XANDAMERE’S SHOWDOWN SLANT
Sunday Night Football is a game that main slate players probably wish was earlier in the day as the Dolphins visit the Eagles. We’ve got a 51.5 total game (the highest of the week) with a nice close spread as the Eagles are favored by 2.5 which suggests a classic shootout situation. We have two of the league’s best offenses (the Eagles are averaging 25.8 points per game, fifth in the NFL, while the Dolphins are at 37.2 (and a still-amazing 30.6 if you take away the 70 point game against Denver). We have two mediocre defenses (Miami has allowed 26 points per game which is 26th in the league, while Philly is right in the middle of the pack at 20.7 points per game). Everything lines up for a high-scoring affair here. Let’s try to find some money.
Alright, the Eagles. D’Andre Swift has secured the lead back role (sorry Lions fans) with opportunity counts of 31, 28, 18, 23, and 20 in his last five games, scoring no fewer than 16.8 DK points in that time. He also has 25 targets in that time . . . this is a big role. The Eagles always make me just slightly nervous in how they use their running backs based on past years, but they went out and acquired Swift, and apparently, we are seeing why. Swift’s price at just $8k is comical, given the volume he’s been seeing in a plus matchup against a Miami defense that has given up 114.7 yards per game to opposing rushing attacks (despite playing from ahead more often than not). In a game with a lot of premium plays, Swift’s price sticks out like a sore thumb. He’s an elite play in this one. Behind Swift we’ll see some Kenneth Gainwell, whose role has trickled off after a nice Week 1 – he’s the “RB2 in Showdown” but not a very strong one with exactly two targets per game and a handful of carries since Week 1. Of note is that Gainwell does have 13 red zone carries to 14 for Swift, giving him some vulture touchdown possibility. He’s in play as a value option who could find the end zone, and then RB3 Boston Scott has a very modest role and can be included in player pools as a pure punt option.
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In the passing game, we’ll see AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith play almost every snap at wide receiver, with Olamide Zaccheaus in the WR3 role with Quez Watkins on injured reserve and Britain Covey handling a tiny handful of snaps. We like the Eagles because they are extremely condensed here, running only three wide receivers on the vast majority of their offensive snaps. After what was looking like a breakout season for Smith as he and AJB shared a 1A/1B role last year, Smith has taken a bit of a backseat so far this season as AJB has 60 targets for a combined 42/672/2 line while Smith has just 45 targets for a 28/334/2 line. So far this year AJB is dominating not just in production but also in volume while seeing a 43.4% share of air yards versus 29.6% for Smith. In a single game, things could obviously flip, and their prices have separated to the point where Smith is now priced like a WR2 instead of a WR1B. In a matchup where we can expect the Eagles to have to push for the entirety of the game, both look like strong options, and we’ll get into the dynamics of pricing on this slate a bit later, as both teams have a lot of premium plays that people are going to have to figure out how to prioritize. For now, just know that these are two of them. Zaccheaus is in the Quez Watkins role from last season, playing a ton of snaps but not being very involved in the passing game with just seven targets on the season. At $1,400, he’s a zero floor, modest upside value play (he did catch a long touchdown in Week 2 and was optimal in that week’s Showdown as a result).
At tight end, we have Dallas Goedert, who started the season slowly but has seen 7+ targets in 4/6 games, but his role this season has changed with just a 5.6 yard ADOT and 10.4% share of air yards. He’s getting a lot of short-area work that really dings his upside unless he catches a touchdown or happens to break a big one (he does have a healthy six red zone targets, tied for the team lead with AJB). TE2 Jack Stoll is primarily a blocker with three targets on the year, and Grant Calcaterra will see a couple of snaps but has yet to see a target. Finally, I will note the Eagles signed Julio Jones and he’s on their practice squad. It would surprise me to see Julio play a really meaningful role in his first week with the team as he just signed on October 17th, but he could certainly pick up the playbook quickly enough to see a few snaps, and when he’s healthy he still has some ability as we saw last season . . . yeesh. I don’t want to play 34 year old Julio Jones when he hasn’t even been on the team for a week (so I’m kind of hoping they just don’t elevate him from the practice squad), but if he’s active, on a slate with some tough value options we have to consider him.