DFS Cash Game Breakdown 2019 Week 1

By Kyle Dvorchak
Kyle Dvorchak Cash games are about buying as much volume per dollar spent of the salary cap as possible. Touches build a high-floor team but they also allow for a high ceiling. Who are the plays in Head-to-Heads, Double-Ups, and 50/50s for Week 1?


Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers Newton is the quintessential cash game passer. Last season he went over 20 points nine times in twelve weeks before posting two duds and being shut down. Many of these games took place while Newton was nursing an injured shoulder. The only question facing Newton heading into Week 1 is his health. Coach Ron Rivera has indicated that Newton is fully healthy now making Newton a top-tier cash play. In 2019, Newton added at least four fantasy points in seven of his first twelve games. That’s an extra passing touchdown in half of his games before he succumbed to his injury. There’s no reason to not expect that Cam to resurface given his presumed health.

Finally, the Panthers host the Los Angeles Rams this week. They are going to have to play with pace if they want to keep up with the Rams No. 2 scoring offense from last year. Newton’s young core of Christian McCaffrey, D.J. Moore, and Curtis Samuel will help him go toe-to-toe with Sean McVay’s electric offense. He’s as safe as they come in this shootout.

Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eaglesk Neither Fanduel nor Draftkings seem to appreciate how good Wentz is when healthy. Since 2017, Wentz has averaged 265 passing yards per game with 2.3 scores. He’s over eight adjusted yards per attempt in those two seasons and has some rushing value as a bonus.

Wentz gets to play Washington at home and the Eagles have a 27.5 implied team total. That mark is tied for the highest total on the main slate—Vegas expects the Eagles to score as much as the Chiefs this week. Despite that Wentz comes at a great discount to Mahomes, who is the highest-priced quarterback on all sites, and even Newton. Wentz is the best option for a mid-cost passer.

Running Backk Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers The showdown between Carolina and LA has the second-highest total on the slate at 51. The spread has moved down from LA -2.5 to -2 since it opened showing some favorable sentiments for Carolina. Even if Carolina trails during this game, McCaffrey proved to be mostly game-script agnostic last season. When Carolina were dogs, he still averaged more than 21 fantasy points per game on DraftKings. No matter what happens, McCaffery has the highest floor of any back because of his versatility.

The only hangup with McCaffrey is that it’s not advisable to stack him with Newton. The two compete for red zone carries because Carolina treats Newton like another running back when they get close to the end zone. In 2018, Newton’s four rushing scores were a career-low while McCaffrey found paydirt seven times.

With the upcoming savings at wide receiver, paying up for McCaffrey is more than viable.

Nick Chubb, Cleveland Brownsk Once the Browns moved on from Carlos Hyde, the Nick Chubb show took off. In his final 10 games, Chubb averaged 17.6 carries plus a pair of receptions. He scored eight times and racked up 17.4 fantasy points per game. He was on a team with a rookie passer and had to compete with Duke Johnson for touches.

Everything has aligned for a monster season from Chubb with Johnson traded to Houston and Baker Mayfield having a season under his belt. The volume will be there for Chubb and this offense will have no problems moving the ball and scoring touchdown.

The only reason the Browns are a fantastic stack this week is their putrid opponent: the Tennessee Titans. Mike Vrabel’s Titans averaged 19.4 points per game (good for 27th in the NFL) in 2018. They didn’t make a habit of getting in shootouts.

However, this means that Cleveland could b playing with a lead early in the game. That puts Chubb in a prime position to grind out the clock for a half of football or more. He’s outside the top-five running backs in price—$6,400 on Draftkings and $7,400 on Fanduel—but could easily finish inside the top-five in touches.

Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawksk No team ran the ball at a higher rate than the Seattle Seahawks last year. They were the only team to run the ball more than half of the time. The supposed emergence of Rashaad Penny may be concerning to some but there is enough rushing to go around in Seattle. Mike Davis left behind 112 rush attempts for Penny to eat up.

In Week 1, the team that wants to run the ball like it’s the 1960’s is a 10-point favorite against the Cincinnati Bengals. Brian Schottenheimer may attempt to break the single-game rushing attempts record on Sunday and that means buy Carson.

Wide Receiverk Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikingsk In cash games, a major choice is going to have to be made between Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. After firing John DeFilippo, the Vikings transitioned to Kevin Stefanski, who is now their permanent offensive coordinator. Under Stefanski, Diggs received 23 targets compared to Thielen’s 12.

Over the past two years, Diggs has also been the more prolific touchdown scorer as well. Diggs has scored four more times than Thielen while playing three fewer games. Thielen has Diggs in the route-running department but the later is a playmaking expert.

Diggs and the Vikings play host to the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons were a top-10 scoring offense and conversely a bottom-10 scoring defense. They could score against other teams but those teams often brought it right back. Diggs is in a good position to see a bump in target share while also being the best touchdown threat on the Vikings.

Dede Westbrook, Jacksonville Jaguarsk Dede Westbrook didn’t post video game stats last year but he is poised to in Week 1. He owned 19% of the team’s targets and now the Jaguars offense will be coordinated by John DeFilippo. While in Minnesota, DeFilippo had the Vikings throwing the fourth-most passes per game. Now Westbrook gets the infusion of a quarterback upgrade in Nick Foles and a new coordinator that will air it out significantly more.

Westbrook also faces one of the fantasy-friendliest opposing units in the Chiefs. Chiefs opponent targeted their wide receivers 377 times in 2018, good for second-most in the NFL. With the total cresting 50 points, Dede offers affordable volume in an enticing game.

Curtis Samuel, Carolina Panthersk A recurring theme for Week 1, all Panthers are undervalued. On Daftkings, Samuel only costs $4,200 despite being the second receiver in what appears to be a barn-burner of a game. Down the stretch of 2018, Samuel caught for passes or more five times while sprinkling in some rushing attempts. Without Devin Funchess wasting targets, Samuel’s 14% target share is all but guaranteed to rise. Samuel is as low as you’ll need to pay down on the main slate.

Tight End Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargersk Hunter Henry is going to be one of the most popular plays at tight end and he deserves it. Henry has been incredibly efficient dating back to his rookie season. In two years he’s caught over 70% of the passes thrown his way and averages more than nine yards on each target he receives. Finally, Henry has scored on 10% of all target thrown to him.

Now he’s more than a year removed from his ACL tear and the Chargers no longer employ Antonio Gates or Tyrell Williams. The two combined for 110 targets last year. Henry will step into a larger role immediately and has always demonstrated the efficiency necessary to make the most of his newfound volume. He’s particularly underpriced on Draftkings at $3,900.

Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eaglesk Fanduel and Yahoo have more forgiving salary structures making manageable to pay up at tight end. On these sites, Zach Ertz is worth moving up the salary totem pole for. Even in cash games, stacking your quarterback with a pass-catcher is a must. If Wentz is going to put up big numbers, Ertz will likely be going for a ride.

Despite the magic that has been Nick Foles, Ertz is better off with Wentz under center. In ten regular-season games with Foles as the quarterback, Ertz scored 15.4 points per game. With Wentz, the stud tight end saw a 1.2 fantasy point boost. If it’s possible to pay the premium for an elite tight end, Ertz is a great play.

Defense Seattle Seahawksk Running the Seahawks defense back with Chris Carson is the go-to stack of the week. The Bengals have to treck to the west coast to play newly acquired Jadeveon Clowney and the Seattle defense. They’ll do so without A.J. Green or first-round left tackle Jonah Williams. PFF ranks their line as the 27th-best heading into Week 1. Seattle should have no problem handling an already weakened Bengals offense.