The Reid Option: Week 11
Each week, Sammy Reid will break down each position in detail, pinpointing his favorite plays at various salary ranges. Who should we be focusing our core on this week? Read below to find out!
Once November hits in the Reid household, it means one thing: Lots of Hallmark Christmas movies. And when I say lots, I mean LOTS. Like, way too many. There’s a Hallmark Christmas movie on right now, as I write this. It’s the second one of the night.
My wife puts up with me watching baseball and football all the damn time throughout the year, so I let her have this one thing. She’s a small-town girl from Wyoming who likes cheesy holiday stuff; it makes her happy. But I’ve gotta level with you guys – these movies make me tilt like the artwork at Stevie Wonder’s house.
There’s like a hundred of these damn movies, and they’re all the same! A small town-girl (who has moved off to a big city and found some douchey corporate boyfriend) returns home to said small town, and rediscovers herself through the joys of the Christmas spirit. She breaks up with her boyfriend (amicably, always) and ends back up in the arms her old small-town flame who she’s loved all along, culminating with a romantic kiss (always sans tongue) on a sleigh ride or under snowfall next to a Christmas tree or some other cheeseball nonsense.
My wife loves it because she knows what’s going to happen. There’s no drama, no anxiety. There’s safety and comfort for her in knowing exactly how it’s going to turn out. It’s basically the opposite of what makes us tick as DFS players.
We court the volatility and the unpredictable outcomes. We sweat the games with our hard-earned money on the line. Every week, we try to put ourselves in the best position possible to succeed, then we watch things play out with zero control over them. It’s terrifying, it’s thrilling, and it makes us feel alive.
At this point in the season, however, we need to make sure our lineup construction doesn’t turn into a Hallmark movie. We all have our preferred method for building; for me, I almost always go cheap at QB, TE, and DST, while paying up for two stud RBs and a stud WR. Then I often fill out two value WRs that are underpriced for their projected market share numbers, and finish it off with one value RB in my flex spot.
This construction has been very successful for me this season, but it’s important to remember that every slate is its own animal with its own unique nuances and pockets of value. If you go into it already knowing how you’ll come out, you’ll miss what could be the optimal construction for that specific slate.
This week, I challenge you to start with a clean slate. Try something new – if you usually start with the must-play studs, try building with your top values first. If you usually start with quarterback, try starting a lineup through your WRs. If you usually pay down at TE, try building a lineup that starts with Zach Ertz. You don’t have to end up with that lineup, and you can go back to your normal way of building afterwards. But challenge yourself you really explore this slate, and explore your process while you’re at it. You never know what new plotline you’ll write for yourself for the rest of the season.
On a typical NFL week I put together cash game lineups across multiple sites which will have significant player overlap. I diversify to take advantage of different price points on different sites, as well as hedge on the players I don’t feel as strongly about to reduce variance in a game where it’s inherent. The players I feel strongest about will be in the majority of my lineups – these are my “high exposure” picks. The “moderate exposure” players will be in roughly half of my lineups, and the “GPP” picks are higher-risk, high-reward plays that I believe will be under-owned by the masses. I can’t write up every single player I’ll be using in time to put this column out on Thursday, but I’ll do my best to give you the most pivotal plays I can. The rest is up to you.
QUARTERBACK – MODERATE EXPOSURE
DREW BREES vs PHI – The highest team total of the main slate (31.3) points? Check. A home at home in the Superdome, where he’s averaged 331.8 passing yards per game since 2015? Check. A middle-of-the-road Eagles pass defense? Check. That awesome feeling that you have the most accurate QB in NFL history in the late-game hammer? Check and mate, friends.
RYAN FITZPATRICK @ NYG – I get the sense that people don’t believe in Fitz like I do, but I’m pretty sure that preconceived opinions are the reason why. It’s certainly not statistical performance; Fitzpatrick has started and finished five games – and in those games his passing yardage totals are 417, 402, 411, 243, and 406 … that’s an average of 376.8 YPG, and he’s also tacked on at least 23 rushing yards in four of those five games. And the truth of 2018 is that QB-BUCS is a legit cheat code: Fitz+Jameis has thrown for 3,380 yards – that’s 230 more than league leader Matt Ryan. Ah, but you say, what if the turnover-prone Fitz gets benched mid-game? Honestly, I’m not worried about it. They gave Jameis his shot and he blew it. I think the Bucs are done with him and won’t put him back out there because if he gets hurt, it’ll trigger his 5th-year option (which they plan on declining and moving on from him). It’s Fitzy’s show. He’s got great weapons, a bad defense that keeps him throwing, and a whole lotta DGAF. And he’s still cheap af. Take advantage, my friends.
