Tuesday Night Showdown – Cowboys Ravens – DFS Showdown Strategy & Picks

I am so tilted over last night. If Raheem Mostert is healthy enough to be playing, what in the world is the fascination with Jeff Wilson by the Niners? He looks like Mostert lite running the football and he didn’t blow me away with his receiving either – am I wrong? Also, did they just remember that Deebo Samuel is a playmaker in the 4th quarter? Cause he was a forgotten son for the first three. Thankfully Brandon Aiyuk, Isiah McKenzie and Gabriel Davis saved me from having my first showdown of the season not cashing … but still. So F’N Tilted! Let me know if you are tilted too @DelRayBoston on Twitter use the hashtags #Tilted and #RealDealFantasy. By the way if you went with a Bills Onslaught of Allen-Diggs-Beasley-Bills D-Tyler Bass, you had a nice night. So Congrats.

Onward and upward. Tonight you have two teams that desperately need a win to have a chance at staying alive in their divisions. The 6 – 5 Covid Survivors known as the Ravens and the 3 – 8 Dinucci Surviors known as the Cowboys. The Ravens have a tough road to a wild card, but it is doable. Shockingly, 3 – 8 in the NFC East could be 8 – 8 if the Cowboys can somehow go on a run and they’d be a contender. So a lot to play for tonight. The Ravens are 7.5 Point Favorites and this game has a projected point total of 45. The Ravens are getting healthier. Of course most notably the players who are now off the Covid-19 list in Lamar Jackson, Mark Ingram, JK Dobbins but also they may be able to get Defensive End Calais Campbell and Linebacker Brandon Williams back which will be a huge boost for a defense that is Blitzing 45% of the time. The Cowboys however will be without two of their starting Offensive Lineman but they also may be getting back two pieces of their secondary, which is at least a little help.

There are several ‘heavy hitters’ in this game so ownership is fairly concentrated, but there are values to be found… so let’s not delay! I’m taking a slightly different approach today and am going to focus on Value plays to start. I think it will be an important part of your builds to find value, contrarian, plays as both salary savers and paths to unique builds of your lineups. Everyone will want to have pieces of Lamar and Zeke, but it will be tough to fit them and have a winning lineup if the rest of your pieces are busts. So let’s talk VALUE first.

VALUE TARGETS: Ravens

Mark Andrews, arguably the Raven’s #1 Pass Catcher, is on the Covid List and will not play tonight. So my favorite value target on the Ravens is Luke Willson. Willson has bounced around the league over the last few years, but was recently called up from the practice squad and signed to the Active Roster. While we know Lamar loves Mark Andrews, he also does target tight ends which is part of the reason why when #2 Nick Boyle went down it was treated as a big blow. Boyle is a solid pass blocker, which Willson has also been credited as being. So I think Willson could see a heavy snap count tonight and at only $1,800 on DK and $6,000 on FD, he makes for a solid Value Dart Throw to consider. Willson nearly had a touchdown last week and could see a decent amount of targets in place of Andrews. Willson is projected to be around 20% owned tonight, which is a little higher than I wished – but against a lot of other chalk on this slate, I don’t mind it.

If you want to go even deeper, Eric Tomlinson is the only other Tight End available. He was shipped down to the practice squad last week but with Andrews still out he may be called back up tonight as the only other TE, Sean Culkin, is also out tonight. Tomlinson saw no targets last week but again if he is on the field mainly for Pass Pro, there is a chance he does see a target or two tonight Tomlnson is $200 on DK and $5,000 on FD and at a rock bottom price tag he does really give you a lot of room to move on with the rest of your lineup and at 2% ownership projected, you don’t need a monster performance to help make your lineup unique…

Speaking of not needing a monster performance to pay off value – Dez Bryant is only $1,000 on DK and saw 5 Targets from Jackson in his first game called up from the practice squad two weeks ago. Now in a plus matchup and with another full week of practice under his belt with Lamar, Dez could be in a prime REVENGE game spot tonight. At a projected 20% ownership, he could be an ultimate pivot from Hollywood Brown who’s ownership in this game is close to 70%! I will have plenty of shots on Dez at such a cheap price. I also don’t mind him on FanDuel at $7,000 again with a third of the ownership of Browns.

