Best Daily Fantasy Football Plays for Cash Games – NFL Pro Bowl & Super Bowl
By Ha Kung Wong Daily Fantasy Football
Well, looks like it’s your LAST CHANCE to play Daily Fantasy Football for at least another 8 months or so. And what better way to than to make your last game contingent on Super Bowl 51!
Unfortunately, it wouldn’t make sense to have a DFS contest with only one game to pick from, because everyone would essentially have the same lineup, so to add a little “wild card” to the contest, both Draft Kings and Yahoo! Daily Fantasy include the Pro Bowl players to the mix. Unfortunately, FanDuel doesn’t offer any contests that include either Bowl, so we’ll be focusing exclusively on Draft Kings and Yahoo! this week. UPDATE: FanDuel opened a Bowl Game contest, so I added my sample roster at the end of the article!
I can tell you that I’ve attended only one Pro Bowl, back in 2009, and it was basically more of an excuse to spend some time in Hawaii. Heck, I think for the first time ever, I was more interested in the halftime performance than I was in the actual game. Anyway, the problem with the Pro Bowl for DFS (because we are all well aware of the problems with the Pro Bowl as a football game) is that it is near impossible to predict how long each player will be on the field and how many opportunities he will get to put up points. It could be 3 Hail Mary TDs in a row, or 4 passes for 30 yards and an INT.
Greetings from Orlando!
— NFL (@NFL) January 24, 2017
So the number one rule in these contests is to stack your lineup with Super Bowl players, and then make up the difference with either high upside Pro Bowl players, or players with equivalent floors to all the Super Bowl options at their position.
So before we get to winning you bragging rights and DFS cash, remember, the point of this article is not just to give you one lineup for each site, it’s to give you examples of one or two POSSIBLE lineups. Getting exposure to a few different lineups is always a good idea, so don’t forget to mix and match additional lineups from my suggestions below. Trust me, it’s a lot more fun that way AND you’ll improve your chances of cashing!
So without further to do, here are my favorite cash lineups for Draft Kings and Yahoo! DFS, plus a few others suggestions you might consider for your lineups.
Let’s get to winning you some CASH in the NFL Pro Bowl and Super Bowl contests!
Cash Games, for those who don’t know, are essentially the lowest risk games. They include “50/50” games, in which half the entrants win about 1.8x the entry fee, and “Double Ups”, in which slightly less than half the entrants win 2x the entry fee.
Since there’s so many different sites, and I can’t cover them all, I’ve decided to cover just the most popular sites, including Fan Duel, Draft Kings and Yahoo! Daily Fantasy. But for this article, only Draft Kings and Yahoo! have relevant contests.
First of all, as a general rule for 50/50 Cash Games, there’s a basic target of points per salary cap spent that you’d like to look for:
- For Draft Kings, try to target at least 3 fantasy points per $1000 spent.
- For Yahoo! Daily Fantasy, try to target at least 0.7-0.8 fantasy points per $1 spent.
- For Fan Duel try to target at least 2.5 fantasy points per $1000 spent.
Remember, this article is not focused on GPP (Tournament) Games, JUST Cash Games. Feel free to use a few of these suggested players as a base when constructing a GPP lineup, but you’ll have to take some chances on a few low cost, upside players as well.
So, without further to do, here are my suggestions for the Best Daily Fantasy Football Plays for Cash Games for the NFL Pro Bowl and Super Bowl, along with they’re prices on Draft Kings (“DK”) and Yahoo! Daily Fantasy (“Y!”).
As usual, to encourage some diversity in your lineups, I’m giving you two sample lineups for Draft Kings this week.
As I mentioned above, you want to roster players who have the most opportunity, which means that essentially you want to fill your lineup with as many Super Bowl players and only use Pro Bowl players to fill the gaps. With that said, let’s focus on my favorite plays in the Super Bowl first.
- Super Bowl 51
So you have two teams to pick from, and lots of great options.
For the Falcons, I prefer Matt Ryan, Devonta Freeman, Tevin Coleman, Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu. For the Patriots, I prefer Dion Lewis, Julian Edelman and Chris Hogan.
I know what you’re thinking. “What about Tom Brady?” Well, I certainly don’t have an issue with you playing Brady, as he’s probably a lock for at least 250 yards and 2 TDs. But although Brady had a terrific week against the Steelers in the AFC Conference Championship game, putting up 384 yards and 3 TDs with no INTs, Ryan has been locked in like nobody’s business.
Tom Brady & Matt Ryan have been neck and neck in the the MVP race!
They have extended their exceptional play throughout the postseason.
