Love and Courage
Love is powerful. It is the strongest emotion and the most potent word. Love drives us to do great things and also to insanity. Every language has a word for it. Each person on Earth has it somewhere inside of them. From the time we are born, we lock eyes with our mother in a gaze that represents the purest connection of love. Love makes loss infinitely more difficult.
My mother is a case study of loving through loss. She has persisted through numbing tragedies to remain a beacon of happiness and positivity. Her sister, Terri “Aberdoo” Hubbard succumbed to metastatic melanoma at 26 years old. She left behind three sons and a listless husband. Terri passed just before I was born, but I was very close with my cousins. It was important to my mom that they were loved.
Mom was there for Grandma when her husband moved on from lung cancer. They spent an entire weekend scrubbing Grandma’s walls clean of the tar from decades of cigarette smoke. It was therapeutic. Grandma then moved into the guest house on the ranch, where she and Mom built a huge garden that they tend together to this day.
Cancer came calling for Mom multiple times through the years. She had her own melanomas carved from her body, leaving behind scars and reminders to be thankful for every sunrise. There was a lump in her breast detected during a routine mammogram when I was 19. That was the most fear the woman had ever expressed. He voice quivered over the phone when she told me she had breast cancer. My exact words to her are tattooed inside of a pink ribbon on my left ribcage. “If anyone can… it’s you.”
We lost my stepdad to pancreatic cancer last month, with only four weeks notice that his time on Earth was expiring. My mother didn’t sleep at all that month. She was in full-blown love mode. She took care of John every way she could. She kept up with his meds, fed him, bathed him. They made one last trip to Alaska and she made sure he got to do everything he set out to do in his remaining time, as long as he had the strength. The gravity of losing her husband of 20 years didn’t strike her until she told me about meeting with the mortuary the day after John’s passing.
I owe any shred of courage and strength I have to my mother. COVID took away her desire to have a gathering for John’s celebration of life, so I’m spending my paid bereavement day this Friday to celebrate John and Mom. I’m cooking up ribs, chicken, beans, and mac-and-cheese. It’s exactly what John would want us to do. I’m taking over Mom’s kitchen, so she can sit down with a whiskey drink and breathe. We’re cooking for 20, but it will just be six adults. Grandma will be baking up her peach cobbler and blackberry crisp. It will all be made with love. Just like John always said, “Nobody in this family has ever starved to death (and never will).”
Speaking of living fat and happy, last week was one of the most successful versions of “Hot Cash” in history. The formula was sound and our plays were huge money makers in all formats. Week 5 represents a slightly smaller Main Slate, with another unique set of matchups. Let’s get cooking and build these lineups with love.
Week 3 DFS Cash Plays
I have a slightly different view from the consensus on how to build winning cash lineups. Instead of focusing on players with a “high floor,” I instead focus on their expected workload. These players often have that safe floor as a result of the VOLUME of opportunities, but they also have a higher likelihood of returning the 3x+ value that most cash games require to end the day above the pay line. A smart cash player has to always consider ceiling as a part of the equation, just maybe weighted lighter than if building for a GPP. I ask myself the same question every time: Does this player’s expected volume of opportunities (EVO) have high odds of accomplishing 3 points per salary dollar, divided by 1,000 (x=3[y/1000]).
KEY INGREDIENT*** — SECRET INGREDIENT*
KYLER MURRAY: VS SAN FRANCISCO ($8,000)
You may have noticed that Murray has been locked into this article every week. Regardless of salary and matchup, he is a brilliant cash play. As long as K1 is fully healthy, he is the perfect DFS quarterback for all formats.
JALEN HURTS: @ CAROLINA ($7,000)
Quickly approaching Kyler Murray territory, Hurts is another weapon in the DFS realm. Since he’s not as good of a real quarterback as Murray, he will be much more affordable on a weekly basis. Even his ugly performances will be profitable in cash games.
DAK PRESCOTT: VS NY GIANTS ($6,900)
The main slate is missing some elite offenses, but the Cowboys remain. Expect Dak to be a very popular GPP choice in this cushy matchup with the pathetic Giants, but his very reasonable salary allows you to build a juggernaut cash lineup around him.
