XANDAMERE’S SHOWDOWN SLANT
Sunday Night Football brings us a matchup that looked pretty fun until (loudly) unvaccinated Kirk Cousins caught COVID . . . whoopsie. Now, it’s Sean Mannion starting for the Vikings, whose team total has plummeted all the way down to 14.75. The Packers have a 27.75 total in what is projected to be a sound thrashing.
Because Cousins was ruled out after the slate was posted, Mannion is just $6k, the minimum price for a Showdown quarterback, and that means he is the most important decision point on the slate. We don’t get QBs this cheap in Showdown, and we normally play even pretty bad QBs in the $9k range because the floor of the position is so strong. But, we can also expect massive ownership on Mannion for exactly this reason, so while in cash he’s a clear lock, in tournaments, we need to think about how we want to approach him (and the Vikings offense as a whole).
Ownership updates automatically
On the Green Bay side, the run game has evolved into a timeshare between Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon. The Packers clearly want to take it easy on Jones and keep him healthy for their playoff run, resulting in Jones seeing fewer than 15 carries in every week from Week 9 onwards. That has come with a reasonable pass game role, but given the lack of volume, you’re almost certain to need a touchdown for him to pay off. Dillon at $5,200 can feasibly get there just on volume, (though, duh, a touchdown would clearly help). This is a tough spot. As almost two-touchdown favorites, normally we’d want to use the home favorite running back, but Jones’ role feels pretty fragile of late and could be even more so if the Packers win handily. With Green Bay looking ahead to the postseason, it doesn’t really make sense for them to push their primary guys super hard if Minnesota isn’t keeping the game competitive, which also leads me to think that the RB3 could be a viable play in Packers onslaught builds. If there’s one active, it will most likely be Patrick Taylor.
The best overall play in this game besides Aaron Rodgers is probably Davante Adams. This late in the season, all of the primary Green Bay guys have some amount of workload concern in a non-competitive game, but Adams is still going to be the WR1 for as long as he’s playing, and he always has massive touchdown equity. This feels like a slate in which raw points count for more than value, and so Adams is my main guy here. Behind him, Marquez Valdes-Scantling is back from injury, and he and Allen Lazard will fill out the primary wide receiver formations. Both MVS and Lazard are fine options, though I have a preference for MVS due to his higher target counts in games in which both he and Lazard have played. Behind those two, we’re likely to see Equanimeous St. Brown and/or Juwann Winfree operate as rotational receivers (with possible role expansion if the game gets really out of hand). Tight end for the Packers is a wasteland, as it has been since Robert Tonyan went down. Josiah Deguara and Marcedes Lewis will split the snaps, with Deguara more of a pass-catcher and Lewis more of a blocker. Both of these guys are fairly thin punts, and while Deguara has the (very slightly) better pass-catching role, at his $3k salary versus Lewis’s $800, I prefer Lewis in rosters in which the salary would be meaningful.
On the Minnesota side, they’re still alive in the playoff hunt, though things will be looking grim if they lose this game. As massive underdogs and with a replacement QB, it makes sense for them to try to lean hard on their run game if this one stays at all competitive. The matchup favors the run, and Dalvin Cook is a better guy to put the fate of the team on than Sean Mannion. Duh. If the game stays close, Cook should be in line for an absolutely massive workload, but the Vikings defense will need to hold up as well. Should Minnesota fall behind, their playoff hopes would essentially collapse, and they might decide to mail it in and preserve their oft-injured star back. If that scenario happens early, the Vikings could run out the game with Alexander Mattison or perhaps even Kene Nwangwu.
