The Reid Option: Week 4
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!
I have this buddy – we’ll call him Martin, because well, his name is Martin. Anyhow, the thing that you need to know about Martin is that he’s a fish.
We’ve known each other since we worked at the same restaurant in San Diego in the mid-2000s. And like most male 20-somethings around that time, we were very into poker. The online landscape was booming, and every jackass under the sun was depositing money and trying to strike it big.
Martin was no different. He was a delivery driver, and every week he’d deposit his hard-earned delivery money on to PokerStars and get in on the action. (I’m kidding of course – he was lazy as all getout and his money was not hard-earned. But I digress.) Anyhow, good old Martin wasn’t a real poker player; he just liked to gamble – and poker was an ideal outlet for it. He didn’t study the game, didn’t put in work off the virtual felt to improve, didn’t read books or go on forums or anything. He was the type that would do things like stack off with top pair/good kicker and insta-shove for 2x pot with a set.
Most Mondays he’d show up for his shift and tell us stories about the bad luck he ran into that weekend. If anyone tried to talk him through the hands and offer a way that he could have kept himself out of those bad situations, he’d just brush it off. In his mind, he always played it right. To this day my group of friends will still exclaim, “but I played it perfectly!” when something goes wrong, in honor of ole Marty. Any time he lost, it wasn’t anything he did – it was just bad luck.
One of the most important skills one can develop – in both poker and DFS – is the ability of honest self-reflection. It’s so true that we learn far more from our failures than our successes, and the first step towards honest self-reflection is to check your ego at the door. Of course, that’s easier said than done – most people who play DFS are highly competitive, and competitive people tend to hate to admit fallibility. The best players in any arena tend to be highly confident – which is different than having a big, fragile ego.
Confident players know that they will make mistakes, and they know that while making mistakes sucks, they can and will learn from those mistakes to get better. Those with fragile egos always blame bad luck – it couldn’t possibly be a fault of theirs. Of course, in DFS sometimes it is bad luck. But other times you’ll find that in retrospect, there was an issue with your decision making – if you’re able to be honest with yourself. Being able to tell the difference is a skill you need to develop if you want to be great.
If you read this column, you might also listen to the Gillcast – our Monday weekend wrap-up podcast. While we have a lot of fun ripping each other for bad plays, it’s also a legitimately good opportunity for me to get feedback about the processes that went into that week’s lineup from other sharp players, as well as Davis Mattek.
Whereas the first two weeks were all laughs and good times for me, Week 3’s failures provided opportunity to reflect on mistakes made and processes to be bettered. Getting jobbed by Latavius Murray was just run-bad; he was exceedingly likely to eat, but instead the Vikings became the largest favorite to lose since 1995. However, playing Corey Davis and fading Giovani Bernard in cash were bad processes; Gio was a game-script immune back (if the Bengals were up, he’d run and if they were down, he’d catch) set to assume nearly all of his team’s backfield work. Davis had fat potential due to big-time weighted opportunity and a low price tag, but considering his tough matchup he should have been a GPP pivot, not a cash play.
We live, we learn, and we get better – but only if we are honest about our shortcomings. What have you done right during the first three weeks? What have you done wrong? If you can answer those questions, you’ve already got a leg up on Week 4. Let’s get to it.
On a typical NFL week, I put together multiple 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
ANDY DALTON @ ATL – What can be said about Andy Dalton that hasn’t already been said about candy canes? He’s white, has red swirls, and is exceedingly mediocre. He’s also cheap, and that’ll do the trick against a Falcons defense that has fewer healthy bodies than you’ll find at a poker table. In the two games since Deion Jones and Keanu Neal snapped out, the Falcons have allowed 67 points and 973 total yards, including 709 through the air. They also have no way to fabricate a pass rush – their 4% adjusted sack rate on the season is currently the fourth-lowest in the NFL. That’s a recipe for offensive fantasy goodness, especially for a team with the downfield weapons that Cinci has. Turns out candy canes are pretty sweet, too.
