I've already posted my game-by-game breakdown where I broke down each game and narrowed my player pool. This article will be similar to what I do with MLB and NBA, where I highlight my favorite CASH GAME plays of the week. Yes, these players are going to be relatively chalky...that's the point! I'm a cash game player, so this is an insight to how I think each week when it comes to double ups and h2h's. Updates will be posted in red throughout the weekend.
Top Tier: Patrick Mahomes- Mahomes is coming home to make his first start in Kansas City after lighting the NFL on fire and throwing for 10 touchdowns in his first two games. This 49ers defense has given up two huge passing days already this season to Kirk Cousins and Matthew Stafford, and I'm not expecting anything less from Mahomes in this expected shootout. This game owns a huge 55 O/U in Vegas, and once Mahomes slows down from his hot start he's still going to post huge fantasy games given that his defense is so bad it's going to be a shootout environment pretty much every week. I broke down my thoughts on paying up/down at Quarterback on this weeks "The Cash Process" podcast with Anthony Carson, but it's going to be hard to fade Mahomes for me especially with all of the value now present.
Mid Tier: Drew Brees- Brees is my top choice in the mid tier, he also will be playing in an expected shootout with the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons have been victimized early by injuries this season, and their defense was shredded by Cam Newton last week severely missing both Deion Jones and Keanu Neal. Alvin Kamara is going to have a field day, which we will get to in a minute, but Brees price of $6,400 on DraftKings is just flat out too cheap.
Low Tier: Deshaun Watson/Cam Newton- If you choose to "spend down" at QB this week in cash games I think you have to choose one of Watson or Newton rather than drop down to Matt Ryan. If you take away Ryan's two rushing touchdowns last week, he had just an average day and both Watson and Newton has higher floors and ceilings. Watson's matchup has become increasingly more appealing for me. He has been under pressure pretty much the most in the league this season per Pro Football Focus, and with the Giants dealing with the absence of Olivier Vernon they are last in the NFL in sack rate. He should have time to pick this Giants defense apart and we can't underestimate what Will Fuller does to this offense. His presence is HUGE.
UPDATE #1: As the weekend has progressed and I've done more research into the matchups, I think I'm bumping Deshaun Watson slightly above Newton for me. Watson is averaging almost 30 fantasy points per game with Will Fuller active, and while that is a very small sample size, this is lining up as a smash spot against a team with no pass rush and Vegas is agreeing. I haven't made any firm decisions on my cash game team yet, but it's coming down to Mahomes vs Watson for me.
Top Tier: Alvin Kamara- As I just noted, Kamara is primed for a massive game on Sunday in a matchup with the Falcons, the same one that Christian McCaffrey ripped apart last week. The Falcons surrendered the most catches in the NFL to running backs last season, and without Deion Jones they have no prayer of stopping him effectively once he catches the ball. Kamara has just over 20% of the Saints team targets through two weeks and he is my top overall spend up on this slate.
Mid Tier: Kareem Hunt- Hunt has yet to have a big game this season, but that partly is because Mahomes has thrown for 10 touchdowns and partly because he has just two targets. I do think that season long, Mahomes presence and how he plays will hurt Hunt overall, but $6,000 is too cheap for someone of his ability in a game with a 55 O/U in Vegas. The 49ers run defense is, and defense overall, is not good and he's still getting all of the snaps. There are other viable plays in this range, but this just feels too cheap and I feel more comfortable paying for him with the pace of this game over someone like Gio Bernard, who I also like a lot.
Low Tier: Latavius Murray/Corey Clement- This slate became a mess Friday afternoon when we got news that both Dalvin Cook and Jay Ajayi were officially ruled out for their games. Murray steps into a fantastic matchup with Buffalo Bills, at home, as a huge favorite. Clement should be in line for a ton of work with Darren Sproles also out, but he actually showed up on the injury report as well on Friday. As far as I can tell, he should be good to go on Sunday, but they Eagles will have two other backs active and there is some risk Doug Pederson could spread the ball around. I need to dive more into them, as well as Gio Bernard so look for an update giving my final thoughts on the value this week sometime on Saturday.
Top Tier: Julio Jones- If you're spending up at WR this week I think it clearly has to be Julio who has fallen to $7,900 on DraftKings. He continues to lead the league in air yards, and was missed by Matt Ryan on two long would-be touchdowns last week. He went over 90 yards in each game against the Saints last season, and that was when Marshon Lattimore was playing much better than he is this season. He continually is due for a big game, and I'm going to have to say that it could be this week once again.
Mid Tier: Robert Woods- This has quickly become one of my favorite plays of the week, and I will most likely be locking him into my cash game roster this week. Woods quietly leads the Rams in targets, despite his salary falling both weeks and he now is all the way down at $5,100 on DraftKings. He is top-ten in the entire NFL in air yards -- per airyards.com -- and has gotten red zone looks as well. Woods is too cheap for the targets he will see and I'm really not that scared of this Chargers defense without Joey Bosa.
Low Tier: Tyler Boyd- It feels pretty weird writing up Tyler Boyd, but that's what it has come to. It's coming down to him or Geronimo Allison for me in early cash game builds, and I do like the savings you get by dropping to Boyd. Per PFF, Boyd has run a pass route on every one of Andy Dalton's drop backs this season and he has clearly kept himself ahead of John Ross. I would project him anywhere from seven-nine targets and at sub-$4,000 I am completely fine with that.
UPDATE #1: With my love for Watson increasing, I'm actually going to bump Will Fuller into cash game range...and that is not something I typically do. Fuller doesn't profile as your typical cash game play, but we also didn't see him get the volume last season that he got in week two. If we get another 8+ targets this week in this matchup I LOVE him at his price.
Top Tier: Travis Kelce- Kelce was featured in this article last week and he responded with two touchdowns, so it's only right we go back to the well with him in this expected shootout with the 49ers. The 49ers defense is #bad, but they are actually good against tight ends due to their tight end stuffing defensive back Jaquiski Tartt. Tartt is questionable for this game and if he happens to miss it is all systems go for Kelce who has seen over 30% of the Chiefs targets but remains cheaper than Tyreek Hill.
Mid Tier: Eric Ebron- Ebron was elevated to chalk status after Jack Doyle was ruled out on Friday afternoon. Doyle out-snapped Ebron 59-16 last week, and while Ebron has been seeing red zone work (2 touchdowns) he should get a nice bump in routes run and snaps this week. I don't feel very good about rostering him as chalk, but he is cheap and is perfectly fine in cash while hedging with similarly priced tight ends in GPPs.
Low Tier: Austin Hooper- Hooper caught a touchdown last week, and while he has only seen nine targets through two games he is just $2,900 on DraftKings and provides a piece to one of the most exciting offensive games of the week.
D/ST Options: Vikings (almost a lock), Bears, Jaguars
UPDATE: Adding in Cardinals for a cheap play if you need the salary, I actually think the Cowboys will be popular but I will not be touching them on the road with Sean Lee potentially out.
Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)