XANDAMERE’S SHOWDOWN SLANT
Sunday Night Football looks like a bit of a snoozefest with the Giants visiting the Commanders for a 40.5 total game in which Washington is favored by 4.5. Both teams are 7-5-1, having played to a tie the last time they met in Week 13 (why are we watching this matchup again so soon!?). Both teams also have winning records with negative point differentials. Both teams have bad offenses . . . should be fun.
On the Commanders side, the timeshare between Antonio Gibson and Brian Robinson continues. Both are likely to play right around 50% of the snaps, with Robinson the 2-down grinder and Gibson being used more as a passing down back. Of late, that has resulted in 15+ opportunities regularly for Robinson, albeit with a high of just three targets. Gibson’s role has been much smaller in the run game, with something like 8-12 carries as his most likely range, with 3-4 targets on top. The matchup here doesn’t scare us against a Giants defense that is 31st in run defense, and we know Washington is likely to be very run-heavy as long as they’re allowed to be, so we should expect a heavy dose of the running game in the most likely game scripts. The run game has been inefficient, with both backs averaging under 4 yards per carry, which combined with the split workload, means the likelihood of either getting to 100+ rushing yards and the bonus is pretty modest. They’re likely going to need touchdowns to pay off here. I say that just to note that they’re probably going to be very highly owned as large home favorites in a good matchup, and while they’re strong plays, touchdowns are highly variant so they’re certainly fadeable (unlike, say, Rhamondre Stevenson on Monday, when the only realistic path to a sub-10 DK point score was an injury).
Ownership updates automatically
In the passing game, Taylor Heinicke has been something of a placeholder for the Commanders. He’s only scored over 20 DK points once in his seven starts, and so while quarterbacks by virtue of their position come with strong floors in Showdown, at $10k, he is not necessarily a lock in cash. Watch ownership here, though. Sometimes, we see a “poor” QB come in shockingly low in tournaments, and if that looks to be the case for Heinicke, I’d want to be overweight on the field on him and the Washington passing game in general. The wide receiver corps will be led by Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel, and Jahan Dotson, with Dyami Brown and perhaps Cam Sims mixing in occasionally. The matchup here is also not worrisome with the Giants 26th in pass defense DVOA, but note that Heinicke has been held to 33 or fewer pass attempts in all but one of his starts. He has, however, really focused on McLaurin with 6+ targets in all of Heinicke’s games and 8+ in five of the seven. In a good matchup, as a talented receiver who we can safely project for strong volume, McLaurin looks like a great play (contending for the top skill position play on the slate, certainly). Samuel, on the other hand, after starting the season off being bombarded with targets and getting a fair bit of rushing work as well, has seen four or fewer targets in five of Heinicke’s seven starts. Less volume plus a modest depth of target makes Samuel more of a floor than a ceiling play, though his price has adjusted down to $6,600 in response. He’s a fair play, not someone I am personally trying to jam in lineups, but his modest salary will result in people landing on him naturally. Dotson has been more up and down – since he came back in Week 10, he has games of 1, 2, 1, and 9 targets. One of these things is not like the others . . . . the 9 target game is also the most recent game, in which he played the most snaps of any game since returning from injury. It was also against these same Giants! Is his role growing? Well, rookies normally do see their roles grow as the season goes on, and he’s now several weeks removed from injury and playing more snaps; while nine targets is a stretch (it also came in a game in which Heinicke attempted a season-high 41 passes), something like 4-6 seems like a reasonable range. Brown and Sims are just MME punt options. Tight end is led by Logan Thomas and John Bates in a timeshare, with Cole Turner playing a lesser TE3 role. Thomas is highly likely to see more receiving work, and since he returned from injury in Week 8 (also the week Heinicke took over at QB), Thomas has 21 targets against just eight for Bates. At similar prices, I prefer what I believe is greater upside from Dotson (LT3 is more of a “catch and fall down” kind of guy with little yardage ability), while at the cheap end, Bates is a better punt option in my opinion than Brown/Sims at WR. Cole Turner has nine targets on the year and can be included in MME pools as a “hope he gets a touchdown” option.