Well here we are … one of the biggest stories of 2019 making a comeback (AB) as one of the biggest stories of 2020 begins to exit (Trump). I feel like we are at the mouth of a Space Time Continuum like we have never seen. BUT there is Showdown Contests for us to play – so let’s get right into it!
Who am I looking at for Captain/MVP?
I think that in a game like this one with so many variables to consider, my two top picks for Captain/MVP (DK/FD) are boring. Tom Brady and Drew Brees. Let me explain starting with Brady. Last week Brady threw a TD to Gronk and to Evans but also had completions to 8 different receivers. Now you throw Chris Godwin expected back and you add in AB? It will be extremely tough to pinpoint which receiver will be Brady’s favorite and also tough to predict where the Touchdowns are coming from. So I’d prefer just to try and get all of it through Brady in Captain.
Drew Brees is a similar call here. It is looking like Michael Thomas will be back – but will he be on a pitch count? So then we move to Alvin Kamara who already has a tough matchup against the Bucs on the Ground, but will offer passing upside. Emmanuel Sanders is still in Covid lockdown. So then we have Tre’Quan Smith, Marquez Callaway, Deonte Harris and Jared Cook for Brees to throw too. If Thomas is on a pitch count, similar to Brady – tough to see who will be Brees’ favorite, where will the Touchdown(s) come from. I’d rather try and get it all with Brees in my MVP/Captain. But I do think both Smith and Callaway will see targets, but the way.
Now if you don’t want to pay all the way at the top for Brady or Brees I can understand. I don’t have ownership to see but something tells me the two most popular Captain/MVP plays will be Michael Thomas and Antonio Brown. Both have their plusses and minuses but mine is that we just don’t know what playing time will look like for either. Thomas may be on a pitch count coming off of the injury and the Bucs Coaching Staff has already said Brown will likely see 35-40% of snaps. So if I am looking elsewhere for Captain, I may look at Chris Godwin. The hype behind Thomas’ return and AB’s arrival has overshadowed the fact that Godwin will play in this game and I think you can catch the ownership on him slightly lower than normal. On the Saints side, I would suggest Alvin Kamara if you are paying up. Sure he has a tougher matchup on paper against the Bucs – but we did just see Wayne Gallman and Dion Lewis of the GIANTS put a hurt on the Bucs’ defensive stats and we know that Kamara’s role won’t change with or without Thomas on the field. Or what about Jared Cook who we have seen as a red zone target for Brees over the last three games.
This isn’t to say that Thomas or Antonio Brown could end up being great selections as Captain. I just expect them to be the chalk and I’d like to give you some other options. Two of these I want to mention are Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette. Yes the Saints have been tough against the run but both Jones and Fournette are seeing solid volume in this offense and I also like the targets Founette is seeing from Brady. I think many people will see the red 4 next to Jones and Fournette on Draft Kings and they will be more unowned than they should be.
My contrarian picks for Captain may surprise you, but I actually like the Kickers here – Will Lutz (Saints) and Ryan Succop (Bucs). Here me out. First, a lineup with a Kicker in the Captain spot won 40K last week on DK. So there is that. But also – as much as we love the offensive weapons on both teams, you can’t discount that you have two pretty good defenses on the field too and I could see several drives during this game ending in field goals. No one likes to play the Kickers in Captain and while not an ‘optimal’ choice, that is where I will be going to be contrarian.
Must Play Flexes:
I think if Michael Thomas is 100% playing, you have to have shares of him especially if multi-entering. Even on a pitch count (if he is on one) he will immediately step back in the role of Drew Brees #1 target when he is on the field and his impact on this offense really can’t be measured.
I also think you need to consider Tre’Quan Smith and Marquez Callaway. Both will be on the field and likely seeing targets in this game, especially with Sanders not playing. Callaway by the way is only $200 on DK. I think Jared Cook also needs to be in Flex consideration. I think that when Mike Thomas is on the field it will be the Mike Thomas show, but if he is only on the field for 60% of snaps – Brees will be looking elsewhere for the other 40% and Smith, Callaway and Cook will all be ready to oblige.
While I like Alvin Kamara as a Captain, the matchup with the Bucs and Todd Bowles’ defense does give me pause. I still have flashbacks to that Week 3 matchup last season with the Panthers where they shut McCaffery down and I had him in 100% of my Showdown Captain spots. Ugh. Anyway, I will have exposure to Kamara in some of my lineups but not all of them as he normally would be.
I also think if you are multi-entering, Taysom Hill needs to find his way into a few of your lineups. The Saints are committed to getting this guy going one way or another and last week he finally had his touchdown. Expect to see Taysom Hill more than you want to and get ahead of it and get him in a few lineups.
And if I don’t have Brees as a Captain, I will have plenty of him as a Flex surrounded by at least two of his receivers. I think that Brees will be throwing a lot in this game and I at least want that volume and potential ceiling in my lineups.
The Same goes for Brady. If he isn’t a captain in a lineup, I’ll have him as a Flex more times than not. Brady has been throwing and throwing and throwing some more and I expect that to continue. Plus he just passed Drew Brees on the all time Touchdown List. You think he wants to go backwards on that one?
From the Bucs side I think Godwin is a must play and honestly, I think it will be a smart idea to have at least some lineups with AB in it. I think the odd man out here is Mike Evans. He just hasn’t looked right this season and last week example if he didn’t have a touchdown it would have been a bad fantasy night for Evans. I will likely be underweight on my exposure to Evans and especially with AB on the field, I think Evans will be touchdown dependent moving forward.
I don’t mind having some exposure to Scotty Miller as I do think he and Brady have developed some chemistry. Speaking of Chemistry don’t forget about Gronk. I have a feeling that whether AB is there or not, the Brady-Gronk connection has been reestablished and will be prominent. I’d also be looking at Cameron Brate as a contrarian piece to a Bucs stack. He may only see a few targets per game but if one of those are in the red zone, Brate has always been a threat to score..
Similiar to what I was saying about Kamara, if I don’t have a lineup with Ronald Jones or Leonard Fournette in Captain/MVP, I will likely be underweight on my exposure to them in the flex spots. The Saints have been stingy against running backs this season and while I like both players and what they offer, but I just don’t love this matchup for them.
I mentioned the Kickers already and I will have plenty of them in my lineups as Flex Plays too. This leads me to the defenses. I think the defenses will come in at very low ownership considering the stacked offenses that are playing in this game – BUT I need to stress again that these are two good defenses and anything can happen. Using the defense in a stack with the offensive players could be a very sneaky play and while it is more common – I think stacking the defense and opposing kicker may be a smart way to attack this slate.
Here is an example lineup I will have in DK tonight to get you started on your own builds:
Tom Brady – Captain
Drew Brees – Flex
Antonio Brown – Flex
Michael Thomas – Flex
Rob Gronkowski – Flex
Marquez Callaway – Flex
Total Salary: $49,700
Projected Points: 101.00
Good Luck in your Contests!