Week 1 Matchups

NFL Team Previews

Every team. Audio & bullet-point.

A *must* for pre-kickoff prep.

By Hilow, the master!


NFL EDGE AUDIO

0:19 :: Jaguars @ Texans
6:25 :: Chargers @ WFT
14:08 :: Seahawks @ Colts
20:04 :: Jets @ Panthers
27:13 :: Vikings @ Bengals
33:53 :: Cardinals @ Titans
40:18 :: 49ers @ Lions
46:23 :: Eagles @ Falcons
52:05 :: Steelers @ Bills
57:27 :: Packers @ Saints
1:04:11 :: Broncos at Giants
1:09:40 :: Dolphins at Patriots
1:14:21 :: Browns at Chiefs


Kickoff Thursday, Sep 9th 8:20pm Eastern

Cowboys (
21.75) at

Bucs (
30.75)

Over/Under 52.5

Tweet
Notes

Key Matchups
Cowboys Run D
8th DVOA/6th Yards allowed per carry
Buccaneers Run O
9th DVOA/28th Yards per carry
Cowboys Pass D
7th DVOA/30th Yards allowed per pass
Buccaneers Pass O
3rd DVOA/1st Yards per pass
Buccaneers Run D
3rd DVOA/1st Yards allowed per carry
Cowboys Run O
3rd DVOA/3rd Yards per carry
Buccaneers Pass D
18th DVOA/27th Yards allowed per pass
Cowboys Pass O
5th DVOA/5th Yards per pass

Xandamere's Showdown Slant

The NFL is back, baby! It’s Week 1 and I have the honor of writing up the first Showdown game of the season as the Cowboys visit the defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers. The game has a nice healthy total of 52 with the Bucs favored by eight, as of this writing. 

COWBOYS

Let’s first talk macro. Dallas' total is 22 points despite having Dak Prescott back, and according to reports, fully healthy. In the first four games Dak played last season before getting hurt, the Cowboys scored 17, 40, 31, and 38 . . .

Unlock OWS

Tools || Training || Research || Strategy || Slate Prep

FREE || WEEK || ANNUAL || INNER CIRCLE

Click To Enter



Kickoff Sunday, Sep 12th 1:00pm Eastern

Jaguars (
24.5) at

Texans (
21)

Over/Under 45.5

Tweet
Notes

Key Matchups
Jaguars Run D
24th DVOA/20th Yards allowed per carry
Texans Run O
32nd DVOA/26th Yards per carry
Jaguars Pass D
32nd DVOA/31st Yards allowed per pass
Texans Pass O
24th DVOA/29th Yards per pass
Texans Run D
30th DVOA/31st Yards allowed per carry
Jaguars Run O
2nd DVOA/13th Yards per carry
Texans Pass D
9th DVOA/18th Yards allowed per pass
Jaguars Pass O
30th DVOA/20th Yards per pass

Game Overview ::

By Hilow >>
  • James Robinson sets up extremely well here, with likely heavy involvement in the passing game and a robust red zone role
  • On the other side, Brandin Cooks sets up well against what should be a heavy man-coverage defense, a coverage which he has crushed over the previous three years of his career
  • Jaguars defense puts up an interesting case to be worthy of addition to a condensed player pool, but Tyrod Taylor holds historically low interception rates over his career
  • Not much else to like here in what should be a slow, grind of a game

How Jacksonville Will Try To Win ::

The Jaguars have completely changed the dynamics of their team, on both sides of the ball as well as throughout the coaching staff. Head coach Urban Meyer should combine with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell to create a dynamic offense that aims to put pressure on multiple levels of an opposing defense. Expect intertwined routes, heavy shotgun, bubble screens, quarterback motion, and ball-out-quick usages. The name of the game here is going to be getting their playmakers in space with the ball in their hands. On the defensive side of the ball, expect defensive coordinator Joe Cullen to utilize heavy man coverage sets with single-high safety coverages. I also expect numerous tailored blitz packages on various downs and distances.

On the ground, incumbent starting running back James Robinson should be utilized in a semi-workhorse role after the loss of rookie Travis Etienne. We should see a dynamic run game that utilizes pulls and sweeps combined with quick outs and slants through the air. The 4-3 Tampa-2 defensive scheme expected from Texans defensive coordinator Lovie Smith is an antiquated system that is liable to struggle against the dynamic nature of the run game here. James Robinson is one of my early week favorites to hit the rushing bonus on DK and punch one in the end zone; add an expected five to six targets to that, and he becomes one of my favorite early week plays at running back. Expect Carlos Hyde to mix in as a change of pace back, but Robinson should enjoy a stranglehold on the available running back opportunities in addition to a heavy red zone role. 

Through the air, expect perimeter wide receivers DJ Chark and Marvin Jones, Jr. to run a robust route tree. Combine that with a dynamic inside playmaker in Laviska Shenault, Jr., and the likelihood for this offense to involve the RB in the passing game heavily out of the backfield, this offense becomes a legitimate problem for the Texans. All four of the primary playmakers through the air see a boost against a zone-heavy defensive scheme, but Laviska Shenault and James Robinson particularly pique my interest. The problem with Viska is that the volume is difficult to project, meaning he should be treated as a low floor, moderate to high ceiling option

How Houston Will Try To Win ::

The Texans brought in head coach David Culley, who served as the Ravens’ pass game coordinator over the previous two seasons, to turn their franchise around. Culley is an “old school” coach who emphasizes “the basics” and “execution.” This would be all fine and well if they had the personnel on the roster to execute that approach effectively, but this team on paper is #notgood. Holdover offensive coordinator Tim Kelly broke into the league coaching for Bill O’Brien in 2014, but we should expect heavy influence from Culley’s west coast offensive philosophy, learned under the tutelage of Andy Reid. Culley was quoted as asking his OC for more balance than they saw in 2020, a year that saw the Texans lead the league in pass yards (DeShaun Watson threw for 4,823 yards). We should expect this team to see a decrease from the third-ranked situation neutral pass rate from 2020 (63%) for as long as they are in games, which is unlikely to be the case as we get deep into this season. I expect (and that’s about all we can do in Week 1 with so many changes across the NFL) to see a more neutral 55/45% pass to rush rate on early downs to begin games as Culley looks to assert his influence. 

On the ground, we are likely to see newcomers Phillip Lindsay and Mark Ingram share early-down touches, with holdover David Johnson and newcomer Rex Burkhead handling clear passing-down duties. They will be executing this game plan behind a bottom-five offensive line, per PFF’s preseason rankings. Opposing defensive coordinator Joe Cullen is likely to utilize a hybrid 3-4/4-3 single-high defensive alignment, with heavy man coverage. This style of defense is difficult to run against, which limits RBs in the second level. 

Through the air, based on what we saw in the preseason, and the offensive philosophies of the west coast spread offense, expect WRs Brandin Cooks, Chris Conley, and Nico Collins to run layered routes designed to open up space for their playmakers. QB Tyrod Taylor has this stigma of being incapable of attacking downfield, but he has shown respectably average intended air yards per pass attempt over the previous four years, dating back to his Pro Bowl season with the Bills. We didn’t see very much of the starters in the preseason, but most of the passing was executed within ten yards of the line of scrimmage. With the Jaguars likely to be in single-high man coverage for a good chunk of the game, Brandin Cooks profiles immaculately as someone who can take advantage of off-man coverage. Just two years ago, he ranked fifth in the NFL in WR rating against off-man coverage, racking up 739 yards against that style of coverage.

Likeliest Game Flow ::

It is likeliest we see the Jaguars assert dominance over this game flow rather early here, with the edge in both personnel and scheme. Houston should begin the game looking to move the ball methodically with a balanced attack, but should be forced into a more aggressive aerial approach as the game moves on. It isn’t a perfect matchup, but it sets up most optimally for Brandin Cooks to take advantage of, due to expected increased pass volume. The Jaguars dynamic offense should be able to sustain drives through a punishing run game and a disguised pass game, leaning on the power run game at a higher rate as the game progresses.

Tributaries ::

Just about every game in Week 1 should have a viable tributary as we just don’t know as much as we think we know with a ton of offseason changes this year. Going full JM here, if we played this slate 100 times, the Texans would be able to maintain a balanced approach deep into the game for 20-25 of them, effectively erasing any interest I would have in Houston’s pass-catchers and lowering the ceiling of Jacksonville’s run game.

DFS+ Interpretation ::

Hilow >>

Jaguars RB James Robinson sets up extremely well here for as long as the game isn’t too far out of hand. Expect him to see borderline elite usage due to the season-ending injury sustained by Travis Etienne, with change of pace back Carlos Hyde giving him breathers when needed. Robinson should be utilized heavily in the pass game as well as the goal line, so he brings a solid cost-considered range of outcomes to the table in Week 1.

On the other side of the ball, rookie WR Nico Collins will likely generate some buzz this week, but everything we’ve seen from camp and preseason is low upside and shallow depth of target work. His shiftiness makes him a solid down low option in the red zone, but the floor is simply not there, even for a player coming in at the bare minimum price. The backfield is a complete stay-away. The only interest I will have from the Texans is lead WR Brandin Cooks, who sets up well to take advantage of a coverage scheme he has excelled against in the past. The floor is lower than we would typically like here, due in large part to the unknowns surrounding Tyrod Taylor, but the ceiling is very much there.

The Jaguars defense is also somewhat interesting to me here, as we should expect Cullen to dial-up integrated and sporadic blitz packages to take advantage of a weak opposing offensive line. The one thing that is holding me back from recommending them as a top defensive unit is the lack of mistakes Tyrod Taylor makes when under pressure. He holds a career interception rate of just 1.3%, which, for comparison, is lower than some scrub named Aaron Rodgers’ career 1.4%.

JMToWin >>

Coaching “Mindset” is really the biggest obstacle in this game, as each defense should be attackable enough this year for this game to otherwise (technically) have shootout potential. On the Texans’ side, however, it takes a pretty wild stretch of the imagination to see “David Culley + Tyrod Taylor” turning into an aggressive, “Win by maximizing points scored” approach. If the Texans had a better defense (and a better offensive line…and more talent pretty much everywhere), Culley and “TyGod” would actually be a nice pairing for real-life wins, as Culley can be expected to take an approach of “Build everything off the run, avoid turnovers and mistakes, and grind out a win each week.” With Tyrod Taylor’s ability to make good decisions and take what the defense gives him, this could work in a non-sexy, non-Super-Bowl-contender capacity with more talent elsewhere. Unfortunately, the Texans are talent-barren (by NFL standards); and because their mindset should lean conservative, there aren’t many paths to a shootout developing. If the Texans fall behind early, they’re likely to still “Gase” their way back into the game // if the game stays close, both teams will likely play non-shootout football // if the Texans somehow jump out to an early lead, shootout opportunities dry up even further.

One of the things we do want to be willing to do in Week 1 is embrace uncertainty where others are shying away from it, so in large-field tourney play, you could draft up a story on a handful of rosters in which the Jags try to get Trevor Lawrence a big game in his first outing against the softest defense they’ll face all season, leading to 300+ yards and three touchdowns through the air (he could do it with the weapons at his disposal against this defense). This is a non-crazy scenario I’d be happy to play around with on a couple rosters in 20-entry-max tourneys, or on as many as eight to 12 rosters in 150-max tourneys (assuming, of course, I were max-entering; if mini-multi-entering in a 150-max, there is that “Larejo mindset” (check out the “Our Team” page to see what makes Larejo so special) that says a bit of “Jags passing attack” could/should show up on a smaller set of rosters in those larger-field tourneys (to simplify: the idea is that if others are building 150 rosters and you’re only building, say, 15, you need to be willing to pull the trigger on some of the plays that people with 150 rosters are willing to pull the trigger on as they get down to their last 25 or 30 rosters for the week); but nothing in the research “points to this spot”).

In tighter builds, James Robinson and Brandin Cooks are the two players I’m setting aside from this game. I don’t dig into player pricing until deeper into the week in my process (so we’ll have a clearer idea of where these guys fit for me, and how they stack up against other available plays, by the time we reach the Player Grid; note: The Player Grid, and all other components in The Scroll, will go live for Week 1 when Thursday Night Football kicks off!!!!), but both guys are getting scooped from this game for me and added to my early-week list. Optimally, we want to be able to describe to ourselves how a player on our list can put up “100 yards and two touchdowns.” It doesn’t take much imagination to come up with that story for Robinson. It takes a bit more for Cooks, but it’s viable enough that he’s an interesting piece when it’s all said and done.