BAKER MAYFIELD @ OAK – There are no stats to back anything up, so let me just say this: I believe. It’s not just the magic fairy dust he sprinkled over the Browns the moment he got into the game last week. It’s the extraordinary accuracy he had in college. It’s the confidence. It’s the swagger. It’s the headband. It’s the perfect 5 o’clock shadow. It’s the Pied Piper story. It’s the “it” factor. I have no doubts the Browns would be 3-0 if Baker had been playing from the jump, and I somehow have even fewer doubts he’s gonna ball out against a Raiders pass defense that has allowed the second-highest adjusted yards per attempt (8.1) to opposing quarterbacks while posting the most pathetic adjusted sack rate in football (3.3%). I’m going to be heavily exposed in GPPs and in FanDuel cash, the only question now is if he makes my cash game cut on Draftkings as well.
RUNNING BACK – HIGH EXPOSURE
GIOVANI BERNARD @ ATL – Assuming Joe Mixon is out again this week, Gio is the first RB I’m jamming into my cash game lineups (PSA: kindly punch yourself in your throat with brass knuckles if you call them “lines”) on all sites. Per Graham Barfield, Gio has averaged 7.3 targets per game when Joe Mixon is out (or played severely limited snaps) – the exact same figure as Alvin Kamara and Christian McCaffrey over that same timeframe. And by now, I’m sure you know that the Falcons are currently allowing the most running back receptions in the league for the fourth straight season. You also may have heard that Deion Jones and Keanu Neal – the duo who collectively covered opposing RBs on 47% of the team’s snaps – are out for the season. You may have also heard that The Prestige is Christopher Nolan’s best film but never received the notoriety that Inception or Memento did. Anyway, you should see it and also play Gio this week.
RUNNING BACK – MODERATE EXPOSURE
MELVIN GORDON the THIRD vs SF –
Dead team on which RBs pound
When Jimmy G is not around
Shiny tops and soda pops
With Gordon TDs abound
With Gordon TDs abound
Twenty touches in the boxscore
Should tell you value’s coming home
And I think as a big home fave
MG3’s gonna get in the zone
MG3’s gonna get in the zone
If you can hear a piano fall
You can hear Gordon’s coming out to ball
If I could just break Ekeler’s legs
Wouldn’t need a tourney pivot at all
Wouldn’t need a tourney pivot at all
Soft hands and an endzone dance
I wanna give you what he’ll give to me
And every time that he gets the ball
Is a tiny little bit of EV
Is a tiny little bit of EV
I didn’t feel so good til the sun went down
I was behind
Late-game hammer to pull it out
The hammer to pull it out
Well any man with a tout column
Can tell you who he loves the most
But you know why you read Sammy
When MG3 ends up scoring the most
MG3 ends up scoring the most
SONY MICHEL vs MIA – After Rex in the City got canceled, It’s Always Sony in New England became your boy Sammy’s favorite new show – mostly because there’s nothing else in the Patriots backfield to watch. Yes, it’ll be James White who gets the grabs, but it’ll be Sony getting the 15 carries and the goal-line work, which is more than enough usage for his Black Friday price tags across the industry. Figuring out the Pats backfield is often a fool’s errand, but as a 7-point home favorite with a 27.3-point implied team total, I’m willing to wager my way around them this week.
WIDE RECEIVER – HIGH EXPOSURE
STERLING SHEPARD vs NO – One of the cool things about the Giants is that their receiving tree has been very thin – Only OBJ (30%), Shepard (17%), Saquon Barkley (25%), and Evan Engram (13%) have seen greater than a 5% target share through three games. And this week Engram is out, leaving the Big 3 to soak up even more work. This sets up beautifully for Shepard, since OBJ is sure to see the Julio treatment (Lattimore shadowing with rolling coverage), leaving Shep to smoothly operate over the middle with Saints slot corner Patrick Robinson out with broken ankle. I’m expecting 8+ targets for WR3 pricing, making Shep a jam-in play in my cash lineups.
WIDE RECEIVER – MODERATE EXPOSURE
MICHAEL THOMAS @ NYG – MT is absolutely insane. He leads the NFL in receptions and yards and is one target behind Adam Thielen (not available on the main slate) for the league lead. The Saints have also been the fourth pass-happiest team in football thus far, chucking it on 68% of their offensive plays – due not just to game-script, but the lack of a trustworthy ground-and-pound back with Mark Ingram suspended. Thomas’s floor and ceiling are both elite, making him the ideal cash game play if you have the ends.
