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 a lot 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.
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.
Kyle Pitts sticks out like a sore thumb on this slate as a preferred captain play. Both teams are banged up and have very spread out offenses that are somewhat unpredictable week-to-week. Pitts is basically a lock for 6+ targets in this game and I don’t think we can say that for anyone else on either side of the football. The Patriots currently rank first in fantasy points allowed to tight ends, but on a single game slate I lean towards talent and usage instead of matchup. There is a strong case for locking him at captain in my opinion.
Mike Davis has been super inefficient, but I think many are underrating how much he’ll be used in this game against the Patriots. Wayne Gallman is priced more than him, which is a mistake in my opinion. If Cordarelle Patterson is out, Davis should operate as the lead back. Gallman got a bunch of mop up duty and will definitely see a bump in carries, but I would expect Davis to remain the lead back. I don’t love his talent, but at his price he makes a lot of sense to build around.
Damien Harris or Rhamondre Stevenson, depending on who suits up, probably have the highest ceiling on the slate. It looks as though Harris will be able to give it a go and he has seven 6 touchdowns in his last five games played. The Falcons 4th worst in terms of allowing fantasy points to running backs. The Patriots’ defense has a great chance to land in the optimal lineup given the Falcons’ woes on offense. Pairing up Harris, or if he misses, Stevenson with the Pats’ defense is nice correlation
Because there really isn’t many skill players with high ceilings, that means both quarterbacks could hit the optimal lineup in the captain spot. Matt Ryan gets a tough test against the Patriots secondary, but he has flashed a ceiling this year eclipsing the 300-yard mark four times and throwing multiple touchdowns on six occasions. Without Calvin Ridley, the target distribution is a bit more spread out, which can also land Ryan in the captain spot.
Mac Jones is in the same situation as Ryan. He spreads the ball around, basically taking what the defense gives him. When this is the case, we usually see a lot of 5-50 type stat lines with no one pass-catcher going crazy. Hunter Henry has been an end zone monster, averaging a touchdown per game over the last two months. Tight ends have been a cheat code on showdown slates this year. If Henry can find the end zone once or twice, he could finish as the optimal captain given his price.
Olamide Zaccheus and Russell Gage have identical usage rates since Calvin Ridley’s absence, which equates to 16% of targets and 14% of air yards. It’s difficult to distinguish between these two other than Gage has disappeared for games at a time. In fact he’s alternating between usable fantasy games and not registering a catch. Zaccheus has a higher ceiling in my opinion, but both are solid options.
Cordarelle Patterson would be a captain pick any other week, but I hate that he’s hobbled by an ankle. He failed to get a full practice in this week. I think there is a distinct possibility he is active and limited within the game. If he’s inactive it makes the decision easier, but I think there’s leverage to be had if we are underweight on CPat given an active status.
Hayden Hurst and Tajae Sharp are low priced darts you can use as last man in your lineups. Sharpe is more appealing to me as he has a decently high aDOT of 11.4 yards. He also has seen a 12% target share since Ridley has been out. Hurst sees more check down type throws. He’d need a touchdown to land in the optimal lineup.
Wayne Gallman is definitely in play despite the fact I think it’s better to get contrarian with Mike Davis. Gallman will definitely work in provided Cordarelle Patterson is out or limited. I think the fact he was a popular waiver wire pick up will get his percent rostered a boost. I’ll shy away from Gallman when he’s highly rostered.
Brandon Bolden makes sense in lineups that project the Falcons to be in this game or even leading as he’s a capable pass-catcher. He’s a solid pairing with Mac Jones as well. Bolden has an 11% target share since taking on more of a steady role in the offense, which isn’t excellent but solid enough to warrant consideration on a single game slate.
Jakobi Meyers has slowly ceded target share to Kendrick Bourne over the course of the season. Meyers has been a solid possession receiver and just punched in his first touchdown of his career, a nice feel good story. However, Bourne has pulled neck and neck with him in terms of target share and air yard share. I like having more Bourne in my player portfolio for this game to get some leverage on the Meyers popularity.
Nelson Agholor needs to be paired up with Mac Jones as he’s the deep shot guy. He has a massive share of air yards in this Patriots’ offense. Make sure you are pairing him up with Mac Jones because Agholor will get there if he connects on a long touchdown.
Captain: Kyle Pitts
Flex: Matt Ryan, Damien Harris, Olamide Zaccheus
Captain: Matt Ryan
Flex: Kyle Pitts, Mike Davis, Hunter Henry
Captain: Mike Davis
Flex: Falcons DST, Tajae Sharpe, Jakobi Meyers
Captain: Damien Harris or Rhamondre Stevenson
Flex: Pats DST, Kendrick Bourne, Russell Gage
Captain: Mac Jones
Flex: Jakobi Meyers, Nelson Agholor, Olamide Zaccheus
Captain: Hunter Henry
Flex: Mac Jones, Kendrick Bourne, Kyle Pitts