Tonight’s Superbowl rematch between the Patriots and Seahawks has the makings of legend, when two of the most prolific mobile Quarterbacks of the modern era squaring off. There are a lot of Fantasy Points to be had and that means it’s GREAT for DFS. What I am going to lay out for you is how I am viewing the matchup and my strategy of playing in tonight’s showdown contests.
(Please keep in mind all DK prices mentioned below are for FLEX play of a player. If you want to select a player as your Captain in Showdown Slates on DK, you must keep in mind that their price is 1.5 what it is for a Flex Play)
The New England Patriots
Both the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks come into tonight’s game 1 – 0. Each had successful starts from their quarterbacks. Each also had standout plays from their defense that helped make a difference. What will happen tonight? Let’s start with Cam Newton and the New England Patriots. There is no doubt that after the performance Cam put on in Week 1 that Old Cam (ie; pre injury Cam) is BACK. Cam completed 15 of 19 passes for 155 yards – but he also ran for 75 Yards and TWO Touchdowns. He should have also had a Passing Touchdown if it wasn’t for N’Keal Harry being overzealous… I really like Cam Newton tonight against the Seattle defense than just allowed 450 Yards Passing to Matt Ryan and 3 100 Yard Atlanta Receivers, plus 2 passing touchdowns. Cam will be my favorite play tonight as a Captain (DK) or MVP (FD) as I believe he will be able to solid success through the air and continued success on the ground. Is it possible Cam runs for 100 yards and a TD while throwing for 300 yards and another score? It is entirely possible and for that I like Cam a lot coming in at $12,000 on DK and $15,000 on FD. I’ll mention this again but I will be playing several lineups with either Cam or Wilson in the Captain/MVP seat with the other in the Flex. I like Cam a lot tonight.
The ONLY thing that I don’t like about Cam is it is really anyone’s guess which New England Patriot to pair with Superman. I think the most obvious choice would be Julian Edelman who was targeted 7 times in Week 1, the most of any Patriot receiver. Edelman is carrying a questionable tag but is expected to play and while he had a less than Edleman average for snaps against the Dolphins, I’d expect him to play a full compliment of snaps in this matchup against the Seahawks. However, I’d also consider stacking Cam with N’Keal Harry who caught all of his six targets from Newton in week 1 and should have had a touchdown as well. I think of the two, Edelman will be the much more popular Patriot in tournaments, not only due to name value but also after Harry’s ‘bonehead’ move in the end zone last week that costed the team a Touchdown – I think the natural inclination players will have in DFS is to avoid. Edelman is a steal at $8,000 due to his volume and Harry is a TOTAL STEAL at $5,200 for the upside he offers. FanDuel has these guys a little more in line with each other at $11,500 for Julian and $8,000 for N’Keal. I think both of these guys are firmly in play tonight.
The Patriot’s backfield has been a cause of confusion for season long fantasy managers and one that I personally fully avoided. While I wouldn’t recommend playing any Patriots RB in a classic DFS Tournament, I think each of James White, Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead are all in play in Showdowns – especially if multi-entering. In Week 1 each of the three saw roughly the same amount of snaps and touches and while it was Michel who saw the Goal Line carry and touchdown, that easily could have also been Burkhead based on how he had been used on early downs in the game. It may take a few games to fully be able to predict how this rotation will go, I will have shares of each of these backs tonight in Showdown tournaments especially paired in stacks with Cam Newton. My favorite of the bunch is still James White as I do feel that he could have success getting throws out of the backfield, I could also see Michel being very viable if he is indeed the choice for goal line carries. DK has priced these guys accordingly, in my opinion, with White at $7,000 Michel at $5,600 and Burkhead at $1,000. However on FanDuel I just don’t understand the pricing. White $9,500, Michel at $10,000 and Burkhead at $7,500… um, okayyyyy… Of the three, White would be my preferred choice at these prices – but I think I’d rather try and figure out a way to get both Cam, Wilson and a couple Seahawks in my lineup instead. On DK I think they are all in play, especially if you are multi entering. (EDITOR’S NOTE – It Was Announced at 6:55PM that JAMES WHITE will be inactive tonight. I think that makes both Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead priorities tonight and also tight end Ryan Izzo more of an important play to consider – I talk about IZZO below, who I talk about below!)
