Best Daily Fantasy Football Plays for Cash Games – 2020 Pro Bowl
By Ha Kung Wong Daily Fantasy Football
So most of the NFL season is over and you already miss playing daily fantasy football. Well, stop worrying! Turns out, as we’ve seen in the past, there are a assortment of contests left on FanDuel, Draft Kings and Yahoo Daily Fantasy that include the Pro Bowl!
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.
So predicting options for Pro Bowl DFS lineups is pretty tough, which means that more than usual, you’re closer to gambling on these lineups. With that in mind, I’ll at least give you a few facts to help you make your educated guesses.
All the Pro Bowl lineups this year on most sites are of the “Single Game” or “Showdown” variety. This means slightly different things on FanDuel and Draft Kings.
- FanDuel – You have $60,000 total salary to fill 1 MVP and 4 regular spots. MVP scores 1.5x but does NOT cost more. The average amount you have to spend per player is $12,000.
- Draft Kings – You have $50,000 total salary to fill 1 Captain and 5 regular spots. Captain scores 1.5x but COSTS 1.5x more. The average amount you have to spend per player is $10,000. But since you have to pay more for your Captain, assume you’re paying around $15,000 for a Captain leaving you with around $7000 for each of the 5 remaining slots.
- Yahoo – It’s a regular slate including both the Pro Bowl and Super Bowl. I’ve included more explanation on this one below next to the Sample lineup.
Usually I focus on cash games, but since the Pro Bowl is mostly a crap shoot, there are really no differences in looking at cash or GPP tournaments. I’ll give you my thoughts on who to play in DFS generally, will note if I like them for the Captain/MVP position, and will provide a few SAMPLE lineups.
One last note for all of you. As I ALWAYS do, I prefer to enter LOTS of $1 tourneys than a few $10 tourneys. The reason is that there’s no accounting for crazy people just randomly selecting players, and although they’re unlikely to win, you never know when they might catch lightening in a bottle and knock you out of the cash. So to minimize this randomness, I prefer to spread out all my lineups over more entries (i.e. I’d rather be in 10 x $5 tourneys than 5 x $10 tourneys). Just sayin, do what you prefer, but that’s why you’ll see me put in a lot of $1 tourneys.
OK, so let’s get started!
2020 Pro Bowl
There’s two things I look at when making Pro Bowl DFS player selections. First, I like skill players that are playing with other guys from their team. So that includes QBs, WRs, RBs and offensive linemen from the same team. It just makes sense that they have a better chance of performing when working with someone they know and trust. Second, you have to at least get a feel for what different skill positions are likely to do in the Pro Bowl, since it’s a game unlike any other played in the NFL season.
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 through 2016 & 2018 through 2019, tossing out the 2017 defensive battle aberration.
Average Total Passing TDs – 5.80
Average Number of QBs played – 6
Average Passing TDs per QB Played – 0.97
QBs with More than 1 TD – 1.75
Average Total INTs – 4.60
Average INTs per QB played – 0.77
This tells us that although QBs average almost a TD per game, it’s very difficult to predict which QBs will get them. Maybe you get lucky and the QB you chose gets 2 TDs, or maybe your QB completely bombs out at 0. Plus, each QB averages 0.77 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, if you have a choice, you should look to minimize your exposure to multiple quarterbacks at the Pro Bowl as they are really 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. The only sure thing is that they’ll at least get some play time, so at least there’s a floor (as opposed to WRs who might get 0 targets or 0 receptions regardless of time in the game). If you want to play a Pro Bowl QB, here are my thoughts (in priority order):
- Lamar Jackson
- Drew Brees
- Ryan Tannehill
- Kirk Counsins
- DeShaun Watson
- Russell Wilson
My thought process on these guys is easy. Jackson is playing with FB Patrick Ricard, RB Mark Ingram, TE Mark Andrews as well as OT Ronnie Stanley and Orlando Brown, plus he’s got that rushing yard floor, but his price is awfully high. That being said, I’ve found that you have to spend up somewhere, so Jackson isn’t tough to fit in. Brees is playing with almost his entire offense consisting of RB Alvin Kamara, WR Michael Thomas and Deonte Harris, TE Jared Cook, OT Terron Armstead, OG Andrus Peat and Larry Warford, so there’s some upside here. Tannehill is cheap, is playing with RB Derrick Henry and has some rushing floor as well. Cousins is cheap and is playing with FB C.J. Ham and RB Dalvin Cook.
Honestly, if you want to take a shot at any of these guys as your Captain/MVP, go for it. Just know that it’s pricey and you might not get much of a return on investment.
As for Watson and Wilson, both had 450+ rush yards this season, so I’m really only considering them if I have some extra cap space and want to try and get the rush yard floor. I don’t necessarily like them better than Tannehill and Cousins, but if you have extra cap space, I don’t mind diversifying.
