It’s TIME for the Main Event of the early part of the 2020 Season. The World Champion Kansas City Chiefs will take on the 2019 MVP Led Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football! This is Can’t Miss Football and I for one am excited to watch this clash! With all of the big time players active tonight there is a lot of Fantasy Points coming to DFS Players, so let’s see if we can cash!
As always I will not only give you my picks but also strategies that I am looking at employing. I’ll go through the teams and highlight top plays and values. With both teams expected to put up points, playing this game in Showdown DFS Slates will need some creative roster constructions. It will not just be enough to set it and forget it with Mahomes or Jackson as prices will be very prohibitive to just stack every player you want. If you are playing One Lineup the strategy will to optimize to a T. If you are playing multiple lineups you may be more apt to take some dart throws in some of your lineups. As I go through the teams I will highlight optimal plays and dart throws for those situations.
One thing to note here when building your lineup(s) tonight, you need to build lineups based on narrative. For instance, if you are thinking that the Chiefs jump out ahead and the Raven’s will need to play catchup all game then your lineup should reflect that – Chiefs skill position players and Ravens non-running back skill position players assuming that the Ravens will be throwing to catch up. I hope that makes sense.
Editors Note: Draft Kings pricing that you will see below reflects the Flex price of each player. Please keep in mind that on Draft Kings when selecting a player for the Captains seat their price jumps to 1.5 of their Flex price. You will garner 1.5x fantasy points that player scores as the Captain but be careful on your Captain choices based on the increased price. FanDuel prices basically include the MVP seat in their tournaments but the Salary Cap is also $10,000 more than Draft Kings.
I will be handling this article differently due to the volume of potential plays tonight it will be easier to discuss the positions vs dissecting each team.
Without question the most popular play tonight is Lamar Jackson. Of course, he is the MVP and this game has the makings of a shootout. Lamar is a great play. However currently he projects over 60% ownership on Draft Kings and over 75% ownership on FanDuel. YIKES. Additionally he (in my opinion) cost prohibitive as a Captain on Draft Kings at $19,500. YIKES. In general when I am playing Showdowns with two teams of this caliber I am not putting the QBs in as Captain or MVP but I am including them as a Flex and I don’t know if you will be able to cash tonight without Jackson or Mahomes or both in your lineup. The discount on Jackson in the Flex is significant at $13,000 on DK. He is priced at $16,500 on FanDuel. Last season when these two teams met Jackson threw for 267 but did not throw for a touchdown. He did however also run for 46 yards and ran for a touchdown. So far in 2020 I would say that Lamar and the Raven’s haven’t really been tested, so I expect Jackson to have a big game tonight and eclipse his 2019 stat line. I am ok stacking Jackson with his pass catchers, but I am also ok playing Jackson ‘naked’ in lineups that favor the Chiefs. Again I am not sure you will be able to cash tonight without Jackson and/or Mahomes in your lineup, so I would lock him in.
Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs are an interesting flock tonight. First historically, Mahomes has played well against the Ravens on a whole. Yes, they gave him fits in his first AFC Playoff run but last season Mahomes went 27 – 37 for 374 and three touchdowns against the Ravens. He also ran for 10 yards. However the 2020 Chiefs have had their share of tough games including an overtime win over a very game Charger’s squad. I think there certainly is a narrative to follow that the Raven’s could give Patrick Mahomes some trouble. They have been (so far) terrific against the run and have been getting pressure on QBs too. However I will lean on big game Pat here. Most in the industry believe we could be seeing a preview of the AFC Championship tonight and if that is to be believed, I could see Patrick Mahomes wanting to make a real statement early in the season. Not to sound like a broken record but I don’t think you will have a winning lineup tonight without Mahomes and/or Jackson in it. Again however I believe Mahomes in the Captain seat on DK is just too cost Prohibitive at $18,000. At $12,000 as a Flex he is fully in play but unlike Jackson I likely will not find myself playing Mahomes ‘naked’. There is too much volatility in the Chiefs passing attack to not have one or two of his receivers with him to get all of the fantasy points he offers. On FanDuel at only a $500 discount from Jackson ($16,000) I will likely have more of Jackson as the savings just aren’t really there. Regarding stacking with Mahomes you will need to be contrarian as Mahomes himself is also garnering over 60% ownership on both sites. So let’s talk some pass catchers.