— NFL Total Access (@NFLTotalAccess) January 25, 2017
Ryan put up 392 yards, 4 passing TDs and 1 rushing TD, with 0 interceptions, only the 4th QB to do that in a conference championship, and ended up with a passer rating of 139.9, which is only his 5th highest passer rating of the season. He now has thrown 18 TDs and no interceptions in his last 6 games. The Patriots defense has been good, but more so on the ground (ranked 4th) than against the pass (ranked 23rd). The Falcons pass defense has been more solid than they appear, being ranked 19th per DVOA on Football Outsiders, and putting up a solid effort against the always dangerous Aaron Rodgers. Plus, Bill Belichick is a master at scheming for specific weaknesses in opposing defense, which means he’ll probably focus on exploiting the Falcons 29th ranked run defense (which is why I like Dion Lewis even though he played 3rd string against the Steelers, as I think he’s the fastest back on the Patriots, and Belichick knows the Falcons are one of the fastest teams in the league). Ryan is only $400 more on Draft Kings and $4 more on Yahoo, so I think he’s worth the tiny price difference.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 25, 2017
And do I have to tell you why I like Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu? Jones had 182 yards and 2 TDs on an injured foot, so you can imagine I’m not doubting he’ll be all go for the Super Bowl. Sanu has had a TD in each of the Falcons’ playoff games and is a big part of the offense. Don’t overthink this, just roster both, particularly against a vulnerable Patriots pass defense. Taylor Gabriel is also in play as a big play threat, but only if you need the cap space, and Austin Hooper is in play as a TE punt against a Patriots defense that’s ranked 14th against TEs. Hooper has only averaged 3 targets per game over his last 7, but that’s good enough for his rock bottom pricing.
— Julian Edelman (@Edelman11) January 23, 2017
But if you don’t want to roster all Falcons receiving options, I do like Julian Edelman and Chris Hogan since I like the shootout potential, and both WRs paced the Patriots in receptions against the Steelers. Edelman had 8 receptions for 118 yards and a TD while Hogan had a career best 9 receptions for 180 yards and 2 TDs. If you’re looking to save money, I also don’t mind you taking a flyer with Malcolm Mitchell. He only had one reception against the Steelers, but he just came back from injury and did have 4 targets. He’s not consistent, but he has big play potential. And since the Falcons defense struggles to defend TEs (giving up the 9th most catches (86) and yards (988) and 6th most TDs (8) to tight ends this season), Martellus Bennett is also a possibility, but I’m not thrilled due to his current injury and general inconsistency for the price.
The Patriots have the 4th ranked run defense and held the Steelers to just 54 rush yards on 20 carries, an average of just 2.7 yards per carry. Regardless, Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman are probably the best backfield by committee in the NFL. Both had TDs in the Divisional Playoffs and the Conference Championship and both are involved in the pass game out of the backfield, so you could even play both if you want. If you have cap space, I like Freeman slightly better based on slightly higher volume, but don’t be shy about saving money with Coleman.
It’s tempting to give Lagarrette Blount and his league leading 19 rushing TDs another go, but it just seems incredibly risky for the price, as his floor is incredibly low when he doesn’t score.
At this point, considering the high scoring potential of the game with an over/under of 59, I prefer not to pay up for either of the Patriots or Falcons defense.
- Pro Bowl
So here’s the hard part, finding value in the Pro Bowl. Well, no worries, that’s what I’m here for!
Who's in Orlando?
— NFL (@NFL) January 26, 2017
I know you guys are busy, so let me give you my conclusions first, and then run through my reasoning. My favorite plays from the Pro Bowl are the NFC All-Pros Defense, Travis Kelce, Greg Olsen, Delanie Walker, and Jimmy Graham. There are others that I would consider as well, and I’ll note them below, but these are my preferred plays.
Why, you ask? Well, to understand that, let’s take a look at some per game stats since the Pro Bowl rules changed to allow defenses to play Cover 2 and press coverage in addition to man coverage and sped up the game clock in 2014.
- Average Total Passing TDs – 7.67
- Average Number of QBs played – 6
- Average Passing TDs per QB Played – 1.28
- QBs with More than 1 TD – 2.33
- Average Total INTs – 5
- Average INTs per QB played – 0.83
This tells us that although QBs average 1.28 TDs per game, it’s very difficult to predict which QBs will get them. Maybe you get lucky and the QB you chose gets 3 TDs, or maybe your QB completely bombs out at 0. Plus, each QB averages 0.83 INTs per game, so you’re almost guaranteed at least one INT, with multi-INT downside. Basically, this is all a result of QBs airing it out with reckless abandon in Pro Bowls because there aren’t any real consequences. The bottom line is you should avoid quarterbacks at the Pro Bowl as they are simply too unpredictable. Plus, at best, your chosen QB will play only half a game. At worse, it’ll be just 1 or 2 series. No one knows. Want to give them a shot in a GPP? Fine, have at it. But remember that it will be almost a complete crap shoot.