By LexMiraglia10 >>

Overview:

  • In the last 3 years, first-time head coaches in Week 1 are 1-13-1 (of course, both coaches are first-timers here)
  • JAC scored the 3rd fewest pts in 2020, but upgrade Minshew/Conley to Lawrence/Marvin Jones
  • HOU scored the 18th most pts in 2020, but downgrade Watson/Fuller to Tyrod/Conley
  • HOU is implied for the 3rd lowest total on the slate
  • JAC & HOU tied for the 4th most RZ opportunities faced in 2020 (63)

Trevor Lawrence:

  • HOU allowed the 3rd highest yds/att to QBs & the 2nd highest passer rating in 2020
  • HOU lost JJ Watt and their best CB Bradley Robey is still serving suspension for Week 1
  • QBs vs HOU after Robey’s suspension: Rivers (285:2; 228:2) // Trubisky (267:3) // B Allen (371:2) // Tanny (216:1, 38:2)
  • Herbert (26.2), Kyler (25.6), & Jones (39.2) are recent rookie QBs to have big fantasy debuts

JAC WRs:

  • HOU allowed the highest success rate to WRs in 2020
  • Only DAL & MIN allowed more WR TDs than HOU in 2020
  • Lawrence preseason WR targets: Laviska (13) // Jones (9) // Dorsett (3) // Tavon (2) // Cooper (2) // Treadwell // Johnson)
  • DJ Chark didn’t play in any of the preseason games
  • Laviska with 7+ targets in 2020: 3:10 // 5:48:1 // 7:79 // 6:68:2 // 6:49
  • Jones with 7+ targets in 2020: 3:39:2 // 4:48 // 4:55 // 8:96:1 // 8:180:2 // 10:112:1 // 8:116:1 // 6:48
  • Notable WR performances vs HOU after Robey’s suspension: Hilton (8:110:1) // ARob (9:123:1) // Pascal (5:79:2) // Higgins (6:99:1) // AJB (10:151:1)

JAC TEs:

  • Lawrence preseason TE targets: O’Shag (3) // Manhertz (2) // Farrell
  • Eifert’s 60 targets from last season are gone; O’Shag had next most with 38
  • Manhertz has 12 career rec & Farrell is a rookie 5th rounder

JAC RBs:

  • Lawrence preseason RB targets: Hyde (2) // Etienne // Robinson
  • Robinson averaged 100 total yds on 17.1 att & 4.3 tg per game in 2020
  • Ogunbawale’s 32 att & 20 tg were sure to be surpassed by Travis Etienne, but even Carlos Hyde is still expected to eat into JRob’s market share
  • HOU allowed 300 more RB rush yds than the next closest team in 2020 (145.8/g)
  • HOU allowed over 3000 total RB yds in 2020 (190.9/g)
  • Robinson vs HOU in 2020: 13:48, 5:22 // 25:99:1
  • JAC had just SIX rush att inside the 5yd line all season, and Robinson turned all 5 of his into TDs

Tyrod Taylor:

  • In his career, Tyrod Taylor averages 15.1 DK pts as a Dog & 18.9 DK pts as a Favorite
  • HOU is a 3pt Dog
  • 4x Tyrod’s Week 1 Salary is 21.6 DK pts
  • Tyrod’s times reaching that mark by season since 2015: (6/14) // (5/15) // (2/15) // (1/2) // (0/1)
  • 9/16 QBs surpassed that score vs JAC in 2020 (23.6 was the average score allowed)
  • The preseason signs haven’t exactly been encouraging with Keenum, Lauletta, Jameis, Taysom all producing (albeit still just preseason)
  • Notable QB rushing vs JAC in 2020: Fitz (7:38:1) // Herbert (9:66:1) // Watson (10:50) // Lamar (10:35:1)

HOU RBs:

  • JAC allowed the 3rd most RB rush yds & 2nd most total RB yds behind HOU in 2020
  • Only HOU & DET allowed more RB DK pts than JAC
  • David Johnson & Phillip Lindsay both finished about 10% below league avg in run success rate in 2020
  • DJ vs JAC in 2020: (17:96, 2:7) // (2:16; left inj)

HOU WRs:

  • Brandin Cooks w/o Fuller in 2020 (albeit w/ Watson): 5:95 (8) // 5:65 (8) // 6:59 (7) // 7:141:1 (10) // 11:166:2 (16)
  • Cooks yds/g by season: 55 // 71 // 73 // 68 // 75 // 42 // 77
  • Cooks had 5 targets on 14 Tyrod passes in their preseason games together
  • JAC allowed the 11th most DK pts to WRs in 2020
  • JAC added Shaq Griffin, and 1st-rounder CJ Henderson is entering 2nd year, but they did already get torched by Callaway in Pre-2
  • Leading pass-catcher in most recent Tyrod starts (LAC & CLE): Henry (5:73) // Landry (5:69) // Landry (7:106)
  • With Coutee cut & Miller still questionable returning from injury, Conley & Collins are the main WRs behind Cooks

Jordan Akins:

  • Darren Fells is gone to DET
  • Akins scored 10+ DK pts in 4/13 games in 2020 (accomplished both times he cleared 80% snaps)
  • In Tyrod’s 3 seasons in BUF, Charles Clay averaged 40.6, 36.8, & 42.9 yds/g
  • Clay averaged 5.9, 5.8, 5.7 tg/g while ranking 3rd, 1st, 2nd in total team targets
  • JAC allowed the 2nd highest yds/att to TEs in 2020

Kickoff Sunday, Sep 12th 1:00pm Eastern

Chargers (
22) at

WFT (
23.5)

Over/Under 45.5

Tweet
Notes

Key Matchups
Chargers Run D
31st DVOA/32nd Yards allowed per carry
Washington Run O
23rd DVOA/19th Yards per carry
Chargers Pass D
11th DVOA/3rd Yards allowed per pass
Washington Pass O
16th DVOA/24th Yards per pass
Washington Run D
9th DVOA/19th Yards allowed per carry
Chargers Run O
8th DVOA/22nd Yards per carry
Washington Pass D
29th DVOA/32nd Yards allowed per pass
Chargers Pass O
8th DVOA/7th Yards per pass

Game Overview ::

By Papy324 >>

This game has the makings of a low scoring affair between two quality defenses Expect the Chargers to look like the Saints of the past decade Herbert is a superstar in the making Gibson is a Week 1 value based on workload, if you believe coach speak 

How Los Angeles Will Try To Win ::

Los Angeles saw large changes from last season in their offense. However, because these changes occurred at Offensive Coordinator (Joe Lombardi) and along the O-line (four new starters), rather than at the more well tracked . . .

Unlock OWS

Tools || Training || Research || Strategy || Slate Prep

FREE || WEEK || ANNUAL || INNER CIRCLE

Click To Enter



Kickoff Sunday, Sep 12th 1:00pm Eastern

Hawks (
26) at

Colts (
23)

Over/Under 49.0

Tweet
Notes

Key Matchups
Seahawks Run D
17th DVOA/30th Yards allowed per carry
Colts Run O
16th DVOA/11th Yards per carry
Seahawks Pass D
28th DVOA/28th Yards allowed per pass
Colts Pass O
22nd DVOA/16th Yards per pass
Colts Run D
2nd DVOA/13th Yards allowed per carry
Seahawks Run O
7th DVOA/16th Yards per carry
Colts Pass D
30th DVOA/20th Yards allowed per pass
Seahawks Pass O
4th DVOA/22nd Yards per pass

Game Overview ::

By MJohnson86 >>

Seattle will want to establish their new-look offense and build momentum and chemistry on their installed new concepts, including faster pace between plays and shorter, quicker route concepts.The Colts will want to help new QB Carson Wentz get comfortable in his new situation after missing most of the practice reps during training camp. The Colts defense should be strong enough to keep the Seahawks from building a large early lead, while their offense will likely not have the explosiveness to build a lead of their own —resulting in a tough, competitive . . .

Unlock OWS

Tools || Training || Research || Strategy || Slate Prep

FREE || WEEK || ANNUAL || INNER CIRCLE

Click To Enter



Kickoff Sunday, Sep 12th 1:00pm Eastern

Jets (
20.5) at

Panthers (
24)

Over/Under 44.5

Tweet
Notes

Key Matchups
Jets Run D
18th DVOA/21st Yards allowed per carry
Panthers Run O
20th DVOA/18th Yards per carry
Jets Pass D
21st DVOA/17th Yards allowed per pass
Panthers Pass O
27th DVOA/15th Yards per pass
Panthers Run D
12th DVOA/14th Yards allowed per carry
Jets Run O
24th DVOA/31st Yards per carry
Panthers Pass D
2nd DVOA/2nd Yards allowed per pass
Jets Pass O
32nd DVOA/30th Yards per pass

Game Overview ::

By MJohnson86 >>

These are not the same teams as last year. You could call this the “Gase Bowl” as both the Jets and Sam Darnold move on from life with the now High School OC Adam Gase controlling their destinies.New York will use misdirection, play-action, and a mix of short passes and shot plays to try to get the Panthers’ rising defense off-balance and out of position.Carolina will try to get the ball out of Darnold’s hands quickly and will use their short-area weapons in creative ways while strategically taking . . .

Unlock OWS

Tools || Training || Research || Strategy || Slate Prep

FREE || WEEK || ANNUAL || INNER CIRCLE

Click To Enter



Kickoff Sunday, Sep 12th 1:00pm Eastern

Vikings (
25) at

Bengals (
22)

Over/Under 47.0

Tweet
Notes

Key Matchups
Vikings Run D
20th DVOA/23rd Yards allowed per carry
Bengals Run O
19th DVOA/20th Yards per carry
Vikings Pass D
6th DVOA/12th Yards allowed per pass
Bengals Pass O
18th DVOA/18th Yards per pass
Bengals Run D
7th DVOA/8th Yards allowed per carry
Vikings Run O
28th DVOA/8th Yards per carry
Bengals Pass D
12th DVOA/13th Yards allowed per pass
Vikings Pass O
11th DVOA/6th Yards per pass

Game Overview ::

By MJohnson86 >>

Both teams have made some changes in personnel and/or coaching staff — but their philosophies and core remain largely unchanged from 2020Minnesota should have significant edges at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ballCincinnati enters this game with a lot of pressure on Zac Taylor after two disappointing seasons and Joe Burrow in his return from a torn ACL

How Minnesota Will Try To Win ::

Following Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak’s retirement in January, the Vikings promptly promoted his son Klint from QB Coach to the OC position. All signs point . . .

Unlock OWS

Tools || Training || Research || Strategy || Slate Prep

FREE || WEEK || ANNUAL || INNER CIRCLE

Click To Enter



Kickoff Sunday, Sep 12th 1:00pm Eastern

Cards (
25.75) at

Titans (
28.75)

Over/Under 54.5

Tweet
Notes

Key Matchups
Cardinals Run D
13th DVOA/24th Yards allowed per carry
Titans Run O
10th DVOA/2nd Yards per carry
Cardinals Pass D
3rd DVOA/6th Yards allowed per pass
Titans Pass O
26th DVOA/27th Yards per pass
Titans Run D
27th DVOA/16th Yards allowed per carry
Cardinals Run O
13th DVOA/6th Yards per carry
Titans Pass D
25th DVOA/23rd Yards allowed per pass
Cardinals Pass O
6th DVOA/8th Yards per pass

Game Overview ::

By Hilow >>
  • Two teams that should appear largely familiar to us based on last season
  • Both teams set up beautifully through the air, play at pace, and have questions on the back half of their defenses; game script will dictate just how far these teams are able to go through the air
  • Both teams should be able to attack in their preferred manner
  • Liable to see 130-135 total offensive plays run from scrimmage in this one (standard is around 120ish)

How Arizona Will Try To Win ::

The Cardinals retained their coaching staff from last season but added: wide receiver AJ Green through free agency, wide receiver Rondale Moore through the draft, and running back James Conner through free agency. Kliff Kingsbury prefers to play at pace (first-ranked situation-neutral pace of play in 2020) with high rush rates to wear a team down, attacking the short-intermediate areas of the field through the air to set up deep passing. Vance Joseph’s man-heavy defense relied on pressure generated through the blitz and sticky coverage in the secondary. Joseph blitzed at the fourth-highest rate and I expect this team to continue their heavy blitz rates with the addition of JJ Watt. They allowed 4.7 yards per rush attempt and only 9.9 yards per pass completion; they had an above-average 64.04% completion rate against, but lost three defensive backs this offseason (Patrick Peterson, Dre Kirkpatrick, and Jonathan Joseph). Expect this team to try to win games similar to how they did last season, with the exception being, this defense is not what it used to be since they replaced the aforementioned defensive backs with Malcolm Butler (who then retired), rookies Marco Wilson and Tay Gowan, and Robert Alford, who spent the better part of the last two years on IR.

The Cardinals finished 2020 with a top 10 pass-blocking and bottom 10 run-blocking offensive line, but stayed committed to the run in an attempt to wear defenses down over the course of the game; they somewhat quietly held the seventh-highest situation-neutral rush rate in 2020. The team brought in James Conner to form a running back tandem with holdover Chase Edmonds, and I expect this backfield to be close to an even committee with Conner, and quarterback Kyler Murray, handling goal line work. One of the most maddening things watching this team play in 2020 was the straight-line running scheme which failed to fully capitalize on the strengths of both Kenyan Drake and Chase Edmonds, who are best on the edge and with the ball in their hands out of the backfield. This run scheme suits the talents of James Conner more than it does Chase Edmonds, but I expect Kingsbury to continue to try and fit a square peg in a round hole. Tennesee ranked seventh-worst in the league in yards allowed per rush attempt in 2020, a trend I expect to continue moving forward. 

Through the air, expect the same horizontally-spread offense from the Cardinals this season, who ran above average 11-personnel and the most four-wide sets in the league in 2020. The primary goal of the pass game last season was to put strain on a defense horizontally to set up the vertical shots. Kyler Murray attempted 58 passes of greater than 20 yards last season, resulting in a ridiculously low 28.4% expected completion rate. Even so, those attempts resulted in 23 completions for 874 yards and eight touchdowns. With the addition of burner Rondale Moore, we could see this team take a large step forward in downfield passing efficiency. The matchup through the air is a good one as Tennessee lost five total starters on the defensive side of the ball; they appear set to start an inexperienced secondary that utilizes heavy man coverage. DeAndre Hopkins should continue his mediocre aDOT role (career low 8.9 aDOT in 2020), with AJ Green operating in a similar role on the opposite side of the field, while Christian Kirk and Rondale Moore will be on hand to run heavy deep routes out of the slot and bunch formations.

How Tennessee Will Try To Win ::

The Titans lost both coordinators this offseason and decided to promote from within by hiring Todd Downing as the offensive coordinator (previously TE coach) and Shane Bowen as the defensive coordinator. This means we should largely expect this team to look familiar as well, giving us a good idea of how they should try and win games. The norm should be heavy rush rates with their bruiser Derrick Henry behind a top-ranked run-blocking offensive line (Taylor Lewan is healthy heading into 2021 after struggling with injuries last year) combined with an efficient and concentrated pass game through AJ Brown and newcomer Julio Jones; expect heavy 12-personnel looks with both Geoff Swaim and Anthony Firkser on the field, and a pace-up approach designed to wear on opposing defenses. 

