There is an important distinction to be made between cash game targets and GPP targets when playing DFS on FantasyDraft and in this piece I will highlight some players at each position who are topping my list for cash game consideration. Keep in mind that all of these players are also viable for tournaments, you just need to mix in some more high-upside, low-ownership players. I will go over those players in ‘Fire if Ready,’ but for now let’s focus on the safer, high-floor players to Lock and Load into your cash lineups.
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay, $14,000
All of the top four QBs on the slate are great cash game options if you are willing to pay up at the position. All four of them come from the two games with the highest Vegas point totals of the week, with New England/New Orleans having an over/under of 55 points and Green Bay/Atlanta at 53.5. This puts Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Aaron Rodgers all in the spotlight as elite passers with amazing matchups. For a cash game lineup, Aaron Rodgers has the highest floor as he runs the pass-heaviest offense of this group and also has the potential for some rushing yardage, something the other three do not have. As a bonus, Atlanta’s defense siphons most of the RB production against them to the pass game, leaving Ty Montgomery as another weapon to help Rodgers pick up pass yards. He has attacked this defense with success in the past – throwing seven TDs against them in two games last season. With this primetime game so likely to shoot out, getting Rodgers in your lineup is the best way to guarantee your lineup exposure to a lot of points.
ALSO CONSIDER IN THIS RANGE – Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, Tom Brady
Philip Rivers, LA Chargers, $10,900
Last week’s cheap QB option, Carson Wentz, had a great game against Washington, but he is now on the road in Kansas City, which is never a fun stadium for the visiting team. Philip Rivers instead gets the nod as this week’s underpriced QB, therefore he is an immediate option for those looking to pay down at the position (a generally sharp move). Rivers managed three TDs on the road against a great Denver pass defense on Monday night and now gets a much more appealing matchup at home against Miami. Keenan Allen has returned and established himself as Rivers’ favorite target, giving him a reliable, check-down option when things do not open up downfield, likely bringing down his probability for throwing interceptions. Melvin Gordon also continues to be an asset through the air despite his struggles on the ground, helping boost Rivers’ yardage totals. Do not expect him to give you the ceiling of the top four QBs on the salary structure, but with the savings he offers, you can make it up by spending up elsewhere.
ALSO CONSIDER IN THIS RANGE – Tyrod Taylor, Jared Goff
Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas, $14,600
BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! Do you hear that?? Get used to that sound, because that is the sound of me banging the drum on Ezekiel Elliott, something I will be doing all week and likely all season. Five loud bangs of the drum this week, to signify the five targets he saw last game (catching all of them), tying his career high. That target share validated the notion that Zeke was going to see more targets this year with the offseason departure of Lance Dunbar. In addition to these catches, he also carried the ball 24 times for 104 yards against a Giants run defense that is stronger than the Denver run defense he will face this Sunday. Denver is susceptible on the ground and with their top-ranked pass defense, they force teams to run against them, something Dallas will be more than willing to do. Elliott is $4,300 cheaper than David Johnson would have been this week and offers a very similar floor with his new role in the passing game. Johnson would likely have a few more passes projected to come his way, but that is reflected in the higher price. If you were impressed with what Melvin Gordon did against this defense, just imagine what a superior talent, behind a superior line will do with an equal workload. Lock Zeke in your lineups now before his price jumps up for the weeks ahead.
ALSO CONSIDER IN THIS RANGE: Kareem Hunt, Melvin Gordon
Ty Montgomery, Green Bay, $10,900
Grossly mispriced around part-time players Mike Gillislee, Christian McCaffrey and Derrick Henry, Ty Montgomery is the first player you should lock into your cash game lineup. Green Bay used him as a true bellcow back against Seattle, rushing him 19 times to add to his four targets in the passing game. He was on the field for 70% of the offensive snaps and dominated the market share of rushing yards with his backup only carrying the ball twice. His work in the receiving game only enhances his floor, especially in this matchup against an Atlanta defense that gave up the most receiving yards to running backs last year, a trend that continued with Tarik Cohen last week. In this high-totaled game, Montgomery is going to be chalk, resulting in decisions that need to be made for tournaments, but for cash games he is a must-play.