I think an optimal play tonight will be to use a #1 Wide Receiver in the Captain and MVP spots, paired with his quarterback. So let’s start with Tyreek Hill. It has been a quiet season for Hill thus far, on a whole. Last year Hill was injured when these two teams clashed, so one thing that I think is in Hill’s favor is that that the Raven’s have not seen or played against his lightning speed since 2018. That is a long time and many games ago in Football and I think it opens the door for Tyreek to sneak by for some big plays. Now I will warn you that the Raven’s have been pretty solid against Wide Receivers on a whole, but Tyreek Hill is not your average wide receiver. I could easily see Mahomes trying to catch the Ravens sleeping and take deep shots with Hill early and if he catches one or two and scores a Touchdown, he is well worth the investment in the Captains seat. He also gives you an advantage of a slight ownership discount coming in at roughly 40% owned on both sites. Normally that would be a stay away but with versus the ownership of Mahomes and Jackson, 40% might as well be under 20% tonight. He will be in my player pool and a favorite Captain/MVP target for me. His flex price on DK is $9,200 and he is $13,500 on FanDuel.
Marquise “Hollywood” Brown is an interesting name. Again, 2020 hasn’t really been a breakout season for him as of yet. While playing 71% of snaps and running a route 92% of the time, his target share is hovering around 25%. Now that isn’t bad, but for a guy who had an injury plagued first season and was the talk of the town in training camp this season, I’d like to see that Target Share closer to 30%. Of course this is a run first low passing volume offense, but for me that should make the target volume all the more concentrated. Either way in a game like tonight Brown has every opportunity to perform well – however I am concerned. The Chiefs Defense is pretty good against Wide Receivers dating back to the back half of last season but more so, during the shortened training camp and scrimmages this defense has seen a lot of Tyreek Hill. If you were to say Brown is the comp to Hill in the Raven’s offense, I think the Chiefs might be ready for Hollywood Brown tonight. While I certainly will have some shares of Brown, I am not as high on him as I am other Ravens pass catchers believe it or not. He happens to be the same price as Tyreek Hill on DK at $9.200 so he immediately becomes a Pivot as his ownership, while high, is less than Hill’s right now. On FanDuel you get a big discount from Hill at $10,500. I will have some lineups with Hollywood as Captain, but I favor Hill in that spot and in this matchup in general.
Sammy Watkins carried a Q tag due to the concussion he suffered BUT all signs are pointing to Watkins playing. Sammy was Sammy in week 1, balling out and that is what Sammy does. However last season when these two met, without Tyreek Hill on the field, Watkins dropped 84 receiving yards on this Raven’ team. It’s always risky to roster Sammy Watkins but if he can add a touchdown to his 84 yards tonight, he is an excellent play. I like Watkins to be involved and he makes for a nice pivot from Tyreek Hill in the Captain seat and a contrarian play when stacked with Mahomes – especially if you leave Tyreek Hill out of that stack – as Watkins is garnering around 15% ownership across the sites. Additionally at $5,000 on Draft Kings and $8,500 on FanDuel he is also priced nicely. If the Ravens sell out to stop Tyreek Hill, Sammy could be in line for another Week 1 result and I think you have to take a shot on Sammy tonight.
Myles Boykin is another interesting name from the Ravens that I am looking at tonight. While only seeing 9 Targets from Jackson so far this season, the team is very high on him and his has collected 37 and 38 yards respectively. You need to remember back to what I wrote about Lamar Jackson here, but I don’t believe the Ravens have really been tested offensively yet this season. I think there is a real opportunity against the Chief’s pass rush that Jackson could be looking for his young shift receiver in the slot tonight and he could have an uptick in targets, yards and overall involvement. On DK he is only $3,400 and at less than 1% ownership he is a perfect player to stack with the overly chalky Jackson to be contrarian. On FanDuel his ownership jumps to 20% and so I will likely stay away from him there but at $7,000 he does provide some value.