The Titans run a heavy zone blocking run scheme designed to rip holes for power running back Derrick Henry. The only question mark along their offensive line is at right tackle, where Dillon Radunz (second-round rookie) and Ty Sambrailo will be competing for snaps. The big picture here is we know with a high level of certainty what this team will look like on the ground, and they match up well with the shortcomings of the Cardinals’ run-stopping abilities.

The pass game should remain extremely concentrated in 2021 with the departure of Corey Davis and a direct replacement with Julio Jones. Both AJB and Julio are adept route tacticians, capable of winning against both man and zone coverages to multiple areas of the field. The matchup is also a good one, with Arizona experiencing significant defensive personnel turnover in the secondary this offseason. There’s nothing that tells me the Titans want to increase the 30.1 pass attempts per game they averaged in 2020, but they should remain just as efficient with the personnel on hand.

Likeliest Game Flow ::

It is likeliest we see this game jump out to a quick start with each team so clearly holding the upper hand on the offensive side of the ball. A further likeliest scenario involves the Titans controlling game script, more so via how they wish to attack and less concerned with the actual score on the scoreboard; as in, Titans keep a lead or keep the game within six points, where they can pound the run game with Derrick Henry to open up their efficient pass game. Both teams should largely be afforded the opportunity to attack in their optimal way, which involves high rush rates and efficient passing. The opportunity is there for either team to enjoy a quick strike or two early in the game, but as long as the game remains within a score (as I expect), this one should remain rather predictable.  

Tributaries ::

The biggest percentage chance of a tributary game script developing here is if either team is able to jump out to an early lead and hold it deep into the game. This scenario would force the Titans into increased pass attempts and elevates the floor of their wide receivers, should they be down; the Cardinals playing from behind would likely increase pass rates to a level where multiple pass-catchers gain relevance. 

DFS+ Interpretation ::

Hilow >>

The clear pieces holding the most utility in the likeliest game flow are Derrick Henry, Kyler Murray, and DeAndre Hopkins. Kyler and Nuk are the pieces with the highest floor, while Henry almost always requires a trip to the end zone in order to pay off his lofty price. “Time of year” narratives have largely just been noise, but the clear statistical splits when comparing early season to late season remain an enigma for King Henry. In reality, the likeliest impact on Henry’s floor and ceiling revolve around the Titans’ ability to control the tempo of the game. In all reality, Kyler Murray is still the Cardinals’ top option at the goal line which serves to elevate his weekly floor and ceiling. 

All of AJ Brown, Julio Jones, Ryan Tannehill, and Cardinals rookie WR Rondale Moore carry elevated ceilings, but the floor on each is scary low. All of these options are likely to make late week condensed player pools, but we must be extremely precise in how we choose to deploy each; as in, targeting specific game scripts from this game in an attempt to lower the number of things that have to go right for us to leap the field. The range of outcomes on all these players is simply too large to play without targeting specific game scripts. Correlation is of the utmost importance from this game!

Things get interesting when considering the tributary scenario, which makes game stacks and secondary options more viable, and brings in the possibility for both passing attacks to pop at the same time. We’re likely to see this game end up as one of the top two or three games when looking at total points, but the fantasy points can come in a few different ways.

Each defense and all tight ends should be left off our late week condensed player pools.

JMToWin >>

Yes.
Yes.
And yes.

When merely eyeballing this game, it pops as one of the most obviously attractive games on the slate. As Hilow laid out above, however: we pretty much know what to expect from these teams.

Why do we pretty much know what to expect from these teams?

Because not a whole lot has changed.

Why am I saying all this?

Because when we “pretty much know what to expect from a team,” and when “not a lot has changed” heading into Week 1, we end up with one of the rare Week 1 situations in which pretty much every player from this game appears to be appropriately priced. In fact…pretty much every player from this game appears to be priced for their ceiling (which is much closer to “late-season” pricing than to “Week 1” pricing), creating a situation in which we could actually see a large chunk of the field effectively block themselves from a first place finish by not only joining what will likely be relatively heavy ownership on this game, but by taking on that heavy-ish ownership at appropriate price tags that keep their rosters on pace for 200 points (DK) if ceiling is hit…on a week in which 240+ points could very easily be required in order to win a tourney.

Put differently :: you don’t need me to tell you that there are “upside cases” to be made for Kyler, Hopkins, Tannehill, AJB, Julio, and Henry (with larger-field cases to be made for Rondale, and “build around this game multiple ways” cases to be made even for AJ Green, Christian Kirk, and the Cardinals’ running backs). But if you’re going to pay the “appropriate price tags” on the main pieces from this game, it’s vitally important that A) you do so through a complete roster build that bets on a game flow scenario that allows you to get several things right at once (i.e., maybe you’re “only” getting 4x your salary from a three-player block from this game paying off (“only” because that’s a great payoff late in the season, but an iffy one in Week 1 if you’re targeting first place), but at least you’re getting three roster spots right at once, with a large chunk of your salary), and B) you make sure that the “affordable pieces” you’re rostering to allow for a stack from this game are not simply “guys who can go 4x their low salary,” but are instead guys who could prove to be massively mispriced against their production and later-in-the-year price tag.

Finally — to summarize that more simply :: This is a great game in a vacuum. And there will be some solid scores from this game. But because these players are appropriately priced on a week in which so much else is mispriced, it’s important that you A) look for ways to bet on a game scenario that allows you to get several things right at once (the exception being the “on his own” upside of Kyler Murray, who can be played in pretty much any kind of way), and B) make sure your “affordable” plays are guys who you can make a case for being severely mispriced, instead of just “good values for the cost.”


KICKOFF SPECIAL!

ALL MARKETPLACE TRAINING:

20% OFF

CODE KICKOFF2021
EXPIRES 9/20

By LexMiraglia10 >>

Overview:

  • This is a matchup of the 4th highest scoring team (TEN, 30.7) & 13th highest scoring team (ARI, 25.6) from 2020
  • Both teams were top 4 in rush TDs in 2020 and only GB scored more total TDs than TEN
  • Tanny-TEN game totals vs NFC opponents: 50 // 50 // 66 // 61 // 41 // 71 // 54
  • 2020: ARI had 6 games of 50+ combined pts (4 of 60+) and TEN had 13 games of 50+ combined pts (5 of 70+)
  • The only game with a higher total on the slate is KC-CLE (1 pt higher), however the spread is 3 pts closer (KC 6 pt fav, TEN 3 pt fav)
  • Opp plays faced (rank): TEN faced 67.1/g (3rd most) // ARI faced 65.9/g (8th most)

Kyler Murray:

  • Kyler Murray DK pts in games with final totals of 50+ pts: 24.12 // 28.92 // 41.1 // 41.92 // 30.9 // 18.42 // 38.14
  • TEN allowed the 5th most QB DK pts in 2020
  • Only 3 teams allowed more pass yds & 1 team allowed more pass TDs
  • Lamar was the only QB with notable rushing success vs TEN in 2020: 13:51 & 16:136:1
  • Before Kyler Murray hurt his shoulder vs SEA, he was a on historic scoring pace, in large part due to 67 rush yds/g, 10 TDs in his first 9 (just 30.7 rush yds/g, 1 TD in last 7)
  • TEN allowed the highest 3rd down conv rate & 3rd highest RZ TD rate in 2020

ARI RBs:

  • TEN allowed the 7th most RB DK pts in 2020
  • Edmonds was under 10 att in every game except two (25, 11), and Drake missed the one he received 25
  • Drake vacates 264 touches to be absorbed by Edmonds & James Conner
  • Edmonds could be the starter this year, but his new backfield mate, James Conner, has averaged 13.9 att for 59.9 yds over the last 3 seasons
  • Edmonds caught 3+ passes in 11/16 games in 2020
  • 2020 ARI rush att inside the 10: Drake (35), Kyler (14), Edmonds (3)
  • 2020 ARI rush att inside the 5: Drake (21), Kyler (7), Edmonds (1)
  • Conner had 14 rush att inside the 10, with 9 of those inside the 5 in 2020

ARI WRs:

  • Only the Falcons allowed more WR DK pts in 2020, as TEN was one of five teams to allow 3000+ yds to WRs
  • Hopkins received double-digit targets in 9/16 games in 2020, only falling below 7 targets once
  • Of Hopkins 8 games of 20+ DK pts, 7 came in Wins, and in 5 ARI scored 30+ pts
  • Hopkins scored 28+ DK pts five times in 2020
  • After never falling below 67 yds per game in 8 seasons, Green returned from a 1.5 year absence to average just 32.7 yds/g for CIN, including a 2:19 game vs TEN
  • Green averaged 8 more yds/g in Burrow’s 10 games than the 6 games without
  • Rondale Moore led the 2021 WR draft class with 8.9 rec/g, however with just a 2.4 yds aDOT in his final two Purdue seasons
  • Moore was used extensively in the slot during the preseason

Ryan Tannehill:

  • TEN lost OC & play-caller Arthur Smith to ATL, but did add Julio Jones to replace Corey Davis
  • During new OC Todd Downing’s only time as an OC (2017 OAK), his offense utilized play action at the 3rd lowest rate in the NFL that year (14%)
  • Ryan Tannehill’s YPA with & without play action in 2020: 9.7 vs 7.0
  • Tanny has averaged 234.3 pass yds & 1.96 TDs per game as TEN’s QB
  • 5 of Tanny’s 6 games of 26+ DK pts came at Home, 8 of his 9 highest scores came in Wins, and the game scores of his 7 games of 20+ DK pts read: 46-25, 42-36, 35-41, 42-16, 41-38, 33-30, 30-24
  • Tanny & Henry’s DK pts in Tanny’s 6 big scores: 37 (RT), 28.2 (DH) // 33.6, 43.4 // 31.6, 6.9 // 30, 19.3 // 28.4, 39 // 26.8, 8.4
  • Those are combined scores of 65.2 // 77 // 38.5 // 49.3 // 67.4 // 35.2
  • They are 15.3k in combined salary in Week 1 (4x is 61.2)

Derrick Henry:

  • The only RBs to break 80 rush yds vs ARI in 2020 were Mike Davis (84) & Jeff Wilson (183)
  • Henry had just one less game of over 200 rush yds (3) than under 80 rush yds (4) in 2020
  • Henry’s only game vs Vance Joseph defense came as a rookie vs 2016 MIA when he rushed for 54 yds on 7 att while starter Demarco Murray rushed for 121 yds on 27 att
  • Joseph has only had one rush def in his 5 seasons as HC or DC that finished as a top 20 rush def in yds allowed
  • Henry has scored 26+ DK pts in half (9/18) of his games with Tannehill as a Favorite: 32.5 // 27.6 // 26.9 // 42.1 // 30 // 43.4 // 39.2 // 28.2 // 39
  • He also scored under 10 DK pts in 5 of the other 9 games
  • Henry averaged 143.5 rush yds, 9.3 rec yds, 1.36 TDs in wins last season

TEN WRs:

  • TEN had a 100+ yd WR in 10/16 games last year
  • ARI allowed the 7th most rec, but only the 18th most rec yds in 2020
  • ARI’s CB situation is murkier following the departure of Patrick Peterson & retiring of Malcom Butler
  • 33 RZ touches have been vacated from TEN pass-catchers Jonnu, Davis, & Humphries
  • ARI allowed the 3rd lowest RZ TD rate in 2020
  • AJ Brown has more career rec TDs of 30+ yds (9) than inside the Green Zone (7)
  • ARI allowed the 7th most YAC on passes last year by facing one of the lower aDOTs in the league
  • Per NextGenStats, AJ Brown finished with the second most avg YAC above expectation amongst all receivers (Julio finished 15th)
  • Julio’s only matchup with a Vance Joseph defense was an 8 rec 108 yds game vs ARI in 2019
  • At least one TEN player scored 20+ DK pts in 14/16 games in 2020
  • Top TEN score: 20.1 (CD) // 24.4 (JS) // 30 (DH) // 21.2 (AB), 21 (JS) // 43.4 (DH), 28.3 (AF) // 30.3 (AB) // 29.8 (CD) // 23.1 (AB) // 14.9 (DH) // 23.2 (DH) // 41.5 (DH) // 38.6 (CD) // 39.2 (DH), 27.2 (AB) // 28.2 (DH), 24 (CD) // 12 (JS) // 40 (DH), 34.1 (AB)
  • 20+ DK pts tally: DH (8) // AB (7) // CD (4) // JS (2) // AF (1)

Kickoff Sunday, Sep 12th 1:00pm Eastern

49ers (
27.75) at

Lions (
18.25)

Over/Under 46.0

Tweet
Notes

Key Matchups
49ers Run D
16th DVOA/18th Yards allowed per carry
Lions Run O
25th DVOA/23rd Yards per carry
49ers Pass D
15th DVOA/7th Yards allowed per pass
Lions Pass O
28th DVOA/25th Yards per pass
Lions Run D
28th DVOA/26th Yards allowed per carry
49ers Run O
14th DVOA/12th Yards per carry
Lions Pass D
27th DVOA/19th Yards allowed per pass
49ers Pass O
12th DVOA/14th Yards per pass

Game Overview ::

By Hilow >>

Raheem Mostert carries one of the highest ceilings of all running backs on the slate, but his floor is moderate at best considering the presence of Trey Sermon, and the likelihood of Sermon fulfilling the goal line running back roleAll of Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, and George Kittle offer “busted coverage upside” but will require extreme efficiency in order to hit their ceilingsThe Lions are in trouble here; their best chance of moving the football is going to land with the running backs and TJ Hockenson, two positions that are effectively erased by the . . .

