Joey Ricotta | December 22nd, 2019
The football regular season is coming to a close, and with that, we need to make the most of our last remaining chances to take home some decent money before the playoffs. Hopefully, you were able to construct a nice winning lineup based on some of the plays mentioned in last week’s article. However, you aren’t here to reminisce about last week.
The goal of the cash game article is to outline some of the safer plays, while also, providing options that will help you create the most optimal builds. The whole point of it all is to make some money. Sometimes we won’t, but putting ourselves in the best position to do so is the most important part. That goes without saying, but can sometimes get overshadowed by the results on a week to week basis.
The only thing people want to know is how many points a guy scored, and not necessarily the route in which they got there. DFS is not only a science but a math equation. Let’s dive in, put the pieces together, and try to solve it. Here are my favorite Cash Game Plays for Week 16.
Disclaimer: As always, there will be a lock emoji next to a few of my favorite plays. All of the guys mentioned are viable for cash games, but the ones with a lock emoji are going to be fixtures in my main lineup.
Ryan Fitzpatrick ($6,000 DK, $7,400 FD)
Fitzmagic is sort of playing with house money at this point. The longtime journeyman has nothing to lose in Week 16 of his age 37 season. The Dolphins don’t really have much of a ground game to speak of, and the Cincinnati Bengals present a solid situation to let Fitz air it out. While Cincy ranks in the middle of the field, in terms of passing yards per game, they are 27th in the league in terms of DVOA against the pass (sixth-worst). Also, the Bengals and Dolphins rank fifth and sixth for the fastest pace of play. That means Fitz should get plenty of attempts off against a weaker defense. Keep an eye on the weather, it could be breezy and rainy, which could affect the passing game.
Will Grier ($4,300 DK, $6,000 FD)
The turnover-happy Kyle Allen has been removed as the Carolina Panthers’ starting QB. Taking his place will be Will Grier who will be making his first career NFL start. Grier isn’t a conviction play or someone we should be extremely confident in, but he’s as close to the bare minimum salary as we can get. If you aren’t paying up for Lamar Jackson‘s extremely high price tag, why not go straight to the bottom of the barrel? Over the last few weeks, the Indianapolis Colts have been allowing quarterbacks to throw for a ton of yards against them. Over the last three weeks, in particular, they’ve given up the third-most passing yards per game (304). Grier doesn’t have to do a whole lot to reach 3x value on DraftKings. I’ll gladly take the discount and pay up elsewhere.
Other Targets: Russell Wilson, Philip Rivers, Drew Lock
Christian McCaffrey ($10,100 DK, $10,800 FD)
We could write an entire article on the season McCaffrey’s had. The Panthers have nothing to play for, other than seeing what they have with their young QB, Grier, and giving McCaffrey a chance to track down history. Already with 1,307 rushing yards, McCaffrey needs only 186 receiving yards to reach 1,000 in that category as well. A young QB that struggled in the preseason, making his debut this late in the year? You can bet there will be a heavy dosage of McCaffrey with a lot of short dump-off passes.
Joe Mixon ($6,600 DK, $7,800 FD)
Saquon Barkley hadn’t rushed for over 100 yards in a game since Week Two of the season and he’s been dealing with an ankle injury since Week Three. So, the fact that he ran for 112 yards and two TDs last week against the Miami Dolphins, says a lot about how easy it is to run against them. Over the last three weeks, Mixon has averaged over 25 touches per game, rushed for 326 yards, and scored four TDs (rushing and receiving combined). It’s become evident that the Cincinnati Bengals have no real trust in any of their quarterbacks, and Mixon is great when given the opportunity. His recent volume trend should continue and the matchup is great. Fire up Mixon with confidence.
DeAndre Washington ($4,000 DK, $5,600 FD)
While the Oakland Raiders aren’t officially eliminated from the playoffs, they need a miracle to make it. Josh Jacobs fought through and played with a lingering shoulder injury against the Jacksonville Jaguars last week. However, he won’t do the same this week. Jacobs was ruled out on Wednesday, and that opens the door for Washington to have a big game. His price couldn’t get much better, sitting at only $4,000 on DK and $5,600 on FD. The matchup against the Chargers is fine as well. They rank almost dead in the middle with 110.3 rushing yards allowed per game and have allowed the 11th-most DK points per game to opposing RBs (26.2). In the only other game that Jacobs missed, Washington rushed for 53 yards and caught six passes for 43 yards, while adding a rushing TD. If you tell me, I can expect a running back to get 20 touches or more in a game with a good matchup, at only $4,000, I’m jumping on it every time.
Julio Jones ($8,000 DK and FD)
Calvin Ridley just celebrated his 25th birthday on Friday. Unfortunately, he was placed on injured reserve last week due to an abdominal injury. We saw very clearly how that affects the Falcons’ offense, as they went to Julio Jones early and often. We witnessed Julio explode for 13 catches, 134 yards, and two touchdowns. Expanding on that, he received the most targets in a single game by any receiver all season, with an absurd 20 targets. Neither A.J. Bouye or Tre Herndon are overbearing matchups for Julio. Matt Ryan and Jones should be able to connect, playing at home in the dome.
