The Reid Option: Week 8
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!
For those who don’t know my background, I (like many other serious DFS players) was once an online poker pro. And let me tell you – it was awesome. Waking up at 11 AM, having no boss to get on your case, and taking a day off whenever the hell you felt like it was the stone cold nuts. I was also making more money than I ever had before, and if you’re in your 20s and single in San Diego, you’re gonna have a good time if you have a little weight in your bank account. And have fun I did.
But I also worked my ass off. I spent a ton of time away from the table working on my game, studying theory and breaking down hand histories. A lot of otherwise good players didn’t put in that kind of work – they figured any time dedicated the game should be used for playing, not for homework. But to me, the homework wasn’t work at all – it was fun. I was fully immersed in the game, and I loved all of the things that came along with it. Then on one dark day in 2011, as you probably know, Black Friday happened – the DOJ shut down all the major poker sites from operating in the U.S., and the dream disappeared like a fart in the wind. I had to get a real job and go straight. And poker wasn’t a part of my life for the next seven years.
This year, that changed. I found a nice cardroom just a few miles from my house, and decided to try it out. The first time I went I did really well, and I started playing more and more. Now, less than six months later, I’ve played 69 sessions (niiiice) and logged nearly 270 hours on the felt. Most importantly, I’ve rekindled an old love and found that it was never gone at all. It was always there, just under the surface, waiting for me to rediscover it.
I’ve done quite well overall, but it’s been a big adjustment. Aside from the normal rust of a long layoff, I’ve had to learn a whole new game; there’s a huge difference between high-stakes online sit-n-gos and low-stakes live cash games. I still make plenty of mistakes, and I still have a lot to learn. But I also have big goals: I’m moving up stakes once I hit 300 hours, and I want to buy a house (with 50% of the down payment coming from poker) by the end of next year.
A big reason I believe I can achieve that is my ability to deal with failure. I have a good process: I get super mad at myself, get my tilt out of the way, go back to the lab to analyze why I failed and how to shore up that leak, and then get back to work. I try not to let any one setback get me down too much, understanding that poker is all just one long session over the course of your life – what happened over a couple hours the other day means nothing in the grand scheme.
In related news, I got destroyed last week in DFS. Beat down. Slayed. Rekt. My plays were shite, my lineup construction was shite, my whole approach was shite. It was a definite setback to what has been a great season up to that point. And you know what? It’s fine. You have to go into every poker session and every DFS season knowing that there will be times you lose. It’s part of the deal. The trick is to have a short memory and to rebound strong, not to let it hang over you … and to end up winning more than you lose.
And that’s exactly what I aim to do this week. Let’s get to it.
On a typical NFL week I put together 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
JARED GOFF vs GB – Look, you want exposure to this game. I want exposure to this game. And Goff is cheap exposure to this game. The Rams implied team total of 33 points is pure DFS molly, and pairing Goff with Gurley in cash games gives you exposure to a gaggle of touchdowns no matter who scores them. And if Goff throws one to Gurley … well let’s just say I’m wearing tear-off pants on Sunday in anticipation of it happening.
AARON RODGERS @ LAR – If you’re sensing a Packers-Rams theme here, feed yourself a cookie – you deserve it. If you like 300-yard bonuses when your QB is furiously trying to mount a 4th quarter comeback, or if you like garbage-time touchdowns, or even if you like rushing yards while the defense drops deep to cover the pass they know is coming … Rodgers is your guy.
