DFS Football 101: Week 1 Cash Game Strategy
DFS Football 101: Week 1 Cash Game Strategy

This article is part of our DFS Football 101 series.

It's Week 1 and it's time to start doing your weekly research for daily fantasy football. Remember, we don't wait until Sunday morning. The prep starts now, and I'm going to walk you through how I go about making a cash game lineup on FanDuel for the Sunday ONLY slate.

FanDuel – Target Score 120

Quarterback

One of the things I do with Week 1 at the QB/RB position in cash games is focus on the top 3-5 players at each position. But also are there any players who are significantly mispriced to where it makes them a must play?

With QB pricing a tad soft, and so much value in Week 1 already, I'm OK paying up a little. All four quarterbacks are in high projected total games and favored.

Marcus Mariota - $7,800
Cam Newton - $7,900
Ben Roethlisberger - $8,200
Aaron Rodgers - $8,300

Running Back

Much of the strategy last year was to pay up at both RB spots with a top-5 projected player. The only exceptions were Melvin Gordon and Jordan Howard, who crushed value every week. I'm looking at Christian McCaffrey as that guy in Week 1. He's got a great matchup against the 49ers, and I can see the Panthers getting him the ball in a variety of ways with big play potential.

Le'Veon Bell - $9,300
David Johnson - $9,400
LeSean McCoy - $8,500
Devonta Freeman - $8,300
Christian McCaffrey - $6,500

Wide Receiver

Because I'm choosing to pay up at the RB position, the WR is all about getting value and finding mispriced players. Look for a WR1 or WR2 with a good matchup against a weak secondary, favored, in a projected higher-scoring game with a decent QB getting him the ball. These are the nine wide receivers I will target in building cash game lineups between $6,000-$7,500.

Rishard Matthews - $6,100
Terrelle Pryor - $6,200
Larry Fitzgerald - $6,400
Martavis Bryant - $6,500
Jamison Crowder - $6,500
Pierre Garcon - $6,600
Davante Adams - $6,800
Michael Crabtree - $6,900
Doug Baldwin - $7,500

Tight End

TE is another position I look to save money on in cash games. I focus on targets and red-zone opportunities along with being a top-12 projected tight end. Another sneaky strategy is look for a tight end in which one of the top two wide receivers is out.

Jason Witten - $5,400
Martellus Bennett - $5,700
Zach Ertz - $5,900
Delanie Walker - $6,100

Kicker

Look for the cheapest kickers in the $4,500-$4,700 range. Teams that are favored with a high projected total or a projected close game. Domes are always a plus.

Blair Walsh - $4,500
Phil Dawson - $4,500
Ryan Succop - $4,600

Defense

Focus on the top defenses for the week. Build rosters with the least expensive and if you have money leftover to upgrade you can.

Rams - $4,600
Bills - $4,700
Steelers - $4,700
Texans - $5,100

Once I build my cheat sheet, I go to the RotoWire Lineup Optimizer and start playing around with building lineups. I start with the highest-ranked players I have based on salary, except the RB spot where I've decided to look at Johnson/Bell right off the bat.

PLAYERPOSTEAMOPPSPRDO/UTM/PSALARYFPTSVALUE
Marcus Mariota QB TEN OAK 0 52.5 26.3 $7,800 19.6 2.51
David Johnson RB ARI @DET 2.5 49.5 23.5 $9,400 18.4 1.96
Le'Veon Bell RB PIT @CLE -9.5 47.5 28.5 $9,300 19.4 2.08
Larry Fitzgerald WR ARI @DET 2.5 49.5 23.5 $6,400 12.0 1.87
Terrelle Pryor WR WAS PHI -2.5 47.5 25.0 $6,200 13.5 2.18
Rishard Matthews WR TEN OAK 0 52.5 26.3 $6,100 11.3 1.86
Jason Witten TE DAL NYG -6 50.5 28.3 $5,400 6.9 1.27
Los Angeles Rams D LAR IND 3 48.0 25.5 $4,600 6.8 1.47
Blair Walsh K SEA @GB 3 50.0 23.5 $4,500 8.4 1.86
Totals $59,700 116.3 1.95

I have $300 leftover with this lineup, so putting some toward a WR would make sense. I could upgrade Pryor with Martavis Bryant. If I wanted to upgrade additionally at WR, then moving down at RB to McCoy would be an option. This frees up $1,200 overall, which could be Doug Baldwin over Fitzgerald. Or you could spread it around and go up to Aaron Rodgers at QB and Davante Adams over Rishard Matthews.

PLAYERPOSTEAMOPPSPRDO/UTM/PSALARYFPTSVALUE
Aaron Rodgers QB GB SEA -3 50.0 26.5 $8,300 23.6 2.85
Le'Veon Bell RB PIT @CLE -9.5 47.5 28.5 $9,300 19.4 2.08
LeSean McCoy RB BUF NYJ -6 42.0 24.0 $8,500 14.2 1.67
Davante Adams WR GB SEA -3 50.0 26.5 $6,800 12.1 1.79
Larry Fitzgerald WR ARI @DET 2.5 49.5 23.5 $6,400 12.0 1.87
Terrelle Pryor WR WAS PHI -2.5 47.5 25.0 $6,200 13.5 2.18
Jason Witten TE DAL NYG -6 50.5 28.3 $5,400 6.9 1.27
Los Angeles Rams D LAR IND 3 48.0 25.5 $4,600 6.8 1.47
Blair Walsh K SEA @GB 3 50.0 23.5 $4,500 8.4 1.86
Totals 116.9 1.95

One final lineup construction this week will take a look at pairing Cam Newton with Christian McCaffrey. The initial lineup had $2,400 leftover, which we want to definitely reallocate toward WR and possibly TE. Swapping Pryor for Baldwin gets us to $1,100, leftover. Upgrading Larry Fitzgerald to Michael Crabtree leaves us with $600 to play with. There are a couple options left. We can upgrade Witten to Zach Ertz, or upgrade the Rams D to the Steelers/Bills/Texans.

PLAYERPOSTEAMOPPSPRDO/UTM/PSALARYFPTSVALUE
Cam Newton QB CAR @SF -4 48.5 26.3 $7,900 21.4 2.71
Le'Veon Bell RB PIT @CLE -9.5 47.5 28.5 $9,300 19.4 2.08
Christian McCaffrey RB CAR @SF -4 48.5 26.3 $6,500 10.9 1.68
Doug Baldwin WR SEA @GB 3 50.0 23.5 $7,500 14.1 1.88
Michael Crabtree WR OAK @TEN 0 52.5 26.3 $6,900 12.4 1.8
Jamison Crowder WR WAS PHI -2.5 47.5 25.0 $6,500 11.5 1.77
Delanie Walker TE TEN OAK 0 52.5 26.3 $6,100 11.1 1.81
Pittsburgh Steelers D PIT @CLE -9.5 47.5 19.0 $4,800 8.3 1.72
Blair Walsh K SEA @GB 3 50.0 23.5 $4,500 8.4 1.86
Totals $60,000 117.5 1.96

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Michael Rathburn plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: burnnotice, DraftKings: burnnotice, Yahoo: burnnotice, Fantasy Aces: burnnotice, FantasyDraft: burnnotice.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael Rathburn
Known as “Rath” in the Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) community, he has helped run operations for two prominent daily fantasy sports startups. Michael has taken his insider knowledge and expertise in daily fantasy sports to the content side. Rath won the 2016 FSWA "Baseball Article of the Year, Online" award and was a finalist for the FSWA Best Baseball Series in 2011.
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