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Week 13 DFS Cash Game Cornerstones

Welcome back to week 13 of cash game cornerstones.  I tried to mix it up a bit and roll with a slightly different format this week.  I thought it may be interesting to show the list of guys that I’m considering for Week 13 DFS cash game and talk my way through each option and then rank by position.   Hopefully, you all enjoy it!

Quarterback Options:

Pat Mahomes ($7,600), Cam Newton ($6,600), Jared Goff ($6,400), DeShaun Watson ($6,100), Jameis Winston ($6,000), Lamar Jackson ($5,900), Andrew Luck ($5,800), Kirk Cousins ($5,500)

Mahomes is clearly projected to be the highest scoring QB of the week and is priced accordingly.  With the team parting ways with Kareem Hunt on Friday the probability that the Chiefs score multiple rushing touchdowns early in the game is certainly decreased which should keep Mahomes with a ridiculously high floor.  I think it’s highly likely that the Chiefs throw even more without Hunt in the lineup.  I generally don’t like paying a premium at quarterback because typically their fantasy point outputs are in a pretty narrow range but this Mahomes kid is a monster!

Cam was the chalk in this match-up a few weeks ago but only produced 21 DK points after the Panthers got out to a huge lead.  Newton is always a threat for goal-line carries and this match-up is as good as it gets for quarterbacks.  The Bucs will potentially be without their top 3 cornerbacks on Sunday.  I’d expect Newton is the highest owned QB in cash this week.

Jared Goff has been the biggest beneficiary of the Rams scaling back Todd Gurley’s workload a bit.  Over the last 3 games, Goff has 40, 23, and 34 DK points.  The Lions run D has strengthened with the addition of Damon Harrison but their pass defense is 31st in Football Outsiders DVOA numbers.  Any concern of Darius Slay shadowing and limiting Brandin Cooks is absurd.  The biggest concern with Goff is that Gurley vultures all of the touchdowns, which is certainly a real possibility.

Since suffering a rib/lung injury early this season the Texans have scaled back Watson’s pass attempts.  Watson hasn’t thrown 25 plus pass attempts in 6 straight games.  However, Watson’s rushing upside keeps him in consideration for cash games.

Jameis Winston gets the nod as the Bucs starting QB again this week.  I featured Winston in this article last week and he’s my favorite play in cash again this week.  Bucs QB’s are averaging 28.75 DK points per game and Winston now gets a home match-up against a Panthers secondary that ranks 26th in pass defense DVOA.  Obviously, you can’t completely rule it out but the odds of Winston getting benched are very low.

Lamar Jackson gets the nod over a potentially healthy Joe Flacco on the road against a pitiful Falcons defense.  As a passer Jackson is unpolished but as a runner, he’s a threat that we haven’t seen at the QB position since prime Michael Vick.  The Falcons should be getting back speedy middle linebacker Deon Jones but that isn’t enough to make me completely dismiss Jackson.  In this match-up, Jackson has a legit 35 point ceiling and his rushing ability keeps his floor high.

Andrew Luck has been extremely consistent this season.  Luck has 8 straight games of at least 22 DK points and a road match-up against a Jaguars team possibly without Jalen Ramsey is not as daunting as many may think.  Playing behind perhaps the best offensive line in the league Luck has a high floor in this match-up.  All that said I probably won’t play him in cash but if Ramsey is out he’s definitely a very good option.

Kirk Cousins and the Vikings travel to Foxborough to square off with Tom Brady and Patriots.  The Vikings have leaned on Cousins’ arm heavily against teams with elite quarterbacks this season.  Cousins has put up 30 and 37 DK points against Aaron Rodgers, 36 DK points against Jared Goff and the Rams and 24 DK points against Drew Brees and the Saints.  The Pats rank 19th in pass defense DVOA this season.