RUNNING BACK – HIGH EXPOSURE
James Doggy, Dog
James Doggy, Dog (the lock)
From the depths of RB, back to a lock
James Doggy Dog productive as Lev with the rock
Went solo on the job, output still is the same
Heinz Field is the spot where he smashes in this game
Follow me, follow me, follow me, follow me but ya bet not trip
Cuz week izz-eight’s the wizz-eek for James to unload the clip
And he ain’t holding nothing back
And once again I got James in my Steelers stack
It’s like that as a matter of fact (rat-tat-tat-tat)
Cuz I never hesitate to play a Steelers running back
Browns D nondescript
Low key it’s a must we lock Conner in
What’s his name
James Doggy, Dog
James Doggy, Dog (the lock)
It’s the bow to the wow, leapin’ and maulin’
Jimmy yes y’allin, James Doggy Dogg in
The zone vs the Pound like everyday
And I’m right back up in ya with Big Ben bae
Like I said, all y’all will win with this
And none y’all will lose with that
The bonus he’ll top, cuz you know he won’t stop
Mister seven-point-five is his MF’ing cost
Tic toc never the chalk just the nuts of the crop
Win me my games, and I’ll buy me a yacht
If he outscores the Todd then my pants will come off
Cuz I’m James Doggy (who) Doggy (what) Doggy (dog)
James Doggy, Dog
James Doggy, Dog (the lock)
RUNNING BACK – MODERATE EXPOSURE
TODD GURLEY vs GB – Well, duh. But here’s my hot take: I actually don’t think Gurley is an absolute must in cash games this week because there are so many other high-end plays available at significantly lower prices. But you’re frying on LSD if you don’t think I’ll have Gurley in at least half of my lineups across the industry.
KAREEM HUNT vs DEN – Ah yes, the Denver defense. You may remember them from such hits as Todd Gurley Crushes Their Skulls for 225 Total Yards or Isaiah Crowell Rips Out Their Spinal Cord with 231 Total Yards or the original version of Kareem Hunt Ruins Their Entire Existence with 175 Total Yards. Watch them perform their upcoming hit “Get Their Souls Eviscerated by Kareem Hunt for the 2nd Time This Season” this week! It’s sure to be the jam.
PHILLIP LINDSAY @ KC – As of this writing, there are several backfield situations that are hinging on injuries; namely the Bucs, the 49ers, and of course the Broncos. Talent-wise, I like Lindsay the most out of all the potential step-up backs. He’s already seeing 12.9 hyper-efficient touches per game (5.8 YPC and 6.0 YPT) and if Royce Freeman sits and he sees 16-20 against this gutless Chiefs defense, I have cans of confidence that he’ll pay off his price tag in spades.
WIDE RECEIVER – MODERATE EXPOSURE
AJ GREEN vs TB – Picking from the high-end WR pool this week is like picking candy from the snack isle at 7-11 when you’re lit off your gourd at 1 am. Everything looks good, and it’s impossible to choose just one thing. But AJG is truly the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup of Week 8; The Bucs defense has allowed the most touchdowns and the 2nd-most receiving yards to villain wideouts, and as Justin Bailey notes they’ve allowed a league-high 202.2 YPG from the slot, from whence AJG runs 29% of his routes. Tyler Boyd runs 70% of routes from the slot so he’s a fine play in his own right, but it’s Green who is Top-5 among NFL WRs in weighted opportunity rating, receiving yardage, and targets inside the 10-yard line. He’s my #1 WR play of the week.
DAVANTE ADAMS @ LAR – I have something very important to tell you: You can have a man who sees 27% of Aaron Rodgers’ targets and the 2nd-most Red Zone targets in the league (15) in the biggest shoot-out of the week … for under $8k on DraftKings. This is not a joke.
EMMANUEL SANDERS @ KC – Jamming in both AJG and Davante Adams means no Todd Gurley, which feels a bit like rock jumping without making sure the water below is deep enough. For those a bit less faint of heart, Manny Sand finds himself in a smash spot against a KC passing defense that has allowed the 3rd-most receptions to villain WRs and should force a ton of throws from Denver.
RANDALL COBB @ LAR – Discount Davante checks in at $4900 on DraftKings and $6100 on FanDuel, despite seeing double-digit targets in two of his three games this season and a 22% team target share overall in his three healthy games. Although he does have a tough individual matchup with Nickell Roby-Coleman, volume alone at this price should pay off in your WR3 spot.
