A few controversies have unfolded in the daily fantasy sports (DFS) world over the past few weeks. DFS has gotten more attention and some are questioning whether it needs to be regulated like gambling. I think this could be a good idea if done the right way, but DFS needs to be seen for what it is. Is DFS gambling in the sense that you’re wagering on an unsure outcome? Yes, it’s gambling, but there are two types of gambling in my mind.
One where the house will always win over the long run no matter what. Games like blackjack, slots, roulette and pretty much any game found in a casino I refer to as pure gambling. Thinking you can beat the house on a regular basis at these pure gambling games is just foolish. Even playing these games perfectly, you will still lose money over the long run. It’s just a fact. Then there are other games where if you have enough information and can make educated decisions properly, you can gain an edge and be profitable. I consider this skilled gambling. This is how I view poker, sports betting and DFS.
In poker, if you know enough about the game you have a skill and can gain an edge over an unskilled opponent. Is a nine-jack a good hand in Texas Hold’em? I have no idea, but I’m sure a skilled poker player could tell you within a few percentage points the chances of that hand winning. I also don’t view DFS in the same light as sports betting. In sports betting you’re wagering on one outcome against the house. In DFS you’re betting on multiple outcomes against other players. Public perception of players plays a role in winning and losing in DFS. This is why I think DFS is in its own small corner of the gambling world. Putting DFS under the same umbrella as casino games, and regulating them the same way would be a big mistake. These controversies in the DFS world have brought to light some interesting arguments and I’m interested to see how this regulation talk unfolds in the future.
Blake Bortles ($5,200) is my favorite quarterback play this week. Believe me, I’m just as shocked as you are that I just wrote that, but let me explain. One, Houston is really bad on defense against quarterbacks, ranking in the bottom 5 in points given up to quarterbacks. Two, Bortles has had value in four straight games this year. He seems to have finally had the NFL speed “slow down” for him and he’s playing better football. Three, he’s cheap. Costing you just $5,200, he’s easily the cheapest option for a “safe” quarterback that you can find this week.
Arizona is a good football team, in case you didn’t know. Arizona is led by Carson Palmer ($6,600) who is the epitome of consistency. Here are his fantasy points for the last nine games if you take out the game that ended his season last year: 17.1, 17.7, 24.2, 20.8, 28.7, 22.2, 22.5, 20, and 18.3. That’s a pretty tight window of consistency if you ask me. Carson Palmer is a great cash game play because you know you’re going to be getting those 18-22 points like clockwork. He’s also playing Pittsburgh, who has allowed similar quarterbacks like Tom Brady and Philip Rivers to score more than 24 points already this year. Getting Palmer onto your roster this week against Pittsburgh is a solid start to your cash game lineup.
Matthew Stafford ($5,300) hasn’t faced a defense that ranks outside the top third of the league against quarterbacks until this week. Usually, quarterbacks have to lay off the gas pedal against Chicago and let their running game take over. That won’t be the case because Detroit’s run game isn’t very good. Sure, Ameer Abdullah has potential but he hasn’t tapped it yet this year. Right now, Detroit is desperate to win a football game and the passing game has the best chance get that done for them. That means lots of yards from Stafford and that is going to lead to lots of points for you if you roster him this week, which you should.
Peyton Manning’s price has dropped from $8,200 to $6,600 from the start of the season until now. Usually, this would be a huge red flag that he’s had a rough start to the season and it’s time to get him into your cash game roster. Usually. Manning has looked like Father Time has been catching up to him this year, and after this week, I expect his price to drop a bit more.
Denver hasn’t been able to get the run game going this year, but the opponent, Cleveland, ranks in the bottom 5 in the league this year in points given up to running backs. If there is a week to “lean heavily on your run game for Denver and give the running backs a chance,” this is the week for Denver. If that’s the game plan for coach Gary Kubiak you can bet Manning won’t be putting up the yards and touchdowns needed to make him a valuable play this week. Give it another week and his price should drop more and he’ll be a guy that you’ll be wanting to play for sure. It just won’t be this week.