The Reid Option: Week 4

In our little underground DFS world, groupthink is a hell of a drug. And like a drug, it can make you feel really good – especially when people’s thoughts align with yours – but it can also be dangerous if not consumed in moderation. That’s why every week, I write this column before reading anyone else’s columns or listening to any fantasy podcasts. I don’t want my opinions to be influenced by anyone else’s, and I want the content I put out to be organic.

The one DFS podcast that I do listen to early in the week is Adam Levitan’s solo pod, which I think is just pure gold. I listen to it because it doesn’t look forward to the upcoming week; it’s a retrospective look back at the week that just went down. It’s kind of like the Gillcast that myself, Davis Mattek, and Nate Nohling do, except it’s A) well thought-out and structured, and B) sharp.

I find myself agreeing with so much that Adam says; I feel like we tend to look at a lot of things from a similar perspective. And this week, he talked a bit about GPP plays vs cash plays. He echoed some things that I’ve come to realize, namely that the difference between a good cash lineup and a good GPP lineup isn’t all that different. In fact, veteran readers of this column might remember that I used to structure my player picks in buckets of “High Exposure”, “Moderate Exposure”, and “GPP Plays”. But in the middle of last season I scrapped that format, and did so because the more I thought about it, the more I left that the line between those segments was too blurry. At the end of the day, a good play is a good play.

Obviously, a GPP lineup should have more built-in correlations than a cash lineup – eg, game-stacks are a great idea in tournaments because of the upside they provide, but not so great in cash because if that one game busts, your whole lineup is dust. But the idea that you need to find these 0.2% owned, off-the-wall plays to crush it in GPPs isn’t true. All you really need to do is figure out a couple good plays that have been glossed over by the prevailing groupthink, and play them.

Good players get glossed over for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes, they just don’t have a good projected matchup or gamescript. Think of Tyler Lockett last week, who most assumed would be gamescripted out of the NO/SEA game when the Seahawks got out to a big lead and started running the ball on every play. Well, the game didn’t go how people assumed, and Seattle had to play from behind. Lockett ended up with 11/154/1 on 14 targets at 3.7% ownership in the DraftKings Slant tournament.

Other times, a player has been “cold” and hasn’t had a big game in awhile – think of Mike Evans from last week. Now, Evans was actually touted fairly hard around the industry since his air yards and weighted opportunity metrics were still strong despite two dud weeks. Even so, he was “only” 10.7% owned for his 8/190/3 eruption, which certainly isn’t minuscule, but it’s far from chalk.

And sometimes, there’s a player at the same position and same price who everyone loves, who ends up being way more owned than another similar guy who also has big upside. Think of Ezekiel Elliott (29% owned) vs Alvin Kamara (3% owned). Everyone loved Zeke, and certainly for good reason – he was in a great “spot”. But take the spot out of it, and just think about the usage. Kamara’s usage has been great for years, but he had a bad Week 2. However, it was very reasonable to expect that he’d be heavily involved in this game as he usually is. Even if his median expectation was a skosh below Zeke’s, he wasn’t a 10 to 1 underdog to outperform Zeke … but he was 1/10th as owned, and he ended up scoring 37.1 DK points while Zeke put up 18.9.

It all sounds so simple looking back, of course. And obviously it’s much easier than trying to look forward. But the lesson is clear: Just play good players who get a lot of usage, who will be under-owned because people assume a game will go a certain way or because they had a bad week the week before. It’s far more effective than trying to find some sub-1% owned scrub who needs a miracle to blow up.

As you know, I’m far from the best GPP player out there. But I’m trying to figure things out and get better, just like the rest of us. And I’m hoping that one of these weeks, it’ll all come together and I’ll bink out, just like the rest of us. The way I figure it, there’s no better week for that to happen than this week. Let’s get to it.

(As always, all odds are accurate at the time of publishing. The Reid Option focuses exclusively on the Main Slate.)

QUARTERBACK

Last week there were more good quarterback options than girls at Arizona State named Tiffany, but this week my cash game QB pool consists of just two players: Russell Wilson and Daniel Jones.