In the passing game, while I expect the Vikings to try to not lean too hard on Mannion when they do throw, Justin Jefferson still has an elite role sans Adam Thielen. It’s hard to see Jefferson paying off a $10.8k salary in a difficult matchup and with a replacement quarterback, so to me this is an ownership decision: if the field leans purely on projections and plays Jefferson heavily, I’ll happily be underweight him and hope that Mannion can’t deliver. But if the field panics about Mannion and avoids Jefferson, then I’ll want to bet on the Vikings most talented pass-catcher. Behind Jefferson, K.J. Osborn has filled in reasonably well for Thielen. Osborn is at an awkward price point as he’s more expensive than MVS and Lazard and just $1,200 less than Aaron Jones, which should result in extremely low ownership. It’s uncomfortable, but in tournaments, it’s a spot I’d want to be overweight on. Dede Westbrook should play the WR3 role, but when he’s had it before, he’s just been running wind sprints, with just two total targets in the three games in which Westbrook has played and Thielen has either missed or gotten hurt partway through. You could bet on something different here, and I’m never really opposed to having some exposure to a guy who will be on the field a ton, and who will also be almost completely unowned, but it’s a scary play. At tight end, Tyler Conklin’s role really hasn’t changed at all since Thielen went down. Sorry, Conklin truthers. He’s a touchdown or bust option, but the matchup for him is positive and we know rookie and/or backup QBs often lean heavily on their tight ends so . . . I guess there’s hope? Yeesh. It’s hard to write up this passing game. They’re all ugly. Oh, Chris Herndon and Luke Stocker should also play a handful of snaps and can be considered in MME player pools.
Before you think about players or rosters, the first thing you should think about is if you want to bet on the game being competitive or not. Minnesota doesn’t have to WIN the game, but as long as they don’t get absolutely trashed, that means the Packers should be playing hard until the end (or close to it). If the Packers are up 21-0 at halftime, we may see some shenanigans in the second half with starters being pulled. I think there are basically three ways to build for this game:
- The game is competitive, which means the main Packers are all in play, as are all of the main Vikings (after all, if the game is competitive, this means the Vikings are scoring touchdowns!). I’d want to be overweight on all the main Vikings guys in this scenario, including 4-2 Vikings builds.
- The game isn’t competitive, but it doesn’t dip all the way to ridiculousness with backups playing the second half. 5-1 Packers onslaughts are entirely viable, with Cook as my favorite Viking, followed by Jefferson, then Osborn, then Conklin.
- The game isn’t competitive and is such a blowout that either or both teams start playing random dudes instead of their stars. This is the hardest scenario to build for, because it’s hard to know who those random dudes might be (anything that significantly expands the player pool makes roster construction more challenging!), but it’s also the scenario with the greatest likelihood of a solo win. I probably won’t play this way personally but I might take a few shots on FanDuel, where solo wins are just SO hard to come by that it feels worth a stab or two at it. I’d be looking towards backup running backs here primarily, followed by guys like St. Brown and Winfree. Good grief, maybe even Jordan Love? How crazy can we get here?
In cash, my player pool consists of all the primary Packers (literally all of them: Rodgers, Adams, Jones, Dillon, MVS, Crosby, the defense). My cash lineup is almost certainly going to be a 5-1 onslaught build because that’s the likeliest outcome, with Mannion as my one Viking.
In tournaments, I want to be overweight captain on MVS, Jones, Dillon, and Cook primarily.
Some groups to consider
- At most 1 kicker
- At most 1 defense
- Pair captain pass catchers with their QBs (or consider boosting the QB if using a captain receiver if you don’t want 100% exposure to this pairing – discussed in further detail in the 2020 update to my Advanced Showdowns course)
- If using an RB captain, apply a negative correlation to the opposing defense and kicker (you can see how to do so in my FantasyLabs tutorial video)
- Pair captain QBs with at least 2 pass catchers
- At most 1 of the random backup dudes unless you’re REALLY trying to be wild.
- I’m okay playing all of Rodgers, Jones, and Dillon together, but I’m not sure if I’d want to go that route if one of them is my captain. I’m undecided on this one, but I’m leaning towards saying if any of those three is the captain on a roster, at most one of the other two.
- Not a lot of groups in this one as both of these teams run fairly concentrated offenses. Yay!