Demarcus Robinson & Mecole Hardman will be a debate many DFS players will be having as they begin to build a lineup and see how quickly the money goes and they need to find value. So let me tell you how I am looking at it. I’d rather take my shot on Robinson. It just has more to do with his snaps. When the Chiefs go 3 wide, Robinson is the #3. So far he has not done a lot with that garnering 3 targets per game but if you are to follow a narrative that the Ravens will somehow stop both Hill and Watkins, then you need to play Robinson. He is fast, he has sure hands and Mahomes likes him – and you need to remember based on 2019, he has touchdown upside. Multiple touchdown upside. Hardman is a big play waiting to happen and in my opinion your ultimate dart throw tonight. Could he catch a ball on the 20 and take it to the house – yes he can. However it’s his low volume in snaps that make me less likely to have a lot of him in lineups tonight. Both guys are hovering around the 15% ownership and price wise there is more of a disparity on DK where Hardman is $4,500 and Robinson is $3,000. FanDuel has these guys more closely linked at $7,500 (Hardman) and $7,000 (Robinson). So you aren’t going to see an advantage playing one over the other really, but either will be a contrarian piece to stacks featuring Mahomes. Plus you never know, especially this year, when the injury bug could effect Watkins or Hill and suddenly your Hardman or Robinson dart throw is seeing all the snaps you want.
Willie Snead is also in play tonight. Jackson likes targeting Snead particularly in the Red Zone. His target volume isn’t what makes me look at Snead tonight it is the high value targets that he sees that will have me taking some shots at Snead. In week 1 he had 4 for 64 and 1 and I could easily see him putting that kind of number up tonight in what is expected to be a shootout. At $4,400 on DK and roughly 15% ownership he is fully in play for me there when stacking with Jackson. On FanDuel he is coming in at $8,000 and roughly 20% ownership so I likely will have Snead as a DK play only.
Travis Kelce really should be considered the WR1 for the Chiefs and as popular as a play as he will be (currently 3rd most owned player behind Jackson and Mahomes) he is likely my favorite choice for Captain/MVP tonight. Kelce has scored a touchdown in each of the first two games this season and in this matchup he has 2 touchdown upside easily. Well maybe that is an exaggeration but in 2019 he did put up 89 yards on this team and I could easily see him tacking a touchdown on top of that tonight. While not cheap and kinda chalky, I love Kelce in stacks with Mahomes and he is also the only Chief I would play ‘naked’ without his QB. His production is that solid. Kelce is $10K even on DK and $13,000 on FanDuel
Mark Andrews had a breakout season in 2019 and with a three touchdown performance in week 1, it seemed that he was unstoppable. After a down week in week 2 I think a shootout type matchup is exactly what he needs to get back on track. There is no doubt that he is Lamar Jackson’s #1 target and I think with all of the Ravens receivers healthy and a known game theory that the Ravens are run first either by Jackson himself, Andrews can find some space to maneuver and while I am not as high on him as a Captain or MVP due to the volatility of his first two weeks, he is certainly my favorite stacking tool with Jackson. Too much upside to ignore. He will be very popular at close to 50% ownership but should you roster him as a Captain or MVP he will be a contrarian play versus Kelce in that same spot. He is $8,000 on DK and $12,000 on FD.
However a contrarian value play also exists with Raven’s tight ends in Nick Boyle who is going virtually unowned right now but at only $800 on DK and $5,000 on FD, I will have some Boyle in my lineups. The Ravens run a lot of two tight end snaps and that second tight end is Boyle. It is not outside the realm of possibility he is targeted tonight and at $800 it won’t take much to pay off that salary. We also know Lamar likes to look for his tight ends in the red zone. Is it crazy to think that in a shoot out Nick Boyle might catch a TD? Not for me it isn’t. He would be the ultimate contrarian play tonight especially if stacked with Jackson.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Has there been a more talked about running back this season than CEH? I don’t think so. What a performance he put on in Week 1, right? Then week 2, he struggled. However you are still talking about Patrick Mahomes’ starting running back here and for that he is always in play. But it does come with some risk. The Ravens have been stingy against running backs this season and you are talking about some heavy hitters here in Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt and David Johnson. But none of those guys play on an offense like Kansas City and with so many weapons on the field to try and stop, including Mahomes himself, it could open up opportunity for CEH over the middle and in passing routes. I like CEH tonight and while not my favorite Chiefs play, he will firmly be in my player pool. While he is chalky at close to 50% ownership across the sites, he is a very contrarian choice for Captain/MVP where he is less than 15% owned. CEH is $7,800 on DK and $12,500 on FD. While I don’t normally like stacking RB with QB, I think you can tonight with Mahomes. Due to the chance that the Ravens sell out to stop him however, I don’t see myself playing too much CEH by himself.