Unlock OWS

Tools || Training || Research || Strategy || Slate Prep

FREE || WEEK || ANNUAL || INNER CIRCLE

Click To Enter



Kickoff Sunday, Sep 12th 1:00pm Eastern

Eagles (
22.5) at

Falcons (
26)

Over/Under 48.5

Tweet
Notes

Key Matchups
Eagles Run D
23rd DVOA/28th Yards allowed per carry
Falcons Run O
31st DVOA/24th Yards per carry
Eagles Pass D
10th DVOA/5th Yards allowed per pass
Falcons Pass O
25th DVOA/12th Yards per pass
Falcons Run D
25th DVOA/11th Yards allowed per carry
Eagles Run O
4th DVOA/15th Yards per carry
Falcons Pass D
26th DVOA/14th Yards allowed per pass
Eagles Pass O
21st DVOA/23rd Yards per pass

Game Overview ::

By Hilow >>

This game sets up well to smash its Vegas game totalBoth Calvin Ridley and Kyle Pitts set up extremely well to see the perfect mix of volume and matchupJalen Hurts carries one of the week’s highest floor and ceiling combinations at the quarterback position, and although it is likely one of his pass-catchers exceeds expectations, projecting which one will do so is a fool’s errand so naked Hurts is highly appealingSecondary and tertiary members of each team should be considered “high range of outcomes” plays

How Philadelphia Will Try To Win . . .

Unlock OWS

Tools || Training || Research || Strategy || Slate Prep

FREE || WEEK || ANNUAL || INNER CIRCLE

Click To Enter



Kickoff Sunday, Sep 12th 1:00pm Eastern

Steelers (
20.75) at

Bills (
27.25)

Over/Under 48.0

Tweet
Notes

Key Matchups
Steelers Run D
6th DVOA/10th Yards allowed per carry
Bills Run O
11th DVOA/5th Yards per carry
Steelers Pass D
24th DVOA/15th Yards allowed per pass
Bills Pass O
13th DVOA/10th Yards per pass
Bills Run D
1st DVOA/2nd Yards allowed per carry
Steelers Run O
22nd DVOA/29th Yards per carry
Bills Pass D
1st DVOA/1st Yards allowed per pass
Steelers Pass O
19th DVOA/17th Yards per pass

Game Overview ::

By Hilow >>
  • Stefon Diggs against man coverage = feast
  • We might see 80 pass attempts combined in this game
  • Diontae Johnson sets up well to avoid lockdown corner Tre’Davious White
  • Correlated wide receiver pairings from this game are likely to go underowned

How Pittsburgh Will Try To Win ::

The biggest change out of Pittsburgh this season is the promotion of Matt Canada to offensive coordinator. Canada wants to simplify the offense and incorporate a pistol backfield paired with pace of play. Pistol can make the offense appear less predictable to an opposing defense; and this is, in my opinion, the best way to play to the personnel and identity of this team (aging Ben Roethlisberger, dynamic rookie running back Najee Harris, dynamic receiving corps, and a serviceable tight end). Pistol should also facilitate more play action, power, inside zone, and pin and pull rushes, while getting playmakers into space. Last season, the Steelers ranked sixth in the NFL in pace of play, while holding PFF’s 31st ranked offensive line. They added a dynamic running back and we should expect this team to look similar at first glance, but improve on their dreadful efficiency from 2020 through the incorporation of a more dynamic offense (ranked just 25th in drive success rate). 

On the ground, expect a better mix of rushing concepts than we saw last year with a more straight-line James Conner. The pistol offense (basically, a hybrid shotgun) allows this team to appear less predictable when it comes to the run game but it also helps keep Big Ben off-center due to his limited mobility. My expectation for Najee Harris is that we see more of a legacy Le’Veon Bell type usage and production, with a stable floor of five to six targets per game, and a ceiling for more depending on game flow. The matchup on the ground should be considered a neutral one, but the expected struggles of this offensive line should not be understated.

The Steelers finished 2020 second in the league in 11-personnel usage at 75%, just one spot behind the Bengals. While I expect that to continue, I don’t expect them to target running backs at a lowly 12.4% clip. As such, look for their ridiculous 70.4% wide receiver target rate to dip some this season, making the situation one to monitor for where those targets flow. We’re liable to see the same pass volume moving forward and an increase to drive success rate, meaning more scoring opportunities through the air. I expect Diontae Johnson to man the slot from 11 and shift “outside” when the team brings in other packages, meaning Juju Smith-Schuster is the likeliest wide receiver to see a hit to both snap rates and production. Perimeter wide receiver Chase Claypool should see a good deal of lockdown corner Tre’Davious White here, making Johnson the best bet for funneled targets. His floor is amongst the highest on the slate at the wide receiver position, bringing a solid ceiling as well.

How Buffalo Will Try To Win ::

We know with a high level of certainty how this offense will look heading into 2021. Expect elevated pass rates from 11-personnel (tied for third in the NFL in 2020 in 11-personnel rates at 71%) and four-wide sets (second in the NFL in 2020 at 15%), power rushes and rushes off the edge when they do run, and layered and intertwined route trees designed to get the first read open. Stefon Diggs should play primarily perimeter, Cole Beasley should play only slot, Emmanuel Sanders should move all over the formation as Brian Daboll’s “Queen piece,” and Gabriel Davis should see between 45-60% of the snaps weekly as an additional perimeter threat.

The matchup on the ground is a net-negative for the Buffalo run game, which almost doesn’t matter at this point based on Brian Daboll’s propensity to keep the pressure on through the air. The Steelers allowed a middling 4.3 average yards per rush attempt and return standout nose tackle Tyson Alualu. Betting on this committee backfield, one in which quarterback Josh Allen is the best bet for red zone rushing, is a bet on an extreme outlier.

The loss of corner Mike Hilton and outside linebacker Bud Dupree is a sizable hit to the Steel Napkin (get it, it’s smaller than a curtain? Ok, bad joke, got it). The Steelers should be most attackable over the interior of the defense and deep middle of the field as they play heavy man coverages with high blitz rates. Buffalo ranked fifth in the league in sack rate allowed at just 4.8%, so they should be well equipped to deal with the Steelers blitz rates here. Stefon Diggs against man coverage is simply not fair, as evidenced by his eruption when these teams played last season. The Steelers inside-out defensive philosophy makes Cole Beasley and Emmanuel Sanders tough to bet on, while Gabriel Davis should be considered a low floor, moderate upside play.

Likeliest Game Flow :: 

The best part about pitting two teams near the top of the league in pass rates: all the additional offensive plays run from scrimmage and possessions we should see here. It is likeliest the Bills have an easier time moving the ball to start here as the Steelers search for their new offensive identity under Canada. Diggs against man coverage is a cheat code and he sets up well for a nice game. The propensity for Daboll to keep his foot on the gas means this is likely to keep pressure on Pittsburgh to keep up offensively, which is a boost to Diontae Johnson inside. Najee Harris is likely to see additional targets filtered his way as well in this game flow, especially if the Steelers enter desperation mode; and there is nothing on the Buffalo defense that should scare us away from a pass-catching running back. 

DFS+ Interpretation ::

Hilow >>

Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs and Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson are the premier plays from this one, a game where we can expect elevated pass attempts from both sides. Najee Harris trails the two slightly in expected range of outcomes, but has a double-digit target day within his range of outcomes and is sure to be underowned relative to that kind of PPR upside. That previous sentiment rings true for all members of this game, actually, as I can’t see any individual piece carrying heavy ownership here.

All of Emmanuel Sanders, Cole Beasley, Chase Claypool, and Juju Smith-Schuster are better left off late week condensed player pools, as players that are less likely for volume to flow through them.

The Bills struggled in 2020 covering opposing tight ends so consider Steelers tight end Eric Ebron a viable low cost / low ownership tight end play that would likely require paint for utility.

Pittsburgh allowed the fewest fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks in 2020, and not much has changed as far as expectations moving forward go, making Josh Allen a speculative bet at best. Ben Roethlisberger’s ceiling is capped by the low intended air yards and lack of mobility, at this stage of his career.

JMToWin >>

When hunting for upside, there are several things we can look for…and this game checks most of those boxes. Offenses with elite, “score from anywhere on the field” weapons? Check. Offenses willing to try to win by maximizing points scored? Check. Offenses that are pass-centric? Check (check, check, check).

If isolating individual plays from this game, Diggs and our old friend Diontae are (as Hilow noted) the premier pieces. Najee Harris is also very much in the “tight player pool” mix for me.

This is also a game that can be considered from a “game environment” standpoint :: building a block of rosters that bet on different ways in which this game could play out. From this standpoint, Claypool’s “score from anywhere on the field” upside keeps him in the mix, while Josh Allen also gets added to the player pool.

Given the type of score you typically need in order to win a tournament in Week 1 (due to loose pricing, and the multitude of high-end scores someone is going to ultimately find a way to vacuum onto a single roster), the “bet on floor and hope for multiple touchdowns” game of Beasley, Sanders, and JuJu is tougher for me to get behind; but if I were going with a heavy bet on this game environment popping off, I would definitely mix in these guys a little bit as a hedge against what I’m actually wanting to focus on from this game: building (for example) 10% to 15% of my game-focused rosters in such a way that they account for the possibility of multiple touchdowns flowing to an unexpected piece.


MAKE OWS FREE!

<< 2 Easy Ways >>


By Alex88 >>

OVERVIEW

  • The Bills offense ranked second in the league in expected points added last season
  • The Steelers defense led the league in pressure rate at 56.5%
  • The Steelers defense received the 2nd best PFF grade overall in 2020
  • The Bills offense received the 3rd best PFF grade overall in 2020

Ben Roethlisberger

  • Ben set career lows in average yards per attempt (6.3, 38th in the league) & depth of target (7.4 yards, 32nd in the league), in 2020
  • Ben had 40.5 passes per game in 2020, second most in the league
  • 16.3% of Ben’s throws went over 15 yards downfield, 30th in the NFL
  • Ben connected on only 35.4% of those passes, 33rd in the NFL
  • DK points in road games last regular season: 22.1 // 15.6 // 15.3 // 28 // 17.7 // 15.5 (@ BUF) // 8.7
  • In all games with 48+ point totals: 19.2 // 21.4 // 15.6 // 15.3 // 28.5

PIT WRs

  • Steelers WRs collectively led the league in targets per game (28.7), receptions per game (18.6), and receiving TDs (30)
  • They ranked seventh in yardage per game (193.5)
  • JuJu Smith-Schuster’s average depth of target in the 3 seasons prior to 2020: 9.8, 9.3, 10.1
  • JuJu’s ADoT in 2020: 6.0
  • JuJu’s DK points on the road in 2020 regular season: 24.9 // 17.5 // 13.7 // 21.3 // 5.9 // 17.5 (@ BUF)  // 3.5 // 18.5
  • Chase Claypool had 36 deep targets in his rookie season. His teammates JuJu & Diontae Johnson combined for 38
  • Claypool and Ben completed 27.8% of those deep targets
  • Claypool led rookie WRs in TDs with 11 total (9 receiving, 2 rushing)
  • In 16 games (only 6 of which was he listed as a starter), Claypool averaged 6.8 targets, 3.9 receptions, and 54.6 yards
  • Claypool’s DK points during the regular season (*=starter): 6.7 // 17.8 // 3.4 // 45.6* // 18.1 // 0.8* // 14.2 // 15.3 // 21.3 // 15.9 // 11.2 // 5.8* // 4.5* (@ BUF) // 7.8 // 9.4* // 24.1*
  • Diontae Johnson was fifth in targets at the position (9.6) and 11th in receptions (5.9) per game, in his second season in the league
  • Diontae ranked 28th in receiving yardage per game (61.5)
  • Diontae’s DK points in games with 25+ snaps last season: 10.7 // 23.2 // 49 // 1.6 // 14.1 // 26.6 // 26.1 // 12.6 // 21.1 // 8 (@ BUF) // 19.9 // 21.6 // 12.6
  • In 2020, Eric Ebron’s DK points on the road with 30+ snaps: 2.8 // 11 // 14.8 // 11.2 // 13.6 // 7 (@ BUF)

Najee Harris

  • When contacted at or behind the line of scrimmage in 2020, Harris averaged 1.7 yards per carry (26th out of 78 qualifying RBs)
  • In 2020, Steelers RBs were contacted at or behind the line on 42% of carries
  • Steelers Week 1 offensive line PFF overall grades & experience/age from LT to RT: 69.7 (‘21 fourth round draft pick) // 66.2, 28th/80 guards (‘20 fourth round draft pick) // 88.0 (‘21 third round draft pick) // 34.8, 79th/80 guards (‘14 third round draft pick) // 57.4, 70th/79 tackles (‘18 third round draft pick)
  • In the last two seasons at Alabama, Harris ran for 1,528 & 1,891 yards and 50 total TDs
  • Harris had 66% of the Alabama touches in ‘20, highest share of any RB in his draft class
  • Harris caught 43 passes in ‘20. The only other RBs his size since 2000 that had more were Saquon Barkley & Steven Jackson

Josh Allen

  • In 2019, the Bills were the worst passing offense when not using play-action (6.2 yards per attempt, 42% success, -0.12 expected points added per attempt)
  • They were one of three offenses to be below average passing without play-action, and above average passing with play action
  • In 2020, the Bills used play-action on 34% of their passes, second highest rate in the league. With play-action in 2020, they averaged 8.4 YPA, 56% success, and 0.22 EPA/att
  • Bills passing offense finished third in EPA, second in success rate, fourth in yards per pass attempt, and seventh in yards per completion
  • Allen completed 69.2% of his passes in 2020, for 4,544 yards and 37 TDs
  • Last regular season, he averaged 35.8 passing attempts, 284 passing yards, 2.3 passing TDs, 6.4 rushing attempts, 26.3 rushing yards, and 0.5 rushing TDs per game
  • Allen was the league’s eighth best QB under pressure last year
  • Allen’s DK points at home in 2020: 33.2 // 36.2 // 16.1 // 13.5 // 39 // 17.5 // 19.3 (vs. PIT) // 20.3
  • DK points in all games with 48+ point totals: 37.5 // 36.2 // 25.4 // 18.3 // 39 // 29.4 // 34.1 // 40.7 // 20.3

