For the uninitiated, playing daily games on DraftKings can be an enjoyable experience, but equally sobering is the fact that season-long knowledge does not always translate to success in the daily space. Footballguys will bring you a series of value- and strategic-based selections from a number of seasoned daily veterans throughout the NFL season. Herein is another edition of “Tipandpick’s Tips and Picks,” where we will examine the salaries of players at each position on DraftKings and make value-based recommendations for both your cash games and tournaments.
Below you will find a list of recommended players for both formats. GPP players generally have high-upside, but are too risky for cash games; cash game players are consistent with high fantasy floors. In some instances, the value for a player is so strong, he may fall into both categories…let’s have a look.
In order to help you build winning rosters, let's walk through some of the observations that I have made while doing my research for DraftKings this week. As you build out your lineups on DraftKings, try to consider the following commentary, which revolves around game strategy and how we will want to take advantage of what the masses are doing when they construct their own lineups.
LIMIT YOUR CASH GAME PLAY: [Adapted from "Tips and Picks' from 2020 Wild-Card Weekend] Over the past few seasons, cash games have gotten increasingly difficult to beat over the long-term. That trend can be blamed squarely on the availability of good information that was previously not readily available. Today, however, there are an abundance of data, tools, and articles on various websites that make constructing cash game lineups a straightforward endeavor. Like last year around this time, I am urging you to limit the amount of cash game action that you put into play because the overlap that occurs on smaller game sets, like Wild-Card Weekend, is absurd; Drew Brees, Cam Akers, and Michael Thomas are all going to be extremely highly-owned on this four game slate. As a result of this massive ownership overlap, the difference between winning and losing will often distill down to one or two players’ performance(s), which is less than optimal because of the variance associated with NFL scoring. The edge associated with playing DFS is far less defined on a shorter slate because there are less mistakes that can be made. With this in mind, I would encourage you to play less volume than you typically play on an NFL slate and also direct you to play a bit more of your cash game action in head-to-head contests, where you are not likely facing an all-or-nothing outcome.
GAMESCRIPTING: Because there are only six games from which to choose, my best advice this (and next) week is to mentally determine how you envision the games playing out and building your rosters accordingly. For example, I think the Titans beat the Ravens this weekend. This could mean that Derrick Henry is used more often than we currently anticipate and possibly indicate that Lamar Jackson could underwhelm despite his popularity. I have similar feelings about the Steelers blowing out the Browns, which bodes well for James Conner who is not popular and slated to appear on less than 10% of tournament lineups. When the smoke clears, that gamescript may or may not be realized, but to win a GPP this Wild-Card Weekend, you will need to be correct on those gamescripts more often than not due to the extreme overlap in percent-rostered on a limited slate.
Let's take a deeper look into some of the players who I will be targeting for my cash game and tournament rosters this weekend. A short summary follows each respective table to fill in the gaps that led to the respective recommendations; that text represents only an overview of the methodology and rationale that goes into each recommendation.
The following players represent options that should be the most highly represented in your overall DFS portfolio this weekend; these players are viable in all contest formats.
|NAME||POSITION||OPP.||SALARY||PROJ. %||GPP STARS|
SUMMARY: In the table above, you will find the most popular plays of the six-game slate spanning Saturday and Sunday on wild-card weekend. All listed players are cash-game viable, but will likely need to be complemented alongside a few of the players listed in the next section. At quarterback, Lamar Jackson and his string 5-game streak of 25+ DK points is attractive against the Titans' punchless defense; Drew Brees is the cheaper option at home against the Bears and is an enticing gamestack option with Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas despite their elevated popularity. If you decide to run with the gamestack, run it back with either Allen Robinson, Cole Kmet, or Javon Wims on the other side. At running back, it's set it and forget it with Alvin Kamara, Chris Carson, and Cam Akers. Of the trio, Kamara should be in at least half of your overall lineups. Having scored only once across the last month, Carson is cheaply priced, but could lose touches to Carlos Hyde, who is getting healthier and expected to play after missing Week #17 with an injury. Akers is the most risky with Malcolm Brown always lurking in the background, but he still merits attention at a reasonable price point with questions abound about the Rams quarterback situation. Moving onto wide receiver, Michael Thomas is finally making a return after missing nearly a month due to an injury and should be your highest-rostered receiver on this short slate; he may not return to his normal 80-90% snap count immediately, but his price reflects that uncertainty and we can expect him to be used in every high-leverage situation possible. At tight end, Mark Andrews and Jonnu Smith are the clear favorites and should occupy the vast majority of your exposure at the position; between the two, they will occupy nearly 75% of this author's lineups, which should give you an idea of how thin the position is on this short-slate weekend. Looking at defense, only the Seahawks make sense for cash games; there are multiple questions about the relative health of Jared Goff and merit consideration in all formats due to those uncertainties.