With Willie Snead also out on the Covid-19 list, I don’t mind taking some shots on Devin Duvernay and James Proche either. Duvernay has seen 4 consecutive games of 2 – 3 targets, but one of those was without Jackson and two of those Snead was on the field for. With Andrews out and Snead out, targets are open and while I do like Willson as I mentioned, it wouldn’t shock me to see Duvernay have a bit of an expanded role. They like Duvernay’s his speed and athleticism in Baltimore and will have a few lineups with Duvernay on DK priced at $800 and projected 7% ownership, he is a steal. His price on FanDuel though makes me want to look elsewhere – $7,000 and projected at 15% ownership – I’d rather take my shots on Dez Bryant who is the same price and running more routes, at around the same ownership level. Proche saw a target last week in the Quarterback shuffle, so he is more of a dart throw here as a Wide Receiver 4, but again for a cheap low owned dart throw at that. The odd man out in the room seems to be Myles Boykin. He has only seen 1 target over the last 3 games and even last week with everyone on the offense out, he saw none. If you are multi-entering, having one lineup with him in it isn’t crazy – but no more than 1 and that is just in case suddenly his fortunes changed. Single Entry or Cash though, you can’t play Myles Boykin. Duvernay is the better play.

Value Plays: Cowboys

On the Cowboys side the guy I am most interested in is Tony Pollard. At $2,600 on DK, even at low volume, I think Pollard is interesting. Between Week 6 and Week 9 Pollard saw an uptick in usage with 7 or more touches per game, backing up Zeke. Over the last two weeks that has dropped to 5 in Week 11 and 4 in Week 12, but it was the Week 11 game that most interests me. In another plus matchup against the Vikings, Pollard broke off a highlight level run for a touchdown and finished with a season high of 60 yards. I don’t mind taking a couple shots on Pollard, with that kind of play making ability and because he is seeing a low volume of snaps, I don’t even mind him in a lineup that also has Zeke. Plus if Zeke struggles against a wicked Raven’s defensive line, I could see Pollard getting a few extra snaps as a change of pace…

The other guy I want to mention that may surprise you is Dalton Schultz. He has seen no less than 5 targets from Andy Dalton in every game they have played together and he saw 8 targets against Philadelphia and 9 against Pittsburgh. I bring those two teams up because like the Ravens, there are some soft spots in their defense against the tight end position. To me his pricing is one to attack. He is only $5,200 on DK and on FanDuel he is actually cheaper than both kickers at $8,000. He is also projected at less than 15% ownership on FanDuel, so I really like him there. On DK he is projected at a hair less than 20% … who would think Dalton Schultz a pivot to Luke Willson. Anyway, I’ll have my shares of Schultz.

My Captain/MVP Picks

If you are playing a Baltimore Captain tonight I think you are making three decisions. First, is Lamar worth it as the highest priced and highest owned player on the slate? On DK, I say he may be as should he do something he hasn’t done all year and throw for 300 yards you get an extra bonus. On FanDuel, you don’t. Some reasons why he is a good pick though are pretty cut and dry. Over the last 4 Games he has been running the ball more. 16 Attempts Week 8, 13 in Week 9, 11 in Week 10 and 13 in Week 11. Compare that to the rest of the season where his only other double digit rushing attempt was in week 2 against the Texans. Second – his options in the passing game. He should get JK Dobbins back in the backfield who has emerged as a weapon in the passing game. Hollywood Brown now has Dez Bryant running routes next to him to help free him up from Double Teams and possibly with Andrews out, he looks for Hollywood a bit more who clearly showed his play making ability last week. And you can’t discount the Cowboys Ranked 20th against QBs and giving up nearly 400 yards of total offense on average this season.

The risks you have to weigh though are heavy. First, Lamar might not need to run 15 times. His full Running Back room is back and healthy and the Cowboys are barely stopping anyone on the ground. Baltimore may go run heavy here if they do get out to a lead and their defense is dominating. Additionally, Lamar may not need to pass 30+ times for 300+ yards to get the win. A couple running back scores, maybe a goal line dive for himself and a defensive score might seal the victory. You also have to weigh the salary and ownership both of which Lamar is #1 in tonight. Lamar is close to 90% ownership by the way and that scares me – if he doesn’t hit his ceiling of 30 FPTS or higher. So if you choose Lamar, it has it’s merits and it’s risks.

