The Reid Option: Week 12

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. (Yes, this is a cry for help).

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.

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 big-city 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 precisely 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 daily fantasy sports 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 in cash games, while paying up for stud RBs and WRs. Then I often fill it out with value RBs who are injury replacements and WRs that are underpriced for their projected market share numbers.

This construction has been very successful for me, 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.

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

QUARTERBACK

So this year – like every year – I helped my wife draft her fantasy football team (which basically means that I drafted her fantasy football team). And for her squad, I drafted the way I did for most of my single-QB drafts, which is wait until late and then take either Lamar Jackson, Jameis Winston, or both. Jackson got sniped from us in this draft, so we got Jameis. And boy, do I hear it from her every week. “Jameis sucks! He’s so bad! UGH why did you draft him?!?” And so on and so forth, every week. I’ve tried to explain to her that indeed, Jamies does suck … but it doesn’t matter. He throws the ball a bunch, and he throws it deep, and no matter how many terrible interceptions he throws, he ends up with a gaggle of yards and a couple touchdowns every week. This Sunday should be no different in this week’s highest-scoring projected contest (at 51.5, it’s the only game with a total over 48 points on the NFL odds board). He’s hit the 300-yard bonus in 7 of 10 games, including the last 5 straight. And despite two strong defensive games in a row, the Falcons still have the lowest turnover rate, the second-highest rate of scores allowed per drive, and have the third-fewest sacks of any NFL defense. It may not be pretty, but at the end of the day Jameis almost always gets his, so you’d better get yours.

I’m such a sick fish, but one of my highest-owned stacks this week will be Baker Mayfield-Odell Beckham-Devante Parker. I know, I know. I KNOW. But look, see, the Browns have the 3rd-highest implied team total on the slate and are playing against a septic Dolphins defense that ranks bottom-3 in pressure rate, yards per attempt allowed, and depth of target. Beckham is 4th in the NFL over the past four week in team air yards share (46%), and in the two weeks that Preston Williams has been out, Parker has a 43% air yards share. As always, I’m looking forward to this stack bricking out, but also as always, f*** it.

The off-the-reservation QB play I’ll be making this week in GPPs is Carson Wentz. The Seattle/Philly game profiles as a smash, and this ain’t your daddy’s ‘Hawks D; they rank as the 2nd-worst team in pressure rate and have allowed the 5th-most passing yards in football. Dallas Goedert is stepping up and Alshon Jeffery looks like he’ll be a go as well, and while this play does take a leap of faith, it provides a cheap and contrarian way to attack a popular game.

RUNNING BACK

Boy oh boy, this position is more wretched than Stephen miller’s soul, isn’t it? Like Andy Dufresne, we’re going to have to wade through 500 yards of human waste to escape this prison of sadness and find plays that actually lead us to freedom.

CMC is obviously a smash and as per usual, the availability of value in other spots will dictate our ability to jam him in our cash lineups. If it doesn’t work out, Alvin Kamara is the dude I feel comfortable paying up for; he’s seen 10 targets in back-to-back games and had 23 touches last week even with the Saints leading the entire game. The Saints have the highest implied team total of the week, giving Kamara a prime opportunity to cash in on the positive touchdown regression that he’s got coming.

As intestine-twisting as it sounds, it’s likely I go back to at least one of last week’s low-priced scrubs. Depending on the availability of Jordan Howard, Miles Sanders may end up looking quite appealing despite sucking all the cool out of our lineups last week. Even though it didn’t translate into actual fantasy points, Sanders still saw 68.1% of the team’s backfield opportunities, including all 4 targets. If Howard is out again, a similar split will definitely play at his price.

In a similar vein, Brian Hill played 65% of Atlanta’s snaps while seeing 15 rushes and all 3 of Atlanta’s backfield targets. Yes, he was very bad and yes, Tampa’s rush defense is sturdier than a post-McDonald’s bowel movement. Even so, getting 15+ touches on a team with a bulbous implied team total for a low price is something we just have to consider, as filthy as it makes us feel.

The RB position is so nasty this week that I may resort to doing something I haven’t done in years: Roster Derrick Henry. Why would I do this to myself, you ask? A) Because I’m a damn fool and B) Because Jacksonville’s rush defense is weaker than Kayne’s new album – They’re allowing 5.3 yards per rush, the worst mark in the NFL. And because of their strong pass D, combined with Tennessee being a solid home favorite, I expect Henry to get fed like a stoner at Jack in the Box at 2am. While his lack of pass-catching acumen is a huge knock in cash game contests, his 100+ yard, multi-TD upside is worth riding for in GPPs.

If you’re broke and scraping the bottom of the dumpster for a GPP flex, look no farther than the scummiest of the scum, the Dolphins’ backup running back, Patrick Laird. What is a Laird, you ask? It’s a rookie that saw 6 targets last week playing on passing downs (23% snaps total), and more importantly, it’s not a Ballage. In a game where Miami is likely to trail (copy-and-pasting that from every other week), Laird is likely to see solid pass-game work again and it’s not out of the realm of possibility that he is given an expanded role should the Dolphins get tired of this “Ballage”.

WIDE RECEIVER

Yes, Tampa Bay is abominable at defending wide receivers. Yes, they’ve allowed the most yards and touchdowns to the position. Yes, they’ve also surrendered the 2nd-most targets and the 2nd-most receptions per game to villain wideouts. And yes, you should play Julio Jones in cash games, you ninny. Of course, Calvin Ridley is your enlightened brain GPP pivot, while the galaxy brain play is the man who let everyone down last week, one Russell Gage.