I’d rank these players in this order for cash but certainly think they’re all viable options in cash:

  1. Jameis Winston $6,000
  2. Pat Mahomes $7,400
  3. Kirk Cousins $5,500
  4. Jared Goff $6,400
  5. Cam Newton $6,600
  6. Lamar Jackson $5,900
  7. Andrew Luck $5,800
  8. DeShaun Watson $6,100

Running Back Options:

Todd Gurley ($9,300), Christian McCaffrey ($8,800), SaQuan Barkley ($7,900), Aaron Jones ($6,700), Phillip Lindsey ($5,400), Spencer Ware ($4,000), Carlos Hyde ($3,300)

Coming off the bye week, Gurley has been limited in practice with an ankle injury.  The Rams were clearly limiting his touches when we last saw the Rams against the Chiefs.  Gurley hasn’t exceeded 16 carries in three straight games.  In my opinion, Gurley still has the highest ceiling of any RB on the slate but the recent cut in workload definitely lowers his floor a bit.

Christian McCaffrey is absolutely rolling right now.  Coming off of a 51 point DK day where he got both the 100-yard rushing bonus and the 100-yard receiving bonus he’ll square off with a Bucs D that has allowed 567 rushing yards to running backs over the last four games.  Last week Matt Breida and some dude named Jeff Wilson got for 181 total yards, despite the lackluster performance by the rest of the 49ers offense.  CMC has racked up 9 TDs in the last 5 weeks and is the clear top RB play on the slate.

SaQuan Barkley has a tough match-up against the Bears but is priced at a discount after being $9,100 last week.  The Bears play stingy run defense and are the #1 ranked run defense per football outsiders DVOA.  Barkley is so dynamic though and is involved so heavily as a receiver making him somewhat match-up proof. I’ll probably reserve him more for GPPs but Barkley racking up double-digit catches, scoring twice, and being the highest scoring player on the slate is certainly within his range of outcomes.

The Chiefs have an implied team total of 35 points against a hopeless Raiders team.  The obvious concern for Ware is that the Chiefs do all of the damage through the air and don’t need to rely on Ware.  That said he’s only $4,000 and if you aren’t playing him in cash you’re just doing it wrong.

It’s taken far too long but Aaron Jones has finally emerged as the unquestioned lead back in Green Bay.  Jones is averaging an absurd 6.4 yards per touch this season.  The Cardinals defense is allowing an insane 177 yards to running backs by far the most in the league.  Green Bay is 14 point home favorites this week which should set up a run-heavy game script.

Phillip Lindsay hasn’t quite been able to break out of the dreaded three-way timeshare with  Devonte Booker and fellow rookie Royce Freeman.  However, Lindsay has been ridiculously efficient with his touches, scoring in four of the Broncos last 5 games.  The Bengals defense has clearly checked out.  As noted by Rotoworld’s Rich Hribar the Bengals defense has allowed their opponent to score on 59.6% of their possessions over the last 5 weeks.

Leonard Fournette has been suspended for week 13 which opens up an opportunity for Carlos Hyde and T.J. Yeldon.  I prefer the cheaper Hyde as he’s most likely to receive goal-line work and could potentially just slide into Fournette’s role as the bell cow.  There’s certainly some risk of getting blown out by the Colts and overall ineffectiveness of the offense with new QB Cody Kessler under center.

For cash I’d rank them:

  1. Ware $4,000
  2. McCaffrey $8,800
  3. Lindsay $5,400
  4. Barkley $7,900
  5. Jones $6,700
  6. Gurley $9,300
  7. Hyde $3,300

Wide Receiver Options:

Tyreek Hill ($9,100), DeAndre Hopkins ($8,200), Adam Thielen ($8,000), Julio Jones ($7,700), Robert Woods ($6,900), Kenny Golladay ($6,700), Chris Godwin ($3,900).

I love Tyreek Hill. He’s incredible.  His ceiling is insane.  The Raiders have absolutely no one that can cover him.  That said, at $9,100 I’m going to have a really hard time getting there in cash.

I mentioned above that the Texans have been limiting DeShaun Watson’s passing attempts in recent weeks.  The change in play calling strategy has certainly affected Hopkins.  It’s more of a gut feeling than anything but this just feels like a get right spot for Hopkins.  In our week 13 DFS Playsheet, I used Hopkins as my bold call of the week and projected two touchdowns.

The Patriots have been getting smashed by slot wide receivers all year.  That’s not a great sign with Adam Thielen and the Vikings coming to Foxborough.   Fresh off an 8/125/1 line against the Packers on Sunday night the NFL’s leader with 93 receptions will look to start another streak of 100+ yard games and a touchdown.  The  Patriots will certainly try to take Thielen away but haven’t every team been trying to do that all season?