DEREK CARR: VS CHICAGO ($6,100)
Carr showed a lot of resilience in the second half against the Chargers last week. He still has the most passing yards in the NFL and goes up against a Bears defense that gives it up on deep balls. I love Carr to surpass 300 yards and get that nice bonus on Sunday.
DANIEL JONES: @ DALLAS ($6,000)***
My favorite quarterback in cash this week is Danny Dimes, who faces my Cowboys. Even though he will likely turn the ball over, this game is going to be a very high total. Jones’ rushing, plus a negative game script for New York, allows for extreme optimism on his DK scoring projection.
JARED GOFF: @ MINNESOTA ($5,300)
It was a tough choice to give Goff the nod over Fields in this tier, but the tiebreaker was how abysmal this Vikings defense is. Fields has to deal with a tough Raiders pass rush, while Goff will have no-name receivers running wide open all over the field in Minnesota. I hope this one will also shoot out, giving Goff a great shot at cracking 300 passing yards at a bargain.
DERRICK HENRY: @ JACKSONVILLE ($9,000)
King Henry is officially in CMC territory at this salary. I’d be fading him if it weren’t for his newfound usage in the Titans’ passing game. He also would even be leading the league in rushing if we only counted his yards after contact. He might be tough to build around, but if you save at other positions, there’s nobody I’d rather have.
EZEKIEL ELLIOTT: VS NY GIANTS ($7,000)***
After a tough Week 1, Zeke is getting fed. He is as good of a pure running back as there is in the NFL and seems to score touchdowns in every game. The Giants are 28th against opposing running backs and trending even worse, with the loss of Blake Martinez. Elliott should have a monster game in this one.
NICK CHUBB: @ LA CHARGERS ($6,700)
The blueprint for beating the mighty Chargers happens to be Cleveland’s strongest attribute. Dallas ran the ball right down their throats. Chubb and Hunt are both viable for tournament play, but give me Chubb at a nice discount, where the passing attack will be hampered.
JAMES ROBINSON: VS TENNESSEE ($6,000)
The sheer volume that JRob is getting lately would be enough to play him against a horrid Titans defense. The ability to make the most of that volume makes Robinson a borderline smash play for all DFS formats this week. DJ Chark’s injury should push the Jags to emphasize the running game even more to take the pressure off of Trevor Lawrence.
DAMIEN WILLIAMS: @ LAS VEGAS ($5,600)
The loss of David Montgomery really hurts Chicago’s chances to beat the Raiders. That is, unless they can establish some semblance of a running game to keep the pass rush off of Justin Fields. Williams offers some receiving upside, even if he gives away some carries to Khalil Herbert.
TONY POLLARD: VS NY GIANTS ($5,600)
Along the same lines as Elliott, the Giants are absolutely terrible on defense. Pollard provides a nice receiving threshold to go with his explosive running. I think Dallas puts up 40 points with ease on Sunday, so no chance I’m fading a weapon like Pollard.
LEONARD FOURNETTE*: VS MIAMI ($5,200)
This week’s secret ingredient is an ultra value-priced Lenny against a dreadful Dolphins run defense. Until further notice, Fournette is the top dog in the Tampa backfield over Ronald Jones and Gio Bernard. I will have Lenny in every cash build, banking on an easy 4x+ value.
DAVANTE ADAMS: @ CINCINNATI ($8,200)
If you were hurt by Davante’s down week last week, have no fear. He only has a few of those each season. Aaron Rodgers won’t stop feeding him, especially in the red zone. Spend up with confidence that Adams is going to rebound in a big way against the Bengals.
JUSTIN JEFFERSON: VS DETROIT ($7,700)
Jefferson is truly a special talent. He is a fantastic possession receiver, commanding targets from all over the field. He is also a dynamic big play threat. Since Cousins still doesn’t have Dalvin Cook at full strength, look for him to pepper Jefferson and Thielen all game against a terrible Lions defense.
TERRY MCLAURIN: VS NEW ORLEANS ($7,400)
Yes, the Saints defense is good. They’re not that good against opposing wide receivers. McLaurin is also matchup-proof in cash games with his enormous target share. Taylor Heinicke is giving us all assurance of that. Even Marshon Lattimore struggles against speedy receivers as skilled as Scary Terry.