JARVIS LANDRY @ OAK – Y’all remember that movie She’s All That, where that homely nerdy chick transforms into a prom queen at the end? Well Landry is that girl, and I’m drooling like Freddie Prinze Jr watching him walk down the stairs and into my lineups. Landry’s transformation has been legit stunning – his ugly duckling 6.4 aDOT of 2017 has turned into a hot fire 11.7, which is currently higher than Antonio Brown, OBJ, and even Brandin Cooks. He’s not all air yards, of course; his 0.77 weighted opportunity rating is actually higher than both Michael Thomas and DeAndre Hopkins. Now he gets a full game with the Baker Man – who showed a propensity to whip it down the field to Landry last week – against a hapless Raiders defense that is allowing a preposterous 17.0 yards per reception to opposing WRs.
TIGHT END – MODERATE EXPOSURE
ERIC EBRON vs HOU – Yes, Ebron sucked last week, but that’s because … uh, Ebron sucks. But he still got 11 targets with Jack Doyle out, including two endzone looks that he couldn’t quite reel in (because he sucks). Despite his high sucktitude factor, the Colts have targeted their tight ends on 39% of their passing plays, and if the status quo remains intact, I can’t pass up that kind of volume for the price in cash games.
DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS – HIGH EXPOSURE
BEARS vs TB – Where else are you going to find a team that has the highest adjusted sack rate in football (13.7%), playing against a QB who throws picks like MrTuttle05 pops out kids – for just $2600 on Draftkings? Nowhere else, that’s where.
DESHAUN WATSON @ IND – Updating the stat I dropped last week, Watson has now thrown for 311.0 yards and 3.3 TDs in his career when both Will Fuller and DeAndre Hopkins are active. He’s also rushed for no fewer than 36 yards in any game this season, so if you like things such as yardage bonuses, rushing floors, and touchdowns, you should play Watson.
SAQUON BARKLEY v NO – A fully viable cash play, he’ll only be more of a GPP play for me because I’m all over Shepard and don’t want to be overly exposed to an Eli Manning-led offense in cash. However, Saquon is a truly excellent play this week; there will be a lot of action on the Giants passing options, as well as MG3 and Ezekiel Elliott at a similar price point. Barkley, however, is a true usage monster – he’s 2nd among NFL RBs in Scott Barrett’s Actual Opportunity metric, far above the other two. He’s also among the top three most talented backs in the game (in my humble opinion), and when talent meet opportunity in a game with a 50-point over/under, fantasy points are gonna be flowing harder than an Eminem diss track.
DAVID JOHNSON vs SEA – Speaking of talented RBs, DJ still holds the top spot in my mind – it’s just a matter of the Cardinals forcefully removing their craniums from their rectums and giving the man the damn rock. Perhaps the removal of Sam Bradford’s rotten corpse can spur such a change; Josh Rosen will be under center for the Cards, and with Johnson’s sticker price lower than it’s been since Kayne West was still cool, this is a situation worth getting ahead of.
JULIO JONES vs CIN- When’s the best time to play the WR who leads the NFL in air yards and weighted opportunity rating and is second in team target share? Is it:
A) When he’s playing at home with a 28.3-point implied team total
B) The week after he busted as the chalk
C) The week David Kitchen overdoses from his cream cheese-and-bacon Keto diet
D) All of the above
ANTONIO CALLAWAY @ OAK – Over the past two weeks with Josh Gordon out, Callaway has seen a 22% team target share, a 40% air yards share, and a 0.60 weighted opportunity rating that rivals Jarvis Landry’s over that stretch (0.69). He’ll also see a fraction of the ownership at a fraction of the price, making him a hot GPP pivot over guys like Shepard and Boyd whilst gaining leverage on the Landry ownership.
TYLER EIFERT @ ATL – Eifert saw eight targets last week and is a money leverage play off of the sure-to-be-heavy Boyd and Gio ownership. He should have plenty room to roam against a Falcons defense that is strong on the perimeter but has well-documented injuries to their key inside defenders, and lest we forget what a dominant endzone force he can be, he’d scored 18 touchdowns in his past 23 games coming into this season.
PACKERS vs BUF – Some gamers may be hesitant to use a DST against Buffalo after the mollywhopping they put down on the Vikings last week, but I’m not one of them. Buffalo has still surrendered the highest adjusted sack rate in football (13.3%) and is a double-digit home underdog rolling out an inaccurate, mistake-prone rookie QB. Am I chasing the loses I took from Minnesota last week? You’re damn right I am – and I’m gonna get ‘em back, too.
Thanks for reading, everyone! Let’s go make some money in Week 4.