DraftKings has launched a new innovative product called the DraftKings Showdown that allows us to finally play DFS on a one-game slate while also selecting defensive players. The way that this contest is setup is that you select four offensive players which can be any position (QB, RB, WR, TE) and two defensive players which can be any position (DT, DE, LB, CB, S). This can lead to a big edge with this being the first week that these contests are out as there is a general lack of information out there regarding these contests.
Falcons vs Eagles
This slate is a very tough one as most of the offense between these teams funnel through a core group of players that are all priced near the top. The Eagles seem underpriced in this game while the Falcons seem overpriced in this contest so going with an Eagles stack is certainly a viable option. Zach Ertz at just $9,700 will likely be the highest owned player as he is the Eagles top receiver for most of the season and has seen his target percentage continue to go up since Nick Foles has taken over in Philadelphia. From a running back standpoint, Jay Ajayi saw the majority of the carries towards the end of the season and will likely be popular as well in this slate. This is an interesting slate where you could take one of the big two Falcons players and then stack the Eagles.
Keanu Neal- $5,100 Keanu Neal is our favorite play on this slate, while he does not have the tackle stats that Deion Jones has, he is no slouch either as Neal has the most tackles amongst any safety in the NFL with 116 tackles this season. Last week Neal shadowed Todd Gurley everywhere he went and was a big reason the Falcons shut down the Rams superstar. Keanu Neal could follow Zach Ertz this week which would provide a nice opportunity for him to defend Nick Foles’ favorite target.
Deion Jones- $6,500- It’s hard to pay up for the most expensive defender on the slate, but this might be a time where you want to consider doing this if you can make it work. The Eagles run the ball the sixth-most amongst teams in the NFL, and with Nick Foles as their quarterback, expect them to continue that trend utilizing their linebacker who has 138 tackles on the season which is the fourth-most in the NFL.
Chris Long- $2,400- This slate, we are going to want to spend up for some of the elite offensive players and to do that, Chris Long is a guy who is interesting. At the defensive end position, he has been on the field for about 50% of the snaps. At $2,400 this is a pure punt, but Long does have eight tackles in his last four games and has two sacks in his last four games.
Malcolm Jenkins- $4,200- Jenkins at this point in his career is more of a run-stopping safety than a pass-defender. The best part about Jenkins is that at $4,200 he is one of the cheap ways to get access to the Eagles rushing defense. The issue for Jenkins is that he has been inconsistent throughout this season as he has big game upside if the Falcons have success rushing the ball, but if the Falcons struggle running the ball, it is unlikely he Jenkins will have a big game.
Tennessee vs New England-
Of the four slates this weekend, this slate might be one of the easier slates to build rosters for. The reason for this is relatively simple, the Titans and Patriots spread the ball around when it comes to offensive touches which unless you are determined to play both Rob Gronkowski and Tom Brady, you should easily be able to build a lineup by taking underpriced offensive players such as Chris Hogan who returns from injury, Corey Davis, Eric Decker and James White who looks like he will likely be returning from injury as well. Tom Brady will likely be the most popular player on this slate
Safeties Patrick Chung $3,800 and Devin McCourty $4,200- One interesting way to play this slate is to pick one or both of Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung. The two players lead the team in tackles and are both relatively underpriced. This gets you action to both of the Titans best players as Devin McCourty who is the team’s leading tackler should be helping and playing a big role in the run-stopping of Derrick Henry, while Chung who is the second leading tackler will be helping on the run, but will also likely be defending Delanie Walker in coverage as he is the better coverage player of the two which gives him upside as the Titans are going to try to get Delanie Walker the ball especially if they fall behind.
Jurrell Casey- $3,600- On this slate, if you want to go with Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski, you are going to have to find a savings. Casey is the Titans best defensive lineman and will be on the field for likely 90% of the snaps this week. At just $3,600, Casey is a player who provides you a nice floor as he has 60 tackles on the season.
Elandon Roberts- $3,200- The Titans are going to try to run the ball a lot in this game as they utilize Derrick Henry early in this game. While none of the Patriots linebackers have great tackle numbers, Elandon Roberts should be able to pick up a few tackles to keep his floor high and pay off his low salary.
Kyle Van Noy-$4,700- Van Noy has been dealing with a calf injury was not on the injury report and appears to be good to go in this game which is a great increase for the Patriots defense in this game. Van Noy is third on the team in tackles even though he missed four games this season. He also provides upside to get a sack as the Patriots will blitz him from time to time. Van Noy has had big upside in games against mobile quarterbacks as he had 18 tackles in two games against DeShaun Watson and Cam Newton.
Kevin Byard-$5,000- The Titans have not faced many great tight ends this season. The one exception to this was they faced Seattle in week three when Jimmy Graham was healthy. Graham had a successful game against the Titans in this one as he had 7 receptions for 72 yards. Kevin Byard spent a majority of his time on him and had six tackles in this game. Expect Byard to see a majority of the time going up against Gronkowski this week, which means that he should have the potential to have a few pass defenses as well as several tackles.
Steelers vs Jaguars
From an offensive standpoint, this is a tough one as the Steelers are in a tough spot going up against the vaunted Jaguars defense and Le’Veon Bell is extremely cost prohibitive. It is possible to make Bell work, but it means you are going to have to go to the bottom of the offensive player pool. If Antonio Brown is out, one cheap guy who could see additional snaps would be Eli Rogers and that could be the way that you spend up to Bell, but if Brown is active and you have to play Bell, it is going to be tough unless you are willing to take a chance on someone like a T.J. Yeldon and hope the game script goes right for him.