- Average Total Rushing TDs (from RBs) – 0.33
- Average Number of RBs with a receiving TD – 1
Honestly, there’s no reason to go further here. As you can see, RBs rarely if ever get rushing TDs in the Pro Bowl. And only one RB a game gets a receiving TD. There are a total of 6 RBs in the game. Care to gamble? I wouldn’t, not with these odds. But if you must, there’s some upside with Ezekiel Elliott. There’s been a trend recently of younger players looking to showcase their skills in Pro Bowls, and Elliott is one of the best young players in the league.
- Average Number of WRs with a TD – 3.33
- Average Number of WRs with a reception – 8
- Average Number of TD per WR with a reception – 0.42
All 8 WRs each year gets at least one reception, but only 3.33 get a TD. So you’re essentially gambling on which WRs will get TDs, and you have a better than 50% chance of being dead wrong. If you want to slot in a Pro Bowl WR in your FLEX or as your 3rd WR, I don’t hate the idea, but I prefer to have a little more certainty with the Super Bowl WRs. But if you must, then I prefer the NFC options (Dez Bryant, Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans, and Larry Fitzgerald, in that order). They just have better downfield QBs playing with them (i.e. Brees, Cousins and Prescott), and I always like the chance that guys on the same team will have a good connection (e.g. Dak Prescott and Dez Bryant). Also, Bryant was a replacement for Julio Jones, so he might want to go out and put on a show to prove that he should have been selected as a starter.
- Average Number of TEs with a TD – 2
- Average Number of TEs with a reception – 4
- Average Number of TDs per TE with a reception – 0.50
Now here’s where I think is a good place to look for value. There are only 4 TEs in the game, 2 per side. That means there’s a good chance that they play AT LEAST half of the game each. Historically, TEs tend to get a lot of attention in Pro Bowls, and you essentially have a 50% chance of getting a TD. With the TE options in the Super Bowl mediocre at best, I like looking to the Pro Bowl for your TE (or even your FLEX).
I prefer Travis Kelce and Greg Olsen since they’re the starters, but also like Delanie Walker and Jimmy Graham. Kelce also has the benefit of likely playing some snaps with his hometown QB, Alex Smith. Feel free to use any of them, or even two of them if you need cap space to fit in Julio Jones.
- Average Total Lost Fumbles – 1.67
- Average Number of Sacks – 4
You can get some value here, as each game averages 5 INTs, 1.67 fumbles and 4 sacks. Even with the high score, you should get something, and both defenses are dirt cheap. So which should you choose?
Both sides got QB replacements. The NFC All-Pros got Drew Brees and Kirk Cousins (joining Dak Prescott). The AFC All-Pros got Alex Smith, Andy Dalton and Philip Rivers. The AFC appears to have less downfield fire power, so I think the AFC is going to struggle more than the NFC, which is why I’d go with the NFC All-Pros Defense, which also happens to be the cheapest on both sites.
For Yahoo, note that Martellus Bennett is cheaper than ALL the Pro Bowl TEs, which is bizarre. He’s even cheaper than Dennis Pitta, who for some reason is an option even though he’s currently just an alternate for the Pro Bowl.
Also note that the NFC All-Pros Defense and AFC All-Pros Defense are the same price. Feel free to take who you want, but as I noted above, I like the NFC All-Pros Defense slightly better based on the matchup.
UPDATE: FanDuel opened a Pro Bowl and Super Bowl contest , so I added my sample roster pursuant to my comments above.
Interestingly, on FanDuel, the defense prices are all very close, so you really don’t have to go for a Pro Bowl defense if you don’t want to. The Patriots Defense is only $400 more and the Falcons Defense is only $300 more. I don’t see a clear reason to do so, but if you had to pick one, I might slightly prefer the Falcons Defense, as Ryan hasn’t thrown any INTs in the last 6 games.
The other thing to note is that all the TEs are essentially priced within $1000 of each other. I actually still like Kelce and Olsen best, with Bennett a close second. Hooper is too expensive to be a punt play here.
At WR, I see that Malcolm Mitchell is dirt cheap at $4300. You’re welcome to take a flyer on him at that price.
Last, I ‘ll note that Brady is actually $400 more expensive than Ryan on FanDuel, so it makes the decision to go with Ryan really easy.
Good luck everyone, and I hope you all win DFS Cash in the NFL Pro Bowl and Super Bowl contests and THANK YOU for reading my article all season! See you next year!