DFS NFL Strategy for How to Pick WRs for Cash Games

Posted on October 18, 2016

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The NFL season is finally here, and that means Daily Fantasy Football is back. Saahil Sud, formerly Maxdalury, has created a strategy on how to approach selecting each position for your lineups, in both cash games and tournaments. Over the next few weeks, we will be going over these strategies in detail. Next up we will discuss Saahil’s strategy for how to pick wide receivers for cash games

Key Stats

The most important stat for selecting your wide receivers is targets. A high amount of targets per game is going to be the most indicative statistic for future opportunities and future fantasy points. It gives you insight on the opportunity receivers get, regardless of the matchup. Yards per Catch is another very important metric when it comes to wide receivers. This stat will allow you to find players that have high ceilings. With cash games we’re more focused on average performance, so you want to make sure you are picking receivers with decent YpC, but you shouldn’t be too worried about large numbers here. Average depth per target is another factor you should look at, as it is related to yards per catch.

Next up is playcall distribution. This is very important, as you want to make sure you choose receivers on teams that throw the ball a lot, thus giving the receivers a lot of opportunities to score fantasy points. Defense vs. position is also vital because it’ll help indicate consistent and chalk plays. Looking at the stats of a team’s defense against opposing offense’s WR1, WR2, and WR3 will help you determine if the defense focuses primarily on the WR1, thus giving the other two receivers more opportunities to catch the ball. If you see that a defense has a shutdown corner that normally handles the WR1, then you might want to target the team’s second receiver, as he will not be covered by the top corner and thus could be in for a big day.

Similar to the other positions we have discussed, salary is also big when choosing your WRs. If a WR1 is injured, there are going to be a lot of bargain values at the WR position on that team as other wide receivers on that team are going to have to step up. Related to salary is a player’s value, which you want to calculate what you think a player’s fantasy points / salary is going to be.

Using Vegas and Advanced Stats

As Saahil states in his NFL cash game WR strategy video, game flow is very important. The game flow is Vegas’ prediction on how the game is going to play out. You want to target games that are expected to throw the ball a ton, as this will obviously give the receivers more chances to score fantasy points. You also want to target games that have smaller point spreads. A larger spread gives you a higher chance for a blowout, which is going to lower the amount of fantasy points scored as the team ahead is going to stop throwing the ball. A higher over/under is also better for your fantasy outlook, as you want as much scoring as possible in the game in order to maximize your chances of scoring fantasy points.

You must also look at team projected points, as it gives you an idea of which team is expected to score more and it helps you predict the game flow. As we talked about with the other positions, snap count is also important. A player’s snap count indicates how much opportunity a player gets during a game. It tells you how many plays the player is on the field for. Obviously, you need to be on the field in order to score fantasy points, so the more playing time a player gets, the more fantasy points he can score. If a player is on a limited snap count, that is a situation you want to avoid. Finally, red zone targets are very important when choosing wide receivers for your lineup. You want to make sure your receivers are ones that get targeted in the red zone, as these are the easiest scoring opportunities. Certain players get a lot of catches, but aren’t targeted in the red zone that often. A lot of the smaller wide receivers are going to fit this mold.

Plus/Minus for Big Spread Games

As we can see in the chart in Saahil’s presentation on the strategy for picking wide receivers for cash games, we see that the plus/minus for wide receivers in big spread games is slightly negative. This goes hand-in-hand with the QBs plus/minus, as passing is going to be slightly lower in games with large spreads. A situation you do want to possibly take a little look at is a team that is going to be throwing the ball more than usual because they are down by a lot. While you can try to pick a receiver in a situation like this, the general rule of thumb is you don’t want to target players from big spreads, whether they are the favorite or the underdog.

WR Height vs. Fantasy Points

Looking at the height of wide receivers compared to their fantasy points, taller receivers are generally going to score more than shorter ones. That is partly because of general managers and teams just liking taller players. But taller wide receivers are going to be more likely to score touchdowns. Looking at players that are above 6-feet, especially with rookies, the chart in Saahil’s NFL cash game WR strategy video will generally give you an idea of how someone is going to perform before we even accumulate much data on a certain player.

Lineup Construction with WRs: Key Elements

The first thing we will look at here is the wide receiver coefficient of variance. As we’ve discussed in previous videos, the CV is the standard deviation of a data set divided by its mean. CVs can be used as a measure of consistency. As we can see on the chart, wide receivers are going to be some of the most variable players in fantasy football. That is because targets vary a lot. A player may get five 30-yard targets, and may catch one of them one day, but may catch four of them the next day. Those numbers are going to create a lot of skew and variation. It is important to target consistent wide receivers in your cash games, and not players who may get an 80-yard touchdown once or twice a year. Instead, you should target guys that are going to get 10+ targets pretty much every game.

Plus/Minus by days rest is also important when it comes to wide receivers. You want to avoid players that are coming off a short week and playing on Thursday night. That is because teams tend to run the ball on shorter rest, so that does not bode well for both teams’ wide receivers as they will likely see fewer opportunities to score fantasy points. A normal rest, or six days, is always going to be a variable situation, but is a lot better than a wide receiver on short rest. Don’t put too much weight into more than the normal rest. The main thing you should take away from this is to avoid wide receivers playing on only four days rest.

NFL Cash Game Lineup Example

We’re going to take a look at the cash game lineup in Saahil’s presentation on the strategy for how to pick wide receivers for cash games. The wide receivers Saahil chose in this lineup are all very consistent players. Danny Amendola, who at this point in the season was filling in for the Patriots number one WR Julian Edelman, was getting a lot of targets from Tom Brady. While he didn’t get that many yards, Amendola reeled in seven receptions, which is great especially in DraftKings with PPR scoring, and a touchdown which helped him get to 20 points. Antonio Brown is another great cash game player, along with being the top receiver in the NFL. As the number one receiver in Pittsburgh, he is always going to be targeted quite a bit with Ben Roethlisberger as his quarterback. The same can be said for Julio Jones, who is the top receiver in Atlanta and Matt Ryan’s favorite target. This lineup put a lot of salary into the wide receiver position, and it paid off as the three receivers put up huge points.

More Daily Fantasy Research from RotoQL

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