Here’s a little Q&A regarding Xandamere’s cash game formula (note :: as this is an extension of Xandamere’s course, it is only available to Annual subs; apologies to the Weeklys out there!). This will help you if you feel like you haven’t quite figured out the ins and outs of this yourself.
Showdown Slant ::
Presented by top Showdown mind Xandamere!
Disclaimer: this is being written on Friday before the slate is posted, so we don’t have prices to work off of. Pricing updates will be added after we have salaries available.
Monday Night Football continues its slow start this season with another less than exciting matchup. Browns at Jets has a game total of just 44, though the Browns have a healthy implied team total of just over 25. Sam Darnold, in case anyone doesn’t know, has been diagnosed with mono, and the Jets’ curse of crappy luck seems to go on and on. Trevor Siemian (and his career 6.8 yards per attempt) looks like he’ll be the starting QB and it’s hard to see how the Jets really manage to do much on offense here.
Let’s start by dissecting the Browns, since most of our Showdown rosters will be Cleveland-focused. They were absolutely obliterated by the Titans in Week 1, with Baker Mayfield under siege all game long behind a shoddy offensive line. Mayfield looked indecisive and also threw three picks. The Jets don’t have a top-ranked pass rush (17th in the preseason rankings per PFF), but they ranked above the Titans, and the Browns’ offensive line play was just horrid last week. At home, it’s not impossible to see the Jets be able to bring some pressure that prevents Mayfield being fully comfortable. This is not to say I think the Jets are likely to stop Cleveland’s offense — they aren’t — but this might not be the offensive cakewalk that Browns fans are hoping for after a tough start to the year. As massive favorites, it’s natural to want to like Nick Chubb, who saw 17 carries and four targets last week despite his team being blown out (note the four targets; the narrative about Chubb seeing more pass game involvement now that Duke Johnson is gone seems to have some legs). The Jets’ run D is ferocious, but I’ll side with volume over matchup and say that I like Chubb here, especially as the Browns may want to lean more on the run to try and hide Mayfield a bit and let him get his confidence back from last week’s shellacking. Chubb also gets an upgrade if either C.J. Mosley or Quinnen Williams miss the game, and they’re both looking legitimately questionable right now, so pay attention to these guys’ statuses.
In the pass game, the Browns really mixed things up after Freddie Kitchens took over in 2018, spreading the ball around to a large number of receivers and limiting the targets that any one guy got. That was still somewhat the case in Week 1, with a whopping nine different receivers seeing at least one target; but what’s promising is that the three primary receivers really dominated the volume: Odell Beckham saw 11 targets, Jarvis Landry had seven, and David Njoku had six. The Jets’ secondary is atrocious, and they try to cover for it with aggressive blitzing, but if Mayfield can stay upright, all of these primary receiving options should be able to feast. Landry’s matchup is elite (though he is generally something of a low-ceiling play), while tight ends have crushed Gregg Williams-led defenses for years. I’ll take ODB and Njoku for ceiling, while Landry has what feels like a very safe floor here.
In a game that is projected to be somewhat lopsided, we have to think about how to approach all of the Browns’ ancillary pass-catchers. Do you want to be rostering D’Ernest Johnson, Damion Ratley, Dontrell Hilliard, and Demetrius Harris? Probably not, but if the Jets don’t put up much of a fight, that means the fantasy relevant scores all come from Cleveland, which means that if one of these guys gets in the end zone they’ll likely end up in the optimal lineup. That said, if the game is somewhat competitive, one catch for a TD probably won’t be enough to get a guy like Ratley into the optimal. Your usage of these ancillary players should depend on your overall approach to the slate and what game flow(s) you’re building for.
On the Jets’ side, Trevor Siemian has been one of the worst quarterbacks in the league since his debut, ranking 35th or worse out of 41 QBs with at least 16 starts since 2015 on just about every metric (thanks for that data, Yahoo). One thing to note is that Siemian’s average pass attempt distance is just 8.8 yards — a deep ball guy he is not. Robby Anderson sees his attractiveness go way down with Siemian under center, while Jamison Crowder and Le’Veon Bell should see an uptick in usage due to their involvement in the shorter passing game. Quincy Enunwa is hurt, Demaryius Thomas was just acquired from the Patriots but seems unlikely to play (or at least play much), and the rest of the Jets’ receiving corps are guys like Josh Bellamy, Ryan Griffin, and Braxton Berrios. If New York really tries to win this game, they’re going to lean on their run game and defense and hope that Le’Veon Bell can lead them to victory. Crowder is clearly the receiver best positioned for success, but after seeing a massive 17 targets last week, he’s also likely to be very highly owned. I think Crowder is one of the best two plays on the Jets, but in large GPPs consider the merit of fading a volatile position at very high ownership who is operating with a new (and terrible) quarterback. Griffin is somewhat interesting after playing 100% of the snaps last week, running more routes than any other tight end, and getting a matchup against a Browns defense that is traditionally vulnerable to tight ends and gave up two touchdowns to Delanie Walker in Week 1.
