Sure hope you started Tom Brady and Mike Evans today! While I can’t guarantee hitting a nail on the head every time, it’s nice when you do get one right!
Tonight’s Showdown between the Raiders and the Dolphins is an important one for both teams. If either want to have a shot at a wild card berth, they will need to win here and so I think we should have the makings of a fast paced affair with a lot of offense to go around… so let’s not delay!
My Captain/MVP Picks
Tua Tagovailoa to me is the perfect Captain for a game like this. He has been getting it done through the air and on the ground and has helped the Dolphins get in the position that they are in, regarding the playoffs. He has offensive weapons who are banged up but because of his versatility he is still a strong play. The only problem with Tua in the top spot is his price and his ownership. He is the second highest priced player on the slate and I would project him to be the second most popular play on the slate, behind Darren Waller. So pairing him correctly in Showdown with a lower owned high upside target is paramount. Tua isn’t coming off his best statistical game as a passer last week, but it was his two rushing scores that really jump off the page. That is the kind of versatility that you will need from him at Captain/MVP tonight, especially with his #1 Target Davante Parker ruled out.
Staying on the Dolphins, I do not mind taking a look at a receiver – be it Jakeem Grant or Lynn Bowden, Isaiah Ford or Mack Hollins. With Davante Parker off the field the Dolphins are going to be in need of someone to step up and we have seen Tua feature Grant in the past. He is averaging 5 targets per game with Parker on the field, so we could see that number rise. Lynn Bowden was the standout of the group last week with 7 Targets and 6 catches. He certainly could have the opportunity to build on that. Isaiah Ford just returned from an extended absence in Week 15 so we will see what a full week of practice has done for his report with Tua. He is more of a dart throw as is Hollins who saw 2 targets last week, as I feel more confident giving a shot at Grant or Bowden. I like their prices and I can’t see any of these guys seeing near the ownership that their opportunity deserves.
I think you can also take a shot on Myles Gaskin who is back this week from the Covid 19 list. Gaskin had just returned to the field from an extended absence in Week 13 with 21 touches for 90 yards plus 2 catches for 51, when he was put on the Covid list. The fear is that the committee that existed in his absence will cut into his workload – Salvon Ahmed took 23 touches for 122 yards and had 2 catches while Matt Breida also had 12 carries for 86 yards. So there is concern for what Gaskin’s work load will look like now that he is back. The one thing I will lean on though was how much the Dolphins leaned on Gaskin in Week 13 after being out for multiple weeks, that leads me to believe that it is Gaskin’s backfield to lose. Against a Raiders Defense giving up 120 yards on the ground and ranked 28th against Running Backs – I don’t mind taking the chance here.
It does appear that Derek Carr will once again start for the Raiders, but with the way Marcus Mariotta played last week I could see him sneak in some “Jacoby Meyers/Taysom Hill” type designed run plays tonight which limit Carr’s upside for me at Captain. (Editor’s note – if it is Mariotta starting however, I have some interest in the Miami Defense at Captain). The Dolphins have a really good defense and have been stingy against Quarterbacks. So if there is a Raider I have interest in starting at the top of my lineups it would be a). Josh Jacobs b). Darren Waller c). Nelson Agholor.
Josh Jacobs I believe is fairly matchup proof. No matter the matchup he has yet to have under double digit carries in any game and outside of 2 games (Atlanta and Tampa Bay) he also has yet to score under double digit fantasy points. The Dolphins are top 10 against running backs while still allowing over 120 yards on the ground. So the matchup may be tough but I think the volume that Jacobs will see supersedes that for me.
Darren Waller also walks into a tough matchup on paper as the Dolphins rank 7th against Tight Ends… except for Travis Kelce who took 8 catches for 136 and a score. The reason I mention Kelce is because I believe Darren Waller is an elite tight end – an elite pass catcher on this offense and just how Mahomes feeds Kelce, Carr feeds Waller. He will be the most popular play on the slate tonight but I will be honest – I am not sure there is another Raider available with the Ceiling that Waller has. In his last three games Waller has seen 17, 10 and 12 Targets. Two weeks ago he went for 200 yards and 2 scores and last week in a tougher matchup with a backup quarterback he still had 75 yards. I think you can fire Waller up with confidence tonight, despite the ownership.
Nelson Agholor is probably the most interesting pick here but he has emerged as the Raider’s #1 Wide Receiver target seeing 8+ targets in 4 of his last 5 games with two touchdowns and a 100 yard game in that span as well. If the Raiders are able to put up points, Carr (or Mariotta – just sayin’) will need to throw and yes the Miami Defense has been sound all season – garbage time points are still points after all … just kidding (kinda) but I think Agholor will need to step up for whomever is throwing the ball and I don’t mind taking a shot on him at Captain/MVP tonight.
I also could see this being a game where the Raiders are forced to kick a lot of field goals. So I don’t think it is the craziest notion to consider Kicker Daniel Carlson at Captain or MVP tonight either. Carlson is cheap and no one likes playing kickers so his ownership could be low. But all season he has only had 3 games where he only kicked 1 field goal and he also has 4 50+ yard field goals go his way this season. Sometimes you gotta get a little crazy to win a GPP and I have seen a Kicker led lineup take down a milly maker in the past!
Flex, Flex, Flex it Up!
With Davante Parker out, I think my strategy for the Dolphins will be to pair Tua with Tight End Mike Gesicki plus one of his wide receivers (Grant or Bowden preferred) plus Myles Gaskin. I am trying trying to build this so I am capturing the most likely Touchdowns on the Dolphins side. If you want to onslaught the stack, go ahead and include the Dolphins Defense too. For Raiders run backs on Dolphins stacks, Waller and Carr will be a popular choice but I also think using Waller and Agholor together as a two man is an interesting play. I also don’t mind using Jacobs and Waller but that will be pricey. Fortunately you should find values in the Dolphins receivers to make something like that work.
I do not mind including Dolphins Kicker Jason Sanders in some lineups too, but I tend to want to use him more in lineups with the Raiders defense included. I don’t personally see the Raiders slowing Tua down too much to the point that we see Sanders 3 or 4 times lining up for field goals the same way I do see a path for that for Daniel Carlson. But should the Raiders in fact slow Tua down, then Sanders will be active and I think you will want to have both the Raiders D and Sanders on a lineup for a situation like that.
For lineups that I am building around the Raiders, I think using Waller, Carr and Jacobs together isn’t a bad strategy. For a four man I would look at Hunter Renfrow as an option for a four man. Although, I really like including Henry Ruggs in matchups like this that are heavily favoring the other side. No one can keep up with Ruggs flat out and if Carr will be needing to throw, I could see him taking shots at Ruggs deep to try and spark the offense or get a quick score. I also don’t mind building a lineup or two with Jacobs and the Raiders Defense as the focal points. This is 2020 and this is a rookie quarterback going against Jon Gruden after all. If you were to build an onslaught Raiders stack I don’t mind at all including Tua or Gaskin in the lineup as even if the Raiders force Turnovers, either of those guys still have multiple rushing touchdown upside. For Run Backs, I don’t mind a Raider’s 5 man with only Tua or Gaskin included. I also don’t mind Tua and a Pass Catcher or Gaskin and the Dolphins Defense either for a two man stack, running back a 4 man Raiders heavy lineup.
I will also have one lineup that has Marcus Marriota in a Flex spot. Like I said I could see Gruden use Marriota as a gadget play tonight after seeing how well he ran the ball last week. Plus if Derek Carr struggles, I could also see Gruden hand the ball over to Marriota to possibly provide a spark. You just never know in 2020.
Good Luck in your Contests!!