JORDY NELSON and MARTAVIS BRYANT vs IND – With Amari Cooper escaping from the prison that is the Raiders organization, a team-leading 14% of targets (sad stat of the week) are up for grabs. I don’t expect much more from Jordy Nelson than we’ve already seen, but it’s worth pointing out that he’s just $5300 on FanDuel – a more-than-fair price for the defacto #1 WR on a team with a 23.5-point implied total. Martavis is the sick value on DraftKings at just $3700, but he’s still more of a GPP play than a cash option unless you just absolutely love every other spot in your lineup. It’s unlikely, but if the Broncos unloaded either of their top WRs before the weekend, Cortland Sutton would become a cash game lock at that price point.
TIGHT END – MODERATE EXPOSURE
DAVID NJOKU @ PIT – Since Baker Mayfield took over for good in Week 4, Njoku has averaged 9.0 targets per game – good for a 22% team target share, the 2nd-highest among NFL TEs over that timespan – and only the Tampa Bay Bucs have allowed more fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends than the Pittsburgh Steelers. Those looks should keep coming in a pass-heavy game script for the Browns this week, and at just $5700 on FanDuel I don’t see a reason to look anywhere else at TE in cash games.
DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS – MODERATE EXPOSURE
STEELERS vs CLE – Every week, DraftKings is kind enough to give us a sub-$2500 DST gem, and this week it’s none other than the Pittsburgh Steelers. PIT is 4th in the NFL in adjusted sack rate, 2nd in sacks per game, and 3rd in overall QB pressures. That’s a dream setup against a Browns team that has served up the highest adjusted sack rate in football and has a rookie quarterback in Baker Mayfield who’s favorite move seems to be falling over in the face of pressure. Pittsburgh also opened as a strong -8 favorite, suggesting a lot of pass attempts for Cleveland. That’s what we call a cash game lock, my friends.
BEN ROETHLISBERGER vs CLE – Since 2014 Big Ben has averaged 332.4 passing yards and 2.8 passing touchdowns per game at home, numbers that will play up well against a defense led by Gregg Williams – a bottom-5 defensive coordinator and a top-5 NFL idiot. The Browns are better against the pass than the run, but they’ve still allowed 294.6 passing yards per game to opposing QBs and the Steelers have a 29.5-point implied team total, the third-highest of the slate. This is all a fancy way of saying anytime the Steelers are at home, I’m in like Bill Clinton at a porn convention.
DAVID JOHNSON vs SF – Who knows how good of an offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich is gonna be, but anyone who doesn’t run DJ directly into the center’s ass out of a single-back set 67% of the time just HAS to be an improvement. I’m far from ready to trust DJ in cash again, but I’m willing to try to get ahead of this change in GPPs in a home game against a dandelion-soft 49ers run defense.
JOHN BROWN @ CAR – What can be said about the Panthers pass defense that hasn’t already been said about Kayne West? It’s overrated and is living off reputation alone. Last week, Alshon Jeffery torched them for 7/88/1. Before that, Vernon Davis ran uncovered down the seam for a 22-yard score. Before that, OBJ crushed them for 8/131/1. And that was right after Tyler Boyd raw-dogged them for 7/132/1. Smokey is 3rd in the NFL in air yards behind only Julio Jones and DeAndre Hopkins, and my money’s on him getting loose for one deep again this week.
JIMMY GRAHAM vs LAR – The Rams/Packers game is going to be the chalkiest of the chalk, so stacking it in unique ways is going to be key. One way to do that is to eschew Davante Adams for the Pack’s lesser pass-catchers, guys like Cobb, Geronimo Allison and my personal vote for the ugliest man in football, Jimmy Graham. My hot take of the week is that Graham – who’s scored just one touchdown so far this season – nets double that on Sunday alone.
Thanks for reading, everyone! Let’s go make some money in Week 8.