The Reid Option: Week 1

Friends … Romans … COUNTRYMEN … after months of monotonous player debates, low-dollar best-ball drafts, seasonal rankings arguments, and egregious Twitter taeks, the real deal is finally here.

To loyal readers of The Reid Option, welcome back. Your interaction and the energy you brought to the table last season was incredibly inspiring to me and was one of the major reasons that this column won the FWSA Award for Best Fantasy Football Series of the Year. Oh – you thought I was above starting off this season with a humblebrag? Nooooo, no my friends, you done thought wrong. In all seriousness though, I appreciate you guys and am ever grateful. You make writing this column every week worth it.

And to the new readers here at RotoGrinders – thanks for being here. Now you may be wondering, who the f*** is Sammy Reid? That’s an excellent question. Am I a professional DFS player? No, I’m not. I work in the pharmaceutical industry for my day job and grind about 60 hours a month at the poker table on the side.

Am I a good DFS player? The number say I’m alright: Last season I had a 20.77% ROI in cash games and a -39.31% ROI in GPPs. Of course, that’s only one season of data, but it’s definitely a theme for my DFS career: Consistently profitable in cash games and below the line in large-field tournaments. Do I think I’m a bad GPP player? Well, it doesn’t matter what I think – it only matters what the numbers say. At the end of the day, the reality is that your results are how you’re ultimately judged and my GPP results haven’t been above the line.

Why am I telling you all of this? Another humblebrag, perhaps? Well no, it’s because I believe strongly in transparency. (But also you saw that cash game ROI tho right, wink wink?) Even though I don’t really consider myself a “tout”, the truth is that I’m putting out work and if you’re reading this column, you have a right to know what kind of player I am. And I have no problem saying that while I’m a solidly profitable DFS player, I’m not even in the same stratosphere as some of the other guys at this company.

Alright, enough about me. That’s not why you’re here. You’re here because you want picks! Am I right? Of course I am. And we’ll get to those. But let’s get something straight first – the goal of The Reid Option is not to be a “here’s some good picks” column, because the picks are the easy part. These days you can read any halfway decent column or listen to any chucklenuts podcast and hear about 90% of the player pool you should be considering.

Rather, The Reid Option is meant to be a guide to putting oneself in the best position to profit each week. The real edge in today’s game is using superior game theory to construct lineups, selecting the right contests to enter, and using the right kinds of lineups in those contests.

My goal in this column is to give you both the picks and the tactical edges to put yourself in the best position possible to profit each week. Now the reality is that some picks will work out, and others won’t. That may not be a popular thing to say in this era of hot takes, but it’s true nonetheless; the range of outcomes in a 17-week football season is as wide as a pregnant hippo and can be just as unpredictable. If I knew exactly how things were going to turn out, I’d be eating caviar in The Maldives with ten Instagram models named Lexi instead of writing The Reid Option on my couch in my underwear.

My advice is to use this column as a guide, not as gospel. As much as anything, I’d like to help stimulate your thought process rather than give you something to copy, because the best piece of advice I could possibly give you is the most important thing I ever learned in poker: Trust the voice inside your own head. If you believe in a play, go with it. Screw what anyone else says. It’s football – unexpected things happen all the time. Besides, it’s your team, your money, and your destiny – no one else’s. The plays I list in this column will be the ones I’ll personally be using, and you’re free to take from that what you will.

So here we are. Week 1 of the NFL season is finally upon us, and make no mistake – it’s a big week. We all want to start off hot and put our bankrolls on swole right off the bat. When we peruse the lobbies, those 7-figure payouts are staring us right in the face and even when we log out, they continue to whisper sweet nothings into our ears.

That’s why you may not like the first piece of advice I’m gonna throw your way: Be conservative in cash games this week. Week 1 is the week that we have the least amount of reliable information available to us, and thus the week that we should have the least amount of our bankrolls on the line. Never forget that every year we spend the entire preseason studying first-team reps and slot snap counts, and then in Week 1 there are grips of surprises that nobody saw coming.

On the same token, you’ll probably really like the second piece of advice I have for you: Go all out in GPPs. Everyone has their preconceived notions about players and roles, but the truth is that we all know very little. The early season is the best time to take advantage of public overconfidence in what’s going to happen – BEFORE such things begin taking actual shape. You think that Jack Doyle is the real #1 TE in Indy and that Jacoby Brissett is going to target him endlessly against a Chargers D that’s missing Derwin James? Go for it. You think that John Brown is the perfect deep-throw fit for Josh Allen and that he’s going to rip up a weak Jets secondary? Jam him in! You think that Derrius Guice is the truth this year and is going to smash the Eagles as the Redskins pull the Week 1 upset? Well, you’re probably a fish, but you do you. The point is, get there before everyone else does. Now’s your chance.

