Borg’s NFL DFS Cash Lineup Review for Week 1 (Fantasy Football)
It’s Week 1 and overreacting is part of the hysteria in redrafts leagues but especially DFS.
Every week I want to unpack part of the process in assembling my cash game lineup. The goal is neither to boast or wallow in “shoulda, woulda, couldas” but rather give a transparent look at my thought process for the week. Hopefully, this will help DFS Podcast listeners and DFS Pass subscribers get a deeper window into the ups and downs of playing DFS and help you in your selections each week. On Tuesday’s, Betz and I review our cash lineups and this week we’ll give some common overreactions we see and hear.
For cash, I specifically play 50/50s, Double-Ups, and H2Hs on DraftKings. I’ll share my unfiltered gut reaction, my thought process behind this lineup construction, and at the bottom, I will post my weekly results including ROI and H2H record to stay accountable with you.
If you’re wanting to go back to the drawing board, we did an overview podcast before the season on DFS Cash Game Strategy. I also published an article on DFS Strategy for Beginners and another entitled: How to Approach Each Position in DFS & Gain an Edge.
Week 1 Cash Lineup
Note: Roster percentages shown from NFL Massive $5 Double-Up [Single Entry] with 21,000+ entrants. This contest gives one of the better sample sizes for cash in my opinion for Week 1.
The Thought Process
For Week 1, the field generally ends up huddling together for cash. The redraft spillover into DFS is something I talked about frequently on the DFS podcast.
Let’s work from early week locks to where I made my final decisions.
Cash Locks (In My Opinion)
- In our DFS Best Plays article (which comes out on Saturdays), I shared the pool of players that were basically locked from the beginning of the week. Michael Pittman Jr. not only is a favorite of the Fantasy Footballers podcast but his pricing was egregious on DraftKings. His projection was so strong at only $5,500.
- Other than Jalen Hurts, the only other QB I toyed with in cash was Lamar Jackson. Both were underpriced given their rushing floor and clear upside in great matchups. Hurts tied for the 5th most rushing yards ever by a QB in Week 1. (Fun fact: #1 is Raiders QB Terrelle Pryor who ran for 112 in 2013.)
- Christian McCaffrey didn’t work out the way we all intended. Playing him at $8,500 was a no-brainer in my opinion. Baker Mayfield looked rough and McCaffrey only had six touches in the first half. It’s going to be hard trusting Matt Rhule and Baker all season long. But it was clear CMC had not lost a step. Getting a goal-line TD at least salvaged some of the day.
- On Tuesday, I zeroed in on the Dolphins as my favorite DST play of the week. Normally, I don’t like to get narrowed in on a defense because of how volatile they are. But the Patriots’ offense was one I was willing to bet against. The Commanders were the overwhelming favorite in our Roster Percentage Report and I wanted to get a little different.
- The second RB spot came down to a handful of players: Aaron Jones, Najee Harris, Joe Mixon, and D’Andre Swift. I chose Jones because of his passing catch work and being on the top points per dollar values. Swift was the next man up in this group. He seemed like a perfect way to gain exposure to the PHI/DET side and correlate with Jalen Hurts.
- I know I wanted a KC player on my roster with the highest team implied total (30) on the slate. Juju Smith-Schuster ($5,200) and Travis Kelce ($6,600) were the obvious choices. I sided with Juju as the cheaper option. No complaints about what he did except for losing a fumble.
- At WR, the players in my final pool consisted of high-end guys (Justin Jefferson, A.J. Brown), mid-tier WRs (Christian Kirk & Marquise Brown), and cheap rookies like Chris Olave ($4,000), Jahan Dotson ($3,400), and Wan’Dale Robinson ($3,000). The problem was the different price point affected other lineup spots as you’ll see.
- The main decision-making point for my lineup was choosing to spend down at TE in order to balance out my lineup. The only TEs I considered this week were Travis Kelce, Dallas Goedert, Cole Kmet, Gerald Everett, and Irv Smith Jr. I chose to spend down to open up my other WR spots. However, this divergent point also removed Justin Jefferson from consideration because I didn’t want two Vikings in my lineup. The Dallas Goedert + Jahan Dotson + D’Andre Swift lineup ended up bowing to the Christian Kirk + Irv Smith Jr. + Marquise Brown lineup here.
