Addiction runs in my family. Self-discipline does not. The preferred crutch has been alcohol, for the most part. I have been able to steer clear from letting booze control my life the way it did with my grandfather and father for most of their adult lives. I’m a nail biter. I drink way too much coffee. I will gamble on just about anything. The list of my vices goes on like a laundry list, but to this point I have been fortunate to avoid the ones that can ruin my life.
Some things, like DFS, actually bring me incredible enjoyment. I’m hooked to the sweating and tilting and I cannot get enough. I’ve spent the past few years chasing the dragon that is taking down a big tournament. I’ve had some really big wins over the years, but haven’t actually finished first in any GPP since 2019. I play cash games to snowball my DFS bankroll. It’s a very effective way to get more of those high-volatility lottery tickets. I’ve outright won seven large-field 50/50 games since my last tournament win.
It’s straight painful to build a “cash lineup” that ends up scoring enough points to win the tournament you built different lineups for. You’re left with a nice $100 off your $50 entry, but left wanting for the thousands you missed out on. My 2021 season has been a complete 180 degrees from last year. In 2020, I profited in cash games in all-but-three main slates, from Week 1 through the Super Bowl. It has been a struggle this season, pulling in at 50 percent. The process is sound, but the players I’m rostering simply haven’t been playing to expectation or have been injured during the game.
My bankroll hasn’t been snowballing, my gambling is ice cold. Ever the stubborn go-getter, I still have hope. Hope and potential get people fired, but I’ll keep playing because I won’t fire myself. There is still a large skill element to DFS and I have helped a lot of you wonderful consumers of my work win some impressive sums of money. That’s all I need to keep this going. Individual results will ebb and flow for eternity. I write for the smiles and grind tape and data to fortify my process each week for all of our lineups.
Now that we’ve gotten down and dirty with honesty and stories of getting humbled, lets dive in on Week 11. Everything I’ve seen so far this week points to me using my “chalky” cash lineups in tournaments as well. The chalk is going to smash on the main slate. These might be plays designed for 50/50s and head-to-heads, but I’d be stunned if they didn’t cross over as simply “good plays” across all contest types.
Week 11 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*
JOSH ALLEN: VS INDIANAPOLIS ($8,100)
The perfect passing funnel offense meets a worthy pass funnel defense in this AFC showdown. Buffalo doesn’t even pretend to establish the run, unless done so by their monolithic signal caller. Indy is much tougher up front than on the back end, so expect a ceiling game for Allen.
LAMAR JACKSON: @ CHICAGO ($8,000)
Jackson was bottled up last week, then battled an illness this week. He is still a dynamic playmaker with an unmatched rushing floor and ceiling. He also has a stud rookie receiver building up to a breakout performance against a putrid Chicago secondary.
PATRICK MAHOMES: VS DALLAS ($7,600)
We got a nice reminder last week that Mahomes is still elite. Granted, the Raiders thumbed their nose at the proven success of Cover-2 Shell against the Chiefs’ deep passing attack. They instead opted for Cover-3, which proved moronic with the athletic advantage on Kansas City’s side. Cover-3 is the preferred scheme for Dallas DC, Dan Quinn, but they have been wonderfully multiple this season. The Cowboys will have a hard time defending Mahomes in any case this week.
DAK PRESCOTT: @ KANSAS CITY ($7,200)***
I fully expect Kellen Moore and the Dallas offense to plan for this abhorrent Chiefs’ defense more successfully than the Raiders did. Even without Amari Cooper, Prescott will have a full stable of weaponry that will put at least 35 points on the board. Lock him in for 25 fantasy points on Sunday.
AARON RODGERS: @ MINNESOTA ($7,000)
Next to Dak, Rodgers is my favorite quarterback play for Week 11. He seems to always have big games in Minnesota, where the Vikings sport one of the league’s worst coverage units. It won’t just be Davante Adams, either. Rodgers will be dealing to a variety of receivers, leaving the Vikings with little recourse to slow them down.
RYAN TANNEHILL: VS HOUSTON ($6,700)
Interestingly, Tannehill’s efficiency as a passer has gone up since the Titans lost Derrick Henry to injury. They are running the ball just as frequently as before. Even with a no-name group of pass catchers around AJ Brown, Tannehill is still putting up good fantasy numbers. Houston won’t be the defense that stops that trend.
JOE BURROW: @ LAS VEGAS ($6,600)
In a GPP, the Bengals stack has been quite lucrative this season. For cash, we need to proceed with caution in games where Cincinnati is likely to use their advantage in the running game. This seems like a shootout type of game, so Burrow & Co will be chucking the ball early and often against a terrible Raiders’ secondary.
