Hot Cash From the King of Spice

Bulletin Board Material

What would you tell someone if they approached you on the street and asked, “What motivates you?” Is it a who or a what? If it’s a who, why? I know some people who seem to lack any motivation to improve their lot in life, but like tapping on the walls of a fish tank or poking a sleeping bear with a stick, there has to be some motivation in there somewhere.

As a husband and father, it’s pretty easy to answer that question. My wife and daughter are the two most important beings in my life. Although I’ll likely struggle to ever be the husband or father that Mike Tagliere was (and made look so easy), they drive me to be the best whatever I want to be.

Ever the typical young newlyweds, Kristina and I dreamed about traveling and adventuring through our twenties before settling down to maybe have children. Surprise! Addison came along right at the onset of our journey. It was difficult. We were two working professionals with nary the disposable income or shared time off.

When Addison was nearing the end of her first grade year, we were thinking it was time to finally take a trip with her. Not just the little day or weekend outings in the car, we were going to go somewhere that required a plane or a boat. We saved up and booked a cruise to Ensenada, Mexico. My mother-in-law was coming too, with an adjacent suite to share with Addison when Kristina and I were on adults-only adventures. Addison got a passport; she was going to visit another country before she reached second grade. What a story she could tell the class when school started in August 2020…

For the last two years, our now third grader has gone through the familiar carousel of remote learning, mask mandates, and lockdowns. Just as it has negatively affected the mental health of many, our children have become accustomed to all the disappointment. The cruise was cancelled and refunded. Subsequent inquiries into future trips were scuttled because of travel restrictions. The inability to do normal, fun things that kids need to find joy in the world has jaded Addison to a degree. She’s a smart kid; she understands why things are the way they are. She also holds some resentment toward the world, including her parents, for not providing her as much of the fun that normal childhood should bring.

We were shuffling through Addison’s school folder last night and found an assignment where the students were asked about some of their favorite things. Our child waxed poetic of her love for animals and video games, but the one that hit us like a ton of bricks was the one about her “favorite vacation.” Our eight-year-old wrote in pencil, “I have never been on a vacation” with a sad face at the end. Kristina and I both replicated the face to one another. It hurt. The little cartoon beach with waves, sand, and an umbrella had stirred up that resentment in our little girl. She didn’t know we were going to see this. Now, we’re not going to ignore it.

Addison’s response to her assignment, now attached to our bathroom mirror. We are motivated to go on our first family vacation and plenty more.

Of course, NFL teams have “bulletin board material.” If your opponent is talking trash about you before the game, it’s even more motivation to prove them wrong and earn a sweeter victory. The last two years have us all downtrodden and starving for fun and adventure.

A nice DFS payout will go right into booking our first real family vacation. With that fire in my belly to put a smile on my little girl’s face, I will succeed. If you join me, you will too!

Washington Football Team quarterback Taylor Heinicke (4) dives past Buffalo Bills’ Vernon Butler (94) for a touchdown as Bills’ A.J. Epenesa (57) and Mario Addison (97) watch during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)

Week 6 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*

Quarterbacks

PATRICK MAHOMES: @ WASHINGTON ($8,300)

It’s easy to forget how much of a fantasy cheat code Mahomes is after a disappointing couple of games for him and the Chiefs. After two tough matchups, a preseason look at the schedule might have looked like a third was on the horizon. Not so, as the Washington defense has been a massive disappointment. This figures to be a game with plenty of big upside for both sides.

KYLER MURRAY: @ CLEVELAND ($7,900)

Every single week. Don’t you dare move Kyler Murray out of consideration for the best quarterback for cash games. He is completely matchup-proof, except for the rare divisional clunker like last week. We also just watched Justin Herbert put up a monster, slate-breaking game against this Cleveland defense.

JUSTIN HERBERT: @ BALTIMORE ($7,300)

Speak of the devil. Herbie is en fuego. His 45.8 DK points last week were the golden ticket to DFS winnings. He is positioned to double down on that performance against a tattered Ravens secondary. Herbert is averaging more than 40 passing attempts per game and leads the NFL in completions down the field outside the numbers.

MATTHEW STAFFORD: @ NY GIANTS ($6,700)

Stafford priced under $7k this week is an eyebrow-raising value, especially against a pathetic, hapless Giants team. The only mitigating factor to Stafford’s volume is how early the Rams might build an insurmountable lead, where the running game will get to work on one of the league’s worst run defenses to kill the clock.