BUF WRs

  • In 2020, Buffalo ran 4 WR sets second most often in the league, 186 plays. They ran 4 WR set plays in 2019 a total of four times
  • Last year, Stefon Diggs led the NFL in receptions (127) and receiving yards (1,535)
  • Diggs averaged 10.4 targets, 7.9 receptions, 95.9 yards in 16 games last season
  • Diggs only managed 8 TDs in 2020
  • Diggs DK points in 48+ point total games: 32.3 // 14.9 // 20.5 // 23.6 // 23.8 // 25.3 // 19.2 // 28.7 // 14.6
  • Diggs scored 32.1 DK points at home vs. PIT last season. That total came with only 1 TD, in game that totaled only 41 points
  • Cole Beasley led the NFL in receiving yards from the slot (948)
  • Cole averaged 7.1 targets, 5.5 receptions, and 64.5 yards in 15 games last year
  • Cole’s DK points in 48+ point total games: 12 // 19 // 12.2 // 11.3 // 6.9 // 30.9 // 31 // 22.2
  • Cole scored 9.1 DK points at home vs. PIT last year
  • In seven games without Michael Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders caught 40 passes for 511 yards, and scored 2 TDs on 22.9% of the New Orleans Saints team targets
  • In the other seven games, his line was 21-215-3
  • Sanders DK points with Thomas inactive in 2020: 2.8 // 15.6 // 15.3 // 27.2 // 11.6 // 13.5 // 21.3
  • Gabriel Davis DK points in 48+ point total games in 2020: 7.6 // 12.1 // 9.6 // 10.8 // 17 // 0 // 15.8 // 3.8 // 21.7
  • Gabriel scored 10.9 DK points at home vs. PIT last year

BUF RBs

  • Bills RBs combined for 21.5 touches per game last year (30th), for 106.7 yards from scrimmage (28th)
  • Bills RBs combined for an average 5.0 yards per touch (12th)
  • In 13 games as a rookie, Zack Moss had 126 touches (9.7 per game), 576 yards (44.3), and 5 TDs
  • Devin Singletary out-touched Moss 142-126 in their games played together, but Moss eight opportunities inside of the five yard line, to Singletary’s three
  • Moss DK points in 48+ point total games: 3.7 // 12.8 // 2.7 // 2.4 // 8.1 // 3.1
  • Singletary’s DK points in 48+ point total games: 9.6 // 16.1 // 18.7 // 4.3 // 6.4 // 2 // 11.3 // 17.4 // 2.3

Kickoff Sunday, Sep 12th 4:25pm Eastern

Packers (
26.25) at

Saints (
22.75)

Over/Under 49.0

Tweet
Notes

Key Matchups
Packers Run D
29th DVOA/12th Yards allowed per carry
Saints Run O
18th DVOA/9th Yards per carry
Packers Pass D
17th DVOA/4th Yards allowed per pass
Saints Pass O
9th DVOA/31st Yards per pass
Saints Run D
4th DVOA/3rd Yards allowed per carry
Packers Run O
15th DVOA/17th Yards per carry
Saints Pass D
5th DVOA/24th Yards allowed per pass
Packers Pass O
10th DVOA/21st Yards per pass

Game Overview ::

By Hilow >>
  • Difficult matchup on paper for the Packers due to the defensive personnel and scheme of the Saints
  • Difficult matchup for the Saints if the Packers game plan appropriately for the Saints’ offense
  • This game is a perfect example of preconceived notions and thinking we know more than we do before actually digging in: I personally found myself thinking “really?” a bunch while digging in and writing it up
  • An interesting case where the field will be viewing this game from the lens of the tributary, and ownership is likely to reflect that

How Green Bay Will Try To Win ::

The biggest changes for this Packers team are along the offensive line and defense. The team lost a top-rated piece of that offensive line for the second year in a row with the departure of Corey Linsley, drafted rookie corner Eric Stokes to replace weak-link-in-the-chain Kevin King, look set to start the season with two rookies along the offensive line (center Josh Myers and right guard Royce Newman) while top interior linemen David Bakhtiari recovers from injury, and have a new defensive coordinator in Joe Barry. On the defensive side of the ball, the secondary should be this team’s strength once again, with newcomer Stokes, all-world corner Jaire Alexander, Darnell Savage, and Adrian Amos forming one of the better secondaries in the league on paper. Expect defensive coordinator Joe Barry to continue a zone-heavy defensive scheme primarily utilizing cover-3 and cover-1, with heavy presnap movements and misdirections incorporated. We shouldn’t expect much to change from what we grew accustomed to from this offense over the last two season, with the one major adjustment being the likelihood of wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling’s development into a more complete wide receiver. I expect MVS to operate as a borderline every-snap wide receiver.

As mentioned, the offensive line is a legitimate question mark early in the year for the Packers which could spell trouble here against a New Orleans team that ranked third in the NFL in 2020 in adjusted sack rate and surrendered the fewest fantasy points per game to opposing backfields. That said, the Saints will be starting three new members along their defensive line, but scheme and second-level coverage should serve to mitigate any drop off in production. Running back Aaron Jones should maintain a large portion of the running back opportunities from this backfield, which typically results in 20-22 opportunities in a standard week. The situation has become more murky than originally forcast behind Jones with the eruption of rookie running back Kylin Hill this preseason. I’d expect AJ Dillon to begin the season as the primary change of pace back with possible sparse goal line involvement.

Through the air, I fully expect corner Marshon Lattimore to be used in tight shadow on Davante Adams, with possible strong side safety help. Lattimore is typically used in shadow coverage on possession-style opposing ones and newcomer corner Ken Crawley brings 4.43 speed to the table on the other side of the field to handle the 4.37 speed of presumed every-down wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling. With the back end primarily in man coverage the matchup should set up best for tight end Robert Tonyan, Jr. on the inside, but he had exactly two games all season in 2020 over a 63% snap rate (67% in Week 4 and 73% in Week 11). The Packers boasted the most efficient offense in 2020, so this should not be viewed as a matchup the Packers absolutely cannot win, it simply sets up as one of the more difficult matchups they will see all season.

How New Orleans Will Try To Win ::

The Saints bring a team into 2021 with a good deal of changes of their own. Drew Brees’ retirement leaves the Saints in the “W hands” of Jameis Winston. There are also three new members along their defensive line including the absence of top interior linemen David Onyemata through a six game suspension. I expect an offense largely built around Alvin Kamara to start the year, which sets up well for the path of least resistance against the Packers if they do not correctly game plan defensively.

The Saints ended 2020 with a top five offensive line and begin 2021 with a top five offensive line. With Jameis Winston now at quarterback, that is likely what they will be leaning on to win games to begin the year. Running back Alvin Kamara is one of the most dynamic backs in the league, capable of inflicting mass casualties with the ball in his hands either out of the backfield or through the air. With Michael Thomas out for at least six games, expect Sean Payton to design an offense to get the ball into his best playmakers’ hands, in basically any and all ways possible. The matchup on the ground is a good one as the Packers surrendered a whopping 27.9 fantasy points per game to opposing backfield in 2020 (fifth most in the league).

The Saints begin the season with a starting wide receiver corps consisting of Tre’Quan Smith and Marquez Callaway, two situational/role wide receivers until this season. Callaway absolutely showed out in preseason and should be this team’s lead receiving option to start the year. The matchup with the Packers is a poor one through the air. The fantasy prospectus of this side of the ball ultimately come down to how the Packers approach their game plan defensively. Tight end Adam Trautman escaped major injury two weeks ago but is listed as questionable a week out.

Likeliest Game Flow :: 

This game will likely be decided by the Saints’ ability to sustain drives with Jameis at quarterback and influenced by the Packers’ ability to dedicate additional personnel to the interior. I expect Green Bay to begin the game in Cover-1 and single-high safety in an attempt to gain an extra body in the second level. They would do well to dedicate nickel coverage out of this alignment to Alvin Kamara, but it remains to be seen if they will approach the game in this fashion as Joe Barry is somewhat of an “old school” coordinator. The Saints played from 11-personnel only 54% of their offensive snaps in 2020 and will be without Michael Thomas, meaning a forward-thinking defensive game plan would involve additional attention to Kamara, but this is all pure conjecture at this point. If the Packers can effectively remove Kamara from the game and neutralize Marquez Callaway and Tre’Quan Smith with their athletic corners, it is likely the Saints struggle to move the ball. This would directly lead to a game script in which both teams struggle early to put up points, and the end score would depend on how each team adjusts as the game moves on. Also of note, this game will be played in Jacksonville as opposed to New Orleans after hurricane Ida passed through the gulf last week.

Tributaries ::

The first two or three possessions from the Saints will likely decide how this game ultimately unfolds. If the Packers do not dedicate additional attention to Kamara, they could be in trouble here, which would place them in increased pass mode for the duration of the game. Adams would see increased volume in this scenario and has a path to the top wide receiver score on the slate if left in single coverage. 

DFS+ Interpretation ::

Hilow >>

Writing this game up just about flipped every idea about this game I thought I had coming in. A lot of the time in the NFL, how a team should approach a specific game plan and how they do are far from equal. Since we have a very clear picture of how the Packers should approach this game defensively, but it remains in the purely conjecture realm, we are left with a wide range of outcomes from each side. Davante Adams always carries one of the highest “volume and red zone role-driven” range of outcomes on the slate, but it would likely require the tributary game flow to materialize here. Aaron Jones could take advantage of a defense missing key players up front, but the New Orleans defense typically schemes well enough to take away what the opposition does best. Again, wide range of outcomes. The best play on paper from the Packers is tight end Robert Tonyan, Jr., but again, he comes with a fairly wide range of outcomes based on his expected snap rate. All in all, a whole lot of “dunno” emoji when projecting likeliest outcomes here.

From the Saints (and from the game overall), Alvin Kamara is the piece most likely to be of utility. His range of outcomes is simply extended on the “low” side due to the “how the Packers should try and win this game defensively” piece. Both Marquez Callaway and Tre’Quan Smith will have their hands full with this Packers secondary and would require connecting on a deep shot or two to provide a GPP-worthy score, which is actionable information considering the likely high ownership on Callaway, in particular.

Both quarterbacks are relegated to “bet on outlier” status and should be used in only the very specific instance of the tributary scenario developing. Ensure lineups that use either are correlated correctly. Both defenses are questionable bets at best but would come with a great deal of leverage based on the expected ownership from the offensive pieces in this game.

JMToWin >>

Beautifully said here.

The temptation is always strong to “not overthink it, and just play” guys like Davante Adams (“he can beat any matchup, he almost never disappoints, and he sometimes blows up big enough to make even his hefty price tag feel like a bargain”). This can feel like a strength in the moment (“I didn’t overthink it; I took the clearly-rock-solid play and added it to my roster”), which can mask the fact that we’re actually just scared to miss out on one of the eventual high-owned explosions. This can lead to us failing to assess the true likelihood of one of those explosions occurring in the game at hand (and to underrate the possibility of a disappointing outcome for that player), and to miss an easy opportunity for an edge over the field.

When we look at Davante, Rodgers, and Aaron Jones this week, the chances of them falling shy of price-considered needs/expectations are actually higher than the chances of them posting a “price-considered, had-to-have-it” score. Said differently: they’re good enough to smash; but in this spot, it’s actually likelier that they fail to truly live up to their salary than it is that they prove to have been underpriced on the week. I’ll never make a case against these guys being able to succeed, but I can make a case for more +EV options existing.

I’m a Callaway fan boy (maybe it’s all those 15th to 18th round Best Ball shares I nabbed in the Underdog Best Ball Mania 2!), and he’s cheap enough (I had to peek) that I won’t argue against him if you’re feeling strong conviction and you don’t mind differentiating your roster elsewhere. This is, however, a less than ideal matchup, making this likelier to yield a respectable price-considered score than to yield a “had to have it” score. Five catches for 70 yards wouldn’t kill your roster, but wouldn’t win you a tourney either. Though again: 7-110-1 is within a reasonable range for him, if you want to hope he overcomes the setup.

With our first 17-game season on tap, there’s always a slight risk that a coach thinks long-term in his early-season decision-making; but it’s relatively safe to assume that Sean Payton will be more focused on beating a key conference opponent than on keeping Kamara fresh for December, so I don’t mind betting on 20+ touches for Kamara (with 25+ within range), making him the play that stands out the most to me from this game.