Julio Jones is a machine.  The machine is priced at an affordable $7,7000 this week.  The match-up is tough against the Ravens that rank 5th in Football Outsiders pass DVOA but for studs like Julio I’m not sure how much defense matters.  I’ll probably steer clear of  Julio in cash but definitely think he’s very viable in GPP.

I slightly prefer Woods to Cooks as far as Rams pass catchers go this week.  Woods runs about 70 percent of his routes out of the slot and will avoid the Lions top corner Darius Slay for the most part.  Woods has at least 70 yards in every game aside from week 1 this season.  Cooper Kupp’s season-ending injury should, in theory, make Woods the Rams top red zone receiving option.

The Lions face the Rams at home this week and are going to be forced to pass the ball a ton just to try and keep up.  With Golden Tate in Philly and Marvin Jones on Injured Reserve, Stafford simply doesn’t have anyone else left. Over the last three weeks, Golladay is averaging a massive 12 targets per game and has racked up 19/281/2 in that span. The Rams defense is tough, especially with Aquib Talib returning but I’m betting on Golladay’s talent and volume here.

Desean Jackson is going to miss the Bucs week 13 game against the Panthers which will force Chris Godwin into a full-time role.  As noted by Adam Levitan, Godwin was 13th among 107 qualifying WRs in yards per route run last year & is 26th this year.  Godwin has the size, speed, and explosiveness that we look for in a wide receiver.  At $3,900 there’s no reason that Godwin shouldn’t be in your cash game lineup this week.

I’d rank the WRs in this order for cash:

  1.  Godwin $3,900
  2. Thielen $8,000
  3. Golladay $6,700
  4. Hopkins $8,200
  5. Woods $6,900
  6. Hill $9,100
  7. Jones $7,700

Tight End Options

Travis Kelce ($7,000), Eric Ebron ($4,200), Matt LaCosse ($2,500)

At tight end this week it’s really simple. You’re either paying all the way up for Kelce in a smash spot vs the Raiders, going in the middle with Ebron, or scraping the salary floor with LaCosse.

I almost never pay up for a tight end in cash and probably won’t end up doing it again this week but man this is a smash spot for Kelce.  The Chiefs passing game tree is condensed without Sammy Watkins and Kareem Hunt in the mix which should lead to plenty of opportunities for Kelce.  The Raiders rank dead last in DVOA against the tight end.

The Colts are without Jack Doyle, Mo Alie Cox, and Erik Swope.  Eric Ebron is the last man standing at tight end for the Colts.  Ebron has played over 50% of the snaps in 5 games this season.  In those games, he’s totaled 21.5, 17, 34.5, 15 and 8.3 DK points.  It’s certainly reasonable to expect Ebron to play 75% of the Colts offensive snaps and flirt with double-digit targets against the Jaguars who coughed up 3 TDs to Ebron just a few weeks ago.

If you want to scrape the bottom of the barrel this week you’ll find Matt LaCosse for the bare minimum on DK.  With Heureman going down the Broncos will turn to at tight end this week. LaCosse is definitely viable in both cash and GPP this week at his price.  The Broncos have forced the ball to the tight end this year in the red zone and Heurman actually led the team with 13 red zone targets. LaCosse steps into that high-value role against a Bengals defense that before forcing a punt in the 3rd quarter last week had allowed 17 consecutive possessions with a punt.  They simply can’t stop anyone.

I’ll likely end up with Ebron in my cash game lineup.  I trust Andrew Luck way more than I trust Case Keenum and I just don’t know that in cash I’m gonna have $7k available for a tight end.

Defense / Special Teams

The Packers are my favorite defense this week.  I like playing home defenses in cash and they’re my favorite of the below $3k options.  The Packers generate a ton of pressure and Josh Rosen is simply mistake-prone at this point in his career.  I also don’t mind the Chiefs or Rams defenses this week but they’re both on the road and facing more seasoned (albeit also mistake prone) quarterbacks in Derek Carr and Matt Stafford.

Thanks for reading everyone!

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