By Alex88 >>
- Third highest total on the week
- GB’s implied total of 27 is the seventh highest
- MIN has scored fewer than 20 pts just once in the past eight weeks
- Their 62.7% red zone TD rate is the sixth highest
- Their defense has allowed fewer than 20 pts just once in the past ten weeks (the same game in which they scored fewer than 20, a 17-9 victory in Week 15 @ CHI)
- Their 24.8 ppg allowed is the tenth highest in the league
- GB has the second best ATS record (11-3)
- GB has scored fewer than 24 pts just three times all year
- Their defense has held opponents to fewer than 20 pts just twice in the past eight weeks
- Their 68.2% red zone TD rate allowed is tied for the third highest rate with IND
- MIN is still alive in the NFC Wild Card race, but they must win @ GB this week which no team has managed this season
- GB has clinched the NFC North once again
- If they beat MIN and DAL loses to ARI, they will clinch the # 1 seed
- Per numberFire, MIN ranks fifth in adjusted seconds per play (28.7) and 14th in adjusted pass rate (58.7%)
- GB ranks 32nd in adjusted seconds per play (32.8) and ninth in adjusted pass rate (60.8%)
- Ranks fourth in PFF passing grade
- Tied for 10th in YPA (7.4), tied for 15th in ADoT (8.3), tied for seventh in adjusted completion percentage (77.3%)
- Career low INT% (1.3%)
- 20.4 DK ppg ranks 12th
- DK salary range of $6,100 – $6,700 ($6,400 in Week 17)
- He’s scored 25+ DK pts in five of 15 games: 25.04 @ CIN in Week 1 // 25.26 @ ARI in Week 2 // 28.12 vs. SEA in Week 3 // 28.24 vs. GB in Week 11 // 31.52 @ CAR in Week 6
- GB ranks 25th in DK ppg allowed to QBs (19.8)
- Four opposing QBs have scored 25+ DK pts vs. GB: Matthew Stafford 26.98 // Kirk Cousins 28.24 // Jameis Winston 29.62 // Tyler Huntley 35.9
MIN Passing Attack
- Adam Thielen has been shut down for the season
- He’s been absent or severely limited due to injury in the past four weeks
- Snap totals those weeks: Justin Jefferson 256 // KJ Osborn 236 // Tyler Conklin 229 // Dede Westbrook 88
- Target totals those weeks: Jefferson 51 // Osborn 26 // Conklin 19 // Westbrook 2
- Among qualified WRs, Jefferson ranks second in total targets, second in receiving yardage, first in total air yards, third in target share, first in air yard market share, and third in WOPR (per Koalaty Stats)
- His 21 DK ppg ranks fourth
- $8,400 Week 17 salary is $100 short of the season high
- He’s scored 25+ DK pts four times in 15 games: 25.9 @ LAC in Week 10 // 29.8 vs. SEA in Week 3 // 38.6 @ DET in Week 13 // 40.2 vs. GB in Week 11
- Osborn has scored 15+ DK pts four times in 14 games: 17.3 vs. PIT in Week 14 // 17.8 vs. LAR in Week 16 // 19.8 @ CAR in Week 6 // 20.1 @ ARI in Week 2
- Although Westbrook’s snaps rose dramatically with Thielen missing, he has yet to score 5 DK pts this season
- GB ranks 11th in DK ppg allowed to WRs (34.5)
- Notable opposing WR scores: Adam Thielen 22.2 // Diontae Johnson 24.2 // Terry McLaurin 28.2 // Ja’Marr Chase 30.9 // Justin Jefferson 40.2
- Conklin missed practice Wednesday with a hamstring injury
- Among qualified TEs, Conklin ranks 17th in target share, 19th in air yard market share, and 20th in WOPR
- His Week 17 DK salary ($4,000) is $100 short of a season high
- He’s scored 4x that salary twice in 15 games: 16.1 @ LAC in Week 10 // 20 vs. SEA in Week 3
- GB ranks 22nd in DK ppg allowed to TEs (13.6)
- Notable opposing TE scores: George Kittle 17.1 // Travis Kelce 17.8 // TJ Hockenson 20.6 // Mark Andrews 38.6
