General Rule for Creating Showdown/MVP Lineups
- Correlate with your Captain/MVP - Make sure you are creating a roster that makes sense with your 1.5x player.
- On DraftKings, lean RB/WR in the captain. Though QB can finish as the optimal captain, it’s often overused by the field relative to its success rate. When you are using a QB in the captain, I like to use a lot of his pass-catchers. Because the likely scenario if a QB ends up as the captain on DK is he spread his touchdowns around to multiple receivers and not one skill player had a ceiling game.
- On FanDuel the MVP spot doesn’t cost you 1.5x salary which means you’re just trying to get the highest-scoring player in that spot. Contrary to DK, it’s often the QB because of the scoring system. I would lean QB/RB on FD, but there are always exceptions to the rule.
- Leave salary on the table - I’m not just talking about a few hundred. Don’t be afraid to leave a few thousand on the table. In a slate that has an extremely limited number of viable options, there is a much greater chance for lineup duplication. It may not seem like much of an issue, but it can decimate your expected value to put in lineups that are going to split with 500 other people.
- Multi-enter if you can. Single-game slates have so much variance that the first play of the game can take you completely out of contention if you only have one lineup. It’s best to build a bunch of lineups (you don’t have to max enter) that concentrates on different game scripts and a handful of different correlated captains.
- DST and Kickers, while not very exciting usually offer a solid floor for cheap. Especially in game scripts that go under expected point totals. I would only use at most two per lineup.
- When creating single-game lineups, the most important part is creating correlated lineups according to a projected game script, and not pinpointing the exact five or six players who will score the most fantasy points on the slate.
PIT AT NYG
This matchup is all about the running backs for me on both sites. Both James Conner and Saquon Barkley are projected to the vast majority of touches. When healthy, Conner has been as good a workhorse back as anyone. And now he’s facing a Giants defense that was dreadful against the run and doesn’t look--at least on paper--to be much better. I’d expect Conner to be targeted in the passing game as well. The Steelers’ defense makes for a great correlated pairing in lineups where Conner is captain. Barkley projects for all the touches as well, so slotting him into the captain/MVP slot will be part of my strategy as well. JuJu Smith-Schuster dominated two years ago with Roethlisberger at the helm. He’s my favorite WR target to roster at the DraftKings captain spot, but is also playable as FanDuel MVP. If you’re looking for the value captain/balanced lineup approach, Diontae Johnson and Darius Slayton (if Tate sits) make sense. Of course that applies to DraftKings, I think the most prudent play on FanDuel is get one of the quarterbacks or running backs in the captain for the majority of your lineups.
I’ll be building a lot of Steelers’ onslaughts, however, you have to roster players from both teams, which means I’ll be dropping Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram, and Darius Slayton. I like the idea of playing five Steelers and dropping in one of the aforementioned pass-catchers. Remember, on DraftKings the players that usually show up in optimal lineups when their team gets blown out are the guys who have racked up receptions.
Eric Ebron had a great camp and is a daunting task in the red zone for the Giants. Quarterback and tight end scoring are often very correlated because they depend on touchdowns. If Ebron is in your lineup and does well, it’s probably a good idea to get Roethlisberger in the same lineups, as it means Ebron snagged multiple touchdowns.
I like both the Steelers’ DST and their kicker Chris Boswell a lot. I don’t normally like two K/DSTs in one lineup, but it’s doable. There are two ways to go about building around the kicker and the defense. A blowout or a slugfest. In this specific game, I would lean more towards a blowout. In a blowout you could draw your other 4/5 roster spots from virtually any position, however, you’d want to leave quarterback and touchdown-dependent tight ends (Ebron) out of slugfests
I think we could see Kaden Smith play a bit more if Golden Tate is out. Smith flashed down the stretch last season and is really cheap on both sites. All you need for Smith to be in the optimal lineups is something similar to what we saw from backup TE Jordan Akins on Thursday, a few catches, and a touchdown.