The way this game is most likely to play out is that the Browns just curb-stomp the Jets. The question to me is how much the receivers will do before the game likely gets out of hand and Chubb salts it away. The Jets will try to slow things down as much as possible, but it’s hard to see them sustaining drives and field position, and thus it’s likely only a matter of time until the Browns break through.
Some other ways this could play out:
- It’s hard to understate how bad the Browns looked in Week 1. They also committed 18 penalties (yes, really). Cleveland was a highly touted offense going into the year, and they have a ton of talent, but that offensive line is a massive liability. Some penalties, some sacks, and a couple of turnovers at the right moments, and it’s possible to see the Jets hanging tough and winning this game.
- Trevor Siemian is not a good quarterback by any measure but he had a few moments when he was the Broncos’ starter, including a massive shootout on the road against the Steelers in which the stack of Siemian, Emmanuel Sanders, and Demaryius Thomas was winning tournaments all across the industry. It’s unlikely but not impossible that Siemian finds that magic one more time, and if he does, Robby Anderson has gamebreaking speed and is likely to be extremely low owned.
While my captain choices always change depending on what game script I’m building to, my overall favorite captain in this one is Nick Chubb. He still got a ton of volume despite being on the wrong side of a blowout in Week 1, he saw more pass game involvement, and now he’s a large favorite on a team that needs a win. Beckham, Njoku, Crowder, and Bell are the other viable choices to me. I also consider Mayfield a viable choice (I’m normally not a captain QB guy but the Browns spread the ball around to such a degree that Mayfield could easily outscore all of his receivers).
Some groups to consider:
- At most 1 kicker
- At most 1 defense
- Pair captain receivers with their QB (Jamison Crowder could be considered an exception to this as he can get to a strong score purely through PPR volume)
- Pair captain QBs with at least 2 receivers
- At most 1 of the Browns’ ancillary receivers
- At most 1 of Bellamy, Thomas, and Berrios
- At least 1 of Beckham, Landry, and Njoku
Sunday Pricing Edit ::
Pricing is up, so some thoughts. Overall pricing isn’t terribly shocking. Le’Veon Bell feels awfully overpriced at $11,600 given the Jets overall mediocre expectations in this one, but that certainly will make him contrarian. Landry also feels pricey for a relatively lower-ceiling player. Chubb looks fairly priced to me at $10k given how favorable the game script is likely to be, and I expect he’ll be the highest owned player on the slate.
At the lower end, Njoku and Higgins both look like bargains, as does Ryan Griffin at just $800 if he’s going to play every single snap again. D’Ernest Johnson is likely the backup RB to Nick Chubb, as he came in after Dontrell Hilliard was concussed last week. At just $200 he’s a decent value though he’s unlikely to see much volume and will need a touchdown to be GPP relevant. The Jets D is an interesting tourney play at just $3k as they have a strong pass rush against Cleveland’s vulnerable O-line.
JM’s Notes :: One player I would add to consideration in tourneys is Rashard Higgins. Higgins is far down the talent ladder in Cleveland, but he does have a legitimate role, and a legitimate connection with Mayfield. He’s not “likely” to have a big game; but if trying to build a Showdown roster that might be able to take down first place on its own, Higgins is a name to keep in mind for his potential to go something like 4-50-1 against this secondary at extremely low ownership. While we saw almost no involvement from Ty Montgomery in Week 1 (and there is no guarantee that changes in Week 2), he’s also a sneaky piece to keep in mind in tourneys. Gase talked up Montgomery nonstop in the offseason, and there’s a chance he mixes in some unique looks that get Bell and Montgomery onto the field together in a game in which his quarterback figures to be a liability. Neither of these are “strong plays,” but they can both be kept in mind if building for off-the-board scenarios that could potentially shoot you past the field.
JM’s original notes for those building Thursday-to-Monday rosters that include this game ::
- The Jets should have one of the best run defenses in the NFL this year and one of the worst pass defenses. There’s no need to go here in cash, but it’s easy to like the idea of betting on this as a bounce-back spot for the Browns passing attack — especially as Baker Mayfield and Freddie Kitchens would surely love to throttle Gregg Williams. Baker // Odell Beckham // (to a lesser extent:) Jarvis Landry // Rashard Higgins can all be considered in tourneys. I’d be fine with Baker // OBJ as pieces of core builds in smaller-field tourneys as well. The only major concern is that the Browns’ line may not allow Baker enough time to truly put together a slate-winning score (and Kitchens could look to protect his franchise quarterback on the road, ahead of a short week, if the Browns take a big lead vs the Darnold-less Jets).
- The Browns’ backfield is less attractive on the 16-game slate in this difficult matchup. Nick Chubb is good enough to beat a tough matchup, but it’s not really necessary to take on that risk. Chubb would be large-field only for me.
- With Sam Darnold (mono) expected to miss for the Jets, the Browns defense is more appealing than any individual pieces on the Jets. Look for Adam Gase to try to really slow down this game; and while I’m sure there are some crazy scenarios that could lead to a big game from an NYJ skill position player, there’s really no reason to chase a scenario like that on a slate with so many games to choose from.