Wilson faces off against the Arizona defense, which for all intents and purposes the equivalent of the Limitless pill for opposing QBs. Because of their frenetic offensive pace, the Cards have allowed opposing teams to run 211 plays, just 2 off the league lead. And without star CB Patrick Peterson, they’ve allowed 10.2 adjusted yards per attempt to villain QBs – for point of reference, the all-time leader in adjusted yards per attempt (Aaron Rodgers) is at 8.39. And who’s second on the all-time list? None other than Russell Wilson.

Jones’s NFL debut as a starter was sweet for many reasons, chief among them it being the hammer that smashed the nail into the coffin of Eli’s career. Also sweet was the 28 rushing yards and 2 rushing touchdowns he put up in addition to his 336 passing yards, suggesting that we may be looking at a legitimate NFL quarterback here – as opposed to the sure-to-be bust many proclaimed after the Giants took him with the #6 pick in this year’s draft. Granted, this performance did come against the Buccaneers, which is kind of like dunking over a 6th grader on an 8-foot rim, so we can’t take his performance as a sure-fire sign that he’s going to be good moving forward. However, this week’s matchup against the Redskins is unquestionably #good; they’ve racked up just 9 QB hits (the NFL’s third-lowest mark) and a 4.9% adjusted sack rate (the NFL’s 5th-lowest mark), while the Giants have the 6th-highest implied team total at 26 points. And Jones is priced very affordably on both DraftKings at $5.3k and FanDuel at $7.3k, making roster construction a lot easier. I like Wilson quite a bit more, but I’ll go with Jones if I need the cash.

In GPPs, I’ll also be looking at Jared Goff at home against the Bucs. The Rams have the 3rd-highest implied team total on the slate at 29.8 points, and under Sean McVay, Goff has averaged 311 passing yards per game at home vs just 236.3 on the road. I’m also going to have some exposure to Matt Ryan, another QB who consistently crushes at home; over the past 5+ seasons, Ryan’s averaged 298.6 YPG at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and frankly I think the Titans suck taint and the Falcons are going to lay it down on them this week.

RUNNING BACK

This big question of the week is: To Gallman or not to Gallman? On one hand, he’s cheap and should get plenty of usage. On the other hand, he’s Wayne Gallman, and also rostering too many Giants in cash is a bit like having too many cold sores when you’re on a first date. All in all, I’m fairly likely to end up playing him; he’s just so likely to receive a full complement of touches for a bargain price, and fading chalky RB value in cash is generally a losing proposition.

Among the high-priced options, Christian McCaffrey has really begun to separate himself as the league’s preeminent usage monster; he leads all starting NFL RB’s in snap share (98%) and total snaps (199) while ranking 2nd in rushing attempts (59), targets (21), and total touches (74). With former volume kings like Saquon Barkley and Todd Gurley becoming pure dust, CMC stands alone as the best cash game player in fantasy football and should be rostered accordingly.

I’m also quite into Austin Ekeler in his swan song as the Chargers’ lead dog. The Dolphins defense stinks worse than a New Dehli outhouse and has allowed the most rush attempts (115), rushing TDs (6), and rushing yards (624), while the next-worst team has allowed 506. There is some worry that Ekeler could be rested if the Chargers get out to too big of a lead á la Week 3 Zeke, but I’m less worried about it now that Melvin Gordon is coming back next week. Besides, AE’s floor is so high – he has at least 6 receptions and 7 targets in each game this season – that any worries of a truncated outing are fleeting.

Those are the three dudes I’m going to be trying to fit in my cash game lineups, but in GPPs my pool will be a bit wider. Marlon Mack leads the NFL in carries (61) and the Colts are a touchdown home favorite against the hapless Raiders – multiple TDs are well within his range of outcomes, and both his price point and high rush/low reception projection profiles extremely well on FanDuel. Kerryon Johnson got 75% of the team’s backfield opportunities and total snaps plus the goal-line work last week after C.J. Anderson’s release; you’d love to see more opportunities for him through the air, but his price is more than justified by the usage he’s already getting. And Devonta Freeman got 90% of his team’s snaps and 19 touches last week after Ito Smith went down with a concussion; Brian Hill may end up taking Smith’s role if Smith misses Sunday’s game, but Freeman should see an increased workload regardless and profiles well as a 4-point home favorite with an implied team total of 25 points.