DALVIN COOK: VS GREEN BAY ($8,200)
Much like Aaron Rodgers feasts on the Vikings, so does Dalvin Cook to the Packers. His volume of work will again see an uptick after another week away from the injury report. One thing we haven’t seen a lot of this season is target volume, which should change to exploit a glaring weakness in the Green Bay coverage.
NICK CHUBB: VS DETROIT ($7,800)***
Praise be, Chubb has been activated from the COVID list just in time for his most favorable matchup of the season. Detroit has been gashed relentlessly by opposing running backs and Chubb is averaging six yards per carry on the campaign.
JOE MIXON: @ LAS VEGAS ($7,600)
The post-bye blind spot blesses the Bengals this week, although Mixon is not coming at an extreme value. This is probably because he exceeded 25 points in his last two games. The Raiders were initially pretty decent at defending running backs this year, but have since been ripped apart in negative game scripts. The Bengals will roll in this one, with Mixon carrying a heavy load.
JAMES CONNER: @ SEATTLE ($6,100)
Somehow, the NFL’s leader in touchdowns is cheaper than he was in a less-favorable matchup last week. The Seahawks are atrocious at defending running backs and Conner is playing like an absolute beast this year. Look for him to command the goal line opportunities, even if Kyler Murray returns from his ankle injury.
MYLES GASKIN*: @ NY JETS ($5,700)
The most consistently inconsistent player in the NFL is Gaskin. He has scored in double-digits in every single odd-numbered week in 2021. Week 11 brings the Jets, who have allowed 39.8 PPR points per game to opposing running backs. They also are the worst in the NFL at allowing receiving yards to running backs, which is the one area in which Gaskin hasn’t been terrible this season.
DAVID MONTGOMERY: VS BALTIMORE ($5,500)
Volume pays the bills in cash games. Monty returned from the IR to a full workload, casting aside any rumors that impressive rookie Khalil Herbert would eat into his role in the second half of the season. Baltimore is no longer the defensive stalwart of yesteryear. This is an absolutely scintillating value on the slate.
MARK INGRAM: @ PHILADELPHIA ($5,400)
As I was formatting this article, Alvin Kamara was officially ruled out for Sunday with his MCL sprain. With this news, Ingram slots in as a premium value for DFS running backs. The added bonus is that the Saints are heading to Philly to face a really bad run defense. I expect Ingram to get a lot of work and he is extremely likely to score a touchdown.
JEFF WILSON, JR: @ JACKSONVILLE ($5,100)
I am simply not convinced (nor are my Twitter PT friends) that Elijah Mitchell will play much, if at all on Sunday with a fractured finger. Even if Mitchell guts it out after surgery, he will be compromised. Wilson is a favorite of Kyle Shanahan’s and slots into a nice workload against a Jaguars team that should get blown off the field by the 49ers.
D’ONTA FOREMAN: VS HOUSTON ($4,900)
I wasn’t sold on Foreman until he went and changed his jersey number, put on red sleeves, and started rocking the tinted visor. He played like an alpha back last, albeit without putting forth a great fantasy performance. Peterson looks his age and McNichols is battling concussion protocol. This is another value running back that will be easy to fit into your DFS builds.
DAVANTE ADAMS: @ MINNESOTA ($8,400)
Adams is the most reliable, consistent target hog in the NFL. He will have a pre-Thanksgiving feast in Minnesota on Sunday. I am projecting over 15 targets for Davante this week, so do the math on what his production will end up at.
TYREEK HILL: VS DALLAS ($8,200)***
The NFL’s leader in targets the last four weeks is a guy whose name isn’t normally associated with volume. Cheetah has settled into a role with much more route diversity to combine with his all-world ability to make extraordinary plays in space. The Cowboys allow a lot of big plays down the field and will struggle to contain Hill, even if they shadow him with Trevon Diggs.
STEFON DIGGS: VS INDIANAPOLIS ($7,900)
It was a long time coming, but Diggs had his first mega performance last week against the Jets. New York attempted to cover the All-Pro with man-to-man, attacking Josh Allen unsuccessfully with a myriad of blitzes. Indy is much more conservative, but their corners are getting roasted every week. Diggs will be back at the top of the scoring again this week.
DEEBO SAMUEL: @ JACKSONVILLE ($7,800)
The only reason we aren’t talking about Jimmy Garoppolo’s poor play is because Deebo Samuel is making spectacular plays on a weekly basis. Jimmy is playing smart by peppering Samuel with a massive target share. Deebo is even playing a few snaps per game as a running back to put the ball in his hands even more. The Jags don’t have anyone who can slow this train down.
CEEDEE LAMB: @ KANSAS CITY ($7,600)
Lost in the hoopla of Lamb’s big game last week is a minor arm injury that he has dealt with all week. Now with Amari Cooper on the COVID list, all of the attention has gone to Michael Gallup. I’m still firmly in the CeeDee camp. He is Dak’s favorite receiver this year and will get fat on the Chiefs in this marquee game.
