Week 1 2019: Starting Off With a Bang!

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After months and months of review, analyzing off-season moves, and over preparing for weeks the time finally arrived to put it to work and see if I could make it happen again. As I can be prone to do, I got a little ambitious with my total play this week so the stomach was churning and the sweat was real. It was fantastic! I love the NFL and fantasy football. Week 1 turned out to be just what the doctor ordered. I crushed in my opening matchups in both of my season-long leagues, but more importantly I had a very nice result on DraftKings to start the year off.

If you haven’t read the blog before I am a fairly low stakes player, though I play a decent amount of volume. I never seem to get the 80/20 rule right but do try to play enough cash each week to balance out my tourney play. Each week I will come here to blog about my results and mostly focus on my cash lineup construction.

This week there was plenty of value at the RB position so there were several decisions to be made. The easy route would’ve been to plug in Dalvin Cook and Nick Chubb  and build from there, both of their prices seeming very attractive. However, I remembered one of the tenants that ended in success last year so I wanted a stud in there. McCaffrey stood out to me based on his role and tremendous pass catching ability. I favored his probable game flow in what I thought would be a shoot out versus a tough matchup for Barkley and probable limited usage for Elliot.

The next guys I locked in were Wentz in smash spot with an implied team total over 27 at home, and Chris Carson who has locked in the starting role in a Seattle offense that will at the very least be one of the most balanced offenses playing what I thought would be a hapless Bengals team. After these two I zoned in on Ekeler for his price and role I thought he would be good in a spot versus Indy.

As far as pass catchers go I liked Westbrook at $4800 in a what was sure to be a negative game script and necessitating a heavy pass load. I was anticipating a high scoring affair between the 49ers and Bucs which made Kittle appealing as the number 1 option for Jimmy G. The rest of the roster just fit in to place.

Clearly this worked out and 193 in cash is almost always going to do well. I was fortunate enough to win 27/30 head to heads and cashed in the top 10 percent of all 3 double ups that I entered.

The week really took off as I won the MANZ league 50-man GPP with a lineup that I will insert below. Needless to say this was a great way to start the season and I hope that I can keep the momentum rolling in the weeks to come. Research and preparation tend to pay off so the process will continue.

Week 1 2019 MANZ league winner

Winning the Divisional Round

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The divisional round of the NFL playoffs is pretty much the greatest weekend of football each year. All of the top teams are in action, and each game is featured so you don’t have others drawing your focus away. Pricing on DraftKings was interesting as with many of the fantasy superstars in action they priced them affordably so that you didn’t have to make too many sacrifices when putting a lineup together. That being said, with ownerships so concentrated I pulled back from my normal volume of cash and sought out tournaments that offered both good structure and fair competition. What do I mean by that? I’ve really started focusing tournament plays on single entry or 3-max contests and only sprinkle in action on the large field, large entry when I feel good about a lineup.

First, lets quickly review the cash lineup that I did play for the full 4 game slate. Two pieces stood out to me as must plays this week. Michael Thomas in a dream spot at home against an exploitable Philly secondary, and Damien Williams who was priced down to $5100 in a bellcow role, on the most explosive offense in football. From there I looked at the QB’s and decided that Patrick Mahomes was the most sensible play. He was at home in a game with the highest projected total on the weekend.

At my second RB position and Flex I felt that with Gurley healthy he had a better chance of success than Elliot who just had a bad feeling about as Dak Prescott has been bad on the road and game script was likely to favor the Rams. As I had uncovered the week before, the Eagles give up a lot of receptions to the RB position and Kamara fits that profile nicely. While neither of these guys had ceiling games they didn’t hurt me.

With the higher priced RB’s I was not able to fit Travis Kelce in at the TE position so I settled on what I felt was the best of the punt plays in Everett. From there I simply fit what I thought would be the best ceiling plays in Cooks (a real value at sub-$6k) and then the Eagles as the low end DST who I thought had a path to sacks and turnovers.

This lineup won all of the H2H’s and the double up that I entered in. I had several tournament lineups sprinkled throughout the weekend on various slates (full, Sat only, Sun only, and Showdowns) and most were just middling with several min cashes. I did however have a Showdown lineup in the NO-PHI game that featured Mike Thomas in the captain spot that finished well. This lineup, pictured below, was good for 462nd place out of 85k in the big $800,000 featured showdown tournament.

