The Reid Option: Week 11

Tilt, man. It’s a hell of a drug. And not the cool kind of drug either, you know, the kind I’m too old to do recreationally on weekends anymore. Nowadays I don’t do any of the good stuff, I just do tilt. And let me tell you, I’ve been trying like hell to quit doing that, too.

You see, tilt isn’t a real fun drug to do. You know what I’m talking about – you’ve been there. And DFS is the perfect vessel to bring it out in us. Maybe you’ve thrown your phone across the room when some chucklehead quarterback missed your wide-open receiver in the endzone. Maybe you’ve punched a wall when your running back’s touchdown was overturned and the QB snuck it in on the next play. Or maybe you’ve screamed the F-word so loud that the blood vessels in your eyeball popped and your neighbors almost called the police, all on account of a kicker shanking a field goal that would have sent your stack into overtime. Yeah, you’ve been there. We’ve all been there.

The thing about tilt is that it’s not just a bad time, it’s destructive. It’s destructive to our subsequent decision making, to our mental and emotional well-being, and often to our loved ones around us.

So how do we stay off tilt? Buddy, I wish I knew. It seems impossible not to get frustrated at least once in awhile – I’ll bet even the Dalai Lama gets steamed up here and there. But there are ways to minimize tilt, and we should always be looking to do so. The issue is that doing so usually takes some level of self-awareness and discipline, traits that not all of us possess in abundance. Still, we do what we can.

First off, gambling within your means is crucial. It’s a lot easier to shrug off a $1k loss when you have $50k in your bankroll than it is if it’s the last money you have in your account. If the money is too meaningful to you, then the losses are going to hurt far more deeply and affect your emotional well-being to a higher degree. Only you know your own threshold when it comes to money, but bankroll management isn’t just financial risk management – it’s tilt management.

Secondly, keeping yourself out of tilting situations is always a good idea. I’ll explain what I mean using a personal example: I used to watch games on Sunday like a straight degen. I had football on the TV, watching 8 games at once of the split-screen. At the same time, I had my laptop open to live-rail my DFS teams, and then I had my phone open to a fantasy app to keep track of my seasonal teams in real-time too. And for six hours every Sunday, my eyes would just go TV, computer, phone … TV, computer, phone … all day until I was burnt to a nub. When I sat back and thought about it, I realized that this wasn’t enjoyable at all – it was stressful and anxiety-provoking just sitting there watching my current winnings and my seasonal win percentages go up and down on every play.

So I made a conscious decision to take myself out of that tilt-provoking situation, and change things up. Now I watch only 4 games on the split-screen, and I don’t live-rail any of my scores during the day. I know who I have going and have a general sense of if I’m doing well or not, but I don’t sit there and live and die with every play that happens. The only time I check my DFS scores is about half an hour before the first wave of games end, so that I can late-swap if I need to. Otherwise, I only know how much I won or lost when all the games are over. And let me tell you, I’m not missing anything except a bit of high blood pressure.

And if you’re one of those people who can’t handle watching the games at all without tilting … don’t watch the games! I know, I know, this sounds like heresy. But really, if all it does it tilt you and make you have a bad time, go do something else. Go walk your dog at the park, or take your wife out to lunch, or whatever. What happens in the games is going to happen whether you’re watching or not, trust me. You can catch the highlights later.

Lastly, be secure in your process and preparation. Having a set routine is comforting, and being prepared will usually decrease the tilt even if things don’t go well. If you know you’ve put in the work and you feel good about your process, usually the losing won’t sting as badly. You can always take comfort in the fact that you did what you needed to do to win, and things just didn’t work out for you this week. But you can feel confident that if you continue to do the right things, you’ll come out a winner when all is said and done. Conversely, if you half-assed it and you lose, I’ve found it to be worse. I’m angry at myself for betting my hard-earned American dollars in a spot where I didn’t give myself the best chance to win – I feel like I just gave money away and that tilts me worst of all.

None of these methods are fool-proof, but they should help. And when you feel that tilt-fest getting started deep down in your gulliver, learn how to manage it. Do some deep breathing. Go outside and get some air, maybe walk around the block. Or go do some push-ups or lift some weights for 10 minutes. Whatever makes you feel better and gets your mind off the fact that your running back just limped out of bounds one yard short of the 100-yard bonus.

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

QUARTERBACK

Is Lamar Jackson the fantasy QB GOAT of 2019? Yes. Is he too expensive to play in cash games after DraftKings decided to pump up every player’s price tag? Also yes. So, what to do? Well my friends, it’s probably going to get good and ugly.