Keenan Allen ($6,300 DK, $6,700 FD)
For a while, it was uncertain if Keenan Allen would be a focal point in this Chargers offense with the newly found health of Hunter Henry, the return of Melvin Gordon, and Austin Ekeler in the mix. That question has been answered. Allen, now has another 1,000-yard receiving season, his third straight, and is ten catches away from 100 for the year. The Oakland Raiders have been getting burned through the air, ranking second-worst in pass DVOA. Allen will most likely be guarded by Lamarcus Joyner or Nevin Lawson in the slot. Either way, he should have the advantage, but Joyner has a PFF grade of only 43.7 compared to Lawson’s 60.5.
Greg Ward ($4,200 DK, $5,700 FD)
Greg Ward paid off his bare minimum salary last week in rather effortless fashion, scoring a touchdown while adding seven catches for 61 yards. I think this is a spot where we can go right back to him because his salary remains low. The depleted Eagles wide receiving corps makes Ward wide receiver number one by default. Keep an eye on the status of Nelson Agholor, although he hasn’t practiced all week. If Agholor plays, Ward isn’t a Cash Game option. In back-to-back games, Ward’s been peppered with nine targets. Fantasy points aside, the Dallas Cowboys haven’t been good defending the pass this season, and even more so since Leighton Vander Esch has been out. They’ve allowed at least two touchdown passes in five of the last six games. Zach Ertz is the clear cut number one pass-catching option for Philly, but Ward is the cheapest number one WR of any team on the entire slate.
Other Targets: Michael Thomas, Tyler Boyd, Courtland Sutton
Value: Mike Williams, Chris Conley (If DJ Chark is out)
Jacob Hollister ($4,200 DK, $5,700 FD)
Hollister was and might still be a popular brand among high school students. Jacob Hollister, however, isn’t quite as well known. He is, however, getting consistent targets, like many of Russell Wilson’s Tight Ends, seem to do. And he gets a matchup against this season’s Tight End punching bag, the Arizona Cardinals. The Seahawks have one of the highest implied team totals on the slate and Hollister is the cheapest way to get exposure to their offense. The first time these two faced each other this year, Seattle Tight Ends combined for nine catches, 83 yards, and a TD.
Dallas Goedert ($4,100 DK, $5,900 FD)
The way to attack the Dallas Cowboys defense is with Tight Ends. At least that has been the case as of late. The Chicago Bears had two of them combine for seven catches and 92 yards. Then, last week, Tyler Higbee nabbed 12 catches for 111 yards. We mentioned how the Eagles’ pass catchers are all beat up and they already love utilizing their TEs. Zach Ertz is the standout player to pick and if we have the salary, that’s where we’d like to go. But since having the salary is optional, I choose not to have the salary for TE number one and take the savings with TE and pass catcher number two, Goedert. Over the last five weeks, Goedert has averaged 6.6 targets per game and hasn’t scored a TD since Week 11. You could say, he’s due.
Other Targets: Zach Ertz, Hunter Henry, Darren Waller (FD)
Value: Noah Fant
If you’re a returning reader, you know, I like to look for cheaper defenses than most people feel comfortable with. I felt like I needed to say that as almost a disclaimer before we get going. This doesn’t necessarily make these defenses “safe,” although I know that’s normally the goal in cash games. Because of the unpredictability at the position, I’m more willing to punt defense in hopes of finding some cheap turnovers. Taking salaries into consideration, here are my favorites.
New York Jets ($3,000 DK, $3,600 FD)
The Pittsburgh Steelers offense has been putrid all season. They rank 30th in yards per game (285.7) and overall offense DVOA (-21.5%). Some know him better as Duck, others just call him Devlin Hodges. Whatever you called him last week, he threw four interceptions against the Buffalo Bills. He’s also fumbled each of the last three weeks, since taking over for Mason Rudolph. The Jets are my preferred option on FanDuel, but there’s merit to using them on DraftKings as well.
Carolina Panthers ($2,400 DK, $3,500 FD)
Jacoby Brissett doesn’t scream out as a “quarterback to attack,” but the Panthers are relatively cheap on both of the main sites, and they get a lot of pressure. In order to make my lineups work, I need to get some good value. Scrounging for teams near the bottom of the barrel, out of the teams $2,600 and below (on DraftKings), only the Jacksonville Jaguars get a higher pressure rate than the Panthers. And their matchup versus the Atlanta Falcons on the road is not one I want to attack. Let’s take a shot with the Panthers and hope they can keep the Colts in check, get some decent pressure on Brissett, and maybe force a couple of turnovers.
Other Targets: DEN (vs DET), OAK (@ LAC)
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