“Buy or Bye”™ – Daily Fantasy Football Plays for Week 1 2021 Cash Games

By Ha Kung Wong 

Twitter: @FBGarbageTime

In 2020, 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 2021 season!

You’re welcome. 😎

As usual, before we get to winning you more 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!

And this year, we’re also adding our ThriveFantasy prop picks to help you win even MORE money!

Let’s get to winning you some CASH in Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season!

Daily Fantasy Football

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. 😎

ThriveFantasy is actually quite a bit different.  There you have your choice of various player prop bets to pick from.  You can enter a traditional contest where you pick the Over or Under on 10 of the available prop bets, getting more points for risker picks, and compete for the most points in the contest.  Or you can just select two, three, or four player prop bets to create a custom lineup from the list of player predictions. Pick 2/2 correctly, win 3.6x your entry amount ($10 entry wins $36). Pick 3/3 correctly win 6.2x your entry. Pick 4/4 correctly win 11x your entry amount. The only limitation is that you choose athletes from more than one team to be able to enter.

I’ll be providing my 4 way prop bet picks each and every week!

If you’d like to try ThriveFantasy, go to www.ThriveFantasy.com and use code GARBAGETIME to get an instant deposit match up to $100!

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.


Draft Kings 

Yahoo! DFS


Game Notes:

  • For those new to this column, note that I never advocate against you paying up at any particular position for DFS.  We all know that the likes of Patrick Mahomes and Christian McCaffrey 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 high priced players into your lineups, but you can’t pay up at every position because there’s simply not enough salary to go around.  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.
  • My approach to DFS in Week 1 is to rely on a solid QB and RB to anchor my team, since we have so little information on the teams in their current 53-man incarnations.  And for this week, I’ve also noted that there’s plenty of value in the WR ranks this week, so I have no problems paying top dollar at other positions.
  • The “Free Squares of the Week”™ are basically all the value WRs out there, including Corey Davis, Marvin Jones, Michael Pittman, Marquez Callaway and Jerry Jeudy.
    • The Jets offense look completely revamped under rookie Zack Wilson, and his favorite receiver in the preseason was former 1st round pick Corey Davis, who seems rejuvenated in New York.  At Davis’ cut rate price, he’s fully on my radar across industry.
    • The Jaguars have a similarly boosted offense based on number 1 overall pick, Trevor Lawrence.  His favorite receiver in the preseason was Marvin Jones, who looked amazingly spry.  Laviska Shenault also is worth consideration if you want to mix it up, but I prefer Jones since Lawrence seems to like to lock in on him.
    •  With no TY Hilton, Michael Pittman is the default WR1 with new QB Carson Wentz under center.  At the discounted price, getting a WR1 is a steal, particular against a mediocre pass defense such as is in Seattle.
    • Similarly, with no Michael Thomas, Jameis Winston is going to have to air it out to Marquez Callaway, who’s looked completely locked in during the preseason.  He might be my favorite of the group with the ultralow price across industry, as he was priced prior to the announcement that Thomas would be out.
    • With Terry Bridgewater somewhat surprisingly getting the starting nod over Drew Lock in Denver, I’m not quite as bullish on downfield throws.  But Jeudy is terrifically talented even on medium routes after the catch, so I like his upside for the price.  It’s worth considering Courtland Sutton as well.
  • The Cleveland Browns @ Kansas City Chiefs game has the highest over/under of the weekend (53.5).  And since I like paying up for QBs this week, Patrick Mahomes is at the top of the list, but I like paying up for Travis Kelce just as much.  I won’t stop you from playing Tyreek Hill, but I prefer to save money on WRs.  Honestly, drafting Mahomes gets you exposure the the entire Chiefs offense, and he’s being projected for over 300 total yards and over 4 total TDs, which is as good as it gets at the QB position.  And his high price might help you by limiting his ownership percentage.  On the other side, I’m just not comfortable with the Browns pass offense, but I don’t mind getting some exposure to Nick Chubb, as I expect the Browns to slow down the tempo on the back of their rushing attack.
  • As I mentioned, I like paying up for a premium RB, and you don’t get more premium than Christian McCaffrey. His high involvement in the passing game gets him a nice floor, particularly for full PPR sites like Draft Kings, and you already know he’s the focal point for the Panthers offense.  I would be surprised if he doesn’t at least break 100 total yards and a TD.
  • Speaking of the Panthers, former Panthers head coach Ron Rivera has been the head coach for the Washington Football Team, and he sees a lot of CMC in Antonio Gibson.  Gibsons involvement in the passing game gets him a similar bump in floor at about half the price, particular on Draft Kings.  Washington has one of the top defenses in the league, so following the strategy of running the ball and the clock makes sense.  I’d be surprised if Gibson doesn’t at least break 90 total yards, with reception and TD upside.
  • No Travis Etienne means more of breakout RB James Robinson in Jacksonville. He ended his rookie season as the 7th highest scoring running back in PPR leagues, so you know he’s got upside. He’s particularly cheap on FanDuel.  In 2020, Houston had the worst defense against running backs, and if at all possible, their defense looks like even more of dumpster fire now than they did then.  It’s part of the reason why I also like Jacksonville’s cheap WR options so much.
  • If I have to pay up for a WR a little bit, a great high upside but mid-priced option is Terry McLaurin.  We all know that new QB Ryan Fitzpatrick is a gunslinger and McLaurin has already shown what he can do with subpar QBs last season totaling 87 receptions for 1,118 yards and 4 TDs. His price is mysteriously reasonable across industry.
  • If I’m not paying up for TE, I don’t mind taking a mid-range option like Robert Tonyan.  Tonyan finished last season as the 4th highest scoring tight end in PPR leagues.  Aaron Rodgers really liked hitting Tonyan in the endzone, and nothing indicates things will change this year, particularly with no clear WR2 on the Packers.
  • On defense, I love taking value and paying down, and mysteriously, the top defense of the weekend, the San Francisco 49ers Defense, is almost minimum salary on Yahoo.  So load up.  On Draft Kings and FanDuel, I prefer the Denver Broncos Defense, which are the 4th best projected defense of the week while being priced near the bottom half of defenses.  And if you really want to pay down, why not pay for the Miami Dolphins Defense, which is a top 10 defense in a mediocre matchup against the Patriots.  But it’s Mac Jones first ever regular season start, so I can see the opportunistic Dolphins defense taking advantage.
  • With regard to ThriveFantasy, I really like the Jakobi Meyers and Antonio Gibson props.  You already know how I feel about Gibson from above, so exceeding 84.5 total yards seems like a good bet.  Jakobi Meyers is the clear WR1 in New England and Mac Jones has to throw to someone.  He was the top receiving option in New England for the last half of 2020 and he was Jones favorite target in the preseason.  I’m counting on that continuing here.  I like Josh Allen as a seasonal QB, but he’s up against the second best defense in the league in the Pittsburgh Steelers, so I like taking the under on 279.5 passing yards.  And you already know how I feel about Patrick Mahomes.  He’s going to LIGHT. IT. UP.

Good luck everyone with your Week 1 Cash Lineups, and I’ll see you next week for some Week 2 Cash Lineup suggestions!

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