I also think a sneaky play for the Patriots is Tight End Ryan Izzo. While only seeing 2 targets in Week 1, I don’t think he should be totally forgotten when building your lineups tonight. He is dirt cheap on DK at $1,200 and could be a nice way to round out Patriots stack with Cam, or just as a way to fit in a lineup full of studs sitting at on DK. However at $5,500 on FD, he is a hard pass for me. One other sneaky play tonight could be Patriots WR Damiere Byrd, who despite not seeing a target in Week 1 actually outsnapped both Edelman and Harry. This game has the makings of a shootout and if Byrd receives that level of snaps tonight I could easily see him paying off his $1,400 price tag on DK but at $6,500 on FD he is a hard pass for me. (EDITORS NOTE with the news of James White not playing, I’d also consider looking at Pats Tight End Devin Asiasi as without White the Pats could run more two tight end sets. Even though he wasn’t targeted in Week 1, the team is high on Asiasi and targets just opened up. He sits at $3,000 on DK and $5,000 on FD)
My plan of attack when using Cam in the Captain or MVP slot will be to stack him with as many relevant receivers as I can. Edelman, Harry, White & Izzo all are relevant in this situation. In fact on Draft Kings that lineup would leave you $10,200 to choose whichever Seahawk you want to roster to run the stack back with.
Russell Wilson was simply put AWESOME in Week 1 against the Falcons. 31 of 35 for 322 Yards 4 touchdowns and No Interceptions. He also scrambled for 29 yards. Now the defense he will face tonight is a significant step up from the Atlanta Falcons defense, I see Russ finding a way to shine. As a lifelong Patriots fan I know that one weakness this team has always had is against mobile quarterbacks and so I see Russell Wilson and Pete Carroll dialing up as many plays as possible in play action with Wilson rolling outside the pocket. This RPO style is one that the Patriots Offense is only now adopting while the Patriots defense has long struggled against. I like Wilson a lot tonight to find a way to score. One of my favorite strategies tonight will be to start with either Russell Wilson or Cam Newton in the Captain/MVP seat and the other in filling one of the flex spots. In my opinion, you may not be able to Cash tonight in Showdown if you don’t have Russell Wilson in your Captain/MVP Seat. He is very pricey at $12,800 on DK and $16,000 on FD – but I believe he will be worth it.
But wait – Seattle is a run first offense, right? That is what we have heard from every Fantasy Analyst throughout the off season at least. Well, they actually are and they have a stud RB1 in Chris Carson and I think he will be a real problem tonight for the Patriots defense. We saw in the playoffs last year how a dominant run game can wreak havoc on the Patriots Defense and I expect Pete Carroll to dial up plenty of Chris Carson tonight, especially to control the clock and keep Cam Newton on the sidelines. Carson had an interesting week 1. He only rushed 6 times for 21 yards. However a positive is he was targeted 6 times, ending with 45 yards receiving. It was his two touchdowns however that made his week pushing him to nearly 25 Fantasy Points. While Carlos Hyde and Travis Homer both saw snaps and touches in that game, I have no doubt that tonight will be the Chris Carson show. I think both Draft Kings and FanDuel believe that to be the case too as Carson is the second most expensive Seahawk on the slate behind Russell Wilson. Carson clocks in at $9,600 on DK and $13,500 on FD. If I am playing a Seahawk in the Captain/MVP spot tonight NOT named Russell Wilson, that Seahawk will be Chris Carson.
The strength of the Patriots Defense is the secondary with Stefan Gilmore being the headliner. So when looking at the top two Seahawks Wide Receivers, it is a little bit of a head scratcher to figure out which will see Gilmore more – Tyler Lockett or DK Metcalf. The interesting thing about this question however is, does it matter? If Russell Wilson is playing as he did in week 1, he will find a way to get the ball to his playmakers. So while I do tend to like Tyler Locket and his speed a bit more than Metcalf, I don’t think you can fade either – as it may be the other that makes you pay. Similar to what I was saying about Cam and his pass catchers, I think the smart money will be to stack both Lockett and Metcalf with Wilson and build the rest of your lineup from there. I say this because, you very well may need to as the pricing on both Lockett and Metcalf may dictate it. On DK Lockett sits at $9,200 and Metcalf at a whopping $9,800. On FD it doesn’t get any better with Lockett at $12,000 and Metcalf at $11,000. It will be tough to get Wilson, Lockett and Metcalf on one lineup without the rest of the lineup being cheap dart throws. So should you go that route, I wouldn’t use any of the three in the Captain seat on DK. Put them in the flex and use a high value Patriot in the Captain, like Edelman or Harry. On FD where there is no increase for the MVP, I would use Wilson there and stack with both Metcalf and Lockett which would still leave you $21,000 to play with on the final two positions.
