The past two weeks have been similar in that one or two decisions have made all the difference. Once the news of Friday and Saturday hit, we really saw the landscape of the slate change. We did hit a lot of the chalky plays right as far as ownership, but those plays didn’t exactly pay off. Let’s go through each position and see where we fell short on some decisions (and what we nailed) in NFL Cash Lineup Review Week 12.
There were really only a handful of options for me at this position this week. I was loving Derek Carr at the outset since he was so cheap and had a glorious matchup. That changed once the Dolphins had to change to Ryan Fitzpatrick. Not only was he $200 cheaper, the Dolphins were also short on running backs. With FitzMagic against the Jets, he was the easier choice over Carr. Those were really the only two options in that price range for me this week. Fitzpatrick not only was just under 4x, he was more popular than I thought. He was far from the issue with this lineup.
My other options were all top shelf in shootout style games. I was torn between Josh Allen, Justin Herbert and Patrick Mahomes. Since they were all more expensive by around $2,000, it was a difficult fit. I was planning on playing a bunch of higher-priced skill players. The calculation was Fitzpatrick could give me close to the same points per dollar, and that part of the lineup wasn’t far off. We got the cheap quarterback right, now let’s figure out the rest right? Well, not exactly.
Others Considered – Mahomes, Herbert, Allen
Up until the weekend and value plays opened up, I wasn’t on Dalvin Cook at the price. To wit, my original Core Four didn’t have Cook. Here was my major fear – the Vikings losing Adam Thielen was a huge blow to that offense. His target share, air yards share and red zone role are nearly unmatched in the league. The functionality of that offense could really be hampered. When we played Christian McCaffrey last season at $10,000, he was getting running production and receiver-level targets. Cook doesn’t boast that latter part this season.
However, once cheaper plays opened up I figured Cook would be chalk. It’s dangerous to fade a player that had -400 odds to score as chalk in cash. I swallowed the pill and locked him up as a member of the Core. It was a miserable outcome but he didn’t kill the lineup himself at the ownership. I originally had Wayne Gallman in the Core and would have been better off, funnily enough.
The two cheap backs that made Cook work were both over 55% just about everywhere in cash. Nyheim Hines and Brian Hill were also in the Core because you weren’t just playing those two. You were playing those two and Dalvin. I viewed this as a package deal. I was much happier with Hines, as he has a nice receiving floor with Jonathan Taylor sidelined. Even though I had my reservations on Hill, I didn’t let that worry me too much. It was about the worst outcome for him, especially with the Falcons putting the boots to Vegas. It would have been great to get him in the end zone at least.
The other two that I gave some thoughts to were Nick Chubb and Derrick Henry. Chubb was a player I thought had some risk and needed at least 140 rushing yards and a score to pay off. I was right about that part, but didn’t love his lack of involvement in the passing game this season. The same can be said for Henry. However, the reason I considered him was the losses the Colts had on defense this week. They were down very important pieces but I couldn’t pull the trigger. Knowing Cook was chalk compared to those two made it a fairly easy call before the slate started. Frankly, that was the right process to follow. Being on the wrong side of Dalvin chalk could have been death early in the day.
Others Considered – Chubb, Henry, Gallman, Austin Ekeler, Kenyan Drake (I did play the latter two in multiple GPP’s but they felt wrong in cash this week)
Here’s where I made my fatal error. Let’s get to the other two before we discuss who was my downfall. Justin Jefferson was another player that I lobbied hard for in Discord. He wasn’t in my Core, but he was surely going to be one of the more popular receivers. With Thielen out, the impressive rookie was going to get plenty of opportunity. We nailed part that as he was 40% or higher, and the 26 DK he put up was more than enough to pay off his salary. Even 7/70 would have been fine, if not spectacular had he not scored twice.
With the salary spent elsewhere, we needed a cheap receiver. Enter Laviska Shenault. With D.J. Chark and Chris Conley out, Viska was going to be one of the focuses of the passing game. True, Mike Glennon at quarterback was frightening. I thought he was going to be more popular, but Viska didn’t help out much at all. We needed him to get to 10 DK a least so he was a bit of a flop, even if he wasn’t the worst one.
My biggest regret is Stefon Diggs. I thought my last piece of the Core Four would go off in this game. The Chargers were down their best cornerback in Casey Hayward and the Bills were missing John Brown. The second I saw he was under 20%, I got concerned. Figuring a player is chalk and not getting it can be good or bad. In this case, it was quite bad. Diggs had one of his worst games of the season for fantasy. The player that was only $200 more that I LOVED was Tyreek Hill. He was in so many of my lineups, except cash. I could have easily fit him in by one of any tweaks we’ll talk about. Sure, it’s easy to say now who I should have played. It’s still heartbreaking to know Hill was my favorite plays and I psyched myself out of him thinking I was matching Diggs chalk.
Others Considered – Curtis Samuel, DeVante Parker, Keenan Allen, Nelson Agholor, Gabriel Davis
Davis would’ve been quite useful in the Viska spot. Since I wouldn’t have played he and Diggs, I could’ve gone to Hill right there.
There were only three options here in my eyes – Travis Kelce, Darren Waller or Kyle Rudolph. Let’s start at the bottom first. Rudolph was heavily in consideration since we talked about Thielen being out. That also would have given me three Vikings. Yes, he was under $3,000 and I could have made other changes. I also know I wouldn’t have moved Cook or Jefferson with the chalkiness involved. There was far too much floor involved with three players in a flawed offense for cash games.
Since we had the salary to use, I just went all the way up to Kelce. I absolutely wanted some exposure to the Chiefs offense in this spot, and without Hill the answer was obvious. It just so happened that Hill went full nuclear. I could have taken the egg Waller gave us and played Tyreek somewhere and it could have all worked. I still won’t ever tell anyone that Kelce is a wrong play.
There were some very good options this week. At the high end, the Saints and the Giants really stood out to me. The Saints were playing a team without a quarterback, for goodness sake. I just don’t like moving around skill position players to fit defenses. The same goes for New York, even though they faced a third-string quarterback as well.
On the lower end, the Jets and Broncos were on my radar. Brian has been on the Jets a lot recently, and he’s been spot on. Their defense does create some plays just about every week anymore it seems. Let’s face it, Fitzpatrick is always capable of turning the ball over. When we punt defense, as long as they don’t go negative we’re in business. Denver didn’t go negative but one aspect I miscalculated was their own offense. If the Broncos couldn’t move the ball, the pressure on their defense was going to be immense. The Jets turned into the better play, and I still like punting defenses when there’s not a slam dunk play under $3,000.
Gross. I’m very annoyed with myself that I let perceived chalkiness mess with me to the point I didn’t play my favorite play on the board. I knew Hill was a great play and left him on he sidelines. Obviously, I didn’t predict a 60 DK score but everyone on the staff LOVED Hill this week. They should’ve. This week is a good lesson that some chalk you have to get right, like Dalvin Cook. Past that, you play the players you think are the best plays. Especially when they’re directly next to the other player in salary. I hope that everyone has been tailing the prop bets. Those and GPP saved my bacon today and still turned it into a positive day. It just could’ve been much bigger.
45.1 DK points for $25,700 which was not good, to say the least. Cook and Hill were acceptable poor results but the Core wasn’t good enough this week, flat out.
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