Last week had some devastating moments for those of us playing DFS. Not only did we not get the shootout we were promised between the Giants and the Saints, but we also saw a lot of key players go down with injuries, rendering some lineups worthless. Among those that were injured and sat out the rest of the game were Danny Woodhead, Doug Martin, Jonathan Stewart. This is a key lesson to further emphasize a point I make each week. You absolutely need to diversify and hedge your bets with your cash game lineups. It is not enough to play just one cash game lineup, as if you have one or even two guys you were counting on get hurt early in the game, it might not matter how good the rest of your team is. While this may limit the upside of how much you can win in a given week, you are also significantly increasing your floor, guaranteeing that you won’t lose everything if done correctly.
Again these picks are geared toward cash games. One thing to remember with your cash game picks, is that you are not trying to be contrarian. If there is a guy who seems like he will be in a lot of lineups, don't shy away from him for that reason, do that in your big tournaments. I will give you a few options at positions, and then at the end say who I am going with for my main cash game lineup. Now how about we get into the picks. Players are listed by position, and then ordered by the ones I like most.
Matt Ryan ($8,500) - I know Eli Manning didn’t work last week, but that is no reason to shy away from Matt Ryan. So far this season Ryan has been throwing the ball all over the field. I don’t believe the Saints defense is any good, and that should be backed up on Monday night. The only thing that held Manning back was his inability to convert in the redzone last week. Manning still threw for 368 yards on that Saints defense. With Ryan we should expect over 300 yards and at least 2 TD’s.
Kirk Cousins ($7,200) - This salary is just too good to pass up if you don’t want to pay up for Matt Ryan. While everything that is coming out of Washington is negative about Kirk Cousins, he is still actually producing this year. For his first two games, Cousins has had 43 and 46 pass attempts. That is the most in the NFL so far. With that, Cousins has thrown for over 325 yards in each game. The only problem is that he has only thrown for one TD this season. With weapons like Jordan Reed and a deep threat in DeSean Jackson, the TD’s will come, and I am still not convinced that the Giants defense is anything better but serviceable.
Melvin Gordon ($7,100) - The Colts have a terrible defense in defending the run right now. You add that to the fact that Melvin Gordon is one of the few healthy position players on the Chargers roster and you have a recipe for a great performance. This price point is just too low to not use him in cash games this week.
DeAngelo Williams ($8,800) - Third straight week that Williams is a recommendation. Most of what I need to say has been said in past weeks. The increase in price makes him the second best cash game guy this week, but I am not scared away from using him because of it.
Matt Forte ($7,500) - This is a pure volume play. Forte has been getting force fed the ball to start the season. Over his first two games Forte has at least 27 touches in each game. While that pace certainly won’t be sustained over an entire season, I do think in the short term the Jets will keep giving him the ball over 20 times a game. Forte hasn’t been efficient when he gets the ball, but when you are given the ball as much as he has, it doesn’t matter too much.
Antonio Brown ($9,500) - It was an off week last Sunday, but that can be chalked up to the weather. Big Ben struggled to get a clean grip and throw when he tried to get Brown the ball. This week that won’t be the case, so the old Antonio Brown should be back.
Travis Benjamin ($6,900) - Don’t overthink this one. His salary just hasn’t caught up to his production or opportunity. With now Allen, Woodhead, and Gates out this week, there will be plenty of looks for him, and you shouldn’t be worried about playing both Gordon and Benjamin.
Jarvis Landry ($7,000) - Going up against a bad Browns team, Landry is in a great spot for cash games. Landry will never be much of a tournament play, but he is always that safe cash game pick. His biggest problem is the lack of touchdowns. That problem can be overcome though for cash games against terrible defenses. His ability to get yards after the catch should help Landry rack up the yards off of his 8+ receptions. Something along the lines of 8+ receptions for 100+ yards.
Stefon Diggs ($6,400) - Well I think Sam Bradford hasn’t had too tough of a time grasping the Vikings offense, and who his top target is. Diggs was all over the place on Sunday night against the Packers. With no Adrian Peterson, and facing the Panthers, we should expect Bradford to look Diggs way more than the 11 times he did last week. This makes him not only a guy with upside, but one who at this price point is an extremely safe play.
Jordan Reed ($7,500) - While he hasn’t picked up right where he left off last season, Reed has still been quietly productive to start the season. In each of the first two games Reed has at least 5 receptions for over 60 yards. The only thing missing is him finding the endzone. That should change this week, but even if it doesn’t, I like Reed’s odds to pick up a lot of receptions and yards. In week one Jason Witten went and had 9 receptions for 66 yards. Reed is a superior talent and will do a better job of getting yards after the catch.
Dennis Pitta ($5,000) - If you can’t fit Reed into your lineup, Pitta is a great way to cut some costs. This week the Ravens are facing a Jaguars defense that while supposed to be improved, looks exactly the same as last year. While Pitta has been off the fantasy radar for over a year, he made his comeback known with 9 receptions for 102 yards last week. Pitta was always one of Flacco’s favorite targets, and if we are to believe what happened last week, that connection will be happening again this year for as long as Pitta stays healthy.
Josh Lambo ($4,500) - My kicker will always be one of the cheapest starters with a high implied point total according to the betting lines. This weak that minimum priced kicker is Josh Lambo, who is apart of a high flying Chargers offense right now.
Miami Dolphins ($4,600) - Dolphins are the easy pick here. Facing a team that just lost its top receiver, and has to start its 3rd string rookie QB in his first career start. Yeah I like the sound of that too.
My Cash Lineup:
QB: Kirk Cousins
RB: Melvin Gordon
RB: DeAngelo Williams
WR: Travis Benjamin
WR: Jarvis Landry
WR: Stefon Diggs
TE: Jordan Reed
Kicker: Josh Lambo
D/ST: Miami Dolphins
Good Luck to everyone in week two, and remember to check the inactives on Sunday morning to see if a guy you are playing is out, or if you can take advantage of someone getting a start.