Certainly, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Mark Ingram after he did three endzone dances last week. Obviously we’re not trying to chase points here, but this week’s matchup is objectively good for him – the Ravens are 7-point home favorites with a 26.5-point implied team total, the 4th-highest mark of the week. Ingram isn’t a big pass-catcher which limits his floor on full-PPR sites, but there’s no denying the upside he brings to the table. And finally, Dalvin Cook is a great example of the “good player in a bad matchup that most people are going to overlook” that I talked about in the intro. Generally, road underdog RBs aren’t amazing plays – especially if they’re not big-time pass catchers – but Dalvin’s usage is unquestionably elite (at least 20 touches in every game) and his upside his as high as any player at the position.

WIDE RECEIVER

Keenan Allen has been an absolute assassin this season, and this week he faces what may be the worst defense in the history of modern man. KA’s 42 targets are 9 more than any other receiver, his .87 WOPR (weighted opportunity rating) is .10 more than any other receiver, and he has 404 receiving yards while only one other receiver has even more than 300. I do have more reservations about a blowout-related usage drop with AK than I do with Austin Ekeler so I’m not sure if he’ll make my cash team yet, but having no exposure whatsoever sounds like an absolutely terrifying experience that I don’t want in my life.

One dude that I’ve been jamming into my early cash game builds is Redskins rookie Terry McLaurin, who has at least 7 targets and a touchdown in all three games so far this season. The touchdowns may be due for some regression, but not for a lack of trying by the ‘Skins – his 6 redzone targets are tied for 3rd-most in the NFL. McLaurin has also been given a whopping 46% of his team’s air yards, a figure that ties him for the highest rate in the NFL. His profile (deep targets and redzone targets) is definitely prone to some variance so I’d prefer him in GPPs, but his pricetag is so low that he’s a prime cash consideration for me this week as well.

I’m also quite likely to have heavy exposure to Arizona’s receivers yet again this week – Larry Fitzgerald, Christian Kirk, and Damiere Byrd rank 1-3 among WRs in routes run, which makes sense since the Cards have attempted the most passes in the NFL. Kirk is of particular value on DraftKings, where he’s priced at just $5100 ($500 less than Fitz) despite being tied for 4th in the league in targets. Fitz has still seen the higher value targets, so on a site like FanDuel where they’re priced equally, I’d generally lean his way. Byrd remains a fun GPP dart that is going to hit bullseye one of these weeks.

One guy I can’t help but love is Marquise Brown in a name-revenge game against the Browns. Hollywood’s .67 WOPR is a top-10 mark in the league (ranking just above Odell Beckham) and his 433 air yards are the 3rd-most in the NFL. The Ravens are clearly aware that they have an elite playmaker on their hands; his snap share starting in Week 1 has gone from 18% to 65% to 75%, and he has 22 targets over the past two weeks. The kid is a big play waiting to happen and I’m a simple man – I like good scotch in my glass, fine greens in my pipe, and big plays in my GPP lineups.

Of course, if you were going to ask my advice about what to do with Tyler Lockett this week, my answer would be to jam him in, and jam him now

Lockett up lock him in, let me begin
Try to cover him without the G, Peterson
I won’t ever slack up, punk you’d better stack up
I do say the whole Seattle crew gonna smash up
Get up, stand up, come on throw your hands up
If you’ve got the feeling Tyler hits his ceiling
Cards let the pace flow, Lockett’s gonna dunk yo
He’s gonna run a fly and end up in the endzone
Feelin’ a skunkin’, yards come in chunks
Wilson throws more dimes than there’s props on a Davis Mattek pod
Sure ‘nuf I got locks – bet the touchdown thrill plus the over on yards

I came to bink out
I came to bink out
So get out your seat
And jam him now

Jam him now
Jam him now
Jam him now
Jam up jam up and bink now

He’ll serve the Cards like John McEnroe
If you’re gonna fade up I’m scooping you bro
Word to your moms, he’s gonna catch bombs
He’ll score more times than Josh Gordon’s got bongs
And just like the tropical sun, I’ve confirmed
Anyone covering him will get burned
Cuz I’ve got Lockett if you ain’t got none
Then you’ve come to battle with a pop gun
But if you do, you’re a fool cuz FanDuel is the test
Try to scoop on me you’ll get straight undressed
I’ve got the skills, you’ll pay my bills
Cuz when I get my wish I’ll ship the Mill

