The Reid Option: Week 14

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!

Week 14

I’ve gotta start this week’s column by thanking you all for the comments last week. I didn’t reply individually, mostly because I read them Sunday morning and by then I figured most of you would be deep in the throes of NFL tilt and wouldn’t be going back in to the column to see my replies. Suffice it to say, I appreciate both the opinions on the column format and more importantly, the good words about the column itself.

Just like a regular job or DFS or just waking up and breathing, sometimes writing The Reid Option every week can be a grind. Realizing how many of you read it and actually like it means a lot to me, and I appreciate all of you. Thank you.

Onto serious business, we have four weeks left in the NFL DFS season. Or six, if you’re a ridiculous degen who plays short-slate playoff DFS. So, let’s just call it six. Anyhow, it’s Week 14 and things are getting weird. Critical players are dusting out in droves and their backups are becoming core DFS plays, and how we handle this dynamic will determine our fates. Specifically, I mean that we have to decide which elevated backups are cash locks, which ones are donkey chalk, and which ones we should be fading in GPPs because they’re overvalued and/or will be overly-owned.This week in particular, that’s gonna be the whole game.

Because certain players will be obvious plays, we have to be even more mindful about our game selection; the no-badge fish are the only ones who might miss out on the obvious plays, and getting them on our hooks will be key to gaining expected value this week. The edges against regs will be even smaller, because we’ll have fewer lineup spots to differentiate. Be diligent about scrolling through the heads-up lobbies and the small 50/50s and double-ups to find as many soft games as you can. Do it every day. A couple times a day would be better, if you can swing it. Just now, I took a quick break from writing to go enter a few contests and found me a $20 3-man with two no-badges and everything. I’m gonna get mine … you’d better get yours!

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

QUARTERBACK

This week more than any other, it feels like we should build out the rest of our cash game lineups first and save the QB position for last. This is because there is no obvious must-play (that I see as I write this on Wednesday night), and there is less room for flexibility once we lock in our must-plays. Let’s address the Mark Sanchez issue first: I don’t want him. It’s not that I don’t think he can be of some value – I’m sure he can go 200/1/2 with 10 rushing yards, which would play for $4000 on DraftKings. And if he somehow got to 2 TDs, that’s more than exceeding value. My issue is a game-theory one; I believe the values elsewhere mean we shouldn’t have to take a low-floor/low-ceiling player at QB. It’s kind of like playing a poker tournament and passing up on a slightly +EV situation because you believe you’ll have a higher EV situation later. Also, Mark Sanchez sucks and backing him with real American Dollars just feels like something that would lead to crippling regrets, and I hate crippling regrets.

I do believe there’s a lot of value in both QBs from the Colts vs Texans game. Both Andrew Luck and Deshaun Watson are under $6k on DraftKings, and this game has the fourth-highest over/under of the main slate at 49.5 points. On the season, Luck has the third-most pass attempts and the second-most passing touchdowns, and he’d thrown 3+ TDs in eight straight games before running into a tough game at Jacksonville last week. Gun to my head though, I’d probably put Watson just above him this week. Houston is at home, has a strong implied team total of 27 points, and the Colts are a bottom-10 team in both net yards per attempt allowed and defensive adjusted sack rate.

Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t write up Jameis Winston, who’s cheaper than both of them on FanDuel and just a few hundred more on DraftKings. By now you know that QB-Bucs has scored more fantasy points than any QB besides Patrick Mahomes, and the game environment here should be good; this game has the highest over/under of the week by far (57.5 points), Jameis is at home, and with the Saints favored by 8 points he should have to throw plenty. If I can fit him in, Jameis is probably the dude I most want to roll with in cash games.

There are several other good QBs for GPPs – Patrick Mahomes (this is a man who DGAFs about matchups) and Phil Rivers (against a pitiful Bengals D) come to mind, but the dude I’ll have the most exposure to in tournaments is Ben Roethlisberger. His ownership shouldn’t be significant because he’s priced up and he’s on the road where people don’t like to play him, but the reality is that the Steelers are mega pass-happy: Over the past six weeks, they lead the NFL in situation-neutral pass percentage (68.7%), and that trend could become even more pronounced with Pittsburgh’s trusted RB out this week. And let’s be real, this Raiders defense stinks worse than an under-the-covers fart and lots of pass attempts against it is sure to equal lots of fantasy points. Oakland’s biggest issue is that they can’t pressure the QB at all; they have the second-lowest pressure percentage in the NFL (24.2%) and have by far the lowest adjusted sack rate (3.4%). They’re a massive underdog to lay a finger on Ben this week, as he sits behind an elite offensive line that has allowed the second-lowest adjusted sack rate (3.8%) in football. Ben is going to smash and have already begun setting up new bank accounts to hide all the money he’s going to win me from my wife.

