The Daily Spin – Conference Championship Week

Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte January 23, 2021 06:12

The Daily Spin – Conference Championship Week

While this is not an official cash game column this week, I did want at least throw out a few picks for the Conference Championship games on Sunday as I will likely put a few dollars in play for some of the contests though there really is not a real edge this week with only two games. The problem you run into for strategy is that there are 4-5 players in total that you would love to have on your roster, but can likely only get 3 or maybe 4 if you stretch your dollars. If you happen to miss on one of the players that are heavily owned, you are pretty much finished in all formats since those big names are going to be heavily owned with a lack of other options available. It’s the same issue with the value plays. Trying to decide between MVS and Allen Lazard? They will both carry a good amount of ownership so if you pick the wrong one, you find yourself in a tough position trying to claw points back in a week where you will have little differentiation among lineups. However, it’s still DFS and it is still the NFL, two of my favorite pastimes and with games as good as the ones that we have this Sunday, it just makes them that much more fun when you have a little money on the line as well.

I also wanted to write a column today so I could give you guys a quick recap overall on how my season went since I like to let you all know how I perform during the year. It helps to let you know that the people who you are counting on for advice during the year actually play the picks that they recommend and also that they are able to make money from them. This is why I put the pressure on myself and post my lineup each week and my results.

Before I get to the results for the full season, I will give a quick recap of last week which I was able to win, though it was a strange week where I thought by Saturday night that my team was in a lot of trouble.


Div Rd (Sat/Sun)
Josh Allen 7400 12.54
Cam Akers 5700 18.6
Devin Singletary 4500 6.7
Stefon Diggs 7300 27.6
Jarvis Landry 5600 15
Marquise Brown 5200 12.7
Austin Hooper 3800 3.6
Travis Kelce 7800 27.9
Rams 2600 -1
49900 123.64


In the early game, I used Cam Akers and the Rams defense. Akers was a must play and I echoed that in my article last week. His price and projected usage were way too good to pass up, especially with Jared Goff still recovering from thumb surgery. He of course was heavily owned, but played well as expected. For the 25% or so that did not use him, I am at a loss as to why they would have gone another direction for cash games. I also used the Rams defense thinking they would be able to generate at least a little pressure on Aaron Rodgers in a similar manner to what we saw from a tough Tampa Bay defensive front earlier in the season. I should have probably thought a little more about Aaron Donald’s rib injury and how he would likely be limited, which he was in taking far less snaps than expected. Without Donald in the middle taking attention from 2-3 blockers, the rest of the Rams defensive line becomes pretty ordinary very quickly and Rodgers was untouched all day and the Rams did less than nothing in losing a point for me. The only purpose the Rams served for me was in saving a few dollars in cap space, which did end up being the key to my win, but at the time, losing a point was disheartening.

In the second game, I was making my big play for the week. I was reluctant to use Devin Singletary, but at his price, and with the fact that he was going to get 80-90% of the snaps, I went ahead and plugged him in. Sure enough, the Bills went to a pass only offense. Singletary saw only one carry in the entire first half. Being a Vikings fan, I had no idea what I was watching since I thought it was mandatory for teams to run at least once on either first or second down. Singletary was owned by a good chunk of other players so it was not a killer, but 6.7 points was not very helpful.

My other plays for that game were Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs and Marquise Brown. I needed the discount I got on Allen over Mahomes and I also thought that with his running ability and the thought that it would be a competitive back and forth game with a good amount of scoring, that he had a relatively high floor. The Ravens defense plus some heavier than expected winds kept this game as a defensive struggle where both teams went back and forth driving the football and then missing field goals. Allen did not run as often as normal either. The Bills did drop one TD which would have helped his cause, but all in all, a very frustrating night. The only consolation was that Lamar Jackson played terrible and then got hurt in the third quarter and missed the rest of the game.

At WR, Diggs was another automatic play for me. He’s playing amazing football right now. He was at a high level in Minnesota, but he’s gone far beyond even that in Buffalo and the chemistry between him and Allen is undeniable, though I had to laugh when Chris Collinsworth talked about what a positive attitude he has…just stop. Outside of one or two CB matchups, I am going to play Diggs in these situations every time as he gets double digit targets. He made the Ravens CBs look less than ordinary last week on a team that rates pretty well in defending the pass. He had his usual big night and I was shocked to see that he was only owned by about 30% of other players.

