XANDAMERE’S SHOWDOWN SLANT
Monday Night Football brings us a really exciting Showdown as the Bills visit the Bengals for a 49.5 total game in which Buffalo is favored by a point. Two great offenses, a nice high total, close spread . . . should be a fun game (we hope).
On the Bills side, the backfield is led by Devin Singletary in a 1A/1B split with James Cook. In the last few games Singletary has out-snapped Cook, but the gap between them has closed enormously from early in the season. We used to see Singletary in the 70%+ range while Cook was in the high teens or 20s; but lately, it’s been Singletary in the high 40s to 60%, while Cook is in the 36-43% range. Both have shown explosiveness, and while Cook has been more efficient, Singletary is the favorite for more touches; in the four games since the split really started changing, Cook has 34 carries and 12 targets while Singletary has 46 carries and 11 targets. On a slate with a lot of viable stud plays, though, salary is extremely important and that has me slightly favoring Cook for the $1,400 discount in price. Working against the running backs is what we always see in Buffalo: they’re in a timeshare, and their quarterback is a massive touchdown vulture with seven rushing scores on the season (Singletary has five and Cook has two). Fullback Reggie Gilliam can be included in MME player pools as well, with 10 targets (and a touchdown!). On a slate with so many studs, it’s entirely plausible that a punt play who scores 7-8 points with a single touchdown catch could be in the optimal lineup.
Showdown Ownership Projections!
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In the passing game, the full-time pass catchers (or close to it) are Gabe Davis, Stef Diggs, and Dawson Knox, with Isaiah McKenzie, Khalil Shakir, now Cole Beasley, and Quintin Morris serving in rotational roles. One of the big decisions on this slate is going to be around the elite receivers with Diggs, Ja’Marr Chase, and Tee Higgins priced so close to each other. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I prefer Chase first, then Diggs, then Higgins. I’ll dig more into the Bengals on their team section, but while Chase has double-digit points in every game this season, Diggs has two games of 6.7 and 4.6 DK points. Oh, and those are sandwiched around a game with 10.7 DK points, and he’s seen just 16 targets in those three games (well below his average of ~10 targets per game the rest of the season). We’ve seen Buffalo struggle more than we’re used to in the passing game since Josh Allen injured his elbow. These are narrow points of separation as Diggs is still a strong option and the Bills are still an elite offense, but those things are enough to have me slightly favor Chase. Gabe Davis has been very boom/bust this year (with a whole lot more bust), with just four games over 15 DK points and two games over 20. However, he’s on the field more than any other pass catcher in the offense, and he has more per-target upside than just about anyone. If you think the Bengals will push Buffalo (likely), then we are also likely to see some deep shots to Davis. At just $6,400, I think his ceiling is higher than anyone else below Joe Mixon in the pricing tier. Dawson Knox has shown an extreme touchdown dependency for any kind of meaning fantasy output this year (just one game over 10 DK points in which he didn’t score a touchdown), but at least he has three touchdowns and 20 targets in Buffalo’s last three games (that’s after averaging just 3.9 targets/game previously), so it looks like his involvement in the offense is picking up. Everyone else is a dart throw to some degree. McKenzie’s the best one, obviously, both because of his snap share and his performance this year. Shakir is on the field a fair bit but rarely targeted (just one game over two targets and it was when McKenzie and Knox were both out), while Beasley has played 14% and 9% of the snaps in two games since rejoining his former team. Morris has six targets on the season when you take out the game he filled in for Knox. All of Shakir, Beasley, and Morris are extremely thin punts.
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