I’m also going to be bigly exposed to Odell Beckman this week, as he’s 6th in weighted opportunity rating over the past four weeks and is ready to break out like the Alien in a crew member’s stomach. I’m also big on all of Seattle’s pass catchers – I’ll take the injury-scare discount on Tyler Lockett (7th in WOPR since Week 8), and if for some reason he can’t go, D.K. Metcalf would become a cash game staple.

The injury news is still cloudy around the Steelers and their wide receivers, but if both JuJu Smith-Schuster and Dionte Johnson can’t suit up, James Washington would be the only wideout with a pulse left on the field for Pittsburgh. Despite his disappointment for seasonal owners, he’s come around a bit of late, snagging 13 of his 16 targets over the past 3 weeks. And as bad as Mason Rudolph is, Cincy’s defense is worse (I think), and any top target against them is a borderline lock at this price.

Another affordable wideout who may benefit from the injury mayhem around him is Philip Dorsett – assuming he can overcome his own. Mohamed Sanu (who owes my family quite a bit of money after last week’s fantasy debacle) looks dubious to suit up, leaving Dorsett as New England’s de facto primary outside target. 1st rounder N’Keal Harry is certainly not trustable, but he played 43.2% of the Pats’ snaps and garnered 4 targets last week in his NFL debut, and he makes for a cheap upside one-off in GPP lineups to create room for expensive stacks.

TIGHT END

It’s become my Gillcast brand that I’ve become the cheap-TE whisperer. Will Dissly, Jonnu Smith, Ross Dwelley … they just all smash. So let’s see if we can keep this thing going … and let’s scroll down to the bottom of the TE list … farther … farther … ok, stop. What’s this I see? Some guy named Kaden Smith? Well if Evan Engram and Rhett Ellison can’t go, you think I’m afraid to jam in a min-priced dude I’ve never heard of before 5 minutes ago? If so, you don’t know your boy Sammy at all!

Cameron Brate is popping in the buy-high model, with the highest rating we’ve ever seen. If you buy that O.J. Howard is just a boner of epic proportions and that the Bucs are done with him, Brate is legit playable in GPPs as a contrarian stacking partner with Jameis. The model has Ryan Griffin as a distant 2nd after his 5/109/1 knob slapping of the Redskins, and he’s now seen at least 4 targets and garnered at least 50 yards in the Jets’ past past three games sans Chris Herdon.

My favorite play, however, is one Noah Fant. He actually leads the team in targets since Emmanuel Sanders departed for greener pastures with 23 looks in just 3 games, good for a 25% team target share. Besides Cortland Sutton, no other Broncos player has more than 8 targets over that timespan, meaning that Fant is basically being used at a #2 WR. That’s the kind of floor I’m looking for in cash games, and as a guy who also has receptions of 30+ yards in back-to-back games, he’s got natural ceiling as well. This week, he comes out shootin’ like Clint Eastwood:

Hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo

My name’s Sammy, I’m playing Fant
I’ve got touchdowns in the bag
Once useless, but not for long
He’s super with Sanders gone

My name’s Sammy, I’m playing Fant
I’ve got touchdowns in the bag
Once useless, but not for long
He’s super with Sanders gone

Finally, Sammy toutin’ all the good plays
Now that salary is nothing cuz he’s under 4k
Yeah I’m good and prepared, now you shouldn’t be scared
I’m good at these prayers, and I’m whoopin’ these squares
It’s rational, bet you didn’t think so I command you to
Take dynamic view, look his role is all expandable
Click and choose, fade and lose, all these different views
Pick some dude who you think is really good for you
Picture you pickin’ clowns from a richer queue
Like you missed the news, you think it’s whimsical?
Statistical gravy a miracle hero who
Appears anew since Manny moved
But you’re too lazy
Righteous to those who pay attention to what hype is
Priceless to you because I put you on the right sh*t
You like it? Some choke, they spineless like egg yolk
Get my pick and punk those who don’t choose to play GOATs

My name’s Sammy, I’m playing Fant
I’ve got touchdowns in the bag
Once useless, but not for long
He’s super with Sanders gone

DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS

Hey do you guys remember when Kyle Allen got exposed like Janet Jackson’s tata during the Superbowl halftime show? Sure you do – it just happened. Well this week we get them on the road, in the Superdome, against a Saints D that ranks Top-5 in pressure rate against villain QBs. If you’re looking for a bludgeon DST spot, this is it.

In cash games on DraftKings dot com, I’m likely to just pay down for the Bengals. Yes, they’re in contention for the sorriest defense of the decade, but they’re at home, they’re cheap, and they’re facing an all-time school boy biotch in Mason Rudolph, who oh-by-the-way won’t have All-Pro C Maurkice Pouncey to watch his back or JuJu Smith-Schuster to reel in his errant passes. If you’ve ever wanted to have the other side when ole Rudy Poo is bungling the game away, this is your chance.

Thanks for reading, everyone! Let’s go make some money in Week 12.

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

  • shanekern03

    An all-time quote here “these movies make me tilt like the artwork at Stevie Wonder’s house.”

  • ssantek

    Liberal keep your politics to yourself.

  • chadjohnson2017

    These picks have been pretty bad for several weeks now.

  • squidkill

    @chadjohnson2017 said...

    These picks have been pretty bad for several weeks now.

    Yep

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