Be sure to keep listening to the podcast through the end of the season and hear about the games as well as some hints as to what content we will be working on for the offseason. Keep grinding!

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Wildcard WaaWaa….

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Much like my beloved Bears, I am nursing a rough loss today. Unlike them, I wasn’t in it at the end in my cash plays this week. After a couple of weeks off from this blog I thought I’d better get back to it, even though this isn’t exactly a shining moment to be writing about. I think it is important to examine the process though.

The lineup that you see above is not where I started out. When the games opened I had Zeke Elliott, Allen Robinson, and Chargers D in my lineup. After I missed badly with Hopkins/Hilton/Thomas I was drawing very thin in both my double up and the H2H’s that I played. I felt that my best chance to win was to pivot to a contrarian lineup so that if those highly owned guys ended up missing that I would have a chance to pass my opponents up. Unfortunately it didn’t work out for me.

I wanted to play Luck due to his matchup and upside. Though his team dominated, he didn’t really go off. I also figured that Hilton was a great upside play with all of his previous success. In hindsight I should have paid down at the position so that I could get Ebron in the lineup. Another regret is the decision not to play Keke Coutee. When I found out he would be active I strongly considered him due to the targets he had been peppered with but was nervous to pull the trigger.

Obviously with the final score on this lineup it did not return anything. Thankfully I did have a few tournament lineups that had Coutee and Robinson so I was able to minimize the weekends losses. Unlike my Bears I will be back next weekend and thankful to have the opportunity for quick redemption. Now that the top two defenses are out of the playoffs we should be in for a much higher scoring slate. Good luck in the Divisional round.

Week 15 NFL 2018: Hard Work Still Pays

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The regular season is in the home stretch and we have a lot of good data on the horses that have gotten their teams to this point. Some teams are out, and some are chock full of injuries. These wrinkles is what makes the research that we do each week important. Who matches up well and what value plays help us get to the highest available floor/ceiling combo. At RB I knew that I would jam Mixon in with a dream matchup and his team struggling through injuries he was an easy lock. The biggest decision I weigh was Elliot or Barkley as I didn’t like any constructions with both of them in. I went with Zeke because he was cheaper and his role had really gotten much better since Amari Cooper arrived in the big D. As I have written about in earlier weeks I am prioritizing RB for my flex and after checking various models (and getting confirmation of Conner being out) it became clear that Jaylen Samuels was the play with his clear #1 role and pass catching ability.

I went back and forth between Dak Prescott and Tom Brady at QB but Brady just seemed to be too valuable at his $5900 price in a game that I anticipated would be higher scoring than it ended up, and we’ve seen Dak have bad games. I have gotten to a point where I really don’t want to completely punt at TE but none of the best plays were on this slate and if I paid up there I’d have to sacrifice at WR majorly so with Firkser the only real option on the Titans he seemed like a reasonable play. Luckily his airball didn’t completely sink me.

At WR I was happy to get Tyler Boyd back below $6k in a great matchup, and Westbrook has been seeing #1 target share volume lately for JAX so at his price fit well. My last decision that I was literally weighing in the last 15 minutes before lock was a 2v2 of Adam Thielen/ARI or JuJu/ATL. Ultimately went with JuJu because I felt he had the same projection as Thielen and ATL was a much stronger play on D. That played out and I was smiling at the end of the day.

Scoring was down this week and my cash lineup of 140.06 was good enough to be top 20% and cash in the massive $25 double up on DraftKings. I also lived on the right side of variance in H2H’s as I was able to win 43/50 matches. This proved to be one of my best weeks of the year in cash. We will keep grinding and hope to put the best lineup possible out there again next week. Only 2 weeks left in the 2018 regular season!

Week 14 NFL 2018: Small Wins Count

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A lot of value presented itself heading into the week 14 DK main slate with Jeffrey Wilson, Justin Jackson, and Jaylen Samuels all being viable sub-$4k options at the RB position. This allowed for flexible roster constructions that allowed us to get whoever we wanted in our lineups. The question was whether to play 1, 2, or even 3 and choose where to pay up. I started my roster construction by looking at which of these low priced guys I considered to be in the best spot and decided that Samuels with his receiving capability and the best matchup/O-line combination made the most sense. I was pretty confident that the KC offense would flow through Kelce against a tough Ravens D so I wanted to prioritize him. The other lock for my lineup this week was Keenan Allen. He has been on a tear with a boat load of targets and a great matchup this week.