Jeff Driskel? Oh yeah baby, that’s nice and disgusting for sure. But hey, he’s got legitimate receiving weapons in Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, and T.J. Hockenson, he can run (clocked a 4.56 40 at the combine and racked up 37 rush yards last week), and most importantly, he’s cheaper than a date with Snooki. He’ll probably end up as badly too, but to hell with it. If it’s gotta happen, it’s gotta happen, and I won’t feel too terrible about it considering the overall shabbiness of the QB position this week.

For just a bit more, I can see having some Kyle Allen in my life. I’d love it if he came with some rushing floor but beggars can’t be choosers, I suppose. And the reality is that Carolina has an elite team total of 28.3 points due in large part to Atlanta’s wretched defense, which has allowed the third-highest net yards per attempt to villain quarterbacks (7.6), the fifth-lowest pressure rate (19.4%), and the highest rate of drives to end in a score (50%). Stack him up with Curtis Samuel (8th in air yards over the past 4 weeks) and/or DJ Moore (11th) for all the moneys.

I’d also be remiss (which I certainly don’t want to be) if I didn’t mention Derek Carr, who may have less charisma than an eggplant and looks like he tattooed permanent eyeliner on himself, but is also backed by the highest implied team total on the slate (29.5 points). We’ve now played 10 weeks of football, and the stone-worst team with the stone-low defense has revealed itself as none other than the Bengals of Cincinnati: The Bengals D has allowed the highest net yards per attempt at 8.5 – the next-closest team has allowed 7.7 NYPA. They’ve allowed the most total yards per play at 6.7 – the next-closest team has allowed 6.1. And of course, they’re allowing 429.4 total yards per game, with the next-closest team allowing 412.5. They’re not just the worst defense, they’re BY FAR the most pathetic and egregious, and they allow such a high level of efficiency that I’d roster David Carr against them if I could.

RUNNING BACK

Another week, another $10.5k for Christian McCaffrey on both DraftKings and FanDuel. This week, however, there is a challenger to the high-priced RB throne – one Dalvin Cook. Since Adam Thielen snapped out, Cook has seen 6.7 targets per game in addition to his 23.3 rush attempts. For comparison, CMC has seen 6.5 targets per game this season, and just 5.0 since the team’s Week 7 bye. Certainly CMC has a sick matchup and an implied team total that sits 4 points higher, but the value is with Dalvin for $1600-$1900 less.

In the mid-tier of RBs, the two standouts are Josh Jacobs and Devin Singletary. Both are in such good spots that I’d consider them locks if the sites didn’t sharply price them up, although the $6500 tag for Singletary on FanDuel is enticing. Since he was announced as the Bills’ starter three weeks ago, Singletary has played 66.5% of the team’s offensive snaps and has seen 19.1% of the team’s target share, good for 5.3 targets per game. The Miami defense couldn’t stop a potato sack racer, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Singletary sees 15 rushes and 5 targets en route to his 2019 breakout game. Jacobs is that kind of guy I hate to roster – the dude who needs to find the zone or he doesn’t hit value since he sees so little work (2.2 tgt/g) through the air. But betting on the ineptitude of the Bengals defense is almost always a winning venture, ipso facto Jacobs will be a staple in my GPP lineups.

There is value at the deep end of the RB pool, although actually playing it will probably leave you feeling dirtier than a night in a Tijuana brothel. J.D. McKissic is in line to see the Lion’s share of the work in the Detroit backfield if Ty Johnson ’s brains don’t unscramble by Sunday, and his receiving floor in addition to 8-12 carries makes him a solid cash-game option. While the play is thin, McKissic is one of those guys that will smash value if he finds the endzone.

This week’s Garbage Pail Kid play is Kalen Ballage, the human litmus test of who honestly believes that running backs don’t matter. Ballage played 82% of his team’s snaps last week – the 4th-highest rate among all NFL RBs – and saw 20 carries and 4 targets. Of course, in a twist that basically defies the laws of nature, he gained only 45 total yards (cue the “I’m not even mad, I’m impressed” Anchorman gif). I have no doubts that Nate Nohling will play Ballage in cash, but I don’t think I can bring myself to do it.

