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.
We are going to have to make some difficult decisions with roster construction in this game due to the pricing of the stud players. Lamar Jackson is usually one of the first players I pencil in as a captain because of the rushing ability, however I think I’ll be dialing back my exposure to Lamar in captain given the options on the opposing offense and the injuries along his offensive line. He can certainly be a flex play, but Patrick Mahomes on the other side of the ball makes things a bit more difficult to just set it and forget with a Lamar Captain. The Ravens are down Marcus Peters and Jimmy Smith in the secondary and Derek Wolfe up front. Derek Carr just picked them apart on Monday night, so I can only imagine what Mahomes has in store. If we are slotting Mahomes into the captain we need to bring a few pass-catchers along with him.
Obviously, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce are the go to options here. It’s going to be tough to get a piece of all of these players in one lineup given their pricing. It’s crucial when you are making your lineups, whether by optimizer or hand, that you are spreading out exposures correctly. For instance if you have ten teams that start Mahomes in the captain and Hill in the flex, when adding an additional Chiefs’ skill player make sure you are rotating them evenly. You don’t want all of you Mahomes-Hill teams to also have Demarcus Robinson on all ten of them, per se. With that said I think Hill is an excellent captain tonight with the injuries at defensive back. I can see him racing by the Ravens secondary.
If you wanted to get an extra stud in the flex, I always advocate for slotting in a mid-priced option that could potentially create a unique opportunity to get get three studs in your flex. That player on the Chiefs side is probably Mecole Hardman. Remember, Hardman doesn’t have to outscore Mahomes, Hill, Kelce, or Lamar he just has to outperform his salary relative to theirs. The player on the Ravens’ side of the ball that could be the mid-priced flex is Sammy Watkins. He saw a wild eight targets in Week 1 and this is a revenge game for him. With that said, the bulk of my captain allotment will come from the Chiefs big three.
The ceiling that the Mahomes, Kelce, Hill, and Jackson provide make it extremely difficult to roster the low-volume/low-ceiling plays in the captain slot. The running back position for either teams is simply not enticing to me, though they will be in my player pool as it’s a one game slate, I will be underweight on them. Ty’Son Williams had a terrific first half, but Latavius Murray took over in the second half. Harbaugh mentioned he just wanted to split the time and not give Williams too much work, but some have speculated a few bumbled exchanges with Lamar cause that decreased workload. Devonta Freeman was called up from the practice squad as well. To put it lightly, this backfield is a mess and looks like it may be a hot hand situation. I’ll try to get a small piece of these guys on my multi-entry player pool, but they aren’t a priority.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire is again not my favorite piece of this game. He was ineffective last week on the ground and now faces more of a pass funnel Ravens team due to their secondary injuries. I could see the Chiefs throwing the ball all night. CEH could definitely factor into the pass game, so he’s a sneaky add to you Mahomes captain rosters. I wouldn’t expect him to put up a captain type performance himself, though. Which is why he is relegated to the flex. Darrel Williams wasn’t really involved. It was Edwards-Helaire’s show, but he’s cheap enough to be the last man in dart.
The Chiefs tertiary pass-catchers could decide this showdown slate. Demarcus Robinson played more snaps than Mecole Hardman last week but Hardman out-targeted him 4-2. Byron Pringle also got in on the action with one reception. In a single game slate, one play can change the entire optimal lineup construction. That’s why I like cascading my lineups with all of these pass-catchers. Hardman would obviously be my favorite as he had a connection with Mahomes in the preseason and saw a solid four targets last week. Depending on how many lineups you are playing Blake Bell can even make it as the last man in, he played 19 snaps last week and was targeted by Mahomes. If he were to luckbox into a touchdown at the goal line, that’s all he would need to 30x value.
The Ravens pass-catchers have more value than they normally would as well. Marquise Brown was not just a deep shot artist last week. He ran a bunch of short and intermediate routes and wound up with a 6-60-1 stat line. We’re used to seeing his stat line be a long touchdown or bust type. Devin Duvernay provides cheap snaps if he suits up. He’s a big slot receiver that could get some volume if the Ravens are playing catch up. Mark Andrews underwhelmed, only reeling in 3 of 5 targets against the Raiders. His price is very prohibitive, but he has a chance to score multiple touchdowns so he’s definitely in consideration. James Proche could be interesting whether Duvernay suits up or not. He would be a last man in and you’re just hoping that he catches a couple passes and outscores all the punt plays needed for a stud heavy build.
Correlated Lineup Starters
Captain: Patrick Mahomes
Flex: Tyreek Hill, Mecole Hardman, Sammy Watkins
Captain: Patrick Mahomes
Flex: Travis Kelce, Byron Pringle, Mark Andrews
Captain: Tyreek Hill
Flex: Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, Sammy Watkins
Captain: Travis Kelce
Flex: Patrick Mahomes, Marquise Brown, Justin Tucker
Captain: Mecole Hardman
Flex: Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Lamar Jackson