very weird WR week because of lots of injuries with the studs up top which clears out any single one play as being above the rest of the field.  The team we have to get exposure to this week though is the Rams.  Going into Carolina with a 50 over/under and a funnel defense to allow them to pass heavy against the Panthers prevents a very solid situation for Cooks, Woods and Kupp but as always with the Rams it’s not any one guy that you want to focus on.  I have my personal favorite in Cooks but getting exposure in general to the Rams is recommended.

Overall Recommendations:   Cooks, Thielen, Beckham, Golladay, Godwin (if healthy), Goodwin

 

TIGHT ENDS

Tight End is not a sexy position this week and Zach Ertz will be a high target play and should “get his” but the roster construction to me doesn’t warrant going there.  Lean Engram and Hooper instead.

Overall Recommendations:   Ertz, Engram, Hooper

 

DEFENSES

Three teams have what appear to be smash match-ups this week in the Eagles, Seahawks and Ravens.  Two of whom (Seattle/Philly) are at home and heavy favorites and both should generate plenty of sacks and interceptions.  Baltimore playing in the heat in Miami concerns me.

Overall Recommendations:   Ravens, Eagles, Seahawks

 

 

srenner

Founder and CEO for The Daily Ambush. Author or The Dongers Club (MLB), The Ambush (NFL), The Slapshot (NHL) and The Tailgate (CFB).