By LexMiraglia10 >>

Overview:

  • In the first 3 weeks of each season, Dennis Allen’s NOR defense has allowed point totals of: (35, 16, 45) // (29, 36, 13) // (41, 18, 37) // (28, 27, 27) // (23, 34, 37)
  • GB led the NFL in pts in 2020

Aaron Rodgers:

  • QB DK pts vs NOR in Week 1 of those seasons: 25.4 // 28.5 // 45.3 // 31.7 // 22.5
  • Rodgers in Week 1 since 2015: 23.1 // 23.6 // 20.5 // 24.9 // 12.9 // 33.8
  • NOR allowed the 5th fewest QB DK pts in 2020, including zero 300yd passers, however each QB in the first five weeks scored 20+ DK pts
  • Of the 28 pass TDs NOR allowed in 2020, 15 came in the first 5 weeks
  • Rodgers led the league in pass TDs in 2020, including 3 vs NOR in Week 3
  • GB had the second highest pass rate inside the 5 yd line, and Rodgers broke the record for 1-yd TD passes in a season

Davante Adams:

  • Davante Adams only career matchup with Lattimore was with Brett Hundley at QB
  • Adams received 9+ targets in 14/16 total games last year, with the two short being an injury-shortened game and the other a Week 17 blowout
  • In two years with Lafleur, Adams is averaging 10.6 tg/g that he’s turned into 91.2 yds/g
  • Adams caught 20 TDs in his 16 games last year

Marquez Valdez-Scantling:

  • NOR will start the year with outside CB questions following release of Jackrabbit
  • In three career seasons, MVS has five 100-yd games and five games of 5+ rec
  • MVS best scores by season: 16.1, 16.3, 19.8 // 21.9, 24.3 // 17.1, 19.3, 19.6, 20.5, 27.9
  • NOR allowed the 7th most explosive pass plays to WRs in 2020

Aaron Jones:

  • Absent from this NOR Dline compared to last year are starters Onyemata, Brown, Rankins
  • No team allowed fewer DK pts to RBs than NOR in 2020, with only DAL & PIT allowing fewer RB rec yds
  • Aaron Jones played 70+% of snaps in just 4/16 games in 2020, and averaged just 13.8 att in those 16 games
  • Jones received 51% of GB’s RZ rush att & 60% of att “inside-5” (11th highest) in 2020
  • Touches (att,tg) in two games without Jamal Williams in 2020 (both blowout wins): Jones (15,5 // 10,3) // Ervin (8,5 // –) // Dillon (– // 21,1)
  • RBs to score 20+ DK pts vs NOR since 2018: Saquon (22) // Latavius (20.5) // Zeke (25.6) // CMC (34.3, 22.8, 26) // Mostert (24.9) // Dalvin (28.0) // Sanders (32.6) // Fournette (21.7)
  • That’s 10 RB scores of 20+ DK pts allowed in the last 53 games (18.9%)
  • 10/10 scored a TD /// 4/10 scored 2 TDs /// 7/10 had 5+ rec /// 10/10 had 6+ DK rec pts
  • Of the three without 5 rec, one had 82 yd TD, one caught a WR pass TD, one had 28 rush att, and all three scored 2 TDs
  • Jones as Road Fav since 2018 (DK pts): 5.7 // 44.6 // 3.9 // 7.1 // 19.3 // 13.1 // 12.9 // 9.5 // 18.5

Jameis Winston:

  • GB allowed the 3rd fewest QB DK pts in 2020, but did switch to new DC Joe Barry
  • Barry’s 4 previous defenses allowed the 2nd, 6th, 8th, & 8th most pass yds; only one finished top 20 in pass TDs allowed
  • Jameis has been announced the starter, but it is yet unclear what the size of Taysom’s ‘package’ will be
  • Brees’s 288:3 vs this GB defense in 2020 was largely carried by AK (139 of Brees’s 288 yds), whereas Jameis will challenge the defense more vertically

NOR WRs:

  • NOR targets in 2 games without Thomas & Sanders in 2020: Smith (4, 7) // Callaway (10, DNP) // Harris (5, 3) // Cook (4, 7) // Taysom (0, 2) // AK (8, 13)
  • Production in those games: Smith (4:54, 5:43) // Callaway (8:75, DNP) // Harris (4:46:1, 3:19) // Cook (3:32:1, 5:51:1) // Taysom (0:0, 2:30:1) // AK (8:65, 9:96)
  • Beneficiaries of offense moving back to more shot plays a la the Saints pre-2017 (final collegiate seasons yds/rec): Tre’Quan (19.8), Harris (18.3), Callaway (21.2)
  • Marquez Callaway has operated as the Saints’ defacto #1 WR in training camp sans Thomas, likely indicating he will receive the most attention from Jaire Alexander
  • Callaway produced 8:165:2 in limited preseason action vs Humphrey, Peters, Henderson, Griffin 
  • GB allowed the 4th fewest WR DK pts in 2020 and drafted another 1st-rd CB

Alvin Kamara:

  • AK received just 44.4% of the total NOR rush att inside the 5-yd line, but converted 12 att into 9 TDs
  • AK converted 50% of his Green Zone touches into TDs (14 of 28)
  • GB allowed the 8th lowest TD rate in the RZ in 2020
  • Winston’s Bucs had the 4th highest TD rate in the RZ in 2019
  • Taysom ran for 4 RZ TDs in Brees starts (4 more as starter himself)
  • AK DK pts without Thomas in 2020: 38.4 // 47.7 // 20.9 // 19.9 // 22.8 // 25.3 // 18.4 // 59.2
  • GB allowed the 5th most RB DK pts in 2020, with only KC & DET allowing more RB rec yds
  • NOR has fed RBs in the pass game in the entire Payton era (Bush, Thomas, Sproles, AK), so even without Brees, and especially without Thomas, it should be expected that AK will still be heavily involved in the passing game (81+ rec every season so far)

NOR TEs:

  • Jared Cook & Josh Hill vacate 60 & 10 targets respectively at the TE position to be potentially eaten up by Trautman, Vannett, & Juwan Johnson
  • In a game Cook left early, he & Trautman combined for 4 rec for 38 yds vs GB in 2020
  • Cook received 5+ targets in 6/15 games as NOR lead TE in 2020
  • TEs vs GB w/ 5+ targets in 2020: Hurst (4:51) // Gronk (5:78:1) // Burton (2:25:1) // Goedert (5:66) // Hock (6:43:1) // Jonnu (3:30:1) // Kmet (7:41) // Brate (3:19:1)
  • Juwan Johnson ran more routes than Trautman in preseason

Kickoff Sunday, Sep 12th 4:25pm Eastern

Broncos (
22.25) at

Giants (
19.25)

Over/Under 41.5

Tweet
Notes

Key Matchups
Broncos Run D
10th DVOA/5th Yards allowed per carry
Giants Run O
29th DVOA/25th Yards per carry
Broncos Pass D
13th DVOA/11th Yards allowed per pass
Giants Pass O
15th DVOA/9th Yards per pass
Giants Run D
26th DVOA/29th Yards allowed per carry
Broncos Run O
21st DVOA/14th Yards per carry
Giants Pass D
22nd DVOA/22nd Yards allowed per pass
Broncos Pass O
17th DVOA/13th Yards per pass

Game Overview ::

By Papy324 >>

This game has the look of a sloppy, low scoring affair, with the lowest total on the slateJavonte Williams is priced at the stone minimum on DK ($4,000)New York will struggle to find time to throw the ball downfield Denver will be content to win this game on defense

How Denver Will Try To Win ::

This game boasts the lowest total on the slate, and a big part of that is because of how dreadful Denver was on offense last season. Drew Lock isn’t very good at football. He ranked . . .

Unlock OWS

Tools || Training || Research || Strategy || Slate Prep

FREE || WEEK || ANNUAL || INNER CIRCLE

Click To Enter



Kickoff Sunday, Sep 12th 4:25pm Eastern

Dolphins (
19.75) at

Patriots (
23.25)

Over/Under 43.0

Tweet
Notes

Key Matchups
Dolphins Run D
21st DVOA/22nd Yards allowed per carry
Patriots Run O
27th DVOA/27th Yards per carry
Dolphins Pass D
23rd DVOA/29th Yards allowed per pass
Patriots Pass O
23rd DVOA/19th Yards per pass
Patriots Run D
22nd DVOA/17th Yards allowed per carry
Dolphins Run O
26th DVOA/32nd Yards per carry
Patriots Pass D
8th DVOA/16th Yards allowed per pass
Dolphins Pass O
29th DVOA/28th Yards per pass

Game Overview ::

By MJohnson86 >>

Miami has built their offense around Tua Tagovailoa and surrounded him with speed all over the field.New England returns some key players on defense this season and made some impactful additions through the draft and free agency.Mac Jones makes his pro debut against one of the league’s best secondaries and a coach who is familiar with the Patriots’ system.There is a clear “path of least resistance” for the Patriots to attack offensively, while the Dolphins will need to be very calculated in how they attack to cover up some deficiencies . . .

Unlock OWS

Tools || Training || Research || Strategy || Slate Prep

FREE || WEEK || ANNUAL || INNER CIRCLE

Click To Enter



Kickoff Sunday, Sep 12th 4:25pm Eastern

Browns (
25) at

Chiefs (
30)

Over/Under 55.0

Tweet
Notes

Key Matchups
Browns Run D
5th DVOA/7th Yards allowed per carry
Chiefs Run O
5th DVOA/10th Yards per carry
Browns Pass D
19th DVOA/9th Yards allowed per pass
Chiefs Pass O
1st DVOA/2nd Yards per pass
Chiefs Run D
32nd DVOA/27th Yards allowed per carry
Browns Run O
1st DVOA/1st Yards per carry
Chiefs Pass D
31st DVOA/25th Yards allowed per pass
Browns Pass O
14th DVOA/26th Yards per pass

Game Overview ::

By Hilow >>
  • Game sets up well for Cleveland to see 33-35 rush attempts on the ground, split 60/40 amongst Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt
  • Game also sets up well for Cleveland to move the football, but poorly for any individual player
  • Nothing about the 4-2-5 base cover-3 defensive alignment should deter Kansas City from attacking in their preferred manner
  • Cleveland should control the tempo and pace here for as long as the game remains within striking distance

How Cleveland Will Try To Win ::

The Browns are one of the more straightforward teams as we enter 2021. Not a whole lot has changed with respect to personnel, coaching, or how this team should try and win games. The team returns all five starters along an offensive line that ranked first in pass protection and second in run-blocking in 2020, after averaging 30.4 rush attempts per game (fifth in the league). On the defensive side of the ball, we can expect a heavy zone defense under second-year coordinator Joe Woods, who ran a 4-2-5 base cover-3 defense in 2020. The biggest thing for this team’s defense is health as they lost a combined 45.8 games to injury in the secondary alone in 2020.

We pretty much know what to expect from this team on the ground. Nick Chubb averaged just a 51.6% snap rate after returning from injury in 2020, leading to an average of 18.5 running back opportunities per game over that time. With Kareem Hunt still on hand, expect that trend to loosely continue, leading to 18-22 running back opportunities per standard game, with Hunt soaking up 14-16 running back opportunities per game himself. This offense is most certainly at their best with both Chubb and Hunt on the field together, but the Browns ran 21-personnel an embarrassingly low 5% of the time over the second half of the 2020 season. The Chiefs surrendered the eighth most fantasy points to opposing backfields in 2020 despite allowing only seven rushing scores, primarily due to the 121 targets filtered to the position. The pure rushing metrics painted a different picture as the team allowed a moderate 4.5 yards per rush attempt.

The Browns’ maddening usage of the talent they possess at wide receiver continued last season. Odell Beckham, Jr. ran primarily slants, goes, posts, and comebacks in 2020 while Jarvis Landry ran primarily outs, crosses, slants, and hooks, most of which are of the “low upside after the catch” variety. Kansas City’s high rate of zone coverage (fourth most in the league in 2020) and standout secondary led to the second fewest fantasy points allowed on downfield passing. The aim of Spagnuolo’s heavy dual-high safety defense is to keep the game in front of them, allowing inside, underneath, and low upside receiving work. While this bodes well for the Browns in a “move the football” sense, it leaves a lot to be desired from the primary pass-catchers in this offense from an “expected fantasy points” standpoint. The Chiefs struggled to handle dynamic tight ends via this defensive formation, but tight ends Austin Hooper, David Njoku, and Harrison Bryant split snaps at a 40/35/25% clip.

How Kansas City Will Try To Win ::

Kansas City is another team we largely know what we’re going to get heading into 2021 as the coaching staff and most primary players return. On the offensive side, Sammy Watkins headed to Baltimore and is expected to be replaced by Mecole Hardman to start the season. If you haven’t yet read the “What to Expect Primer” (“Team Previews”), I highly recommend you do so. There, I break down what I expect as far as snap rate for these Chiefs wide receivers to start the year. The other big story out of KC is the complete overhaul along the offensive line. Expect no less than four new bodies to start the season, all of which should be considered an upgrade from 2020. Other than that, we pretty know what we’re going to get from 2020’s second most efficient offense.

The improvements expected along the offensive line cannot be understated after then-rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire finished 2020 on the wrong side of variance. His four touchdowns were less than half of his expected output based on role and usage. Furthermore, prior to the arrival of Le’Veon Bell in Week 6 of 2020, CEH was on the field at the league’s fifth highest running back snap rate and held the league’s second highest expected fantasy points per game. Look for him to improve upon his 4.4 yards per carry and efficiency metrics this season. The matchup this week is less than ideal after the Browns surrendered just 21.0 fantasy points per game to the running back position in 2020 (seventh best in the league), including only 4.1 average yards per rush against. The Browns’ defensive line is one of the top units in the league, capable in both the run game and getting to the quarterback. Behind CEH, expect both Darrel Williams and newcomer Jerick McKinnon to share a lowly snap rate and running back opportunity share.

Tight end Travis Kelce and wide receiver Tyreek Hill should continue to dominate both targets and fantasy output for the Chiefs this year. Expect Mecole Hardman to operate in the previous year’s “Sammy Watkins” role and both Demarcus Robinson and Byron Pringle to see snaps in a dynamic offense behind them. The matchup is quite interesting here as the Browns’ 4-2-5 cover-3 base defense attempts to keep the game in front of them via low blitz rates and suffocating back-end ball-hawking. The “bend but don’t break” defensive philosophy has led to increased damage against from opposing tight ends, evidenced by them allowing the fourth most fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends in 2020. This isn’t necessarily a matchup Tyreek Hill cannot beat because all it takes is one busted coverage or mental lapse in heavy zone formations for the league’s second most efficient wide receiver (from a fantasy points per touch perspective; behind only AJ Brown) to inflict heavy damage. The tertiary options in the pass game will require additional volume in order to provide a bankable floor and ceiling combination, which is unlikely based on the combined pace of play and total offensive plays expected in the likeliest game flow.