Average Total Rushing TDs (from RBs) – 0.40
Average Number of RBs with a receiving TD – 0.8
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, at most, only one RB a game gets a receiving TD. There are a total of 6 RBs in the game. Care to gamble? I generally wouldn’t, not with these odds.
But, unfortunately, you need to fill spots with someone, so you’ll probably have to consider at least one RB. I tend to like rookies and younger players who make the Pro Bowl over veterans, as they’re more likely to want to stay in the game. I also prefer RBs that catch passes, as at least you have the PPR upside:
- Alvin Kamara
- Nick Chubb
- Dalvin Cook
My thought process is the same as for the QBs. Kamara has his QB and almost his entire offensive line playing plus he was an alternate this year, so he might push to stay in the game and he has some PPR upside. Chubb is only in his second season and coming off a disappointing team season, so I can see him pushing to stay in the game as well. And Cook has his QB and FB in the game and has some PPR upside too. I would have liked Ingram, but he’s coming off a calf injury and probably won’t play much in a meaningless game.
Average Number of WRs with a TD – 2.20
Average Number of WRs with a reception – 7.6
Average Number of TDs per WR with a reception – 0.29
All 8 WRs each year usually get at least one reception, but only 2.20 get a TD. So you’re essentially gambling on which WRs will get TDs, and you have a better than 70% chance of being dead wrong. If you want to slot in a Pro Bowl WR, I don’t hate the idea, but you should really temper expectations and expect a very low floor.
- Michael Thomas
- D.J. Chark Jr.
- Kenny Golladay
- Courtland Sutton
I’ll make an exception for Thomas since he led all WRs with receptions and yards in the regular season and he has almost his entire offense on the field with him. I don’t mind playing Chark, Golladay and Sutton since it’s their first Pro Bowl and perhaps they’ll push to stay on the field.
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 around 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. Heck, TE Delanie Walker (who I suggested using in DFS in 2018) was one of the MVPs of the 2018 Pro Bowl with 4 receptions for 29 yards and 2 TDs. And every TE in the 2019 Pro Bowl had at least 3 receptions or a TD. So its actually worth using multiple TEs in your Pro Bowl lineup.
- Mark Andrews
- Jared Cook
- Austin Hooper
- Jack Doyle
Andrews is obvious since he has his usual QB, Jackson, on the field with him, as is Cook with Brees. Hooper was the top TE in the NFL prior to injury and was an alternate so maybe he’ll push for some plays, and Doyle, well, just the fact that he’s a TE makes him viable, plus he’s incredibly cheap.
Average Total Lost Fumbles per Game – 1.40
Average Number of Sacks per Game – 4.60
You can get some value here, as each game averages 5 INTs, 1.40 fumbles and 4.60 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 Kirk Cousins. The AFC All-Pros got Ryan Tannehill. The AFC appears to have the more dynamic QBs who also have higher rushing potential, I’d go with the NFC Defense (for both Cash Games and Tournaments), but have no problems with the AFC Defense as well. The current -1.5 spread doesn’t really impact my decision here. And if you feel particularly sassy, go ahead roster one of them as your Captain/MVP too. Why not?
Wow, we can roster kickers this year! Usually, I hate using kickers, but in single game slates and particularly in the Pro Bowl, I love them. Why? Well, there’s only one kicker per side, so they’ll be in play the entire game. Over the last two Pro Bowls, there were 7 total field goal attempts and 8 extra points. Split that up among 4 kickers, that’s 1.75 FG and 2 XPs per kicker. Not too shabby! On Draft Kings, kickers are about HALF the price of the cheapest viable skill player, so it makes sense to play at least one of the kickers on Draft Kings if you need cap space. On FanDuel, they’re much more expensive, so I don’t mind playing one, but definitely don’t mind skipping them entirely.
Remember, as per the regular season, these are JUST SAMPLES. Mix and match your lineups to minimize your risk!
For Yahoo, you’ll see that lineups include both the Pro Bowl and the Super Bowl. For these types of games, I prefer to stock up on as many players from the Super Bowl as possible, since they’ll have much more motivation to score and much better defined role. That being said, I don’t mind getting value from one of the Pro Bowl Defenses (take your pick) or one of the Pro Bowl TEs for the reasons I noted above.
I’ll break down my Super Bowl DFS picks next week in more detail, but for now, know that my favorite plays include Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, Raheem Mostert and Damien Williams. My favorite Super Bowl value plays so far are Deebo Samuel, Emmanuel Sanders and Sammy Watkins.
Good luck everyone and hope you win Pro Bowl DFS Cash! Come back next week for in depth Super Bowl LIV DFS picks!