This article is part of our DFS Football 101 series.The last two weeks, I discussed my "Cash Game System," which consisted of guidelines for each position and how to approach them in cash games. This week, I review how to look at your cash game contests after they are completed and what you can learn from them.
I took a 100-man, 50/50 contest from Week 2 on FanDuel to review. You have to do this manually on FanDuel, but on DraftKings you can download the CSV file in the contest and get it automatically. One of the things you will notice on the ownership percentages is that there are only about three players at each position that collectively cover the majority. This goes into the strategy I went over in that you want to create a cheat sheet using my system and have a very limited player pool to select from when building lineups.
How do you know the players that will be heavily owned each week? Who will be the "chalk?" Well, Vegas totals will drive a big piece of it, so looking at the totals for the game and the implied team totals will tell you that. Also, any backup player that is now in a starting role will automatically become a favored play because it allows you to pay up for the more known commodities. Lastly, the opposing team defense versus the position will also determine who are the highest-owned players in a given week. For example, the Falcons have been scorched by opposing running backs who catch the ball, so a player like Theo Riddick would have a lot more interest in Week 3.
Let's look at the percentages owned by position:
Three quarterbacks made up the chalk in Week 2 (69%) – Matt Ryan, Tom Brady, and Aaron Rodgers. Ryan and Rodgers were in the same game, but Rodgers was dealing with the offensive line injuries which I think impacted his lower ownership. Tom Brady was in New Orleans in one of the highest projected scoring games of the week. The reason Ryan was higher than Brady was the $1,000 difference in price. It is a lot harder to build a cash-game lineup with a $9,200 quarterback. Brady was on the majority of the winning rosters and helped carry those teams.
You will find some players that swear paying down at quarterback is the right move in cash games on FanDuel. I'm not one of them. I'm going to gravitate to the top tier unless there is just one player that is in the mid-tier and significantly mispriced, but I usually never go below $7,500.
With David Johnson injured and Le'Veon Bell both expensive and coming off a bad week, the chalk gravitated to two players that were in the mid-tier pricing. Gordon and Montgomery were in good spots but also projected to get at least 20 touches. Once Jordy Nelson went down, Montgomery got a ton of work in the passing game. Both hit value and if you did not have them, you probably lost. The only other backs that hit value were Kareem Hunt and Todd Gurley.
The chalk got destroyed again at the wide receiver position. I rarely spend up for the top tier receivers because they are not as consistent as we saw a couple years ago. There was a point where Antonio Brown was a lock, but no longer. On FanDuel, the sweet spot of receiver has been $6,500-$7,500. It allows you to miss on a player without it killing your whole lineup.
The majority of the 21 percent of teams that had Chris Hogan paired him with Tom Brady, which paid off huge. Also, if you had J.J. Nelson in your lineup, there's a good chance you finished in the top half.
At tight end, it was pretty much one guy last week, Coby Fleener. With Willie Snead out and Fleener being mispriced, he became the chalk play and paid off just barely at 2x value. Some teams that went with Brady also stacked with Rob Gronkowski, who had a big game.
I have one strategy at kicker on FanDuel. Pay down in the $4,500-$4,700 range and look for the best matchup. I want a close game preferably, but a huge home favorite is OK, too. But a closer game with an accurate kicker in that price range is my target. After Week One, it was obvious that Giorgio Tavecchio was going to get a lot of action. Unfortunately, when you have a team that was a 14-point favorite, they end up scoring a lot of touchdowns, so he just didn't get the chance to attempt field goals. Phil Dawson was in a great spot as a seven-point road favorite against the Colts and only $4,500. He was my top kicker on the board in Week 2. Also, you have Gostkowski and Lutz who were in the same game.
Much like tight end, D/ST had some major chalk with the Ravens at almost half the field against the Browns. They came through with a big week, so if you didn't have them it was a tough road.
The Cardinals and Bucs hit at least 2x value and paid off. Those three teams accounted for 70 percent of the D/ST ownership.