Hot Cash From the King of Spice

I Find Tinsel Distracting

To have the entire Seinfeld collection at my fingertips is a godsend. Love it or hate it, there are certain episodes that absolutely define comedy. Frank Costanza, portrayed by the late Jerry Stiller, probably has the most laughs-per-appearance in the series. “I’ve got a lot of problems with you people, and now you’re gonna hear about it!” Frank bellowed at the Festivus dinner table during the “airing of grievances.”

Festivus traditions from Seinfeld have trickled into our modern society, long after the airing of the final episode. There hasn’t been a holiday season in my family full of Seinfeld junkies without multiple references to the aluminum pole, the feats of strength, or even my dad joking about getting into a fight when he was attempting to purchase a doll for his son (me). That particular episode is toward the top of the list of things that make me wheeze with uncontrollable laughter.

We pretty much know what every NFL team, and player, is at this point of the season. Our shortness of breath hasn’t been from humor this year, but rather a COVID/injury exasperation. I propose that we spend more time cuddled up on the couch with the family this time of year, rather than grinding the tape and data to gain an edge for two Saturday NFL games or a constricted Week 15 Sunday main slate. With over 100 players in health and safety protocol this week, we are faced with a daunting DFS wasteland of unparalleled proportions. I’ll have some lineups, for sure, but ’tis the season of better priorities. As the NFL season “rains blows upon us,” we must realize there has to be another way. Until Scott pins me, Festivus is NOT over. LET’S RUMBLE!

Week 15 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*

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY – OCTOBER 17: Matthew Stafford #9 of the Los Angeles Rams warms up before a game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on October 17, 2021 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

Quarterbacks

Gold Plated

KYLER MURRAY: @ DETROIT ($7,900)

This is an updated blurb, since Matthew Stafford and the Rams were moved to Monday and are no longer on the main slate. Kyler and the Cards are battered and bruised after a tough home loss to those Rams. I expect them to roll into the Motor City with a chip on their shoulder, knowing their playoff seeding (and home field advantage) rides on their play in the final four games. Murray looked healthy against LA, which means Detroit will be in a world of trouble trying to slow him down.

Rocking the Suburbs

JOE BURROW: @ DENVER ($6,100)***

The drive that drew the Bengals even with the 49ers and forced overtime was a masterpiece of quarterback play by Joe Burrow. The Broncos haven’t been slouches on defense this season, but are severely overmatched against a Bengals team trying to make a playoff push. Burrow has been a touchdown scoring machine and will roll right along in Week 15.

Under the Table

DAVIS MILLS: @ JACKSONVILLE ($5,400)

The Texans are rebuilding, but so are the Jags. Fresh off finally canning the worst coach in NFL history, Jacksonville will likely have some extra pep in their step. That doesn’t replace actual talent, meaning the pass-heavy Texans will air it out against a very poor secondary with the Stanford rookie Mills. Mills now has three 20-plus point performances this season, giving me confidence in his value this week.

Running Backs

Gold Plated

CORDARRELLE PATTERSON: @ SAN FRANCISCO ($6,900)

The two biggest studs at the running back position are playing on Saturday this week. Najee Harris would be a decent play here with his volume, but his salary is very high for his matchup with a tough Titans front seven. I’ll spend down a bit to get Sexy Flexy himself at $6.9k (nice). The 49ers have not been great on defense overall and will struggle to contain Patterson, who has been a model of high-value volume this season.

Rocking the Suburbs

MYLES GASKIN: VS NY JETS ($5,600)

Gaskin let us down in Week 13, his first such faceplant on an odd-numbered week. He rocked 26 touches in Week 11 against these Jets, putting up 18.6 fantasy points. I’ll wager that he will see a similar workload coming off the COVID list and bye week, with plenty of upside to exceed his previous point total against New York.

JAMES ROBINSON: VS HOUSTON ($5,400)***

Urban Meyer was the worst coach in the history of the NFL. Although it was his off-field transgressions that will pay him royally to go away, his usage of fantasy darling J-Rob had us gnashing our teeth and calling for Urban’s head very early in the season. Interim head coach, Darrell Bevell has already stated that Robinson is their starting running back and will be used as such this week. This will be a “remember me?” game for the talented back.