I came to bink out
I came to bink out
So get out your seat
And jam him now

Jam him now
Jam him now
Jam him now
Jam up jam up and bink now

TIGHT END

I’m guessing Will Dissly is this week’s chalk, and “New phone, who Dissly?” becomes this week’s chalk fantasy team name. We know that the Cardinals have some sort of severe allergy to covering tight ends as they’ve allowed a 6/131/1 line to T.J. Hockenson in Week 1, 8/112/1 to Mark Andrews in Week 2, and 6/75/2 to Greg Olsen in Week 3. Dissly’s usage has been increasing by the week and there’s no end in sight to that trend as backup TE Nick Vannett was just traded to the desperate Pittsburgh Steelers.

Of course, any week that Darren Waller is not priced among the position’s elite, he’s a value. That sounds like a fairly outlandish statement until you realize that his 30% team target share is 5% higher than any other TE and his .62 WOPR and 26 receptions also pace the league. In a game where the Raiders are touchdown underdogs – and thus should have to throw a lot – and the Colts are likely to be missing their best coverage linebacker in Darius Leonard, Waller rates to eat yet again.

DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS

The Chargers are the obvious top play in a vacuum this week, but I doubt I’ll own much of them at a high price and high ownership. Instead, as usual I’ll be focusing on paying down at the position and prioritizing plays I love at the other positions first.

The Rams are a standout value on FanDuel, checking in at $1000 less than the Chargers. With Ryan Fitzpatrick getting unceremoniously benched, Jameis Winston is now the NFL’s active turnover king, the Bucs have allowed a 10.1% adjusted sack rate (the NFL’s 6th-highest) and the Rams are the league’s second-largest favorite (-9.5) of the week.

On DraftKings, I love the opportunity to attack the weak Browns offensive line with a Ravens defense that ranks 5th in the NFL in adjusted sack rate (9.8%) as a 7-point home favorite. I also dig on the Colts in a similar home spot against Derek Carr, an epic blunderer who believes in Jesus, but clearly the feeling isn’t reciprocated. I’m also more than fine rocking a cheap Chiefs DST in cash if necessary; they might be bad, but the Lions are are 6-point underdogs, and if you’ve rostered Matt Stafford over the years, you know that lots of Matt Stafford throws usually leads to a lot of Matt Stafford mistakes.

Thanks for reading, everyone! Let’s go make some money in Week 4.

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

  • rnelly2

    Love your content!

  • Finnesse2189

    Keep it up dude! I look forward to this “reid” every week. Not only has useful content, but also makes for a few good laughs as well! Love it

  • ropediddy

    Great stuff again…. not sure about the Lions giving up a ton of sacks statement is all that true tho

  • SammyReid

    @ropediddy said...

    Great stuff again…. not sure about the Lions giving up a ton of sacks statement is all that true tho

    Thank you – and thank you for catching that! I double-checked and I guess I had been looking at the wrong data set from them. Edited and fixed.

  • boogereatingmoron

    • 2019 FanDuel WFBC Finalist

    • 2017 FanDuel WFBC Finalist

    Great stuff Sammy. Just don’t let those fine greens lead to bad cash lineups.

  • Playmakers

    Loved the roll right into TE. Might have been funnier than the song! Great Content. Thanks!

  • ullmy511

    Best fun/informational hybrid article every week

  • jesstrieb

    Reading your article is my favorite thing to do each week! Nice job on the song this week!

  • SammyReid

    Thank you friends! GLGL this week

  • jjaayyzz

    Great Article Sammy !

    Today’s update is that the chargers plan to play Gordon on a limited snap count for Sunday’s game with the Dolphins. How does this effect Ekeler ? And is gordon viable as a GPP Punt play, basically hoping he gets justin jacksons role, and plays the 4th Q if things get out of hand ? The matchup is perfect. Give us an update please !

  • redskinoscar

    You can use the Bristol Stool Chart to check what your stools are telling you.

    The Bristol Stool Chart shows seven categories of stool. Every person will have different bowel habits, but the important thing is that your stools are soft and easy to pass – like types 3 and 4 below.

    Type 1–2 indicate constipation
    Type 3–4 are ideal stools as they are easier to pass, and
    Type 5–7 may indicate diarrhoea and urgency.

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