RUNNING BACK – HIGH EXPOSURE
SAQUON BARKLEY vs TB – Todd Gurley isn’t on the main slate for us to auto-lock, so we actually have a choice to make for our RB1. For me, it’s not a tough choice; Saquon is 3rd among all NFL RBs in Scott Barrett’s Actual Opportunity rating, which weights the value of targets and rushes. Gurley is 1st, Alvin Kamara is 2nd (but has decreased quite a bit since Mark Ingram returned), and then there’s Barkley. He’s also the most talented back in the NFL and I don’t think it’s really all that close. The Bucs were already a bottom-10 team against opposing RBs, and now they’re down their two star linebackers, Kwon Alexander and Lavonte David. Saquon is gonna straight up dunk on them this week and I want in on it.
DION LEWIS @ IND – Lewis didn’t exactly smash as last week’s chalk, but he continues to trend up while his price across the industry remains most economical indeed: Over the past three weeks, Lewis is averaging 21.7 touches per game while playing 74% of Tennessee’s snaps, and though he cedes goal-line duties to fat Derrick Henry, Lewis has out-touched Henry in the Red Zone 3.7 touches per game to 2.0 (h/t Graham Barfield). Meanwhile, the Colts have been shredded by running backs through the air, allowing the second-most receptions (7.9 per game) and the fourth-most receiving yards (63.4) per game in the league. D-Lew remains the best bargain RB around, and as such will be in a ton of my lineups this week.
RUNNING BACK – MODERATE EXPOSURE
DAVID JOHNSON vs OAK – We now have two games of data under new OC Byron Leftwich, and in those games DJ’s been given 18.5 carries and 6.5 targets per game while racking up an average of 141.5 total yards. This week he draws a home game against a Raiders defense that’s bigger disaster than Le’Veon Bell’s holdout; they’re allowing the most rushing yards per game to villain running backs (128.4) while giving up scores on 49.5% of drives, the second-highest rate in the NFL.
WIDE RECEIVER – HIGH EXPOSURE
One, two, three, and to the fo’
CantGuardMike and the GOAT Drew Brees are ‘bout to score
Ready to burn the defense, so stack them up
Cause you know they bout to rip sh*t up
He’ll break their ankle bones first so he can burst like a bubble
MT and Brees together, now you know they’ll score double
Ain’t nothin’ but MT king, baby
Two loc’d out Saints goin’ crazy
RG is the website that pays me
Unfadable so please don’t try to fade he
But back to lineup architecture at hand
His catch rate is perfection so you’ve got to understand
From a cash game perspective
We tryin’ to find the guy who’s gonna get the most receptions
You never know, he could be burnin’ his man
And earnin’ it fam, at the same time scorin’ on Corey Graham
Now you know I’m gonna make him fit, Lieutenant
Ain’t no defense good nuf not to be burnt while he’s up in it
And Drew’s realer than Pied Piper Mayfield
And now you rookies and bros know how I feel
Well if he’s bad enough to go broke like a pauper punk
I’ll take some relief that my process good nuf
It’s like this and like that and like this and uh
It’s like that and like this and like that and uh
It’s like this and like that and like this and uh
Who gives a f*** about Sidney Jones
I’ll just shill, til MT’s in the zone
WIDE RECEIVER – MODERATE EXPOSURE
AMARI COOPER @ ATL – Yes, Cooper got less usage in Oakland than a box of condoms at the Rivers household, but things have changed since he got to Dallas and we need to account for it: In his two games as a Cowboy, Amari has received a 26% target share and 43% of the team’s air yards, good for a .70 WORP (weighted opportunity rating). For point of reference, that’s the same mark that Adam Thielen has put up this season. Amari is only $5400 on DK and is in a Corey Davis-esque spot of being exceedingly too cheap for his expected volume, and despite being an inconsistent fantasy producer he should be rostered due to the slate’s tight pricing.