- Here is a screenshot of a simple budget calculator I have in spreadsheet form. I compare different combinations of lineups each week trying to surpass 140+ points of projection. It’s a fun part of the process for me and something you can easily create on your own.
- Christian Kirk was one of the final players in my player pool. His target share projection at $5,100 was just too good to be true. In a game Jacksonville should’ve won, Kirk was a chain mover including a couple of 20+ yard plays. We can’t ignore the Jaguars’ passing game anymore in DFS.
- The last decision for my lineup was debating between a couple of players in the FLEX spot: Marquise Brown and Saquon Barkley. Both were in the afternoon slate and gave me a chance to pivot if needed. Brown had the better game environment while Saquon had a guaranteed 15-18 touches in front of him. This is where Betz and I diverged. I took (as Robert Frost) the road less traveled and went with Brown. However, I was not better for it…
Mistakes Were Made..
Every week I’ll highlight my biggest mistakes which range from not weighing low-end outcomes, to assuming, to not thinking, and ultimately moving away from plays I started with. We’ve all been there… stay water. Don’t try to justify yourself or make things sound better than they were. You made a decision, now deal with it.
- Hollywood over Saquon definitely hurts a lot. While their price points and projections looked similar, the guaranteed touches clearly favored Saquon. Going into the afternoon slate, I had a chance to late swap. I let it ride knowing Hollywood’s target share and the game total looked safe. Spoiler: it was not despite catching a TD.
- Irv Smith Jr.’s first game back was not so good. In fact, he had two drops and the game started out with backup TE’s Johnny Mundt and Ben Ellefson getting targeted before him.
- Getting away from the chalk cheapie (Dotson) also hurt. Once he caught his second TD, I knew I was in trouble.
Each week I’ll post my head-to-head (H2H) win percentage here to give you an idea of what type of week I had. Keep in mind there are varying price points, competition, and players who take my H2Hs in the lobby that have no rhyme or reason.
For example, last year I score 129.66 DK points in Week 1, much lower than this year. However, my win rate was 90 percent because of how I constructed my lineup and how much of the chalk hit.
|Week||DK Pts||H2H Win %|
Check in the DFS First Look Pricing article that comes out Tuesday AM!
Won’t lie, week 1 was rough. Used some of the major players suggested and constructed 8 losing lineups lol. It’s all good, I know better weeks ahead!
For the most part I had a profitable weekend. I cashed all my cash lineups and cashed about 40% gpps. All in all one week in the books and already week 1 paid for the dfs pass is paid for thank you for the great content
First season getting into DFS. I went with 2 cash line-ups for Week 1, each in 5 contests (large-field single entry double-ups, 1 triple, all around the $5 mark for an initial foray)
Line-up 1: Jackson, McCaffrey, Mixon, Pittman, Higgins, Kirk, Kmet, Toney, Dolphins. 134.22 points
Line-up 2: Hurts, Taylor, Pierce, Higgins, Pittman, Kirk, Kelce, Dotson, Dolphins. 180.72 points
I started the weekend thinking that Line-up 1 was the safer play with Jackson and 2 studs at RB (afforded by paying down at TE). However, the total bust of Kmet and Toney (Toney was a dart throw. Kmet my own fault for not checking the weather ahead of the game – valuable lesson 1!). However, it failed in all 5 contests
Line-up 2 totally hit, however, winning easily in all 5 contests meaning I broken even for the week on cash plays.
I’m trying to ignore the fact that Line-up 2 also would have placed in the few GPPs I played. It wouldn’t have won big though – $13 here, $10 there – but that’s not why we play GPPs, right! After the weekend it sure looks a lot better than a bunch of $0s. All GPPs basically had the same thing – 50% stud hits / 50% let-downs.
Thanks for all the content. Really looking forwards to learning through the season with you
Awesome article love reading it each week. Year 2 I am going to do my cash builds by hand following the format in your example. For those of us who are not experts in excel it would be greatly appreciated if you could upload a template. I know the Footclan would love to use it. Already found a Home/Name for it. There is a More Tab. It could live there and be called Kyle’s Skeleton Budget Calculator.
With that said, this article and the NFL DFS Contest Selection written by “Matthew Betz” have really helped out. Honestly I signed-up for the UDK and became a Footclan member because of you guys.
This is Gold , pure gold . bless up