TAYLOR HEINICKE: VS KANSAS CITY ($5,800)***

Heinicke resembles Jalen Hurts more than you think. He looks terrible as a real life quarterback, with countless bonehead decisions and poor throws every game. Every week, however, he seems to put up numbers that belie his level of play. His matchup is much more favorable against Kansas City than last week’s dud against New Orleans. I will be locking Heinicke into a bunch of cash lineups.

MAC JONES: VS DALLAS ($5,200)

Toward the bottom of the quarterback fish tank swims the Alabama rookie, who has been remarkably consistent so far this season. The Patriots have flipped the script on their neutral script scheme from last season, now passing at a very high percentage of plays. Dallas has formed a surprising pass funnel, with a very opportunistic group of ball hawks on the back end. The stats will bear out a value in the end.


Running Backs

AUSTIN EKELER: @ BALTIMORE ($7,900)

Ekeler is an absolute PPR stud. He is as close to a CMC as we will see until the Panthers’ star returns to full health. With how amazingly the Chargers are rolling on offense, there is absolutely no reason to hesitate on this spend up.

EZEKIEL ELLIOTT: @ NEW ENGLAND ($7,100)

Back to the top of the cash game board goes Zeke, whom I have had locked in as a top-5 running back since the preseason. There are very few players who are near locks to score a touchdown in every single game. New England isn’t a slouch against the run, but the Cowboys haven’t really been bothered by good defenses anyway.

JOE MIXON: @ DETROIT ($6,400)

The much-maligned Mixon is still an incredibly talented running back, who showed no impedance from his ankle sprain last week. Detroit is abysmal against opposing running backs. Depending on his popularity, it’s very possible I’ll be using a lot of Mixon across all formats this week.

DEANDRE SWIFT: VS CINCINNATI ($6,300)

I made a vow to play Swift “no matter what” if he was healthy and under $7k. He hasn’t cracked that number since Week 2 against Green Bay. After his third 20+ point performance this season, his salary only jumped $200. Keep on chugging!

DARRELL HENDERSON JR: @ NY GIANTS ($6,000)***

Have you heard me say how bad the Giants defense is? Pull up a chair and I’ll keep going on like a broken record. I love how Henderson is only $100 more than last week, where he put up another very solid performance. The Giants won’t even stand a chance.

JAVONTE WILLIAMS: VS LAS VEGAS ($5,000)

Melvin Gordon is like the Tinman in need of some oil for his joints. The 50/50 split to this point cannot be sustained, especially since Gordon is falling apart and the stud rookie is showcasing his superior ability on every snap. This is the week where we see a nice bump in opportunities for Williams against a Charmin-soft Raiders team.

KHALIL HERBERT*: VS GREEN BAY ($4,600)

If you are a consumer of the BallBlast Wire waiver show with Sam Wagman and I, you’ll know I recommended Herbert over Damien Williams as a FAAB priority once David Montgomery was injured. I predicted that he would get more carries than Williams in Week 5…and he did. Now, Williams is COVID-positive and unlikely to suit up. Khalil “11 Toes” Herbert is a free square this week.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is cooks.jpeg

Wide Receivers

DAVANTE ADAMS: @ CHICAGO ($9,000)

I told you all to sell the farm and put Davante in every lineup last week and I hope you weren’t too stubborn. The Packers star receiver went absolutely thermonuclear against the Bengals, to the tune of 40.6 DK points. It would be silly to expect another 40-burger, but the likelihood of 27-plus to pay the bills this week is extremely high.

COOPER KUPP: @ NY GIANTS ($7,900)

Shhh! While you were sleeping, we had a quiet performance for Kupp while Bobby Trees emerged from the thicket. A stable salary from last week is a lullaby for DFS players, who shouldn’t scoff at the 7/10/92 performance last Thursday night. Have you heard how bad the Giants are on defense?

DEANDRE HOPKINS: @ CLEVELAND ($7,800)

Last week was a reassurance that Nuk’s ribs are feeling much better. He is battling an illness this week, but if he’s ready to go for Sunday, he will be an incredible leverage receiver around more chalky options for GPP. For cash, he’s as consistent as any wideout in NFL history. Lock him in.

TERRY MCLAURIN: VS KANSAS CITY ($7,100)

It’s really too bad that Heinicke was so terrible last week in New Orleans. Terry was enjoying incredible volume every game. The Chiefs have been a huge letdown on defense this season, contributing very poor play that has led to their three losses. I have no doubt that this will be the highest score on the slate. McLaurin should be a huge part of that.