BRANDIN COOKS: @ TENNESSEE ($6,000)
It seems that Cooks is always finding himself in Hot Cash. This is a true post-bye blind spot. Most DFS players won’t be as heavily exposed to the Texans-Titans game as I will be. Tennessee has some of the worst corners in the league, masking them only through a potent ball control offense. Cooks will get a ton of targets from Tyrod Taylor, with potential for a big breakout.
JALEN WADDLE: @ NY JETS ($5,600)
I was a bit worried about including Waddle in Hot Cash after last week’s game. He went from the short yardage slot role to more of an appropriate downfield route tree against the Ravens. Albert Wilson was getting his usual work and Waddle only saw six targets. I am actually excited to see if that trend continues against the Jets, who are as bad as any team at defending deep passes. Waddle might be a slate-breaker.
ELIJAH MOORE: VS MIAMI ($4,900)
DraftKings is biased against rookies, which is fine and dandy to me. DFS players can clean house with the young bucks hitting their stride in the second half of the season. Moore has taken over as the alpha receiver in New York and now has Joe Flacco as quarterback. Flacco isn’t great, but knows how to find the open man. Moore is that open man on just about every play, according to Reception Perception.
RASHOD BATEMAN: @ CHICAGO ($4,500)
Are you noticing a theme with these more affordable wide receivers? Breakout rookies…everywhere! Marquise Brown hasn’t slowed down with the emergence of future alpha, Bateman. Brown is working through a thigh injury. The rise of Bateman has also made the Ravens offense more pass-forward than ever before in the Lamar Jackson era. These are exciting times, especially at this salary for Week 11.
NICO COLLINS: @ TENNESSEE ($3,300)
That’s right, four rookies to wrap up my Week 11 Hot Cash receivers. I’m ready to admit my wrongness on Collins very soon. He has been amazingly consistent in limited work this season. Now that Taylor has returned healthy, we will see the best that the Michigan product has for the remainder of his rookie year. A date with a putrid Titans’ secondary at $3.3k makes this even more tasty.
TRAVIS KELCE: VS DALLAS ($7,100)
The Cowboys did a great job last week at clamping down on the amazing Kyle Pitts, but the Falcons don’t have a Tyreek Hill or a Patrick Mahomes. Kelce is also much more savvy at beating double teams at this stage of his career. Dallas still struggles to cover the tight end and slot positions where Kelce will be running his routes. He’s a safe-but-expensive play for Week 11.
GEORGE KITTLE: @ JACKSONVILLE ($6,300)***
With arguably the same projection as the gold-plated Kelce, I have Kittle as my favorite tight end for Week 11. The $800 discount is more than enough to favor Stone Cold Kittle in a very palatable date with the Jags. I’ll be playing him in all formats, salary permitting.
MIKE GESICKI: @ NY JETS ($5,200)
Don’t let last week’s donut distract you from the big picture: Gesicki is a target hog. He still garnered seven (horribly inaccurate) targets last week, which means you can play him with confidence in cash games, especially against terrible defenses like the goddamn Jets.
DALTON SCHULTZ: @ KANSAS CITY ($4,600)
I very nearly put the triple asterisks next to Schultz’s name, but Kittle was just too good to pass up. With Jarwin (and now Cooper) out, the Stanford product stands to see a nice bump in looks from Dak against a very bad defense. My hope is that Kansas City won’t think to shadow the tight end with Tyrann Mathieu, who has done a much better job than the horrendous Daniel Sorensen.
DAWSON KNOX: VS INDIANAPOLIS ($4,000)
I missed on Knox last week. The same went for Cole Beasley. I honestly thought the Jets would have played more zone, opening up passing lanes to the tight end and slot receiver. Instead, they went man and left Diggs wide open. The Colts are a heavy zone team and struggle to cover anyone. Knox will be back on the map this week.
CJ UZOMAH: @ LAS VEGAS ($3,500)
I hope you didn’t think I gave up on Uzomah. After two down weeks, followed by the bye, I am very high on him for GPP value with upside out the wazoo against the Raiders. Vegas ranks 30th against tight ends in the NFL, which is nice. I expect Hayward to cover Jamarr Chase, leaving lesser men in coverage for Higgins, Boyd, and Uzomah.
MYCOLE PRUITT: VS HOUSTON ($2,600)
It’s pretty funny that I always pigeon-holed Pruitt as a blocking tight end. Apparently, it was Arthur Smith that did that. Pruitt’s athletic profile is very impressive for a tight end and the more-targeted Geoff Swaim (shoutout NorCal) has been ruled out against the Texans on Sunday. If you’re pinching pennies, you could do a lot worse than Pruitt. He is as likely as any Titan to find the end zone.