The backup running backs may come into play, especially if this is a blowout. Benny Snell and Wayne Gallman would be my bets to get a touchdown while spelling Conner or Barkley at the goal-line, while Dion Lewis will work in on passing downs. I want to wait to see inactives whether to determine if Jaylen Samuels or Anthony McFarland are in play.
Chase Claypool, the rookie from Notre Dame, has made some waves in camp and I think his price makes sense. I like him better than James Washington and wouldn’t be surprised to see him run in front of him.
Game Script Lineup Starters
Captain/MVP: James Conner
Flex: Steelers DST, Ben Roethlisberger, Darius Slayton
Captain/MVP: Juju Smith-Schuster
Flex: Chris Boswell, Steelers DST, Evan Engram
Captain/MVP: Diontae Johnson (Swap with Ben Roethlisberger on FD)
Flex: Ben Roethlisberger, Eric Ebron, Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard
TEN at DEN
Derrick Henry has a ton working in his favor as the Titans will be missing Darynton Evans and the Broncos will be missing key pieces of their defense due to injury and offseason attrition. We know the Titans’ game plan will center around getting Henry the football. He may even see an increase in targets. I’m finding it really hard to build a lineup without him. The issue is everyone will want to slot Henry into their captain/MVP slot so make sure you get a bit different in one or two flex spots. A.J. Brown is the other player that will get run at my DraftKings captain spot. Brown is also the type of receiver that could end up in the FanDuel MVP slot as he relies more on yards and touchdowns, not receptions to meet value. The Broncos don’t have a cornerback that can slow Brown down. A.J. Bouye brings name recognition, but he’s not someone that would make me shy away from Brown. I don’t think Ryan Tannehill makes sense as a captain on DraftKings, if he goes off the most likely scenario is that most of it went to Brown and he’s the captain.
With the potential for Courtland Sutton to be sidelined, we can potentially build balanced lineups with a mid-tier captain from the Broncos pass-catchers like Jerry Jeudy. However, what the injury really does is open the door for the Titans DST to provide that type of balanced lineup so I like that play as well. I think the Broncos offense is in a pretty bad spot here so I’ll be much heavier on the Titans side of the ball in the 1.5x spots.
Normally, it would be tough to slot Derrick Henry into the captain in a bunch of lineups, because it would lead to a lot of duplication with minimal value plays for the flex. This game is different as I think there are a good number of cheaper plays we can slot into the flex spots. The Broncos have a slew of inexpensive receivers that will now have more prominent roles provided Sutton sits. Tim Patrick reportedly impressed throughout camp and he has flashed at points in his career. Noah Fant’s run after catch prowess combined with a potential uptick in targets makes him a top value at flex. I like Philip Lindsay more than Melvin Gordon mostly due to the fact that I think Lindsay will see more targets and be lower owned. If this game turns into a shootout, you may need to roster Drew Lock, but I won’t be building a ton of lineups that revolve around the Broncos scoring a ton of points.
The Titans have their share of cheap flex plays as well. Jonnu Smith is in the same ilk as Fant in that he’s athletic and can rack up yards after the catch. Adam Humphries may be a tad too expensive, especially with guys like Khalif Raymond and Anthony Firkser who can smash value with one catch. Corey Davis is someone that I think will be over-owned based on name value alone. He’s banged up and has been a perennial underperformer for most of his career.
Game Script Lineup Idea Starters
Captain/MVP: Derrick Henry
Flex: Ryan Tannehill, Titans DST, Noah Fant
Captain/MVP: A.J. Brown
Flex: Ryan Tannehill, Jonnu Smith, Philip Lindsay
Low Scoring Slugfest
Captain/MVP: Titans DST (Henry on FD)
Flex: Derrick Henry, Stephen Gostowski, Tim Patrick
Vegas Implied Game Script
Captain/MVP: Derrick Henry
Flex: AJ Brown, Brandon McManus, Noah Fant