ROBERT WOODS: @ NY GIANTS ($6,100)

The target dispersal from Stafford to these Rams receivers has been very concentrated to the top two guys, especially last week. Woods was schemed into 14 targets and caught 12 of them for 150 yards. Nobody was even mad that he didn’t find the end zone. I believe he will check that box this week against the lowly Giants in New Jersey. Their defense is terrible.

BRANDIN COOKS: @INDIANAPOLIS ($5,800)***

Apparently, it only takes one bad week to completely forget about Cooks again. His salary plummeted back below $6k again, which means you can safely lock him into your cash lineups. Indy isn’t as great on defense as I thought they would be, especially against the wide receiver position.

KADARIUS TONEY: VS LA RAMS ($5,600)

Help! I’ve obviously been kidnapped. I just typed out a name that I chided all offseason as an obvious bust in the making. I wholeheartedly admit that I was wrong about the Florida rookie. He has been electric in the two games he has been given volume. I don’t have any reason to expect that to stall, even if Shepard and Slayton come back.

JAKOBI MEYERS: VS DALLAS ($5,400)

Another guy makes the list that normally induces my snoring reflex. Yes, I like to joke that Meyers carries an Epi-Pen in case he gets too close to the end zone. He actually came only a yard short of his first career touchdown last week. His volume is as steady as it gets in this surprisingly pass-heavy Patriots attack. The price is also perfect against a suspect Cowboys secondary.

HUNTER RENFROW: @ DENVER ($4,900)

Eight targets per game pays the bills for most players at $6k on DK. We’re getting that with Renfrow for pennies on the dollar. Denver is very tough on outside receivers, but not quite as great against the slot. If Derek Carr wants to break out of this completely-predictable slump, he better find his diminutive slot receiver with the strong clutch gene.

AMON-RA ST BROWN: VS CINCINNATI ($4,200)

Like with Renfrow, eight targets per game pays the bills. The rookie from Southern Cal has hit that number in consecutive weeks. Plus, his main competition for targets on the outside, Quintez Cephus, has been lost for the remainder of the season from a broken clavicle. If you remember, the Bengals were the team that allowed 40 DK points to Davante Adams last week.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is kelce-.jpeg
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI – SEPTEMBER 26: Travis Kelce #87 of the Kansas City Chiefs catches the ball during the fourth quarter in the game against the Los Angeles Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium on September 26, 2021 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images)

Tight Ends

TRAVIS KELCE: @ WASHINGTON ($7,000)***

Don’t get cute at the tight end position. A valuable lesson in DFS is the “pony-up or punt” strategy at tight end. As in, don’t try to guess which mid-price guy will have the best performance. Someone down at the bottom is just as likely to be the breakout tight end, and the top guys will nearly always produce. If this game shoots out, Kelce’s puzzling drop in salary this week will be met with his best points-per-dollar performance of the year.

DARREN WALLER: @ DENVER ($6,600)

If you’re insane, you’ll save the $400 dollars and eschew Kelce for Waller in a much tougher matchup. He’s still a great play, but I’d be stunned if his value exceeds Kelce’s this week. Even then, his volume is more than enough to roster with confidence.

MARK ANDREWS: VS LA CHARGERS ($5,200)

Holy smokes! I had to find my glasses to make sure I wasn’t losing my mind. Andrews scored 44.7 DK points last week, faces a defense that is statistically worse than the Colts versus the position, and his salary was reduced by $300?! This twilight zone moment is brought to you by DraftKings. If there’s one sure chalk bet, I’d place it on Andrews. Luckily, you don’t have to weight a player’s popularity heavily at all in cash games.

NOAH FANT: VS LAS VEGAS ($4,800)

Fant has not received very consistent volume this season. So why am I recommending him as a play this week? The Raiders are a soft team who lost their fearless leader to his own stupid bigotry and hubris. I think Denver will steamroll Vegas this week, getting back to the Week 4 agenda where Fant was targeted 10 times.

HUNTER HENRY: VS DALLAS ($3,900)

Try as I may, I can’t figure out why the Patriots are running more deep routes with Henry than their athletic freak on the other side, Jonnu Smith. Even though they have both been involved, the quality looks have gone Henry’s way. He has looked great so far and looks to keep it rolling against a Cowboys team that has struggled to slow opposing tight ends down.

RICKY SEALS-JONES: VS KANSAS CITY ($3,000)

Y’all laughed at me. You scoffed at my recommendation to plug Seals-Jones in as an extreme value pick with upside. He nearly hit a 4x value last week without the benefit of a touchdown. Logan Thomas isn’t walking through that door this week against the generous Chiefs defense. RSJ is still down at $3k, so he’s virtually the same great value piece in a high total game.

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