COREY DAVIS @ IND – Yeah, he got a big price hike on DK this week, but it merely knocks him from must-play to very-good-play in my book. And over on FD, the kid is still just $6200 and a cash game lock imo. CD showed off his tremendous skills last week and is now tied for 3rd in the league in WOPR with Odell Beckham. It helps his expectation that Marcus Mariota is healthy again – he can finally feel his throwing hand! – and we should be taking advantage of the sites’ slowness to catch up to that information price-wise.
TIGHT END – HIGH EXPOSURE
ZACH ERTZ @ NO – It’s the question everyone is asking themselves after Ertz’s insane 14-145-2 performance on Sunday night: Is he a cash game lock this week? Well, Ertz has the same team target share (29%) with a higher aDOT (7.5) than Michael Thomas, and he’s one of only five players in the NFL with 100+ targets. He’s a legit WR1 playing TE although he’s way cheaper, plus he’s got a huge relative expectation advantage on the rest of the TE group. In short, do I think he’s a cash game lock? Does my dog fart in her sleep and wake herself up, and then look at me accusingly? The answer to both is a clear yes.
SAINTS vs PHI – Another week, another massive home favorite (this week, -8.5) at an obscenely cheap price. The thing you need to realize about DSTs is that they benefit hugely from opposition pass attempts, because that’s where you get sacks and turnovers. And when you’re a big favorite, the odds are you’ll be ahead and the other team will be forced to pass in situations where you know they’ll have to pass. Is the Saints defense good? No, not even a little bit. But they have 3+ sacks in six of their nine games this season, and Philly surprisingly is 24th in adjusted sack rate allowed.
LAMAR JACKSON vs CIN – Obviously, we have no idea at this point if Lamar is going to start, even if Joe Flacco can’t bring his eliteness on Sunday. But if he does, he has huge rushing upside on the ground and even through the air: The Bengals are allowing the most passing yards per game to villain QBs (323.4) and are allowing opponents to score on 50% of their drives, the most generous mark in the league. Both John Brown and Willie Snead are strong stacking candidates; Smokey is 4th in the NFL in air yards, and Snead popped up on Josh Hermsmeyer’s Buy-Low model after posting target numbers of 8, 11, 7, and 10 over the past four weeks.
JAMES CONNER @ JAX – There are a number of strong high-priced RB options this week, but I think Conner will go overlooked in a tough road matchup, coming off a light fantasy game where he left injured. He’s a clear usage beast and the Steelers are strong 5.5-point favorites here, and while owners focus on other backs like Kamara, Saquon, MG3, Zeke, and DJ, I believe Conner could pay big dividends in GPPs at a reduced salary point across the industry.
JOHN ROSS @ BAL – Last week, Ross ended up being the biggest beneficiary of AJ Green’s absence, leading the team in targets (6) and catching the team’s lone touchdown pass. He’s still way cheap on every major site, and is as good of a candidate for a cheap deep TD as any player at his price point.
ALSHON JEFFERY @ NO – Ertz is going to be the most popular play from the Eagles this week, so it makes sense to get exposure elsewhere for leverage purposes from the week’s most likely shootout. The Saints do have a stud corner in Marcus Lattimore, but overall they’ve been a sieve for opposing wideouts, as they’ve allowed the most receiving yardage (1,911 yds) and touchdowns (15) to villain WRs of any NFL defense.
KENNY GOLLADAY vs CAR – Marvin Jones is looking extremely iffy for Sunday’s game, and with Golden Tate off to greener pastures, Kenny G could potentially be looking at an exorbitant number of targets. I trust the Detroit offense about as much as I trust our voting system, but Babytron’s talents plus added opportunity has the potential to transcend even Stafford’s ineptitude.
RICKY SEALS-JONES vs OAK – Much is made of David Johnson’s resurgence since Lord Byron took over the offense, but the hidden story is RSJ’s increased role: In our admittedly small 2-game sample, RSJ lead the team in targets (13) and target share (21%), while seeing an increased depth of target (10.1 yards). He’s dirt cheap on across the industry and is a strong pivot of Ertz and leverage off of DJ.
Good luck, everyone! Let’s go make some money in Week 11