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 concentrate 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.
Ezekiel Elliott makes the most sense in this situation. The narrative is that without Dak, the Cowboys will rely on the run a bit more and try to take it to this Cardinals team on the ground. It makes some sense, the Cardinals are more susceptible to be beaten on the ground. Elliott has seen more than 20 opportunities in every game this year and his price is cheaper than Murray and Hopkins on the other side of the ball. The issue is that he’ll most likely be the popular captain. I don’t mind slotting him in as the 1.5x player, but you’ll have to get a bit unique around him. He remains game script independent as he’s seen games of five or more receptions and games of 20 or more carries. I do think there is some merit to playing some Cowboys pass-catchers in the captain spot as a leverage play. CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup are my favorite in that department. Gallup allows you to do a lot with the rest of your lineup as he’s extremely inexpensive on DraftKings. We also saw he and Dalton connect on a big play after Dak left the game last week. Lamb is more of a volume play. I think we can expect the Cowboys to attempt to get Dalton settled in with some easy throws and that could be where Lamb comes in on crossing routes and bubble screens. In terms of average depth of target, Gallup (16.3) and Lamb (12.5) are the ones getting the valuable shots over Cooper who sits under 8 in the last two weeks.
Kyler Murray possess the skill set that we can roster at captain on DraftKings (it’s always viable at MVP on FanDuel). The rushing ability he brings can get him to a ceiling game that doesn’t necessarily bring him along. However, I think it’s important to note that DeAndre Hopkins will command a massive target share and will more than likely be part of an optimal lineup if Murray hits. Hopkins owns a 31% share of the Cardinals’ targets and 32% share of the Cardinals air yards. I don’t think I need to convince you to roster either of these players in your captain spot. Christian Kirk is an interesting option like Gallup to get a more balanced lineup up. Kirk had a solid outing last week with identical target share to Hopkins. I like taking him in a couple lineups if you are mass multi-entering.
Kenyan Drake has been awful, to put it bluntly. He’s getting carries, but not targets and hasn’t done much with his carries outside of a few short touchdown plunges. It’s probably why Chase Edmonds has surpassed him in salary on DraftKings. We haven’t seen it yet, but it’s better to be early than late on the Edmonds usage breakout. I really like using Edmonds despite his price bump, I even think he’s viable in the captain spot, but I’m more likely to flex him given the nature of his limited ceiling. Drake in your lineup is pretty much a bet on a Cardinals lopsided win, so I probably won’t have much of him as I think this game is close.
Andy Isabella is more intriguing to me than Larry Fitzgerald due to the nature of their targets. Fitz has been targeted nicely in a few of the Cardinals games this year, but at this point in his career he’s a catch and fall down player. Isabella gets some deep shots and we’ve seen him be a focal point in the red zone as well. Isabella has an aDOT of almost 13 while Fitz sits around 5. The Cardinals don’t run a lot of sets with multiple tight ends on the field, so I wouldn’t get too crazy with guys like Darrell Daniels or Dan Arnold, but they are worth a one or two lineup flier if you are multi-entering and need a super punt. KeeSean Johnson is in the same bucket, I would rather use dart throws we are about to mention in a minute over the Cardinals ancillary pieces.
Amari Cooper has a low aDOT and I think he’ll be overowned in the captain spot compared to his chance of actually being the captain, so I’m relegating him to the flex, we have to take a stand somewhere. Cooper still owns the highest target share on the Cowboys, but I think we’re more likely to see an 8-80 line than him reeling off deep balls like we could see from Gallup and Lamb. Cedric Wilson has burst on to the scene as well for the Cowboys, seeing the same target share as Gallup and Dalton Schultz over the last two weeks. Adding Wilson or Schultz to your Cowboys’ onslaughts makes sense. Schultz hasn’t been involved, but with the switch to Andy Dalton, we should project some of the trends we’ve seen over the last few weeks to be a bit different, maybe one of those trends is Schultz getting more involved. Noah Brown has played more snaps than Wilson so I think he’s worth a flier with Cedric Wilson getting the recency bias bump.
Tony Pollard provides massive leverage off of what should be a highly owned Ezekiel Elliott. Pollard’s involvement has spiked the last two weeks as he’s played around 25% of the Cowboys’ snaps. If Pollard happens to spell Elliott for a goal line carry or get a designed screen that he rips off for a touchdown, it automatically gives you leverage over players that haven’t rostered Pollard AND players that have rostered Zeke. I do think it’s possible to have a lineup or two with them together as Pollard is so inexpensive, he doesn’t need a ton of usage to pay off.
While DSTs are always in play I think both offenses have a pretty solid advantage in this game, which is evidenced by the massive 55 point total. I’ll be scripting mostly for points to be scored rather than a slugfest, but there is merit to getting unique with a defense and potentially pairing Cardinals with Kenyan Drake. Both Kickers can be clicked as well. Anytime I think there is going to be a lot of back and forth, there is a floor of extra points and then the chance to tack on some field goals if drives stall in the red zone.
Captain/MVP: DeAndre Hopkins
Flex: Kyler Murray, CeeDee Lamb, Chase Edmonds
Captain/MVP: Michael Gallup
Flex: Andy Dalton, Christian Kirk, Kyler Murray
Captain/MVP: Kyler Murray
Flex: CeeDee Lamb, Cedrick Wilson, DeAndre Hopkins
Captain/MVP: Ezekiel Elliott
Flex: Chase Edmonds, Kyler Murray, Christian Kirk