Leonard Fournette has really struggled the second-half of the season. Fournette will be popular due to his first game where he had 28 carries for 181 yards and two touchdowns. While he has been struggling, his price is $4,600 less than Le’Veon Bell which likely means he will be much more popular than Bell this week. The most common start to a lineup will likely be to take both quarterbacks and then Fournette which allows you to have the most balanced lineup, but in a GPP taking chances on Le’Veon Bell is an interesting strategy as if you can hit on the cheap offensive player it will differentiate your lineup and set yourself up well for the GPP.
Sean Spence-$3,500- While most people have probably not heard of Sean Spence, he is the linebacker who has replaced Ryan Shazier after Shazier’s horrific injury earlier this season. Apparently, DraftKings has not heard of him either as he is priced way too low this week at just $3,500. While Spence is not a great player, he sees the volume that affords him tackle opportunities and he should be on the field for 80% of the snaps or greater in this game. Look for the Jaguars to run towards Spence which should provide him plenty of tackle opportunities in this game.
Sean Davis-$4,100- Sean Davis has been Mr. Reliable when it comes to fantasy scoring this season as he has scored five or more DraftKings points in 11 of his last 13 games. He also has scored 11.5 or more points in three of his last four games. This is a player who if Leonard Fournette has a big day, could have a big tackle number and if Blake Bortles continues to struggle, Davis, has the upside for an interception in this game.
Jalen Ramsey-$4,700-Typically taking cornerbacks at the level of Jalen Ramsey can be a risky proposition as you almost need to root against them having a good game so that the receiver can catch the ball and they can make the tackle. Ramsey is a bit of an exception to this rule as the Steelers are going to be throwing at Antonio Brown regardless of whether Ramsey has him blanketed or not which provides additional opportunities for not only tackles if Antonio Brown catches the ball, but also pass defenses which are a nice upside for Ramsey this week. In their first meeting, Ramsey had seven tackles and four pass deflections. Ramsey should be one of the top plays on this slate on the defensive side of the ball. If Antonio Brown does not play, this is likely a spot that you will want to move away from as teams could avoid throwing at Ramsey if Brown is out.
Calais Campbell-$5,700- It’s hard not to love what Calais Campbell has done this season as he provides both the upside of being second in the NFL in sacks, but also has a nice floor which a lot of pass rushers do not have as he has 67 tackles on the season. The one problem with Campbell is that the salary is going to be tough to fit him in at $5,700 especially if you want to go up to Le’Veon Bell or Antonio Brown in this game.
TaShaun Gipson-$3,400- Gipson is a pure punt play as the player is better than what the salary is. Gipson who is primarily a coverage safety had a tremendous game the first time these two teams met as he had six tackles as he provided help over the top primarily for Antonio Brown, but also for Juju Smith-Schuster. Gipson also had two interceptions in this game which while it is hard to predict that he will have another interception he should be in a spot where at his price if he gets one he will far exceed his salary.
Minnesota vs New Orleans
On the offensive side of the ball, there are a number of great options on the top-end, but once you get past Kyle Rudolph there really is not much to work with outside of taking a chance on Willie Snead as Brandon Coleman is out. This ultimately means that for this slate, we are going to be spending up on offense and that will force us to spend down at the defensive positions in order to make up some of that salary. The good news is that there are a variety of different options on this slate on offense making this one of the best slates when it comes to GPP’s and should make the $150,000 tournament one that the winning lineup can come from a variety of different combinations.
Marcus Williams-$4,100- Williams will likely be one of the most popular players on this slate especially in cash games as he is a tackling machine. Williams has six or more combined tackles in seven straight games and 83% of those tackles are solo tackles. His price is simply too cheap for a player who should have one of the higher floors on the slate due to the volume of tackles that he should get as the Vikings look to establish the run in this game.
Manti Te’o-$3,900- Te’o is not a great linebacker and he is priced as if he is not a great linebacker. However, much like running backs, sometimes the volume is just there and makes a low priced guy intriguing. That is the case that we have this week as the Vikings run the ball the second most amongst any teams in the NFL this season. Te’o who is a better run stopper than he is in coverage will be looked upon to make a majority of the tackles that are up the middle and should be able to make the tackles on the carries that Latavius Murray runs between the tackles.
Cameron Jordan-$5,800- Cameron Jordan has been on an absolute tear as of late as he has four sacks in his last three games and should be in a very favorable matchup this week going up against right tackle Rashod Hill. The one negative for Jordan this week is with how quickly Case Keenum releases the ball as the Vikings have allowed the eighth fewest sacks this year. Jordan will be popular this week as he was last week, and while he should be considered is by no means a must start this week.
Ken Crawley-$3,800- Ken Crawley remains underpriced this week as while cornerback typically is not a place we want to look at when picking IDP players teams have continued to avoid throwing at Marshon Lattimore instead looking to attack Crawley who has played well over his last six games. Due to the number of targets that Crawley sees he is in spots to make both pass deflections to breakup passes and tackles when the receiver completes the pass. At just $3,800 he has had five or more fantasy points in each of his last six games.
Harrison Smith-$4,900- Harrison Smith is likely going to be shadowing Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram out of the passing game in this game. This presents a great opportunity for the All-Pro safety who presents a nice tackle upside at just $4,900. He is likely more of a GPP play than a cash game play simply because there are other players with similar tackle upside, but Smith has the ability to force turnovers as he has five interceptions on the season and can get a pass defended bonus from time to time. Smith makes a great pairing with Kamara as if Kamara catches a significant number of passes out of the backfield Smith should be the one having a tackle upside.