Which brings me to your second choice at Raven’s Captain – a running back. With everyone back and healthy I think the assumption is JK Dobbins will be the lead. He certainly has been the most explosive player in this backfield. For me, he is my more likely Captain over Lamar. I am not as scared of Mark Ingram cutting too much into his overall workload, but I don’t think it is crazy to have a lineup with Ingram in it as he could see several goal line opportunities that would make him a heck of a pivot off of Dobbins, should he score. But I do feel Dobbins has a chance to have a solid night on the ground and in the air and maybe it is Dobbins who dispels Ingram on the goal line. We shall see. My only worry is that on both sites Dobbins projects to be the highest owned running back, but in saying that he makes an interesting pivot at Captain from the even more chalky Hollywood Brown and of course the uber chalk of Lamar himself. If I was to take another Raven Back at Captain it would be Gus Edwards who at 3% owned carries a ton of upside as the Raven’s thumper. Edwards has certainly shown his mettle this season and should he see close to or exceed Ingram’s snaps and touches for any reason, rostering Edwards could be the difference maker. 3% ownership on DK? 1% ownership on FanDuel? C’mon now. I’ll have plenty of shots at Edwards if that holds.

So if you don’t choose Lamar or the Running Game at Captain – then it’s almost certain you are taking Marquise Hollywood Brown. With ownership projections nearing 70% I’m almost certain that is the way a lot of people are going. You get salary savings with Brown over Lamar and he is coming off of his best game of the season due to an unbelievable catch and run last week – thrown from the 3rd string quarterback I might add. So the question and gamble is are you going to chase those points with Lamar back under center? Too be fair at $7,500 on DK and being the #1 Wide Receiver in this offense, I think he is a solid play – but you need to keep in mind he has only 3 games this season at 18 Fantasy Points or Higher (Cleveland, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh) only one game of 100+ yards (Week 1 Cleveland) and only 3 Passing Touchdowns and 1 rushing Touchdown. I understand the ownership, with no Mark Andrews a plus matchup and the riding the best game of his season … I am not saying fade Hollywood at all, but I don’t know if I can stomach chasing last week’s points at close to 70% ownership. I will have some shares with Hollywood at Captain but, I think I prefer the running game. But that is just me.

I do want to add too that as much as I didn’t like the play last week, I don’t mind taking some shots on the Ravens Defense at Captain on DK tonight. The best reason is that the offense is for the most part healthy and active, so the fear of constantly being on the field (ie; a lot of 3 and outs by last week’s offense) I had for them last week shouldn’t really be there. I think Dalton gets hit a lot tonight, so sacks, fumbles and interceptions are all in the realm of possibility here and if on a whole this game underwhelms and is a low scoring affair – the Raven’s Defense could pay dividends as a contrarian Captans pick.

For Cowboys Captains, the clear #1 choice by the masses is Ezekiel Elliot, and why not? Despite some mid season struggles, this offense runs through Big Zeke and the Cowboys will need to lean on Zeke tonight. With a banged up offensive line facing one of the blitz heaviest defenses in the league, getting the ball to Zeke may be paramount especially early. And if the Cowboys could establish the run with Zeke against a defense giving up 111 yards on the ground on average, then Zeke could be the Cowboy to own at your top spot. I like Zeke’s price, for the opportunity and upside on DK at $10,500. He is doable on FanDuel at $15,000. Oddly the way Ownership is shaping up, Zeke is a pivot from the even more Chalky JK Dobbins. Kinda weird right?

The only real concern I have with Ezekiel Elliot is asking myself “how long can Dalton and the Cowboys rely on the Run Game tonight”? Sure Zeke catches some balls but Alvin Kamara or Christian McCaffery in that department, he is not. His bread and butter is getting the rock handed to him between the tackles and if the Cowboys fall behind deep, Dalton will be slinging. So there is some risk here. But I think you need to take you shots on Big Zeke. I do not think the Ravens sell out completely to stop the run as Dalton is no total slouch of a QB and he has one of the best overall receiving corps in the league to throw too and I would think the Ravens respect that more. So Zeke could have some room to run and who knows, he could just plain takeover this game. It hasn’t happened yet this season but no time like the present right? Six times this season Zeke has had 20 or more touches on the ground. This could be one of those games tonight and I’ll have my shares of Ezekiel Elliot to capture it if it happens. Hopefully he can hold onto the ball tonight 🙂

Maybe it’s just me but people aren’t giving the Cowboys enough respect to think that they can’t put up points tonight – but honestly, they have a lot of weapons here and all of them are healthy. If they blitz 90% of the time early on, the Cowboys will run Zeke down their throats until they have to stop him. If they shut down Zeke, Dalton is going to throw quick and dink and dunk with his receivers enough that the Ravens will be forced to rush them. Now I’m not saying the Cowboys are world beaters by any means, but they could keep this game competitive.