- Returned from COVID to a limited practice on Wednesday
- Among qualified RBs, Cook ranks third in rush share, fourth in goal line share, 10th in target share, 13th in WOPR, and third in RBOPR
- His 18.8 DK ppg ranks fourth
- DK salary range of $7,700 – $9,100 ($8,000 in Week 17)
- He’s scored 25+ DK pts twice in 11 games: 25.3 @ CAR in Week 6 // 38.2 vs. PIT in Week 14
- GB ranks 11th in DK ppg allowed to RBs (22.2)
- Just three opposing RBs have scored 20+ DK pts: Najee Harris 21.1 // Dalvin Cook 22.5 // Nick Chubb 30.4
- Ranks fifth in PFF passing grade
- Last year’s MVP is the current favorite for this year
- Among qualified QBs, ranks first in fantasy points per opportunity (0.6) and first in Expected Points Added per attempt
- 22.5 DK ppg ranks seventh
- Week 17 DK salary of $7,700 is a season high
- Scored 25+ DK pts four times: 26.8 vs. DET in Week 2 // 29.28 vs. LAR in Week 12 // 32.64 vs. CHI in Week 14 // 36.5 @ MIN in Week 11
- MIN ranks 30th in DK ppg allowed to QBs (20.4)
- Four opposing QBs have scored 25+ vs. MIN: Ben Roethlisberger 28.82 // Lamar Jackson 35.64 // Aaron Rodgers 36.5 // Kyler Murray 38.1
GB Passing Attack
- Snap share: Davante Adams 82.4% // Allen Lazard 65.7% // MVS 60.2% // Marcedes Lewis 47.1% // Josiah Deguara 31.7% // Equanimeous St. Brown 26.1%
- Target share: Adams 28.7% // MVS 9.9% // Lazard 9.3% // Lewis 5.2% // Deguara 5% // St. Brown 1.9%
- Among qualified WRs, Adams ranks third in total targets, third in receiving yards, eighth in total air yards, second in target share, sixth in air yard market share, and second in WOPR
- His 23.1 DK ppg ranks second
- His Week 17 DK salary of $9,300 is a season high
- He’s scored 30+ DK pts five times: 33.5 @ MIN in Week 11 // 34.2 @ SF in Week 3 // 36.4 vs. CLE in Week 16 // 37.1 vs. CHI in Week 14 // 40.6 @ CIN in Week 5
- MVS leads the team in ADoT
- He’s averaged 5.7 targets per game
- He’s scored 4x his Week 17 DK salary ($5,100) twice in eight games: 20.8 @ BAL in Week 15 // 25.3 @ MIN in Week 11
- Lazard has scored 4x his Week 17 DK salary ($4,200) twice in 12 games: 17 vs. WAS in Week 7 // 20.9 vs. CHI in Week 14
- St. Brown has yet to score double digit DK pts
- MIN ranks 32nd in DK ppg allowed to WRs (43.7)
- Notable opposing WR scores: MVS 25.3 // DK Metcalf 25.7 // Rondale Moore 27.4 // Amari Cooper 29.2 // Davante Adams 33.5
- Lewis’s best game was a 9.1 pt. output vs. CHI in Week 14
- Deguara’s best game was an 11.7 pt. Output @ MIN in Week 11
- MIN ranks 10th in DK ppg allowed to TEs (10.8)
- Notable opposing TE scores: Gerald Everett 10.4 // Pat Freiermuth 11.2 // Josiah Deguara 11.7 // Cole Kmet 13.1 // TJ Hockenson 14.9 // Maxx Williams 16.4
- Snap share: Aaron Jones 56.2% // AJ Dillon 41.1%
- Target share: Jones 11.4% // Dillon 6.4%
- Touches per game: Jones 15 // Dillon 12.7
- Jones has led Dillon in touches just once in the past four weeks
- Among qualified RBs, Jones ranks seventh in target share, seventh in WOPR, and 17th in RBOPR
- He’s scored 4x his Week 17 DK salary ($7,200) just once: 41.5 vs. DET in Week 2
- He’s only scored 20+ DK pts once in the past eight weeks
- Among qualified RBs, Dillon ranks 25th in goal line share
- His DK salary range has been $3,800 – $6,200 ($5,800 in Week 17)
- He’s scored 20+ DK pts twice: 20 vs. LAR in Week 12 // 26.8 vs. SEA in Week 10
- MIN ranks 21st in DK ppg allowed to RBs (24.3)
- Notable opposing RB scores: D’Andre Swift 22.4 // Sony Michel 23.5 // Najee Harris 25.4 // Joe Mixon 28 // Elijah Mitchell 30.8