Likeliest Game Flow :: 

How each team would prefer to attack and what each defense is most likely to give up line up fairly well here, with Kansas City most apt to allow rushing production and underneath passing and Cleveland most apt to allow production inside to running backs through the air and tight ends and the possibility for busted coverages early in the year. What this means is we should expect the Browns to continue a slow pace of play and to try to win the game on the ground with their pair of dynamic running backs for as long as they remain in the game, which should serve to control the overall tempo and pace (the Browns ranked 29th in the league in 2020 in situation neutral pace of play with the score within six points). Kansas City has all the required pieces to dissect a zone-heavy defensive scheme, with all of Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire excellent against the expected alignments. In all, it will be Cleveland who dictates the overall game environment in Week 1.

Tributaries ::

The only way this game plays to a tributary (speaking to the game environment as a whole) is if the Chiefs go up by multiple scores early, which would tilt the Browns more pass-heavy and open up the opportunity for more offensive plays to be run from scrimmage for both teams. This scenario is less likely for the Chiefs when compared to a standard week against the now healthy prevent defense of the Browns. In this case, both Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham, Jr. gain an increased volume expectation, and this is about the only scenario (outside of either scoring multiple touchdowns) in which we should expect GPP-worthy scores out of the Browns’ pass-catchers.

DFS+ Interpretation ::

Hilow >>

Travis Kelce should be considered the number one tight end option on most slates he plays this season, and Week 1’s main slate is no different. His unique weekly mix of floor and ceiling are quite simply unmatched at the position. This game sets up well for Kelce to see his standard-week eight to 10 targets, but the yards after the catch and yards per reception expectation takes a slight hit against a swarming defense.

Tyreek Hill is always a player that carries one of the top raw ceilings on the slate, but his range of outcomes remains fairly wide this week against a defensive unit that should see five members of the secondary on the field for a majority of snaps. It becomes increasingly difficult to play “high range of outcomes wide receivers” the higher they get in price, and that is exactly the case for Tyreek in Week 1.

Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire should enjoy the other side of variance with respect to his fantasy production this season, and the offensive line overhaul should aid in that endeavor. The matchup isn’t perfect against a top defensive line, but the volume and efficiency should be there for CEH. In situations like this, I prefer to be early and catch the increase to efficiency and production before the field catches on and the player’s price rises, but there are simply a plethora of running back options for Week 1, making CEH unlikely to make my late-week condensed 3-Max player pool. Consider CEH a high leverage play with a tight range of outcomes.

Early season shots can be taken on Mecole Hardman, but I have a feeling his ownership is likely to outweigh his expected range of outcomes, leaving me okay playing the leverage fade here. That said, his theoretical ceiling will remain high as long as he is treated as the WR2 on the Chiefs.

The Browns are likely to be afforded the opportunity to continue their vaunted ground attack deep into the game, which should lead to split running back work between Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Of note, Hunt averaged almost five fantasy points per game more than Chubb in Cleveland losses in 2020. Either way, the ceiling for either requires extreme efficiency and multiple trips to the paint, which is unlikely against a Chiefs team that buckled down on the run game in the red zone.

The fantasy upside (and real-world upside) of the Cleveland pass-catchers is muted by their own offensive design. Play calling and offensive scheme simply have Odell Beckham, Jr., Jarvis Landry, and all tight ends running low upside routes. As such, each would require a bump to expected volume to prove useful (only the case for the tributary game scenario).

JMToWin >>

One of the greatest (and easiest!!!) edges in DFS the last two years was simply “NOT playing wide receivers against the Chiefs.” Due to their physical, outside-in secondary, the Chiefs allowed the third fewest receptions and the second fewest yards to the wide receiver position in 2020, one year after allowing the fewest receptions and second fewest yards. Pause for a moment and let that sink in. Back-to-back years, this team has been a bottom-two/three matchup for wide receivers…and yet, wide receivers regularly go highly-owned against them through the rudimentary nature in which so much of our competition builds rosters: “Chiefs will score a lot of points, this opponent will have to keep up, so it’s a great spot for receivers!” While it’s true that a good wide receiver can strike for gold in a tough matchup, it’s also true that you can gain a large (easy, obvious) edge by identifying weaknesses of the field and exploiting those weaknesses ruthlessly. I’m not concerned with the small number of “solid games” wide receivers put up in this matchup throughout the year. I’m much more concerned with positioning myself in the most +EV manner given all the information at hand. As long as the field keeps treating matchups against the Chiefs as an automatic “consider wide receiver” spot, and as long as the Chiefs continue to dominate wide receivers defensively, I’ll continue to “take the team name off the jersey,” so to speak, and trust the underlying numbers.

Elsewhere in this game, we have a couple elements very similar to elements we explored in the Arizona // Tennessee game and the Green Bay // New Orleans game, in that Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt, Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and Tyreek Hill all have high raw ceilings; but their chances of reaching those ceilings are A) lower than the field will assume, and B) not nearly as in-line with their respective price tags as other options available on this slate. Put differently: you can make a case for any of these guys (and I’m not in the business of trying to make a case that any of these guys “fail”), but between expected ownership (due to a softer field of DFS players in Week 1, and the comfort one feels when locking “obvious plays” such as these onto a roster) and expected distribution of fantasy production from these guys if we played out this slate a hundred times (firstly: falling short of the price-considered score you’re looking for more often than the field would expect // secondly: failing to blow past the price-considered score you’re looking for more often than the field would expect) — all on a week with plenty of players in other games who are clearly mispriced — I’ll likely avoid this game myself.

Kelce will be on my list because of the “raw score separator” he can create at his position (i.e., if he outscores almost all other tight ends by 10+ points, it will matter less what you paid for him, and/or what “salary multiplier” you’re getting, as you can hope to make up the “point-per-dollar” production in other spots by nailing some value, and you can gain a positional edge on the field by outscoring everyone at one position on your roster). Of course, on DraftKings, we also have Kyle Pitts at practically half the price of Kelce, making it less likely that Kelce proves to be a “had to have it” piece this week. Kelce is most valuable on sites where tight end pricing is more condensed.

To summarize all that more simply :: no one is going to look at your roster and laugh at you for playing any player from this game. But because ownership interest should be relatively high, and because players from this game are appropriately priced (or even slightly high-priced) for “range of expectations” on a week in which so many other players are mispriced, you can make a very strong strategy case for letting the field be happy with their 3x to 3.5x salary-multiplier scores, while you stay busy hunting for your 250-point roster elsewhere.

Finally, if building with pieces from this game, you’ll want to look to overcome the fact that this is likely to be a relatively popular game, with a lower-likelihood-than-the-field-will-realize chance of being the reason you win a tourney. In order to work around this, don’t just take a one-off player from this game (Kelce being the exception). Instead, bet on a game environment avenue that would result in the higher-scoring affair you need, and that allows you to get several things right at once (i.e., “Chiefs take a big lead, which leads to CEH getting more run than the field will expect, and leads to the Browns throwing more than they’d like”). If your game environment bet hits, you’ll get multiple roster spots correct at once, with a lower-owned “block of players” from this game than the ownership those players will carry individually.

By LexMiraglia10 >>

Overview:

  • A lot will be different during this matchup than the one in January: KC revamped their OLine, CLE revamped their secondary, and CEH & Odell return to their respective teams
  • KC has the highest implied total on the slate
  • Stefanski’s MIN & CLE offense have scored just 23 & 17 pts vs Spag’s KC defense last two years

Baker Mayfield:

  • QBs vs KC averaged 21.8 DK pts/g in 2020 (9th highest), but scores were boosted by the 2nd most QB rush TDs allowed (7)
  • Only four defenses intercepted more passes than KC (16) in 2020
  • After 35 INT in his first two seasons, Mayfield threw just 8 in 2020
  • Final game scores of Mayfield’s only scores of 20+ DK pts in 2020: (37-34), (41-35), (42-47), (20-6), (48-37)
  • Mayfield ranked 17th in total pass att in 2020; Ryan in first had nine more att/g

CLE WRs:

  • Jarvis Landry targets/g with & without Odell: 5.5 vs 6.9
  • Landry had one game over 6 targets in Odell’s six full games, and seven in the other 11
  • Odell Beckham Jr’s targets pre-ACL tear: 10, 6, 6, 8, 9, 3
  • Odell had as many DK scores in single-digits (5.2, 9.9, 4.5) as he did over just 10 DK pts (17.4, 38.4, 11.4)
  • In Week 4, Odell needed a 50 yd rush TD to end the game for his first score of 30+ (& just second of 20+) since Week 2 of 2019
  • KC has allowed the 2nd fewest WR DK pts in each of the last two seasons

CLE TEs:

  • CLE TE targets when all three played: Hooper (64) // Bryant (25) // Njoku (20)
  • All three saw a big chunk of their targets in the game CLE was missing nearly all its WRs on the Covid list: Hoop (15), Bryant (7), Njoku (4)
  • KC allowed the 7th most TE DK pts/g in 2020 (14.7)
  • CLE TEs in KC playoff matchup: Hoop (2:16) // Bryant (0:0) // Njoku (4:59)

CLE RBs:

  • Only RBs with 20+ DK pts vs KC in 2020: Jacobs (22.5) // CMC (37.1) // Fournette (23.5)
  • Jacobs & Fournette were on the only teams to beat Mahomes in 2020
  • Chubb & Hunt finished with just 9.3 & 10.4 DK pts vs KC
  • Nick Chubb’s DK pts as an Underdog since CLE added Hunt: 4.5 // 6.6 // 4.3 // 17.6 // 24.3 // 24.5 // 9.3
  • CLE scored 42 & 48 pts in those two games Chubb scored 24+ DK pts (CLE also led 35-7 in the second one)
  • Kareem Hunt’s DK pts as an Underdog with CLE: 8.1 // 12.1 // 19.1 // 7.7 // 8.7 // 29 // 19.1 // 10.4
  • Hunt’s 29 pt game was the same 42 pt CLE game mentioned before
  • Dalvin Cook with Stefanski vs KC in 2019: 21:71, 4:45

Patrick Mahomes:

  • (Career) In 29 games as a 6+ pt favorite, Mahomes is averaging 26.4 DK pts/g (10 games of 30+)
  • (2020) In 12 games as a 6+ pt favorite, Mahomes hit 4x his Week 1 salary five times
  • (Career) In 12 games as a 6+ pt favorite implied for 28-31 pts, Mahomes is averaging 27.7 DK pts and has cleared 30 DK pts in half
  • CLE’s 25th ranked pass eff def in 2020 added John Johnson & Troy Hill to the unit

KC WRs:

  • Mecole Hardman is expected to see more targets due to departure of Watkins (6 tg/g in last two seasons)
  • In the last two seasons, the quartet of Watkins, Hardman, Robinson, Pringle produced just five scores of 20+ DK pts, and the two biggest came during the absence of Hill
  • Tyreek Hill has finished above 60 rec yds in 36 of his 47 full games since 2018
  • CLE allowed the 8th most yds & DK pts/g on the 3rd most WR targets faced in 2020
  • In 18 2020 games, Hill reached 3x his WK 1 salary six times (33%), and 4x twice (though he had two more games just short with 29 & 30 DK pts)
  • The final game scores of Hill’s 25+ pt scores were (35-9), (33-31), (35-31), (27-24), (33-27), (38-24)

Travis Kelce:

  • Kelce produced 70+ yds in 14/18 games, including nine 100yd games and 14 TDs in 2020
  • CLE allowed 11 TE rec TDs last season, and per @HaydenWinks, CLE ranked in the bottom-5 for TE fantasy pts allowed above expectation
  • Through the first seven 2020 games, Kelce averaged 8 tg/g
  • Through the final eleven 2020 games, Kelce averaged 11.7 tg/g

Clyde Edwards-Helaire:

  • CEH had seven games of 4+ targets in 2020
  • CLE allowed the 6th fewest RB recs in 2020
  • CLE allowed the 8th fewest RB rush yds in 2020 (+ added Clowney)
  • CEH’s rush att prior to KC adding Lev Bell: 25 // 10 // 20 // 16 // 10 // 26
  • CEH turned nine rush att inside the 5-yd line into just one TD in 2020
  • 3x & 4x CEH’s Week 1 salary is 19.8 & 26.4
  • CEH only reached 19.8 pts in three 2020 games, with a high score of 23.9
  • RBs with 19.8+ DK pts vs CLE in 2020: Zeke (21.5) // Conner (20.2) // Gio (20.6) // Robinson (29.9)

Kickoff Sunday, Sep 12th 8:20pm Eastern

Bears (
18.5) at

Rams (
27.5)

Over/Under 46.0

Tweet
Notes

Key Matchups
Bears Run D
11th DVOA/15th Yards allowed per carry
Rams Run O
6th DVOA/21st Yards per carry
Bears Pass D
4th DVOA/8th Yards allowed per pass
Rams Pass O
2nd DVOA/4th Yards per pass
Rams Run D
15th DVOA/9th Yards allowed per carry
Bears Run O
12th DVOA/7th Yards per carry
Rams Pass D
16th DVOA/21st Yards allowed per pass
Bears Pass O
31st DVOA/32nd Yards per pass

Xandamere's Showdown Slant

Sunday night football has the Bears visiting the Rams in a 46.5 total game with Los Angeles favored by 7.5. This leaves the Bears sitting at an implied team total of just 19 points, which, as long as they’re starting Andy Dalton, seems like it might even be aggressive.

