“Buy or Bye?”™: Best Daily Fantasy Football Plays for Week 1 2020 Cash Games
By Ha Kung Wong
In 2019, we were over 70% for cash lineups and we’re back with more Daily Fantasy Football advice for Cash Games for Week 1 of the 2020 season! Already gave you some winners via Twitter for the NFL Kickoff Game, so here we are to help you with the main slates on Sunday!
— Football GarbageTime (@FBGarbageTime) September 11, 2020
As usual, before we get to winning you bragging rights (and DFS cash), remember, the point of this article is not just to give you one or two lineups for each site, it’s to give you examples of a few 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!
Let’s get to winning you some CASH in Week 1 of the 2020 NFL season!
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.
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 Fan Duel try to target at least 2 fantasy points per $1000 spent.
- For Draft Kings, try to target at least 2.5 fantasy points per $1000 spent.
- For Yahoo! Daily Fantasy, try to target at least 0.6-0.7 fantasy points per $1 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.
As per usual, I’m going to provide you with a few sample lineups on each site and give you a few notes to consider. You’re welcome. 🙂
So, without further to do, here are my suggestions for the Best Daily Fantasy Football Plays for Cash Games for Week 1 contests, along with they’re prices on FanDuel (“FD”), Draft Kings (“DK”) and Yahoo! Daily Fantasy (“Y!”).
- For those new to this column, note that I never advocate against you paying up at any particular position. We all know that Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, Christian McCaffrey and Michael Thomas are probably going to have the most consistent upside in terms of potential fantasy points from week to week. But remember that DFS is a salary cap game. You can feel free to sprinkle those into your lineups, but you can’t pay up at every position because there’s simply not enough salary to go around. So I try my best each week to provide my thoughts on how you might want to balance your cash lineups in terms of points potential and salary. So feel free to sprinkle in those to end players if you have cap space!
- “Free Square of the Week”™ – Pop quiz: Who’s the starting running back for the Jacksonville Jaguars? Leonard Fournette? Nope, he was waived and is now a Buccaneer. Ryquell Armstead? Uh uh, he’s out with COVID-19. Devine Ozigbo? Nyet, he unfortunately is on IR with a hamstring injury. Give up? It’s undrafted rookie James Robinson out of Illinois State. He’s listed as the starter and really only has Chris Thompson behind him as a change of pace/pass catching back. And he certainly has some upside as he averaged 21.9 carries and 123.3 rushing yards per game in his final two seasons at Illinois State. Never heard of him? Well neither have any of the DFS sites apparently because he’s minimum salary across industry. Plug him in and enjoy the savings. If you feel like pivoting on Robinson, I don’t mind sprinkling in Chris Thompson as well, based on his nearly minimum salary across sites and his usage in the passing game.
- I don’t have a favorite game of the week this time around, but I do have favorites at each position:
- At quarterback, particularly in a Week 1 where we have zero preseason insight, I’m going for value. And that means I’m taking Cam Newton and Tyrod Taylor. Newton and Taylor are respectively the 12th and 16th priced quarterback on FanDuel, 11th and 20th on Draft Kings and 15th and 17th on Yahoo DFS. Both Miami and Cincinnati are bottom 5 defenses from last year and haven’t done much to improve in the offseason, so Newton and Taylor shouldn’t face much resistance on game day, plus both quarterbacks like to scramble, giving them both some nice upside at a price that let’s you pay up elsewhere.
- At running back, I like Josh Jacobs, Joe Mixon and Todd Gurley. They’re all priced outside the top 6 for running backs and each offer top 6 upside. Jacobs is on the rise and faces a bottom 5 run defense in the Carolina Panthers, plus the possibility of a positive game script with the Raiders favored by 3. Mixon just got paid beaucoup dollars to stay in Cincy and has the excitement of first overall pick Joe Burrow behind center. You can bet Cincy will try and take the pressure off Burrow in his first NFL start by feeding Mixon. Gurley is even a better value than the others being priced outside the top 15 running backs across most of the industry, and is finally back home in Georgia with the high flying Falcons defense. Gurley is only a year removed from 1,251 rush yards, 580 receiving yards and a whopping 21 TDs. The potential is there and the Seahawks are only favored by 2 against the Falcons, which looks to be a hotly contested game.
- At wide receiver, I’m loving Chris Godwin, Allen Robinson and Calvin Ridley. Godwin is a top 5 WR who has a new QB in Tom Brady and tons of weapons around him, plus Mike Evans is suffering from a hamstring injury and is questionable for Sunday (UPDATE: Evans designated as doubtful on Friday but upgraded to questionable on Saturday). Robinson is facing the worst pass defense of 2019 in the Detroit Lions and was Mitchell Trubisky’s favorite target last year having the 3rd most targets of any WR in the NFL. If you want to save some salary, I actually don’t mind going with Anthony Miller as your third WR or flex based on the match up and price. And of course, if you want to pay up for Julio Jones, go for it. But I’d rather take Ridley and take the nearly 25% discount in price across industry, versus a bottom 5 pass defense from 2019.
- At tight end, I’m either paying all the way up for George Kittle or going for value with Hayden Hurst. Kittle is facing a bottom 5 pass defense from 2019 and had the most receptions and second most receiving yards per game of any TE in 2019. Plus, there are a ton of injuries among 49ers WRs which should open up even more targets for Kittle. But if you want to save salary, I’m a huge fan of Hurst, and I’ve already discussed that in the preseason. Plus he’s priced down behind 9 other TEs essentially across the industry.
- At defense, I usually just take value, but it turns out that the Baltimore Ravens defense are reasonably priced across sites. The Buffalo Bills defense are a close second in terms of match up and value, so feel free to mix and match.
- UPDATE (9-11 PM) – With Kenny Golladay listed as doubtful, I don’t mind adding some exposure to Marvin Jones at his value pricing.
The #Lions have declared WR Kenny Golladay (hamstring) as doubtful for Sunday’s game.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 11, 2020
- UPDATE (9-12) – With Miles Sanders officially out for Sunday, Boston Scott now makes for an interesting Free Square alternative near minimum salary across the industry.
Good luck everyone with your Week 1 Cash Lineups, and I’ll see you next week for some Week 2 Cash Lineup suggestions!