(As always, all odds listed are accurate at the time of writing and may shift throughout the week. The Reid Option focuses exclusively on the main slate.)

QUARTERBACK

The QB position feels fairly straightforward this week. Carson Wentz is my QB cash lock on DraftKings dot com; he’s been outfitted with more explosive weapons than Iran and is somehow priced down in a tier where a true MVP candidate stands out like OJ Simpson in a suburban neighborhood. The Eagles have the Main Slate’s second-highest implied team total and are all but guaranteed to embarrass the ‘Skins. Giddy up.

On FanDuel, Wentz is still affordable, but he’s not the standout value that he is on DK. In his pricing tier there’s Jameis Winston, Cam Newton, and Jared Goff – all in games with over/unders of 50 points and above. Of these dudes, Jameis feels like he could be the biggest smash with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and OJ Howard at his disposal and an aggressive, air yards-centric coach in Bruce Arians at his back. He’ll be popular in GPPs and for good reason.

And while a lot of people will rightfully gravitate towards Jameis, there is a contrarian way to get exposure to this game – personified in this base by a very handsome man, a man who was the toast of the town until he tore his knee up last summer … and now everyone acts like he has the plague. Of course, I’m talking about Jimmy the GOAT Garoppolo, who I’ll be riding with in GPPs this week: (As always, you can click the link to jam along).

Yeah I’m gonna tie my horse to Garoppolo
I’m gonna ride him ‘til I hit that score
I’m gonna bink of course with Garoppolo
I’m gonna die if he hits his floor

I got resources in the stack
Endorsed by Shanahan
Ownership on Tampa
Got Chris Godwin comin’ back
Fighting for a fortune
It’s legit extortion
I’m pickin’ on Bucs D
Goodwin will be open deep

Can’t projections tell me nothin’
Optimals tell me nothin’
Can’t projections tell me nothin’
Optimals tell me nothin’

Plowin’ like a tractor
Killin’ like the rapture
Passed on Kyler Murray
Faded Lamar Jackson
Binking would be groovy
Jimmy is a beauty
Pettis slant vs LBs
Kittle seam vs 2-deep

Can’t projections tell me nothin’
Optimals tell me nothin’
Can’t projections tell me nothin’
Optimals tell me nothin’

Yeah I’m gonna tie my horse to Garoppolo
I’m gonna ride him ‘til I hit that score
I’m gonna bink of course with Garoppolo
I’m gonna die if he hits his floor

Mac down across town, dating all the pornstars
Spent a lot of money on that MILF Kiara
Jimmy’s got a habit: Title rings as Brady’s backup
Riding on those coattails but now Jimmy’s gotta man up
Gonna smash with the late game stack
I believe in my man so I kick on back
While he doles the smack onto Tampa’s dome
I’m gonna bink with Garoppolo

Yeah I’m gonna tie my horse to Garoppolo
I’m gonna ride him ‘til I hit that score
I’m gonna bink of course with Garoppolo
I’m gonna die if he hits his floor

RUNNING BACK

This is the position that tends to offer the biggest and most obvious value spots in Week 1, since the prices are posted by sites weeks in advance and the position is infinitely reliant on volume and situation rather than talent or name value.

With the recent news of Ezekiel Elliott signing, the Tony Pollard free square is gone, which is frankly something that we should be happy about. Trust me, everybody and their mother knew he was a lock-button play and now we’ll see more lineup differentiation and a bigger edge if we play our cards right.

Still a lock for me in cash is Austin Ekeler, a hyper-efficient mighty mouse on a strong offense that’s favored by a touchdown at home. He’ll likely share carries with Justin Jackson while garnering the lion’s share of backfield targets (of which the Chargers offense offers in abundance), and a projection of 13 carries and 5 targets with upside for more is exceedingly reasonable.

We also have multiple strong mid-priced options that I’ll be heavily exposed to in cash, specifically Dalvin Cook and Nick Chubb. Both backs offer the holy RB trinity of bellcow rushing expectation: Passing down work, and goal-line chores without the heavy price tags normally associated with such valuable commodities. Both backs are also playing as heavy home favorites, making positive gamescripts likely for them.

