What makes this game fun for actual football is the Browns are on the verge of a Playoff Berth, something that hasn’t happened in 20 years. Additionally the Giants are suddenly in the drivers seat in the NFC East which also seemed improbable when Saquon Barkley went down in week 2 to a season ending injury. Congratulations to both teams. Now, small victories aside, let’s talk some DFS Strategy for showdown tournaments tonight!
My Captain/MVP Picks
You are going to have to go into showdowns tonight knowing that nearly every Cleveland Brown you want to play tonight will be Chalk (highly owned). So I think you will need to make a fairly hardline decision when you are building your lineups. I am going to eat the chalk and try and make it work or am I going to try and build around the chalk. The latter will be easier said than done. The reason for this – no one is dramatically priced up on this slate. There are no $15K flexes to be found. So you will be tempted to spend every dollar you can and as always I will tell you it is ok, even contrarian, to leaving some money on the table.
Nick Chubb as of right now Nick Chubb is projected to be the highest owned player on the slate. Close to 77% ownership on DK and 67% on FD. The thing is – I get it. The Browns are favored by 7 tonight, so the first game script to consider is the Browns are just going to run the ball down the Giant’s 26th ranked rushing defense. Additionally, since coming back in Week 10 he has not had a single game where he didn’t have at least 17 rushing attempts and he has even seen a couple targets in 2 of his last 3 games. He has 5 Touchdowns across the last 5 games and 3 games of 100+ yards. So Chubb should be a strong play tonight and even though he is the most chalky player on the slate, he is also the highest priced. So on DK where salary increases in the Captain slot of your lineup, I actually think he will be a bit of a contrarian play as I think most players will want to save salary and go cheaper at Captain. Chubb may be the safest play at MVP on FanDuel as barring injury, his role in this offense is not likely to fluctuate.
Right behind Chubb in ownership is Baker Mayfield. Baker will be a popular Captain tonight. He is coming off a two game stretch of 300+ passing yards and due to his spectacular Week 13 has 8 Touchdowns to 1 interception over the last 3 weeks. The Giants are ranked top 5 against QBs largely due to their solid defensive line, but the Browns sport arguably the best offensive line in football and if Baker has time he gets to face a team giving up over Two Hundred and Sixty passing yards per game. Baker has also been attempting some rushing lately with an average of attempts per game over the last four weeks including a rushing score last week. There is a lot to like about Baker with a Playoff appearance hanging in the balance tonight. I think he is a smash play on FanDuel at MVP.
But for me I always like looking at a wide receiver at Captain on DK and Jarvis Landry could make for an excellent pick, roughly twenty five percent less owned than Chubb and Baker and priced at nine thousand on DK, I may be a little heavy on Landry as a pivot to Chubb. Over the last three games, Jarvis has averaged ten targets per game from Baker and has had two touchdowns. Volume has never been a problem for Landry, but yardage has – lately though I think Baker has been looking for him more as a safety blanket and that has resulted in a hundred plus yard performance in Week Twelve. Largely due to the work of excellent Giants corner James Bradbury the Giants are ranked just outside the top ten against Wide Receivers but I do feel that Landry will avoid Bradbury running most of his routes from the slot. Plus I like how the Browns have been using Landry lately – throwing touchdown passes, running the ball. They have been making an effort to get the ball in Landry’s hands and I like that type of versatility in my Captain on DK.
If you want to pay down however on the Browns. I’d take a shot on “Hollywood” Rashad Higgins. Who has back to back games of nine or more targets and a touchdown to build off of. He has become a big play threat for the Browns. He is a little bit of a price discount from Landry. I think you could also take a shot on the too cheap Donavan Peoples-Jones who has become another Deep Ball threat for Baker. Two weeks ago he only needed two catches to go Nintey Four Yards and a score and last week he took three for seventy four. He is only Forty Eight Hundred on DK.
I also do not mind taking a shot on Kareem Hunt. This is purely an ownership leverage play from Nick Chubb as Hunt is projecting to come in under Twenty Percent owned. The only worry I have here is that his role is diminished versus what he has seen over the last two weeks. If the Browns control this game, Baker’s dependance on the pass and by nature the passing down back – may not come into play in a major way. However Hunt does have two rushing scores over the last four weeks, so could he be in on some goal line work? Of Course. I will say though if I do roster either Chubb or Hunt at Captain or MVP, I will not roster the other in the flex as I will be hoping all of the Running Back scoring will be going to my Captain.
On the Giants side of the ball, it is a little tough to look at a Captain simply because it won’t be Daniel Jones – at least starting – tonight, it will be Colt McCoy. In week thirteen with a full compliment of snaps, McCoy took twenty two passing attempts or one hundred and five yards and a touchdown and a interception. The one thing McCoy can bring to the table is quarterback rushing and even though he hasn’t yet shown it this season, with Myles Garrett chasing him down tonight.
