XANDAMERE’S SHOWDOWN SLANT
Sunday Night Football brings us the highest total game of Week 14 as the Dolphins visit the Chargers for what Vegas thinks will be a full-fledged shootout. The game has a total of 53.5 with the Dolphins favored by 3.5 (also a nice healthy team total of 25 for the Chargers and an elite 28.5 for Miami). It should be a fun one to build lineups for and a fun one to watch (unlike a lot of these island games this year).
On the Chargers side, Austin Ekeler is, as always, the best skill position option. While he’ll lose some rushing work to Josh Kelley, Ekeler will see rushing work and also has strong odds to lead the team in targets. Of mild concern is that Ekeler played just 60% of the snaps last week and saw only 16 opportunities while Kelley played a season-high 43% of the snaps with eight opportunities of his own. Ekeler’s awesome but the matchup on the ground is tough (Miami is 9th in run defense DVOA but 23rd against the pass) so he’s likely going to have to get there via a combination of volume through the air and visits to the end zone. While he’s fully capable of that, the larger role for Kelley last week is at least a slight cause for concern, and if you wanted to take a big stand by fading one of the highest-owned players on the slate due to high price and challenging matchup, I wouldn’t think you were crazy for doing so. Kelley fits into the “RB2 in Showdown” bucket in which he’s viable if Ekeler gets hurt or if he lucks into a touchdown, but at his price, he doesn’t really have a viable path to putting up a tourney-worthy score on his normal volume alone.
Ownership updates automatically
In the passing game, Mike Williams is returning, bringing the Chargers back to full health in their receiving corps for the first time all season. We can expect to see the primary wide receivers be Keenan Allen, Williams, and Josh Palmer, with Deandre Carter the likeliest to be in the WR4 role, and Michael Bandy may snag a small handful of rotational snaps. While we know that on full slates, OWS generally has a perspective of “Allen is more of a floor play than a ceiling play,” in this Showdown, he’s priced at just $8,200, and I think he has sufficient upside to make him viable at that price. Williams is going to be highly popular in tournaments as the highest ceiling option of the receivers at just $7,000, but as always, his floor is minuscule (four games of at least 21.6 Draftkings points, but then three games of 8.5 or fewer points, not including the game he got hurt in). Williams becomes an ownership play to me, as I generally want to come in underweight highly volatile plays at high ownership, and I expect he’ll be quite owned at a bargain price (the cheapest Williams has been all year in Showdown is $8,200 in Week 1, and every other week after that he’s been at least $9k). Josh Palmer is likely to be the forgotten man from an ownership perspective, and I’ll confess to somewhat forgetting about him too when the Chargers played the Chiefs in Week 11 . . . and then Mike Williams got hurt early and Palmer went off for 8/106/2. The point here is that Palmer has established himself as a solid member of this receiving group, and while I think his median projection is going to be lower than Williams (which should result in much lower ownership given that they’re priced just $200 apart), Palmer’s ceiling is strong and I’m expecting that low ownership (say, anything under 30%) will make him a really strong tournament option. Carter is overpriced for what should be a WR4 role but can still be included in MME pools. At tight end, Gerald Everett has been fairly mediocre this season, with a season-high of 17.1 Draftkings points. At $5,000, that would likely get him in the optimal lineup, but it’s the only score he’s put up this year that would be highly likely to do so. You probably need a touchdown for Everett to pay off, and the Chargers are so deep that he only has two on the season. He’s fine and should be included in tournament pools but there’s nothing that really makes him stand out here. Donald Parham was flagged to return from injured reserve, and if he does this week (I’ve seen no news nor is it likely we get any until Sunday), he would make for a reasonable punt value option all the way down at $200 – albeit with a very low floor (he’s only played in two games on the year, with 38% and 20% of the snaps and a total of four targets). If Parham misses, as seems likely, Tre McKitty will play the TE2 role in what will be primarily a blocking role with just 14 targets on the season (you can toss him in MME pools as a “hope for a touchdown” play, but it’s very thin).