Showdown Slant ::
Presented by top Showdown mind Xandamere!
The Patriots visit the Jets on Monday night and are, as usual, expected to score a ton of points (26.5) while not giving up very many (17). The Pats D has been one of the stories of the season with absolutely dominant performances; they have yet to give up more than 10 points in a game (the two game logs in which opponents scored 14 points included defensive touchdowns), and have only allowed 27 offensive points in six games. That is absolutely bonkers, and while I don’t expect they’ll finish the season out with under 5 offensive points allowed per game, this unit is legit and it’s hard to bet against them succeeding every time they take the field.
It’s hard to think about who to play on the Jets. Given the matchup, every Jets play is by definition somewhat thin. Le’Veon Bell has what I would consider the safest workload as a running back who has played over 80% of his team’s snaps so far. He has not exactly been wildly successful in the run game, averaging just 3 yards per carry, but his 33 targets in five games significantly boosts his floor. He’s the Jet who is least likely to post a complete dud, which puts him in play in cash games, and despite the matchup his usage and role certainly give him ceiling. Going elsewhere in the Jets’ run game with either Powell or Montgomery is hoping for the kind of broken play that the Patriots just haven’t allowed this season as neither of them are really seeing any meaningful volume.
In the pass game, the Jets happily avoid using rotations, so the same four guys are on the field for at least 80% of the snaps. Robby Anderson has the ceiling, though no floor to speak of in this matchup. Except Stephon Gilmore to shadow Anderson here; you’re really just rooting for a busted-play-long-touchdown, though as Golden Tate showed us last week, that isn’t an impossibility. Jamison Crowder is the Sam Darnold safety blanket, with 17(!!) and nine targets in two games with Darnold this season, so while his short area routes mean his ceiling is low, he also falls in the “unlikely to fail” category with Bell and is a cash game consideration. Demaryius Thomas is, in my mind, the weakest play of the Jets wideouts as he lacks the upside of Anderson or the safety of Crowder, and the Jets as a whole will be so low owned that it’s not as if we need to be out there hunting for contrarian plays. Finally, Ryan Griffin will play almost every snap at tight end and could supplement Crowder’s safety valve role against a tough Patriots pass rush.
The Patriots offense always seems to be banged up this season and every time they get someone back, they lose someone else. This week it looks like Rex Burkhead is trending toward making a return from a multi-week absence (he’s listed as questionable, but after limited practices and a long week, beat writers seem to think he’ll be in). If he misses, the run game becomes limited to just Sony Michel and James White, but Burkhead being active throws a wrench in things. The last time that Burkhead was active was Week 4, but he was nursing the injury even then and barely played. He was truly active in Week 3 and led the committee with 74% of the offensive snaps and 17 touches compared to nine for Sony Michel (James White missed this game for the birth of a child). Brandon Bolden has also been mixing in occasionally to steal a few touches and, annoyingly, touchdowns. If Burkhead is active we have a four-way committee, and it’s hard to trust anyone, but I would believe that Burkhead is likely to be very cheap and is thus a viable cash play, while James White is always in play. Sony Michel becomes harder to utilize with a very modest pass game role and no locked-in goal line work, while Bolden is, as always, a hope-for-a-touchdown dart throw. If Burkhead misses, that boosts both White and Michel significantly.
In the pass game it looks like Josh Gordon is likely to miss the game while Phillip Dorsett returns, making the Pats’ three primary wideouts Julian Edelman, Dorsett, and Jakobi Meyers. Tight end is an absolute mess, with Ryan Izzo and Matt LaCosse both expected to miss, leaving recently-re-signed veteran Ben Watson to soak up the majority of the snaps. Edelman is, obviously, the safest play in this receiving corps. He’s a high floor, moderate ceiling play; you’re generally having to pay way up for him in Showdown — but since we’re likely to not be using a bunch of pricey Jets, he should be fairly easy to fit in most lineups if you want to prioritize him. In the Week 3 version of this game against the Jets, Edelman had seven catches for 62 yards and a touchdown early in the game before leaving with an injury, so there’s plenty of usage and opportunity. Myers versus Dorsett will, to me, depend largely on price. If they’re close in price, I’ll want to prioritize Dorsett and his better-known role and rapport with Tom Brady, but if there’s a meaningful difference in price, it’s worth noting that Myers caught four of four targets for 54 yards last week after Dorsett exited. Watson is hard to get excited about as the Patriots haven’t really utilized their tight ends in the passing game this year, so while he’s a competent pass catcher, he’s also a complete dart throw as we have no idea what his usage will be like. (He’ll also likely draw coverage from Jamaal Adams.)