ALSO CONSIDER IN THIS RANGE – Jacquizz Rodgers
Julio Jones, Atlanta, $17,400
Due to his exceptionally high price, Julio is going to be very hard to fit onto your cash rosters, but if you can fit him in he is in position to have a massive game. This is the very same Packers defense he torched for 180 yards and two touchdowns in last years NFC Conference Finals. Yes, he is coming off of a disappointing performance in Chicago, but that was somewhat predictable with his usual struggles on grass fields (especially ones in terrible condition) and Chicago’s ability to take away the number one receiver on opposing offenses. Back in the friendly confines of his new, state-of-the art stadium, Julio is in play to finish as one of the highest-scoring receivers on the week, with 100 yards the expectation every time he plays at home. With a new offensive co-ordinator in Steve Sarkisian, we may also see an uptick in his red zone usage on Sunday night.
ALSO CONSIDER IN THIS RANGE: Antonio Brown, Jordy Nelson
Tyreek Hill, Kansas City, $11,700
I noted in my Thursday night preview article that Tyreek Hill was a once volatile player likely to see his role transform into one that makes him viable in cash games. Fast forward one week and here we are with Hill as a top target for cash lineups in an enticing matchup against an aggressive, but ultimately poor, Philadelphia Eagles secondary that just lost Ronald Darby to injury. Hill’s stat line last week was obviously influence by his 75-yard touchdown catch, but there was much more to his game than that. He will get sent deep on those plays every now and again, but his primary role in this offense is to catch short, high-percentage throws from Alex Smith, which translates into massive PPR numbers for fantasy. If you take a closer look at his route tree from Week 1, TyFreak was targeted eight times, with seven of them coming within 15 yards of the line of scrimmage and most of them much closer than that. Not only are these plays generating PPR points for Hill, but he also supplements his passing-game work with a few runs each game, giving him more opportunities to pick up yardage. With Philadelphia’s coverage against the tight end position amongst the top in the league, nullifying Travis Kelce, look for the entire Kansas City offense to run through Hill and Kareem Hunt.
Keenan Allen, LA Chargers, $11,000
Keenan Allen is one player whose price is almost certain to go up as the season goes on, provided he stays healthy. He was clearly back to being Philip Rivers’ favorite target last game and even scored a touchdown in Chris Harris’ coverage, something less than ten NFL receivers can lay claim too. With this enticing matchup against Miami, look for Rivers and Allen to continue to pick up where they left off a couple seasons ago – with Allen being an exceptionally high-floor target monster. His lack of touchdown equity and the weapons around him cap his overall upside, but at his low price he is an amazing cash game play.
ALSO CONSIDER IN THIS RANGE – Demaryius Thomas, Randall Cobb
Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay, $5,900
The place to start when looking to lock down a cash game tight end, particularly when paying down, is by looking at players on home favorites. A few players fit the bill this week, one of them being Cameron Brate in Tampa Bay. Normally I do not like targeting tight ends against Chicago (I know, Austin Hooper had a big game last week, but it was on two receptions, one of which was a blown coverage leading to a long score), but with the news that Jerrell Freeman, their top coverage linebacker, will miss this game, I am throwing Cameron Brate back into consideration. He is a trusted red zone target of Jameis Winston and really only needs five or six catches to pay off his low salary. With Chicago quite adept at shutting down number one receivers (but no one else), Brate looks primed to have a great fantasy performance.
ALSO CONSIDER – Jared Cook, Coby Fleener, Charles Clay
Defense is always a position with multiple cash game options at multiple price ranges. At the top of the price range, Arizona and Seattle have excellent matchups against Indianapolis and San Francisco, but I will give Seattle the edge due to their home field advantage. Baltimore and the New York Giants are also in favorable spots at home against Cleveland and Detroit. If you are looking to pay down a bit, the top option is the Chargers ($5,600) at home facing Jay Cutler and the Dolphins. There are not a ton of appealing options after that with some more volatile teams in tougher matchups better suited for tournament play.
That’s a wrap on the cash-game core for the slate, good luck with your continued research and be sure to check out ‘Fire if Ready’ when it appears in the FantasyDraft LockerRoom for all your GPP needs. FantasyDraft has some great contests for Week 2, including RAKE FREE H2H contests, GPPs with the lowest rake in the industry and satellites and qualifiers for their first ever LIVE FINAL! As always, if you have yet to play on FantasyDraft, sign up through the FantasyDegens link here to join and you will also receive a free month of access to FantasyDegens.com.
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