So if I am going with a Giant receiver tonight at Captain on DK, I am looking at it in two ways. First Evan Engram. Engram has been a disappointment this season but the Giants will need a big play to get a spark going and Engram certainly has that ability. It also should help that the Browns are the third worst team against tight ends, so Engram may find some room to move. He is way too cheap for a player on the field for nearly every offensive snap at Five Thousand on DK. I have a little less interest on FanDuel as he is twenty eight hundred more there. The other way is to attack the Browns’ outside cornerbacks, with their starters still out, the Browns have been beatable on deep balls. So Darius Slayton is in play for me. This is a risk reward scenario as Slayton also has been a disappointment this season, plus we really don’t know how Colt McCoy will distribute the ball. But if the Giants need to try and put points on the board quickly it will be down the field with Slayton. Slayton is Sixty Two Hundred on DK and I don’t mind that price. I also don’t think it is crazy to go cheap and look at Golden Tate here either. Tate should be running opposite of Slayton and it was encouraging to see McCoy send a deep ball his way last week. Of the two I prefer Slayton at Captain only because I think he should see more targets, but this is a year of the unexpected and if you are multi-entering, I don’t mind a lineup with Tate at the top.
Probably my two favorite Giant for either Captain or MVP however is Wayne Gallman. I had to make a tough decision today on either Chris Carson or Wayne Gallman at RB and I’m kicking myself I went Carson. The Browns have been giving up yardage on the ground this season averaging over one hundred and twenty a game. Now this may change with Myles Garrett back on the line, but for now I lean on history. I also lean on the Giants may be going very run heavy tonight to try and limit the amount of throws McCoy needs to make. Gallman has scored double digit fantasy points in every game he has started since week seven and in games where he has seen Fifteen Plus touches he is averaging Eighteen Fantasy Points. I could see fifteen plus attempts coming tonight. I usually prefer using RB at MVP on FanDuel more than I do Captain on DK but with Chubb garnering so much ownership, I don’t have issue using Gallman on either site. Gallman is projected at twenty percent ownership on DK and thirty three percent on FanDuel.
Believe it or not, my other favorite Giant to use at Captain on DK is the Kicker Graham Gano. Gano has Fifty Five and Fifty Two yarders under his belt this season and while I do believe the Giants will be able to move the ball against the Browns, I also think there will be plenty of Giants Field Goals as the result. Hey, earlier this year a Kicker at Captain took down the Milly Maker on DK. Crazier things have happened…
Flex, Flex, Flex it Up.
I don’t normally have issue rostering both Chubb and Hunt in the flex but tonight, I will be using one or the other. I just don’t see this game being a dogfight where both guys hit their ceilings. So much so that I think the optimal lineup construction will be TWO Browns to Four Giants on DK. Whether that is Baker and a Pass Catcher or Chubb and the Browns Defense or even Baker and Chubb if you believe those will be the highest scoring Browns. Most of the Giants are cheap enough that you can make this work. I can also see the opposite being a strong play. That being Browns to two Giants. Some other Browns to consider in the flex – Austin Hooper the Tight End. Hooper carries a Q tag and he may not play, as he did sit last week. When fully healthy early in the Season we saw Baker targeting Hooper six times per game and in his absence, both Harrison Bryant and David Njoku have been part of the game plan as evidenced last week. I will have interest in Hooper and if he sits I’ll have interest in Bryant and Njoku. Also keep an eye on KhaDarel Hodge who also has a chance to suit up. If he does, it would limit Donovan People-Jones’ involvement tonight. If Hodge is healthy I don’t mind taking a shot on him as a Flex, but not at Captain the same way I like Peoples-Jones. I also mentioned the Cleveland Defense who I think are in play with Colt McCoy under center. And if you think that the Giants Defense is able to slow Baker and Company, I don’t mind also using Cody Parkey the Kicker as a flex play on a team stack.
I will tell you this. I will have ONE, ONE Lineup where I put Daniel Jones in as a Flex. Jones practiced this week and it was a surprise to the writers that he wasn’t slated to start. If McCoy runs into a lot of trouble – could Danny Dimes make an appearance? Well ONE of my lineups will be ready if so.
Short of that, I don’t mind using McCoy in the Flex – but I am more inclined to stack Giants without him. After all, Slayton or Engram or Sterling Shepard or Golden Tate could have a great game all while McCoy throws a bunch of interceptions and causes a fumble. Speaking of Shepard, he is probably my favorite Giants Flex Play. Shepard has seen Five or More targets in every game he has played and I think he will be a big focus point for McCoy. The only reason I didn’t mention him as a potential Captain is he lacks the Touchdown upside. But he is for sure a strong Giant to consider in the flex. I don’t mind a lineup with the Giants Defense rostered as they did shut down Russell Wilson a week ago – but If I do use the Giants Defense it won’t be on a lineup with Nick Chubb. The other Giant I think you should keep in your player pool is Dion Lewis. Lewis will perform as a change of pace and third down back in this offense and he has caught a touchdown already once in prime time this season.
Good Luck in your Contests