I also used Marquise Brown last week. He was priced lower than I would have projected. My thought on the game was that the Bills would score and likely be ahead late in the game which would force that Ravens to eventually go to the air with Brown being the primary beneficiary. He played pretty well taking advantage of his limited targets. The moment that crushed me was in the fourth quarter with the backup QB in, Brown ran and out and up and had the defender beat by about 10 yards. All the QB needed to do was to place the ball in right zip code and it was going to be about a 70 yard TD for Brown which would have put him over 100 yards and been about a 17 point play. Instead, the QB sailed it beyond him, possibly with the wind to blame slightly, and it fell incomplete. We got the scenario we envisioned, it just did not pay off.

Having used six of nine players on Saturday, I figured I was dead going into Sunday with most owners riding Patrick Mahomes and there being big exposure to players like Tyreek Hill, Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara. I had three players in the KC/Cleveland game in Travis Kelce, Jarvis Landry and Austin Hooper. Kelce was another stone lock play for me and was in every lineup that I considered building. He’s a volume pass catcher that sees double digit targets almost every week and these are high percentage targets over the middle or on short out routes so you never have to worry about him turning most of his targets into catches. In going against a Browns defense that has always had issues against TEs, this was a layup and he played great.

Jarvis Landry did find the end zone for us which was helpful, but otherwise was held to a number of short catches. Austin Hooper was a surprise bust, catching only 2 passes and playing more of a TE2 role for the Browns. David Njoku, who was questionable to even play all week was the star pass catcher of the day for the Browns and got hot early and never really cooled off. I did not see that coming at all as he’s been non-existent in the Browns offense this season.

I thought by the middle of the KC game that I was in trouble. But somehow, a lot of things broke my way the rest of the afternoon. Patrick Mahomes hurt his toe early against the Browns which hobbled him and took away some of his ability to run. Then in the second half, Andy Reid stupidly called for a QB option on 3rd and 1, knowing full well his star QB was less than 100% and Mahomes was hit awkwardly and knocked out of the game with a concussion, which halted an effort where he was likely headed for 30 fantasy points.

In the final game of the day, I knew there would be a lot of Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara owners. With Latavius Murray out as well as Taysom Hill, Kamara was an even better play than normal and would see his projected touches climb. Also, with the game expected to be high scoring and the Bucs being tough against the run, it seemed a certainty that Thomas would see a lot of targets.

Michael Thomas ended up with a zero for the day. He caught no passes on four targets. After the game, it was revealed that he will undergo ankle surgery in the offseason which helped to answer a lot of questions. His ankle never really healed from when it got rolled up in Week 1 and he was fighting just to stay on the field to get one more shot at a Super Bowl with Drew Brees. Kamara played well in a touch heavy role last week, but the Bucs did enough to slow him up and make him earn his yard on the ground and then took a lead late which pushed the Saints to throw more often. He was held under 100 yards rushing and held out of the end zone. Tre’quan Smith did most of the damage in catching two TDs and nobody outside of Tom Brady proved to be a serious fantasy problem for the Bucs. My team ended up cashing easily for the weekend without much of a sweat on Sunday. It was a welcome surprise to end the season as I had nearly written my squad off for the week.

Overall for the season, I had an official record of 12-7 for my cash game rosters. There are some industry folks who claim they never or rarely lose and then never actually post the lineups they put in play each week. I always have a lot of respect for the people that do have the guts to do the same sort of breakdown that I always offer in my PGA and NFL columns of how they performed the previous week/season. It is never a great time to go over a loss and admit to being mortal, but it is probably the thing that most people tell me that they appreciate the most in seeing me be my own worst critic as it helps all of us to learn from seeing some of these key decisions dissected so we are not repeating the same mistakes over and over again and find little ways to make improvements. In a game where our margin for error is slim, this can make all the difference between being a winning or losing player from year to year.

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Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte January 23, 2021 06:12

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