Of course, that’s because I’m locking in this low-priced alpha

I’m Brian Hill
Say what you will
I done made the Devil a deal
He maimed Devonta
He made me start
And I’m gonna make you a million dollars
I’m Brian Hill, baby I’m crushin’ for you

Got Davis to bring me on the Taekcast
The only good guest that he’s ever had
Playin’ GTO, my price tag’s low
And a big piece of touch share, the points will flow
I’m Brian Hill, baby I’m crushin’ for you

I get a matchup star, versus C-A-R
They ain’t got no game, they’ll let me run far
I’m a high-floor back, I’m awfully good
And the sites didn’t price me as high as they should
I’m Brian Hill, baby I’m crushin’ for you

There’s that Dolphin, I almost forgot
Sammy played me but Nate played Ballage
Nemo Nohling, bless his heart
He’ll be losing his heads-ups hard
I’m Brian Hill, let’s go Sammy I’m crushin’ for you

I’m Brian Hill
Say what you will
I done made the Devil a deal
He maimed Devonta
He made me start
And I’m gonna make you a million dollars
I’m Brian Hill, baby I’m crushin’ for you

WIDE RECEIVER

It’s Michael Thomas and his record-pacing season that’s getting all the pub, but it’s DeAndre Hopkins who leads all NFL wide receivers in weighted opportunity over the past four weeks, seeing 11+ targets in every game. Steady enough for cash with a ceiling worthy of GPPs, Hopkins will be one of my highest-owned receivers this week. The suddenly irrepressible Mike Evans makes the short list as well; his 562 air yards over the past four weeks is tops among all main slate WRs, and without CB Marshon Lattimore around to pester him, Evans is in prime position to dunk on the second-rate scrubs assigned to stop him.

However, the value in the middle tier this week has me questioning whether a high-priced WR is necessary, and if a CMC+Dalvin lineup in cash is viable. Deebo Samuel played the alpha role last week for the 49ers, ripping an 8-122-0 game on 11 targets with Emmanuel Sanders hurt. If he’s unable to play this week, I consider Deebo a cash game lock on DraftKings for just $4k.

There continues to be a ton of value in both Carolina WRs, even though their prices are slowly creeping up. D.J. Moore is still just $6k on FanDuel and $5.9k on DraftKings, even though he’s 8th in team target share (27%) over the past four weeks while averaging 10 targets per contest. The Robin to Moore’s Batman, Curtis Samuel is going to be a leading man one of these weeks: He’s 8th in the NFL in air yards over the past four weeks and a game against Atlanta’s single-ply defense is just the type of spot where he could hit the top end of his range of outcomes. Accordingly, I’ll be overweight on him in GPPs.

One key inflection point on this slate is how we handle Mohamed Sanu – he was New England’s alpha in Week 9, putting up a 10-81-1 line whilst getting peppered with a whopping 14 targets. The weakness of Philly’s defense is the pass while their run D is stout, and I expect Bill Belichick to gameplan accordingly, especially coming off a bye. This dynamic should help Sanu fit into the offense better as well, so color me bullish on another strong game from the vet.

TIGHT END

The top-end TE options are dropping like Kayne’s approval rating, leaving us Mark Andrews, Darren Waller, Zach Ertz, and a tub full of pond scum as the options at the position. Theoretically, the fewer strong options there are, the more value the remaining ones retain. My favorite of the three is Ertz: His opportunity rating over the past four weeks is 3rd in the NFL among TEs (.56) and he’s easily the cheapest. Even though the Pats defense is suffocating, I expect Ertz to serve as their de facto #1 receiving option with Alshon Jeffery looking unlikely to play, and even though the upside of the other two is higher (and more optimal for GPPs), I think the volume/price proposition of Ertz stands the highest for cash games.

If you’re going trolling in the dregs – Ross Dwelley is the least scummy option available. George Kittle leaves vacant the highest-WOPR TE position in the league, and while no one will mistake Dwelley’s talent for Kittle’s (full disclosure, I had no idea of Dwelley’s existence on this planet before last week), he did get 7 targets filling in last week, and Arizona’s flowchart defense is an equal opportunity employer.

DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS

Sometimes I wonder why I continue to write this section every week. It always just comes down to who’s cheap and passable, and this week is no different. So who’s cheap and passable? Definitely both defenses in the Jets/Redskins contest, which features as much offensive sadness as you’ll find in one game. It features an unfathomably low 37.5 over/under, and the Jets have allowed the second-highest adjusted sack rate (11.6%) while Haskins’ 15.8% sack rate would be dead last in football if he had enough snaps to qualify. I say close your eyes, pick one of these teams, and move on with your life.

If you have a couple spare bucks lying around, feel free to pay up to Minnesota. Denver’s 9.7% adjusted sack rate allowed is a bottom-5 figure in football, and their 14.3-point implied team total is the lowest of the week by two whole points. On the flip side, the Vikings D has posted an 8.5% adjusted sack rate (4th-highest in football) and has scored an average of 11.0 fantasy points in their home games this season. They’re going to feast on the Broncos like Mark Zuckerberg on our personal data, and I for one am all about that Dalvin/MIN stack wherever I can jam it in.

Thanks for reading, everyone! Let’s go make some money in Week 11.

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.

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