Welcome to a weekly series where I provide you with what I think is the optimal cash game lineup. All prices, fantasy points, and analyses are based on DraftKings’ DFS platform. If you are unfamiliar with what cash games are, or if you are interested in my basic strategy, click here.
There are so many good options at QB, and while I originally played Lamar Jackson ($8,000), I pivoted to Justin Herbert ($6,900), who doesn’t project for much less than Lamar and allows me to slot in Jamaal Williams over Deon Jackson. One of the aspects of my team building that needed the most work from a season ago was understanding the context of the slate. This is a slate where prices are soft (as they always are in Week 1) at RB and WR, so I don’t see the need to try to punt off at QB with someone like Anthony Richardson, who I imagine will be one of the most played QBs in cash.
We had multiple injuries to projected starters, allowing us to pay down at RB at still get projected volume. The first of these is Raheem Mostert ($5,300). Jeff Wilson was placed on IR and De’Von Achane has been nursing a shoulder injury, though he is expected to play on Sunday. This leaves Mostert as the lead back in an offense we expect to be good in a game that is projected to shoot out (50.5 game total).
I’m capitulating and subbing in Jamaal Williams ($5,100) for Deon Jackson ($4,100). Even though Williams’ lack of receiving potential is worrisome, we know he’s locked into a super solid role with Alvin Kamara suspended and rookie Kendre Miller listed as questionable after not practicing this week. Meanwhile, Deon Jackson is stuck in a committee with Zack Moss, who I’m now expecting to play, and rookie Evan Hull. This feels like an easy switch.
My eyes practically shot out of their sockets when I saw Chris Olave’s ($6,500) salary. He ranked 15th in target share (TS%) and 10th in Yards Per Route Run (YPRR) last year as a rookie. He also now receives a major upgrade at QB in Derek Carr. There’s a chance I’m early on his incoming breakout, but even so, the volume will be there early. That’s what we look for in cash.
Christian Kirk ($5,600) feels similarly underpriced. Last season, he finished as the WR12 in total points and WR19 in points per game (PPG). Many fantasy players are ready to discard him due to the arrival of Calvin Ridley, but I’m skeptical that Ridley will return to his former self so quickly. The Jaguars have a great matchup against a poor Indianapolis secondary, and Kirk should lead the team in targets, at least early on.
Diontae Johnson ($5,300) is laughably underpriced. Yes, he didn’t score a single TD in 2022, but it’s virtually impossible for that to happen again. He still is likely the top target in PIT as he’s coming off a 147 target 2022 campaign which ranked 6th among all WRs. If Pickett can be more efficient and Diontae sees the TD regression we’re expecting, he’ll be a cash lock until DK gets aggressive with his price.
As I laid out in my evergreen cash article, I tend to take a late or great TE approach in cash, depending on the slate. Again, since this is a slate with a lot of soft pricing, I think paying up at TE is important. Thus, I’m playing TJ Hockenson ($5,900). He absolutely dominated once he was traded to Minnesota, ranking as the TE3 from that point onward. I expect this dominance to continue in 2023.
I don’t expect to see him in a ton of cash teams, but I love Aaron Jones ($6,300) this week.
#Packers WR depth chart:
1. Christian Watson (Q, undisclosed)
2. Romeo Doubs (Q, hamstring)
3. Jayden Reed (Rd 2 rookie)
4. Samori Toure (Rd 7 in 2022)
5. Dontayvion Wicks (Rd 5 rookie)
6. Malik Heath (UDFA rookie)
— Adam Levitan (@adamlevitan) September 6, 2023
While many players will take this as pro-Jayden Reed, I think this benefits Aaron Jones more. The Bears and Packers were terrible in pace last year, so I think this game will be low in total volume, particularly through the air. Green Bay will want to lean on Aaron Jones as Jordan Love gets acclimated to the NFL game.
Usually, I take the cheapest DST out there, but I think eating the chalk and paying up for Washington ($2,800) will be worth it. The Cardinals project as one of the worst NFL teams and will be starting Joshua Dobbs at QB, who they acquired in a trade just over two weeks ago. I suspect Arizona will have a tough time moving the ball, and Washington will smash.
Preseason injuries and relatively soft pricing at WR made creating a cash team quite simple. I was able to pay down at WR and RB while still retaining a ton of projected volume and paying up for production at the “onesy” positions of QB and TE.
Here is the final lineup:
Jacob White is an avid fan of all things NFL, particularly fantasy football and the Chicago Bears. He is currently studying Economics at Wabash College where he hopes to learn the skills to further his career in the sports entertainment industry. He specializes in redraft, DFS, and best ball, where he routinely finishes at a profit, including a 2020 13-0 finish on the high-stakes KFFSC platform. You can find him on Twitter @FF_JacobWhite for additional advice on all things football and the semi-occasional homer tweet.