DEEBO SAMUEL: @ ARIZONA ($7,100)
Deebo cannot be stopped. He seems to have massive performances every week he’s healthy enough to suit up. The Trey Lance era is likely to commence this week, giving even more reason to plug Deebo into your lineups. Adding more big play opportunities to an already-staggering target share is exactly what we’re looking for.
ADAM THIELEN: VS DETROIT ($6,600)
Is it going to be a Jefferson game or Thielen game? A lot of times, the answer is simply “yes.” I don’t have any reason to think otherwise this week against the Lions, especially with Dalvin Cook running with a bad wheel.
DIONTAE JOHNSON: VS DENVER ($6,500)
This is a very tough matchup, but just another feather in the cap for Diontae. Big Ben is already hurt and playing horribly, but he still likes to force feed Johnson in the passing game. Every quarterback loves a guy who is always open, even if he himself is disintegrating.
AMARI COOPER: VS NY GIANTS ($6,100)
There is a lot to be said about a player who still performs, despite fighting through multiple injuries. Cooper is most definitely not a soft player, gutting out a 15-point performance last week against Carolina. The Giants defense is truly laughable. Almost as laughable as this salary for the Cowboys’ most productive receiver this season.
HUNTER RENFROW: VS CHICAGO ($4,900)
DraftKings releases the player salaries on Monday morning. This is a classic Monday night blind spot. Renfrow had a huge game against the Chargers, but was already set at $4,900 beforehand. Pay attention every week to this little edge. The Bears really struggle against the wide receiver position. Even without a ton of upside, “Third-and-Renfrow” is an amazing asset with volume for your 50/50 lineups.
LAVISKA SHENAULT: VS TENNESSEE ($4,800)***
Lock it in with Laviska, whose role completely changed following DJ Chark’s injury. His aDOT soared to 13 yards in Week 4, where also saw a big jump in target volume. Marvin Jones is a good play, but Shenault is a great one. The Titans might have the worst secondary in the NFL, so even the Jaguars have a shot at winning this one.
DEONTE HARRIS: @ WASHINGTON ($4,100)
Don’t look now, but Harris leads the Saints in targets. It’s not a very impressive stat (look at his competition), but it is fact. Washington has been the league’s most disappointing defense, especially against opposing wide receivers. Sean Payton will always feature his favorite players. Harris is definitely one of those guys.
DARREN WALLER: VS CHICAGO ($7,300)***
Don’t get cute this week. No Kelce on the main slate means you can technically spend down on the position, but most of the other decent options are in tougher matchups to predict good volume. Waller is the outlier, commanding the lion’s share of targets in the Raiders offense.
TJ HOCKENSON: @ MINNESOTA ($5,500)
Hockenson got back on track in the volume department, with eight targets last week. Even though he has cooled off from his torrid start, he’s a very reliable piece against a putrid Vikings secondary. Another mark in his column is the Vikings’ strong pass rush, which could force Goff to check down more to his backs and (of course) Hockenson.
DALTON SCHULTZ: VS NY GIANTS ($4,400)
There isn’t a more surprising star at the tight end position than Schultz, but I’m here for it. Although not as athletic or polished as a receiver as Blake Jarwin, his chemistry with Dak Prescott is something to behold. The Giants can’t defend anyone, so a DFS player should not hesitate to lock in as many Cowboys as possible this week.
MIKE GESICKI: @ TAMPA BAY ($4,200)
When facing the Buccaneers, it’s easy to decide who to play. Running backs? Absolutely not. Receivers? Yes, please! Gesicki is among Jacoby Brissett’s favorite options, even if he isn’t making a lot of explosive plays out of the plethora of targets. I’d wager that Gesicki is the Dolphin most likely to score a touchdown this week, too.
JONNU SMITH: @ HOUSTON ($3,300)
Which team is stone-worst in the NFL at defending tight ends? Why, it’s the Houston Texans. They’re also bad at many other things. I like both Jonnu and Hunter Henry this week, giving the nod to Smith for this article based on his $400 discount.
ANTHONY FIRKSER: @ JACKSONVILLE ($3,100)
Before the Titans traded for Julio Jones, there was a growing contingent of fantasy experts that were high on Firkser’s chance to get a lot of work in the passing game. He garnered five targets in his first healthy game of 2021 last week. Jones is very questionable to suit up in this one. Even if he does play, there’s good reason to plug Firkser in as a value play at the position.