So that is why I like the pass catchers as Cowboys Captains. Specifically arguably the best route runner in the league Amari Cooper or the superstar rookie CeeDee Lamb. If you really want to get cute, throw in Michael Gallup as well. The first reason is the pivot off of the ultra chalk Hollywood Brown. Neither Cooper or Lamb have gone a game with Dalton where they didn’t see 5 or more targets as well, so they really make nice pivots from Brown who as much of a chance to Bust than he does to hit. Second – I just can’t subscribe to the theory that with a bye week and a few extra days off the Cowboys are just going to lay down and let the Ravens pass rush run roughshod for 60 minutes. So I have a lot of interest in the Cowboys receivers at Captain/MVP. With Cooper and Lamb my favorites.

I also really don’t hate the idea of using Cowboy’s Kicker Greg Zuerlein at Captain. As much as I do believe the Cowboys mount an offense, they have had their red zone struggles and Greg the Leg may be trotted out several times tonight to get the boys some points. I don’t hate it at all as a cheap low owned contrarian pick at Captain/MVP.

Flex, Flex, Flex it Up

My strategy with the Cowboys is pretty simple. If I am using Zeke at Captain I am also including Dalton in the lineup with at least one pass catcher – Cooper, Lamb or Dalton Schultz and Greg Zuerlein. I would try and run that stack back with Lamar and a cheap Ravens receiver (Bryant, Duvernay, Willson) or I’d try and fit Gus Edwards and the Ravens Defense. If I am using a Cowboys Wide Receiver at Captain, I am keeping Dalton in the Flex with one other pass catcher and Zuerlein. I don’t mind throwing Tony Pollard into a lineup like that either.

By the way, you may feel I am being absent on Andy Dalton here. It isn’t on purpose. Dalton makes for a pivot from Lamar Jackson at Quarterback as Captain/MVP – but I am concerned that with a weakened offensive line and the wicked pass rush the Ravens have been dishing out, Dalton is going get hit a lot which increases the chance of Interceptions and Fumble. I am concerned that many of his throws will be hurried and I am also concerned he may not have time to air it out… So while he certainly could prove the analytics wrong and drop 40 attempts for 350 yards and several Touchdowns – so for me I’m likely to mainly use Dalton as Flex in stacks with his pass catchers and also as a run back option on Lamar Captained lineups. After all if Lamar is performing, it will be likely do to the Cowboy’s offense keeping pace and of course, Dalton would be a part of their success. Plus even if the Ravens dominate this game, we have also seen Garbage time add up for DFS Success several times this season. I mean look at Hollywood Brown just last week if you need further evidence.

My strategy on Ravens builds are a little against the grain. I would use Lamar or a Running Back at Captain and whichever I don’t use at Captain I will use in the flex. I think you need make a stand on using Hollywood Brown OR one of the Cheaper Pass Catchers (Bryant, Duvernay, Willson) as I don’t think there will be overall volume enough in the passing game to sustain both in a lineup. I also don’t mind including another running back like Gus Edwards as a cheap and contrarian play. Certainly the Raven’s Defense will be a popular play to including in Running Back heavy lineups but I also don’t mind using the Defense in lineups with Lamar and a Passcatcher. After all even if the Defense peforms well, it may be Jackson and Brown who have the explosive game and not a running back. I also do not mind using Justin Tucker as a flex too. As much as we like Lamar, often times it is the Ravens themselves and not the opposing defense that prevents them from scoring and Tucker could get 3 Field goal tries tonight, you never know.

And if you want to buck all the trends, roster the Cowboys Defense in the Captain’s spot and run the lineup back stacked with Cowboys and the cheapest Raven you can. No one is doing that and if you are multi-entering, it’s not a bade idea for one lineup out of many. You never know hat can happen in 2020 NFL.

Good Luck in your Contests!

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