These players are intended primarily for tournaments where only the top 20% of lineups win. There may be reason to use a player or two from this list for cash games, depending on your specific lineup build.
|Ronald Jones II||RB||@WAS||$5,500||6%||««««|
|Michael Pittman Jr||WR||@BUF||$3,500||4%||«««|
SUMMARY: Outside of the 1-15 Jaguars, no team in the NFL threw more often than the Pittsburgh Steelers this season. Enter Ben Roethlisberger and his litany of receivers, none of whom will appear on > 20% of rosters on a short-slate weekend. James Conner is still the preferred tournament option but there are many possible team stacks against the Browns, who have only bested lesser opponents this season. This puts the entire Steelers team in play for all formats; their 26.8-point implied team total is only 2.5 points below the highest projected team on the slate, which is certainly within striking distance of the highest scoring team of the weekend. Elsewhere, the Bears will do everything possible to prevent a shootout against the fully-loaded Saints, but expect Drew Brees to put this one away quickly which could mean that Mitchell Trubisky is asked to throw 40+ times. Trubisky has posted 3 touchdowns in 3 of his previous 5 contests and is capable of the same against a Saints team that is projected by oddsmakers to win by 10 points; the Bears have capable receivers and Marshon Lattimore has been a shell of his former self for much of 2020, so it would not surprise if Trubisky delivered 4x value on his $5.3K salary. In our nation's capital, Terry McLaurin is positioned for a huge game against a pass-funnel Bucs defense that will absolutely blanket Antonio Gibson; McLaurin may not get his points until the second-half, but it is difficult to envision him underwhelming on his reasonable $6.3K salary with only Cam Sims to challenge him for moving the sticks as 8.5-point underdogs. Lastly, look to the other side of that same game and roll with hefty shares of Ronald Jones II against the Football Team. RoJo continues to lead the Tampa Bay backfield, but is going overlooked in tournaments despite Tampa Bay's presence as a hefty road favorite; Leonard Fournette is always lurking, but has largely been an afterthought on weeks where Jones has been 100% healthy (as he is this week).
DEEP GPP FLYERS
Players from the following list are intended for tournament purposes only. These risky players have the ability to differentiate your GPP rosters on a weekend where differentiation is key. Try to get at least one player from this list into any tournament lineup that you build.
|NAME||POSITION||OPP.||SALARY||PROJ. %||GPP STARS|
SUMMARY: To win a tournament on a weekend with only six games, you most certainly are going to need exposure to a player who delivers an unexpected performance. For example, Isaiah McKenzie came through with 30.5 DK points on less than 3% of rosters and provided the differentiation to lift rosters that also contained chalk options Derrick Henry and Jonathan Taylor. This weekend, J.K. Dobbins is interesting on the heels of a 13/160/2 game, particularly given that the Ravens are favored in a game with a Vegas total of 55 points. At wide receiver, do not sleep on Emmanuel Sanders, who is forgotten in the midst of Michael Thomas' return; Sanders is still capable of posting a two-touchdown effort against a Bears defense that will be preoccupied with Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas. Similarly, Zach Pascal could capitalize in Buffalo when T.Y. Hilton is contending with TreDavious White; Pascal will run out of the slot and has scored three times in the previous three games. As a deep, deep GPP flyer that is only viable in contests with 100K+ participants, Javon Wims is enjoying increased opportunity in the Bears offense in a game is expected to largely eliminate the Bears' running game. Looking at tight end, this author will go to the well one last time with Gerald Everett, who missed a touchdown on an off-target pass last Sunday and could be used more often in a gameplan involving a quarterback with a bum thumb. At defense, feel free to pay up to grab a few shares of the Steelers defense after a week of rest against the Browns, who are missing their best offensive lineman in a repeat game from last Sunday.