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.
After a two-week hiatus with mixed results, I’m ready to get back to giving the people what they want: the best cash game lineup article of the week. Let’s dig in.
There are many solid options on this slate, and I almost played Justin Fields here, but with the savings I can get at other spots, I’m happy to play Patrick Mahomes ($8,300). Mahomes is expensive, but he’s also the highest-scoring QB in PPG this season. Plus, he has a particularly good matchup on Sunday that I wrote about in an article you can find here. Cincinnati–Kansas City should be a shootout and maybe even the matchup of the year. I love Mahomes in this spot and I’m thrilled that he fits the build.
The only good punt RB on this slate is Zonovan Knight ($4,600), but I have concerns over his usage going forward, so I’m omitting him in favor of a couple of stud RBs who have locked-in elite roles. The first of these is Josh Jacobs ($7,900). Jacobs is the RB2 in DK points and yet is still priced below $8k. His role is absurd and he has a fantastic matchup against the LA Chargers who tend to funnel teams toward the run, as evidenced by the 29th-ranked DVOA against the run and 15th-ranked DVOA against the pass. Jacobs should see plenty of opportunities against a porous run defense and he has flashed slate-winning upside on multiple occasions this year.
The second stud RB I’m playing in cash is Austin Ekeler ($8,500). The correlation bros hate playing two RBs from the same game but I like it for three reasons: 1) This is a cash lineup, not a tournament lineup. 2) You can play multiple RBs from the same game if one (or both) of them are good pass catchers, because that plays into a “one team is trailing the whole game” game script. 3) Las Vegas is a pass funnel defense which is perfect for a player for Ekeler who is scoring more of his points through the air. Ekeler is on pace to break McCaffrey’s RB reception record and this has somewhat gone unnoticed. His receiving role is insane, making him a cash lock.
At some point, DK will properly price Amon-Ra St. Brown, but until then, he’ll be my cash lineup every week. Amon-Ra currently leads all receives in target rate and is ninth in target share. Put simply, he is a volume monster, AKA the ideal receiver in cash. The frustrating part of playing St. Brown this season is his lack of TDs. He’s scored just four thus far, but I view this as a sign of positive regression coming his way. Even without scoring though, he remains an elite asset in cash.
Garrett Wilson ($5,300) reminded us last week just how good he is when he has even a semi-competent QB. With Mike White slated to start again and a relatively low salary, it’s hard to imagine any cash lineup not including the standout rookie. Additionally, he has a good matchup against Minnesota’s poor secondary. Wilson is a no-brainer in cash this week.
Nico Collins ($4,200) has quietly become the WR1 in Houston. Ever since Brandin Cooks expressed his displeasure at not being dealt before the trade deadline, here are Collins’ target totals in the games he’s played: 7,10, and 9. Those are elite target numbers, especially when considering his salary is below a lot of teams’ WR2’s salary. His QB play has not been ideal, but his role is massive at $4,200, making him a cash lock in my view.
Since David Njoku has been ruled out, Harrison Bryant ($2,700) becomes easily the optimal TE this week. There’s so much to like here. First, he’s just barely above the stone minimum. Second, superstar QB Deshaun Watson will make his debut this week, a clear upgrade over Jacoby Brisset. Finally, and to state the obvious, Bryant’s role should be massive without the presence of Njoku. There are a lot of scenarios where he “flops” but at only $200 above the minimum, he won’t sink this lineup if the worst-case outcome does appear.
This is probably the play I feel least confident about, but Chase Claypool ($3,800) makes the salary work and he appears in a lot of the optimal lineups I’ve seen from optimizers. A player like Claypool has a large range of outcomes, but I think some of the lower ends of those will be squeezed given that Darnell Mooney is now out for the season. At worst, Claypool is a sub $4k WR on a run-heavy team and returns 6-8 points. At best, he’s a big-bodied primary target on a team that traded a high-end day 2 pick for him in a game where his team figures to be playing from behind. I’m betting on the higher range of outcomes and the optimizers here. Hopefully, I’m right.
You know the drill: find which DST is cheap and fits with my roster’s salary. This week, it’s the Titans DST ($2,200), the lowest-priced defense on the slate. I do think it’s a good play though, considering the Eagles have played below expectations as of late and the Titans’ defense is solid. They currently rank tenth in DVOA and 12th in EPA/play allowed. I don’t expect them to completely shut down the Eagles’ offense, but there is a realistic scenario where they become the optimal DST this week.
This lineup is similar to a lot of the others I’ve been playing recently that I’ve had success with. Pay up for a premium QB and an RB or two, find some value at WR, and then punt off at TE and DST.
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.