However, while I do like Wilson’s chances of getting his two top receiving options involved I think you need to also look at some of the ‘other’ Seattle pass catching options tonight in your lineups. There has been word coming out of the Patriots camp that there is a plan to lock down one of the two top guys (Metcalf and Lockett) and if that does indeed happen, guys like WR David Moore and TE Greg Olsen become increasingly more valuable to your roster. In week 1 Moore saw 3 Targets and even was involved in the run game. Greg Olsen was slightly more involved with 4 targets and a touchdown. If either Lockett or Metcalf become unavailable tonight for Russell Wilson I could see one of these two guys being the beneficiary. I tend to like Olsen a bit more than Moore here, particularly in the Red Zone. Olsen clocks in at $6,200 on DK and $7,500 on FD while David Moore is a much more affordable $3,800 on DK he is (in my opinion) way over priced on FD at $7,000. Both will garner little to no ownership tonight however and playing either could make a chalky lineup suddenly contrarian – which is a good thing in large field tournaments.
Additionally if you are multi-entering it also may be worth a dart throw to take a look at TE Will Dissly and WR Freddie Swain. Don’t forget that before Greg Olsen got to town, Will Dissly was the TE to own in Seattle going 23 – 262 – 4 over the last 5 games last season and if anything happens to Greg Olsen, I could easily see Dissley becoming as relevant as he was to Russell Wilson in a hurry. The reason why I mention Swain is simple – he saw a Target in week 1 and he caught it! Should WR 4 Philip Dorsett not be able to go, Smith will get some action tonight after seeing 16 snaps last week. If Dorsett is active, I don’t really like either guy however. Again neither Dissly or Swain won’t break your bank and could be a nice cheap building block that you need to stack the more of the high value Seahawk targets into your lineup. Dissly sits at $2,200 on DK but he is a hard pass for me on FD at $7,000 when Greg Olsen is only $500 more. Freddie Swain is at an outrageous $200 on DK but again at $5,500 on FD it’s a little too much for me to play there.
The bottom line with the Seahawks is that the Studs are so expensive tonight, it may prove impossible to put all that you really want in one lineup. If you are stacking the Seahawks I think the best plan of attack is to use either Carson or Metcalf or Lockett as your Captain/MVP, pairing with Wilson and building from there. As much as I like Wilson in that top spot, I just don’t think you will be happy with the amount of other Seahawk weapons you will be able to fit into a Seahawk Stack build. My main Seahawk Targets are Wilson, Carson and one of the two main receivers plus Greg Olsen. That should leave you enough to run back your lineup with either Julian Edelman, N’Keal Harry or James White. However if you are multi entering, I would try and get exposure to as many of the Seahawks as you can even if it is across multiple lineups.
I also want to mention that while I don’t really like either Defense tonight, I think it may be sneaky to take a few shots on the Seattle Defense on Draft Kings where you can start a D. As good as Cam and the Patriots looked against the Dolphins, this is still a team that is learning a new playbook and you never know what could happen. Sacks, Interceptions, Fumbles – while not fully likely, are certainly in the realm of possibility. Seattle D is also only $4,800 and could again be a sneaky, cheap, play on a lineup – if you are multi entering.
I also think that tonight both kickers are in play. This is in all likelihood going to be a high scoring game. Either kicker could have the chance at 3 – 4 extra points and multiple field goal attempts. Both are also not going to break your bank and if you could get 10 – 15 points from a Kicker and his price tag allows you to load up on Studs in your lineup, it’s money well spent. But this is a Draft Kings play only for me. Jason Myers (Seattle) will only cost you $4,400 on DK but at $9,000 on FD I feel like there are better Seattle plays available for the same price or less. Likewise Nick Folk on DK will only cost you $4,000 but at $8,500 on FD he is a hard pass for me.
Good Luck in your contests!