Under the Table

ROYCE FREEMAN: @ JACKSONVILLE ($4,500)

Rolls Royce has gone from one of my favorite all-time Oregon Ducks players to an utter disappointment as a professional. He can right the ship with a shot at some serious volume this week against the reeling Jaguars. The real question here is whether Freeman will see the coveted goal line work in this depleted backfield.

Wide Receivers

Gold Plated

DAVANTE ADAMS: @ BALTIMORE ($8,900)

It would have been a tough coin flip to decide between Adams and Cooper Kupp, but with the Rams game postponed until Monday, we can lock in the Fresno State alum at the top of the price scale. Baltimore’s secondary has struggled all season, where Kupp faces a Seattle team that is 10th best against opposing wide receivers. Aaron Rodgers is the height of entertainment with the “aggravation” news in his toe saga. He will still flood the league’s best receiver with targets.

DEEBO SAMUEL: VS ATLANTA ($8,200)***

The best “wide receiver” play on the board is Deebo. He has received much more work as a running back lately, with the rash of injuries on the 49ers. If Elijah Mitchell plays, Samuel will likely see more receiving work again. If Mitchell is out, Deebo is primed to be deployed like Cordarrelle Patterson in Atlanta. This has yielded spectacular results in the scoring department, since the South Carolina alum seems to find the end zone on every other rushing attempt.

Rocking the Suburbs

BRANDIN COOKS: @ JACKSONVILLE ($5,800)

Davis Mills is good for Cooks. He was incredibly productive with the rookie back under center last week, with a 11/8/101 line. Houston faces another horrible defense this week in the Jags, making Cooks’ $100 price increase a tantalizing value for cash games.

Under the Table

AJ GREEN: @ DETROIT ($4,900)

I am sad to report that one of my favorite players in the NFL, DeAndre Hopkins, is out for the rest of the regular season with a sprained knee. Not lost on me is how Green was utilized against the Rams last week, even with Hopkins on the field. His 10-target, 100-yard performance is nearly a shoo-in for a repeat against the Lions this week. The Cards run a ton of plays and are really jockeying for playoff seeding at this point. Green will be fantastic.

DEVANTE PARKER*: VS NY JETS ($4,300)

Another devastating blow to the fantasy community was Jalen Waddle hopping on the COVID list this week. Parker was very handy in his return to health last week, corralling all five of his targets for 62 yards. Tua Tagovailoa has been a picture of efficiency lately, so a bump in volume will almost certainly equate to a bump in fantasy points for the Louisville alum.

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – NOVEMBER 28: Mark Andrews #89 of the Baltimore Ravens reacts to a play during a game against the Cleveland Browns at M&T Bank Stadium on November 28, 2021 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Tight Ends

Gold Plated

GEORGE KITTLE: VS ATLANTA ($7,500)

This guy is on a ridiculous hot streak. In fact, Kittle is the first tight end in NFL history to reach 150 receiving yards and a touchdown in consecutive games. He is getting to quite the lofty salary now, but the Falcons are so unequivocally terrible that it shouldn’t matter. If you can fit Kittle in your roster, do it.

MARK ANDREWS: VS GREEN BAY ($6,400)***

Until Travis Kelce went thermonuclear on Thursday night, the TE1 on the season was Mark Andrews. I expect Lamar Jackson to play on Sunday, but without as much moving around. The Ravens have looked more dangerous as an offense when airing it out this season. Andrews, along with Marquise Brown and Rashod Bateman, should still cause a coverage dilemma for the Packers. I have him projected for virtually the same stat line as Kittle, but for $1,100 less.

Rocking the Suburbs

MIKE GESICKI: VS NY JETS ($5,000)

The uber-athletic tight end hasn’t been the apple of Tua’s eye this year, with the southpaw signal caller instead spreading it around with frustrating precision. Jalen Waddle missing this game vacates a lot of work for Gesicki, especially on third down and in the red zone. He will be force in the middle price range on Sunday.

Under the Table

JOSIAH DEGUARA: @ BALTIMORE ($2,700)

I just had to shout out my fellow NorCal native, who has already gained much more trust from another NorCal product, Aaron Rodgers. DeGuara, from Sacramento, has filled in very nicely for the injured Robert Tonyan. The Ravens have been abysmal against the tight end position, which means if my guy Josiah can get open, Rodgers will find him.

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