RUNNING BACK

Due to injuries, there’s a ton of cheap RB value we need to consider here. My favorite value RB – and the one I’m most likely to use in cash games – is Jeff Wilson of the 49ers. With Matt Breida severely limited last week, Wilson played 71% of the snaps and got 23 touches, including an astounding 9 targets. With Breida already ruled out for Week 14, Wilson should have the backfield work almost fully to himself and get RB2 usage for close to the stone minimum.

As far as the Steelers backfield goes, I tend to be less bullish than most. I think we’ll probably see something like 8 rushes and 5-6 receptions for Jaylen Samuels, which is fine but not in Wilson’s territory in terms of usage expectation. So while I consider him a good play, I don’t think he’s the cash lock that many others seem to. The positive public perception of Samuels also lends itself to Stevan Ridley being a contrarian GPP play. Sure he’s dustier than the underside of Clint Eastwood’s ballbag, but he’s going to split the work with Samuels and and could potentially get 15+ carries while being used to salt away the game should the Steelers get up big. We also don’t know how the division of labor around the goal-line will be divided, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Ridley be given the battering ram carries there. And if Samuels goes down at the 1-yard line and Ridley comes in to scavenge the score, the reverse-tilt equity would be enormous – that alone is worth at least some GPP exposure, in my humble opinion.

Of course, we need to consider Chargers backfield, one that was presumed to be Austin Ekeler’s until he displayed copious amounts of sucktitude last week and Justin Jackson came in to steal the show. I’m expecting a Samuels/Ridley-type split here, with Jackson handling more carries and Ekeler more receptions and high single-digit rushes. The thing to watch here is that Jackson was actually a very good receiver in college, and head coach Anthony Lynn said this week that Ekeler was “wearing down”. There is certainly an iteration of reality where Jackson takes on Melvin Gordon’s usual usage and Ekeler goes back to his change-of-pace role, which would make Jackson an absolute GPP smash. Of all the replacement backs, I think he has the highest ceiling and will certainly not be the highest-owned.

As far as cash game construction goes, I’m still very likely to go with two high-priced RBs and just one value back because we have plenty value at WR as well. Christian McCaffrey’s usage is just outlandish right now – he’s played 100% of the snaps three weeks running and leads all backs in targets (29) over that timespan, while his 26% team target share is a Top 10 mark … in all of football. Since I’m obviously missing a large working portion of my cerebrum, I’ve faded CMC in each of the past two weeks, but I’m definitely not going to make it three.

Both Saquon Barkley and Ezekiel Elliott are great plays, but I’ll likely side with Zeke since he’s $300 cheaper on DK and is a solid home favorite (-4) with a higher implied team total (22.8 points) than Saquon’s Giants (20.0). Zeke is also crushing it in the passing game like never before – he’s seeing 6.8 targets per game over the last four weeks, the fourth-most of all running backs and nearly two targets per game more than Saquon.

The most popular RB constructions will be mixing the very high-priced and the very low-priced backs, so the contrarian way to build in large-field GPPs will be to focus on the middle tier. So allow me to throw out four guys who can make said build work:

Aaron Jones: The Packers are 5-point home favorites with a hot team total of 27.5 points, the Falcons are a solid 8.5 on a defensive patheticness scale of 1-10, and all Jones needs is to get his dominant usage back to smash in this spot. Since he let everyone down last week, I doubt he’ll be highly owned here.

David Johnson: Over the last four games, DJ has been given 57.7% of his team’s total touches, the highest mark in the NFL (h/t TJ Hernandez). If he had scored the two touchdowns that were scavenged by Chase Edmonds last week, way more people would be on him this week.

Phillip Lindsay: He’s smashing beyond belief and isn’t going to go unnoticed this week. San Francisco’s defense is softer than a fresh turd and that could help push back Lindsay’s inevitable regression at least one more week.

Sony Michel: 38 carries over the past two weeks and if there’s anyone who will be sub-5% owned who could score three touchdowns, it’s this man.

WIDE RECEIVER

If DeSean Jackson is out this week, we’ll yet again get Chris Godwin for cheap, and I ain’t passing that up. As Adam Levitan recently noted on Twitter, Godwin has started three games with Jackson out of the lineup, and in those games he’s posted lines of 3-98-0, 7-111-1, and 5-101-1. Adam Humphries is a fine play in his own right considering the explosive game environment, but I prefer the upside of Godwin in all formats. The other dude who should be stepping into a big role is Courtland Sutton, following the sad end of Emmanuel Sanders’ season. Sanders leaves behind 23% of the team’s targets and 28% of the team’s air yards, and the Broncos WR depth chart behind Sutton is empty and sad, much like an Aaron Rodgers’ family get-together. I’m quite good playing both of these guys in cash along with one high-priced receiver.