Before I move to the Ravens I do also want to mention that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to take some shots on the Chief’s backup running back Darrell Williams who will see some playing time as a change of pace and is also a great running and a solid pass catcher. Listen in 2020 NFL you never know what is going to happen and could I see Williams getting some run if CEH is ineffective – I could. Could I see Williams stepping in if CEH is banged up? I could. Could I even see Williams vulture a touchdown from CEH tonight? I could and I have seen it before. Now I am not saying that Williams should be the pivot from CEH at all, but what I am saying is that on Chiefs favored lineups he is worth a dart throw. He is only $2,000 on DK and is a great salary saver too. I just wanted to mention him, I think he is in play tonight.
The Raven’s Backfield is confusing – right? We know that Mark Ingram is the starter. But for the last two weeks we have seen a lot of Gus Edwards. We also have rookie JK Dobbins who appears to be the goal line back, but again over the last two weeks we have seen a lot of Gus Edwards. Well there is a reason for that – the Ravens have been up big with Edwards in eating up clock. Tonight I see Ingram being a part of the game plan at least on early downs and early in the game. The Ravens will want to control the clock and keep Mahomes on the sidelines and due to that I think Ingram is a great play tonight. He has experience and is an adept pass catcher, more so than I think people give him credit for. I will have my fair share of Mark Ingram. I will also have my fair share of JK Dobbins who in limited touches has shown explosiveness and an eye for the Goal Line. If the Ravens are goal to go multiple times in the first half, I think you gotta like the guy they are handing the ball off to. In fact, JK Dobbins will be my favorite contrarian play tonight for Captain and MVP. If he takes 2 touchdowns to the house and catches 4 passes for 30 yards, you just may have well won a tournament folks because NO ONE is going to play the goal line back as Captain. Lastly there is Edwards. I will have some shares of Edwards but strictly on lineups that are favoring the Ravens as I believe that will be the only time (barring injury) that he will see extended run in this game. Of the 3 Mark Ingram is seeing the heaviest ownership at around 40% currently across the sites. So a pivot to Dobbins may be more in order where you can. It isn’t that Dobbins is a better play, it is that he has touchdown upside that can still help you win at significantly lower ownership. Edwards is seeing 1% right now incidentally. Mark Ingram is $6,800 on DK and $10,000 on FD. JK Dobbins is $5,600 on DK and $9,500 on FD and Gus the Bus is $1,600 on DK and $5,600 on FD.
A couple of other thoughts here –
While I am not high on the Defenses tonight, you are talking about a pass heavy quarterback and a run heavy quarterback and as likely as it is that both succeed – interceptions, fumbles, sacks – they add up. If you are playing multiple lineups tonight I never hate having at least one featuring the defense of one team. Now be warned, defenses are very volatile especially in showdowns and even if you have lineups that favor one team it isn’t always safe to plug the defense in. My advice on Defense based lineups is to also use the Defenses’ quarterback, running back and the opposing team’s kicker filling in the gaps with skill position players from the defenses team. And I never play the defense as Captain/MVP.
Kickers are in play tonight. This is a potentially a high scoring game and with that Field Goal and Extra Points add up. I like Butker better than Tucker overall but both are in play. Again though, be careful where you use them. If you end up with $4,000 or so on a Draft Kings build and it is tempting to click the kicker and use 100% of the salary, I’d advise you pause. It is ok not to use 100% of your salary. You have plays above like Darrell Williams, Gus Edwards, Demarcus Robinson that are in that range that offer much more upside. Also keep in mind, many DFS players think they need to use the full salary so clicking the Kicker to use up every dollar will be a popular move. The Kickers are in play, but be careful how you play them is all I mean.
Good Luck in your Contests!