General Rules 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 many of his pass-catchers. Because the likely scenario, if a QB ends up as the captain on DK, is he spreads his touchdowns around to multiple receivers and not one skill player had a ceiling game. The one exception to this rule is if the quarterback is mobile (think Jalen Hurts, Lamar Jackson, Kyler Murray) and can accrue points with their legs without bringing pass-catchers along for the ride.
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, but usually one or fewer.
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.
ALSO VIABLE AS FLEX PLAYS — LISTED IN PREFERENTIAL ORDER
Jalen Hurts is far and away my top captain and I don’t care if he’ll be popular. The rushing upside and three top weapons in Brown, Smith, and Goedert give Hurts a massive ceiling. The Eagles have been somewhat cautious with his shoulder injury, but the chains are off now that they’ve reached the Big Game. I expect to see him unleashing the ball downfield and trying to pick up extra yards. The percentage of targets that will go to Brown/Smith/Goedert could be upwards of 80%, so it’s easy to make combinations of those four. You can also create lineups that highlight Hurts as a runner by only tacking on one pass-catcher.
Travis Kelce checks in as my favorite Chiefs captain for a few reasons. Obviously, he’s Patrick Mahomes’ favorite target, especially in the red zone. If you take a gander at props around the industry, Kelce is a favorite to score. Anytime a target share is extremely concentrated, as we expect with Kelce, it makes for an excellent captain choice. While Mahomes is most likely almost recovered from the ankle injury, it’s likely he chooses to check down instead of run the ball in most circumstances.
AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith have been dynamic throughout the season. Brown has been quiet in the playoffs, but it hasn’t been especially necessary for the Eagles to air the ball out. Brown is the type of player who is captain or fade for me. He has a massive ceiling, but also has a very good chance to end up with a 3/30 stat line if he doesn’t connect on a long touchdown, which is why I like to have shares of him in the captain slot if he smashes, but avoid him in the flex because there's often no in between. Smith is more of the all-around target-getter. He runs short, intermediate, and deep routes, and I think he’s my preferred receiver in this matchup. Smith can be rostered in the flex as he does have a high floor with his target volume.
Patrick Mahomes ranks below Hurts, Kelce, and the Eagles’ receivers partly because of his ankle, but more so because his success is directly tied to Kelce, and Kelce can outproduce him if he sees a big target share. That said, we definitely could see Mahomes throw for 300/3 and someone like Toney and Pacheco catch a touchdown and spread the fantasy scoring around. If you’re rostering Mahomes in the captain, his success depends on the ancillary pieces getting their share of targets so make sure to tack on guys like Toney, Moore, Gray, and Watson.
Miles Sanders doesn’t catch passes, which is always concerning, but I have a theory that the Eagles used a good bit of Gainwell and Scott down the stretch to make sure Sanders was 100% for this game. I don’t think the Eagles are going to turn into the Titans and run the ball every down, but I think Sanders could see more snaps and touches, given it’s the season finale. If Sanders lands in the captain, it severely hurts the rest of the Eagles’ offense, so I’d roster Chiefs-heavy stacks on Sanders captain lineups.
Isiah Pacheco and Jerick McKinnon have been solid since getting the bulk of the work. McKinnon has faded, but Pacheco looks so explosive and fresh this late in the season that it’s hard to ignore. I’m going super light on these two in the captain, if at all, but you can definitely envision a path for Pacheco. Randomness at the goal line could lead to touchdowns for the running backs instead of the passing attack, as we’d expect.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling has been on fire as the Mahomes favorite, non-Kelce target. He gets mostly intermediate and deep shots, so he has a bit of AJ Brown range of outcomes in him. He’s obviously not as talented, but the boom/bust nature is there. He’s cheap enough that he can be a flex play as well.
Dallas Goedert is a tough click in the captain. Yes, he’s involved in his offense, but with Hurts running and also getting Brown and Smith involved makes Goedert a touchdown-dependent play. If he’s the captain, I think we need Hurts in the flex and we have to limit our Eagles around him because he’ll probably have scored once, if not twice.
Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott have been splitting the spell back work behind Miles Sanders and, of course, Jalen Hurts and his carries. I like taking the angle that these two may have been used increasingly down the stretch in the regular season and in the playoffs to save Sanders for this moment. I think their carries could have been elevated by the nature of each playoff game, easy wins. While you have to have a piece of these two in MME, I think it’s likely Sanders and Hurts get an uptick overall in touches, and that hurts Gainwell and Scott.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire has been activated, but it’s a mystery how much he’ll be involved. There’s no chance he takes a significant amount of touches away from Pacheco or McKinnon, but he could see some work like Ronald Jones has this season. Random bursts here or there and potentially a goal-line carry.
JuJu Smith-Schuster has been a bum, plain and simple, over the last two months. He’s been playing on the outside and not getting many looks. It’s been months since he had more than a handful of targets. While I personally can’t see him making a big impact on this game, he’s been priced all the way down to almost DST/Kicker tier. That means he doesn’t need to have a 10/100/1 game to land in the optimal lineup. If he scores, or has a respectable 6/60, he could land in the top lineup depending on the type of game script we see. He makes sense in Mahomes-captain lineups or as a one-off in an Eagles-heavy lineup.
Kadarius Toney and Skyy Moore would have more value if either one had been inactive, but they are going to play somewhat of the same role. Toney will be active, and I think they’ll try to get him some quick screens and gadget-type stuff early. The Chiefs’ offensive line is at a big disadvantage, and one way to neutralize that is to get rid of the ball quickly. Moore had seven targets in the AFC Championship game, but with the returning pass catchers, I think he’ll be bumped back to a 2-3 touch type player. Toney is a priority add for me in his price range, while I think Moore has value, especially since we don’t know what Toney’s chances are of re-injury.
Justin Watson is a deep threat. Toward the end of the regular season, the Chiefs were trying to scheme Watson open downfield often. Though it would have been more beneficial if Toney were sidelined, there will be plays where Watson is subbed in and runs a deep route. If he is ever to connect on one, he very well could be in the optimal lineup. He may be a solid option for Mahomes-captain lineups because he would be a beneficiary of the ball being spread around.
Quez Watkins and Zach Pascal are somewhat of an afterthought on the Eagles offense. They’ve combined for three targets in the playoffs. If you are playing a handful of lineups, I’d X them out completely. If you’re mass multi-entering, they could be tossed into a small percentage of chalky lineups to be the one wild card flier.
Noah Gray and Jody Fortson could benefit from the fact the Chiefs’ offensive line is at a major disadvantage. They may run multi-tight end sets throughout the game. Gray has been a solid part of the offense, catching at least one pass pretty much all season. Fortson is more of a wild card akin to Watkins and Pascal. Gray could be the super cheap piece needed to jam in the top guys like Hurts in the captain spot.
Captain: Jalen Hurts
Flex: DeVonta Smith, Travis Kelce, Isiah Pacheco
Captain: Travis Kelce
Flex: Patrick Mahomes, Jalen Hurts, Dallas Goedert
Captain: AJ Brown
Flex: Jalen Hurts, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Noah Gray
Captain: DeVonta Smith
Flex: Jalen Hurts, Miles Sanders, Travis Kelce
Captain: Patrick Mahomes
Flex: Travis Kelce, Justin Watson, AJ Brown
Captain: Miles Sanders
Flex: Eagles DST, DeVonta Smith, Travis Kelce
Captain: Isiah Pacheco
Flex: Chiefs DST, Kadarius Toney, AJ Brown
Captain: Marquez Valdes-Scantling
Flex: Patrick Mahomes, Jalen Hurts, Dallas Goedert
Captain: Dallas Goedert
Flex: Jalen Hurts, Patrick Mahomes, Marquez Valdes-Scantling