One guy from the high-priced tier that I’m big on rostering in cash games is Keenan Allen. Sure, he’s coming off a 19-target game where Pittsburgh ever so shrewdly decided to cover him with backup linebackers, but he’s also the NFL’s target share leader at 35% since the team’s Week 8 bye, and his .81 WOPR over that timespan is 2nd in the league behind only DeAndre Hopkins.

While my cash game WR pool is likely to be small, I will be mixing in several other dudes in GPPs. For starters, I love taking high-ceiling players the week after the broke hearts, and Tyreek Hill fits that description perfectly this week. A home game (he has better #s on the road) and facing a sick Ravens D, but Tyreek don’t give two squirts about a matchup. Bottom line is nobody’s gonna own him, except your boy Sammy, of course. Don’t worry, I’ll still write you guys letters from the island I’m gonna buy when he wins me the milly. Also, I don’t know why, but I just have a feeling JuJu Smith-Schuster smashes this week after a declining AB smashed last week. Well this week, I’m stuffing Smith-Schuster

JuJu … JuJu … JuJu … JuJu … JuJu …
JuJu … JuJu … JuJu … JuJu … JuJu …

Ain’t found my way to bink one yet
I’ve come up short with every sweat
Seems every play leads me to nowhere
McCaffrey and Elliott
Tyreek is no safe bet
Those Milly dreams for me seem unfair

Yeah I’ve come to stuff Smith-Schuster
Yeah here come Smith-Schuster, yeah
Raiders D ain’t gonna try
No, no, no … you know they ain’t gonna try

Yeah I’ve come to stuff Smith-Schuster, aw yeah
Yeah here come Smith-Schuster, yeah
Raiders D ain’t gonna try
No, no, no … you know they ain’t gonna try

Stackin’ y’all with my boy Ben
He’s goin’ deep against Oakland
Red Zone Channel send me highlights of my boy
JuJu’s ill and contrarian yes
AB’s checkers and JuJu’s chess
Fantasy Gods please, won’t you help my dreams come true

Yeah I’ve come to stuff Smith-Schuster, aw yeah
Yeah here come Smith-Schuster, yeah
Raiders D ain’t gonna try
No, no, no … you know they ain’t gonna try

JuJu … JuJu … JuJu … JuJu … JuJu …
JuJu … JuJu … JuJu … JuJu … JuJu …

Another play I’m into this week is Amari Cooper. Out of the middle tier of #1 WRs (Golladay, Hilton, Boyd, etc), Cooper has the best combination of matchup (the Eagles have allowed the 2nd-most receiving yards to villain WRs this year) and usage (25% target share since joining the Cowboys). I’d also be remiss if I didn’t point out that Zay Jones is 6th in the NFL in target share (28%) over the past four weeks and is facing a Jets pass defense that has allowed the 2nd-most PPR points to opposing WRs in the NFL this week. If you’re looking for a GPP pairing partner for the suddenly relevant Josh Allen, here’s your man.

TIGHT END

Yes, I would love to get up to Travis Kelce or Zach Ertz in cash, but it probably won’t happen. David Njoku’s price has fallen down to a palatable point, and he’s seen 5+ targets in three of his past four games. I think he’s a fine play, but I probably prefer Vance McDonald overall – you know I think Pittsburgh smashes here through the air and Vance has steadily seen 4-7 targets pretty much every week.

As is often the case at this position, most people either go very cheap or very expensive, giving us ideal GPP targets in the mid-tier. Jared Cook is in a similar spot as last week when he went 8-100-1: He’s facing a team that is bad against tight ends and should blow the Raiders out, forcing them to throw a ton. I also continue to love George Kittle, who’s 2nd among NFL TEs over the past four weeks in weighted opportunity rating. It hasn’t translated into big games, so his price has fallen as has his buzz around the industry. Both of them provide killer upside at a lower ownership and lower price point than the top-end guys.

Thanks for reading, everyone! Let’s go make some money in Week 14.

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

  • whodeyzach82

    You mentioned that you think the most common build will be using 2 stud RB/1 cheap RB. How common do you think it will be to play 3 stud RBs? #JamEmIn

  • unsheathed

    Missed the Reid Option..Welcome back Sammy

  • maaron83

    “Sad, much like an Aaron Rodger’s family get-together.” Hilarious!

  • bigrande55

    A great article. I enjoyed reading it. Thank you! Some great insights.

  • TheBigGronkowski88

    Somehow you weighed in on every issue I’m having this week… gonna smash this week… thanks!

  • ChiHawks28

    Jesus Christ…I sang the whole “Schuster” song in my head and it was perfect. Layne Staley would be proud.

  • boogereatingmoron

    • 2017 FanDuel WFBC Finalist

    • 2019 FanDuel WFBC Finalist

    Great as always Sammy….See you on that island

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