BEARS

We’ll start with the Bears here as they’re a pretty easy team to break down. David Montgomery returns as a two-down workhorse whose pass-game role is in question. Last season, Montgomery started off with a very modest receiving role . . .

Unlock OWS

Tools || Training || Research || Strategy || Slate Prep

FREE || WEEK || ANNUAL || INNER CIRCLE

Click To Enter



Kickoff Monday, Sep 13th 8:15pm Eastern

Ravens (
26.75) at

Raiders (
23.25)

Over/Under 50.0

Tweet
Notes

Key Matchups
Ravens Run D
19th DVOA/4th Yards allowed per carry
Raiders Run O
20th DVOA/30th Yards per carry
Ravens Pass D
20th DVOA/26th Yards allowed per pass
Raiders Pass O
30th DVOA/3rd Yards per pass
Raiders Run D
14th DVOA/25th Yards allowed per carry
Ravens Run O
16th DVOA/4th Yards per carry
Raiders Pass D
14th DVOA/10th Yards allowed per pass
Ravens Pass O
7th DVOA/11th Yards per pass

Xandamere’s Showdown Slant

Week 1 wraps up with the Ravens visiting the Raiders in a 50.5 total game with the visitors favored by 4 points. I generally hate Ravens Showdown slates and I expect this trend is likely to continue, but there’s a lot of money to be won and I’ll definitely be trying to win it.


Click For Xandamere’s FanDuel Single-Game Course

A legit *must-read* if your purpose for playing DFS is to make money

Don’t typically play on FanDuel?

Exactly!


RAVENS

The Ravens run game plans completely fell apart during training camp as they lost not one, not two, but three of their running backs to season-ending injuries. Yikes. The last man standing is Ty’Son Williams, a UDFA with fantastic SPARQ scores who knows the system and should get the first crack at locking down the lead back role. Williams is just $6,800 in a tremendous matchup. While there are (modest) volume concerns as the Ravens generally don’t let a running back carry the ball 20+ times, and Lamar Jackson is an ever-present threat of touchdown vulturing, the current lack of depth makes me confident in Williams’ workload, and the price more than compensates us for the risk. Behind Williams, we have recent signee Latavius Murray, special teamer Trenton Cannon, and then recent signees Le’Veon Bell and Devonta Freeman, who are currently on the practice squad. Latavius at $6,200 is overpriced for an RB2 role (especially as someone who will need time to really learn the offense), and while I might have a smidge in MME, he’s not someone I want heavy exposure to. If Bell and/or Freeman are called up from the practice squad, they would be thrown into the MME mix but also as pretty thin options.

The injury bug didn’t skip Baltimore’s receiving corps as Marquise Brown, Rashod Bateman, and Sammy Watkins were all banged up before the season, with Bateman on IR. Brown and Watkins are both back in action but missed significant time, which is impactful especially for Watkins as he works to learn a new offense. They are, however, cheap for their upside, even in a modest volume passing attack. I very much prefer Brown for his speed, as we aren’t likely to see anyone getting a whole bunch of targets in this receiving corps, and so I’ll lean on the guys who can score from anywhere and don’t need a lot of volume. Watkins is “fine,” and you can take shots on James Proche, Devin Duvernay, and Tylan Wallace as the rest of the receivers in MME play. Note that Baltimore has traditionally mixed around their receiving options, so I’d expect all of these guys to at least see the field a little bit. The real gem, though, is Mark Andrews. Andrews had a healthy camp and preseason, he’s an incredible talent, and the Ravens clearly believe in him as they just signed him to an extension. Primary backup tight end Nick Boyle is hurt. The Raiders’ defense is atrocious against tight ends. Fire Andrews up. He’s my overall single favorite receiving option in this game. I think the backup tight end is likely to be Josh Oliver, I guess? I’m not entirely sure here but he’s nothing more than an MME dart throw in any case. 


Showdown Ownership Projections!


RAIDERS

On the Las Vegas side, Josh Jacobs was downgraded to questionable on Sunday. He was a fairly mediocre play to begin with as a 2-down grinder with no real pass game role, as an underdog, in a difficult matchup. If he’s in, he falls in the “running backs with goal line roles are always viable in Showdown” bucket. If he’s out, Peyton Barber should take over at least some of the 2-down work, and then Kenyan Drake will have a good share as well as being the receiving back. Drake is a bit pricey for a change of pace back if Jacobs is active, relegating him to tourney play only, but if Jacobs is out he becomes a much more viable option in all formats. Barber at just $2,000 is a mediocre talent but would have a good role sans Jacobs and be a strong value. 

In the passing game, tight end Darren Waller is really the WR1 of this offense (Waller led the position in targets by a HUGE margin last season). Despite a difficult matchup, talent and volume make Waller a strong option. The wide receiver mix is trickier to figure out. Last year, Nelson Agholor delivered most of the Raiders’ big wide receiver performances, but he’s now a Patriot, leaving Henry Ruggs, Bryan Edwards, Hunter Renfrow, and Zay Jones. All of these guys are cheap and thus viable options in all formats even if there’s a lot of uncertainty in how they’re going to be used. Ruggs has game-breaking speed, Edwards comes out of camp with glowing reports, and Renfrow was the most productive of this group last season. Zay Jones….is bad. But hey, he’s also cheap and weirder things have happened than Zay Jones having a decent game. There isn’t a lot that points to any one of these guys being especially likely to find success in a really tough matchup (despite losing Marcus Peters, Baltimore’s secondary is still one of the best in the league). I’ll lean towards Ruggs and Edwards, as speed means Ruggs doesn’t necessarily need a lot of volume, while Edwards looked promising to start last year before losing most of it to injury, and the camp reports (coachspeak, I know) me interested. These are pretty coin-flippy plays, though. You could play backups like Foster Moreau, but with how many actual cheap starters there are in this game (especially if Jacobs misses), I don’t see a need to go that deep unless you’re just trying extra hard to be unique.

OUTLOOK

The way this game is likeliest to play out is for the Ravens to control it. Their powerful rushing attack with occasional deep shots is unlikely to be able to be contained by the Las Vegas defense, so the question is if the Raiders can keep up in a tough matchup (but, at least it’s at home). If the Raiders can’t match pace, they’re going to be in for a long night. If they can find some success, it will either be via keeping up aerially or managing to put together long, time-consuming drives to slow the game down and try to keep it within a score. The former scenario is something of a shootout, in which the Raiders’ passing game is attractive, while the latter approach has Las Vegas succeeding on the ground. 

CASH GAMES

My cash game pool is Lamar Jackson (duh), Carr, Williams, Andrews, the kickers, and possibly Renfrow if we don’t get any other news. If Jacobs is out, Drake and Barber get added to the cash game pool and Renfrow comes out of it. 

TOURNAMENTS

My favorite tournament captains are Lamar, Waller, Andrews, Brown, and Williams. It’s worth not understating just how good the Ravens’ offense is. Lamar scored under 20 DK points six times during the regular season last year. Three of those times were in blowouts when the Ravens took their foot off the gas, while the other three times were against the Steelers, the Chiefs, and the Titans (two of the league’s top defenses in 2020….and then Tennessee). So, in competitive games and against non-elite defenses, Lamar smashed every game but one. I just have a really hard time seeing a talent-bereft Las Vegas defense slow the Ravens down (but that said, if you want to bet on weird outcomes, NOBODY is going to be playing 5-1 Raiders stacks).

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 1 receiver (Lamar) or 2 receivers (Carr)
  • At most 2 of Lamar and the Baltimore running backs
  • At most 1 of Proche, Duvernay, and Wallace
  • At most 2 Raiders pass-catchers not named Darren Waller

Click For Xandamere’s FanDuel Single-Game Course

It’s Here!!! It’s Here!!!


Showdown Ownership Projections


By LexMiraglia10 >>

Overview:

  • Lamar Jackson & the Ravens have won by a combined score of 97-16 in two Week 1 games
  • Jon Gruden’s Raiders have ranked 32, 24, & 30th in points allowed over the last 3 seasons
  • LV allowed ten 30-pt scores in 2020
  • LV ranked 26th & 28th in defensive pass & rush DVOA in 2020
  • BAL was only an average pass offense by DVOA in 2020, but still ranked 3rd in rush DVOA

Lamar Jackson:

  • BAL lost Orlando Brown at T, but LV had the 4th fewest sacks in 2020, and clearly felt pass rush was a significant need when attempting to get back Khalil Mack via trade
  • Lamar Jackson’s lowest point total in his two years as full starter is 14.4 DK pts
  • In 30 games, Lamar has 11 games of 30+ DK pts and 23 games of 20+ DK pts
  • LV allowed the 7th & 4th most DK pts to QBs & RBs in 2020 (Lamar is basically both)
  • LV has allowed 13 games of 25+ DK pts to QBs over the past two seasons
  • Lamar has played in just four games as a favorite with 50+ pt total, scoring DK pts of 32.8 (HOU), 15.2 (KC), 17.5 (TEN), 28.8 (TEN)
  • When Lamar scored 20+ DK pts in 2020, he brought a 20+ pt scorer with him in 5 of the 10 games (Andrews x2, Brown x2, Snead, Dobbins)

BAL RBs:

  • With Dobbins & Edwards on IR, Tyson Williams is expected to lead Week 1 as Le’veon Bell & Latavius Murray likely take some time to get fully acclimated to offense
  • BAL top RB rush att in 2020: 10 // 10 // 7 // 9 // 11 // 14 // 16 // 12 // 7 // 15 // 9 / 11 // 13 // 14 // 15
  • Dobbins & Edwards got 10+ att in same game just 4 times, and 16 was the max even for high draft pick JK Dobbins
  • Dobbins had six games between 13-16 DK pts, with just two over in 2020 (18.5 // 31)
  • Edwards had just five games of 10+ DK pts (10.4 // 13.1 // 14.2 // 14.7 // 18.3)
  • BAL RB top DK scores in games as Favorite of 2-5 pts (projected close game): 12.9 // 23.5, 20.2 // 27.8 // 8.4 // 16.1, 14.7 // 18.3, 13.3 // 10.7

BAL WRs:

  • Marquise Brown had 6+ targets in 14/18 games in 2020
  • Marquise Brown to finish 2020 (DK pts): 18.5 // 14.9 // 13 // 15.8 // 12.5 // 21.1 // 22.8 // 12.7
  • Rookie Rashod Bateman is on IR and Watkins has missed time in camp due to injury
  • LV allowed the 9th highest yds/att in 2020
  • Per Majesstik’s Workbook, LV allowed the 2nd most slot WR pts/g in 2020
  • BAL’s previous slot WR Willie Snead is gone; Brown only at about 14% slot in 2020; Watkins played nearly 40% of his snaps at slot for KC in 2020

Mark Andrews:

  • TEs with 5+ targets vs LV in 2020: Cook (2:13:1) // Kelce (8:108:1; 8:127:1) // Gronk (5:62:1) // Henry (4:33; 5:65:1) // Fant (3:18; 4:48) // Hurst (4:48) // Gesicki (4:54)
  • Andrews saw 5+ targets in 11 games in 2020
  • Andrews finished with 50+ yds in 8 games in 2020
  • Andrews has caught a TD in 13 games since 2019, with four 2-TD games

Derek Carr:

  • Carr will be facing off against a blitz-heavy BAL Def with four new offensive linemen from 2020
  • The only QBs to throw for 300 yds vs BAL in 2020: Mahomes, Haskins, Mayfield
  • Carr scored 20+ DK pts in 9/16 games in 2020
  • Carr’s scores of 20+ DK pts: 282:3 // 311:2 // 347:3:1 // 284:2:1 // 275:3:1 // 381:3:1 // 316:2:2 // 336:1:0 // 371:2:2
  • Opp pts scored in those games: 24 // 30 // 32 // 45 // 35 // 28 // 44 // 26 // 31
  • BAL allowed the 2nd lowest rate of explosive passes in 2020
  • LV had the 6th highest rate of explosive passes in 2020

LV WRs:

  • Only eight WRs in 28 games since the Marcus Peters trade have topped 20 DK pts vs BAL (however, Peters just went down with ACL tear)
  • LV WRs had just 7 scores over just 15 DK pts in 2020: Renfrow (1), Ruggs (2), Agholor (4)
  • Agholor is gone to NE (vacates WR-leading 82 targets), with Bryan Edwards slated to start for LV alongside Ruggs

Darren Waller:

  • Waller saw 7+ targets in 11 games in 2020 (7 games over 10 targets)
  • Waller finished with 10+ DK pts in 12g, 15+ DK pts in 9g, 30+ DK pts in 4g
  • Waller in games Carr or Mariota scored 20+ DK pts: 12:103:1 // 9:88 // 5:48:1 // 6:50:1 // 7:88:1 // 13:200:2 // 7:75 // 9:150:1 // 5:112 // 9:117:1
  • BAL ranked in the middle of the league in DK pts allowed to TEs in 2020
  • Kelce finished with 6:87 vs BAL in 2020

LV RBs:

  • Jacobs is questionable with illness at the time of this writing, and Richard is on IR (leaving just Drake & a potentially PS-called up Peyton Barber)
  • Drake may be the backup, but he did have over 260 touches last year himself (with AZ)
  • The only RBs to rush for 80+ yds vs BAL in 2020: Sanders (9:118) // Harris (22:121) // Henry (28:133) // Chubb (17:82:2)
  • Jacobs had six games with 20+ rush att in 2020 (five wins)
  • Jacobs finished with 3 or 4 targets in 8 games (only two above were 5 & 6)
  • BAL ranked top 10 in defensive success rate & yds/att to RBs through the air
  • 15 of Jacobs’s 19 career TDs have come in 7 games (2, 2, 2, 3, 2, 2, 2); 3/4 of the 1-TD games came vs LAC
  • BAL allowed the fewest RB rush TDs in 2020