The way this game is likely to play out is the Patriots should obliterate the Jets. Sam Darnold is back, which helps New York, but the Pats defense has clamped down on everyone they’ve faced so far. The Jets love to blitz and New England’s O-line is battered with injuries, so as per usual, expect mostly a ball-out-quick passing attack from the Patriots that focuses largely on Edelman, White, and (if healthy) Burkhead.
Some other ways the game could play out:
- The Pats D has been absolutely elite, but holding opponents to under five offensive points per game isn’t just elite — it’s a massive historic outlier. The Jets have a pretty decent chance of scoring two offensive touchdowns here. The last two Patriots showdowns have seen cumulative ownership of the other team around 150-160% — that is, the average lineup only contains 1.5 to 1.6 of the opposing team. Lineups with three Jets are going to be highly contrarian, and while three Jets being in the optimal lineup isn’t the most likely outcome, it’s more likely than ownership will imply.
My favorite captains in this one are Edelman and White (especially if Burkhead misses). I’m normally not a captain QB guy, but Brady is perfectly viable as well given how the Patriots spread the ball around and that in most lineups we’re going to want to run four or five Patriots, which allows you to use plenty of New England receivers paired with Brady.
Some groups to consider:
- At most 1 kicker
- At most 1 defense
- Pair captain receivers with their QB
- Pair captain QBs with at least 2 receivers (even consider 3 with Brady, as he’ll almost certainly be the most expensive player on the slate)
- At most 1 Jet (kidding, kidding)
Sunday night pricing edit: Pricing has come out and it is rough. Julian Edelman, who is primarily a possession receiver, is $11,200, while the Patriots D is the most expensive defense I’ve ever seen at $7,200. Apparently Draftkings doesn’t want us to just be able to stack 5 Patriots so easily anymore. On the Patriots’ side, White and Michel are reasonable bargains, while Brady and Edelman are overpriced for their most likely outcomes but are also extremely safe. The Pats D has been lighting the NFL on fire but at its current price it needs at least 14-15 points in order to really be worthwhile. Even Benjamin Watson and Brandon Bolden are priced up; there is little value on the Pats side.
On the Jets’ side, the safest plays are LeVeon Bell and Jamison Crowder, though they’re both expensive and it’ll be hard to fit them if you’re trying to play 5 Pats. You can always play the Jets’ kicker, of course, though if the New York offense fails there aren’t likely to be a lot of field goals. Ryan Griffin will at least be on the field the whole game and is just $1,400, while Ty Montgomery should get a couple of touches at $1,800.
Pricing is kind of ugly in this one.
— Xandamere’s Advanced Showdown Course is now available through OWS :: Marketplace! This is his tournament course for Showdowns; and given the tangible edge in this contest type, it should pay itself off pretty quickly(!).
JM’s Original Notes for Thursday-to-Monday Players ::
- The Jets would all be nothing more than “throw up a prayer” options if this game were on the Main Slate, as the Patriots have just been too good for any of these guys to stand out on a slate that size.
- The Patriots are the charter members of Club ‘Score Lots Of Points But Don’t Produce Big DFS Days.’ I rarely find myself targeting Patriots players on tighter builds, as there is just more guessing involved than needs to take place on a full-sized slate. With that said: in larger-field play (or even in tighter builds if you feel like going there), the Patriots should be able to move the ball through the air; and with the Jets presenting such a difficult matchup on the ground, and the Patriots so thin on weapons if Josh Gordon misses, we’ll likely see a lot of James White in the backfield, with a lot of targets flowing his way, making him interesting in tourneys. Rex Burkhead also potentially benefits from this setup, while Julian Edelman will bring floor with touchdown-driven ceiling, and Jakobi Meyers and Phillip Dorsett are non-poor ways to go in tourneys for savings on involved pieces in a high-upside offense.