The Daily Spin – NFL Cash Game Edition – Week 17

Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte December 29, 2018 17:20

The Daily Spin – NFL Cash Game Edition – Week 17

It is hard to believe that Week 17 has arrived and the playoffs are nearly upon us. No time of year goes by faster for me than the NFL season and no sooner has it started in the fall then it feels like I blink my eyes and winter has arrived and it is all over. January is always an exciting time of the year for us with the overlap of the NFL playoffs and the beginning of the PGA year, but I am always sad to see the regular season end. Sundays for me are almost a meditation as I have a very set ritual that begins in the morning, leads to kickoff at noon and then carries me all the way to the end of the night.

At the beginning of each season, my Sunday mornings can be a little frenetic. I always like to think that I have a good grasp on all of the teams and players around the league going into Week 1, but the truth is that it always takes a good month or so for DFS owners to understand how all the pieces fit together. Week 1 this year was overwhelming in that I have never seen cash lines go so high before and was a little nervous to see how that would play out the rest of the year. During the first few weeks, I found myself scrambling all the way down to the last few minutes to get my final cash game team locked in. I would tune in to Fantasy Football Now on one of the ESPN channels to listen to awful joke and decent analysis, but mostly for the active/inactive list that arrives about 90 minutes prior to kickoff.

In the early weeks this year, we traded wins and losses. I had some monster weeks and then some that went sideways almost from the first moment after the games had started. One of the things that changed this year from last was just how much scoring was up across the league, particularly in the first couple of months of the season where shootouts almost became the norm among teams. It was no longer okay to get 15 points out of my QB and if you were not paying up for the right chalk RBs, you might find yourself in a hole that was tough to climb out of as the most dominant and versatile players posted crazy scores week after week.

Near the midway point of the season, I decided to focus entirely on cash games for the rest of the year. I was having ups and downs with GPPs, but just did not want to put in the time or money towards the big qualifiers or huge prize pools. I know that my strength in DFS comes from extracting maximum value from the players I find appealing in cash games. Once I narrowed my focus, I think that it really helped me to narrow down the field of potential plays from week to week and also forced me to cut down on the number of fringe players that I would research which on occasion would sneak into my cash game lineups with marginal results at best.

Somewhere around Week 6 or 7, things started to slide into place for me. As someone who watches every second of the games, I am the type of player that has success from my knowledge of the game and in seeing how certain teams and players match up against each other. While it is nice to have a model that can kick out a point projection based on touches and expectations, it is secondary for me to actually taking in the games and getting to see firsthand how coaches strategize during the season. I also find that stats can be a little misleading without proper context. Perhaps a team rated terribly against the run to start the season, but then got many key players back from injuries or made trades to bring in players to shore up their defense. Maybe a team has a high powered offense, but has played very little, if at all outdoors, on grass or in the cold and now face a matchup in December that is much different than what it would have looked like in September.

Once we found our groove this season, we never looked back and have enjoyed a really fun run of success over the last couple of months which have been extremely profitable for me and I know for many of you as well. We’ve been able to squeeze value out of a lot of underpriced players and have been able to identify and generally stick to the higher priced chalk plays that became really dependable week after week. We had a few close calls along the way and just squeaked out a couple of very tight wins to keep the run going, but overall, I am really please with this season. Fortunately, for us, it is not over yet, but Week 17 is basically the Twilight Zone each year for DFS in NFL contests so be sure to stay on top of your research and especially the injury reports this week. Also, listen very carefully to what coaches say when interviewed about playing or resting certain players. Like parsing through each word of a speech from the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, coaches have a way of laying out their plans in a decipherable code in you are paying attention.

You have heard it all week, but I will restate the obvious, in that you want to try to focus on players and teams with something to play for in Week 17. Which teams have locked in their seed before Sunday? Who needs to win? Who may need a win, but could conceivably pull starters if another game got out of hand? Who is injured and who is likely to get some extra rest this week? Who are the backups that are going to get a heavy workload and are they worth using in a cash lineup even if we are unsure of just how big their role will be this week? There are a lot of moving pieces that go into being successful each year for Week 17, but I think after many extra hours of research, I have put together a player pool that we can work off of to get us across the pay line one last time before the playoffs start net week. Also, as a side note, I will put out two more columns for the first two rounds of the playoffs taking you through the divisional round. The slates are short, but I have found that I still have an edge each year in the playoffs so I’ll do everything I can to make sure that we close strong and take a nice fat bankroll into the golf season so we are ready for when the tour kicks into high gear.

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Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte December 29, 2018 17:20

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