For my birthday this year, my wife surprised me with a much-needed
getaway to Las Vegas for a kid-free weekend of entertainment, shopping,
and gorging on steak at my favorite steakhouse. It has been a long
time since our last weekend away and I could certainly use a few
days of stress-free living away from the kids and work.
Of all of the fun things in Vegas to do, gambling on slots and
playing poker is not something I will partake in, as I am a terrible
card player and the odds on slots make them a silly waste of money
in my eyes (unless you are looking to get free watered-down drinks
while playing penny slots.)
But gambling on football games is something I canít pass
up while in Sin City, and I plan on spending a few hours sitting
in the Sportsbook at Bellagio, sipping on gin and tonics while
the wife racks up the credit card bills at Coach and Louis Vitton.
The sports book will also be an excellent place to root on my
playoff DFS teams as I look to add to my bankroll in the final
weeks of the daily fantasy season.
When building playoff DFS rosters, there are a few things that
all fantasy owners should consider as the short slate of games
brings new concepts into play.
For example, in the regular season the probability of an optimal
lineup containing multiple skill position players from the same
team is small. But in a wildcard weekend with only four games,
you may end up having two receivers on the same team or a running
back/wide receiver combination that you may otherwise avoid. Donít
be scared to load up on one team, especially in large GPP pools
where you need to shoot for the stars.
Another thing to consider is weather and how it may affect player
production, especially quarterbacks playing in windy and snowy
conditions. While some QBís do well in windy and cold temperatures,
the majority of signal callers donít fare as well when conditions
are poor and passer efficiency has a negative correlation to windy,
wintery weather. If your decision between two QBís is close,
error on the side of caution and go with the one playing in a
In cash games, the importance of targeting volume players for
your foundation is important to ensure you build a strong base
of consistent players. There are less players to choose from,
and you must ensure you do not miss out on the canít miss
production in games where consistent production trumps reaching
for the breakout play.
Conversely, GPP players looking for that one player to separate
from the pack will need to dig a bit deeper, as the probability
of finding a sleeper player is much smaller with a small pool.
Will Kyle Rudolph come out of nowhere and score two TDís
against the Seahawks? Or will Ryan Grant or some other number
three wide receiver deliver a career game and put you over the
top? In large GPP games with a small player pool to choose from,
finding that hidden gem that nobody else uncovers becomes even
more of a challenge.
Regardless of what type of contest you choose, be sure not to
miss out on the final few weeks of DFS action. It is a long few
months until baseball starts.
The following lineup review is from a $50 winning roster from
a $10 multiplier on DraftKings. In keeping with the Vegas theme
of this piece, I decided to double down on the Steelers and bet
that Ben and Brown would not struggle in back-to-back games against
It should be apparent now that I am hell bent on riding Ben and
the Steelers to a DFS victory, even after last weekís debacle.
This week my stubbornness paid off as Big Ben and Antonio Brown
combined to score nearly 70 points, leading me to a nice $50 payout
to end the regular season.
There is a bit more than just stubbornness with this pick, as
I decided to use a bit of strategy that I typically use in fantasy
baseball. For lack of a better term, I look for players who are
due for a bounce back or slump-busting game after struggling in
recent weeks. In baseball, I look for talented players coming
off a few 0-4 games who have an advantageous matchup against a
terrible pitcher. The concept with football is similar, however,
due do the shortness of the NFL season you can look for one or
two bad games from which the player could break out.
With the case of Ben and his terrible game against Baltimore
in week 16, I chalked that up to an anomaly and excellent scheming
by the Ravens coaching staff. I decided to bet on the Steelers
avoiding back-to-back offensive struggles against division rivals,
even if that meant having Ben drop another five point turd. Luckily
my assumption was correct and Ben gave me top tier production.
I opted to allocate a significant amount of my salary to expensive
wide receivers, leaving me with a small budget to spend on running
backs. Hightowerís emergence as a viable tailback mixed
with a nice matchup against the Falcons and a $5,500 price tag
seemed like a nice play for a cheap backfield.
Bell was a complete shot in the dark based on a feeling he would
post his third consecutive week with a rushing touchdown. This
was not a volume play, which is typically what I look for in cash
games and multipliers, but I decided to go with my gut. Although
he didnít score, he did manage nearly eight points, which
isnít terrible for a $3,600 second running back with an
ownership percentage of .2%.
Hightower cashed in with 120 total yards and a score for 21 fantasy
points. Considering my recent struggles at picking expensive backs
who underperform, I was pleased to get nearly 30 from two guys
who cost $9,100 combined.
I closed out the regular season with my best showing at wide
receiver, as Brown, Decker, and Thomas combined for 81 points,
with the former posting a ridiculous 39 points on 187 receiving
yards and one touchdown.
I decided that I was going to give Ben a shot, it only made sense
to double up with Brown as well. The Decker play was based on
the fact that he entered the game catching a touchdown in his
previous three contests, and the probability of him continuing
that streak seemed high. After a terrible first half without much
action, Decker responded with one touchdown and 50 yards on five
catches. Exactly the type of production you are looking for in
cash games like this one.
Of all of my picks this week, the one that made me the most uncomfortable
was using $6,700 on Thomas against the Chargers. I liked the fact
that DT secured 22 catches in his previous three games and two
touchdowns against the Raiders, but he has had an up and down
year and could easily give me a stinker. One 72-yard TD pass to
open the game, and I was well positioned to place in the money
in the contest.
Death, taxes, and Zach Ertz posting ridiculous numbers to close
out the season. Last season he caught 15 balls Week 16 against
the Redskins, and he repeated the feat this year with 13 catches
for 122 yards against Washington. At a mere $3600 on DraftKings,
Ertz was a no-brainer upside play for owners looking for cheap
production from the tight end position. 45 percent of owners agreed
with the logic, and we were rewarded with 27.2 points.
As diehard 49ers fan I have had the displeasure of watching numerous
small and speedy wide receivers like Tyler Lockett beat the San
Francisco defense deep on big plays. The assumption here was that
Austin would either beat the Niners on an end around for a score
or a deep pass. Neither came to fruition, however, Austin did
give me 62 total yards and six catches, making his selection as
a flex not a terrible play. Not great, but decent double digit
Defense: Bengals Points: 6
As you might have picked up over the course of this season, I
am not a very good prognosticator when it comes to selecting fantasy
defenses. I rarely get burned for a goose egg, but picking the
top defensive play has not been my forte. The Bengals gave me
two picks and a sack, but they failed to give me a pick-six that
I thought might come from the hapless Ravens.