In GPPs on DK and in all formats on FanDuel, Chris Carson is a complete smash waiting to happen. The Seahawks want to run the ball like it’s 1979 and are tied for the biggest home favorite of the week (-9.5). And if you buy the offseason chatter that they want to involve Carson more heavily as a pass-catcher, you should be heavily exposed to him this week – particularly as a GPP pivot off of the chalkier Chubb/Dalvin types.

I think that most DFS players will gravitate towards the passing pieces of the SF/TB game, which I can very much get on board with since it has been decreed that nary a lick of defense shall be played on this day. However, it opens up some hidden RB value, particularly on the San Francisco side with Tevin Coleman and Matt Breida. I’m bullish on the Niners offense in general this season, so I’m very down to use them against a team that plays passable defense about as often as Phil Rivers uses a condom. Breida made waves this week when he was listed as the SF starter on some marketing intern’s depth chart, so while they’re both great plays I believe that Coleman is the stronger game theory play in tournaments.

Obviously I haven’t talked much about the top tier of RBs here, mostly because we have so much obvious value available at affordable price points. If there’s one high-priced RB I will gravitate towards in GPPs it’ll be Christian McCaffrey, since he rates to garner such a heavy pass-catching role in a game that could definitely turn into a shoot-out. I don’t think he’s necessary or even optimal in cash games, but he’s likely to turn in a strong fantasy performance and I wouldn’t blame anyone for jamming in a guy who could be the #1 RB performer of the week. I’m not including a lot of stats in this week’s column (for obvious reasons), but per Matthew Freedman, CMC has averaged 27.9 PPR points per game in home losses and 17.5 PPR PPG in all other situations; this week the Panthers are at home and are 3-point home underdogs to the Rams.

WIDE RECEIVER

This is the position with the most opportunity to get weird and I think the way we handle it will have the biggest impact on our Week 1 results. I’m a severe underdog to make any lineups without one of Mike Evans or Chris Godwin; I’m extremely here for the Bruce Arians air yards show and if preseason talk is to be believed, the specter of Godwin playing the Larry Fitzgerald slot role has me giddier than a teenager discovering P-Hub. The San Francisco side of this game should be quite a bit less owned, both because the offense has been getting less pub and because the projected target share is so much murkier. However, Week 1 is the time to take advantage of such deprivation of clarity, and as such I’ll be bringing my TB stacks back with a lot of Dante Pettis and Marquise Goodwin.

Just like at the RB position, there’s a gaggle of mid-priced WRs that have seen pumped-up seasonal hype that we can take advantage of in DFS. Chief among them are the Carolina duo of DJ Moore and Curtis Samuel – both sick route-runners that can create after the catch. Neither one stands out as an optimal play who is a lock for 8+ targets, but this CAR/LAR tilt has the potential to be one of Week 1’s back-and-forth blowup games and if it is, I want exposure to it.

I also love Tyler Lockett as Seattle’s one and only legitimate pass-catcher; Doug Baldwin retired and DK Metcalf is both sketchy health-wise and can only run Rickon Stark routes – straight ahead without any bob, weave, or wiggle. Yes, Seattle rates to control this game and thus run the ball a ton, but if Lockett is involved heavily in the lead-getting, he could put up some big numbers before the ground crew comes in to clean up. On the flip side of the same game, Tyler Boyd should be heavily-targeted as Cinci rates to trail, and the Seahawks pass defense has been less Legion of Boom and more Region of Moon for opposing WRs in recent seasons. Boyd is solid in cash and a great option to bring back your Seattle stacks with.

One more potential mid-priced smash is Kenny Golladay against a Cardinals secondary bereft of Patrick Peterson and any other discernible talent whatsoever. While the Lions offense tends to move at a glacial pace, the Cards have the opposite profile which is likely to create extra possessions for their enemies. Kenny G is a popular seasonal breakout candidate with WR1 potential, and I want DFS shares as long as they’re affordable like they are this week.

There are also a couple targets I love in the sub-$5k nether region of DraftKings: Dede Westbrook rates to be Jacksonville’s top receiving option and they should have to throw plenty to keep up with the Chiefs. Westbrook ran over 91% of his routes out of the slot last season and Nick Foles loves to target the slot, doing so on nearly 57% of his pass attempts in 2018. We saw this dynamic in play in the preseason when Foles targeted Westbrook on 7 of his 10 throws, and while I try not to put too much weight into such things, in this case the logic follows the narrative. Finally, I love John Brown as a GPP flier – he loves to go deep, Josh Allen loves to throw it deep, and the Jets defense loves to give it up deep.