To fit those guys I would have to make a sacrifice and only get one of the premium RB’s. I considered Barkley over McCaffrey but CMC has been on a tear and there were 2 deciding factors for me: Newton was nursing a shoulder injury so would need to rely on his RB more, and when OBJ was ruled out I thought it would allow the opposing defense to lock in on Barkley. At the WR position Godwin seemed like a no-brainer in a game that looked as if it would be a shootout on a team that is pass heavy. He ended up getting 10 targets so I think it was still the right move. DaSean Hamilton was min priced at $3000 and was named a starter when Manny Sanders hit the IR with an achilles tear. Phillip Lindsay still seemed underpriced to me at $6300 so was a natural fit in my lineup.

My biggest regret of the week was playing Watson. I wasn’t feeling comfortable with him and his low passing rate, without his slot receiver, and in a second divisional matchup. I strongly considered Josh Allen and should have trusted his rushing floor.

Results: This lineup was just above the break even line as it won 24/41 H2H’s and broke the cash lineup in the massive $25 double up. Happy to book a small win on the week and move on to week 15!

Week 13 NFL 2018 – Cash Smash

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We finally got a slate this week with a plethora of decisions. It was the first 13 game main slate since week 3 of the NFL season and the first time in a while that we had both the high-powered offenses of the Chiefs and Rams. In addition to this, the late season injuries that have been popping up had opened up some value making it easy to maneuver a lineup almost anyway you wanted.

My first must play that I locked into my cash lineup was Phillip Lindsay. He was priced way too low ($5400) for his increasing role and matchup against a withering Bengals defense. The other guy that I was certain I was going to be playing was Cam Newton in a good spot versus Tampa Bay. He didn’t quite smash as I had hoped but his floor remains evident which makes him an easy play. When news of Kareem Hunts debacle came to light it became almost impossible not to roster Spencer Ware at $4000.

More injuries that highlighted plays that led to this roster construction included Doyle leading to Ebron, and Jackson leading to Godwin. From there, with that much value on board, I knew I could fit both Gurley and Thielen who were among the best at their respective positions all year. That left me to fit Moore who has established a big role with Carolina and the Packers who looked to have a prime spot to succeed against an inexperienced QB playing on the road. It didn’t pay off but I still feel it was a good play.

The score of 168.5 led to my best week in cash on the year winning 90% of H2H’s and of course cashing in the massive $25 double up on DraftKings. Thankfully the week was successful overall as all but 1 of my tournament/GPP lineups also cashed. A good week to hopefully build on. No time for rest, time to start grinding week 14!

Week 12 NFL 2018: Turkey Day Hangover

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Coming off a fun Thanksgiving Day slate it was important to remain focused on the task at hand. It was another short slate and the last week of byes. In those byes though were the Chiefs and the Rams who hold many of the high powered superstars that we’ve grown to love playing this year. The lineup construction was fairly simple for me to settle into this week. I was locked in on Nick Chubb in a matchup against a faltering Bengals team. He was just too cheap coming off a bye and having a path to bellcow workload. Along with Chubb I also locked Barkley into my lineup early. His usage has been other worldly and the Eagles blitz a lot which led me to believe that Manning would be dumping off all day. Marlon Mack was intriguing to me with MIA struggling against backs and his price tag screaming out value.

At QB I considered Cam Newton and Jameis Winston but I was a bit leary on Newton in his matchup that looked like it would feature shortened possessions and Winston scares me in cash with his history of getting benched. In the end Luck stuck out to me with his streak of 3+ TD passes now reaching 8 games.

This year has been rough when trying to pinpoint the TE to play. I liked Kittle because whoever has been throwing for SF has peppered him with targets and he had a great match against TB. I suppose it should be considered a little more when the QB is a rookie on the road and without his top 2 WR’s. Speaking of WR both Moore and Sanders were easy decisions with number 1 potential at low price. Bourne was a bit of a reach, however I thought that with Garcon and Goodwin out he would be in line for 8 targets against a bad defense. Mike Williams would have been a better option with his TD upside and a veteran QB who is on fire.

Overall for the slate I was able to win 21/35 H2H’s and cashed in the massive $25 double up. Next week we have our first full 13 game slate in a while so should be many more options to put together another winning lineup.