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.
Tom Brady returning to Foxboro is the story here. Brady and the Buccaneers offense has been excellent as expected through three weeks despite dropping a game last week to the Rams. Brady can land in the optimal captain because of the way he spreads the ball around. I think his odds to land as the optimal captain are improved by the absence of Gronk. Without his favorite end zone target, we could see the passing touchdowns distributed amongst multiple pass-catchers. The Patriots defense has been stout against the pass, but they haven’t faced a potent passing offense like they will on Sunday night.
Chris Godwin is the lower aDOT intermediate route runner that benefits from Gronk’s absence the most (outside of the tight ends that are replacing him on the field). He leads the Buccaneers in targets, receptions, and yards. However, Mike Evans gets the targets that often land players in the captain spot. He has an average air yards per target of 20.7. He owns a 30% air yards share this week and could be the preferred end zone option with Gronk out of the lineup.
Cameron Brate could be a cheap captain option if you are creating multiple lineups and want a few very unique darts at the 1.5x spot on DraftKings. Similar to how CJ Uzmoah landed in the captain spot this past Thursday. Brate came into the game last week and picked up a quick five targets. If the big salary players are the only ones that produce in this game, it’s possible Brate is the optimal captain in order to jam in three or four studs.
Jakobi Meyers has an expected touchdown rate of .24 through three weeks and much like last season has not found the end zone. Meyers has racked up a 25% target share and a 29% air yards share through three weeks. Even if this is a Buccaneers romp, Meyers can land in the optimal captain if he eats up the majority of the volume.
The Patriots running back situation seems like a good one to avoid. I wouldn’t fault anyone for removing Damien Harris from your player pool. He’s playing about 25 snaps a week and he’s getting the ball when the game script calls for it. Given that this should be a game script that the Patriots are playing from behind, I don’t want to use Harris very much. We have to handicap the situation between Branden Bolden, JJ Taylor, and Rhamondre Stevenson. Last week Bolden saw most of the snaps after James White exited. I don’t think that will be the case this week. The Patriots probably felt safer throwing Bolden in there with no practice reps. With a week to prepare, I think the Pats will take advantage of Taylor’s skill set and throw the ball to him out of the backfield a bit more. All three are worth speculative last man in spots, but Taylor is my favorite.
Leonard Fournette over Ronald Jones my take for this game given that Giovani Bernard will not play in this game. I think we see an uptick in snaps and targets out of the backfield. I like Fournette as a flex in Brady captain lineups which accounts for the scenario of Fournette getting increased passing game usage. I just can’t see the Buccaneers letting RoJo run wild in this game given it’s Brady’s return to Foxboro. They are calling play action passes inside the five yard line this week.
Nelson Agholor is very close to Meyers in air yards share with 27% despite only seeing 15% of the team’s targets. I like him a bit more than Kendrick Bourne who has been used considerably less. Both Patriot tight end options are a bit less interesting as well. Between Bourne, Hunter Henry, and Jonnu Smith I would only use a max of one per lineup as they are all flirting with a 10-12% target share. Additionally, the cheap tight ends with projected increase usage on the other side of the field make it hard to roster these guys with confidence. Mac Jones is of course in play, especially since we’ve seen the Bucs give up production through the air, it’s going to be tough to jam him in, though.
Antonio Brown and OJ Howard could probably be captain candidates, but I had to cut it off somewhere. I like to limit my captain exposure so that when I’m correct on the optimal captain I have several lineups with a variety of builds in the flex spots to potentially hit the optimal lineup. Brown is coming off missing a week, but looked good in Week 1. Brown led the Buccaneers in air yards share through two weeks. A place to be underweight is that the roster percentage on Tyler Johnson and Scotty Miller. They will probably be too high given that Brown is back and their numbers last week were a result of his absence. If you’re creating 20-150 lineups, they may be worth 2-5% rostership, but that’s about it.
Captain: Tom Brady
Flex: Chris Godwin, Leonard Fournette, Jakobi Meyers
Captain: Chris Godwin
Flex: Tom Brady, Cameron Brate, Nelson Agholor
Captain: Mike Evans
Flex: Tom Brady, OJ Howard, Jakobi Meyers
Captain: Cameron Brate
Flex: Tom Brady, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown
Captain: Jakobi Meyers
Flex: Tom Brady, Mike Evans, Antonio Brown