I think it goes without saying that the top end WR tier of 2018 Air Yards Champ Julio Jones, 2019-#1-overall-WR in-the-making Odell Beckham Jr, and Mighty Mike Evans are all great plays and I’ll likely have one of Julio or OBJ paired with Godwin at the top of most of my cash game lineups.

TIGHT END

The clear value to me on this slate is Hunter Henry at $3900 on DK. He’s now more than a full year removed from his ACL tear and played on more than 90% of the Chargers’ first-team preseason reps. That’s big news for a guy who, per Pro Football Focus, ranked first among all tight ends in fantasy points per target and second in fantasy points per snap from 2016-2017. I believe it won’t be long before he’s priced in the $5k-$6k range, so take advantage of this pricing quirk while you can.

In GPPs there’s no denying the potential fantasy beasting that we could see in the SF/TB tilt. George Kittle is fresh off breaking the all-time TE yardage record and is SF’s #1 pass-catching option against the Bucs’ Charmin-soft defense, while OJ Howard is the most popular TE breakout candidate this side of the Mississippi. The standard way to stack this game is going to be Jameis to Godwin and/or Evans while bringing it back with Kittle, but there are several contrarian routes to take as well, including Jimmy G to Pettis and/or Goodwin while bringing it back with Howard.

Surely there’s always a case for Kelce, since he’s a soul-smashing beast and all. I probably won’t have much exposure but certainly he’s always in play as the week’s TE1 and as such, I won’t dissuade you in any way, shape, or form from playing him. The high-priced contrarian option that does make it move for me is Zach Ertz. Touts have spent all offseason knocking him down the ranks since his target share is expected to decline from last year’s (both due to natural regression and an influx of addition pass-catching weapons) but he’s still a high-ceiling play that won’t get much ownership here which is exactly what we’re looking for in our GPP plays.

DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS

One thing to know about DSTs is that projected points allowed is at the bottom of things we should be looking at, while point spread and correlated pass attempts by the opposition are at the top. Basically, we want the defense of teams which rates to win handily and force the other team into a lot of desperate throws where sacks and INTs can happen. Thus, most weeks I’m simply going to target teams that are big favorites, preferably at home and preferably playing limp-stick offenses.

The Eagles stand out in all facets this week as a 9.5-point home favorite against a Redskins offense that exhibits as much talent as Paris Hilton and have human turnstile Ereck Flowers starting at guard where Fletcher Cox, Malik Jackson, and Timmy Jernigan should take turns pummeling him into forced retirement. I seriously fear for Case Keenum’s life here since a Joe Theismann situation is fully in play, but putting our humanity aside as we must do in DFS, this is a fantasy situation that needs to be taken advantage of.

Other top options include the Cowboys, Browns, and Seahawks, and if you need a cheaper DST, I’m more than fine with the Chargers at home against the Colts. They have two explosive pass rushers in Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram and are a 7-point home favorite against a QB who took 52 sacks the last time he actually started NFL games two years ago. The Chargers were priced as though they were facing Andrew Luck, but as you may have heard, Luck won’t be playing in this game which gives us a nice little value opportunity should we need it.

Thanks for reading, everyone! Good luck in Week 1.

About the Author

  • Sammy Reid (SammyReid)

  • Sammy is a former online poker professional and Hearts champion who has been playing competitive fantasy sports for more than 15 years. A student of both sports and game theory, Sammy has been grinding DFS cash games since 2013. You can find more of his work in the 2017 edition of Joe Pisapia’s Fantasy Black Book, at FantasyInsiders.com, RosterCoach.com, and the Baseballholics Anonymous podcast.

Comments

  • sochoice

    • 2017 DraftKings FBWC Finalist

    • 2017 FanDuel WFFC Champion

    Great article. I sure hope DJ Metcalf doesn’t catch an arrow in his back.

  • Jmore123

    Can’t wait to see the Chargers chalk to blow up in everyone’s face

  • Alvy76

    Good stuff man! Thanks for the article. I like the Jimmy G call too!!

  • jesstrieb

    Glad your back bro !! great ideas here… The Phillip Rivers comment nearly had me in tears from laughing so hard…

  • boogereatingmoron

    • 938

      RG Overall Ranking

    • 2017 FanDuel WFBC Finalist

    • 2019 FanDuel WFBC Finalist

    Awesome that you are back Sammy. Congrats on the award. Wondering how that goal of a house from poker $$ is going? Have a great season my friend!

  • jcottenttu

    glad you/article are back. great #taeks & funny as hell as always

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